Buying a Semi and 2 Other Mistakes Concealed Carry Newbies Make: Guns for Beginners

GLOCK 19 Gen 4 9mm semiautomatic pistol

Over at our monkey man rivals (, Eve Flanigan offers 7 mistakes to avoid when starting your concealed carry journey. If you want to know her take, take a minute to pop over and see what firearms faux pas she identifies. Suffice it to say, none of my three examples overlap with hers . . .

1. Buying a semi-automatic pistol

You’re a gun guy or gal. You know that a semi-automatic pistol is better than a revolver for concealed carry. Well of course it is. More controllable trigger -> more accuracy. Greater capacity. Slimmer! Lighter!

Do me a favor: dumb it down.

Most concealed carry newbies are intimidated by semis. They worry — rightly IMHO — that they may do something wrong when loading/racking the pistol. They worry it might “go off.” If the semi has a frame-mounted safety, well, that’s one more thing that could go wrong.

Sure, you can teach a newb to get comfortable with a semi. But how many of the millions of new concealed carriers out there are going to do that? I’d bet dollars to donuts very, very few. So . . .

Small revolver’s are friendly! YOU CAN SEE THE BULLETS (cartridges, but still). Point and shoot. Reloading in the heat of battle? Me? And revolvers look like a gun.

Wait! Snubbies are no fun for practice, even when loaded with low-power .38s.

True! But again, why are you assuming that a newbie is going to practice? And if they do, they should buy a second full-size gun for that. Which they probably won’t.

Smith & Wesson 686 (courtesy

2. Storing their gun in a drawer

There are millions of “loose” guns out there. Concealed carry handguns shoved in bedside tables at night and stored on closet shelves (often wrapped in a sock).

And nothing bad happens! Not in the vast majority of cases (so to speak).

Don’t get me wrong: I fully understand the desire to have a gun right there for the proverbial and sometimes literal bump-in-the-night scenario. 

But a concealed carry gun needs to be stored securely to avoid unauthorized access — even if children are gun savvy. If nothing else, “casual” theft and teenage angst.

More than that, a newbie should learn safe storage so that they can get another gun and safely secure that gun. In other words, safe storage is the gateway drug to other handguns, shotguns and/or rifles.

Remember that bit above about having a second gun to practice? If a newbie understands and practices safe storage, they’re far more likely to get that second gun. Which they really should have.

3. Not talking enough about their gun

I may have said this before: Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. That right also depends on culture.

In the main, concealed carry newbies don’t come from gun families. Most brand new concealed carriers are well over 21. So carrying a gun is a big leap for them.

Well done! But not enough of them spread the word about armed self-defense. They’re defensive about it (so to speak), afraid they’ll be criticized maybe even ostracized for their choice. And you know what? They’re probably right.

But they need to speak up. You could even say new concealed carrier are the best emissaries for the Second Amendment. “I used to think . . . but I realized . . .” That’s powerful stuff.

Newbies don’t have to open carry or join the NRA to help protect our — and their — firearms freedom. They just need to let the world know that they’ve taken responsibility for their safety, the safety of their family and their immediate circle.

Gun normalization. It starts the moment a newbie straps up. With a revolver. Stored safely. Or something like that.


  1. avatar pg2 says:

    J-Frames allow many people to carry who may not carry otherwise. Require lots of practice.

    1. avatar Jeremy B. says:


      Also, “Do me a favor: dumb it down.”, is he suggesting that my customers that can handle a semi-auto on the range need to learn a NEW firearm type for carry because their to stupid to carry what they already know?

      1. Load cylinder
      2. Close cylinder


      1. Load mag
      2. Insert mag
      3. Operate slide

      That one extra step sure is hard.

      1. avatar Bloving says:

        It’s not that it is difficult.
        It’s not that it cannot be learned or practiced until it becomes second nature.
        It is, however, unlikely to be mastered by someone who isn’t like us – Gun people. We like guns (REALLY like them!), and we enjoy handling them and learning as much as we can about them.
        News Flash: we’re kinda weird.
        A typical noob who only wants ONE gun and has little interest in practicing (ever) with it would be well-served with a gun that is just slightly more complicated than a break-action shotgun.
        No. I have to agree with this one: I love my revolvers but I think they are ideal for people who don’t actually like guns at all.

        1. avatar Rincoln says:

          I have to disagree, fervently. If they’re not going to practice, they don’t need to have the gun. The last thing we need is an untrained individual opening fire, anywhere. And, we certainly don’t need the “public opinion” that gun people are untrained, and thus unreliable. This should not be an acceptable condition.

