First gun?

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First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:30 am
  • So my wife for her birthday wanted to learn how to shot a gun, something she's wanted to do for awhile. I found a nearby gun range that offered a beginners handgun class, which we did last night.

    It was a lot of fun, 2 hours of classroom, an hour on the range, with rental guns. The teacher was an ex-marine, who was also an instructor at Paris Island. Interesting guy, seemed to know his stuff.

    So my wife shot a Smith and Wesson M&P, I shot a Glock 17. I guess pretty standard semi-auto's right?

    Well, she's hooked! (and was a pretty good shot) What do you think we should buy for our first gun? Now this will most likely be a hobby, something we can do together, head to the range and do some shooting, nothing serious.

    Whatcha think?
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:37 am
  • For a female?

    smith and wesson model 642 would be an excellent first handgun. 38 special, hammerless, small fame. light, super easy to operate and you can get them with pink grips. :). It's girlie girl gun that you can put in a purse but will deal plenty of damage with a modern +p self defense load.

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    For a dude, I think a glock 17, the model you auditioned at the rental range, would be perfect.

    Both affordable, durable, easy to operate handguns and you can get both for a reasonable cost.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:40 am
  • There are several other people on this forum that are big gun nuts, at least one of which will chime in, I'm sure; but I'm partial to Springfield Armory (great warranty, solid overall pieces) and Kimber. (Crap warranty, but I love the way they shoot, and they are good quality for the price; definitely pricier than Springfield, though.)

    Really, you should not just take people's advice, but go shoot a ton of different pieces at the range and see what you like the feel of. The feel of the grip, weight, and personal comfort of the size of the weapon are all important things. You can buy a $4,000 custom-made piece and be inaccurate with it and not like it if it doesn't feel right for you; there's more to it than just buying a "good" gun.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:56 am
  • Be sure and try a couple of Rugers. Wife and I both have one but we prefer larger calibers. I purchased a .45 Ruger, she shot it and since its comfortable for both men and women she wanted one also. But agree P90 is a pretty large frame. We got her the smaller frame version and its kick is ok even for her tho not as smooth as the P90.

    But everyone is right, shot a bunch of different models and more importantly brands to see what she likes. I would never recommend anyone man or woman to get anything smaller than a 9mm. All types of frames available for purse or fanny pack.

    I have a .38 I carried for years traveling and for close up stuff they are ok but if not, you need a larger caliber with more stopping power. For self defense I'm of the side that says if you feel you have to shoot keep shooting till the gun stops.


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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:07 am
  • I love glocks, I think the 17 is a perfect first gun. I carry a small frame Glock 29 when I go wandering in Alaska.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:06 am
  • For range work, any striker-fired automatic pistol should suffice. Since this is a range gun, I'd recommend 9mm or .40 S&W as they are the cheapest centerfire loads to work with.

    Good offerings can be had from the following manufacturers:

    Glock, Beretta, H&K, Springfield Armory, Colt, Taurus (good value here), Sig Sauer.

    I'd steer clear of anything based on an M1911 frame (it's 102 years old, for crying out loud), unless you like clearing malfunctions from your piece. Therefore, steer clear of Kimber (they are complete shit, to be honest), Wilson Combat (like anyone would spend 2k+ on an M1911), STI, and Ed Brown.

    A Beretta 92 is hard to beat for fun, and they don't tend to break the bank, though given recent panic buying all bets are off as far as costs are concerned. Glocks are ultra reliable, easy to maintain, and come in a variety of centerfire loads such as 9mm, 40 S&W, .45 ACP, .45 GAP (avoid), .357 SIG, and 10mm Automatic. H&K's M&P series are as solid as they come, but a bit more expensive than Glock, despite being almost the exact same thing. Springfield Armory's XD series are great guns, but the magazine release is janky as hell. Colt generally makes a high quality shooter, but steer clear of M1911s. Sig Sauer makes a mighty fine pistola as well, perhaps the best in this list.

    For range work and concealed carry, it's hard to beat a 9mm. Generally, they hold at least 10 rounds, and modern guns can handle +P hollowpoints, which address concerns regarding its stopping power. They are also accurate as all get-out, where the .40 S&W is only barely supersonic and becomes destabilized when it breaches back down through the transonic barrier.

