Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Irwin, Pennsylvania
    (Westmoreland County)
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    Question Can you give a girl your opinion?

    I'm brand new here as of a few moments ago and have never even held a handgun much less owned one. I am researching which gun to purchase and, frankly, am overwhelmed by the different threads which the forum has. Not that this is a bad thing, of course.

    I am a middle-aged woman looking to become more secure in my home and when out and about. I have consulted with folks I know who are familiar with handguns for self-defense and have been recommended these possibilities:


    *22 caliber long rifle Semi-automatic pistols:
    These are 10 plus 1 handguns meaning that they'll hold one in the chamber and ten in the clip. The long rifle refers to the shape of the bullet. I was told another advantage to this caliber is that ammunition is fairly cheap so you're more apt to go out to the range and practice more often and not worry about the cost.

    Ruger Mark III or Walther P22 (he owns this personally)



    *combo revolvers:
    Both of these shoot the same combination of ammunition. They use 410 shotgun shells and 45 caliber bullets. The shotgun shells fire first and hit the target with a spray of pellets and the 45 is a follow-up shot. As he so graphically described it, the first blast to the chest with the shotgun shell downs 'em, the 45 to the head deads 'em. Nice. He thinks that these are more suited to a guy but a chick could handle it in a pinch.

    Taurus Judge (5 chamber) or Smith & Wesson Governor (6 chamber)



    My primary source recommends that whatever I choose that I target practice regularly. He said that handling the gun should be second nature and that if you have to stop and think when you pick it up to fire that you are not skilled enough.


    I would appreciate any feedback which you could provide on these specific gun types and advice on reputable, knowledgable dealers in Westmoreland County. Since I'm just learning the procedures for becoming armed, I want to make sure the dealer is thorough. I do plan to get licensed (or whatever it's called) to carry the weapon concealed.


    Also, where can I go to find out exactly when lethal force is permitted? I looked elsewhere on this website and am having trouble drilling down to the answers. In NC where one of my advisors resides, their "Castle Laws" have recently been broadened. It used to be that you could shoot through the door but then had to retreat as far as possible (such as cowering in a bathtub) before you could shoot to kill. Now North Carolina allows you to by-pass the retreat and engage on the porch or even in your car. Your gun must be visible in the car but you could shoot someone trying to commandeer you car.

    If you all could point me to the appropriate threads or outside resources I would greatly appreciate your efforts. I want to make the proper gun purchase to enable my personal safety as well as to protect my possessions. The country is, IMHO, headed toward anarchy and, afraid of guns or not, I need to get serious about surviving should bad times reach our region. Westmoreland County seems like a safe environment but even a major flood like what happened in Harrisburg this last summer or a long power outage due to a winter storm could cause people to become agressive. I don't want to be paranoid but neither should I be naive.

    Thank you again for your insights and for pointing me toward the resources which will help me make intelligent and informed choices.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Dickson City, Pennsylvania
    (Lackawanna County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    I started off shooting 1911s, in .45ACP, and that's what I like. I also like Glock, so far, though I've only shot the Glock 19. I don't care for revolvers; the trigger pull sucks.

    Those Taurus Judges are dumb, in my opinion. .45LC is too expensive to practice with, and .410 gauge isn't all that great from a distance. That, and they're huge.

    Everyone keeps saying that I should get a .22 to go and plink with. I guess I will eventually; until then, I'll keep shooting .45's.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    1) find a qualified defensive firearm instructor.

    2) Learn what you are doing

    3) make an informed decision.

    Anyone who recommends otherwise is wrong.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh (Allison Park), Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    For someone who is new to shooting I would suggest taking a basic firearms course that will cover safety and shooting skills both in the classroom and with live fire on the range. NRA First Steps Pistol is one of the most popular classes.

    Looking at your profile you are close to the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club they offer a the above mentioned class. I am %99 sure it is offered to both members and non-members. Membership at a club would be a good thing as well and PMSC is one of the best in the area.

    http://www.pmsconline.com/

    A .22LR pistol is a wonderful investment for both the beginning shooter and the experienced shooter. For beginners it has very low recoil and for both beginners and experienced shooters is is very inexpensive to shoot. Being able to shoot more will help develop core skills.However it is not considered a suitable defensive round although its better than nothing.

    The specifics of choosing a defensive firearm are numerous and some previous experience will help greatly into deciding what is best for you. Bottom line you should get what you are most comfortable with.

    More advanced training in both tactics and legal concerns can be found through the following two sites as well as others.

