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FN FNS9c (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

You may have noticed that TTAG has launched a “Guns for Beginners” series. We did so after readers [gently] chided us for not appealing to newbies. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last couple of weeks, from tips for gun owners considering open carry to how to buy your first handgun. Our man Dan’s creating a new “ad” for the homepage for beginners; they’ll be able to click on it to see our range of posts. If you could send a link or links to any new shooters in your circle, I’d be most appreciative. So . . .


What else? What other topics should we cover to help new gun owners discover the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice (especially practice), strategy, dangers and fun of guns?

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  1. A lot of newcomers to the gun-owning fold are coming in through CCW and Home Defense angles, so I’d do a series on carry positions and holster types. IWB, OWB, Pocket, Shoulder rig, etc, and the types of guns that commonly go with those carry methods.

    I think TTAG might have had an article on that, might just want to resurrect it, dust it off, and put it in the Guns for Beginners section.

    • This newbie here would love this. I just started carrying and feel like the entire world can tell. I bought two new guns/holster combinations to solve it, and they stick out too. I’d love to hear about carrying while business casual (or better).

        • Hey Steve,

          I have an RIA 1911 (I know that this one must just be too big for my body, and that’s why I can’t conceal it well) in a Galco King Tuk ~ 8-9 o’clock — big problem is the grip (length-wise) protruding passed my body and tugging at the shirt behind it. Bending over is extremely visible, but I can kinda-get away with it standing/walking.

          Once I realized that that wouldn’t work (although I carry it when being outed isn’t the end; say the grocery store), I bought these next two in different carry positions to make at least something disappear on me:

          A Taurus 738 TCP in a (back) pocket holster — this one just looks like a gun — no matter which pocket, even with the extra flap that’s supposed to make it look like a wallet. I stopped using the flap when I’m lucky enough to have a cover garment that can go over my back pocket (places where I never take a coat off).

          And a Charter Arms Southpaw that I wear inside right ankle with a Galco Ankle Glove. This one looks like I have 20LB leg ankle weights only on one ankle. With boots it’s very comfortable, but very visible.

          I haven’t been able to find a good combination to really make something disappear on my body, for EDC. I’m willing to fill the holster bin trying to find something, but it’s tough to know where to start.

    • . . . and also basic range rules, procedures, and etiquette. A first-timer who gets chewed out by an RSO or an adjacent shooter out of ignorance isn’t going to have a positive experience.

      • That is an excellent plan! Ranges can be intimidating as all getout, and it is really easy to make mistakes. I was at a range with my son years ago and looked down to discover he had rested his AR on the floor leaning against the wall with an open bolt and a loaded mag inserted. *I* yelled at him, basically that the RO would toss his butt right out of there with instructions to never return if he saw that, we spent some time later discussing ranges, and the many things they normally require just to be SURE everybody stays safe, and how sensible it is for them to do that.

        A quick explanation of how to go in, sign up, what to expect, etc, would make a first experience much less intimidating, and therefore more fun, which is what we want.

  2. I think a good article for educating new or prospective gun owners is going over the different category of guns and their types; IE Pistols – revolvers, autos, DA, SA, DAO, striker-fired, etc. Same for rifles and shotguns. Also basic gun terminology.

    But the first and foremost article should be an in-depth look at the Four Laws of Gun Safety.

    • Yeah, and you probably need videos including actual firing to explain many of those. I have tried to explain differences between DA/SA actions vs SAO or DAO, to a new guy, without a gun in front of us, and it is just almost impossible to get across. Watching a DA pull followed by recoil and SA pull explains it better than words will ever do, second only to doing it yourself.

    • The 4 rules of gun safety – definitely! Maybe one article on each of the rules. Then one article explaining how the 4 rules work together to ensure gun safety (for example, you usually have to violate two of them to cause a gun accident).

      Gun owners need more than just memorizing and following the 4 rules. They need to understand them at a gut level, so that the rules become automatic anytime they are around a gun.