    Hope you find this info useful. Happy shooting!
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:25 am
  • I like M1911s, personally; but it's definitely an old design. However, it has lasted this long for a reason. :)

    Smokin, just curious, but what do you base Kimber being complete $hit on? I know a couple of people that have Kimber .45s, one of them has had the same one for 12 years and has had nary a problem; not that that's any sort of guarantee of quality, of course. They certainly have a great feel as well though, in my opinion.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:56 am
  • Dirty Harry hand gun.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:57 am
  • I carry a CZ P-01 9mm

    It's compact and reliable. NATO approved handgun carried by the Chezk police.

    It's unbelievably reliable with 7 jams per 15000 rounds.

    Don't buy a crappy glock.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:03 pm
  • Glocks are the furthest thing from crappy. There's a video on YouTube of a guy that buried one in his back yard for 2 years and took it out and shot 1000 rounds with it. It's perfect because I don't have to meticulously maintain it and it will always shoot. I just got this glock 17 over the summer at wades in Bellevue. I added a threaded barrel and a silencer. Everything was just under $1000
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:22 pm
  • That looks pretty cool FreshlySnipes

    I thought Glocks were like AK's.... meaning they are really reliable. Trash em, mistreat em, abuse em, and they just keep firing.


    That CZ P-01 9mm looks nice.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:41 pm
  • Eh, go with the revolver, less to go wrong! No casings to police :) My personal favorite is my dad's old 9 shot .22 long rifle with the long long barrel. May not pack as much stopping power, but very accurate and deadly in the right hands. Won't be fitting one of those in a purse though!

    Not a gun nut or anything, but I just love that revolver.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:43 pm
  • Only a Walther PPK will do..... :mrgreen:
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:51 pm
  • twisted_steel2 wrote:That looks pretty cool FreshlySnipes

    I thought Glocks were like AK's.... meaning they are really reliable. Trash em, mistreat em, abuse em, and they just keep firing.


    That CZ P-01 9mm looks nice.


    Thanks bro. Ya they are like the ak of handguns. My other handgun, which was my first is a Colt Python .357 Magnum with a 6" barrel. The colt is a hell of a gun but i felt bad shooting it because of its kind of a collectors item. Now with my glock I can shoot it all day and not worry about it.

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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:08 pm
  • RolandDeschain wrote:I like M1911s, personally; but it's definitely an old design. However, it has lasted this long for a reason. :)

    Smokin, just curious, but what do you base Kimber being complete $hit on? I know a couple of people that have Kimber .45s, one of them has had the same one for 12 years and has had nary a problem; not that that's any sort of guarantee of quality, of course. They certainly have a great feel as well though, in my opinion.


    It's lasted this long because gun designers are not the most gifted mechanical engineers and they would rather profit from an age old design which is still in demand (largely due to image and aesthetics, rather than engineering), instead of designing something cutting edge.

    On to my specific reasoning for hating Kimber products. For starters, they are a brand which depends on name recognition and marketing, rather than the quality of their products. They make "pretty" guns, favoring aesthetics over functionality -- guns that shoot straight on the range, but can't be relied upon in a duty carry situation. Kimber manufactures their firearms to very tight tolerances, so tight that it requires 1500-2000 rounds to be shot through it before the gun loosens up sufficiently. Given that the cost of 50 rounds of .45 ACP is about $40, most owners are not going to shoot $1500 worth of ammo to break in their guns. My biggest beef with these firearms, other than being built on the archaic M1911 platform, is reliability. An M1911 manufactured on tight tolerances will shoot straight, but is simply not reliable. If there is zero play between the slide and frame, the gun is going to endure a feed failure at some point, but hey, at least you'll look like the real deal right before you die. Kimber is also notorious for having poor quality control procedures, noted by a lack of consistency in their products. One gun will shoot fine right out of the box, another will require 500 rounds of break-in and a couple trips back to the factory for "adjustment". To me, this is not acceptable in a >$1000 firearm.

