agent-smith wrote:What would you recommend if someone keeps asking "What should I buy in the way of initial firearms?"?
I'm often asked this, and have had many hours of discussions but when pressed I usually just say -
Ah, everyone's been on either end of these conversations;
Here's my own methodology to keep it quick and painless and what I always try to keep in mind;
When I am tempted to offer advice to someone I know personally it depends greatly what kind of gun
they seem to be drawn to the most, be it handguns, rifles, or shotguns; as well as the intended purpose for the purchase, be that purpose hunting, protection, or a wish to merely exercise their 2nd amendment rights.
I have found most recommendations to be a 3-part* process;*-(unless it's a recommendation for a child under 10, in which case it's a 1 step process.)
Part 1) Identify the product to fill the needs of the individual. Don't be afraid to mention the names of the most common makes and brands of firearm that you know are reliable and fit their needs; after all, if they are asking you for advice it might mean they probably aren't even aware what is available, and most new shooters are drawn to the more ubiquitously common varieties of what is available. I tend to assume that if that wasn't the case they wouldn't be asking me anything, they'd either know what they wanted for themselves or know a better way of collecting that information.
9/10 it ends up being either handguns, rifles, or shotguns; I've found it fairly unusual that any given person will have no inclination whatsoever in one of those 3 directions, as they will very likely have been influenced by *something* they've seen, heard about, or experienced at some point in their life that gave them their first taste of it and now they want more.
Part 2) After a brief dispelling of any myths they have heard about that firearm, it's time to get down to business.
Part 3) is divided into 3 sub categories;Handguns:
If inclined towards handguns, I recommend either a dedicated rimfire target pistol or a centerfire handgun that is reported to work well with a rimfire conversion kit for inexpensive trigger time (ammo is never cheap, especially these days).
2a) Semi-Auto Training Pistol: .22 LR Ruger Mk 'anything' (I've had good experiences with my Ruger MkI Target, and it is absolutely ancient)
2b) For the Centerfire Pistol with conversion they might take a look at a Glock 23 (or Glock 26 if they are looking specifically for a CCW pistol).
2c) If they want a revolver, I have less to say; since I don't know very much about them.Rifles:
If inclined towards rifles, I almost always recommend a dedicated .22lr or a mil surp style rifle, whether bolt action or self loading, whatever the desire is. Commonality of parts from popular and military rifles makes them cheap to maintain if there is ever parts breakage or minor repair needed, and the ammo tends to remain relatively cheap, for reasons of both general ammunition commonality among other shooters and supplies of surplus ammo.
2a) Self-loading plinker: Ruger 10/22
2b) Self-loading centerfire rifles: AR's and AK's are both very flexible platforms which offer the end-user a variety of options in terms of style of furniture, accessory mountings, and general appearance, the AK often being the more affordable of the two, but some users may have preferences inclining them towards either AK or AR.
2c) Bolt actions: I have less to say; since I know considerably less about affordable and reliable makes and brands of themShotguns:
Surprisingly, If they are inclined towards a shotgun I almost never recommend less than a 12 gauge. The commonality and available variety of it's ammunition in that gauge is probably the largest reason. 20 gauge is the smallest I recommend (unless it's intended for children, in which case they might not like shooting the 12 and 20 very much in one sitting, at which point .410 becomes a recommendable option). Target loads are fairly cheap in 12 (and 20).
a) Pump Action shotguns: Remington-870 or the Mossberg-500 interchangeably. They are affordable and reliable, with a high parts availability.
b) Autoloading shotguns: Remington-1100 or 1187, though make sure you still mention 'c)'.
c) For the power to deny any person, devil, or god access to their home if they so choose, there is always the triumph that is the Saiga Shotgun.
And now, the one step process (for youth shooters aged under 10 years of age):
FYI - The first experience child aged 10 or younger should have with a firearm (in my humble opinion) is with a bolt-action or other single shot .22 rimfire under close adult supervision.
Persistence in the safety and responsible use of a firearm and the value and reward of accurate shot placement are skills that can be difficult to learn later in life, as they will then have to unlearn every bad habit or wrong idea they have picked up from movies, television and video games.
Impart those skills of patience and self discipline while they're young, and it will shape their development for the better.
Don't be afraid to let them experiment with other firearms they can handle to explore the field of options for comparison and of course to help spark their interest for the sport.
EDIT: Long post, tried to break it up with some color.