View Full Version : Where Do I Start?

31 December 2009, 10:03
I just started getting into weaponry - both for self/home defense and hunting. Currently I own no weapons but in the coming months I would like to change that. Problem is I don't know where to start! I'm the kind of person who has to know every in and out of everything that costs more than $300 so needless to say I'll be learning A LOT about guns in the next few months...
With my limited knowledge I've come to consider the following weapons:

Mossberg 500 SPX (Or 930 SPX). I honestly don't know if pump or semi auto would be better. Sure I could shoot out more rounds with a 930 but my shoulder would explode, lol.

A CZ 75b. Honestly I saw it on a 'Top 10' list so...

And then finally a Tactical Ruger Mini-14.

I'd like to come to own those guns over a period of time and I'm in NO rush and totally open to opinion and direction. What do I buy first? A pistol or a shotgun? What books should I read? What documentaries should I watch?

Thank you all and happy shooting!

31 December 2009, 11:03
I'm a little bit bias when I give you my opinion, so be forewarned. The first weapon anyone should own should be something simple, compact, reliable, cheap, and easy to maintain. It is, after all, the first weapon you will learn, which will open doors to new things to come.

The best candidate, in my personal opinion, is the Glock 19. There are many, many, many articles on so many forums regarding Glocks. You may also want to look at Smith and Wesson's M&P40 in case you wanted something a little larger but still wanted to maintain a relatively high magazine capacity.

They are both very easy to maintain weapons. You can strip it down to the last part in literally a few seconds. Cleaning is a breeze. The Glock is known for its reliability, and my personal experience with the M&P40 is that it is every bit just as reliable.

New Glocks have a unique grip texture that I am very quit fond of, but the 'gills' on the slide tends to throw it off a bit for me. Merely aesthetics.

M&P's have modular grips which you can adjust according to your hand size. You can also switch the magazine release from right hand to left hand shooter.

Both hand guns are relatively cheap to own.


31 December 2009, 11:22
Is there a reason you are going with those particular firearms?

31 December 2009, 20:06
Pistolwise, I'd find a good range that has a wide variety that you can hold, and better yet, rent and shoot.

As for a rifle, why not an M4? Your options are really open as far as what you can do with it. Different length uppers, different calibers, same lower.

I prefer 870s over Mossbergs but that is my preference. For an auto I own a Benelli M1S90. It was my first shotgun and I haven't regret it a single day.

I don't know what state you live in, but I'd get a good pistol first. Go to some shooting courses if possible and then get a carry permit. After that I'd get the rifle, then the shotgun.

All just my opinions.

31 December 2009, 21:53
I'd get a shotgun first, if only because I believe there's less training necessary to do well with them compared to a pistol, you have less chance of having problems with overpenetration using shot, and there's nothing quite like pointing what resembles a sewer pipe at someone who's somewhere they shouldn't be to get their attention. Plus, if you have a pump, the sound of a slide racking is universally known as the "Don't move!" sound.

In the distances normally encountered in a home, birdshot is still moving in a small column by the time it would contact its target. But as soon as it starts to spread, you don't have to worry nearly as much about it going too far.

Just my .02.

31 December 2009, 23:05
So go with the Shotgun because I'll need less training and it's better over all for home defense?

For combat situations though wouldn't a semi-automatic be a better idea?

So I found this gun and I was wondering what you guys where thinking

FN Herstal 17703 TACT POL 12 18 FXD CK PT seems like the price is right for the supposed quality of the gun. In case that isn't the make/model, here's the link:


31 December 2009, 23:32
I'd get a shotgun first, if only because I believe there's less training necessary to do well with them compared to a pistol
I don't know where that came from, but I consider that to be incorrect.

you have less chance of having problems with overpenetration using shot
Not sure what shot you speak of, but birdshot is typically a poor choice.

and there's nothing quite like pointing what resembles a sewer pipe at someone who's somewhere they shouldn't be to get their attention. Plus, if you have a pump, the sound of a slide racking is universally known as the "Don't move!" sound.
Don't count on it.

In the distances normally encountered in a home, birdshot is still moving in a small column by the time it would contact its target. But as soon as it starts to spread, you don't have to worry nearly as much about it going too far.
See above.

31 December 2009, 23:41
Where Do I Start?
It can certainly be overwhelming can't it! For defensive use, reliability really needs to be at the top of your list. Taking a basic handgun class should be one of the first things you look at doing, along with visiting a range that has rentals. While not necessarily the answer for everyone, consider looking at what your local law enforcement agencies are using and perhaps talk to them about their track record.

1 January 2010, 08:52
Training, training, and more training. While it's not as sexy in most circles to collect training certificates as it is to have a safe full of shit you don't know how to use, my experience with a wide array of shooters and abilities is that the hardware is tertiary to mindset (primary) and training (secondary).