    The "feel" you speak of are the natural ergonomics of the M1911, which are quite nice, I will admit. These are the same for pretty much every 1911 out there, though, and are certainly not exclusive to Kimber. The magazines are typically (with a few exceptions) single-stacked, providing for a paltry capacity of 7 rounds, 6 rounds for the officer models (3" barrel, compact 1911). This of course begs the question "why the hell did I not buy a goddamned revolver?", when there really is no good answer to it. A small .357/.38+P revolver is better in nearly every conceivable fashion, particularly reliability, but also in terms of power delivery and size. Given that you can't reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition in an M1911 (not that there is enough velocity to expand it anyway), a .357 magnum is comparatively better in every way. It's my opinion that the person who purchases a Kimber 1911 for concealed carry purposes does so for image, more so than anything else. Perhaps this, more than anything else, is what sours my opinion of Kimber products.

    One last knock on Kimber products is the egregious use of metal injection molding (MIM) parts. For a $1000+ firearm marketed towards competition shooters and concealed carry holders, there should be no MIM parts on it anywhere. Reliability is paramount, and parts made with MIM processes tend to be rather easily broken. It's not uncommon for Kimber owners to strip off all the MIM parts, replacing them with high quality substitutes from Wilson Combat or another 1911 boutique like Ed Brown.

    In essence, a small framed .357 revolver can do better, everything an M1911 does, with none of the drawbacks. For any reason other than looking cool, why would an otherwise informed individual buy a Kimber M1911? They are popular for no reason other than superior marketing.
    Last edited by SmokinHawk on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:17 pm
  • Tech Worlds wrote:I carry a CZ P-01 9mm

    It's compact and reliable. NATO approved handgun carried by the Chezk police.

    It's unbelievably reliable with 7 jams per 15000 rounds.

    Don't buy a crappy glock.


    CZ makes fantastic handguns, so long as they are not the M1911s manufactured by their Dan Wesson brand. The Czechs were the first to manufacture cartridge based firearms, all the way back in the mid 1800s, and they can do it better than pretty much anyone.

    Glocks are definitely not crappy, though. Gotta disagree there. Their triggers are junk, but the reliability of the firearm is the best in the business. They are much better guns than most things costing double.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:59 pm
  • Interesting info about Kimber, Smokin'; thanks. However, when I referred to the feel of the Kimbers, I wasn't referring to the generic M1911 feel, though I do like that. I've a pretty good number of various M1911s, but the Kimber I fired specifically, I liked the best for not only physical feel but just....sighting and the accuracy I had with it. Guess I'll avoid them as a brand for purchasing if I ever buy a firearm down the road, which I likely will at some point.

    Due to my love of The Dark Tower series, I don't think I could ever buy a revolver that wasn't a large .45 LC of some sort, lol. I've fired a friend's .357 magnum that he carries on his ankle, though. The bullets were practically bigger than the gun.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:08 pm
  • The 3 I would consider

    Glock 19

    S&W M&P shield

    Springfield XD-M

    All in 9mm. They all have good track records a wide range of Holsters , sights etc. as well.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:25 pm
  • RolandDeschain wrote:Interesting info about Kimber, Smokin'; thanks. However, when I referred to the feel of the Kimbers, I wasn't referring to the generic M1911 feel, though I do like that. I've a pretty good number of various M1911s, but the Kimber I fired specifically, I liked the best for not only physical feel but just....sighting and the accuracy I had with it. Guess I'll avoid them as a brand for purchasing if I ever buy a firearm down the road, which I likely will at some point.

    Due to my love of The Dark Tower series, I don't think I could ever buy a revolver that wasn't a large .45 LC of some sort, lol. I've fired a friend's .357 magnum that he carries on his ankle, though. The bullets were practically bigger than the gun.


    I will reluctantly admit that the M1911 has easily the best ergo of any pistol ever created. They just fit well in the hand, whether it's a big hand or small hand. I did fail to mention that the sight radius of an M1911 is also quite perfect (especially the Commander 4.6" and Government 5" models), making them inherently accurate guns to fire. For a range queen, an M1911 is hard to beat, especially since you will get valuable training in clearing malfunctions. I own two of them, one is a Dan Wesson commander frame with bobbed tail, chambered in 10mm Auto (it's complete shit, but sure is a beauty), and the other is a classic WWII era 5" government model manufactured by Remington Rand. Upon neither of which would I stake my life.

    I get a lot of friends asking me what they should carry concealed and my recommendation invariably falls first on revolvers, for gun noobs, then single-action/double-action automatic pistols (hammer can be lowered with a decocker, requiring a stiff first trigger pull, then normal single-action automatic operation follows), like the Sig Pro 2022, for more experienced shooters. Such firearms have the best of both worlds.

