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smturner99

questions from new girl

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Hi,

I'm really very very new to guns and I found this web site and thought I could ask you guys some questions. I want to buy a gun and I've been trying to do research and I'm unsure about some things.

(And I want it for "just in case" types of situations, I don't necessarily want it with me all the time, just after dark when I have to walk my dog. I live in a nice apartment complex but still, we have to take our dogs out back to go to the bathroom and sometimes it is really dark, especially when the lights mounted in between the buildings go out. - also - I live alone, just me and my little lap dog)

I live in Knoxville and went to Gander Mountain and the guy there said I should get the "Springfield XD9".

But I like the feel of the bigger, stronger metal type guns like the "Beretta 92 or Beretta M9A1" or a "SIG Sauer" ones.

Also, I've heard that the heavier guns are easier to shoot because of recoil??

Anyway, what is your opinion on this? What guns do you recommend?

Honestly, the guns with the "bigger handle" just feels better to me.

Also, I've heard differing information about the laws and buying a gun. Someone told me that I have to get my fingerprints checked and get a license first and someone else told me that they just check my license?

I've never been arrested (although I have a pretty bad speeding history") - which I don't think would keep me from buying a gun. But can you clear this up for me?

I went to the NRA web site and tried to follow the links but always ended up in these legal web sites, when really I would just like the short easy to understand version.

Also, what about buying used, I've read different things about buying a used gun, whether it is good or not. Does a gun "wear out" by being used so much? So many of them that I see online people say "only 100 rounds fired" or that kind of thing - but does that matter?

I buy used cars, so is buying a used gun the same? If you get a good reliable one you are ok?

So, any words of wisdom on those 3 things would be appreciated.

thank you,

Sarah

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1) You buy the gun that fits you best. If possible, go to a range that rents them and try a few. It's a small investment of time and money that will yield big savings down the road. Or get a friend who's into guns to take you shooting and let you try a few. Try different calibres and styles and see what you're most comfortable with. Consider cost of ammo when making decisions.

Yes, the bigger the gun and the heavier it is the easier it will be to shoot.

2) To buy a gun you go to the store, pick one out and fill out Federal Form 4473 which will ask you a bunch of questions. Ask if you dont understand any of them. You will need a picture id with your current address, like a drivers license. There are various things that can disqualify you but if you dont have any felony convictions or domestic violence issues then you're probably fine.

3) I like used guns like I like used cars, for about the same reason. If you dont know what to look for though it can be costly. Yes, guns do wear out although they have pretty good longevity. Somewhere on here is a review of a gun I bought that is about 100 years old. And works OK. The better ones tend to be police trade-ins. They will have holster wear and some cosmetic issues but will work fine since overall cops dont shoot much.

Good luck, welcome to the board, and ask questions. The only stupid one is the one you don't ask.

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Welcome Sarah,

You'll get a lot of opinions, but here are mine, in a nutshell.

If you will only need to carry when concealment is no problem, then get the biggest gun you can handle well. It will recoil less and be easier to shoot. Any of the ones you mention are good. Better, get two guns, one "compact" to conceal well and another "home defense" that you can keep handy and take on walks at night.

If you want to carry a loaded gun outside of your home in Tennessee, you need a Handgun Carry Permit. You'll need to take a class and pass a written test and a shooting test, then you need to be fingerprinted and have a background check. However, to simply buy a handgun, you need to be over 21 and not be a felon.

I have bought three new guns and a whole bunch used. A good used gun from a reputable dealer is fine, but make sure it's been checked by a gunsmith. A new gun has warranties and such. A used gun can be "worn out" but most can be refurbished. It's your call. Are you comfortable buying used cars? It's a similar call.

Hope that helps.

Mike

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You're a girl, so it should be really easy for you to find a gun that fits you. There are probably plenty of us guys who would be more than willing to provide a variety of suitable guns for you to try. Just name a range, and a date, and if there are any TGO gentlemen in the area, some of them will probably show up. We'd probably even provide the ammo.

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I'll chime in here with general agreement all around on what has been said already. I'd like to add two things:

1) The carry permit is important for you. Sounds like you will be carry the handgun in situations where a permit is required. There are many places in your area one can take the class to start the permit process. I'm sure some of the TGO members in K-ville area will have good places to recommend.

2) I also hope someone will chime in with the name of a good gun store for smturner99 to visit. Some stores are better for people new to guns than others. On the issue of used guns, buying one from a reputable dealer should not be an issue. If you buy from a store with a range facility, by all means ask to shoot it.

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Since you live in Knoxville, you ought to come down to the East TN TGO Members meet this December if you don;t find a good pistol by the 15th. I'm sure some of us have a good suggestion and would be willing to let you try a few out.

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There's an indoor range in Sevierville with a decent selection of rentals as well. I'd try to go to the meet in December as well. The more guns you shoot, the better the chances are you'll find one that you think fits. Buying your first gun should be like buying your first new car. Don't hand over the money before you test drive it, or at least one just like it.

