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A number of "newbies" who get a gun, head out to the shooting range, and then complain about malfunctions they may have inadvertently caused... so our moderators have helped make a list of "TO DO" things as the new gun goes to the range.

1. Read the Manual (twice)

2. Field Strip the Gun for initial cleaning (twice)

  • Familiarize yourself with the action and how everything works. Consider how you would clear a jam or FTF.
  • Look over the clips (magazines) and make sure they look good and function properly. Work the slide a few times (with the gun unloaded) and see if it feels gritty or "wrong in any way." Familiarize yourself with the slide release and the safety.
3. Become familiar with gun through dry firing (snap caps?)

  • Try dry firing while aiming at something (safely, with an unloaded gun and not toward anyone). See if you can keep the sights on the target while firing.
  • Dry firing practice with snap caps and the reasons for this prior to shooting for real seems to be stated. It is in a way. The reasons why need to be driven home. The how to portion of sight picture, trigger pull, grip single handed as well as with both hands needs to be stressed as well.
  • Too many rounds sent down range can cause fatigue and not be beneficial. There has to be goals defined for that practice.What areas of shooting need to be kept proficient or worked on to bring the shooter up to par need to be considered. Trying to do too much or too little has no benefit at all and can be counter productive. Sending a lot of rounds doesn't make one a better shot. A certain number do. Say 20 to 50 per exercise. That way overkill is eliminated.
  • Working on the trigger pull. Holding steady, stopping muzzle dip and other goal oriented achievements need to be looked at when determining what to work on when practicing to get better. I guess what I am saying is that planning of some sort should be done for each practice session, as well as a limited number of rounds per should be fired. This way the training is beneficial and the brain remembers what to do subconsciously.
4. Choose ammo

  • I would recommend several brands to see what your gun likes.
  • Start out with some basic hard nose ammo, such as WWB (which is also cheap).
  • But, also shoot some hollow points to see if they will cycle correctly.
5. Buy some good protective eye ware and hearing protection.

  • Don't shoot without it
  • and don't rely on the range to have some for you to use.
6. Whenever I take a new gun out the the range for the first time, I also bring a small basic cleaning kit with me, and some old toothbrushes.

  • After about a half of a box, I'll field strip, run a couple of patches down the barrel and scrub out the slide (with the old toothbrush), lightly oil, and put it back together.
  • Then I'll finish the first box, and if everything is working right, I'll shoot a second box, Then clean it again. I'll clean after every fifty rounds until about 300, then clean after every 100 rounds. Some might consider this overkill and unnecessary, but I have very few problems, if any, by following this method.
  • Taking it apart frequently also gives you a better understanding of the gun, and allows you to inspect for signs of wear. Depending on what guns I'm shooting at the range, I'll usually bring a large plastic freezer bag with me and disassemble the gun inside the bag, this will prevent any parts from getting lost. There's nothing more frustrating than searching for a spring or small part on the ground with sand and dirt and empty shell casings, etc.
  • And it never hurts to have a few pieces of fine grit sandpaper (400/600) in the range bag to smooth out a sharp edge or burr on the slide that you notice when you field strip.
  • A small precision tool kit in a zipper pouch including small screwdrivers and a little needle nose pliers come in real handy for fine tuning adjustments on your magazines.
7. Break the gun in with at least 300 rounds:

  • May not want to do this on the first go around, but before complaining about problems, try to put at least 300 down the tube.
  • Be mindful of how the gun is ejecting. Is it throwing brass all over the place, throwing a long ways, ejecting straight up, etc. Until you are absolutely familiar with the gun and its operation, do not attempt to use it for "maneuvers" or quick drawing from a holster. Wait until you are fully aware of the guns abilities and drawbacks.
  • I still say faulty mags are responsible for 90% of semi-auto malfunctions. The sandpaper works great for smoothing a rough edge on the mags lips.
  • Don't be too anxious to get out there and start blasting away. Patience and careful prep will make the shooting experience more enjoyable the first time out for a new gun.

This FAQ was the product of the group effort of all the moderators of Taurus Armed.
 

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X2, these are great tips even for used guns.It is a wise idea to know how to properly 'grip' the firearm before taking it to the range...do NOT assume the grip that works on accurately shooting your tried and true Glock will transfer to a Beretta PX4,for example.

Since you dont know the who, what , where, or when with used firearms its best to assume they were maintained poorly and start from there.
 

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I'll throw one other out there that helps a lot with semi autos. Rack the slide 3-400 times before you make your first trip to the range. Don't let it slam forward, just work it back and forth. This little exercise makes a difference when they're new.
 

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Once again, the moderators on Taurusarmed show why it's the most informative gun site on the web.
Thanks for the effort. I'm going to print a few copies of your checklist and drop them off to my LGS. :guns:
 

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Good info, I'd add...

Learn the "Basics" of shooting before complaining your gun shoots low and/or sending it back to the factory.

1. Stance
2. Grip
3. Sight Alignment
4. Sight Picture
5. Controled Trigger squeeze
6. Breath Control

If you now "think" you're doing everything right and still shooting low, enlist the aid of a qualified instructor to diagnose your shooting.

You might be suprised to learn those "low" shots are caused by your "jerking" of the trigger.

 

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Good tips! Every new shooter should read, and take notes.
 

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TaurusArmed.net is certainly a wealth of knowledge for me.

The joint effort of the TA Moderators in creating this thread is greatly appreciated.
 

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Most people wouldn't think of jumping in a new to them car and run at the Indy Brickyard, but don't give a second thought to grabbing a new gun and start banging away. WHY???
 

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Nicely said. This seems as if it should be common sense however sometimes individuals need to be reminded of the basics.
 

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this practically answers a newbie's queries on breaking-in a new piece! ;)
 

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A sticky about preparing and trying the new pistol. Yes!
 

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I'll throw one other out there that helps a lot with semi autos. Rack the slide 3-400 times before you make your first trip to the range. Don't let it slam forward, just work it back and forth. This little exercise makes a difference when they're new.
Great advice. Thanks.
 

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Shoot it, shoot it and shoot it some more. Get more ammo, clean and repeat. :)
 

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Nice to do list!

There are many "experienced" shooters that could benifit from that list. I'd like a dollar for everytime I've seen someone like that having problems with an auto and, when asked when the last time they cleaned it, they answer "Don't need to. Its Stainless."
 

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Great information from a great forum! Good job guys.....
 
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