    For personal carry, I have a Taurus Millenium Pro PT-111, chambered in 9mm. It fits nicely in the pocket and has a very stiff double action only trigger pull that makes it safe to carry there. I have read stories about the frames cracking but mine seems to be holding up well. Other than the aforementioned issue, they are known to be very reliable handguns with a great small size and 10+1 capacity.
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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:19 pm
  • Since I'm completely happy with mine, might I suggest a Beretta PX4 Storm? Great gun:

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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:48 pm
  • My dad is a gun collector and I've been shooting all my life. I'm pretty sure I've fired all of them at one point or other. My favorite was his Beretta, I have no idea what model. I told myself if I ever bought a gun for myself it would be that same one.

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Re: First gun?
Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:32 pm
  • I really like the beretta 92fs a lot . It feels great in my hand and is a beautiful gun. It was between that and my glock 17.
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Re: First gun?
Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:08 am
  • My father has a Glock .40 and a Beretta 9mm, both feel comfortable in the hand (though I've never fired either of them). I personally have a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver, short barrel.
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Re: First gun?
Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:52 pm
  • SmokinHawk wrote:
    RolandDeschain wrote:Interesting info about Kimber, Smokin'; thanks. However, when I referred to the feel of the Kimbers, I wasn't referring to the generic M1911 feel, though I do like that. I've a pretty good number of various M1911s, but the Kimber I fired specifically, I liked the best for not only physical feel but just....sighting and the accuracy I had with it. Guess I'll avoid them as a brand for purchasing if I ever buy a firearm down the road, which I likely will at some point.

    Due to my love of The Dark Tower series, I don't think I could ever buy a revolver that wasn't a large .45 LC of some sort, lol. I've fired a friend's .357 magnum that he carries on his ankle, though. The bullets were practically bigger than the gun.


    I will reluctantly admit that the M1911 has easily the best ergo of any pistol ever created.

    I'll stack my P220R up against the 1911 any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
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Re: First gun?
Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:07 am
  • I have an H&K P30 .40 and I like it. Very reliable and comfortable.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:20 pm
  • Actually, my .357 isn't a Taurus, it's an EAA Windicator .357 with a 2" barrel.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:51 pm
  • Holy cow. Apparently there is an automatic 1911-ish frame .357 magnum. http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,5

    Has anybody ever fired one of these? Also, do any of our resident gun experts know anything about the Coonan brand? .357 magnum power in a 1911-ish frame, this thing looks amazing.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:41 pm
  • RolandDeschain wrote:Holy cow. Apparently there is an automatic 1911-ish frame .357 magnum. http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,5

    Has anybody ever fired one of these? Also, do any of our resident gun experts know anything about the Coonan brand? .357 magnum power in a 1911-ish frame, this thing looks amazing.


    That thing would make John Browning roll in his grave. There has been but only one other automatic pistol chambered in .357, that I can think of, and that would be the Desert Eagle Mark XIX. It's a noble concept, for sure, but impractical for any purpose other than a pleasing afternoon at the range. The feed geometry of that gun has been customized sufficiently to load the cartridge, but my gut tells me the pistol would still be quite dependent on what ammo is fed through it. To be fair, most guns are at least a little persnickety about what ammo they like, but 1911s are notorious for disliking anything other than full metal jacket (a.k.a. "ball" or "hardball"), and this is a phenomenon true of 1911s in .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 9mm Para.

    The .357 cartridge is rimmed, whereas nearly all other autoloader cartridges (in both rifles and pistols) are rimless. The rims on the cartridges affect how they stack in the magazine, which is why this handgun has crappy capacity at only 7 rounds. That is one more round than most small frame revolvers, and two more rounds than most ultra compact revolvers, in a Government sized (5 inch) Colt handgun profile. Granted, it is firing .357 magnum, which is attractive from a self-defense standpoint, but you can get the same power in a smaller handgun, with better capacity (10-15 rounds sound good?), in something chambered for .357 Sig.

    The Coonan piece looks the shit, though, and I'd love to have one for a fun day at the range. As a carry piece they are impractical, though I could actually see it being useful for deer hunting, though there are better pistols for it, some of them even on an M1911 frame. If you're going to go full tilt on an M1911 chambered in something oddball, consider a .460 Rowland. It's like .44 mag power in a 1911 frame.

