Thursday, February 7, 2013

Learn how to fire a handgun

That's an order. The nice thing is that you don't have to buy a handgun in order to learn how to fire one. You can usually rent one at any range attached to a gun store. They will usually have an assortment including a 9mm, a .22, a 38 revolver, a 45, etc. All the common calibers. You'll probably have to give them your drivers license to hold onto and sign a sheet saying that you understand the rules and all, but there is no background check required, at least not in Ohio.

You could obviously start of by shooting something really small like a 22 caliber target pistol. But since you probably want to get a handgun for personal protection, I'd start with something bigger. The first handgun I ever fired was a 38 special "police-style" revolver like this one. A revolver is a nice gun to start with, easy to load—no magazines to mess with, and a box of 50 rounds of 38 FMJ cartridges is going to be about $21, or 42 cents per round. I like the models with a little bit longer barrels, especially for beginners. The nice man or lady at the counter will be very helpful if you have any questions. You'll also need ear and eye protection. Corrective lenses can count as eye protection, but unless you have big-ass Buddy Holly-looking frames, it's probably a good idea to get a nice pair of protective goggles. Don't forget to put on your ear protection before you enter the range.

I forget what handgun rental costs are exactly. I'm thinking around $15-25 per half hour. Obviously you can call ahead of time to find out. Also I think some ranges would let you try out a variety of handguns during one rental session, which usually is broken into half-hour increments. I go to a place in Lorain where the range costs are $8/half-hour, $10 on weekends.

For semi-automatics, I recommend trying out a Glock 9mm if you're ready for something with a little more recoil. Or of course you can check out some type of 1911 model like this Taurus -- I'm just partial to Glock. If you want something with a little less kick, check out a .380 ACP if they have one. I have one that Bersa makes, and I literally can't even feel the recoil from it if I pick it up and shoot it after I've been firing my Glock 40. I have a slightly funny story about purchasing it, but maybe later.

I don't consider myself an expert on any of this—just a serious student. I'm actually little more than a novice, and I know many people with more experience, practice and knowledge. But I know a lot more about it than many people I know, and I want those people to go from being completely uninitiated to becoming somewhat proficient with a handgun. You learn it by doing it, and I'm just pointing out an easy way to get going. Don't be afraid to ask anyone at the range how to hold and fire the weapon, where to put your left thumb, how to load the magazine, how to line the sites up, how to pull the trigger, etc. They'll be more than happy to show you.


  1. It's also a good idea to take friends to the range if they are interested. Over the years Mr. BTEG has worked with many people from India, China and Taiwan who have no idea of what it's like to live in a society where gun ownership is acceptable (at least for now.)

  2. Barb, does Mr. BTEG know a lot about guns? Is it related to what he does for a living?

  3. There is an advantage of joining a firearms training center to learn to fire a gun. That is you don't have to buy the gun to learn it. Thank you, Pauli. Your article is very informative.

    MA Firearms School