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I like turtles
Aug 6, 2009

So you're new to guns. Maybe you know that little pieces of metal come out of them at high speed, maybe you don't, it's OK. You're here now.

Trolling, this thread, and keeping it accessible:
Newbies: You have a responsibility to read responses to your question, answer any follow up questions directed at you, and think about any new questions you have.

Not-newbies: As long as it isn't an obvious troll, and the newbie tries to follow the rules above, please keep it civil. Even the most obvious Counter Strike/BLOPS/airsoft kid can learn to be a responsible gun owner if they ask their questions, listen, and aren't chased off because they want a Desert Eagle, ACR and a SPAS-12 simply because they're good guns in whatever game.

I. Glossary
Some terminology first:
Ammunition, aka ammo - The device containing the projectile, powder, and a primer.
Automatic - Capable of firing more than one round of ammunition without releasing the trigger. Very expensive to obtain legally in the US.
Barrel - The tube through which a bullet travels during the acceleration after firing. May be rifled or smooth.
Bolt action - The shooter manually operates a handle to eject spent casings. The firearm may then be loaded manually or automatically fed from a magazine.
Bullet - A piece of metal that is propelled by the burning powder down the barrel.
Caliber - A descriptive term relating to the size of a round of ammunition. Often discussed in either metric designations (9mm, 10mm, 7.62mm), or as fractions of an inch (.22, .40, .45, .50). Be sure to pay attention to the whole designation - 9mm Luger is the same as 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm), but not the same as 9mm Marakov (9x18mm). If you don't know, ASK.
Clip - A non-mechanical ammunition feeding device. Not to be confused with a magazine.
Clone - A non-original copy of a weapons platform. Often "a semi-auto copy of a normally fully automatic firearm, intended for civilian purchase" or "a more or less exact copy of an existing design manufactured by a manufacturer other than the one that originally produced/designed it. See: 1911s, ar15s, CZ75/EAA Witness/Jericho 941, etc."
Double Action (DA) - Pulling the trigger performs two actions - bringing the hammer back into the cocked position, and then dropping it.
Double Action Only (DAO) The gun will only fire in double action. No SA functionality.
Firing pin - A small piece of metal used to strike the primer. Usually hit by the hammer
FMJ - Full metal jacket, describes a round that is fully encased in a layer of, usually, copper.
Forearm - The front part of a rifle or shotgun, where your support hand goes. This can be completely separate (like on an AK), or integrated into the rest of the stock (like on a M1 Garand).
Furniture - The stock and forearm of a rifle or shotgun is often referred to as "furniture".
Gauge - A descriptive term used almost exclusively for shotguns. Standard rounds today include 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge and .410.
Hammer - A spring loaded part in the firearm used to strike the firing pin. May be exposed on some firearms to allow manual cocking.
Handgun - A term used to describe revolvers and pistols as a whole. According to US law, may not have a stock, or more than one grip.
Headspace - When assessing the chamber of a firearm, the headspace is a measurement of where the section of the chamber that blocks the further forward motion of the cartridge in the chamber is.
JHP - Jacketed hollow-point. A bullet that has the tip cut off and an indentation in the tip. Promotes expansion and fragmentation.
KB - KaBoom. This shouldn't ever happen to you - occurs when the ammunition is either incorrectly supported in the gun due to issues with the gun, the ammunition is overpowered, or some combination of the two. Use guns in good condition, never shoot reloaded ammo that you don't know and trust, and if you reload, read up on it first.
Long gun - A term used to describe rifles and shotguns as a whole.
Magazine - An ammunition feeding device that uses mechanical energy, often stored in a spring, to assist the firearm in loading bullets.
Muzzle - The front of the barrel, the part where the bullet exits when being fired.
Pistol - Most modern pistols you will encounter are semi-automatic, magazine fed units with a barrel length between 3"-8".
Powder - A highly flamable chemical mixture that rapidly expands, pushing the projectile down the barrel.
Primer - A small, impact sensitive device in ammunition used to ignite the powder to push the projectile down the barrel.
Recoil - When the gun goes bang, you feel force exerted against your hand, shoulder, whatever is supporting the firearm. This is recoil, and the amount of felt recoil is determined by a large number of factors including the recoil system, the sort of ammunition used, the weight of the firearm, and the general design of the firearm.
Revolver - An "Old West" style handgun, holds bullets in a rotating cylinder that is mechanically revolved on trigger or hammer movement.
Rifle - A firearm with a rifled, thick walled barrel, and a stock. May be found in a variety of calibers. The thick barrel walls allow the rifle to deal with greater internal pressures as compared to other firearms.
Rifling - Spiral grooves cut into the barrel of a firearm that causes the bullet to spin as it passes down the barrel. This leads to a stabalized flightpath, and predictable impact points. AKA twist, often expressed as a ratio - 1:7 for example.
Semi-automatic - When fired, the gun automatically reloads itself, and is in ready to fire configuration for the next time you pull the trigger.
Shell - Technically a term for any round of amunition, normally used to describe shotgun ammunition.
Shot - Small spherical pieces of metal, of which a number are generally placed into a shot shell.
Shotgun - Generally large diameter, thin walled long guns firing shells of the appropriate gauge. Normally smooth barrels. The shells may contain shot or slugs.
Single Action (SA) - pulling the trigger performs one action - dropping the hammer. Something else (you, or recoil) must first cock it. Usually a light trigger with a short pull.
Single Action/Double Action (SA/DA) - for semiautomatics, the first pull of the trigger is double action, then the slide will lock the hammer back and all other pulls will be single action -- the single-action feel is usually not as nice as dedicated SAO triggers; for revolvers, this just means that it can fire double action OR you can thumb the hammer back for single
Single Action Only (SAO) The gun will only fire in single action. No DA functionality.
Slug - A shotgun slug is a single piece of material fired from a shotgun. From a smooth barreled weapon, one can expect to see degraded accuracy. Rifled shotgun barrels are made specifically for firing slugs.
Sporter - This confused the hell out of me at first.A military weapon that has been permanently altered from its original configuration to make it more useful for hunting. A "sporterized" rifle will often have the wood chopped up to lighten the gun, can have the barrel cut, could be rechambered to fire a different cartridge or have had a scope mount permanently installed when one wasn't there originally. This destroys the collectible value of the sporterized gun.
Stock - A piece of wood, metal or plastic that rests against your shoulder when in the firing position. Pistols cannot have these.
Trigger - The part you pull to make the gun fire.
This is not a complete list, I will add to it as suggestions are made on what to add.

