Orange County NY Shooters  A site focused on Orange County NY With Local & State Gun, Firearm and Handgun rules and New York gun laws.  How to get a handgun license and local Gun Stores, Gun Ranges, People, Clubs, Gunshows, Hunting & Shooting related events.
Orange County NY Shooters logo.
BUYING YOUR FIRST GUN
AND LEARNING HOW TO SHOOT.
A general outline of the things you need to know.

 

JOIN THE NRA, CLICK HERE AND HELP SUPPORT THIS WEBSITE AND YOURSELF

SITE MAP      
BUYING YOUR FIRST GUN AND LEARNING HOW TO SHOOT.

    It is really impossible for me to tell you everything that you might want to know to buy your first gun and to learn how to shoot.  No "one best gun" exists, and there are hundreds of different ones to choose from.  Do not get hung up on just one point - like how many rounds one gun holds over another or how much power one caliber has.  The most important thing is that the gun fits your hand and you are able to use it accurately and safely.  A small weak person might not be able to hold and aim a large, full size 44 magnum but would have no problem with a Beretta .32 caliber with a tip up barrel. It really depends on you and what your background is and what you really want to use the gun for.  This is not rocket science so it is not hard to learn the basics of shooting but it does take some practice and knowledge to be a real good shooter.  (Adding additional guns onto you license is easy, only cost $5.00 and only takes a couple of weeks.  After you get your license you can try out other guns at a range or gun club. SEE: AMENDING YOUR LICENSE, ADDING & REMOVING GUNS & OTHER CHANGES)

    For the cheapest shooting please look at WHY YOU SHOULD BUY AN AIR GUN.  With a $50 air gun, $10 worth of pellets and CO2 cylinders and a cardboard box you can set up a safe practice range at your house or in your back yard where you can impress your friends and neighbors with your shooting ability.  It is also a way to let people who might be interested in shooting learn how easy it is and how much fun it can be.

I would suggest that you buy two books to start for your firearms library.

  • The first should be "THE BASICS OF PISTOL SHOOTING."  It is published by the NRA and is the textbook that is used for their pistol classes.  The book cover all of the things that a new shooter needs to know.    The book cost about $5.00 + $3.50 for S&H.  You may order the book by calling 1-800-336-7402.CLICK HERE TO GO TO Gil Hebard Guns
  • "PISTOL SHOOTER'S TREASURY" by Gil Herbard is the other book you should buy.  It  is more technical but cost only about $6 +S&H.  It is the best in-depth book that I have seen for a new or experienced shooter.  It was first published in 1975 and my copy was the 11th reprint. It has many great articles, but you will cry when you see the price of guns in those days. Order from Gill Herbard Guns, 125 Public Sq., Knoxville, Illinois 61448, Phone 309-289-2700.

    First some simple definitions so that you know what we are talking about.
Revolver REVOLVER: The old style with a rotating cylinder in the middle that holds from 5 to 10 rounds.  It comes in 2 major flavors.  The Old cowboy type, single action style that requires that you cock the hammer then pull the trigger and you must unload and load one shell at a time.  The second major type is the more modern double action revolver that allows you to cock the hammer and fire the gun by pulling only on the trigger.  This style normally allows the cylinder that holds the bullets to swing out so that you can eject all of the shells at once and then reload one shell at a time or use a 'reloader' to load all of the bullets at one time. CLICK HERE TO SEE A PICTURE OF A S&W
Semi-Automatic SEMI-AUTOMATIC:  This style was developed starting in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Instead of a cylinder to hold the bullets, this style of handgun uses a magazine or clip to hold the bullets.  It fires one bullet every time you pull the trigger and as it 'cycles' when it fires, it ejects the used shell casing and loads the next round.

CLICK HERE FOR A PICTURE OF A  HK USP SEMI-AUTO

    If you only want to have a handgun for the home, do not want to spend much money and do not plan to practice often then many would suggest a 4 inch quality used revolver in 357 Magnum or 38 special.  (You can shoot a 38 special in a 357 Magnum but not the reverse.  The bullets are the same size but the 357 case is slightly longer and more powerful and therefore slightly harder to shoot because of the additional recoil.)  If you are a hunter and want to use your new handgun for hunting then you might want to get a single shot handgun in a hunting caliber with a 10 inch barrel and a scope.  If you know that you really want to do some action shooting you might want to spend a few thousands and buy a semi-automatic race gun in 38 super, 45 Cal. or any other popular caliber.  How about an old style single action revolver in 45 LC for some Cowboy Action Shooting?

