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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2019, 08:58 AM
Kroc Kroc is online now
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Default Info for Gun Novice

I feel kinda stupid for starting this thread but I have a very general question about how to get comfortable with guns and purchase one for protection. Figured someone here could help.
Background: I'm a middle aged man and I've never hunted or took any particular interest in firearms. After moving to Florida I've considered purchasing a handgun for personal protection. The laws down here are pretty liberal, particularly the concealed carry laws. Anyway, a few months ago I took a 2hr. beginner course on how to load and fire a pistol. The firearm was a 22 semi-auto and from what I understand any serious gun owner would consider this a cap gun.
The question is where do I go from here? I know people who own firearms and go to the range but aren't comfortable instructing a novice. I don't feel I have enough knowledge to purchase a firearm and head to the gun range by myself yet. Any opinions on the next logical step? Again, I really don't have anyone to mentor me.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:12 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Firearms are a dangerous thing to have around the house. If there are children, they can be really bad because kids don't know the potential. If, as you say, they are for protection, you have to be sure the bad guys don't get them away from you. Guns for protection have a way of being used against the owner. Never threaten to use the gun to discourage a bad guy. If you have to show it, use it. I dislike use of firearms by novices. The very use of a gun has a way of back-firing on the owner. I don't like seeing someone who is unfamiliar with guns take on this awesome responsibility.

On the other hand there can be situations that arise where a gun can save you from certain death or injury. Only once in my life of gun ownership/control in 70 years of carrying have I ever saved myself/us from injury -- the dog attack. I was within my rights, legally carrying with a permit and was not charged with any misdimener or crime. But the press crucified me and phone harassment from annonimous callers was overwhelming. (People care more about dogs than human victims.) Even when you do the right thing, use of a gun is very unpopular.

As for a .22 they are woefully inadequate for self defense. You want a .38 Special or more. If you are going to shoot the sonofabitch, kill him! That way he can't make up a story that turns you into the bad guy; and they will do that.

I don't carry constantly, though I legally can. But when there is no hunting going on and we are walking in the woods, I carry out of concern for homeless, dogs, bears, coyotes even rabid wildlife. It is mine and your Second Amendment right.


Good thread, Kroc. Questions are welcome.
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:55 PM
Kroc Kroc is online now
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

Thanks for the response Frank, but I guess I should have made my question clearer. Basically, what steps should I or any gun novice take to get more comfortable with firearms before purchasing one and practicing with it on my own? Like I said I took a beginner course and it wasn't particularly cheap. It was a great introduction but not enough to give me confidence to pursue this on my own yet.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:09 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Remember that no gun shoots itself. For self defense you do not have to be a good shot. If being assaulted, the assailant will be right on top of you. One of the unrecognized values in "carrying" is the comfort derived from knowing you are not going to be a victim. If you read newspapers, notice how common out-of-the-blue assaults are. Road rage is a common one that comes to mind. Personally, I keep a long fuse when driving. People are nuts and the road is where you are going to meet them. I pray a lot and pull over several times per week because of tailgaters. Also, never, ever drink while carrying a firearm. (I drink heavily, but always at home.) Out for dinner, I won't drink even one glass of wine.

As a firearms owner the responsibility you have is awesome and should not be taken lightly. You make one mistake and your life will be ruined. Kroc, you just keep right on posting here because this is an important thread, not just for you but other readers.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:46 AM
Kroc Kroc is online now
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

That is definitely some wise advice. I'm nowhere near the point of carrying a gun around on a regular basis. I'm really just trying to get to the point of being comfortable and knowledgeable enough to go out purchase a firearm and go to the range to practice my skills. Problem is, it's not like taking up golf or fly fishing, it's not something you can just start doing on your own. With this hobby mistakes can have serious consequences.
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Old 09-03-2019, 05:40 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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I think there are more consequences than you realize. For example, all the states have different requirements/regs. Sure, while Florida has liberal gun laws, other nearby states may not. And you might be able to carry in Florida but step over the state line and you would be in violation. You can't fly with a gun in your position. If someone steals your gun, you are the registered owner and any crime by that person will be attributed to you. The gun's serial number is registered to you and altering that serial number is another crime. Ownership is a hornet's nest of risk.