  3. How about an article on mindset? For a normal, sane person, taking another human life is a tough choice even in a kill or be killed situation. If you haven’t already thought it out and made that decision, you may well hesitate to think about it, which could cost you you own life.

      • Also: Left of Bang, and Jeff Cooper’s color codes.

        As long as we are talking about mindset, Bruce Lee and Miyamoto Mushashi.

        • I think Clint Eastwood (as Josey Wales) perfectly encapsulated the mindset idea.

          “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” ― Clint Eastwood as Josey Wales

          Getting “plumb, mad-dog mean” will push you through all the hesitation we civilized people have (denial, fear, indecision, etc.), and let you do what you need to do to survive.

  4. It would be helpful if TTAG had a post or two on where beginners can learn safety and the basics of marksmanship with their new guns. On other forums, I’ve noticed that a lot of beginners aren’t aware of the training and safety courses and the organizations that offer them in their area. There’s a lot of “I just bought my (gun name here), could someone tell me how to shoot it?”, or similar sentiments. I know that I felt much more confident that I could safely handle a firearm after completing a course, and that it provided me with the basics, that if I properly observe, can keep myself and others safe.

    If you could remark on some of the organizations and the classes they offer, it would help a lot of new shooters who are eager, but don’t really know where to look next.

    • I’ll definitely second the remark on basics of marksmenship. I read people talking about breathing patterns, but nobody ever seems to define what those patterns should be, among other things.

  5. I would suggest topics on ammunition selection whether it’s for carry or home defense

      • Winchester train and defend, not cause I am a huge fan, but for a beginner, have cheaper practice ammo that is the same as your defense round is a HUGE leap forward. no simpler solution as of yet, no weights, +P ect to worry about.

    • I second this, although not applicable to carry guns the amount of mythology over birdshot vs buckshot is incredible.

      I think it would be helpful though to provide a basic understanding of ballistics and how performance is determined. The CALIBRATED gelatin tests, how they were developed, why the FBI determined 12″ is the requirement etc. Requirement for bullet to penetrate not just into the person, but through intervening limbs/clothes on the path to vitals.

    • Came here to suggest just this. Specifically, why all ammo is not the same, what to shoot, where to buy it and how much to buy. Maybe a teaser about reloading. Maybe a word about finding a place to shoot.

      Another article idea: how to maintain your gun(s).

      The sticker price of firearms is obvious; the long-term costs of ownership (in time as well as money) are not. Any topic that helps new or prospective gun owners discover the latter would be great.

  6. I think going over things like the Force Science Institute studies on actions/reaction times would be good for a beginner. Dispels a lot of the notions about your ability to watch, observe, and then react to another persons motions. Gets into the 21′ rule as well.

  7. By far the most important issue is the rules-of-engagement for the lawful use-of-force. Those of us who have taken Massad Ayoob’s class recognize how valuable it has been.
    I am shocked at the frequency with which I encounter remarks on boards from experienced gun owners who appear to be absolutely clueless as to one-or-more of the prerequisites to the use-of-force. Not only do such remarks mis-lead new-bees into thinking that what they read is true; they leave a terrible impression on the non-gun-using public.
    We need to polish our image before the public; and, nothing will tarnish our image worse than a burst of bad-shots by new carriers who are un-schooled/badly-schooled in the rules-of-engagement.

    • +100. Call it ‘the before you shoot’drill…This would be great, if boiled down into short clips showing examples of what constitutes imminent danger
      Intent, ability, jeopardy, and a mnemonic you could use to remind yourself.
      “He can kill me, he is going to kill me, he’s close enough I have no choice.

      I’d include another simple review of how NOT to get to that point, first: extremis, ie; 3 S rule, SA color codes, and what to do if you can first; retreat, get to cover, give verbal warning, etc.

