How to Pick a Pistol

A lady name Audrey submitted a question on the Women of USPSA Facebook page today asking what type of 22 LR she should shoot for an indoor winter shooting league. If you have never shot a gun before, how do you know which one will work best for you?  Since Audrey has already decided she wanted to shoot a 22 Long Rifle, I recommended a couple of options for her in both a revolver and semi-auto.  

At the company Range Day last weekend, my coworker brought out his 10-Round Smith & Wesson Model 617 revolver.  This gun was fun to shoot!  The only thing I didn’t care for was the time it took to load the cylinder.  I did a quick search on the web to look for a 10-shot speedloader and I couldn’t find one.  

Another option for Audrey, or anyone else, is a semi-auto 22 Long Rifle pistol.  This has a removable magazine that you still have to reload upon it being empty but you have the option of buying extra magazines for quick reloads.  

I’ll tell you the same thing I told Audrey, if the indoor range she is shooting at has firearm rentals, shoot many different styles of pistols and choose whatever you are most comfortable with.  Me personally, I’m really picky about the handgun grip. With a revolver, I prefer the rubber grips over the wooden because it allows me to grip is more securely.  With the semi-auto, the grip has to be long enough that it fits my hand well.  I don’t have big hands by any means but I don’t want to shoot a gun that has an oversized magazine well (where the magazine goes) so that I can’t achieve a secure grip. 

Just food for thought.  Head on over to your local gun store or range to test one out today!


3 Responses to How to Pick a Pistol

  1. Martin Johnson says:

    All good info above. Some questions that few tend to address are: what does “feel” supposed to feel like, and what does fit my hand supposed to mean, and what is too heavy, too light?

    Fit and feel are similar, but not exact matches. I grip or gun may “feel” comfortable, yet if it does not afford you the ability to reach and activate/deactivate the controls such as safety, mag release or cylinder latch then it doesn’t fit. On the other hand a gun may permit you to do all the above and feel good, yet for whatever reason if such grip or feel does not permit you to pull or press the trigger in a manner which does not disrupt the alignment, then that gun or grip is of no use to me. The purpose is to be able to “hit” with it.

    For me the trigger manipulation is critical. I can manage with any other variable, but the feel and fit of the gun/grip must be such that it enables me to cause the gun to fire without the trigger finger “erasing” all the proper things. I call the trigger finger the “eraser”. It can quickly undo all that was perfect about a shot. Trigger finger fit and feel is that which is most important to me. The other factors are important, but secondary to that, especially for the accuracy shooter. The fundamentals in shooting are always there, but the priorty changes depending on the speed or difficulty of the shot. I refer to this as the Fundamental Priority Shift. That’s another story.

    Too many people tend to judge weight by simply holding the gun. The measure of whether a gun is too heavy or light should be addressed while shooting and operating the gun, not by simply holding it at a gun store counter. Guns for carry purposes cause an additional level of scrutiny when judging weight and size.



  2. Ken Birdsell says:

    Go on line and look for they make very good 10 shot speed loader for the 617.

    I shoot steel challenge with mine as well as bowling pins match. It may top the list of my favorite gun to shoot.

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