Virtually every shooter I have ever seen would be exponentially better served with a Glock 19 and a quality training class than they would with a Glock and an AR, shotgun, or whatever. Just like the questions of "I just bought a new AR, what nonsense should I bolt to it first?" should be answered with "I'd bolt some training onto that owner/operator".

People have pretty much stopped asking for my advice on "what should I buy next" because invariably my answer is "training". If they already have training, it's "ammo and practice".

I believe that the answer to "what gun should I buy first" is answered by one of three; Glock 19, S&W M&P, or Springfield XD (all in 9mm). I think the old advice of "get what's most comfortable in your hand" is nonsense and you should get the one with the features you want. What best fits an ignorant hand is meaningless and often changes with training. Get a quality holster & magazine pouch, several spare magazines, a couple of cases of ammo, and go take a quality 2-3 day class, and then maintain those skills by participating in either monthly training opportunities or action shooting sports like IDPA or IPSC.

1 January 2010, 12:02
So I should probably contact my local gun club after I buy the gun to go there for training then?

1 January 2010, 12:13
If you go with an AR, in the mean time, while you are trying to arrange for training, you might want to do a search for, and download the following:

- FM 3-22.9 Rifle Marksmanship
- TM 9-1005-319-23&P Unit and Direct Support Maintenance Manual
- TM 9-1005-319-10 Operators Manual

Read up on and study the basic operating and function of the weapon. Learn disassembly, reassembly and function checking of the weapon. Learn the correct nomenclature of its parts. Learn each parts function and how each part interacts with the others.

If you need help with tracking down the above referenced manuals, send me an IM with your email address. Iíll square you away.



1 January 2010, 13:15
So I should probably contact my local gun club after I buy the gun to go there for training then?

I would try and find a range where you could rent / try out various pistols and see what works best. I would also see if you could find an instructor that could walk you through the various options to see what you like.

Army Chief
1 January 2010, 15:07
I just started getting into weaponry - both for self/home defense and hunting.

There have been a number of excellent points made in this thread, but in going back to the opening post, I think you may be in some danger of getting the cart well ahead of the horse. Rather than discuss particular weapons which might appeal to your eye, enjoy a good word-of mouth reputation, or seem to offer the best investment vs. return component, I think you need to get your intended applications sorted out first.

Self defense suggests that a sidearm/pistol would be the best choice.
Home defense suggests that a carbine (or a shotgun) would be the best choice.
Hunting suggests that a shotgun (or a rifle) would be the best choice.
I give you full credit for asking questions and trying to learn before making any decisions, but guns are tools, and I'm not sure that anyone can effectively recommend the right tool unless we have some idea what it is that you need/want/intend to do with it -- and there are a great many unanswered questions here.

For self defense, are you talking about concealed carry on your person or in your car?
For home defense, are you living in a single familly dwelling, in an apartment, or out on a ranch someplace? Do you live alone, or with others (i.e. children)?
For hunting, what is it that you would like to hunt, and where do you intend to do it?
Assuming that in all honesty you're still in the process of figuring all of this out, then perhaps a simple shotgun like a Remington 870 would be a good baseline from which to start. The initial outlay is reasonable, the versatility factor is high, and the ability to employ it with minimal experience and training is somewhat higher than it would be for a sidearm or a semiautomatic.

Better yet, go to a shooting club and look around. See what kind of shooting appeals to you. Make friends with some guys that know the ropes. As your knowledge base and interests grow, you will get a much clearer idea what it is that you would like to do with a gun -- and once you know that, you will be able to ask the kinds of questions that bring clear, definitive answers.


1 January 2010, 21:13
Until I'm 21, the self defense aspect of the weapon I'm looking for will be just for the home. Once I do turn 21 then I will be carrying the weapon with me.

Right now the youngest child I live with is 14 years of age. While I would like to assume that that would eliminate a lot of the dangers of having a firearm I don' think that's the case. This is far from a perminent living situation and I do see myself moving within the next months (I won't even be buying a gun until May.) where the youngest I will be living with will be my own age - 18.

I intend to hunt Deer, duck and turkey. I'm mainly in the game for meat because anything I get off of a deer will save me TONS of money on food. Since I won't be able to carry a weapon on me for another three years and since my main purposes will be home defense and hunting I think a shotgun would likely be the best option. I would love to go with an AR style rifle or a carbine but I think that's a little to much money at this point.

I'll be looking into the 870 for sure.

Thanks again!

Army Chief
2 January 2010, 07:25
Now we're on to something: you're under 21, looking to be self-sufficient, and need a gun that delivers the most capability (and flexibility) for the most reasonable initial outllay.