    No matter what you plan to do you will never go wrong or waste your money buying a 22 caliber handgun.  A new basic semi-automatic can sell for $225 to $350.  These guns will be accurate enough for informal 'plinking', target practice and beginning competitions.  Most will shoot within 1 (+.5/-.2) inch at 25 yards so they should hold for the .9 inch center target at 50 feet that you will normally be shooting at.  Ammunition will effect accuracy so it will pay for you to try several brands to find out what shoots the best at the price that you want to pay.  (You might find a used gun cheaper but have it checked by a gunsmith or buy it from someone who will be willing to fix it or take it back if something is wrong.)  New design and manufacturing methods allow many of these cheaper handguns to be almost as accurate as handguns costing over twice as much.  However, balance, feel and trigger pull will not be quite as good.  The main reason to own a 22 cal. is that it is cheap to shoot.  50 rounds of new 38 caliber ammunition will cost almost as much as 500 rounds of 22 cal. ammo.  All of the techniques of hold, trigger pull, stance, safe handling, positions, and aiming are the same no matter what the gun caliber.  It is just much cheaper to practice and learn using 22 cal. ammo.  The amount of money you will spent learning to shoot using even the cheaper ammunition of a larger caliber will more than cover the cost of a modern 22. (It cost about $9.11 per 50 rounds of the cheapest 9 MM factory ammo or $182.20 with tax  for 1,000 rounds.  1,000 rounds of 22 cost about $21.45 with tax.  $182.20 - $21.45 = $160.70 or almost enough to buy a 22.  A 1,000 rounds is not as many rounds as it seems like to a new shooter.  A ten mile drive was a long way when you first started driving.)

    If you know that you are going to be doing lots of shooting with a 22 cal. then you can spend the money to buy a better quality 22 or buy one that you can have worked on later to turn it into a "tack-driver".  Switching to a custom barrel, having a trigger job, having the gun tuned and adding a red dot sight are some of the common modifications that allow that fun gun to turn into a contest winning tack-driver if you have practiced, and can shoot that well.

General Cost of Handguns
Of course handguns cost from less than $100 to more than $5,000
but these are general price ranges for used guns.

Used basic target 22s with adjustable sights -$225 to $600
Used Semi-autos $350 to $500
Used carry type (short barrel,) Revolvers - $250 and up
The best deal in used revolvers are the guns that the police departments started
selling when they switched from revolvers to semi-autos. They can be found in
38 and 357 caliber for prices sometimes as low as $100.

Buying any gun used can be a problem for both semi-autos and revolvers. (I once bought a Colt Python (in 357,) and ended up sending it back to the factory for timing repair but it was a free repair.) Make sure that you know what you are buying and compare prices on web sites like http://gunsamerica.com/. Make sure that the seller will take it back if you have a problem and make sure that you inspect the gun.

    Learning BULLSEYE SHOOTING will help you in all types of pistol shooting.  It focuses on the basics, sight picture, trigger control, etc.  This page has a lot of the information that you will want to read to get off to a good start.  Bullseye Pistol Shooting is a popular and easy competition and many of the CLICK HERE TO LINK TO Bullseye Pistol local clubs have Bullseye Pistol Matches and the ORANGE COUNTY PISTOL LEAGUE holds inter club matches at the MASTER CLASS Range in Monroe.  Many local clubs and MASTER CLASS Range also have Pistol Leagues that are open to anyone, no matter how new of a shooter you are.  You will need a 22 cal. pistol to shoot in some of the matches.  (Another good reason to get a good 22 cal. pistol.)  Click on the image to link to the web site, it will take a moment to load.
(Also, search ShootersLinks with the keyword, BULLSEYE.)

Another great site is the Army Marksmanship Unit Pistol Training Guide.