      And here is where you insert ‘Your State’s Castle Law or Stand Your Ground law” which further sez you can do this, but not that…” ( never mind Slow Joe Biden…)

      ..(not everyone will act same way, nor is every scenario the same…but I think its very helpful to walk through, maybe walk-thru to through some things, that will make the life or death difference.
      …some go/no-go’s that form your plan, within justifiable use of deadly force, without having to puzzle over it on the spot years later…

      Per whatever is your moral philosophy;

      For example,
      ” I wont shoot someone stealing my property, or running away, the neighbors drunk kid stumbling around in the living room”, etc….

      “I will duck out back door in a multiple shooter mall, 7/11 robbery, office worker gone postal attack and dial 911 first…

      “I will shoot someone coming at me with bat, knife, gun, who is not stopping, at ___# feet.

      “I will shoot is outnumbered if or loved ones are ordered to be bound”, etc

  8. As someone who has a drawer full of holsters that I find worthless, I would like a study of BAD products, useless theory and dangerous practices. After starting IDPA matches I replaced holster,mag pouches,cover garments and pistol. So I was basing my EDC on a number of faulty conclusions.

  9. I think some discussion/presentation on reaction times and distances an assailant can cover quickly.

    I carried for years without even thinking about this and a friend of mine finally made me walk through a simulation where I discovered how woefully unprepared for the reality of an encounter vs. the weapon I was carrying. Early on my carry piece was a “brick disguised as a safety blanket.”

    Also, an explanation of the actual differences in grain weight. I have heard all sorts of ridiculousness on this one. Had a fellow tell me recently, in a major retailer, that grain weight was the amount of powder in the casing. So yes, and explanation of how grain weight affects shooting.

    I would also suggest some information powder burn in low-light and dark conditions. Considering that many DGUs occur at night, how to select defense loads with “night” friendly burning powder would help.

    • If you talk nice, most indoor ranges will turn the lights down/off for you to fire one shot, which will tell you all about flash.

  10. What to think about when a newbie is actually to shoot the gun: trigger control, overcoming the flinch.
    Snap caps, dry firing, putting a penny on top of the muzzle. Stuff like that can be beneficial!
    Keep up the good work!

    • I’d like to see some of that as well. What am I supposed to be doing, noticing, practicing, or whatever when I’m dry firing?

    • Variation of theme: “BTB (Back To BAsics) series

      One topic at a time:
      Safety (4 rules should be second nature)
      Courtesy at a range
      Disciplines in what you’re doing (shooting money downrange or trying to improve target grouping)
      Why are you shooting mindsets (target vs self defense vs competition)
      Gun types/differences (hangun vs rifle)
      Ammunition differences/purposes.
      Shooting caliber differences – a .22 is softer/wimpy compared to a .45+p+. How to plan for the repercussions of shooting (recoil, sting, etc)
      Recommended sources (NRA training??)

      Take the initative and create a library of articles that new users can read up on to learn from vs what the LGS salesman told them or they heard on the news….

      Minimal jargoun and keep it short, conciese and easy to read. Soemthing my pre-teen can read and understand, without insultung us OFWG, or making the femal shooters feel put-off or uncomfortable.


      After stepping back and reading my list, it is a NRA basic class interspersed with comments from experieinced users.

      • I like this list! And the idea of putting them under a “new/prospective gun owner” tab, somewhere a newbie can find everything he needs to know.

  11. Articles for newbie women shooters. Something I can put in front of my wife and say read this. I am working her up to her concealed permit. Also, have a woman’s perspective in the articles. Articles by women for women.

  12. All nonsense. A gun is nothing more than a tool used when the need arises. The moment one spirals into holsters, calibers, stance, training, gel, ballistic performance, training tactical or otherwise your subscribing to a tribe. For example bike riders. The moment you complete a 50 miler you kit up, shave your legs and dream gears, bike clothing & carbon fiber. You move through the tribe of race jockey, cargo hauler, city traveler, all the while focusing on cagers hell bent on running them off the road.

    The button next to a beginners section should be the one producing the least revenue but collectively ensures the right to lawful self defense. Without the vote TTAG is just a blog, tickling our genitles about a subject we like.

