New Shooter Information
Don’t worry ladies! We are here to help you with the information that you need to know about firearms.
If you do not already own a firearm, that isn’t an issue. There are a lot of options to choose from. One of the benefits of our club is that ladies are often willing to share their firearms so that you can have access to a variety of firearms so that you can try before you make your first (or next) purchase. We have many different brands, sizes and calibers of firearms – we just ask that you do offer to reimburse for the ammo that you use when trying someone else’s firearm. Guns are like shoes – you need to find what fits you and works for your needs.
To try to figure out what firearm will work for you, you need to do a little research.
First, you will need to decide if you want to look at revolver (also referred to as “wheel guns”), or a semi-automatic.
A revolver is a firearm that has a moving cylinder that will cycle to the next round. Revolvers will come in either a single-action or double-action style and will typically hold five or six rounds. A single-action revolver will have to have the hammer of the gun manually pulled back to cycle the gun after each shot. A double-action revolver may or may not have a hammer, but the firearm will cycle to the next chamber by itself after each shot.
Another style of firearm is a semi-automatic. These are firearms that have a magazine that is loaded with your ammo and is then loaded into the firearm. You will have to “rack the slide” to load the initial round and then the firearm will load every round after that, one at a time, until you are empty.
Each type of firearm has their advantages, and you need to get the type of firearm that makes sense for you and what you will be using it for.
Once you decide which type of gun you would like, you will need to look at a variety of guns in that style for function and fit. Smaller guns are good for carrying on you, but will have more recoil or “kick” when you shoot them. They will be more accurate at closer distances. Larger guns will be easier to shoot and allow you to shoot even at farther distances. You will need to decide on the capacity (number of rounds that you want your firearm to have in them) and the caliber (the size of your ammo). The size of your ammo will also determine how the gun shoots.
Once you decide on the gun that you want, you will need to some additional items as well for your new firearm. Here is a small check list for the essentials to get your going:
- Ammo (you will need target ammo for the range and self-defense/hollow point ammo if you are going to carry or use for home defense). This is also a good time to get an extra box of the self-defense ammo to ensure that it will shoot through your gun. Self-defense ammo is normally about twice in cost as much as range ammo. Cost of ammo will change depending on brand and the size caliber you are shooting.
- Holster – you may need a different holster for the range vs. what you will need if you are going to carry your gun on you. Our club recommends that for range day you have a hard plastic/Kydex holster that is custom fit for your firearm. We do NOT recommend a soft/material generic holster for range day for safety concerns. A good holster that you can use for range day will be between $35-$60+.
- Eye protection. Safety glasses – you may need different ones for shooting indoors (clear) vs. outdoors (tinted). Also, if you normally wear glasses, it is recommended that you get safety glasses that will fit over your glasses or you get side guards to prevent casings from getting between your glasses and skin when shooting. Prices for this will start at $1.00 and goes up from there.
- Ear protection. Ear protection ranges in price from $0.25 for a set of soft, disposable ear plugs to over $1,000 for custom fit earplugs. Our club recommends ear protection that is electronic so that the shooting sound is muffled, but you can hear people talking on the range without removing your ear protection. A set of electronic earmuffs will be about $35-$50. Also, you will need to keep some additional batteries for them.
- Range bag to keep your items in. Some people use tool bags, suitcase, backpacks or bags that are specifically designed for the range.
- Cleaning kit – this will be a cleaner, a lubricant, some cleaning patches as well as some brass brushes for cleaning. (Sorry ladies, this is part of shooting!)
A quick note about firearms and their accessories – there is a term “cry once, buy once”. Simply put, you very often get what you pay for when it comes to firearms and their accessories. You need to get good, quality gear to ensure that you are safe and that you do not continue to purchase lower quality products repeatedly only to then purchase a more expensive version down the line. Ladies want to save a few dollars, but shooting is not a place that you do that – unfortunately!
Now that we have some of the gear you need for range you, you are now ready to get some basic safety and education before heading to the range.
*Also – you may want to clean your gun before your first trip to the range. Since the factory doesn’t know how long a firearm will sit before it is shot, a special packing lubricant is used on the gun before it leaves the factory to preserve it. Often times, this will be very thick and may cause issues when shooting your new gun for the first time.