CLICK HERE TO LINK TO WEB SITEThe United States Army Marksmanship Unit has compiled this guide with the intent of providing assistance to pistol marksmen throughout the United States. Much of the information has been contributed by championship caliber U.S. Army pistol shooters and coaches. The text is designed for ready reference and contains the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship and the most advanced techniques known to these experts. The data presented represents a comprehensive coverage of the many facets of pistol marksmanship and related subjects. Portions of the information contained herein were obtained from the research of authoritative articles, personal interviews and observation of foreign competitions. Noteworthy contributions were received from many experienced persons closely associated with pistol activities not connected with military training.

Another great read by one of the leaders in the field is:
How to shoot a handgun accurately
By Massad Ayoob

Olympic Matches    If your are interested knowing what you are going to have to do to shoot handguns in the Olympics, visit this site to find out .

The ISSF / Olympic Matches

INDEX
Grades
Targets
Ranges
Pistols
Safety Rules
Parents Guide
Conduct on the
      Range
Glossary
There are 8 ISSF (International Sport Shooting Federation) matches, five of which are shot at the Olympic Games and also at Club, State and National Championship levels. The Olympic matches are Rapid Fire, Free Pistol, Air Pistol (Mens and Womens) and Womens Sport Pistol. The other ISSF events are Standard Pistol and Center Fire. The Center Fire match is also included at Commonwealth Games. The other matches controlled by Pistol Australia include Black Powder, and Service Pistol events.

Their Glossary is very good

PILKGUNS.comFor more information about shooting check out Pilkington Competition Equipment LLC web page at Pilkguns.com. Click on the COACHING AND INFORMATION tab. They have some great pictures of range setups and some of the best guns that you can shoot.

        QUESTIONS AND VARIABLES IN PICKING A GUN

     As I said, no "one best gun" exists and there are hundreds of different ones to choose from.  Every choice will be a compromise so you will have to make several decisions.

    •   What do you want to use the gun for?  Size, weight, sights, style
    •   How many bullets do you think that you will need (or do you want?)  Hunting, target, plinking, defense
    •   What range will your target be at? 7 yards, 50 feet, 25 yards, 50 yards
    •   How accurate does your gun need to be?
    •   How accurately can you shoot?

    Changes in the weight of your gun, caliber, size and other variables have a marked effect on how a gun shoots and handles.  I once shot a very small single action 22 caliber magnum revolver.  Even though the bullet was only a 22 caliber, because of the light weight and very small grip, the gun almost flew out of my hand every time I fired it.  Besides not being able to hold on to it, I could not keep the bullets inside a 6 inch ring at 10 feet.  The gun was unusual, but I would rather have it than nothing if I needed something for defense.  Another time I shot a very large and heavy big caliber single action handgun using very powerful  hand loaded ammunition.  It took me more than a few seconds to recover from the recoil and the gun was so heavy that it was hard for me to aim and hold it steady on the target.  If I had a way to rest the gun and really needed to shoot at something with a very heavy and large bullet and I only wanted to fire a few rounds, (as in hunting,) the gun would have been fine.

Some general relationships:

    • The larger the caliber, the heavier the bullet, and the faster it travels, the more the recoil.
    • The heavier the gun, the less the recoil is felt.
    • The better the grip in the correct position the easier it is to control the gun during recoil.
    • The better the gun is controlled during recoil, the quicker one can be in re-aiming the gun after firing.
    • The longer the sight radius the more accurate one can shoot.
    • Barrels of 5 and 6 inches can be as accurate as is normally needed.
    • Accuracy is as important as caliber most of the time.
    • Carrying a small gun in 32 caliber for personal defense is better than any larger gun left at home.
    • Most quality guns will shoot better than the person shooting the gun.
    • Each gun's accuracy is different when fired with different ammunition.
    • Sight picture and trigger control are two of the most important fundamentals.
    • Nothing is like you see on TV or in the movies.

The following picture is a full size target showing what difference ammo can make.
US Army Official 50 Ft. Small Bore Rifle Target
(NOTE: With the cheep ammo, one round out of every 15 to 20 rounds fail to fire so it should never be used in any competition or when you are doing any serious practice. It is OK for plinking but if you shoot it all the time in practice you are not going to be able to refine your aiming and "calling your shots" and you are going to get used to having every few shots fail to fire. When it comes time to shoot in a competition you are going to waste a fraction of a second after each shot and break your concentration on shooting to check to see if you had a "DUD".

