1. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Devon UK

    What's it like to fire a handgun for the first time?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Francis de Aguilar, Jan 23, 2018.

    I have a scene to write where someone is going to be firing a hand gun for the first time. She is with someone who is going to show her.

    I want her to describe it via dialogue and the narrator or him to say what they see. Can anyone help?
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,307
    Likes Received:
    16,281
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    It's much louder than you expect, and no matter what you're told, the way you feel the detonation with your body, directly through your hand and through the air as a shockwave, is also unexpected. There's a thrill to it. The thing in your hand is dangerous. It's a snake. You follow all the rules of the range and you're as safe as houses, but you know that death is in your hand and it's loud, and it kicks. It's alive.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,307
    Likes Received:
    16,281
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I would add that the feel of the detonation is something we typically shield ourselves from in other situations, other venues. You hear the word kick or jump used a lot to refer to what it does, but these are words we usually engage in their biological mode. The kick of a gun isn't the slow, muscular kick of a leg. It's the frighteningly fast motion of a machine. It's the kind of motion that creates warning stickers that say DO NOT TOUCH! or DO NOT PLACE HANDS HERE! It happens and the instant violence of it makes you look at your hands to make sure all your digits are still there. You get used to it, but your question was about the first time. That's how it was for me. :)
     
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    1,627
    I agree with @Wreybies that the sound is much louder than you would think. Also there is a sort of kickback when you fire a hand gun. It's hard to keep your arm straight and steady. When someone was teaching me to shoot, he warmed me about that and said to really focus on keeping my arm straight and maintaining control. It's way harder than you think it would be.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    505
    I didn't seem so loud to me. . . but I just had a wimpy .38. What I remember is how the trigger pulls back. You cock the hammer and the trigger sits back far. It's not pull, boom. It's touch, boom.

    Then we moved on to the .44. (It'll blow your head clean off, PUNK!) Those are loud. I kept feeling like it was going to explode in my hand. That's the fear. Like a nailbomb going off and your fingers disappear in a pink mist.
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    2,357
    Likes Received:
    2,796
    Location:
    The great white north.
    It's funny you say that. First time I fired a handgun I was holding it wrong and the slide took a chunk out of the meaty part (back part?) of my thumb.
     
    Wreybies likes this.
  7. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,461
    Likes Received:
    3,848
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Think about the caliber, as well. A .22 isn't going to be as dramatic as a .45.
     
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,908
    Likes Received:
    2,160
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It also depends on training. If you are instructed in advance, you'll know how to grip the handgun (note, one word) so as to not injure your hand with the slide (for a pistol) and have less impact from the recoil. You will know not to touch the trigger until your target is lined up.

    If you fire the weapon indoors, the sound is even louder, increasing the risk of hearing trauma.

    A person picking up a handgun with no prior training will have a different experience than someone who has been talked through it first.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    11,422
    Likes Received:
    11,413
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.


    And sometimes if you don't lock your elbows you will smack yourself in the face with it. :p
    (I have never shot a pistol before, but a rifle. Heard Army stories about the the ones
    who whack themselves in the head.)
     
  10. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    690
    I disagree as to the noise a handgun makes, as it very much depends on the caliber.
    If it's her first time shooting, it would most likely be a 22 caliber pistol she'd be firing. It is not loud and has very little kick. There is nothing exceptional about teaching someone to fire a handgun for the first time, especially a 22. You have to impress upon them that a 22 can be every bit as devastating as bigger guns if misused. To be honest, you'll have to go out of your way to make the scene interesting. Aside from imparting the rules for safely, and responsibly handling a firearm, there isn't much more to it. The biggest hurdle is getting a gun virgin over the fear of guns. Guns are like horses, and dentists; they can sense fear.
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  11. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,307
    Likes Received:
    16,281
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    This. My first weapon was actually an M-16, then a 9 mm, then an M-60. The M-16 somehow didn't give me that same fear of it exploding in my hand. Maybe it was just the length of the weapon, the way the action seemed further from me. The 9 mm was pretty much all in my hand.
     
    Seven Crowns likes this.
  12. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,908
    Likes Received:
    2,160
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Dapper, the flap of skin between the thumb and index finger is sometimes called a cagina, and the injury itself is usually calked slide bite. It's no joke. The injury can be very painful, and doesn't always heal completely on its own.

