Say Uncle is requesting advice for Rich on buying his first firearms.
This is what I told him. I hope to have something longer soon.
First, buy/use really good hearing protection. I use the 26db headphone type and earplugs too. It is not easy to get the earplugs in correctly, so make sure they are all the way in before you shoot. Sad to say loud noises make me nervous, but I'm not having flinch problems, even when I rent the 44 magnum.
Second, rent or borrow different guns before you buy. My range has five dollar rentals. You can rent a lot of different guns before making a purchase you regret at that rate.
Third, practice with .22 pistols and rifles first. They are inexpensive to buy and shoot, light, not so loud and with almost no recoil. They teach good habits. Nobody develops a flinch with a .22.