SAFE STORAGE OF YOUR GUNS
Please check out this web site for a great discussion on storing your guns.

Copyright 1999 National Shooting Sports Foundation

 

PROTECT YOUR HEARING
ALWAYS WEAR PROPER HEARING PROTECTION
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
FROM The Dangerous Decibels project


You wanted to be a better shooter?
You asked for training?

We've got the best there is to teach you how!
Rob Leatham
Joins the American Shooter Pro Team this season
as our competition handgun instructor.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE AMERICAN SHOOTER WEB SITE FOR THE COURSE

Of Course you should visit Rob Latham's own web page
http://robleatham.com


For a more detailed overview, (26 Pages,) check out
A Guide To Buying Your First Handgun
by Scott A. Craig on his web site
(The PDF page has some additional pictures.)


The Four Real Secrets of Shooting High Scores
FROM: The Beaudesert Pistol Club, Queensland, Australia

     D’ya wanna know the secrets of how to shoot really good scores? Well I’m gonna tell you anyway. The are actually three main secrets and the fourth is something else again. A bit metaphysical really. The first thing I have to tell you is that these aren’t things you are just going to be able to do straight off. Unfortunately they will require some work on your part - so - the question then becomes - how determined are you to want to learn to shoot really well? If the answer is “Not that much” then you needn’t bother reading any further. This is for those that have a strong desire to shoot well and are prepared to do the necessary work to achieve this. Now you may have heard of some of these things before but you won’t have heard them in quite the same way as I’m now going to tell you. Righto, let’s go.

  1. You have to teach yourself how to hold the pistol really still - I mean reeeaaaaaaallllly still.
  2. You have to learn to focus exclusively on your front sight while maintaining perfect sight alignment
  3. You have to teach yourself how to press the trigger without ANY sympathetic tightening of your grip fingers or tensing of the hand.
  4. Later!

1. Holding the Pistol Really still.

There are two aspects to this. First you need to teach yourself to be able to hold the pistol or just a 3 to 5 pound weight at arms length using a proper aligned stance, for a full minute without getting the shakes or collapsing with fatigue. You get there by starting out holding for 10 secs, resting for 10 secs then holding for 10 secs etc for 10 repeats, then rest for 5 mins. Then do it all again at least for 5 more series. Do this for the first 3 days or nights, then extend your hold to 20 secs, but still keeping the 10 sec rest - 10 times, 5 mins rest then 5 more series of the same. Do this for 3 days or nights then increase the hold by another 10 secs to 30 secs, still retaining the 10 sec rest period. If you follow this progression, you will get to the stage of being able to hold for 60 sec periods without any great distress followed by the same 10 sec break etc. All through this period you are trying not only to hold your arm out but to hold it as still as you can.

2. Maintain Perfect Sight Alignment.

When you can hold easily for a full minute without shaking, then you start to worry about sight alignment and foresight focus. First up, if you can’t hold clear focus on the foresight, go see an optometrist. Get him to make you a lens which allows you to focus clearly on your foresight only. That means that everything else short of that will be a bit blurred and everything beyond that including the target will also be blurred. If it is made properly your eye will focus clearly on your foresight without any effort. Now practice coming up on aim , align your sights, focus on the foresight but don’t do anything with the trigger. Initially, you are aiming to hold the sight alignment as perfect as you can whilst ignoring any other movement. Do this against a blank wall - no aiming marks OK?

You need to practice doing this for at least a couple of weeks with the usual 10 sec break in between holds. You must force yourself to keep perfect sight alignment. Instead of thinking about your hand and arm moving the pistol so that alignment is maintained, think that it is your eye that is moving the sights into perfect alignment. This helps get it into your brain that it has to become a sub-conscious act. This gets easier as you practice. Now after a couple of weeks, put an aiming mark on the wall, and practice holding your by now perfect sight alignment against the aiming mark, trying to keep the whole sight picture as still as you can. Imagine that it is your eye again, that is forcing the aligned sights onto the aiming mark. Do this for the usual 1 minute holds with 10 sec breaks in between. Initially you will be all over the shop but by focusing hard on the foresight,