Since pistol ownership is still a few years away, I'd say that you still have plenty of time to do your research and see what best suits your interests there. I might even recommend something like a Ruger .22 as a first pistol, since it would give you an affordable platform on which to train. Ammo is cheap, the fundmentals are the same, and they cost less than half of what you would have to spend on a typical autoloading pistol. A .22 isn't really a viable personal defense arm, but you might find that your carry opportunities are going to be pretty limited anyway, depending upon where you are, who you're working for, and what sort of credentials you are able to obtain.

Rifle/carbine ownership involves a high price of entry, the ammo is costly, and it doesn't really suit itself to hunting duck or turkey. I can certainly understand the attraction, but if you try to move too quickly on this, you'll likely end up with a substandard "bargain" carbine that will give you fits later on. Better to take your time, and do it right.

Shotgun ownership would seem to address all of your immediate needs. With buckshot (or #4) it can defend your home, the same loading (or slugs) can drop deer, and with a change of shells, and maybe a barrel, you're ready for waterfowl or turkey. Most every state has a shotgun hunting season -- some won't even allow the use of a rifle -- and the price of the gun and ammo are both within reach.

You could even try to find a used 870 to save a bit more money, since these shotguns tend to be pretty indestructable. Easy to buy, easy to shoot, easy to train with, and affordable ... in your situation, a pump-action shotgun sounds hard to beat, and I dare say that most of us started out the same way once upon a time.


ETA: ... and just in case you arrive at the day where you're ready to turn your old 870 into a more tactically-oriented platform, you'll find that the options are almost limitless. This thread (http://weaponevolution.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1830) illustrates the point beautifully.

9 January 2010, 14:17
Check the laws where you live, go get some training and range time-don't just go with a bunch of buddies and learn bad habits. I agree with the chief, maybe consider a 22 caliber pistol for training. Good luck.

30 January 2010, 16:20
Hopefully this thread isn't too old for me to add to.

My advise would be to get a ruger 10/22. Learn the basics of cleaning, maintenance, safety, and marksmanship. The ammo is cheap, and the recoil and muzzle blast is low so you won't start off trying to get acustomed to those things and you can concentrate on basics. .22 is no manstopper but it beats a broom stick. Then you can hunt squirrel and rabbit which are (a) more abundant and (b) the seasons are open longer. Deer and turkey hunting is alot of fun but it's much harder than bunnies and tree rats. Start slow and work your way up. Once you get the basics down move on to a shotgun, then pistol and rifle. That's my opinion and it's worth what you paid for it.

1 February 2010, 10:14
I don't know if you qualify for this but,


5 February 2010, 13:26
My recommendation would be to start with basic understanding of how does a firearm work, safety rules and manipulations. A good basic shooting class or (if not available) a good DVD about shooting (Matt Burkett Practical Shooting Volume 1-3 or Magpul Handgun) is the best start.
Then I would go to a shooting range where you can borrow guns and try to shoot/handle as many as possible. I would start with a 9mm double action gun for two reasons: 1. Ammunition is cheaper. 2. You can dry fire it a lot. (Cheap way to learn the basics.) A revolver in .38 might be an alternative.
After you feel really comfortable with the 9mm you can look into a rifle. Depending on the shooting places available you can go with a .22 (indoor) or a .223. An AR15 is my first choice.

Stay away form the shotgun! I am not aware of any other type of firearm I have seen so many problems than with the shotgun! Be it handling or the firearm itself.

6 February 2010, 08:04
the first gun i bought for myself when i was on my own was a shotgun. at the time you could get a mossberg 500 combo kit for less then $300 dollars. it came with 2 barrels,a home defense barrel and a bird barrel. i used this gun every weekend for 3-4 years before i could afford to start buying other guns. the next gun was an sks, i think i paid $100 for and shot it and the shotgun every weekend i could for another 2-3 years before i could afford a pistol, which was a used sig p225 i paid $300 dollars for, and on ,and on... most of these guns i still have and i have purchased alot of others along the way, and spent thousands on ammo. don't rush into buying all the go fast goodies everyone loves. my opinion is the best bang for the buck is a shotgun, you can hunt just about anything in north america with it, and it will stop bad guys. then work on getting a rifle that is cheap to shoot, maybe a ruger10/22 or an sks, and then work on a pistol when you are old enough.but spend your money on ammo and go shooting as much as possible. talk to others that shoot and try everyones gun that will let you. the guys who shoot alot can do wonders with the worst guns imaginable.

7 February 2010, 18:03
As far as your shotgun, stick with a pump gun first. Semi's can be finicky with ammo and cause you to be involved in immediate action drills....both great systems but I think you'd be better served with a pump-gun first off.