II. The four rules
There is something else to internalize, the four rules.

1. All guns are always loaded. I don't care that your friend says it isn't, even if he just checked it. Check it yourself.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times: on the range, at home, loading, or unloading.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target (and you are ready to shoot).
4. Be sure of your target. Know what it is, what is in line with it and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you haven't positively identified.

This next one isn't an official rule but is very important for your safety. If you drop a gun (it can happen) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CATCH IT. Your meat hooks might make it inside the trigger guard and result in a negligent discharge that at least will scare the poo poo out of you, at worst will result in the death of someone nearby, even you. Modern guns have drop safeties so they won't fire except by the trigger being pulled.

Now that is out of the way, we can move on to the interesting bits.

Why do you want a gun? Do you want a gun?

What if you just want to learn?

III. Types of firearms
Keeping it really basic, there are just three major "types" of firearms you'll be looking at.

1. There are handguns.
Small and concealable, these are the perfect weapons for everyday carry. Many people keep them as home defense weapons, and they certainly fall into the range gun category, and "it's cool" as well. Popular calibers in pistols include .22LR, 9mm, .40 and .45. Popular calibers in revolvers include .22LR, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum. Sometimes people hunt with them, especially revolvers.
In this category, TFR likes Glocks, Sigs, and Smith and Wesson M&Ps. Smith and Wesson and Ruger revolvers are top notch. Things to consider are trigger style (SAO, DAO, DA/SA, striker fired, or manufacturer specific), sights (night vs not), caliber, magazine capacity, size, accessory rail, possibly concealability. The recommended guns are from reliable manufacturers and satisfy the majority of TFR posters for dependability, accuracy, ergonomics and features. 9mm is generally agreed upon as a good first non-.22LR handgun. The ammo is relatively cheap, there are a wide variety of guns available, and it is acceptable for use as a defensive weapon. Much of the decision process comes down to individual choice, including every single one of the features discussed in this paragraph.
Consider a .22LR pistol as discussed in the .22LR thread for a first handgun. They're cheap to fire and low recoil, so they make for great, cheap practice.

2. There are rifles.
Rifles are the go to hunting and range guns. Common examples are: the AK-47 and similar civillian rifles, AR-15 and similar rifles, and a whole host of hunting guns. Common calibers include .22LR, .223 (very similar to 5.56mm), .303, .308 (very similar to 7.62x51mm), .30-06, 7.62x39mm, 7.62x54mmR and 8mm. These are not ideal carry weapons in circumstances you are likely to find yourself in, or home defense weapons, as they can be long and difficult to manuver in close quarters. Great for range and "cool!" duty. Good threads on popular TFR rifles are:
The Ruger 10/22, a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle.
The AK pattern rifles. They operate in the same way as the famous AK-47 rifle, just semi-automatic.
The AR pattern rifles. These are the civillian version of what the US armed forces uses as its standard infantry rifle.
Milsurp (Military Surplus). Everything from Grandpa's WW2 M1 Garand to the K98 of the guys he was fighting, a whole world of oldschool firearms is there to explore. Learn more at the Milsurp thread.
Consider a .22LR rifle as discussed in the .22LR thread as a first rifle for the same reasons as a .22LR handgun is a good choice.

3. There are shotguns.
Common gauges include .410, 20, 16 and 12. Usually the only sort of gun used for hunting birds, can also be used for hunting other things with the proper ammunition. To fire slugs accurately, you need a rifled barrel. Rifling can be damaged by shot, so pick one. Shotguns are also used in trap or skeet shooting, in which clay discs are hurled into the air and you try to shoot them. Shotguns are another common home defense weapon, but are not a good "carry weapon". Also great for range and "cool!" duty. This thread is about shotguns: For basic pump shotguns, you can't go wrong with a Remington 870 Wingmaster, or a Mossberg 500. Neither should be more than about $250 at your local pawnshop for a basic used model.

IV. Why do you want a gun?
One of perennial questions that comes up on TFR is "What gun should I/my roommate/my friend/my dog buy?" The answer to that is just another question, what do you want to do with it?
Hunt? Hunt what?
Personal defense? Is that home defense or a carry weapon?
Shooting at crap in the woods/desert, AKA range gun?
Because it's cool?

1. Hunting
Ok, when it comes to hunting, I am completely inexperienced. I know that some states require you to use ammunition over 6mm on larger animals, and some only allow shotguns. Check your state regs before you go out into the wilderness. Shotguns are for birds, rifles are for anything else. Go look at the hunting megathread here:

2. Personal defense
i. Carry
For carry, are you going to conceal carry, or open carry? Concealed carry most likely means you need a permit. To get that permit you need to take a class and give some money to your state. This is a good resource to figure out what you need: Open carry may or may not be legal in your state.
Practically, carry guns are handguns. Find something in semi-auto over .380, or a revolver in at least .38 Special, and practice, practice, practice. Semi-autos have pros: they are less bulky, and can hold substantial amounts of ammunition. Reloads can also be extremely fast. My sub-compact Springfield holds 16 rounds of ammunition in the magazine. Semi-autos also have cons: If they jam, you have to perform a clearing drill. This takes time, you may not have it. Revolvers are almost exactly the opposite. Revolver pros: Simple operation, hard to jam. In the event of a round that doesn't fire, just keep pulling the trigger until it does. Cons: Most hold five or six bullets. Reloading can be slow, depending what you choose and how much practice you have.

ii. Home defense
For home defense, your primary concern will be ease of use and the effectiveness of ammunition. Whatever you decide to use, be sure to practice with it. Fang has done some great testing that establishes that .223 rifle bullets actually penetrate fewer sheets of drywall than handgun ammunition does.


