Gun Digest

Video: Is A Full-Sized Pistol The Best Training Option?

Full-sized pistols have a distinct advantage for training, particularly for beginning shooters.

The story is common. A new shooter goes to buy his first defensive handgun with a blurry idea of what he wants and needs. A few slick smiles by the salesman and a haul-truck worth of his personal opinions later and the shooter walks out with a firearm they’ll eventually find doesn’t work for them.

A stereotypical example: women getting steered toward lightweight, hammerless double-action revolvers for their first defensive gun. It’s a more than viable self-defense option, no auguring that; but with a long trigger pull and tendency to buck more in the hand, it’s perhaps not the ideal starter gun for an armed citizen.

Michelle Cerino goes out of her way to urge students to find the gun that fits and works for them, whatever that make and model might be. Of course, that means shopping and testing them out. But the shooting instructor at and president of the Chris Cerino Training Group urges her students — particularly beginners — to go big when they come to her class. In short, beg, borrow or buy a full-sized pistol. It might sound counterintuitive, particularly in the day and age when concealed carry reigns supreme, but Cerino is shooting straight.

For the most part, a full-sized pistol is easier to manipulate, given its ample slide real estate. It has a better sight radius, in turn, it’s easier to determine proper sight alignment. And its extra weight tamps down recoil, making a long day running defensive shooting drills a whole bunch more productive for those not use to range time measured in hundreds of rounds.

In the long run, a full-sized pistol might not be the right self-defense option for an individual shooter. But for acquiring the skills of a competent and effective armed citizen, there are few better fits.

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