  13. I think it would be great to have an article on how to find a good instructor. Even now I resort to the NRA site when I need to find one and I might as well be throwing darts blind.

  14. Any topic you can think of needs a “primer.” I would suggest resurrecting/updating some of Nick’s “Ask Foghorn” posts. Some of those containted the basics on ammo, ARs, zero distance, etc. Also, see if STB410 would be interested in some ammo primers. Definitely a holster intro. As a new shooter, OWB vs IWB, hybrid vs leather vs kydex can be tricky to navigate.

  15. Most new shooters will sooner or later end up at an outdoor range that has no RSO walking around and breaking everybody’s pelotas — the ranges are, for the most part, “self-policed.” Noobs might want to know more about range safety and etiquette to make them more comfortable and secure in those surroundings.

    • Especially informal or remote outdoor shooting areas, where solo or un-aware people HAVE been robbed…

  16. I would try to get newbies’ attention more on safety and preventing NDs. Safety is a tough topic. I used to have a safety education role and it is one of those topics that people are not as interested in. Yet we know even experienced people have NDs. People just want to learn a few rules, nod their head and then say, “OK, that will never happen to me” and off they go.

    I would scare people a bit about what can happen. You probably have some graphic pictures and videos to do that. It’s a serious topic and not one to be taken lightly. People should know that the essential safety rules can NEVER be violated, ever, and they should see what happens when they are violated. Let them learn from others’ mistakes, so they don’t have to learn from their own.

    People should know that while every kind of gun can be operated perfectly safely, some kinds of guns are particularly intolerant of ignoring the rules. They should know that it is not just the gun, but also the holster and the training with that particular type of gun. For instance, training with a revolver does not completely confer on you safety expertise with a striker.

    I know people know the following intellectually, but they need to learn it viscerally: The gun their hand has no relationship to the toys they played with as kids. It has no relationship to the guns on TV and movies. It is literally a real-world killing machine. That is its great value, but that is also why it requires great respect.

  17. I’d make a reference page for the farrago of acronyms used on this site too. DAO, FDE, IWB, EDC, OFWG, etc. means jack to a noob.

  18. I believe it is important for new firearm owners to get basic information on the history, civics, and legal environment of our right to keep and bear arms.

    For example we often hear people state how the U.S. Constitution grants us a right to keep and bear arms. While that is a subtle error, it is nevertheless a very important error to correct.

    Having a clear, basic understanding of our government, Constitution (including the 2nd Amendment), laws, and landmark court cases (as unconstitutional as they are) goes a long way to creating advocates — as opposed to people who are merely sympathetic to our cause.

  19. You should have an article or several articles encouraging newbies to try competition shooting. It seems counter intuitive to be a newbie and think about going out and competing, but it is the best way to find a group of people who will help and encourage you. Competition will also motivate you to spend time at the range and expose you and your family to the positive aspects of gun ownership. I know the USPSA, Steel Challenge, Glock indoor leagues, Glock matches and even 3gun are all very receptive to new folks coming out. You just have to be willing to learn and to have fun.

    • I have to respectfully disagree. I have gotten that advice in multiple shooting classes and I do not care for it for the following reasons:
      1. Instructors who compete get almost giddy about it and just can’t help making the insinuation that if “you don’t compete, you ain’t shit,” which I resent.
      2. It requires that I spend money and time on things that have nothing to do with being successful in a real gunfight.
      3. Through my time in the martial arts and the military, I have rarely seen any life and death endeavor improved my making a game out of it. If that were not true, we should just send our spec ops people through competition and pick the ones with the highest scores. There is a reason we don’t have “The Brain Surgery Challenge” on reality TV. Gun fighting is not a game.
      4. If you just have to have a game for combat shooting, I would go with paintball. At least the targets are shooting back!
      If people want to compete, they should. It is a fine pastime. There is no harm in letting beginners know competition exists. But a recommendation? The way to the Dark Side lies there.