If you act like you have a gun, you need to be able to use it. That simple.

If you are purchasing a firearm, or a facsimilie of one, for protection as a carry or home defense weapon, you need to consider this. If you are in a situation where you are not being overtly threatened, and you show a firearm, you have just escalated the situation to the point where deadly force is in play. If you cannot deal with shooting someone, mentally, or if you do not have the capability, either physically, in terms of skill, or an actual loaded firearm, you are now in a life threatening situation with no ability to follow through and actually shoot. This forum will NEVER seriously recommend keeping a shotgun because of the noise it will make when you rack it, or that you keep an airsoft gun around to make the bad guy think you have a big scary gun.

iv. Penetration
Another factor to consider in both the carry and home defense situations is the level of penetration the bullet has, both on the target and whatever is behind the target. While blasting away at a bad guy and having the bullets go straight through him may sound appealing at first, several problems arise. First, from a physics standpoint, you have failed to impart the full energy of the bullet to the target. This means less damage than would be possible from the same round if it were to stay in the target. Second, and also a concern if you miss, is what is behind your target? Roommates, family, neighbors, pets, etc are all vulnerable to a stray bullet traveling an unpredicatble path after traveling through drywall, insulation, wood, etc. JHP is the round of choice for a defensive round. The expansion means more friction, which means less of a chance of it exiting the target, and if it does, less energy to impart to walls, family, friends and neighbors.

3. The range and/or it's cool!
If you're purely buying something as a range gun, or because it is cool, knock yourself out. Do your research, ask us questions, find something cool that you can afford, get it, and learn!

V. I don't want to buy a gun yet, just learn to shoot
For those of you that want to learn, but aren't sure how, or that you want to buy, there are several things you should do.
See if there are any TFR goons in your area. Most of us are more than happy to take a newbie out, and we promise to try not to be too goony at you.
If there are no goons, or it isn't an appealing option, look for courses. You'll get a lot of what was discussed here, but it can be useful to have it presented in person.
Find a friendly local gunshop. Look at and hold anything that is interesting to you. Keep in mind the four rules!
Find a rental range. Can't make up your mind between the Springfield XD and the Smith and Wesson M&P? Go find a range that rents both of them and try them out. It may cost a bit, but it'll be cheaper than buying the "wrong" gun for you. This is also an excellent way to try out new calibers.
Finally, did you notice that for rifles, pistols and revolvers, .22 was listed as an option? It is an excellent way to become familiar with shooting without developing bad trigger habits, and is extraordinarily cheap to shoot. You can pick up 500 rounds of .22 for the price of 50 rounds of .45. Go to the .22 thread to learn more:

VI. The law:
Thanks to ChlorineTrifluoride for bringing up Straw purchases and 922r:


Straw Purchases

When you purchase a gun and fill out Form 4473, one of the questions is "Are you the actual buyer of the firearm indicated on this form?" If you are buying the gun for someone else, regardless of whether or not they could legally be buying it themselves, you are lying on the form and you are committing a felony.

I know the sign at the gunshop says that buying a gun for someone who can't buy it for themselves is a crime, but so is buying a gun for someone who can legally own it.

If you buy a gun as a gift for someone else, that is legal.



Most of the time this is only going to apply to you folks who have gone out and bought yourself a new Saiga-12, popped a shiny new 10 round magazine into it and started blasting away. Tons of fun, but unfortunately you are breaking the law.

(a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.

Basically, if you modify your gun to include "assault weapon" characteristics such as adding a pistol grip, over 10 round magazines for a rifle, or over 5 for a shotgun, you are "assembling" that gun. Even if it is just swapping out magazines. So if you have a foreign made gun that you are changing, make sure you are in 922r compliance. There is a good write up on it here, and of course the question thread is always a great place for information.
Try not to commit accidental felonies, kids!

VII. Stopping power
Is a myth. You can be killed with a .22 with proper shot placement. One goon reported that someone he knew in highschool got shot, I believe, 13 times with a .40 pistol, and survived. Another linked me to a school shooting involving a .22, In handguns, anything above a .380 in pistols and a .38 special in revolvers is sufficient to penetrate a human attacker at critical points to eliminate them as a threat in a fairly short time frame. That isn't to say that being shot with a .32 can't kill you, but it'll take a bit more luck. Shot placement is key. It doesn't matter how awesome your .45 is, if you can only hit them in the foot, it doesn't stop them.

That said, a .45 will do more damage than a 9mm, all other factors being equal. There are many factors to consider here, but the general advice is to get the largest calibre you can afford to practice with, and reliably control. Do you want twenty rounds of 9mm +p, or eight rounds of .45? It is up to you.

THIS DOESN'T MEAN A .22 CAN'T KILL YOU, YOU CHUCKLEFUCK. The four rules still apply. If you're in a situation where you get shot with any bullet including a .22 or similar get to a hospital. There's still a little hunk of metal in you.

VIII. Shooting in other countries
We have a few TFR goons from New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, etc, and our neighbors in the great white north have a megathread: Thanks Bigos!

From hangedman on how to shoot:


IX. Why am I missing?

1. It's not the gun, OR "What kind of accuracy should I expect from ______?"

If you're starting out at the typical distance of 7 yards and your shots are spread out at the size of a paper plate or larger, the lack of accuracy falls squarely on your shoulders. At this common indoor shooting distance, most every quality handgun will be able to shoot better than 2" groups. In layman's terms, this is about the size of your fist.

