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vocabulary h.z.: "The greater the resistance, the stronger the desire."
Pistol Hobby 101: Getting Started & Choosing Wisely

Pistol Hobby 101: Getting Started & Choosing Wisely


Legislative requirements in this article updated on April 28, 2023, according to the law during martial law in Ukraine.

Where to start?

- Where should a person who feels an irresistible genetic attraction to weapons start?

- Perhaps, just give it a try: go to a shooting range. If you're interested not only in personal skills but also in participating in competitions, it makes sense to start with purchasing a weapon. Smoothbore and traumatic weapons can be purchased at 21 years old, rifled carbine - from 25 years old. For the aforementioned categories, the best choice is a traumatic weapon.

- Maybe join the army?

- Under existing conditions, you won't shoot much in the army. Start with what your heart desires. If you want a pistol - get a permit for a pistol…

- You say get a permit… But it's not that simple, is it?

Pistol Hobby 101: Getting Started & Choosing Wisely- If you're a journalist - you can get a permit as a journalist.

- And if you're not a journalist?

- If you're not a journalist, you'll have to join the vigilantes - we have the Law "On the participation of citizens in the protection of public order and the State border." It allows citizens participating in law enforcement to acquire traumatic weapons. There are public organizations of vigilantes in Kyiv and major regional centers. You can join the Cossacks - currently, the Cossack movement is becoming a public organization for the protection of public order. Then, you need to get a recommendation from the chief of staff to obtain a permit to purchase and carry.

Lawyer's comment: The right to acquire devices for shooting cartridges equipped with non-lethal rubber projectiles is granted to court employees, law enforcement officers and their close relatives, persons involved in criminal proceedings, journalists and freelance journalists, deputies of Ukraine, members of public formations for public order protection and state border, military personnel, except those undergoing compulsory military service, and civil servants with categories and ranks.

- What distinguishes traumatic weapons from similar combat samples?

- There are two main differences:

1. A rubber bullet that is not intended to penetrate the skin;

2. The energy of the bullet itself - a certified traumatic cartridge provides energy of no more than 40 Joules - as a result, it's more like a "punch," while a combat cartridge gives the bullet an energy of 300 Joules.

- Does the external appearance of a "traumatic" pistol differ from a "combat" one?

- Differences for an inexperienced eye are not noticeable: it's the same pistol, externally fully corresponding to the serial combat model. Only an experienced eye will notice a smaller barrel diameter, possibly - the absence of rifling in the barrel, which provides stability to the combat bullet.

- Can you shoot any weapon at a shooting range?

- Not everywhere. Due to the complexities of obtaining documentation for a commercial shooting range, there are problems with purchasing combat weapons for further rental. That is, there's simply nowhere to shoot a "combat barrel," and we, for example, only conduct classes for owners of personal weapons.

In Kyiv, there are three commercial shooting ranges where you can rent combat weapons. The owners managed to register 2-3 models as sports weapons and conduct classes. However, the choice of weapons is limited there, and expansion of the range compared to Western shooting ranges is not planned. The issue is only about legislative restrictions - they could afford to purchase combat models financially.

Solving the problem of choice

Pistol Hobby 101: Getting Started & Choosing Wisely- What should you pay attention to first when buying a pistol?

- You should understand what it's needed for - the purpose determines the design. In front of us (on the table) are three categories of weapons:

1. Analogues of combat weapons, modified for traumatic ammunition;

2. Weapons made of ZAMAK alloy (zinc, aluminum, magnesium) - the so-called silumin. Silumin is a more brittle (but also cheaper) substitute for steel.

3. Pistols made of steel and firearm-grade plastic (like the Austrian Glock - a very angular and large favorite of filmmakers). As a result, you get a lighter and more ergonomic version of personal weapons.

- What is the difference, in terms of practical use?

- The main difference is the resource. If you're buying a pistol exclusively for self-defense (no more than that) - it's better to choose a lighter silumin. Such models are cheaper, but limited in magazine capacity and firing resource (approximately 5,000 shots) - this is a budget option.

Combat pistol analogues will come in handy if you plan to train, participate in competitions - they have a higher magazine capacity and a long shooting resource.

Less convenient, but very attractive externally, are models stylized after iconic models of the twentieth century, for example, here is the Walther PPK, Nagant, and here is the Erma 459 - a reduced copy of the Colt - but they have less ergonomic handles (not only small, but also uncomfortable, in terms of "grip").

- How can this be seen or felt?

- Take the pistol in your hand, try it on, try to draw it from a holster or from behind a belt. A modern pistol lies better in the hand than the classics of the past century.

Modern trends in the development of firearms thought are such that handles are tailored to the shooter, and serial models are made according to some averaged standards. Therefore, experienced shooters make exclusive adjustments to the handle so that the pistol becomes an extension of the hand and is intuitively perceived as part of the body.

Also, pay attention to the convenience of the sighting device - in modern models, the rear sight notch is wider, marked with white dots - it's more convenient to aim.

- And which pistol would you not recommend?

- It's hard to say for sure. But, for example, take the Nagant - an iconic weapon, practically a fetish. In its time, it was quite a progressive device, but by today's standards, it is practically unsuitable for self-defense applications:

1. It is almost impossible to carry it concealed;

2. Due to the peculiarities of the trigger mechanism, it is almost difficult to shoot and shoot operationally - in terms of actual rapid fire, it will lose to any pistol.

Author: Denis Sukhinin

Lawyer: Dmitry Donchak

Other parts of this article:

vocabulary h.z.: "The greater the resistance, the stronger the desire."

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