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and about the permit, if you pass the background check to purchase a pistol from a dealer, you will pass the background check to obtain the permit after you meet the state requirements.

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Facts:

Well, first, you do not need a "handgun carry" permit to buy a gun of any type including a handgun.

Second, you do not need a permit of any kind to keep a loaded gun, including a handgun, in your place of residence. You do need a "carry permit" to carry a loaded gun when you walk the dog or even driving down the road in your car.

Third, to buy a new gun or a used gun at a firearms dealership or from anyone licensed by the government to sell firearms, you must pass an instant background check in this state. Basically, if you are not a convicted felon or under a restraining order from a domestic violence complaint, you will pass. They do ask you some probing questions on the form you must fill out. Your thumbprints are recorded on the form.

To buy any gun from a private individual, new or used, in a face to face transaction, there is no background check or any paperwork required.

Opinion:

Take a shooting class. Look for an NRA basic handgun course or even the handgun safety course which is mandated by the state of tennessee. Before you worry with even buying a handgun or anything else, you need some knowledge. Alot of the folks that are NRA instructors will probably be able to loan you a gun for the purposes of the class. Another good suggestion is to go shooting with someone to begin understanding the terminology, and the shooting part in and of itself. A .22 caliber gun in any form is a good one to start out on.

Once you have some background in it, you should be able to figure out which guns you like the best. And you should follow your own judgement. The gun you like and shoot the best is the one you want for self defense, particularly for someone starting out.

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find a range, rent and try....try different calibers as well as models. I carry 9mm, but that is my choice. you will have to see whats best for YOU...

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If you are "very very new to guns" as you stated, and are planning on carrying a handgun on your person while walking your four legged babies, I would recommend that you contact Phantom6 (Mike) here on the board. He is a handgun carry permit/NRA instructor based in Oak Ridge. His permit class is Incorporated into an NRA basic pistol class. I spoke with him just recently to see if he had any "womens only" classes coming up. I'm trying to get a few good women that are willing to sign up with my wife to take the course. If I'm not mistaken, he also does individual classes if it is something you would like to do alone.

As for a gun, and as others have mentioned, I'm sure a few of us from Knoxville could round up several handguns of all sizes for you to look at and shoot. The most important thing is that you buy something that you will practice and that you are comfortable with. Otherwise, you will never use it.

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O yeah, and as C.A.S. stated, if you would like to make it out to the next shoot in Dec., here's the link. Jump right in. I can assure you a pleasent and very safe time. The Oak Ridge event is ran by Phantom6, which as I mentioned above is a firearms instructor. It's his job to be safe.:love:

http://www.tngunowners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2826

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Welcome from South Knoxville, like someone already mentioned check out Coal Creek Armory you can rent by the caliber and try out all of the different guns. And then take a class and get as comfortable with your new gun as you can.

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Having personally trained him, I would suggest you ask Mr. Teague if he'd be willing to join you at Coal Creek Armory, so that he can offer some informed opinions on firearms selection. The suggestions to talk to Phantom6 are great as well, as he makes a living teaching people to use guns safely.

Whatever you do, remember this: buying a defensive gun is a VERY, VERY personal decision. No matter what anyone else suggests is perfect for you, it boils down to whether or not you are happy with the gun. The gun must fit you, your budget, and your needs.

A Beretta 92 is a good gun, and the weight does aid in handling recoil. But, the size does make it more difficult for many people to conceal properly. Conversely, a Taurus Millenium, chambered in .40 is generally easier to conceal, and the round is quite potent; but the felt recoil is usually quite snappy.

You really need to handle as many guns as possible, and try to shoot the majority of them. Some guns feel great in your hands, but they feel a lot different when fired. For example, a friend of mine was considering buying a Kel-Tec PF-9 for herself, to replace the Kahr PM-9 she was borrowing from another friend. She and I went to the range last Sunday, with another member from here who owns a PF-9. She liked the way the gun felt in her hand, and it concealed well. However, when she fired it, she didn't care for the trigger and how it resets. To her, the Kahr's trigger was much better. Therefore, she asked me to order a Kahr PM-9 for her, and she picked it up on Wednesday. Had she just bought the gun without firing it, she would have bought a gun with which she'd have been unhappy, and selling it would have meant a financial loss.

I would also recommend doing some research and asking questions of knowledgeable people before you go out to buy a gun. I'd be willing to wager your parents made sure you knew a bit about buying a car before you went to buy one of your own. They did that because they didn't want you to get ripped-off, nor did they want you driving an unsafe car. Likewise, not being informed about guns can often see you getting ripped-off, carrying a gun which isn't truly best-suited to you. (By the way, this has nothing to do with gender. Men frequently get steered wrong by gunstore clerks looking to make a quick sale, or who are deacons of the church of a particular gun brand, and who zealously push their personal preferences on others.)

