Thursday, April 30, 2009

My First Handgun Lesson

I fired 200 rounds of single-shot ammunition today, during the handgun safety lesson I got from my colleague the retired Marine who’s also a certified NRA safety instructor. This was the first time I’ve ever fired any handguns or pistols (serious question: is there a difference?) and I am pleased to discover I’m actually a pretty decent shot (at least when I’m wearing glasses and can take my sweet time lining up the target with the gun sights). The very first time I ever emptied a handgun – five shots out of a little .22 – I landed all five shots in the scoring zone on the target paper, and a one or two within the black center circle.

I lost count of how many different .22s and .45s I fired, but the guy only had one .30, a laser-sighted model I didn’t like at all because the kickback actually hurt my hand every time I fired it. I also don’t like the Army .45 Beretta because the damn thing kept jamming on me; I could fire one shot but not a second. The gut said this is my fault for not holding my wrist straight enough or something. I say it’s the Army’s fault for making their gun so damned heavy.


Anonymous smartass sob said... least when I’m wearing glasses...Link to photo? ;-)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Billy said...

handguns or pistols (serious question: is there a difference?)As I understand the distinction:
A pistol is a handgun, a handgun is not necessarily a pistol.

Specifically: a handgun is any firearm designed to be used with a single hand. A pistol is a semiautomatic handgun.

Revolvers are not pistols.
Machine-pistols are not pistols.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Wow, a libertarian who had never shot a gun... Don't pay attention to the people who try to make you feel ashamed. You're so brave to tell your story.

You'll shoot better than most people because you're getting good training right from the start. Women have the advantage here, because all us guys learn bad habits from playing with toy guns.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disposing of the semantics: "handgun" and "pistol" are pretty much synonymous. There are single-shot pistols such as the Thompson-Center (forget about it for defense, but it's loads of fun for sporting use, and you can change barrels and thereby calibers - anything from .22LR to super-powerful big-game rounds).

Some people make a big deal over not calling revolvers pistols, but another name for revolver is "revolving pistol".

For the substance, not the semantics:

The Beretta you fired was probably a military model 92 9mm, not a .45 cal.

I'd be surprised if there was actually a .30 cal pistol there: not too common any more, though as a collector, I own a couple - "Broomhandle" Mauser & Russian Tokarev.

Semi-auto pistol jamming because of a loose hold is pretty common for the ladies. You might want to consider a revolver, instead. No problem with jams. The military prefers the semi-auto for its greater ruggedness and dirt-resistance, but you're not military. I recommend the S&W Model 10 in .38 Special, preferably with the short barrel. If you don't want the S&W, other companies like Taurus make models which are pretty much equivalent. You might find that a slightly heavier revolver, but with a short barrel, is easier to handle than a lightweight pistol, which can recoil quite a bit.

I think you are about to discover that guys absolutely love to give firearms advice to the ladies - take mine for what it's worth.

Bob Weber

4:44 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Army .45 Beretta? I thought the M9 was 9mm. The old Colt 1911's were 45.

I'm glad you made it out, but I thought you were saving yourself for me ;)

9:32 AM  
Blogger jcr said...

The first time I went to a range, I discovered that firing a gun didn't fill me with homicidal rage, nor did the gun leap out of my hand, run down the street, and raise the level of violence in our society.

Apparently, everything the media had told me about firearms was bullshit. It turns out that guns are inanimate objects. Who could have guessed?


3:59 PM  

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