  20. I like the notion of going over clothing choices. I’m a pretty big guy who has only been carrying concealed a few weeks and am sort of going through a phase of transitioning from my normal means of dress, (t shirt and cargo pants,) to a more effective means of concealment. Also, going over certain tells such as bending over, reaching up etc.

  21. An article on cleaning various types of firearms and recommended maintenance would be great.

  22. Expanding on proper fit of clothing and holsters, information on proper firearm fit would be a great topic. Length of pull issues, how to hold a firearm that is much larger or smaller than your hand size, how grip size can effect how you grip and accuracy, things like that.

  23. A checklist of what people should consider when choosing a handgun or rifle.
    Things like:
    handfeel – texture, grip angle, “easy to shoot well” – rental is key
    sights, how they look at day and night
    action mechanism
    capacity, magazine cost
    controls – mag release, disassembly, safety, slide stop,
    size, weight

  24. How about an “Ask anything” where they do not have to feel embarrassed for asking simple questions?. Maybe even a “Ask the gunsmith” on how to solve their respective gun related problems.

    • Ideally, it would work like those sites where people can upvote/downvote other peoples’ answers, since any idiot can write a wrong answer.

  25. We should cover police work. Examples like police training, daily life of a patrolman, use of force continuum, why shooting of an “unarmed” individual can sometimes be justified, etc.

    Cops who read TTAG should contribute. Hopefully, this can clear a lot of police-related issues up.

  26. Covering some budget-friendly options for people thinking about getting a gun might be a good topic for an article. There are a few guns out there that are inexpensive, but provide good value. Not everybody wants to (or can) plunk down $500+ on their first gun (they’ll spend that later once they get “the bug”, though…) A comparison of the handguns, rifles, and shotguns available in various price ranges might be useful to point a confused newbie in the right direction.

    • I’m with you Stinkeye…I don’t plan on competing(ever),I don’t hunt and don’t care(at all) if you look down on my 100% functioning Taurus(or pardner pump for that matter)…another big one is beginners sweeping people at gun counters and ranges. Actually #1 with me…the idiots working the counters never correct a potential sale either…

  27. And make sure to include a four-inch strip of duct tape to put over the mouth of anyone whose advice for newbies begins and ends with “Get a GLOCK.”

  28. Cover non-crappy but affordableish rifles and handguns some? Almost no novice wants to go plunk down 1k on a rifle and 1k on a scope, or drop what a Sig 226 cost, but we have a vested interest in first time buyers getting guns that work well and don’t suck to use and shoot.

    Say, 300-500 dollar range on handguns and rifles and 200-500 on scopes? Cover stuff for different use cases (recreational shooting, carry, home defense, hunting, trap and skeet, etc) at a couple of price points maybe?

    Also, go over essential and useful extras–cleaning kits, holsters, range bags, whatever with a focus on quality, basic stuff. No need to try to sell them a pelican case, but a basic inexpensive range bag is nice to have.

    Cover hunting and shooting etiquette and safety.

    • “Cover non-crappy but affordableish rifles and handguns some?”

      Hint hint, nudge nudge. If military surplus firearms didn’t have unbeatable reliability for the price, (usually) cheap spare parts, and by today’s standards even cheaper ammo, my username wouldn’t be what it is. I highly recommend to every new gun owner I speak with to eventually keep one or two lining the safe. Even if they sell the gun later, it’s worth a try.

      • Except that good milsurp guns are not cheap. I mean you can still buy a Mosin for under 300, but most other milsurps I see exceed that massively. And older milsurps tend to kick, be expensive to feed, and aren’t set up for a scope.

        Milsurps are great if you’re into collecting, but I’d argue a new shooter is better served but something even like a Ruger American in 243 or something similar.

        • Apologies, I should have worded that better. Total beginners should consider the milsurp route AFTER they’ve had sufficient practice shooting and feel comfortable with both rimfire and centerfire calibers. Though I personally stay away from former ComBloc guns, I should have placed emphaiss on them as potential purchases. While prices have gone up, they’re still the best option if you want a cheap (again, by today’s ammo prices) way to blast bottles and cans with something that just plain works.

