If you have a gun, you probably don’t need to run out and buy another one. If the firearm you have fits the general suggestions below and you are comfortable and confident with it then use it for the classes.
If you don’t have a gun yet and you will at attending one of the Foundation classes (you are registered for one right?), get with the class instructor and let him know you want to try out some guns at the class. He will get you squared away for the Foundations and you will most likely leave with a good idea on what you will want to purchase.
For a general ‘rule of thumb’, we have found that a good quality full size 9mm semi-auto like the Glock 19 or the Smith and Wesson M&P work well for the majority of people. They are good guns available anywhere at a decent price.
If you are very small stature, then you may want to look at one of the single stack subcompact firearms like Glock 43 or Smith and Wesson Shield (You will need at least 4 magazines for these single stack guns).
NOTE: Unfortunately the gun you will perform best with at training, may not be the one you will carry when in school.
The reason for this issue is that the school environment may require a very high level of concealment there by moving you toward a smaller firearm. The problem with trying to use the smaller firearms in training is simply the volume of rounds you will be shooting. For a one day class, the small guns can be made to work well with practice. For three full days and almost 1000 round of fire, they will quickly become difficult for even the most experienced shooters. The small firearms are harder to hold on to, they require more frequent reloading and most critically, they tend to rub ‘hot-spots’ on the shooters hands quicker. This all means that the student can not concentrate on the skills we are working on when they are flinching from rubbed blisters on their knuckles or palms. We find about 10% of the student need to swap out guns for one of our loaners during the class. Not a big deal, that is why we have extras.
You will need a good holster also. We recommend a kydex style strong side outside the waist band for training. Again you likely will use a different holster while at school, but having a holster that you can easily reholster the gun to with out looking, without using two hands, etc. will allow you to concentrate on the other skills we cover without distraction. Inside the waist band holsters will work if you are very proficient with them and if they do not collapse closed when the gun is removed so you can reholster one-handed. Leather holsters or the hybrid style leather/kydex tend to quickly soften and start collapsing closed. You also do not want a generic ‘This holster fits 10 guns’ style or a soft nylon style holster. Neither will perform as you need them to. A very good inexpensive model to look at is the Standard (not Serpa) Blackhawk CQC Standard, the Safariland ALS, the Safariland GLS or the Comptac QB.
Next you will need at least 3 full capacity (15 round or greater) magazines for the firearm. If you have one of the single stack guns which only holds 7 or 8 rounds, 4 magazines is the minimum. We like to see you come to the firing line with 30-40 rounds. You will like this also as it saves lots of walking back and forth to reload magazines. You will want this extra time to relax when you can.
You will also need a magazine pouch. We like the single kydex style made for your firearm. The soft magazine pouches will not work, but if they have flap or a snap or something you will probably want to cut the flap off as they serve no purpose and just get in the way. A single magazine holder will work as you can have one magazine in the gun, one in the magazine pouch and then a third (and fourth for low-capacity guns) in your pocket. Examples: Blackhawk – Brand, Safariland – Brand, FastDraw – Brand and Glock – Brand
Don’t forget, you will need a good gun belt to hold all of this up. Your standard dress or stylish web belt will simply not hold a full size firearm, a magazine pouch, magazine and 30 rounds of ammo securely. Look for something in very stiff leather or something like the Blackhawk Riggers Belt or the Wilderness Tactical 5 Stitch.
Ear & Eye Protection
Finally you will need ear and eye protection. Quality electronic ear protection is required. It will be required at other Buckeye Firearms events and will allow you to clearly hear all range commands and instructions. The Howard Leight Impact Sport brand are a great choice.
Hopefully this helps you get ready to train with us this summer. Don’t forget the ‘personal comfort’ items you will want also. Hat, sunscreen, folding chair, cooler, bug spray, UpLULA Loader, etc.
Please, call or email if you have any questions or want to get more ideas.