    Iain, caliber to some degree, but also barrel length, and powder load and acoustic qualities of the firing area. I disagree as to the likely caliber of a first firing also. My first training was with a 9 mm, because it's the most popular personal defense weapon for concealed carry, and it's center-fire. We also tried a .38 revolver. You're also assuming the first firing is in a training scenario. It could well be a self-defense scenario with a found weapon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  13. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Devon UK
    The gun is a 9m, Beretta M9
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    9,772
    Likes Received:
    10,519
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    You aren't going to hit shit first time out , unless you are very lucky or very close . Also she needs to keep both eyes open (beginners nearly aways think they need to close one eye )

    My first experience with a handgun was a Browning 9mm, a pretty basic one ( I'd already used an SA80 so I wasn't worried about the noise - but I wasn't prepared for how much the browning kicked - although at the time the army didn't teach weaver stance so I had a one handed grip rather than the two handed the latter helps a lot)
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  15. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    1,079
    Likes Received:
    934
    This is very common. People don't seem to realize that the slide is just as involved with the explosion as the bullet is and can easily bite you.

    Noise is the biggest thing most people don't realize. TV shows have jaded us to what guns actually sound like.

    There are two jolts, most people are ready for the kickback. They may underestimate it, but they at least expect it to be there. There is also a huge shockwave from the explosion. Ever hit a hammer on a piece of metal and feel that ringing in your hands? Same feeling after shooting a gun.

    The alignment of the wrist has to be in line with the barrel of the gun. Most people seem to hold the weapon around the center of mass, which is much lower than where the bullet is kicking the gun back. That's why guns tend to kick upwards with inexperienced shooters.
     
    Rosacrvx likes this.
  16. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    a room made of impossible angles
    Most find it exhilarating.
     
  17. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,461
    Likes Received:
    3,848
    Location:
    SC, USA
    My experience growing up around guns is that people either love it or hate it :D Not a lot of in between.
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  18. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,691
    Likes Received:
    5,200
    Location:
    Funland
    What kind of handgun and does she shoot on the range or indoors?

    The first handgun I fired was a 9mm, outdoors, so the sound wasn't as surprising as the recoil. I was prepped well, but it still took me by surprise. I have small hands and weak wrists, so maybe that made it worse?

    Aaand this sent me down the memory lane and prompted me to search for pictures of the first time... And what shocks me more than my awkward posture is my fashion sense. :rofl: Oh the mid-'00s...
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  19. Privateer

    Privateer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2017
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    196
    It was a Browning Hi-Power on a 20m outdoor range and it was awesome.

    It turned out to be a much easier weapon to use than I'd expected; the recoil was a lot less severe than anticipated. With that in mind, I got a bit carried away and emptied the magazine into the target in a few seconds. The grouping wasn't all that bad, but the instructor felt the need to remind me that I wasn't Audie Murphy, which inspired some wag to suggest that my shooting was closer to that of Eddie Murphy.
     
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    9,772
    Likes Received:
    10,519
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    With a Beretta she better hope the slide doesn't come detached from the gun ... I never understood why the US army chose Beretta rather than say Glock, Sig, or Steyr ... I'd suspect some retired general has lots of shares in Beretta.

    TBH I'm being slight facetious the detaching/breaking slide thing with the M9 was only really a problem when the slides were made in Italy as they are on the civilian 92S , once they started making them in the US (better quality control and better steel) the problem more or less went away
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  21. TheRealStegblob

    TheRealStegblob Kill All Mages Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    291
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Another thing worth mentioning would probably be how unexpectedly heavy a gun feels when you first pick it up. Not to mention the fact that a gun's power is kind of instinctively implanted in our heads, making it feel even heavier.
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  22. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,307
    Likes Received:
    16,281
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Washington, Washington, twelve stories high, made of radiation... :whistle:
     
  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    9,772
    Likes Received:
    10,519
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    off topic but I always thought that pistol training for officers was a bit daft anyway. If an officer commanding an infantry platoon has to depend on a 9mm handgun to defend himself something has gone pretty fundamentally wrong. (I suspect originally officers carried hand guns to keep the men in line, and to off the wounded, but hopefully that's no longer a necessity)
     
  24. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    1,079
    Likes Received:
    934
    Not to mention how much the weight of the gun affects your ability to quick-fire. The lighter your weapon is, the faster you can aim it accurately.
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    9,772
    Likes Received:
    10,519
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    There's a bit in Dean Koontz 'the husband' where the Mc is chucked in a car trunk with a dead body and finds a revolver on the corpse and has to work out how to use it before firing it through the seats and killing his captor which is pretty well rendered. Unlike King , Koontz is generally pretty accurate when it come to firearms
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.

Share This Page