  29. I am the proverbial newbie. One year ago I bought my first firearm. I did it with little research and no input from gun owners I knew. I actually solicited help from 3 or 4 people familiar with guns. That was worse that useless. One went on and on about how fun it was to customize his AR. I couldn’t tell what the heck he was talking about. Another’s advice was simple – “.45 and .308, that’s all you need.” I understood Greek better.

    If someone is new to firearms, start basic – talking about holster options or top 5 budget guns is less than useless. Here’s the topics I wish I didn’t have to pick up on my own:
    – Caliber options for beginners (.223 vs. .308, 9mm vs .45, etc)
    – Pistol vs. Rifle vs. Shotgun (uses, pros, cons, key differences – why a 9 mm is bigger but has less stopping power than a .223)
    – The path to enlightenment, i.e. a list of resources for beginners and a selection of read this and do that.
    – Key training users should take (make Appleseed a prominent part of this)
    – Mistakes made when purchasing a new firearm
    – Range familiarization (what’s going to happen, why,what are the options)
    – Marksmanship (pistol, rifle, shotgun separately)
    – Things to practice after your first training class
    – How to practice at home
    – What’s a real budget for a firearm – what does more money get you? Should I care?
    – Ammunition types and uses (not caliber, hollow point vs. balistic tip vs. FMJ)
    – Where can I find people who can answer my questions without charging me for it?
    – Encouragement to get beyond being able to stand at a line and just hit the target.

    There is so much to know that I just didn’t know. Keep it simple and build on it. Don’t assume that we know the basics. If the “real” users of TTAG will get bored with your article, you’re probably in the right territory of accessibility for newcomers.

    • If the “real” users of TTAG will get bored with your article, you’re probably in the right territory of accessibility for newcomers.

      I’ve suggested a couple of times in the past that this series should get placed on the top menu for the site (where it reads Home, About Us, etc.)

      Now I’m thinking that might not be enough. Possibly a totally different site, “Guns for New Shooters.” Because there, it’s be easier for the new folks to find what they want (the site could even allow people to answer questions by invitation only), and the regulars here wouldn’t be impatient with all the basic “duh” (to them) content. Given that all posts of whatever variety get jumbled together on the main page, content that doesn’t fit a reader’s level and interests just gets in the way. A separate site might be the best way of accommodating disparate levels of expertise.

  30. I am relatively new to being familiar with guns but I still enjoy the articles for total beginners. Its similar to how I still watch gun reviews even if I know how the gun performs.

  31. I’ll think about it some more, after I’ve had a chance to read the comments here so I don’t repeat others. I can say now, though, that I like this series and both hope and expect many find it useful.

    Something I’ve always found off putting about some of the pure comment board gun websites out there, is that they get so cliquish and insular in short order. A newbie comes along and asks a legitimate question, such as .223 REM vs. 5.56 NATO, and with a collective, dismissive sigh gets shunted off to an eight year old thread “where we debated that to death”, so don’t bring up ancient history now.

    TTAG regs have generally been the opposite of that type, which I’ve found refreshing and inviting. To see a specific article series addressing newbie concerns (and don’t any regs think they won’t learn a thing of two, too, along the way), reinforces TTAG’s reputation in that regard.

    • A newbie comes along and asks a legitimate question, such as .223 REM vs. 5.56 NATO, and with a collective, dismissive sigh gets shunted off to an eight year old thread “where we debated that to death”, so don’t bring up ancient history now.

      I used to be on a board (totally different topic) where God Help You if you didn’t use the search function before asking a question. Of course the search function would simply error out if any word in your search string was shorter than four letters. Made it difficult. (Imagine if search here returned an error because “gun” is too short a word, and you then had some asshole chewing you out because you didn’t use the search function.)

