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Old December 7, 2012, 01:34 PM   #26
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My was a raw newbie who likely wasn't going to get much in the way of even basic training. The controls of an 870 are easy to learn, shotguns, for some reason are more politically correct (important for some, not for me and most of us I imagine), and the stopping power of a good defensive buckshot load is more than what you'll get from an AR.

AR's have more difficult controls (again, this is trying to look at it from a raw newbies point of view) and might be more intimidating to try to learn to shoot.

Having said that, I personally wouldn't have recommended either of those. I'd recommend he goes to a local range that offers rentals, talk to the guys behind the counter there, and find something he can shoot well. Oh, and take at the very least an intro to handguns course.

But between an 870 and an AR, I'd recommend 870. Adding in all options, neither of them would crack the top 20 probably.
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Old December 7, 2012, 03:41 PM   #27
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This thread or one like it is going around. Shotgun vs. AR for an inexperienced or totally novice shooter.

Both are bad choices. Get a SW Model 10 and load it with one of the lesser recoiling HP self-defense loads. Or a similar Ruger revolver.

Then the newbie should take a basic handgun course.

I've seen guys complain because their elderly arthritic wife wouldn't take to a pistol grip only 12 gauge. Lots of stopping power and won't miss - by GUM!

Give me a break. That's what I would tell someone. However, I learned my lesson at Cabela's listening to such a conversation where the newbie wanted a pump so he could just rack it to scare the bad guy and wanted some blanks if that didn't work.
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Old December 8, 2012, 04:02 AM   #28
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This thread or one like it is going around. Shotgun vs. AR for an inexperienced or totally novice shooter
Correct & I mentioned that above.
I wanted to srtip out any WalMart connection. When that's done, the replies to the issue - 870 vs .22 vs .223, take on a different complextion.

WhatI find a bit interesting here (on TFL) is a total lack of response from the dozens of members that always preach a .22 is the only gun a newbie should consider.
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:32 AM   #29
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I profess that the .22 is a wise "first gun" and might serve as defensive arm until the new shooter is ready to go to more mainstream defensive caliber considerations...

The .22 as a first gun is wise as you still learn the safety aspects while able to shoot a gob of rounds down range without making too many bald eagles scream...

Once the fundamentals are learned, the shooter can step up to something better with less cash to get to a proficient level with the new gun...

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Old December 8, 2012, 12:12 PM   #30
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Hard for me to believe anyone can come to a objective answer to what firearm someone really needs and/or can handle after a five minute conversation with them at Wal-Mart. Even more so when a wife and a young child will also be using it. This goes for the salesperson or a customer. Women familiar with firearms many times are intimidated by shotguns, same goes for young children. As been stated before, assuming someone is gonna become proficient and continue with their education of firearms just because they bought one on a SD whim is as foolish as bragging about being more knowledgeable than the average Wal-Mart employee.
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Old December 8, 2012, 12:37 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by StukaJU87
There are 3 things to remeber when dealing with HD. 1. You aren't going to war and burglars don't wear body armor.
Wanna bet?

Some do ... and I don't want to be entering a lottery if I encounter a goblin in my house. Gang bangers have street smarts. They know about body armor, and they know where to buy it (or steal it -- a couple or three vests went walk-about from a local PD near me not too long ago).
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:36 PM   #32
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I might not be salling forth to do battle against an enemy that Congress has declared war on, but when defending my home, you can damn sure bet that I will fight as if I'm in a war.
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:48 PM   #33
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First off-Keep in mind this is Walmart not a Gun shop. If you go to walmart looking for advise on a rifle purchase this is your own downfall. Walmart hires employes not proffesionals. This is a discount store. Do not dump on the workers for not knowing any thing about fire arms,Dump on the idiot that goes there not knowing any thing before hand. Who in their right mind buys a rifle or pistol with out doing some research first?. When i go to buy a car or TV or Computer ect ect. I have already spent many hours on the computer reading reviews and researching it first.
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:27 PM   #34
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Which is why I say that a smallbore defensive shotgun is a good idea.

All members of a family unit that can shoulder a longarm can put it to good use.