Poke about in most gun magazines, and you'll see that just about every common, non-target grade handgun (Sigs, Glocks, Berettas, CZs, HKs) will average about 3" groups at 25 yards with factory ammo. Revolvers and .22s are generally regarded as a little more accurate. Back at 7 yards, any of the common "duty guns" are capable of printing sub 1-inch groups.

2. So, why am I not hitting what I aim at?

Most of us don't recommend .22 caliber firearms or airguns because we think newcomers are abject girlymen who can't handle anything bigger. The body is not naturally conditioned to hold something still at arm's length and exercise fine motor control to slowly pull a trigger when we know that doing so will make the thing we're holding generate a small explosion. A gunshot is startling.

As a result, the body has the tendency to "flinch," which carries a negative connotation. "Anticipating recoil" is probably a nicer way to say it. Subconsciously, as soon as you start to pull that trigger, your mind says, "Oh, poo poo. Hold onto the gun-- An explosion's coming!" Right as they know the gun's going to go off, most newcomers tighten their grip on the gun and pull it one way or another. If you ever watch someone shoot with a laser at a range, almost always you'll see the laser dart off-target in the instant before the shot breaks, giving the shooter a visual confirmation of a flinch. As an addendum to this section, lasers will probably not make you a better shot, but they can be slightly embarrassing in large crowds of shooters for exactly this reason.

3. Ways to get better

i. Shoot more
As with anything, practice makes perfect. If you find that shooting is a rewarding hobby, go often. While the hobby gets pretty expensive if you burn through about 300 rounds of centerfire ammo every range trip, even at today's eye-gouge .22 prices, two boxes of rimfire ammo should run you about seven dollars, tops. Try to find a range that offers a yearly membership where you pay a flat yearly rate, and the hobby gets even more economical.

ii. Step down to a smaller caliber
Again, the 10/22, Ruger Mark II, Browning Buck Mark, and any quality .22 revolver are TFR newcomer recommendations for one reason: I believe they're the most encouraging purchases for recreational shooters. You'll be able to focus on the fundamentals (see the next blurb), it's far less costly to shoot, and the lack of flash and recoil will let your subconscious slowly adjust to the idea that shooting a gun isn't a big deal. When you become comfortable, you become relaxed. When you're relaxed, you shoot better.

As a corollary to this idea, if you bought a USP compact in .40 because Jack Bauer has one on 24 or because it's your favorite handgun in Rainbow Six, I empathize. I bought a 1911 as soon as I turned 21 because I liked the way it looked and thought it was iconic. I now shoot that gun the least out of everything I own. Centerfire handguns are almost universally harder to shoot than rimfires. Some people like pulling the trigger on things that make a big boom, but I'm assuming you're reading this because you want to become a better shot.

iii. Learning to "call" shots.
Once you've pulled your man-sized target in from 7 yards and note that the holes are scattered across the thing with almost no rhyme or reason, it may seem baffling that there are people who know where the bullet has hit (approximately) before they see where it landed on the target. This skill, or "calling your shot" is a function of being able to self-diagnose your trigger pull. If your grip and stance is relatively consistent (in general, do what feels natural to you, and bring the pistol up to your line of sight rather than drooping your head), whether you hit or miss your target will be determined by your ability to pull the trigger straight through without disturbing the alignment of the sights.

Easier said than done, which is why we often recommend "dry fire" practice. AFTER MAKING SURE THERE ARE NO GODDAMN BULLETS IN YOUR GODDAMN GUN, and DOUBLE CHECKING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO PUT A ROUND THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE A DUMB rear end in a top hat, aim at a spot in the house (lightbulb, cat, picture of your mother) and pull the trigger smoothly and evenly, watching the front sight the entire time. If the front sight moves at all during this process, that's where the bullet would have gone had the shot broke. Doing this enough builds muscle memory for what a "correct" trigger press feels like. Your sights might wobble a bit: that's fine. The slight imperfections in your sight picture don't dictate where the bullet goes nearly as much as you pushing the barrel in one direction or another.

After enough time, these skills will begin to translate to the range. When you raise the gun and pull the trigger, you'll be relying on what comes naturally, so even if your adrenaline's going a little bit, you'll fall back on enough of the fundamentals to get progressively better shots off. There are other techniques like "trigger reset" and "follow-through," but now we're getting into what I'd call intermediate stuff, as these can determine whether your 3" groups at 7-yards settle back down to 2" groups.

4. Final thoughts
There are two quotes that I've heard about shooting that I share with people who are interested in getting better.

"Only accurate guns are interesting." -Col. Townsend Whelen
"Don't just practice your shooting. Get interested in your shooting." -Brian Enos

Between the two, that pretty much describes my mindset when it comes to the hobby. I'm not an "every gun is a fighting gun" kind of person, and I'm not naturally gifted when it comes to shooting guns. Therefore, being able to shoot smiley faces at the range has come only from several years of weekly practice, lots of dry-fire, owning handguns and rifles that work for me, and being really interested in absorbing information about how to shoot better.

Hopefully some of this will work for you guys.

X. Random tutorials, etc:
Rust removal:

XI. How do I buy/sell a gun?
1. Buying a gun
SadWhaleFamily's summary is pretty much all you'll need to know to start buying guns.
Sixgun also has a thread about how to get good deals
2. Selling a gun
Selling a gun is pretty easy in most states. This covers what is true most places, as well as what is true everywhere. If you're not sure how to sell a gun, ask.
In most cases, it is legal to sell a handgun or a long gun to someone that is a resident, of legal age, of the same state as the seller, in that state, assuming the seller has no reason to believe that buyer is otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm. If someone is not a resident of your state, you *must* send the firearm to a licensed FFL holder in the state of residence of the buyer. Gun stores will often handle the shipping for you if you like, but it can cost some extra money. If you choose to send the firearm to the FFL holder, there are a number of things you MUST be aware of to stay legal.
  • Contact the FFL holder to make sure they accept incoming transfers from non-license holders, as well as any requirements they have for their shipments.
  • Once you've confirmed that and have a copy of their license, it is a really good idea to check that it is a valid license with the same reported address online as on the document you received! Fraud with this seems to be rare, but it can and does happen. Call the ATF if it does.
  • As someone without dealer's license, you cannot send handguns through USPS. You can send long guns through USPS. They may require an inspection of the firearm. Don't gently caress around with this, as doing so is a crime.
  • Your package MUST go to the confirmed shipping address on the FFL, and nobody else.
  • You can ship handguns and long guns without a dealer's license through UPS or Fedex. They have requirements about shipping speed, though, so it can often be cheaper to pay a dealer to ship it USPS for you.