          Revolver vs. Semi, moot. (except hammerless, there’s no good hammerless revolver)

        2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Rin. How much training and practice would you require? Should it be a Federal law or state law? Do we have to prove the ongoing practice and if not do we turn our guns in at the police station?

        3. avatar Chadwick says:

          Rincoln, Don’t most defensive gun uses end without a single shot fired?

        4. avatar Rincoln says:

          I’m not advocating for any requirements. I’m only stating that, should your mindset be “I’m never going to train/practice/etc,” maybe carrying a gun isn’t the right decision for you.

    2. avatar raptor jesus says:

      I love to carry my J-Frame (performance center 642 with altamont combat grips)
      I hate to shoot the little fucker though.

  2. avatar Matt in CT says:

    Nonsense….If your aren’t willing to train and practice enough to become comfortable with a semi-auto pistol, you have no business carrying a revolver either.

    1. avatar DrewR says:

      Agreed, the J frame revolver is probably the most difficult handgun to learn to shoot well. I love my Model 36, but handing it to a newbie is basically a guarantee that they will miss their intended target. A single stack 9mm in the Shield size range is a better choice for any new shooter. And Robert, when you talk about people who won’t train, they only have to rack the slide once.

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        Until they are in grappling range and their semi won’t function cause it’s out of battery.

        They gotta take tier one operator training and krav maga? Most folks will say piss on it and go back to sheep.

        The revolver is perfect for these folks.

        1. avatar Jeremy B. says:

          Translation… “you’re to stupid for ‘tap, rack, bang’.”

          Also, statistically very few self defense shootings happen at contact ranges, let alone with the firearm in actual contact.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Jeremy B, please list or link to those to statistics. I do not believe they exist.

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Jeremy B.,

          You are incorrect: the overwhelming majority of armed attacks happen at contact range (where contact range means within 5 feet as far as I am concerned).

          Just think about it:
          (1) How is a rapist going to subdue you and rape you from 30 feet away?
          (2) How is an armed robber going to get your wallet from 30 feet away?
          (3) How is a furious person that wants to “teach you a lesson” (batter you) going to do that from 30 feet away?
          (4) How is a psycho going to murder you from 30 feet away?

          Granted that last point has some weakness in that a psycho could try and shoot you from 30 feet away or shoot in a random direction and harm someone 30+ feet away. And they would be very likely to miss a moving target at that distance which is why most murders — even with handguns — are up close and personal.

        4. avatar DamnYankee says:

          Jeremy B, tap rack and bang doesnt work when the gun is out of battery because the muzzel is pressed against the target. It also doesnt work well when your head is getting pounded in to the ground.

      2. avatar binder says:

        For a revolver all you have to do is show them how to release the cylinder, push the ejector and anyone can figure it out at that point. For any semi auto, there is a lot more involved.

      3. avatar Westward Ho says:

        This. I have a spurless J-Frame that was my first firearm, but I don’t conceal carry it because I’d hate to have to throw lead with it in a crowded situation. Despite years of practice, the heavy trigger pull on it makes my groupings too dispersed for me to be comfortable having to make a choice about using it in a circumstance where people may be behind my attacker.

      4. avatar Accur81 says:

        Word. I know I’m supposed to love the J frame, but my soulless Glock 43 has more power, is thinner, carries more rounds (7, 8, and 10 round mags are easy mods), reloads faster, and is more accurate.

        My 340 PD was roughly as accurate as my ability to throw a spear, and lost lots of velocity from its 1 7/8″ barrel. It was well made, but no fun to shoot.

        The single stack 9 is ideal for pocket carry and low profile IWB or OWB. Want a mini revolver? Go for it. You just won’t be packing a ton of firepower.

        Snubbie .357s are also super loud.

      5. avatar B says:

        The other thing though, if you can learn to shoot a j frame well you can shoot anything. That long double action press, recoil control with the light frame, flinching, it exposes your flaws pretty quick. And the 5 shots slow you down enough to really examine what you are doing.

    2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      Only operators operating operationally have a right to a gun? The truth is a lot of people are only ever going to buy one gun and enough ammo for a range trip and a little left over. I know these people. We’ve seen countless examples right here on TTAG of these people prevailing against the bad guys.

      For these people the revolver is king.