The Federal 3-inch #4 Buck with a Mossberg 500E in the fullchoke or cylinder choke config. will do the user very well at inside the house ranges as long as said user does their part.

yet a few gave me the stink eye for mentioning it in the shotgun thread.
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Old December 8, 2012, 11:57 PM   #35
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The .22 as a first gun is wise as you still learn the safety aspects while able to shoot a gob of rounds down range without making too many bald eagles scream...
Where the heck are you shooting? All I've ever done is annoyed a few crows!

Really, folks...complaining about poor service or a lack of expertise at Wal Mart is pretty disingenuous. They don't hire experts because experts are expensive. It's a lot cheaper and easier to have Brian from footwear to run the gun counter on Sundays.

And why is this? Because we perpetuate the situation by supporting Wal Mart. At a certain point, you can choose cheap or good, but not both.
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:54 AM   #36
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Really, folks...complaining about poor service or a lack of expertise at Wal Mart is pretty disingenuous.
Yeah, but it seems to be one of the most popular thread themes on internet gun forums. Go to any of the most popular gun forums on the WWW and you'd be hard pressed to NOT find a current Wal-Mart rant. Kinda like the "dumb-azz at the range" or the "dumb-azz at Gander Mountain". Seems folks get some kinda boost to their ego/self-esteem when they realize they are more informed on guns than the average college student working part time on the weekends......
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:51 PM   #37
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I would think a simple pump action 12 gauge would be a great home defense gun. Yes recoil will be an issue and it may not kill the intruder if you don't hit him just right but one shot would almost definitely hurt or scare him enough to make him think twice. Not many BGs amwould be willing to stuck around after they've had a 12 gauge fired at them.
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Old December 9, 2012, 03:56 PM   #38
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+1 to those defending Wal-mart. It's a discount department store, not a gun shop. And even gun shop people screw up decisions like these.

That said, my local Wal-mart has a couple of very knowledgeable employees at the sporting goods counter.

I see no reason why a newbie can't handle an AR as easily and safely as an 870. It's accurate. It's low recoil, softer than my reduced recoil loads (which I bought at Wal-mart). They're not that complicated- I'm pretty sure my 9 year old could read the manual and understand it.

In any case, I think a gun owner should seek some level of training. IMO, steering a new gun owner toward training is more important than steering him toward a particular type of firearm.
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Old December 9, 2012, 06:16 PM   #39
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you do understand that when you ask for customer assistance at most stores, your just going to get whatever employee was just standing around/ the tire change guy with no tire to change, the electronics associate with no customer to help and so on? most people in these stores have a mantra,

punch in, punch out for lunch on time, punch back in, and punch out at quiting time. and dont get yelled at in between.

in most stores, 3 people will know how to do paperwork to sell a gun. if they know anything about the guns, thats a bonus.
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:29 AM   #40
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Long story short I pointed him towards a classic $250 Remy 870 12 gauge over the $900 5.56 AR.
I wonder if that guy is a happy camper right now?
Hindsight is always 20/20 though.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:08 PM   #41
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I was thinking much the same thing.

He could sell the AR today for double what he paid for it and gone back and bought four shotguns for free.

That said the AR is an excellent weapon for home defense. Better than any handgun or shotgun really. A lot more pricey than a shotgun and very pricey these days. There is no magic required in learning how to use them either.
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:12 PM   #42
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I would have pointed him to a 20ga something. Doesn't that have more than enough power with a lot less recoil?

Break into my house and I'll prove it! Ok, maybe 18 (#2) .27" pellets at 1100fps?
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:05 AM   #43
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gun shops & sporting goods....

I've learned to ignore or avoid the gun shop sales clerks or sporting goods dept employees if possible. They want to close a sale & not deal with any "gun shop rangers" or "mall ninjas". Unless I see a major unsafe act or hear of a illegal act, I get stay out of it.

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Old December 31, 2012, 09:46 AM   #44
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This leaves me with the question: Do you need any training or gun knowledge whatsoever to work the gun counter at walmart?
My ex-wife works at Wally World. All she had to to do to get the job is fog a mirror when they placed it under her nose.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:10 AM   #45
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I usually mind my own business at the gun counter, but, if I heard that someone was going to seriously consider a .22lr over a .233/5.56 for defensive purposes, I would have probably interceded as the op did.

The shotgun was probably the wise choice for now because of limited .223 ammo at this time.