Not Nipsy Russell posted:

To the ATF, the key word is transfer. Generally, if you're transferring a firearm to a resident of another state, you have to follow their rules. Gift, sale, donation, etc. There are some exceptions (sending to a gunsmith/manufacturer for repair, mailing a gun to yourself in another state, for example).

Here's a thing I made. Goons, tell me if this is stupid, or suggest corrections, or whatever.

XII. What can I get?
Depends where you are. Most states are pretty hands off when it comes to what you can have. Others, like California, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey are restrictive about what you can and can't own. Some towns decide to pass ordinances similar to these. You may not be allowed to own a magazine that holds more than 10 or 20 rounds. You may not be able to get items that aren't on a list maintained by your state.
If you're in California, can provide fairly solid information on what you can and can't get there.
If you aren't sure, ask here, or the general question thread.

XIII. How do I shoot?
Pull the trigger!
But more seriously:

powers posted:

Popular Stances:
Weaver Stance:
Modified Weaver Stance:
Isosceles Stance:

Popular Grips:
Your weapon must become an extension of your hand and arm. It should replace your finger in pointing at an object. A firm, consistent grip must be used at all times. Proper grip is one of the most important factors in being able to place accurate shots on your target, quickly.

wood grain grippin posted:

Todd Jarrett explains pistol grip, stance and shooting.

Also, another grip pic that would be helpful for the OP. This is the most common and accepted handgun grip taught.

Hangedman wrote a handy guide/glossary to trigger:

hangedman posted:

Break - the moment when the pressure on the trigger releases the sear. If a break is consistent, it means that the general feeling and pull weight required to fire the gun doesn't change by any perceptible means from shot to shot.

Pull weight - in general, the amount of force (in pounds) required to release the sear and fire the gun. "2#" is read as "two pounds." Target guns typically have "light" pulls that requiring little force applied to the trigger before it fires. Other military-grade weapons will have heavy pulls that require some deliberate muscle in order to make the gun go off.

Pre-travel / take up / slack - how much the trigger can move backwards before it actually does anything. In some guns, you'll be able to pull the trigger along its course of movement by a few fractions of an inch with extremely light pressure, but it's not putting any meaningful contact on the other mechanisms of the trigger during this time.

Overtravel - once the trigger actually breaks, how much you're able to continue moving it backwards. A lot of overtravel isn't a good thing, as it generally screws with your follow-through and accuracy. As the bullet's coming out of the barrel, you want your hand to be as still as possible. Some triggers have adjustment screws to ensure that you can block any excess rearward motion of the trigger that you don't need.

Reset - after you've fired a shot, and with your trigger pressed fully to the rear of the gun, how far forward you need to let it travel before the trigger mechanism puts all of its teensy, interlocking parts back into alignment in order to allow it to fire again. In many guns, there will be an audible "click" if you ride the trigger forward after a shot very, very slowly.

Stacking - when the amount of pressure required to fire the gun builds up at one point in the trigger's rearward motion. That is, if a double action trigger "stacks," that means that you need to apply more force to your pull at one point than another.

Grit / roughness - typically caused by crappy machining (or actual grit in the workings of the gun). It's the sensation that somewhere, amidst all of the surfaces of the trigger components that touch and slide against each other, there's a burr or other rough protrusion rubbing up against something. It's like the princess and the pea. If there's some rough speck of something somewhere in the guts of the gun, and if you can feel it, it's going to bother you.

Crisp - Crisp triggers are often described as "breaking like a glass rod," probably because now that I actually try to come up with a better description, it's a little hard to describe in better terms. Imagine the force required to snap a dry stick in two: too little, and nothing happens. Apply just a little more, and it breaks suddenly. The idea is that you want to know where the trigger breaks, and as you begin to apply an increasing amount of pressure on the trigger, it goes off all of a sudden, resulting in that elusive "surprise break" that allows the gun to recoil and get the bullet out of the barrel before you can anticipate when it's going to go off, flinch, and screw up the whole process.

Mush / creep - If when pulling a single action trigger, you can actually feel that the shot is about to break (but not quite!), your trigger is probably mushy. The more travel distance your trigger has between taking up all of the slack and releasing the sear (in a really crisp trigger, this distance is practically negligible), the mushier or creepier your trigger is. DA/SA CZ-75s are known to have some amount of creep in the final moments of their SA trigger pulls.

Staging - a trigger that consists of several distinct mechanical/tactile sensations. For example, a Smith and Wesson trigger in Double Action consists of some light pressure required to raise the hammer and turn the cylinder. At this point the parts will click into place. A little more pressure at this stage of the gun's operation will now drop the hammer. This requires a great deal of fine motor control, and in any sort of high-stress environment, details like this are going to be lost as you "pull the trigger straight through."

Slap - if you have a real piece of poo poo gun (like, for example, my CZ-52), you'll be privy to one of shooting's greatest joys: trigger slap. On some guns, the trigger resets so forcefully after the shot breaks that it pushes the trigger to its original forward position. Since your finger's already on the trigger, it gets pushed along with that particular piece of metal back towards the front of the gun.