      1. avatar Lucas D. says:

        Not that there’s anything wrong with a wheelgun, but it’s a bit strawman-ish to equate regular practice and skill development/maintenance with “tier-1 operator training.” A little old lady who just wants to get home safe from Bingo is as unlikely to study IDF combat techniques as the asshole who tries to mug her, and whether she carries a J-frame or an M&P Shield, power to her.

        1. avatar Lucas D. says:

          …Either way she needs to practice, was the point I meant to make the first time.

    3. avatar Defens says:

      BS. Don’t be a gun snob. What about the frail, the wheelchair or walker bound? Those who can barely pay for groceries? It’s great to be fit, young, healthy and enthused about guns – but there have been plenty of DGUs by folks who can’t practice for various reasons. For many of those a Charter Arms Bulldog might be just the ticket.

    4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Matt in CT and Drew R.,

      A j-frame revolver with a 2-inch barrel is an excellent personal protection handgun for very close encounters — where all of 5 minutes training and zero minutes target practice is necessary to be highly effective.

      Yes, you heard me correctly: ZERO minutes of target practice is necessary to be an excellent “marksman” when your attacker is five feet away. Quite literally, if you can accurately point your finger at someone five feet away, you can accurately point a snubbie revolver at someone five feet away.

      1. avatar Ken says:

        Zero practice is right. I can’t hit squat with my snub nose revolver with a 2″ barrel. I now know why they call them a belly gun. If you want protection up close and personal and don’t think the intruder will grab hour gun, go ahead and use a snub nose. I don’t feel that comfortable that close so I’ll use my semi-autos or my revolver with a 4″ barrel.

      2. avatar DrewR says:

        I agree, I am a revolver fan. However a striker fired semiautomatic, which I personally don’t care for, is more useful in more situations, and in my experience is not any harder to learn to operate.
        I don’t think someone with a J frame in their pocket is under gunned or carrying the wrong gun, I just don’t agree that it is the best choice for a new shooter. I don’t find the arguments for a revolver over a semi compelling. In my personal experience the people I’ve taught to shoot have all done better with a semi than a revolver, male and female, ages 15 to 60.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


          When you say “do better”: if that means shoot more accurately at 7 yards with a semi-auto versus a j-frame snubbie revolver, I agree completely. And that is why I carry a semi-auto pistol myself every day. Then again, I am a motivated person that was willing to research, learn, and practice to master the ins-and-outs of a semi-auto handgun (which I detail in another comment below).

          Given the significant additional mastery that is required to be able to use a semi-auto pistol for reliable and effective self-defense, I would only encourage people to go that route if they were extremely motivated to gain mastery themselves or if they had a mentor. Otherwise, I would also encourage beginners to purchase a revolver.

    5. avatar neiowa says:

      Says WHO? I just checked the 2nd and it says NOTHING of the sort. Or perhaps you want to propose a new definition of “well regulated” for the progs?

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…I’m not talking up I carry a gun. Nobody knows nothin’. And I trained MYSELF to be proficient with a semiautomatic pistol…

  4. avatar KTR says:

    I try to get out to the outdoor range that I have a membership with at least twice a month. Most of the times that’s with a group of guys from church.

    It really helps to get out there as much as possible, even if it’s just to get a box of ammo down range.

    Last fall, I was amazed when I realized that I had been able to get out there 12 weeks in a row.

  5. avatar strych9 says:

    If you like revolvers then roll with one. Personally I don’t buy the idea that carrying a semi takes much training.

    My wife’s first carry gun was a Glock (her choice) she Israeli carried for all of 24 hours before she figured out it was safe to carry with one in the pipe. Day 2 of ownership, on her way home from work, she buys some snap caps for it. She played with those for all of 10 minutes and has been carrying a variety of semis, round in the pipe, since.

    This shit ain’t hard.

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      S9, Arnold Palmer probably thought golf was easy, too. I’m happy that your wife took to semis so readily. She learned all about tap and rack and all the myriad malfunction drills and she can do them with a pitbull attached to her left arm or a trayvon martin on top of her.

      But my late mother just wanted a gun that could be stored loaded and ready to go, for year after year, if need be. She probably couldn’t have told you what caliber it was. All she knew was that she had to pick it up and squeeze the trigger thingy.

      And I’ve known lots just like her. The revolver is king for most folk.

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Revolvers are simple but their triggers are horrible. I have reduced strength in my trigger finger and I can get one, maybe two shots out of a revolver before I’m done. And each of those will take five seconds or more.

        There’s no end all, be all. It all depends.