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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:46 pm
  • Or, if you would rather impress people with the sheer size (and utter oddity) of your M1911, see if you can get your hands on an AMT Automag III. It's chambered in .30 Carbine, the same cartridge fired by the M1 Carbine, and it packs a serious punch. Looks really menacing with its absurdly long 7" barrel. Totally off the scale for impracticality, but a highly collectible piece with useability for hunting purposes and starting conversations with other gun savvy people. I've been trying to locate one of these off and on for a few years now but can't get one at a price I'm happy with.

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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:54 pm
  • Smokin, you just necessitated a change of shorts on my part. A pistol that fires .30 carbine ammo. Holy Christ. That would be amazing to play with at the range, just for the hell of it. I see there are some available on auction sites for around a grand.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:29 pm
  • RolandDeschain wrote:Smokin, you just necessitated a change of shorts on my part. A pistol that fires .30 carbine ammo. Holy Christ. That would be amazing to play with at the range, just for the hell of it. I see there are some available on auction sites for around a grand.


    Yeah, it isn't worth a dime over 500, though. The steel is cheap and rusts easily. AMT was known for manufacturing a lot of cheap guns and so-called "Saturday Night Specials", nearly all of them have reliability, cosmetic, or finish issues, but man they sure do look cool. If you can find one without any rust on it, snatch it up. It's a relative rarity to find one that was regularly oiled.

    Believe it or not, they actually made an Automag V, as well, which was chambered in .50 Action Express (Desert Eagle cartridge), but I like the concept of the III better, since the V has but a 5 round capacity.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:31 pm
  • Yeah, I looked them up on Wikipedia. It seems like there would be a market for them to produce much better pieces that take specialized ammo, which they could charge a premium for; no?
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:51 pm
  • RolandDeschain wrote:Yeah, I looked them up on Wikipedia. It seems like there would be a market for them to produce much better pieces that take specialized ammo, which they could charge a premium for; no?


    Well, here's the thing. AMT as a company went bankrupt defending itself from patent infringement suits coming from Ruger. They basically ripped off the venerable Ruger Model 10/22 action, put it into an all stainless steel frame with wire folding stock, and sold it with a 25 round banana magazine. Their brand name has been sold numerous times, but none of the same people are running the show. Truth be told, they really weren't the most gifted gunsmiths in the world, they just had computerized machining equipment (for the 80s, it was impressive), and knew CAD well enough to modify existing drawings, such as the M1911. It was a crew of redneck savants building those guns down in Cali.
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Re: First gun?
Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:02 pm
  • Interesting history. That III sure looks like the result of a redneck orgasm and AutoCAD, haha.
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Re: First gun?
Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:28 am
  • Minor thread hijack here, so apologies to the OP, but as the gun fans are already in this thread seemed a logical place to ask.

    I know foreign nationals can't own guns in the US but can they shoot them at a range when on vacation?
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Re: First gun?
Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:11 am
  • A London Hawk wrote:Minor thread hijack here, so apologies to the OP, but as the gun fans are already in this thread seemed a logical place to ask.

    I know foreign nationals can't own guns in the US but can they shoot them at a range when on vacation?


    Interesting question, I don't see why you couldn't walk into a range and rent one?
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Re: First gun?
Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:12 am
  • I'm fairly sure that's legal, as I've known some foreigners to come to the U.S. for hunting trips.

    According to Wiki, it's legal:

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Recreational_shooting
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Re: First gun?
Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:41 am
  • ShyCheetah wrote:My dad is a gun collector and I've been shooting all my life. I'm pretty sure I've fired all of them at one point or other. My favorite was his Beretta, I have no idea what model. I told myself if I ever bought a gun for myself it would be that same one.

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    Oh, I was mistsken. It was his Browning that I liked.

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Re: First gun?
Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:39 am
  • A London Hawk wrote:Minor thread hijack here, so apologies to the OP, but as the gun fans are already in this thread seemed a logical place to ask.

    I know foreign nationals can't own guns in the US but can they shoot them at a range when on vacation?


    Yes they can, so long as they get a hunting license, which is usually around $50USD. With a hunting license, you can borrow one from a friend, or rent one at a range. Go to Las Vegas and you can even shoot a machine gun, under the watchful supervision of a rangemaster.
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