Follow-through - think golf. Pulling the trigger the right way is a subconscious process, and if you interrupt it at any point in anticipation of the recoil or to see where your shot went, you'll screw it up. Part of good shooting, inexplicable though it may seem is to trick yourself into continuing to pull the trigger backwards and evenly all the way through the shot.

So, with all of this in mind, the actual process of (accurately) firing the gun via a trigger press is broken down into the stages of take-up, break, follow-through, and reset.

XIV. TFR IRC channel
To talk to a selection of regulars from this forum on IRC, here's the info:
Server -
Room - #thefiringrange
Easy mibbit link:

XV. Advanced Topics
This section is for more advanced topics, most likely beyond the beginner level that would find this thread really useful.
Reloading: thermobollocks' "So you bought yourself some crazy cowboy moon gun, and you actually want to shoot it sometime." guide. Please remember that you should always read up on reloading, the loads you're using, and BE SAFE. It can be easy to put together a little bomb that can damage your gun or you if you're not careful!

NFA Trusts: This relates to items controlled under the National Firearms Act, including Short Barreled Shotguns, Short Barreled Rifles, Suppressors, Machineguns and AOWs. A trust can be a way to streamline the process of purchasing these items.

Guns don't always work right - these are some of the most common ways. See the post above this linked one for The Junk Collector's version.

Safes, aka Residential Security Containers:
The general talking points are remembering that: Unless you're spending thousands of dollars, it isn't a "real" safe. It will keep out kids and snooping guests, but might not keep out a determined thief.
Stick it somewhere it would be difficult to attack, like in a closet, or a corner with a heavy bolted down table next to it, etc, and bolt it to the wall and/or floor, else it is a handy box to take with them and hack at in the comfort of their own home.
Many don't trust electronic locks, since there may or may not be an indication that the battery is dying or whatever, and could lead to real headaches getting in if you miss the little red "CHANGE ME" light.

Put a scope on your rifle, but still aren't hitting poo poo? Wa11y has you covered here:

Springs - is it OK to leave a magazine loaded? Yes. The King of Swag tells us why:

The King of Swag posted:

We've all seen this pop up time and time again and TFR pretty well has the right answer down at this point (although it pervades other forums still), but there still always seems to be some uncertainty in the claim that springs are fine just keeping them compressed.

So let me help put any doubts to rest.

The vastly simplified explanation of why is that just like all minerals, metals have a crystal structure (Magnesium for example is hexagonal); springs are springy because the metal has been purposefully worked to orientate the crystal structure to be under internal tension. When you compress or externally tension springs, you are physically shifting the crystals in the structure and when the external forces are released, the internal tension forces the crystal structure back to its original orientation. This is not the natural orientation however; the natural orientation is just that, how the crystal structure naturally wants to be had it been allowed to form on its own without outside influence.

Every time you flex the spring and thus shift the crystal structure around, some of those crystals break free and orient themselves back how they want to be (i.e. non-springy)--so every time you use a spring, it gets weaker by a miniscule amount. Over countless actuations of the spring, most of the crystals will have oriented themselves back to the natural orientation and the spring will be too weak to be useful.

The key here is that this is only when external forces act upon the spring and it takes many actuations to wear the spring out (exception being if you over-exert a spring by stretching or compressing it too much, in which case the crystal structure basically loses all its internal tension at once).

General resources
Shooting is a predominantly male centric hobby. This can prove a substantial barrier to entry for women that want to get into the hobby - not only attitudes towards women but a lack of good information and equipment. As women tend to be shaped differently, and dress differently, than men, holster and carry choices that work for men may not work well for women. The best resource for women interested in shooting, carrying guns, etc, is cornered cat:

Where did the classifieds go?
The kind way to put it is that it was a long running experiment that came to a close.
I've started a google group to replace the classifieds. Sign up is here:
If you don't have a google account you want to use, PM me your email or post your email here. Please be sure to set your display name to your screen name, that's how I'll know who you are.

How do I take pretty pretty pictures?
Beetle has a great guide here:


Want to carry your rooty tooty point and shooty all sneaky but legal like? Concealed carry reciprocity discussed here

On "how a gun feels" and whether that should be a concern for new shooters:

BrianM87 posted:

Poopgiggle and Internet Wizard have pretty much said everything I could have. Like them and several others, I started out by buying what I thought was neat. My first modern (Manufactured after WW2) handgun was a Hi-Power, followed at some point by an XD, CZ Phantom, and Glock 19. I have probably 30-40 different handguns at this point but the only ones I shoot consistently are that first Glock 19 and my Gen 5 17. I don't even own the XD or CZ anymore. While owning different guns has given me an appreciation and understanding of how the different actions function, if I could go back in time I would have started with the Glock 19 and just stayed with that for the first several years of shooting handguns. I didn't just arrive at this position either. This came from years of competition, firearms schools, attending and running training classes, and just continuously trying to improve and understand what works and what doesn't. I'm not an expert, I will never claim to be, I just happen to have been given the opportunity to try a lot of different guns in a lot of different situations and environments.

Some of the things that really influenced my first handgun purchases were gun stores saying things like "glock grip angle is bad/wrong/uncomfortable," "try what feels right," and being harped at that Browning designs were the only true handguns to consider. At this point, any time someone asks me for advice for a first-time buyer I immediately tell them to get a Gen 5 19 with the Ameriglo Agent sights. How it feels to them is irrelevant if they can physically reach the controls and manipulate the firearm as it should be. Some people will argue that if it feels wrong then they wont practice. From teaching police academy recruits, veteran officers, friends, and the general public, I have absolutely not seen this to be true. Someone either has the mindset to practice and improve or they don't. Captain Log, if I recall when you started using a bicycle again it practically brought you to tears from the pain. But you persisted and now you bike what, 1.5 hours a day? So that certainly didn't feel comfortable and yet you did it anyways because you wanted to improve. You had the willingness and motivation to do so. If someone isn't going to practice because the gun feels uncomfortable then there are a million other things that would have stopped them from practicing anyways.