        1. avatar Huntmaster says:

          LCR. Doesn’t get any simpler.

        2. avatar 2004done says:

          CarlosT: I find ALL triggers horrible, but racking the slide without an accessory “pull,” on even a .22, seems damned near impossible for me. I shoot Bullseye League, with my 6″ wheelgun, but carry a <2" (No, I don't shoot well enough to "make the team" much anymore, but I shoot, and I SMILE! Without using a 'grip-master,' it would be even worse).

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        Fair enough.

        1. avatar hillbillyjew says:

          I’m with strych9 and Carlos on this one. My condolences to the family of the late mother and Arnold Palmer.

          But this article isn’t titled “best firearm for the elderly and/or wheelchair bound”. Those are like the fliers on your target at the range. They matter. They should be addressed. But they shouldn’t be lumped in with your main group.

          A lot of us gun folks are really fortunate to have a variety of weapons and draw conclusions from experience about what we like best. But if we’re talking about the average adult beginner, male or female, you’re strong enough to rack a slide. I promise. That having been said, if you’re only going to buy one gun (I hope you buy more, but this is a good place to start) buy a gun that you’re really going to enjoy and take pride in.

          This analogy will get lost on some people, but here it goes: I grew up with video games. As a father, I love playing video games with my kids. But I didn’t just hand them an Atari because it has less components and still counts as a console. Forget that. Nostalgia can suck it. They play Xbox One as soon as their hands can hold a controller.

          Get into it. Embrace the slightly more complicated semi auto. They’re feats of engineering that’ll put a smile on your face at the range, and maybe just save you or someone you love. They’re typically lighter, more accurate, higher capacity, faster to reload, etc.

          Lets face it. You’ll probably never have to shoot anyone. So get something more modern and fun. Even if you decide on a Glock (which might be akin to the slightly less interesting but more common PS4 in this analogy;), that’s something you’ll have a blast with compared to a revolver.

          And if you do have to shoot someone with your semi auto, you’ll probably hit them because you enjoyed practicing with it, which might have caused you to practice more. Challenge yourself. Practice.

          “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

  6. avatar Raimius says:

    Revolvers are not much simpler than semi autos. If you are too dumb to learn how a Glock functions, you are not to be trusted with life and death decisions.
    Secondly, we should not simply accept that people who regularly carry get no training. We are better than that, and we can encourage them to be better as well.

  7. avatar rip_vw32 says:

    Did Robert really write this? Holy Crap. Disdainful of the non-gun initiated much? Way to be ‘old man’ and ‘get off my grass’ about this.

    How about this: Let the ‘newb’ pick what is comfortable in their hand, is easy for them to shoot.

    “They worry — rightly IMHO — that they may do something wrong when loading/racking the pistol.” WTF is wrong with you? 4 rules much? How can a gun just ‘go off’ if the bang switch is never engaged?? You DO have a responsibility to correct the myths, not reinforce them….

    Manno – I can’t fathom what prompted you to write this, but it seems to be coming from a place that just isn’t making you seem particularly friendly towards new CC’ers.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      No, Robert did not write it. He makes that clear in the first sentence.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Mr. Taylor,

        Actually, the three suggestions in this post are Robert’s comments. (Reference his statement, “… none of my three examples overlap with hers …”.)

        Nevertheless, see my response below defending Robert’s suggestions.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      I did not get the sense that Robert was “talking down” to “dumb” people. Rather, I believe he was providing solid advice for a large number of beginners who lack the confidence, skill, technique, and/or motivation to master a semi-auto handgun.

      As for something going wrong while loading a semi-auto, a novice could forget that they have to rack the slide to actually load a round in the chamber. Or they could pull the slide part way back (but not far enough back for the slide to grasp a round from the magazine) and go forward into battery without putting a round in the chamber. Then there are people who genuinely struggle to pull the slide all the way back (even if they KNOW that they have to pull the slide back — and ALL the way back to load a round in the chamber) because they have poor strength and/or poor technique.

      I have personally taught special techniques for pulling a slide all the way back to three different women and one elderly man with injuries who were not able to pull their slides back before I showed up.

      And we have not even touched upon possible cycling problems due to a weak recoil spring, defective magazine, a particular brand of ammunition that a particular semi-auto pistol does not like, or limp-wristing while shooting. What’s that? I did not mention tap-rack-bang drills here?

