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Old February 10, 2012, 09:37 PM   #1
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Wanting to get into competition pistol shooting. Age:16

Hey everyone. I am 16 and am looking to get into competitive pistol shooting. I am basically looking for anything I would need to know to get started- as basic as the gun(keep in mind this is on a self budget of a 16 year old). Any info would be helpful.
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Old February 10, 2012, 09:54 PM   #2
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You're gonna be hard pressed to buy a competition pistol, gear, and ammo on a teen budget, nevermind the legalities of it all. If I was in your shoes, I'd start here:

Start volunteering at clubs/matches, learn the ropes, beg and borrow gear to see what works and doesn't so you don't waste your money.
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Old February 10, 2012, 11:25 PM   #3
Dave Anderson
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I started handgun shooting at age 14 with a Crosman 600 CO2 pistol. That was nearly fifty years ago, it taught me a lot about basic handgun skills once I was able to buy a cartridge handgun.

Don't have any specific air pistol recommendations at present but there are lots of models available over a wide price range. They are fairly cheap to shoot, and generally legal to purchase and own for people your age.

Also, see what is available from local gun clubs. They may have a junior shooters' program which can provide instruction and the use of club-owned firearms.

Obviously a course in firearms safety should be your first priority.

Best wishes for an enjoyable experience in competition shooting,
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Old February 11, 2012, 10:27 AM   #4
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Unless you have a good job or an inheritance, look for airgun or .22 matches close to home.
Even range time and match fees can get serious.
Not to mention the cost of ammo, and matches require a lot of it.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old February 11, 2012, 02:40 PM   #5
chris in va
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Our matches only require about 100 rounds. If someone runs out others are more than willing to donate the rest.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Alright - couple of issues here.

1. Even if they're not going to be actively participating with you, you're going to have to have your parents on board for the idea. They can purchase your gun for you as a gift but you're not going to be able to go out and purchase yourself.

2. Knowing your income level is important. I know I had a job at 16 but it was part time and nearly 15 years ago so I was only making $50-75 per week. I'm sure with more aggressive hours and adjusted slightly for inflation you could do a bit better than that, but it really depends. Getting a gun on that budget would be hard (considering most 16 year olds have at least some other things they want to do with that money), but not impossible. If you could convince your parents to get your initial gun as a birthday gift (or even Christmas, though that's a ways off) then that would help.

Now, which sport you want to shoot plays a big factor in gun choice. If you plan on paying for all this yourself, then I'm going to suggest a .22LR and Steel Challenge. Its fun and fast, and a great way to build skills. A used Ruger Mk2 can be found for $200-250. If you want you can even get a Ruger 22/45 new in that range. In the rimfire (.22LR) division you won't need a holster nor mag pouches. Just the gun and 5 mags or so will have you ready to rock. If you want you can also get by with promotional ammo for only a couple dollars per box. of 50. That would be the most economical.

Now, the other options: IDPA or USPSA, will cost you a bit more. Centerfire (9mm minimum) is a requirement, which means that ammo will cost more - even if you handload, which I'm reluctant to suggest as an activity to a teen without a mentor. You also typically have a higher upfront gun cost, and more gear to buy (holster, mag pouches, etc). Production (USPSA) or SSP(IDPA) would be where you want to compete, but overall even there both these sports will cost more to shoot than the .22LR in Steel Challenge. Not that there's not a lot of teens shooting successfully in these sports, it's just that most of them have financial backing of a relative to support them in competition.

Whatever you choose - good luck, and don't feel hesitant to come back and ask more as questions arise.
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Old February 12, 2012, 11:28 PM   #7
Jesse Tischauser
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Find a steel challenge match and your local forum or gun club to talk to the local guys about their match.

Somebody will let U run their pistol and maybe even shoot their ammo. I know I would.
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Old February 13, 2012, 02:10 PM   #8
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Ruger Rimfire.
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Old April 3, 2012, 01:29 AM   #9
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I'm going to say that the best way to learn about this is to go and actually watch it. Go to the ranges and talk with the shooters. They've got decades of experience behind them, and they're all doing exactly what you want to do. I know when someone asks me about matches, I'm more than willing to tell them ANYTHING they want/need to know.

Keep in mind, though... You will run into a few ***holes. Simply thank them for their time, and find someone else... You'd be surprised, too. As Jesse said, some of them will even let you take their gun for a spin, no matter how customized. I second him... If you came up to me really wanting to know (and being respectful), pending your parents' ok, I'd hand you my .45 and take you on the range, no problem. The way I see it is the more competition I have on the range, the more excuses I have to get to the range to practice, and the longer the sport will live on.
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Old April 5, 2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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I'm going to say that the best way to learn about this is to go and actually watch it.
I disagree, the best way to learn is to jump right in and start shooting.

It doesn't cost that much, nor do you need that much equipment to get started.

You (through your parents) can get a police trade in rather cheap, I like the S&W Model 64 38 Revolver, Ammo is cheap, all sorts of holsters out there to get you started. An example about $250-300 for the revolver, and a Fobus holster for less then $25. Ear and eye protection and you're good to go.

Speed loaders would be needed but don't buy them yet, wait until you find out what type you need ( I use Comp IIIs).

Three things are going to happen when you jump right in and start shooting.

1: You're going to learn something
2: You're going to meet great people and start lasting friendships
3: You're going to have fun.

I don't know of any club that doesn't desire new shooters, Especially junior shooters. Juniors are the future of our shooting sports.

When you shot up at a match, with the pistol/revolver, ear muffs and eye protection, the other shooters will get you started right, they'll loan you speed loaders and show you how to use them. They'll make sure you learn right and safely.

You should post you're location. Someone might be near to help you get started. I know if you were any where near me, (with parents permission) I'd drag you to a match ever other week end, loan you what ever equipment you need to get started and make sure you get started right. I'd even help with the ammo.

We need more youth shooters.

To all you older shooters reading this:

Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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Old April 5, 2012, 10:31 AM   #11
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Well said Kraig.

We take our Boy Scout Troop out 2 to 3 times a year and invite the latest batch of Webelos II's to join us as well. One trip is to a very Scout supportive range (Thank you Bill's!). Me and another fellow bring probably way to much gear but the boys learn some gun safety, learn a bit about guns, and then have a great time shooting all sorts of types of rifles and pistols. Younger scouts stick to the .22's (but there are several .22 pistols and a .22 magnum rifle to try) and older scouts get to try there hand at the larger calibers if they like. They outing costs me and the other guy a small fortune each year but it's worth it to spread the joy of the sport and it goes past the kids. Many adults are gun leery, they're a lot less so after watching an event like this.

My suggestion, if there is a club near you, a .22 pistol league is a great and relatively inexpensive way to get started and they are a lot of fun. Good .22 pistols are available for under $300 and .22 ammo is cheap! .22's are great gun icebreakers as well. If you enjoy it (and you will), then it's easier to move on to other platforms and other shooting venues such as center fire pistol leagues and IDPA, ect.
597 VTR, because there's so many cans and so little time!
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