  32. How to build a range at home!

    Different materials for the berm, size of the berm, shape of the berm, target types and materials, rifle range vs handgun range!

    Beginners who want to shoot at home need to make sure it’s in a safe environment, but it can be challenging to know what work you need to do to make the range safe for what you’re shooting.

  33. Maybe an article laying out some suggestiins on realistic costs in $ and time, to get to basic, safe, responsible self defense.

    Everyone has their own definition, and I’m the last to tell others what to do, BUT…
    Talking about affordable guns is penny-wise, pound foolish, if you dont consider permits, a basic hands on classe, the, ammo shot to get reliable and repeatable accuracy for your purpose….

    That can add up to ten times the amount saved, on a cheap used knockoff, vs a newer proven design.
    I think finding out the hard way can discourage people, enough to become unsafe, by not budgeting to learn and practice….its a process, like getting in shape. Its not done when you haul the Big 5 beginner dumbell set home…

  34. One suggestion that I as a newbie had trouble finding. How to clean a weapon. The first weapon I bought was a used revolver and I didn’t have a clue how to clean it. The second one was a pistol and I had presence of mind to ask the sales guy to show me how to field strip it and what did I need to clean it.

  35. Cleaning was the biggest issue for me. Being totally self taught on firearms there was at least a great deal of good information on what is the differences in caliber and what are good newbie guns but when it came to cleaning every single article/video said this was definitively the way to do it and all of them were different. Trying to figure out an AR with no prior exposure to semi auto rifles was fun. It would have been immensely valuable to have a detailed and supported (evidence is great) article or series of articles on cleaning firearms. The how, when, why as well as options like what is a jag and why do you use it. Something that people can trust on first encountering it as valid rather than needing a prior relationship with this site to believe the content.

    • Yeah I’m over 60 and hadn’t shot a gun since maybe 1973. THAT was 4 years ago. I got an enormous education from the web. Very little from people-especially idiots in gun stores. I was able to clean and maintain my handguns perfectly because I studied everything I got my hands on. And I was nervous as hell taking them apart and reassembling. It helps to be OCD. THe same with the rifle and 2 shotguns I had. The Glock love thing I dealt with too. I just don’t like how they feel in my hand-or lack of a real safety…beginners need to TRY. That’s about it to me.

  36. IMHO you cannot train new folks on the Internet. You must do this in person or the inhumanity of this medium will quickly turn the open mind off!

    There are no ‘leaders’ on the Internet. The exposure becomes exploitative and devoid of reality.

    One must be first steeped in values and purpose before ‘walking in the valley of death’ as the Internet has become.

  37. I agree with the real back to basics ideas. Not a separate website but instead a number of links to resources that are always visible from the home page. I also would like to see articles identifying and critiquing myths that people pick up from television and movies. Especially regarding anything about safety or what it takes to avoid accidents and negligent discharges. I feel like I see a lot of dangerous things done by people in movies that newcomers to guns will copy without realizing how dangerous they are. You might be able to get clips from movies on youtube that would illustrate your points. You might even be able to address fears of anti gunners, such as a fear that someone with a gun legally will suddenly snap and become crazy violent.

  38. Articles on proper cleaning of firearms. Of course it would be impossible to cover every firearm but just cover the basis of cleaning revolvers, semi-auto pistols, bolt action, semi-auto rifles, and shotguns. It seems like common sense, but I have seen too many gun owners that have malfunctioning firearms because they need serious cleaning. Some I’ve looked at I don’t think have ever been cleaned, because they don’t understand or know how to properly clean them. But start with the basics that almost everyone owns; a snub nose .38 of some sort, a Glock, a Rem 700 or Savage 10, an AR-15, a Mossberg or Rem pump shotgun, and/or a single shot. Last but deff not least the safety of cleaning, not only safety checking the arm but possibly the dangers of NOT cleaning. And remember kids, a clean gun is a happy gun!

