Maybe the overall best thing you can do is to contact your local Police or Sheriff's office where you can take a new shooter training course. A certified trainer can help you get familiar with the basics. Many of them will let you rent a handgun to take the course and teach you the basics and eventually, let you get hands-on experience actually handling and shooting a handgun safely in a controlled environment, so you will know what to expect and won't get scared by the unknown.<br />
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If you already know where there is a shooting range, call or go seek out the range manager and ask them about a training course. Either way, you need to know what you are doing before you get in too deep and end up with regrets and no way back from them. It only takes a little time, effort and money to avoid trouble and learn the right way to handle a gun, gun safety. My suggestion about the revolver/pistol (auto or semi-auto), if you don't know, learn about both, shoot both with a certified trainer to help you find what works best for you. Don't guess, just find out and then KNOW and you will have fewer (if any) regrets later.<br />
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Me, I own several handguns, both revolvers and semi-automatic. What works best for you is what counts most. And safety is always important, no matter what.

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The Internet is a friend. Definitely learn about how to properly handle and operate a firearm and try to shoot as many different types of handguns or rifles if that's what you want. Shooting is an expensive sport/hobbie. There are bunch of options in .22 cal.

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A water pistol.

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If you are speaking of handguns, I would recommend a revolver over a semi-automatic. Depending upon your hand size and depth of your shooting range, a .357 with a 4" barrel would be far easier to control if you loaded it with .38 rounds. A .22 is fun for plinking, but those rounds have a tendancy to bounce around a lot. I would only shoot a .22 in an outdoor range.

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It is not the weapon you should be concern about learning, but how to properly handle a firearm first. You need to know the safety rules, how to clean a weapon, how to properly hold a weapon, how to properly carry the weapon, how to properly load and clear the weapon, and how to properly fire a weapon. Consider locating a law enforcement weapons trainer or military weapons trainer to teach you properly. They will be able also to help you select a proper weapon for your height, arm length, hand grasp, and etc. Learning all this from a "ya-who" , friend, or relative will not provide you with complete knowledge.

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I agree with Visualone, go to a local gun (hopefully one with a range) and rent a couple of different types and calibers until you find something you are comfortabe with. Then practice, practice, practice.

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I'm not an expert but I believe that a 22 is a good gun to practice with because the ammunition is cheep. You can get used to the feel and function of the weapon. I have an Iver Johnson 22 and it's very accurate. I'm looking for more firepower now because I hike in the desert and there are cougars etc.

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I would suggest trying a rifle before taking on a pistol, and certainly not a shotgun. I personally preferred shooting the 30/30 when I used to target shoot.

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For a gun, I would suggest a 20 gauge shot gun with skeet rounds in it.<br />
For a rifle, get a 0.22 single shot.<br />
for a handgun, well don't get a handgun for a beginner.

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