Fun with firearms: Tips on picking the right gun for target practice

May 23, 2012, 8:19 a.m.

Shooting a gun means pulling the trigger. Shooting a gun accurately, however, involves a few more steps. The first step is choosing the right handgun to use. Those renting a renting a handgun for target practice or looking into owning a gun can benefit from several tips that make the experience safer and more fun.

Correct Caliber

Since target practice works best without blowing the target to smithereens, high-caliber weaponry is not the best option. The Having Fun with Guns website suggests a .22 caliber revolver or semi-automatic, both of which work well for the novice and the expert shot. The site notes an added plus is the price of .22 caliber ammunition, which is generally inexpensive.

Surefire Size and Weight

Guns that are too heavy and too big to handle ensure a lousy shot. They can also make arms, hands and wrists sore.The Police One website recommends checking a gun's fit by gripping it and seeing where the pad of the trigger finger falls. A good fit will leave a relaxed trigger finger pad resting against the trigger. If reaching the trigger only comes from stretching the trigger finger, a smaller gun is in order. A good fit also means the hand's grasp on the gun's grip is strong, firm, comfortable and steady.

The weight of the gun will also have an impact on the comfort level. Extremely lightweight guns are not always the automatic answer. Police One says lighter guns can be tough to handle, especially since they are prone to go off-mark if the user tends to flinch. A gun with more heft can remain more stable, as long as it's not too hefty to prove uncomfortable.

Fantastic Feel

The feel of the gun goes beyond the size and weight, but extends to include how the gun works for each individual. Police One says to check the ergonomics and shootability of a particular gun by holding it up as if ready to shoot. The contours should feel comfortable and the sights should seem to automatically fall into the natural line of sight. A gun can be right, quite simply, if it feels right.

Other Gun Factors

If you're looking into owning a gun, Police One points to three more factors that you'll want to consider. One is the price. Another is the reliability. A third is the serviceability. Price should not be the top factor for choosing the right handgun, but a limited budget can indeed make it the bottom line.

A less-expensive gun can be fine, as long as it is reliable and serviceable. The Having Fun with Guns website warns against buying off-name brands, even if they come at a greatly reduced price. Sticking to well-known brands with a solid reputation can help make your shooting experience just as solid.

Serviceability refers to the ease and affordability of keeping the gun in tip-top shape and obtaining any necessary repairs. Guns that are still being manufactured have a higher chance of having parts and accessories available. An antique pistol might be compelling, but its novelty may wear out as quickly as its non-replaceable parts.

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