  39. You would think it would be obvious, but maybe a little about how some discussions will never end over what is the “One True Best Thing (TM)” like Stout or IPA, Ford or Chevy, AK or AR? .45, .40 or 9mm? Striker fired or hammer? Glock or everything else? Best hunting round .308 or. 30-06? CLP, Froglube or FireClean? Open Carry or CC…

  40. Many years ago ( 1950s) Remington had a pamphlet or little book on how to introduce young people to guns. This should be resurrected for the newbies.

  41. I was a newbie only three years ago. The most important thing for me was to find a rental range that offered individual instruction. The greatest challenge now is that most people grew up in cities and did not serve in the military, so have no prior experience with a firearm until they decide to get one for personal or home protection. A geographic index of ranges or NRA or other organization chapters where newbies will be welcomed, and where individual instruction is available, would be most helpful. Also a list of rental ranges recommended by readers, ranges that have a wide variety of brands, sizes and calibers to rent. (For example, it took calling 3 ranges, each over an hour apart, to find the one that carried a pocket .380 that I could try before plunking money down).

    I remember my greatest fear was of the “recoil” of a handgun. Would it hurt my hand? More importantly, would I drop the gun or shoot so wildly that the attempt would be pointless? I think this is probably the greatest issue for most new shooters, and would be dispelled by encouraging, as some posters have in other threads, the use of .22 target pistols as initial guns, and then working up in caliber. I remember calling a very nice local range and asking about lessons. They asked what caliber I would be interested in trying, and the moment I said .22, came the snappy remark — you need to start with a 9 mm. I had never shot before, and that turned me off to even trying for a good few years. As it turned out, the first lesson at a different range ultimately was with a full size 9 mm, and the instructor, who was quite good, took care of my initial fear by telling me to load only one round. Once fired, it was clear that recoil and muzzle flip were not a problem, and we progressed rapidly from there. I cannot emphasize the importance of not pushing a relatively powerful caliber or too small a gun on a new shooter when the person is not ready. At my CCW shooting qualification, I watched an older woman attempt to qualify with her newly purchased lightweight .38 snubnose with rubber grips. It was honestly pathetic and you could see her frustration with missing the target at 3 yards. The instructor was patient and got her through it, but I am sure that a heavier and/or lower caliber gun would have made a huge difference. Other areas where new shooters need help, as others have noted: how to choose a new gun and not feel sorry about the purchase; cleaning and maintenance; holsters and concealment; sighting in. Some web articles are quite good; others not so good, and too many are biased towards positions that most people cannot use in their home jurisdictions, like the current obsession with open carry of .45’s.

    • (different Paul)

      See, I started shooting without knowing it *would* recoil, which was…interesting. And maybe dangerous. I’m with you on having run into snobby assed gun store employees though. After some looking and testing, I’d decided to try to buy a 20 gauge pump (I was 19 at the time) for house work….only to have a person at one of the local shops give me flack for not being man enough to buy a 12 gauge.

      I’ve bought a lot of ammo and several firearms and god knows how many accessories in the last 5-6 years and *none* of them were at that shop.

      • Some of the best advice I got was from a former Army officer who is of smaller stature, and has smaller hands like me. He said that the 1911 he was originally issued was too physically large for him to control effectively; but when they changed over to the M-92 he became so much better a shot, that he bought one for himself when he left the military. And he bought a .410 shotgun for his wife and kids to learn with and for home protection, again, because he wanted to be sure the recoil was light enough that trained kids and a very small wife could shoot it with confidence.

  42. Two things.

    One, an explanation of grip angle would be incredibly useful. This applies to both handguns and to the AR platform.

    Two, closely related, would be a series or a set of links to history of firearms. Took me a few years to understand why JMB is so venerated. And I still marvel that the standard infantry rifle of WW2 was a heavy thing that shot 30-06 with nary a rubber pad in sight.

  43. How to legally obtain fireworks with minimal government involvement – or maybe just the different ways to buy firearms with examples and pro/con lists. Also, when to (and more importantly, when not to) upgrade firearm parts.

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