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How to Pick the Right First Gun

Your first gun is a very important purchase that will help you into a new field of shooting sports and recreation.

When I started out in the shooting world at the age of around 10 years old, I inherited my grandmother’s Daisy model 25 pump action BB gun.

I was taught safe shooting practices and marksmanship with that, and within a couple years I bought a Powermaster 66 air rifle. It had better accuracy and power than the old Daisy did.

I then inherited my grandfather’s Savage bolt action .22 long rifle. That Savage .22 rifle propelled me into the firearms world with great enthusiasm.

Below is a picture of a Ruger model 10/22 autoloading .22 long rifle chambered rifle. It is a perfect size for a beginner shooter all the way through expert and the second rifle I have ever owned.


The ideal first gun

Just like the majority of shooters, I recommend the .22 rifle as the very first firearm to purchase. Recoil is almost non existent, noise is light, and the accuracy will give you a chance to really work on your shooting stances.

For hunting, any small game will go down quick with a well placed .22 round. There are many offerings for ammunition, from the super quiet Aguila Colibri loads, great for backyard practice, to the hot CCI stinger hollow points for explosive vermin control. The .22 rifle can do it all.

Adding a handgun

For the first pistol, I also recommend a .22 caliber in the handgun form. Once again, it is light on recoil and will be the best for learning to shoot with.

If you are looking for a self defense caliber pistol, look into the .380 ACP, 9mm or .38 special. The fun little .22 is just too light as a real defense cartridge, but is a great training round. Work your way up to the larger calibers to avoid flinching.

Complete the collection

This leaves us with our last category to fill, the first shotgun. Ultimately, the .410 caliber (not gauge, as this is measured by caliber for this shotshell) is a pick for many. It has light recoil and can be chambered in light small framed shotguns.

A Young Girl With A Gun For Trap Shooting

As a hunting gun though, it falls way behind the other shotshell sizes in payload and utility. I would recommend instead a Remington 870 youth model in 20 gauge for a younger shooter.

The 20 gauge is a good hunting load and will work well in the defensive work also. Light payload shells are available, as are heavy magnum loads. I started my petite wife on the above shotgun, and it fit her well.

Make it your gun

Check the fit of the gun to your stature before you buy it. Youth model sized firearms are great for small sized and petite shooters, but if you are a bigger framed person, stick with standard sized long guns.

If you are a left handed person, look into offerings in left hand firearms and you will thank yourself later.

As with any firearm, be sure you know all about your new gun and read the instruction manual thoroughly so you will know how to feed and clean it.

More from Wide Open Spaces:

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The Classic H&R Sportsman 999 .22 Revolver

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A Real Gun Gem: The Saiga 12

Always follow safe shooting practices, and if you are new to the sport, make sure you sign up for a hunter safety course or a shooting safety course. Use ear plugs and eye protection always.

Shooting is a great sport that is the ultimate in stress relief and may save your life one day. Get out to your local club or indoor range and enjoy your great Constitutional Right!

What was your first gun?

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How to Pick the Right First Gun