    FIRE Institute
    http://www.fireinstitute.org/

    INPAX
    http://www.inpax.net

    I list these two as I have had personal experience with both. I highly recommend getting training specifically in the defensive use of a handgun. I grew up with firearms and knew the basics of marksmanship from an early age. One weekend from one of the above classes and I learned a great deal how to take basic marksmanship and apply it to a practical defensive situation.

    Welcome to the PAFOA and the firearms community. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
    Last edited by QuackXP; December 16th, 2011 at 05:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Newark, Delaware
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    Welcome to the ranks. I only got into guns summer 2010 myself.

    First step: Before you buy a gun, take NRA Basic Pistol (trust me on this!). I did it the other way around, and I learned things in class that would have made me a much more informed buyer.

    Second step: After NRA Basic Pistol, take a good concealed carry class. The instructor will go over all the ins and outs of when you may use lethal force. (The good ones will also help you learn how to avoid putting yourself in that situation!) The instructor should also teach you techniques you should know and give you some practice time. This should help you figure out what works for you before spending a lot of money. If your instructor is like mine, there should be different types of handguns available for you to try out. When I took my class, I used my personal Glock 31 and my instructor's S&W 686 (with .38 Spl).

    Third step: Now you should start thinking about what gun to purchase. This will depend on many factors (budget, how the gun fits you, etc.), but you should definitely try to shoot different types of handguns to figure out what you like and what works for you before plunking down a bunch of money. Some people say for your first gun, buy a .22LR pistol or revolver to get started on (they're good for learning marksmanship and are cheap to shoot); others say buy your carry gun first. This is mostly a matter of personal preference and how much money you have. Once again, I bought a gun based on internet wisdom and in retrospect, I wish I would have done things differently.

    Fourth step: Get your LTCF. This will simplify your life with transporting your soon to be new acquisition as well as license you to carry with much more freedom than you would be able to otherwise.

    Fifth step: Actually buy the gun and any accessories you may need (magazines, holsters, belts, etc.). You will probably need to try out a bunch of different holsters & belts before finding something you like and that works for you.

    Last step: After this, you just need to practice, practice, and practice some more.

    If I seem to harp on training and education, it's because it's a lot easier and cheaper in the long run to be informed about what you're doing before you do it. Do it right the first time, and you won't have to pay for a lot of silly mistakes which could be easily avoided. Training will also ensure that once you strap on the gun you are prepared to use it. If you aren't prepared to use it, you shouldn't carry.

    I would also suggest you check out the Cornered Cat website for a woman's perspective on all this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by vicious View Post
    1) find a qualified defensive firearm instructor.

    2) Learn what you are doing

    3) make an informed decision.

    Anyone who recommends otherwise is wrong.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    "Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me" -Genesis 27:3

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
    (Northampton County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    My suggestion is to first go to a range with someone who can give you info on the basics of shooting. Rent a few different guns and see which ones feel best in your hands.

    There's no problem with going a few times until you get comfortable. You'll be in a much better position to make a choice then. Good shooting is all about grip/fit. A poor grip/fit will most likely result in frustration. A good fit/grip will put a big smile on your face.

    Go ahead and try a 1911 like mollymayhem82 uses. Both of my daughters are very comfortable with 1911's. You may end up with 2 guns, one for home and a smaller one for carry.

    BTW: training is great, but it does not have to be done before shooting/buying
    Last edited by longcall911; December 16th, 2011 at 06:12 PM. Reason: sp

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Pittsburgh Area, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    Welcome! Most everyone will give the same advice: think about taking a course of some sort; rent and try out lots of guns before picking; and practice with whatever you get.

    I'd like to add that this site is great: http://corneredcat.com/

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    Welcome to the forum.

    You're fortunate in that there are a lot of clubs and classes available in this area. There are also a lot of great forum members nearby who can assist with some of your questions.

    FIRE Institute was mentioned. I have taken their "basic handgun" class (one day) and even as someone who had been raised shooting firearms, I learned a few things. The reason so many people suggest a class is so that you don't have to "unlearn" bad techniques that you will no doubt pick up by "learning as you go".

    That isn't to say that you can't go shooting with someone to get familiar with things, but don't put off the training. It's not a requirement, but for a very small investment, your return could be as valuable as your life.


    Good luck to you and if I can think of anything helpful, I'll pop back in when I get a chance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Vandergrift, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Can you give a girl your opinion?

    Don't forget the monthly group shoot we hold! Every one is friendly and willing to help. Plus an array of firearms you can peruse and ask questions about. Some may even let you handle theirs firearms.
    -Remember the Constitution-

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