      Finally, how many people even know that they should shoot at least 200 to 500 rounds to “break in” their semi-auto pistol and then shoot at least 200 rounds of their intended self-defense ammunition — without any failures to feed or cycle — before they can be confident that they can depend on it? (And how many people cannot afford 200 rounds of self-defense ammunition which can easily cost $1 per round?)

      Knowing and mastering all of these considerations is indeed a daunting endeavor for a beginner — especially if they do not have a mentor to help them. For these people a revolver is quite likely a superior choice.

      1. avatar DrewR says:

        I actually agree with most of what you’ve said, though most modern semiautomatic pistols don’t require any sort of break in period. I just don’t agree with Roberts assertion that revolvers are always best for newbies, especially when it comes to j frames. Yes, people who will never practice or go shoot are better off with a snubbie than nothing, but nothing is more discouraging to a new shooter than missing their target. If they are just getting a gun for home defense a 4 inch barrel wheel gun is a much better choice. Ultimately, though, they should pick the gun they like and go from there.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Drew R.,

          Your points are totally valid for certain kinds of beginners — and for other beginners Robert’s points are valid.

          The summary:
          No training, no research, no mentoring, no target practice, no testing ammunition, no break-in, no cleaning, and no practicing malfunction drills is necessary for a beginner to immediately be able to defend themselves effectively with a nice modern double-action revolver in the overwhelming majority of violent attacks which occur at contact distance. Modern double-action revolvers are therefore the optimum self-defense solution for beginners who will not research, practice, train, and be mentored.

          If a beginner has weak fingers due to injury or age, or simply wants to be more involved (willing to research, be mentored, train, test equipment) and wants to see/improve marksmanship skills, then a semi-auto pistol is the optimum self-defense solution.

          Which camp encompasses most beginners? I have no idea.

  8. avatar MasterGunz says:

    Please bear with me. I see so much written on “practice”, “practice”, “practice”. Practice does NOT make you a skilled or even in most cases competent with any firearm.

    Perfect practice is what counts. You can repeatedly practice bad or even dangerous shooting…which I see at the range every time I shoot which is 3-4X weekly.

    As a retired Marine, Scout/Sniper and Scout/Sniper instructor with 30 years on the job…practice don’t mean sheit!!!

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      Years of handling firearms does NOT make you a skilled or even in most cases competent teacher/adviser. Perfect teaching/advising is what counts.

      And when it comes to self-defense, where the overwhelming majority of events happen at contact distance, no one needs more than 2 minutes of training to be highly competent at using a modern quality double-action revolver for effective self-defense.

      The training for effectively using a double-action revolver for self-defense at contact distance consists of two simple areas:
      (1) Learning how to open the cylinder, load cartridges, and close the cylinder. That takes all of 60 seconds.
      (2) Learning how to draw, point, squeeze the trigger, and repeat squeezing the trigger until your attacker no longer poses a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm. That takes all of 60 seconds.

      That is all there is to it. And THAT is the beauty of a modern double-action revolver.

      Everything beyond that is wonderful and certainly great to learn. And none of it is necessary for a person to defend themselves one or two times. They don’t need to shoot an entire box of 50 cartridges. They don’t need to know how to clean a revolver. And they don’t need to know the dozen or more specific measures that are necessary to learn to shoot and continue to shoot a reliable semi-automatic pistol.

  9. avatar Texas Gun Gal says:

    Carry what you can shoot most accurately and comfortable.
    Pocket carry Ruger LCR car carry Ruger SR 10 round magazine in Sneaky Pete holster, driver side bin.

    I was visiting relatives at the ranch, my sister in law’s cousin asked if I was “packing”?
    Told him “yes. Ruger revolver in pocket, Ruger SR in door bin. No one on my mother’s side of the family would be surprised. Ranchers for 4 generations. Would likely ask if not weapon within reach, why not?

  10. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Such BS. Robert, I’m very disappointed in you today. Revolvers are terrific, for those who are comfortable with them – and those who have the hand and finger strength to make optimal use of them. For a lot of older folks, especially the ladies, they are very difficult to fire, and very difficult to control to aim effectively.

    My first carry gun was a Ruger .357 snubby. I shot it a LOT over the years (mostly .38sp rounds), but eventually that became painful and I could no longer hit the target effectively. I bought an XD compact .45, and carried that for several years. Then I discovered that I could not reliably control the .45 – especially with one hand, so bought an XD compact 9mm, which I carry to this day. I can shoot it with either hand alone, or both hands, and have no problem with either aiming or pulling the trigger. I’m 71 years old now, and my hands are not what they used to be… but I don’t have any doubt I would be able to defend myself if necessary.