Just the other day I heard a guy telling his friend about how much more knockdown power the .380 has over 9mm, lol. I said nothing but my wife heard too and it spawned a raised eyebrow from her.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:20 AM   #46
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The shotgun was probably the wise choice for now because of limited .223 ammo at this time.
OP posted this back on Dec. 8th.
AR's were on sale for $900 at that time and ammo supplies were still good enough that .223 was a sale item in a lot of places, both places like Dick's as well as on-line.

Consider that now, the same AR the OP talked the guy out of buying at the time is going for a minimum of 1.5 times to 2 times what the price was on Dec 8th,,,,
I'd be pretty miffed if I were the original buyer that had been talked out of an AR.

I don't fault the OP for trying to help out. He was just doing what he felt was the right thing to do.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:33 AM   #47
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Ah, didn't see the date.

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Old December 31, 2012, 11:51 AM   #48
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Did the Walmart employee offer to sell her some of that "assault ammo" I heard about on the news?
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:30 AM   #49
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What else do you expect to fit in the assault clips, bananas?

Let's assume that the customer and his family were new to firearms and were not going to take a class. It seems the most likely scenario anyway. Now let's forward to 4 years later. The gun is laying there in the closet, untouched since that last trip to the range a month after it was purchased. Bad guys enter the property with larceny in their hearts and crack in their veins (Yeah, that's right - I can do cheesy Guy Noir narration). Pop is off somewhere and Ma is looking to keep the bad guys away from Junior. What type of gun is in the closet? Press A for AR or B for 870 (No, I've never been a dungeon master).

A: Sorry, the little oil left in your AR since that last range session dried up a couple of years ago, assuming that Pop ever learned how to clean the gun in the first place. Chances are slim that it can fire once (it has to be loaded after all), and way less that it will feed after that. Ma has never actually heard the term "charging handle" before, and has long ago forgotten how to find it, let alone operate it. Moot point, since she's managed to drop the magazine while poking at the controls. May as well climb into that closet and hope the bad guys want the TV and not you. Maybe they just want directions to the nearest church.

B: While the oil in the 870 has probably dried up as well, it will run with little or none for a few hundred rounds. Not that this is any good for the gun, but seeing as it's only had a couple of boxes through it ever, it's still fully functional. Since Ma is operating under the delusion that it will spray instant death down the hallway without even aiming, her confidence level is high. This is a good thing today. Assuming that she can locate the slide release, somebody is about to trade their next crack fix for a colostomy bag or maybe a toe tag. Recoil? Not on Ma's mind right now. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Now does this have the shoulder thing that goes up? I hear that makes it deadlier.

C: Nobody told me there was a "C". What is this? I'll tell you what it is - it's a revolver. It's still in perfect running order, loaded and ready to go, locked in that quick open safe that Ma can still open with ease. Manual of arms: 1) Point at bad guy. 2) Pull trigger. 3) Repeat as necessary. Too bad there was no option C. Darn.

Now before you start yelling, an AR or 870 is a perfectly legitimate choice for most of us on this forum, since by the time we forget how to use one we'll be unfit to operate a can opener. But for the typical person who would ask a Wallmart employee for firearm advice, neither is that great as a first gun.

So what have we learned? Training. Next time tell the guy not to buy a gun yet. Take a class. Take your family to a class. Try a lot of different guns and see what suits you. It's great that you want to defend yourself - we need more people like you - but learn first. It will save you a lot of money and frustration. If you have to buy something right now get a revolver. Then take a class. Then take your family to a class. You see where I'm going here.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:58 AM   #50
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First, I'd like to point out that neither option "A" (AR style rifle) nor option "B" (870 in 12 or 20) is a one handed proposition. Dialing 911 would be the next step after mom gets the gun ready...... hard to do holding a long arm.

then I asked to be sure if he's ever had a gun. He said no but he needed one for home defense.
So did you offer to take him shooting? Steer him to a class? Point him to TFL and your State Gun Owners/2A website?

Though I have always been around guns/been a shooter, I remember when I first wanted to get into reloading ...... I found that people that reloaded, (including those who were in the business of selling reloading stuff!) were often less than helpful to a noob getting started (they would rather argue about the differences between .223 and 5.56 at the counter with their buddies, or sell Elmer his semi-annual order of 7 1/2 shot and primers than answer noob questions about what I would need to start loading my own ammo ..... those were pre-internet days, and I am so glad for TFL and other forums.


So, How many noobs have YOU taken to the range lately?

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