How a handgun feels is objectively not important.

I like turtles fucked around with this message at 01:12 on Apr 1, 2020


Sixgun Strumpet
Feb 16, 2009

Heh, yeah, 'round here I call myself The Enabler. I suspect pretty much everyone wishes they could be me -- I'm kind of a big deal, you see.

I can volunteer take newbies shooting around Bellevue, WA.

Edit: Yeah, sorry Pitch, I hit post prematurely, you are most certainly right.

Sixgun Strumpet fucked around with this message at 23:21 on Oct 29, 2009

Jun 16, 2005


ChlorineTrifluoride posted:

If you are buying the gun for someone else, regardless of whether or not they could legally be buying it themselves, you are lying on the form and you are committing a felony.
Unless you're buying it as a gift.

Sep 14, 2007

What is this thread?

Ramrod XTreme

Volunteering for the newbie patrol in Cleveland, OH.

Dec 30, 2006
A Succulent Polish Treat

If .410 shotguns were measured in the traditional gauge system, approximately what gauge would it be?

Some shotguns are sold with extra barrels, like this. Can these be swapped at home, or do they require a gunsmith?

Besides .22lr, I've seen other .22 bullets with names like .22 short and .22WMR. What are these and what are their benefits? Can they be shot in .22lr guns, or .22lr fired in .22WMR?

Jun 16, 2005


Bigos posted:

If .410 shotguns were measured in the traditional gauge system, approximately what gauge would it be?

Some shotguns are sold with extra barrels, like this. Can these be swapped at home, or do they require a gunsmith?

Besides .22lr, I've seen other .22 bullets with names like .22 short and .22WMR. What are these and what are their benefits? Can they be shot in .22lr guns, or .22lr fired in .22WMR?
1. Roughly 68 gauge.

2. Yes. For almost all shotguns, swapping barrels is extremely simple and won't even require tools.

3. .22 Short and Long are older, shorter versions of Long Rifle. S and L can be fired out of any LR gun, although they might not feed properly from magazines. Their only real benefit is that Shorts are very quiet, and many .22S loadings are just a primer without any powder. .22WMR is much different than .22LR, and neither of them can be safely fired in the other's chamber.

Jun 27, 2007


Newbie patrol in Toledo, OH.

Bigos posted:

Besides .22lr, I've seen other .22 bullets with names like .22 short and .22WMR. What are these and what are their benefits? Can they be shot in .22lr guns, or .22lr fired in .22WMR?

Check the barrel of your gun or manual. It will say EXACTLY which of the .22s it can take. .22WMR is a magnum round and stands on its own. You cannot shoot other .22s in it.

There are some .22 rifles that will chamber .22short, .22 long, and .22LR, but they will specifically say that.

I like turtles
Aug 6, 2009

ChlorineTrifluoride posted:

Side note: Someone want to put something in this thread about what you should do when you find grandpa's machine gun/mortar/holy gently caress this thing is so illegal WW2 weapon in an attic?

922r is probably also something newbies should be aware of that isn't entirely obvious to a new gun buyer. If no one has done that by the time I get back to a computer I'll edit this with the info.

Added your straw purchase section. I'm not comfortable enough with the subject to write anything up on either of the things you mention that I've quoted, but will be more than happy to include them when written.

Thanks, I've added those in where they fit best

I like turtles fucked around with this message at 00:46 on Oct 29, 2009

Dec 30, 2006
A Succulent Polish Treat


The 10/22 thread was already mentioned, but there's also a general .22lr thread with lots of information about other pistols and long guns in that caliber.

There's also the Milsurp Megathread. A lot of TFR goons like military surplus guns for historical interest and because a lot of them are fun and inexpensive. Some companies continue to make milsurp caliber ammunition for modern collectors, but most people use the surplus ammunition that costs much, much less.

If you're Canadian, you need to read The Canadian Guns/Shooters/Questions Thread The best source for Canadian related gun info and homoerotic humor!

Bigos fucked around with this message at 00:48 on Oct 29, 2009

Oct 8, 2008

I'm a newbie, if anyone in WI or MA wants to take a newbie shootin', that'd be cool.

Jun 11, 2003

Chicagoland 'not a newbie' reporting in - I'm also occasionally in west-central IL from time to time.

Jul 11, 2004

You can put me down for Houston, TX.

Feb 11, 2006

"sorry about my dick"

I can take newbies out if they're in Melbourne, Australia.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

Just wear the fucking mask, Bob

I don't care how many people I probably infected with COVID-19 while refusing to wear a mask, my comfort is far more important than the health and safety of everyone around me!

I'm willing to go to the ranger with newbies in or around Mid-Michigan. You can even shoot my guns if you buy ammo!

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

Just wear the fucking mask, Bob

I don't care how many people I probably infected with COVID-19 while refusing to wear a mask, my comfort is far more important than the health and safety of everyone around me!

The OP could really use a section on the basics of ammo. Different types and what they're used for, re-loading, etc.

I like turtles
Aug 6, 2009

Bob Morales posted:

The OP could really use a section on the basics of ammo. Different types and what they're used for, re-loading, etc.

I'll include anything that gets written up. Beyond the extremely basic FMJ, JHP discussion I have in the OP, I don't feel qualified to write on the differences, for the most part.

Figured they were rare enough to not bother mentioning - if a newbie has an artillery Luger with original stock and everything... Well goddamn I want to meet that newbie.

I like turtles fucked around with this message at 02:54 on Oct 29, 2009

Jan 3, 2009

Just need to mount the guns on the car....

I'm take noobs out in the South East Pennsylvania area, or any that are willing to travel to get into the SE PA area.

Also, some pistols can have stocks without being SBRs, but most require SBR classification.