    New shooters need information and encouragement to try lots of guns. They need to be encouraged to practice and carry regularly. If they choose not to do so… that’s THEIR business… and their problem.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      See my response above to rip_vw32 which lists the myriad points of failure with a semi-auto pistol (both in function and training) that can go wrong for a beginner. Robert’s advice for many beginners to start with a revolver is solid advice.

      The only criticism that I can see with his article was failing to mention that someone with weak fingers (due to injury or age) may have a very difficult time pulling the trigger on a revolver with a heavy double-action trigger as you mentioned. And that demographic is a very small minority of beginners.

      As I mentioned in my other reply above, most beginners really need a mentor to become confident and capable with semi-auto pistols. If someone is a beginner and does not have a capable mentor (or cannot afford training), then I strongly advise them to go with a quality modern double-action revolver. They are far simpler to operate and maintain in a reliable status.

      1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

        “As I mentioned in my other reply above, most beginners really need a mentor to become confident and capable with semi-auto pistols.”

        Are you saying that this isn’t true for revolvers? Also, isn’t something we’re forgetting that .38s are harder to conceal than a semi-auto?

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


          I described in detail in various comments above how revolvers are extremely simple to operate compared to semi-auto handguns. One of those comments includes describing how a beginner needs all of 60 seconds to learn how to operate a revolver reliably. They could get that simple instruction from the revolver’s owner’s manual or from a gun store salesman/woman. (I do not consider a 60 second instruction from a gun store salesman/woman to be a mentor.) You cannot say the same about someone learning to operate a semi-auto pistol reliably.

          As for concealing, I agree that compact single-stack semi-auto pistols are easier to conceal than a .38 Special double-action revolver. I don’t really see what bearing that has on anything unless someone is facing dire consequences if someone sees them printing.

        2. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:


          Revolvers are mechanically simple. Semi-autos will malf if the grip is epicly bad or something gets in the way of the slide. My opinion is that semi-autos aren’t hard to teach, and revolvers are a waste of time as far as self-defense.

          “One of those comments includes describing how a beginner needs all of 60 seconds to learn how to operate a revolver reliably.”

          Okay, so what we’re saying is we can teach someone to pull a trigger. Good for us! Isn’t that extremely irresponsible? IMHO, someone with 60 seconds of training shouldn’t be shooting anything because of training scars and safety concerns. For me personally, not getting instruction before shooting gave me a stubborn flinch and other problems, even though I attended a 4-day class less than 150 rounds into my shooting career.

          “You cannot say the same about someone learning to operate a semi-auto pistol reliably.”

          I taught a lady a month ago how to shoot the M&P9. She wasn’t a rock star, but after a five minutes and two mags, she was hitting at 10 yards on a 18″ circle pretty good. Her grip wasn’t anything to write home about, but she had no malfs, either.

          It doesn’t matter that much about printing, but it does matter if it keeps them from carrying in the first place.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      I have a woman friend your age who shot a J-Frame revolver for years. I happened to have my 1911/10mm that day. She had never shot a semi before so she wanted to give it a try. I was skeptical but handed her the pistol. She went 8 for 8 at 10 yards. Said that it was easier on her hands than the J-frame.

  11. avatar Rick Bunn says:

    I’ve been an NRA Firearms Safety Instructor for over 35 years. I recommend new shooters go with a .38 Spl revolver. Easy to use, and no jamming issues. If your students need more then 6 rounds, YOU failed them.

    1. avatar Dude says:

      This….all day long. Even “seasoned” shooters panic at times. The first time I was in a firefight in Iraq, I thought my rifle was down and went to my pistol. When the slide locked back, I realized my rifle just ran out of ammo.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Rick Bunn,

      The only scenarios where I figure a .38 Special revolver (even a snubbie with a 5-round cylinder) would fail to secure the well-being of a righteous defender is when facing a spree-killer at distance, multiple terrorists on a suicide attack, or some huge animal (e.g. a moose, large bear, or large feral hog).

      Since 99.9999% of people will NEVER face a moose, large bear, or large feral hog, that scenario is not worth considering. As for wanting to effectively defend yourself from a spree killer at distance or multiple terrorists on a suicide attack, that requires more gun and a LOT more training/practice. Fortunately, such events are almost as rare as facing a large animal and the overwhelming majority of people who will need a firearm for self-defense will do just fine with a .38 Special revolver.

