The First Guns To Buy: Micah and Charlie of Garand Thumb Weigh In

In a crowded field of GunTubers, Garand Thumb consistently brings high production values with every video. Although Micah and Charlie often act as comic relief to the star of the show, they are behind much of the magic as the videographers. Micah and Charlie’s hardware preferences aren’t normally the subject of the production, but Jeremy Stone of GMW joined them to talk shop about the first guns they think you should buy. Be sure to check out the full video here.

Like many of us, Jeremy started the search for his first rifle without a specific use in mind, and the number of choices available led to some paralysis on the matter. Jeremy asked Micah and Charlie their opinions on the kind of firearms they would start with. He also asked, specifically on rifles, if you should build something for a specific purpose or go with a stock offering with an intent toward general purposes.

jeremy stone with micah mayfield and charlie of garand thumb
Jeremy Stone talks shop with Micah and Charlie from Garand Thumb.

Without hesitating, Micah recommended a Glock 17 outfitted with a red dot optic as a first handgun. It is a conventional and common 9mm pistol large enough to tame the recoil of the round and give the user plenty to hold onto while manipulating the pistol. The dot takes the guesswork out of aligning iron sights, although it is better to go with a dot in addition to iron sights.

Micah’s choice of a starting rifle is an off-the-shelf 5.56mm AR-platform rifle that is roughly in the price range of the rifles made by Palmetto State Armory. This includes PSA and other companies like Smith & Wesson and Ruger. Rifles of this price range don’t break the bank and can be readily modified from a general-purpose rifle to something to use seriously.

Spray painted AR-15 rifle.
Palmetto State Armory rifles are quality-built budget arms, but they also occupy a price tier shared by other rifles. [Jason Mosher]
Micah believes the PSA ARs with a 16-inch barrel to be particularly useful. It has a lifetime warranty, and the 16-inch barrel is the minimum he considers to be acceptable ballistically for shots past 100 yards. Ultimately, Micah thinks that barrel length is an overblown issue for what most people are going to use an AR for. Most of us have access to ranges that do not exceed 100 yards. From a training perspective, any barrel length is fine as long as you know your drop. But what is lost in the conversation is the amount of power you give up when going up or down in barrel length. However, the 5.56 is at its best in terms of power out of a twenty-inch barrel. It is still acceptable out of a 16-inch barrel, but in shorter barrels, the round loses a lot of the velocity that it relies on to do its damage.

For his part, Charlie agreed with Micah but expanded on the logic. The Glock 17 would also be Charlie’s choice, but it is not the best choice for everyone. The Glock 17 is a thick pistol by double-stack pistol standards, and shooters with smaller hands would have trouble reaching the trigger. Charlie thinks a 14.5-to-16-inch barreled AR would be ideal, particularly those at the PSA-tier price level. Charlie started out with a rifle from the now-defunct Windham Weaponry. It falls into the same price tier above budget rifles that often skip features or have questionable metallurgical longevity. Charlie owns several PSA rifles, and any defect with them was minor and easily solved online.

Although Micah stressed that a new shooter has to find their purpose before diving in, both Micah and Charlie played the safe route by choosing handguns and rifles that fit a general-purpose category. The Glock 17 and mid-tier AR-15s are quality firearms that are unlikely to have major problems and come in at a price that isn’t astronomical. They are the ultimate master-of-none starting points for a shooting journey.

Terril is an economic historian with a penchant for all things firearm related. Originally a pot hunter hailing from south Louisiana, he currently covers firearms and reloading topics in print and on his All Outdoors YouTube page. When he isn't delving into rimfire ballistics, pocket pistols, and colonial arms, Terril can be found perfecting his fire-starting techniques, photographing wildlife, and getting lost in the archives.

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