TheStig fucked around with this message at 02:52 on Oct 29, 2009

May 21, 2006

Better living through chemicals

ArcMage posted:

Volunteering for the newbie patrol in Cleveland, OH.
ArcMage, what range do you normally go to? I'm also in Cleveland and I've been meaning to look around for some alternatives to the state range in East Farmington. If I can find a place within an hour of me that'll let me shoot high power, then I'd be more than willing to let a newbie in on some milsurp action.

Mar 7, 2006


Always down for a newbie orientation thread, throw me in the OP in Indianapolis, IN. Willing to meet people at Attebury or New Castle.

Oct 8, 2006

Haters gunna hate.

Volunteering for dead center PA newbie patrol.

Seriously. State College is almost exactly equidistant from everything. It's kinda like the black hole at the center of the state.

May 7, 2008

Soiled Meat

I'm a comparative newbie. Any NYC or Boston goons willing to take me out to scratch the shooting itch?

Apr 3, 2009

Sign me up under the newbie looking to learn section. I've got a Ruger 10/22 and the next purchase will be a 22 Handgun. Looking for good ranges and training in the Kansas City area to be more specific.

Sep 25, 2006

I can take any newbies in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro NC area.

gently caress, I can cover the entire Triangle if they're willing to drive over here.

Jan 3, 2009

Just need to mount the guns on the car....

foghorn posted:

Volunteering for dead center PA newbie patrol.

Seriously. State College is almost exactly equidistant from everything. It's kinda like the black hole at the center of the state.

That and no matter where you are, it takes 2-3 hours to get there. Pennsylvania time warp black hole something.

Mar 21, 2006

Active666 posted:

Sign me up under the newbie looking to learn section. I've got a Ruger 10/22 and the next purchase will be a 22 Handgun. Looking for good ranges and training in the Kansas City area to be more specific.

Have you been out to Parma Woods? It's a pretty decent place. They can be a little annoying with how they run the range but in the end it just makes things safer.

jizzy sillage
Aug 13, 2006

I'm a newbie in Townsville, Australia, and I went to the local range yesterday. Now, I've been lurking TFR for a long time, so I sort of knew what to expect.

I was:

1. Only taught two of the four rules (two and three)
2. Handed a loaded .22 S&W and an empty coke can to shoot.
3. Told 'Glocks aren't worth the plastic they're made out of'.
4. Shot 12 rounds at the can, called it a day.

I'm not sure I'll be going back any time soon.

Edit: Haha I left this unfinished and clicked post. Awesome.

jizzy sillage fucked around with this message at 09:55 on Oct 29, 2009

Nov 14, 2004


Against my better judgement, I'll take noobs for Pistol in the Los Angeles area.

Jul 2, 2007
shut up.

Volunteering for NP in the Las Cruces,NM/ El Paso,TX area.
Probably won't will rape you

Aug 1, 2009

You know, I think airguns are underappreciated as something people who want to get into target shooting or plinking should consider.

They are pretty similar to .22, but better because I can get a tin of 500 rounds for ten bucks if it's nothing fancy, and the accuracy can still be very adequate, especially for a beginner, and with a quality gun.

Plus all the ludicrous gun laws in places like DC, NY, and a lot of Cali don't apply, typically.

And the backstop can be a plank of wood you replace occasionally, so it's quite possible to shoot in a roomy back yard.

(I love airguns)

Oct 23, 2006

I'm all about meeting girls. I'm all about meeting guys.

Great OP.

You can put me down for Dallas, TX for helping newbies/taking them to the range.

Angry Guacamole
Dec 2, 2007

Oh God run away

Sign me up under the newbies in Roswell, New Mexico.

Sir Sidney Poitier
Aug 14, 2006

My favourite actor

I saw this picture:

Click here for the full 800x239 image.

In this thread:

Is that another shell in the stock of the bottom gun? If so, why is it there? Is it just storage space for one more round?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

Just wear the fucking mask, Bob

I don't care how many people I probably infected with COVID-19 while refusing to wear a mask, my comfort is far more important than the health and safety of everyone around me!

Anjow posted:

Is that another shell in the stock of the bottom gun? If so, why is it there? Is it just storage space for one more round?

You can actually store 4-5 rounds in there.

Apr 3, 2009

lilspooky posted:

Have you been out to Parma Woods? It's a pretty decent place. They can be a little annoying with how they run the range but in the end it just makes things safer.

Not yet, but planned on it. So far the only range I have been to here is Totalrange up in St Joe when I had them help out with getting the scope sighted in on my 10/22.

Jul 10, 2001

I pity the foal...

Volunteering for the Philly, PA squad. Plenty of beginner-friendly rifles and pistols and shotguns, oh my!

Sep 14, 2007

What is this thread?

Ramrod XTreme

Monomer posted:

ArcMage, what range do you normally go to? I'm also in Cleveland and I've been meaning to look around for some alternatives to the state range in East Farmington. If I can find a place within an hour of me that'll let me shoot high power, then I'd be more than willing to let a newbie in on some milsurp action.

There's pretty much dick in the area for rifle ranges, from what I've been finding. I usually shoot pistols at Sherwin or Atwell's, but those are over in Lake County.

Not Nipsy Russell
Oct 6, 2004

Failure is always an option.

Add me to the newbie patrol as well for the Olympia/Tacoma WA area.

Nov 15, 2006
I will teabag you to death.

charliebravo77 posted:

Chicagoland 'not a newbie' reporting in - I'm also occasionally in west-central IL from time to time.

You're the TFR goon that goes to WIU, right?

Gray Stormy
Dec 19, 2006

Im pretty sure there arent any new-shooters in the area, but Ill toss my hat in to take anyone out in Upper(the REAL upper) Michigan.

Are there any other TFR fellows up here? Im on the western side, IR35 is covering the eastern side, but is there anyone in between?


Gewehr 43
Aug 25, 2003

I'll teach newbies in southern lower michigan. Just pay for ammo.

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