  12. avatar gp says:

    Keep it on your body at all times, except when showering. Don’t put it in a drawer.

  13. avatar Dude says:

    One of the worst things I see in gun stores is a store rep pushing semi-autos on someone who’s never fired a gun without asking how familiar they are with firearms, how much time do they have to practice, and where and how are they going to carry or store the firearm.

    Consider a newb with a semi in a stress situation: they might forget to sweep the safety off, they might hit the magazine release, or not know how to clear a jam. They might store the firearm with the chamber unloaded and forget to rack the slide. Bottom line, if they aren’t willing and/or don’t make the time to practice every aspect of a firearm besides punching holes in paper, then start them on something easy, a .38SPC revolver. Also, the .38 isn’t as intimidating as a semi to new shooters.

    I think you’d get a repeat customer also because you made the time to explain the in’s and out’s of not only responsible firearms ownership but the pro’s and con’s of their skill level.

    1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

      “Bottom line, if they aren’t willing and/or don’t make the time to practice every aspect of a firearm besides punching holes in paper, then start them on something easy . . .”

      Agreed. But a .38 special isn’t easy. A .380 auto or 9mm in a medium to large gun is. Just because you think revolvers are idiot proof or you grew up with one doesn’t mean it’s instinctual or easy.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        And a semi auto is? The point is, there is more operator error in using a semi than a wheel gun. I am comfortable with both and started on a M1911, my first issue weapon.

        1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

          A semi-auto (and especially non-1911s) are relatively simple. They’re also worth it.

          If there’s too much operator error for the shooter to learn how to shoot a semi-auto, that same person shouldn’t be carrying. They need a class, not an “idiot-proof” gun.

  14. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I shoot my snubs pretty well…seems odd all the folks saying they cant shoot em well.

    I grew up with a S&Ws so their trigger is what i started with. Sure the K and N frames are smoother but Js shoot better than i can.

    Autos are fine and not that tough to learn and the Tupperwerks guns are more reliable than those of old. Never been particularly impressed with their accuracy though.

    Revolver are the better gun for neglect and modern autos hold up better to abuse. More newbs neglect their gun than would abuse them. I like them both. Revolvers are my pick for casual carry.

    Robert…if you can see the bullets you are breaking a rule. That is not a 22 LCR.

  15. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘You know that a semi-automatic pis tol is better than a revo lver for conc ealed carry. Well of course it is. More controllable tri gger -> more accuracy.’

    What kind of jenkem are you huffing?

  16. avatar Mad Max says:

    I carry a P225 and a S&W 649 and can put all of the rounds from both on a 6 in. pie plate at 25 yards without any problems. I go to the range weekly and shoot 50 rounds from one or the other.

    I try to carry at least the revolver all of the time.

  17. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Oh s semi auto pistol. I thought you meant semi like a Peterbuilt or Mack. There’s s old REO Speedwagon down at the sawmill I’d like to have but they won’t sell it.

  18. avatar Xsquid says:

    So the author of this drivel is an idiot and thinks everyone else is.

    Bottom line is carry what you shoot best and practice with it.

  19. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    I wouldn’t recommend a revolver because I don’t like shooting them. Doing otherwise is unconscionable.

  20. I happen to like a revolver for self defense. and I like a j frame as well . it fits nice in my pocket. and yes , they do kick. but S&W has a set of grips that cover the back and give the pinky a place to hold and the gun does not kick with this grip on it. also I like the skinny grips and practice tightening my 2 bottom fingers around the grip frame and that also negates the kick of +p rounds. and I also like to use wadcutters a lot since they have good penetration and light recoil and are accurate, with little flash and don’t over penetrate. I use them in my non +p guns like my older S&Ws and my colt agents and cobras. and I never feel undergunned.

  21. avatar tdiinva says:

    The first handgun I fired was a 1911. By the end of the first time I could put all the rounds on target at 10-15 yards. It was Swiss cheese but it would have been effective in a DGU. I still can’t do that with a revolver. Revolvers are simple to use and easy to miss the target with. A modern striker fired pistol is easy to use and hit the target. The key to giving a new shooter confidence is putting rounds on target.

    Conventional wisdom is always wrong. The duty sized auto is best first pistol. They are the easiest to shoot. You introduce a revolver when the new shooter becomes confident in his ability to put rounds on target.

  22. avatar Warlocc says:

    Stupid article is stupid.

