*This article was written by John_234 from www.zombiesurvivalwiki.com Mad props for the research and time spent writing this article out.*
Though I'm quite honestly not too comfortable with the majority of idiots I know sauntering about with guns, firearms are an indeliable, and pretty damned important part of American culture. About the worst thing to do with that is alienate guns and only let the idiots flaunt them. So the most common question tends to be, "What handgun should I buy?"
What do you need it for?
Home defense or S&G is the most common answer, followed by security or duty work, maybe even a defense gun while hiking in the woods, or serious issues such as zombie protection. Point being, which of these do you need a handgun for?
|"Why are people so damn surprised these do better for home defense, anyway?"|
If you're getting a first gun, a shotgun or a .22 Long Rifle would probably be the best option. The shotgun excels as an all-rounder because of a simple action, and a large variety of ammunition. It also packs a lot more punch than any handgun and requires slightly less precision at most ranges (not to the extent of video games, but easier than a rifle or handgun). The .22 LR might sound like an odd choice, but they're not scary to fire, reliable, and best of all, CHEAP. Ammo costs about twenty bucks per five hundred rounds. Twenty bucks would normally get you something like fifty handgun rounds. You can shoot literally ten times more for the buck. Just don't expect to use it for defense or hunting.
Home defense applies broadly to anywhere from your bedroom, to your front door, the spot where the intruder leapt head-first through the hedges. In the legal sense, a vehicle is also considered an extension of your home, and the same legal right to defend it applies. The shotgun has traditionally been the king of home defense, and it should never override a handgun. That doesn't mean a handgun isn't nice, however. An interesting note is that vehicle defense is almost exclusively done with a handgun. It seems logical to carry a shotgun when given the extra space, but that option is seldom used, it seems.
Duty (cop or security), concealed carry (a civilian armed with a concealed handgun with a license) is different, because the handgun is a primary weapon for the carrier. The rifle and shotgun is preferred when available, but the handgun must be able to hold it's own in a gunfight. That means a medium to large caliber, a good magazine size, and a heavier trigger pull to prevent accidents, but a design comfortable to carry all day and spare magazines that aren't so expensive you'll never practice.
Hunting, camping and survival designs need to be rugged, accurate and comfortable to carry, though overall size usually isn't too much of a concern. Granted, they're usually pretty big bore, intended for use against large animals.
What is important?
Research some popular models, and read up on the mechanics of a handgun and popular opinion on them. Go to your nearest satisfactory shooting range. Bring at minimum, $100 to test guns and buy ammo - this sounds expensive, but it's chump change compared to a full purchase, and very worth it, in both practical lessons and entertainment value.
Listen carefully to the safety briefing, then ask the range owners what they recommend for a new shooter. Before you even buy ammo, pick up the gun. Is the trigger too long for you to reach? Are the sights cruddy? Is the trigger unbearably heavy? Does the presence of an extrernal hammer bother you or help you? Go down that list you researched, and find what fits your hand best, above all.
They will probably hand you a 9mm Parabellum, or a .38 Special. Bigger rounds means a wide grip and less per magazine, which can be critical for a combat handgun - or a pain in the ass when plinking targets. Recoil is self explanatory, but some people don't consider muzzle flash and gas released by the cartridge as well. A .357 Magnum creates a gigantic fireball that can quite easily destroy your night vision in mild darkness, and the report will probably damage your hearing, worse from a shorter barrel.
|"Ever see a ballistics gelatin block shot with a hunting rifle or shotgun slug? What happens is the projectile hits the block, penetrates about four feet, while simultaneously exploding like a miniature grenade and throwing the block from the table like it was hit by a sledgehammer. Handguns are small beans."|
All this for an ultimately minor difference in stopping power. It tends to be worth it, though - the more powerful the bullet, the less you have to fire. Guns are a balancing game in this respect, and contrary to popular belief, rounds like the 9mm Parabellum will kill people quite well. For the time being, figure out what you can handle properly.
|"Shooters like Jerry Miculek all use a similar grip and stance."|
To quickly sum up what "proper" means, for an automatic pistol, which has a box magazine and a recoiling slide, you'll want to have your strong side hand as high on the rear of the pistol as possible, to soak up recoil. Your weak side should be wrapped around the strong hand, as if you are shaking someone's hand with both hands. Your thumbs should point forward, the strong thumb on top of the weak thumb. On a revolver, which has a rotating cylinder, most of these tips are the same, though generally the thumbs are curled downward - if this is more comfortable on an automatic, too, give it a try.
|"This is about every single youtube video with a gun fired by a female, ever."|
As for stance, it's fairly simple. Take a step back with your strong side, as if you are preparing to lash out with a punch or a kick. Have your arms held out even with each other, elbows slightly bent, and lean forward, into the shot. Too many people lock their elbows and lean away from the gun, doing the double function of both increasing recoil, and making them look like total fools.
Line the sights up in the center of the target. Try to use both eyes, or if this is difficult, use your dominant eye, keeping the other open. Squeeze the trigger slowly (with tough, heavy pulls, use the first joint of your finger, with very light ones, use the first pad). Called the "surprise break," squeezing the trigger slowly so that you barely expect the shot prevents you from flinching and will keep you from getting afraid of the gun.
After a couple rounds, remove the magazine, noting if the release button is handily located. Then check your hands. You'll probably see a couple marks where the gun nipped your hands. Sharp edges are found on most guns, and it's good to be aware if a design needs modification out of the box or not. Or, it could be that your grip is somewhat unsuited to that type of handgun. That's why you brought $100 to experiment with.
*Note: I don't claim ownership over any of these images.
*Note: I don't claim ownership over any of these images.