For instance, we live a scant mile from another state. If I cross that line forgetting that I am carrying, I would be in violation because my permit is no good in any other state. It makes a lot more sense, if you feel in need of protection, to carry a golf club, which is what a lot of people do -- a seven iron is a nice comfy widow-maker for bad guys. I don't think I want you to have a firearm.
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:27 PM
Kroc Kroc is online now
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

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Originally Posted by Francis Daignault View Post
I think there are more consequences than you realize. For example, all the states have different requirements/regs. Sure, while Florida has liberal gun laws, other nearby states may not. And you might be able to carry in Florida but step over the state line and you would be in violation. You can't fly with a gun in your position. If someone steals your gun, you are the registered owner and any crime by that person will be attributed to you. The gun's serial number is registered to you and altering that serial number is another crime. Ownership is a hornet's nest of risk.

For instance, we live a scant mile from another state. If I cross that line forgetting that I am carrying, I would be in violation because my permit is no good in any other state. It makes a lot more sense, if you feel in need of protection, to carry a golf club, which is what a lot of people do -- a seven iron is a nice comfy widow-maker for bad guys. I don't think I want you to have a firearm.
I understand its a huge responsibility which is why I'm trying to go about it sensibly. Everyone has to start somewhere. What I'm trying to figure out is what is the best and safest way to start. There are over 2 million concealed carry permits in FL, to say they are all more qualified than me is ridiculous. In fact I bet many of them dove in headfirst without giving it anywhere near the level of thought and research I am doing.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:14 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Something I just thought of for you to find a nearby gun club, find out if they shoot -- pistol, trap, rifle -- and if they have a pistol range, go, talk to members shooting pistol and look into mentoring. Get advice on what firearms to buy, hopefully that will satisfy indoor range target shooting where the firearms could, if necessary, double for self-protection. In my area nearly all Rod and Gun clubs have pistol ranges, even competition shoots. I never did it but the pistol guys locally all shoot competitively and they get good and enjoy shooting; women as well. Search for local clubs on line or even ask the local police. Usually, police enjoy these clubs using them for practice and qualification.
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Old 09-03-2019, 05:27 PM
Merlin Merlin is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Daignault View Post
Something I just thought of for you to find a nearby gun club, find out if they shoot -- pistol, trap, rifle -- and if they have a pistol range, go, talk to members shooting pistol and look into mentoring. Get advice on what firearms to buy, hopefully that will satisfy indoor range target shooting where the firearms could, if necessary, double for self-protection. In my area nearly all Rod and Gun clubs have pistol ranges, even competition shoots. I never did it but the pistol guys locally all shoot competitively and they get good and enjoy shooting; women as well. Search for local clubs on line or even ask the local police. Usually, police enjoy these clubs using them for practice and qualification.
Jees, sat on this post as it stewed in my head, a then Frank came out with the answer. I will add that I would start out with a good gun shop and just go brain picking for knowledge. Get recomendations etc.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:56 AM
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neverrude neverrude is offline
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

Krock, Frank and Merlin gave excellent advice. Look into taking a NRA Basics Of Pistol Shooting from a local club and advance from there.. I recently took the basics course as a refresher and sat in with my grandson when he took the NRA Pistol Instructor course that was given by one of our club members who is a NRA training counselor.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:04 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Good point, Mike. So often people blame all our gun problems on the NRA. When in fact the NRA is one of the strengths in our culture. No recall, but I have been a member for at least 30 or 40 years.

There are a lot of places where a person can get instruction on safe firearms use. Incidently, police love the NRA.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:06 PM
Kroc Kroc is online now
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

I'm still here. Thanks for all the input. Thinking maybe I should of posted it in the hunting/shooting thread. That has gotten major traction over the last 10 years.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:42 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Either way. This is an informal forum. I am certain that sooner or later you are going to be in a position of defending yourself. As I said earlier, why do you think people walk with golf clubs? In my area there is an awful lot of non-conformity with regard to leash laws, licensing and immunization.

Related is the reality that insurance companies do not divulge liability settlements because they don't want people to know.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Info for Gun Novice

Also look into the NRA PDN ( personal defense network) DVD series and the Empowered Citizen dvd series.
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