IF you could only own ONE handgun...


January 1, 2003, 11:08 PM
My buddy is looking for one gun to buy. His wife will only allow for one handgun - he is still working on his degree and (in his wife's words) does not have the extra cash laying around for his toys.

After long negotiations with his wife he got OK on one handgun, but only one.

Keep in mind that this guy is not me. I do not have restrictions of this sort.

He asked me for an advice (I am his shooting buddy, he goes to the range with me from time to time).

I gave him three choices that I am going to put in a poll here and see your opinion folks.

Please vote and leave your responses. Keep in mind that one very good person and friend of mine will benefit from your input.

Oh - the gun is not for carry (Los Angeles here). Home protection/Range gun here.

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January 1, 2003, 11:21 PM
Rival -- It's a nice thing that you are researching this important decision for your friend; it is also extremely difficult to pick one, as all are good-great handguns, IMHO! We've heard it before, but you get TWO calibers in a .357 Mag(.38 Special), they are usually 100% reliable, good natural pointers, and are simple to use. OTOH, the autoloaders would be fine choices, too! Hard to beat a 1911 in .45 ACP! :D

January 2, 2003, 12:00 AM
I would pick a 1911 for my first choice. Second pick would be a 357. Either one would be a good pick for a first pistol.

January 2, 2003, 12:26 AM
Rent and shoot them all!!

But for me, a 92FS

January 2, 2003, 12:34 AM
Current favorite, as mentioned on another thread, is my USP 9. Great gun for self defense & range or competition plus since money is a little tight, less expensive to shoot than the 45 acp (which he can get when budget allows).

January 2, 2003, 01:21 AM
Given the choices presented I would go with the .357 revolver. Why? .357 is a good stopping round. Generally fewer things go wrong with a revolver in my experience.

You can shoot .38, .38+p, +p+, as well as your good old .357.
That is why IMHO I would take the .357.

January 2, 2003, 01:37 AM
After long negotiations with his wife he got OK on one handgun, but only one.

Used S/W 357 4" barrel. + Tell friend he's not four anymore and his wife is not his mother. Use savings on not buying a 1911 for lawyer to get rid of wife.

January 2, 2003, 01:49 AM
A .357 Mag revolver since there is less chance of a malfuntion, and it would be easier for his wife to use if she ever needed to.

January 2, 2003, 02:13 AM
That's tough. I love my CZ75-design EAA Witness Silver Team in 40 S&W. My Taurus PT99AF has never let me down in thousands of rounds. Everyone needs a S&W 686-ish revolver. But if it came down to one to serve all purposes, I'd have to stick with a 1911A1.

January 2, 2003, 02:23 AM
I recommend a medium or large frame .357 magnum revolver with six inch barrel.

January 2, 2003, 02:25 AM
Ruger Semi-Auto in flavor of choice, dependable...affordable...not the best looking handguns in the world but you can bet your life on them, at least that's my choice (Ruger P94 40 cal)
Tony G.

January 2, 2003, 02:41 AM
I didn't vote, because I currently only own one handgun. It's a Beretta 92FS. However, by the end of the month I plan to have a Springfield 1911.

Now, if I could only have ONE of those two, which would it be? I don't know. But right now, I only have ONE handgun, and it's a 9mm Beretta. In a month, after playing with my 1911, I might decide I would rather give up the 92 if I *had* to get rid of one of them.

January 2, 2003, 02:42 AM

Marlin model 1894C

Chambered for 357 Mag./38 Spl., the 1894C is the natural sidekick to the 357 Magnum or 38 Special revolver. An 18.5" barrel with deep-cut Ballard-type rifling, and superb balance, together with six machined solid steel forgings and a checkered American black walnut straight-grip stock, make this an extremely quick-handling little carbine.

January 2, 2003, 02:43 AM
He should get the glock or 1911 and then get a .22 conversion and also a Carbine conversion Unit, instant 3 guns in 1, but as the law only views the frame (which he has only one) as a firearm, he still only has one gun!

That is what I would truly do if I was stuck in that position. Thankfully, I am not. My biggest worry is getting a USP before my wife gets hers!

January 2, 2003, 03:22 AM
.357 revolver.
All are good choices, I am a fan of 1911 style and like the 45ACP. I also use a 9mm .

The advice I give when asked or pressed is :

The shooter must choose a firearm that FITS the shooter, in a reliable platform, in the largest caliber that allows consistent hits.

That said, a wheel gun is a great learning platform in a MOA which teaches the 4 rules very well for new shooters. Also if wife is even remotely going to use--SHE has to pick for her. He can learn around her choice...but if picked for her, very likely she will be more prone to learn and be more apt to help save for additional purchases.

January 2, 2003, 04:15 AM
357 Mag. Revolver!

Can be used for about anything and is the most reliable. I had a hard time not picking a HP since I just got one. But, the Revolver is it for only one handgun out of those choices. I would say a 4-6 inch .44 Mag would be my choice over the .357 Mag though.

Marshall :)

January 2, 2003, 04:32 AM
Well, it sounds like the .357 magnum revolver is the winner..:)

If it were me, I'd buy something exotic, or a "dream" gun.. If it can only be one, then why not splurge a little,say..

A custom 1911... This is one handgun that fits the "splurge" category.:D

Ala Dan
January 2, 2003, 06:06 AM
From your choices, a SIG 9m/m P228


From my choices, a SIG .45 caliber P220!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Kahr carrier
January 2, 2003, 08:43 AM
Valtro 1911:)

January 2, 2003, 09:54 AM
Have to have my 1911.

January 2, 2003, 11:27 AM
I'll go with the 9 as he would be more likely to get her to shoot it and like it and hence no more silly one gun restriction. :evil:

January 2, 2003, 11:31 AM
I voted for the .357, fewer parts to wear out so I think it would last longer than the semi autos.