Again, seeking the help of a respected professional, such as Phantom6, is a good way to learn before you're burned.

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I think this has pretty much been covered. Some advice is good, some not so good. I'll just reinforce the idea that you need to go out and actually shoot some handguns before deciding which to carry. My personal choice would be something small enough to fit in a pocket that is inherently safe, but you have to decide that.

But go ahead and get your carry permit. You will have to have it to legally carry the gun while walking your dog. Most places will loan you a gun for the class. Just ask before you sign up. If they won't give you a loaner, just ask another instructor until you find one who will loan you a gun for the class.

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Guest dotsun

+1 on coming to next month's TGO shoot before you buy a gun. You'll meet a lot of nice people and get to handle and shoot more types of handguns then you could possibly do anywhere else.

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First of all, welcome to TGO. Please enjoy your stays here.

Second, are you specifically shopping for an automatic handgun or are you also open to the prospect of a revolver?

Lots of good advice has already been given in this thread. The only thing I want to echo is what Frank (ETS_Inc) said when he mentioned trying as many handguns as you can before making what is essentially a very personal decision. Many folks will give a knee-jerk reaction and tell you "Buy a Glock!" or "Buy a Kimber!" but they are merely telling you what they prefer; not what you're going to prefer.

It's been my own personal experience that female shooters do very well with mid-sized compact automatic 9mm and 45acp handguns because of the softer recoil offered by them. The 45acp has a fairly tame recoil, believe it or not.

Many female shooters don't like the .40SW handguns because of the "snap" that the cartridge has. Especially in small frame automatics.

Definitely try before you buy! Modern defensive handgun ammunition almost ensures that as long as you're shooting a .38 Special or 9mm or larger, and that you can put your shots on target when the time comes to do so, that it really doesn't matter what caliber you're carrying. So try as many as you can and find the one that you like and the one that you're going to feel comfortable carrying.

If it's not comfortable to you, it will end up left at home more often than not... and a gun left at home is useless for your self protection.

Good luck!

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It's been my own personal experience that female shooters do very well with mid-sized compact automatic 9mm....

dude...you callin me a girl??? :D

:eek:

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Many female shooters don't like the .40SW handguns because of the "snap" that the cartridge has. Especially in small frame automatics.

Dude, you calling me a girl too?

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Welcome Sarah.

Very little to add to what has been mentioned here. All is top notch

advice. Much of which is from shooters with many years of experience

handling firearms.

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Wow - thank you everyone for all the advice.

It is pretty clear I need to shoot many guns and decide that way.

Also,

I DO need a permit to carry the gun when walking my dogs. But I'm not sure how to get it? Do I need to call the Knoxville Police Department and ask them for a form?

I do like the idea of taking a class. I especially like the idea of an all female class, that would be great. I really like that idea. It sounds so non-intimidating. I will call Coal Creek and ask them about it.

Thank you again for all your information,

Sarah

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Phantom6 is the only instructor in this area that I know of that has offered a women's only class. You may find something different, but here is their contact info: 865-483-1108. And there website is here: www.firearmsclasses.com some very helpful information can be found there.

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Sarah,

In order to get a Handgun Carry Permit, you'll need to do a few things.

First of all, you have to take a State-approved safety class. There are several in the Knoxville area, with Phantom6's being the one I'd personally recommend first. The class consists of lectures on the legal aspect of carrying and using a gun for slef-defense, the mechanical operations of the different types of handguns, and the basic fundamentals of pistol marksmanship (how to use a handgun to safely, accurately, and effectively put rounds into a target). There is also some hands-on training. In order to pass the class, you'll need to pass a very simple written test and then demonstrate proficiency with a handgun. The proficiency portion is not the least bit difficult. I've had a legally-blind gentleman pass it. (He could only see shapes at distances beyond 15-20 feet or so, without being able to pick out distinctive features.)

After you pass the class (and you will, don't worry), you go to the Department of Safety, fill out an application, and give them some money ($115). Once you've done that, you'll go get a set of fingerprints taken. Then, you wait. After about 4-6 weeks, you should have your permit.

Another thing about taking a class. There is more to influence whether or not a class is intimidating than the the gender of the students, or even the instructor. I know some female instructors who would intimidate the Green Giant! The most important factors are going to be the personality and sense of professionalism of the instructor. A good instructor won't allow themselves to intimidate anyone. They will understand that some folks, regardless of gender, are already intimidated, so they will take that into consideration. A good instructor is not going to use profanity to get their point across, nor are they going to look own on their students for being a novice. Afterall, that's the reason they are there, they're novices seeking knowledge from someone more knowledgeable than themselves.

Good luck, and stay safe. Please keep us informed about your transition from novice to trained gun owner. Your story will hopefully go well, and might help some other novice in the future.

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