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New to Firearms? Part 1

New to firearms? With the resent spate of gun control rhetoric being spewed by the current administration in conjunction with the importation of unwanted Syrian refugees / terrorists, the sales of firearms has again skyrocketed. Many people, who are first time gun buyers, are the proud new owners of firearms. New to firearms? This article is dedicated to the new owner of a firearm.

new to firearms

New To Firearms

If you are new to firearms, I ask you to please get formal training with the gun you have purchased. Ask the dealer you purchased from, for information about whom in your area offers a basic course on the operation and care of firearms in your area. Alternately, you can contact the National Rifle Association (NRA) for a list of instructors in your area. They will be able to put you in contact with someone close by.

Owning a firearm is a right. Many in the present Federal Government will try to tell you that the 2nd Amendment is about hunting or target shooting. It's not! The wording in the 2nd Amendment is clear and the later writings of our nations founders make it exceedingly clear. The right to keep and bear arms is about retaining our liberty and freedom. With a right comes responsibility. Be a responsible gun owner!

For those who have decided to buy a firearm but have not yet decided which type or caliber to buy, I am going to assist you with the basic nomenclature of types, caliber and parts.

Type of firearm

Lets start with the type of firearm, then on into the different sub categories.

The three basic types of firearms are: handgun, rifle and shotgun.

  • Handgun- The different common kinds of handguns are: semi automatic, revolver, single shot and derringer. Some derringers are single shot but there are two shot side by side and over and under. The more common handgun calibers are: 22 short, 22 long, 22 long rifle, 22 magnum, 25 cal, 32 long, 38 special, 380 automatic, 9 mm, 357 magnum, 40 cal, 44 cal, 45 long colt and 45 acp. There are other calibers but these are the most common. You can also obtain handguns that shoot a .410 shotgun round.


  • Rifle- The different common kinds of rifles are: semi automatic, pump, leaver action, bolt action and single shot. The more common rifle calibers are: 17 HMR, 22 long rifle, 22 WMR, 223/5.56, 243 cal, 270 Winchester, 7.62x39, 30-30, 30 cal, 25-06, 308 cal, 30-06, 300 Winchester magnum, 7 mm Remington magnum and 35 rem. There are, like the handguns, other calibers available. Rifles are also available in several handgun calibers.



Handgun Pt 1

The type of firearm you buy should be determined by the purpose for it's intended use.

If you are wanting a firearm for personal protection and are new to firearms, you will be looking at handguns. The type, size and caliber is the next decision you will have to make. I strongly suggest you purchase only a name brand handgun. This firearm is for saving your life or the life of someone else. It must be dependable. Do a little research on that weapon. Once the research is finished, go to a reputable gun range and check if they rent that gun for range use. If they do, great. You can fire the handgun to see if it is what you want. If not, do extra research and talk with owners of that firearm. Most firearm related message boards have many people there that will be happy to advise you on a particular weapon. They are the real gun guy's and gal's! The minimum caliber considered for personal protection is 380. Any gun is better than no gun when you are being attacked but, 380 is the minimum caliber widely considered as a man stopper. There are better rounds for this purpose. I suggest the 9 mm x 19 mm or sometimes known as the 9 mm parabellum, for a balance of firepower and number of rounds in the handgun. Some people will agree with me and others will disagree. With me, it's a balance. Whatever caliber you chose, I suggest to check the price of the ammunition. Some otherwise great calibers are very expensive to shoot. I really want you to practice, practice, practice, with the firearm until it becomes an extension of your arm.

Of the most common types of handguns, we will focus on two. The semi automatic and revolver. They are the most usable of the handguns for the purpose of self defense.

  • Semi automatic: Semi automatic hand guns are fitted with a magazine or sometimes called a "mag", (The proper term is magazine not "clip").

new to firearms magazine

The magazine is specific for each model of handgun. The mag can hold, depending on the brand and model of gun, 5 to 30 rounds of ammo.

new to firearms semi automatic handgun

Operation of the semi auto starts with pulling the trigger. Once the trigger is pulled, the cartridge fires and the bullet exits the barrel. The pressure of the cartridge firing, pushes the slide back, ejecting the empty shell and feeding a new round into the chamber automatically. Pulling the trigger again, starts the cycle over. One shot will occur for each trigger pull. Once all of the ammo in the mag has been shot, you reload the magazine to continue firing.

new to firearms semi autonew to firearms semi autonew to firearms semi auto

There are different kinds and sizes of semi auto handguns.

  • Revolver: Revolvers, the workhorse of handguns, hold a special place for me. I enjoy shooting revolvers.  There are two types of revolvers. Single action and double action. For the sake of this article, I will focus on double action revolvers.

new to firearms revolver

Revolvers operate by use of a revolving cylinder. The cylinder on a revolver can be fixed or swing out. The firing order of a revolver is: Pull the trigger. Pulling the trigger causes the hammer to travel to the rear and simultaneously turning the cylinder, lining it up with the barrel. When the trigger travels it length, the hammer falls, striking the firing pin and discharging the round. Pulling the trigger again will discharge another round. Revolvers can hold 5 to 9 rounds depending on the model of revolver. A revolver, once all cylinders have been fired, is reloaded by pushing the cylinder latch, swinging the cylinder out, ejecting the spent rounds and reloading the cylinders. One shot is fired for each trigger pull.

new to firearms revolver

Like the semi auto handguns, there are different sizes of revolvers.

This article will be continued in "New to Firearms? Part 2" with selection of shotguns in the next issue of Survival Existence.


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Handgun-Shotgun or Rifle

Shotgun, rifle or handgun

In self defense what should you use? Rifle? Shotgun? Handgun? I will tell you how I look at self defense and the weapons used. When asked, "what is the best weapon for self defense", I tell the person asking, It depends!

First and foremost, avoid a fight if possible. Don't do stupid things with stupid people who will get you in a stupid situation! You will only die a stupid death. If the fight is unavoidable, then and only then, resort to fighting and fight hard. Your life depends on it.



A handgun is a good self defense tool because it is easily carried and concealed. It leaves your hands free to do whatever you are doing.It's better than nothing if you have to defend yourself. It's effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired when compared to long guns.



A shotgun is a good short range weapon but you have to hold and carry it to be useful. It keeps your hands full and is shoulder held. Most people shoot it more accurately than a handgun. Out to about about 25 yards, when using 00 buckshot, the shotgun has a pattern that is good for stopping the threat. Further than that, the pattern begins to open up and can have large gaps. It is certainly lethal further out though.



A rifle is a good long range weapon but must be held to be of any use. It is shoulder held and does take practice to become effective with. If you intend to use a rifle for defense, practice often!


The usefulness of a handgun is limited

The handgun, in my mind, is useful for only two reasons. The first reason is to use it to fight long enough, for you to get to your long gun. The second reason is as a last ditch effort to survive a confrontation. Those are the only two reasons to carry a hand gun. A handgun is an effective tool to stop the threat but there are other tools that are more efficient at the job. Namely the long gun. Why use a pipe wrench on a bolt when you have a combination wrench?


Use the right tool

When defending yourself or loved ones, use the most effective weapon you have available to stop the threat. The most effective tool in most cases is the long gun. For shorter to mid ranges the shotgun is a good bet. For mid and long range, the rifle can't be beat. Use the right tool! Your life or the lives of your loved ones may depend on it.

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