A new venture
QAfter my son shot clays on a stag weekend he is now hooked and wants me to join in. As a former competitive pistol shooter, I want to try this new venture. With a budget of up to £400 for a used gun, what do you recommend, and also what barrel length would be best? We will both be seeking a club and lessons but it would be nice to start with our own kit.
ADON BRUNT replies: It’s good to hear that you both want to get started but your plan of having one gun between you might prove difficult. It depends on the comparative size and stature of you both. If your son is 6'2" and you are 5'6" then it will be very difficult to buy a gun that will fit you both. However, if there is a big difference between you both, then a slip-on stock extension will help and you may also need a comb raiser – neither of these will cost a great deal.
Regarding your budget, I would, if possible, try to extend that by £100-£200, which will allow you to pick up a second-hand Beretta, Browning or Miroku. These three brands are the most widely available and they are likely to be robust enough to be a good pre-loved option. Plus, if you need to sell them on again you won’t lose much on the money you've spent. A new gun in that price range will depreciate more quickly and may not be as well built.
As for barrel length, I would expect that with your budget you will struggle to find anything other than 28" barrels; but that is fine for a starter gun and there is no need to worry too much about longer barrels until you have mastered the basics and are shooting 60% plus. Remember, though, that as a former pistol shooter you need to unlearn using the bead on the gun as a sight; focus past it and stare hard at the target at all times!
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