  23. avatar OldProf says:

    Will somebody PLEASE teach RF to use the apostrophe correctly! “Small revolver’s are friendly!” doesn’t need one. Nothing belongs to the small revolver. Apostrophes aren’t that difficult.
    Regarding guns for non gun people, snubbies are difficult and uncomfortable to shoot, slow to reload, easy to carry and not intimidating in appearance. For the classic contact distance encounter, they’re probably a good choice. For anything more complicated, a compact or subcompact 9mm or .380 semiautomatic is infinitely better and not terribly difficult to learn how to manipulate safely and effectively. As Clint said, “A man’s (correct colloquial use of apostrophe) got to know his limitations”. If you’re willing to train even a little, choose a Shield or similar compact 9mm. If you’re not (or if you really want to train/practice a lot more), choose a 38, 9, or 32 snub revolver.

  24. avatar ChrisL says:

    I gotta speak up for training and practice. Guns are not just everyday tools. They are designed to deliver lethal force, and thus are potentially dangerous to the user and innocent bystanders if utilized unskillfully. The only down-side to not training and practicing that the article focused on was that it might make it less likely that you would successfully defend yourself IF you are attacked, and so maybe the kind of gun you have could mitigate that somewhat. But there’s another big relevant downside to not training and practicing, and that is that you could negligently hurt yourself or someone else, either during a DGU or at some other time–and this is true regardless of what kind of gun you are not practiced nor trained with.
    Yes, it’s our 2A right to just go get a gun with no strings attached. But as a community we should be bold in setting an expectation for armed citizens to be trained and practiced in the use of that potentially dangerous tool. “Training and Practice–it’s just what you do.” It doesn’t take a huge commitment to cultivate the knowledge and skill to be acceptably safe and competent with a handgun. You don’t just hand your kid the keys to the car and say “go figure it out.” You teach them how to drive. We should hold a similar expectation for using guns. If you’re going to own and carry a gun, learn how to use it safely. Same goes for a chainsaw, arc-welder, motorcycle, etc. etc. I don’t want you driving on the roads I’m driving on if you don’t know how to operate a vehicle safely, and I don’t want you carrying a gun in the public space I’m sharing with you if you don’t know how to carry and utilize it safely.
    For me, this is the most important place where the pro-gun perspective can gain ground. Right now, if you look at the amount of actual harm that is done to “the public” by firearms, too much of that harm is the result of negligence–what some still call “accidents.” If we could implement a rigorous culture of safe use of guns, and dramatically reduce the number of people shot negligently (especially kids getting hold of loaded guns, for the Love of God!), so that a vast majority of gun violence was truly bad people doing bad things, then I think the “debate” would shift away from controlling guns and focus where it ought to–how to live together so people don’t do so many bad things. The issue shouldn’t be that it’s “too easy” for someone to shoot up a school. The issue should be what the hell has gone wrong such that someone wants to shoot up a school! If the mainstream understanding was that gun ownership inherently implied training and competence, there would be far fewer people demanding to “just get rid of the damn things.” And the idea that armed citizens make things safer might actually be common sense.

  25. avatar Wally1 says:

    Two of the biggest problems I see with new shooters are muzzle control and keeping their booger hook off the bang switch. Actual pointing and shooting is the easy part. Instilling good safety practices is very hard. Trigger finger indexing, muzzle control needs to be paramount in training someone new, Really new shooters that never have shot before are easier to train, they don’t have all the bad habits. In my opinion, the #1 training issue is having anyone handling any firearm is treating it as if it is loaded all the time. I see this all the time at gun shops, the clerk with take firearm off the rack, checks the chamber and hand it to the customer, the customer assumes that since he just watched the clerk check the chamber it is unloaded, WRONG! If anyone hands you a firearm to examine always do your own check and don’t point the muzzle at the other customer standing next to you!!. I can’t even to count the times at the gun counter I have to tell people not to point that gun at me.

  26. avatar Eng says:

    There is a difference between a noob and a dumb person. This is good advice for a dumb person, and horrible advice for a normal person.

    1. Unless you have no intention to practice or train at all, or seek any information on guns, or watch a youtube video, or make a friend at a gun range, buy a modern semi auto and learn how to use it.

    2. Store the gun where you can get it when you need it and where an unauthorized person can’t. If you have no unauthorized people (kids) in your place then a drawer is fine. If people come over lock your bedroom door or wear your gun.

    3. Don’t talk about your gun at all if you don’t want to. If you are a noob, consider only talking about it with gun people until you are one yourself. You can choose to protect yourself without choosing to be a public advocate. Just vote the right way.

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