Why do I need to take a class before I shop? Simply stated, do you know anything about guns? Have you thought about what you want it for? Have your shot a variety of guns to see how they feel or if they are comfortable? If you answered yes, too all of these, you can probably walk into a shop and come out with something appropriate for you. If not…you are taking your chances that the person at the counter is a shooter and can ask the right questions instead of selling you what is overstocked. That can be a big “IF”. Ladies, if you walk into a gun store, and the guy behind the counter (yes there are women who work in gun stores, but they are not as common) looks you up and down and steers you to the revolvers with the “women’s aren’t strong enough to rack the slide on a semi-automatic, you need a revolver, very simple to operate, not a lot of parts…” speech, thank him and leave. Women can, and DO, shoot semi-automatics. If you want a revolver, fine. If you don’t, don’t let some gender bias jerk force you into one. You are, or can be with a little effort, strong enough to rack the slide and do everything you need to do. Some men had difficulty racking the slide. It is a hand strength question, NOT a gender question.
Taking a class, like the NRA First Steps, allows you to learn about revolvers and semi-automatics. It gives you access if guns to hold and feel in your hand, You can talk with the more experienced students, talk to the instructors, get advice, sources of information, and hopefully a chance to shoot in a safe, supervised environment.
Once you have bought your gun, take a class with your gun. Spend time with a qualified instructor. Emphasis on Qualified. This may not be your S/O, brother, cousin…you need someone to teach you the correct posture, grip, controls in the beginning. Then, practice what you have learned, and take more classes! I’m a huge believer in NRA courses, not just because I’m a NRA instructor, but because they emphasis fundamentals, consistency throughout the training, and above all…SAFETY! Learn safe, practice safe, be safe.
For more on shopping for a gun, read Blog post Shopping for a Gun – The Goldilocks Approach.