Do like my Beretta though.:)

January 2, 2003, 11:44 AM
we really don't know how the buddy intends to use the gun. Home protection? Concealed carry? Plinking? Or, perhaps. all of the above. Given the situation I would recommend a S&W 686+ in either the "snubby" barrel length or, more practicaly, the 4" bbl. length. As other posters here have pointed out the .357 gives the shooter the maximum in flexibility. From mild .38 spcl wadcutter ammo up to and including some hot .357 stuff the shooter has a lot of options. In addition, if concealed carry is at all an issue the 7 rounds offered by the 686+ also offer a decided advantage. Hope it works out. Good shooting:)

January 2, 2003, 12:09 PM
.357 Cheap to feed, easy to teach wife how to operate, and if you buy a used S&W or Ruger, it's easy on the pocket (a used security six can be had for +/-$250) - a decided advantage for a student.

January 2, 2003, 12:19 PM
357, simple and reliable. Easy to shoot too. For the one gun guy that is not going to fully commit to training and drilling himself and others who may need to use the gun I feel a revolver is the only choice.

January 2, 2003, 12:41 PM
Less likely to fail than an auto and gives you the advantage of both .357/.38


January 2, 2003, 12:49 PM
based solely on the parameters, I would go with a .357.

4v50 Gary
January 2, 2003, 01:10 PM
While I like the 45, I voted .357 revolver. Why? Because I like cavorting in the woods. I generally sleep with my handgun in my sleeping bag and I don't want something that can jam after the first shot (consider how the bag can interfere with the ejection or feeding).

Mike Irwin
January 2, 2003, 02:09 PM
Since money appears to be an issue, I really think the .357 Mag. revolver is the way to go.

With so many having been surplused from police forces, the market is still glutted with revolvers, often used by in excellent mechanical shape, for not a lot of money.

January 2, 2003, 02:15 PM
He's been to the range shooting with you and still can't figure out what he likes the best?

Personally, I'd think long term here and get a 9mm in a larger framed pistol. This way, he can sloooowly introduce his wife to shooting with a low recoil handgun. She will enjoy it... then... "Well, ok... but only TWO guns."

If he's already hurting for $, 9mm would be easier on the pocketbook.

January 2, 2003, 03:50 PM
I do only own one handgun and it is a Beretta 9 mm:)

January 2, 2003, 05:21 PM
I voted for 9mm Glock 17. How ever if this is a new shooter who dosen't know. There for can't put into practice the safety rules. That new shooter should learn w/ a .38 cal revolver w/ a 4" barrel. A used S&W M10 w/ heavy 4" barrel.

January 2, 2003, 05:25 PM
Currently my only handgun is a Kimber .45 Classic Custom, so I voted for the 1911. But I'm kind of biased. :)

January 2, 2003, 06:05 PM
For occasional carry, night stand gun, woods gun, and informal target shooting a medium frame, 357 mag revolver with 4 inch barrel and adjustable sights- Smith or Ruger. Now if my emphasis was more on carry, but still want to do informal target shooting a glock 26, 9mm. In both cases have chosen gun with cheap, available ammo as I took this to be budget driven question.

January 2, 2003, 07:21 PM
4" .357 Magnum, preferably in stainless, and with adjustable sights. S&W K or L, Colt Trooper / Python size, Ruger Speed / Service Six or SP-101 sized. (Don't know the nomenclature for Colt or Rugers.)

One gun. First gun. Maybe last if he wants to keep the wife ;) , that depends on them.

My choice at present is a Kimber Compact .45, but that's what suits and works for me now. For decades, I carried a .357. I've had a Model 19, a Model 28, and still have a Model 686. All with 4" barrels.

Carried one for protection while a Deputy Reserve, and carried them CCW civilian. Worked well in both roles.

Hunted deer with the 686, and quite successfully, too, thank you. Although I now use a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag for deer, the .357 has always performed nicely. Started handgun hunting with .38 Special wadcutters on squirrel. Did nicely there too. Accurate, low recoil, not much damage to the meat.

Combat shooting in the mid-80s. (Or at least what our department called combat. It was the standard MLEOTC course of 50 rounds up to 25 yards.) I had just bought the 686 NIB within months of their inital release, and the only thing I changed was to put on Hogue grips. Came in third in the county. Not bad at all for a stock 4" revolver.

Hmmm. Self-defense. Hunting, both small and large game. Fun and games. What more could we want from our handguns.

Now before I hear people telling me they can do all of that with their .45s, you're right. You can. But is that the BEST choice for a man looking for ONE gun. First gun. Again, as has been said already, the revolver is simple to operate. Maybe not the easiest gun to drive tacks with, especially if you learn to shoot it DA as you should, but nonetheless, simple. For a first gun, a single gun, I maintain that simplicity is important. And as much as we like our .45s, or 9mms, or .40 S&Ws they aren't necessarily simple.

(Of course, a nice Kahr in 9mm might make me change my mind!:D)

Edited for spelling other mistakes.

January 2, 2003, 07:36 PM
While all are excellent choices, my choice would be the 9mm. My first gun was a Beretta. Still have it. Can't argue with 15+1 rounds of 9mm, a round which can be bought for 5 or 6 bucks a box of 50, doesn't have much recoil, and still packs a punch. Being a capacity freak, though, if 15 round clips were not available, I'd be tempted to go with a 1911.

January 2, 2003, 08:50 PM
Hi Rival,
I have read the entire thread and after carefull thought and deliberation , If I were your friend I would get a different wife.
You are supposed to have only one wife not only one handgun.
Please bear in mind that I am a happily married man. I just happen to marry one that likes handguns too. Oh she does have other priorities and she put up a minor fuss at first but after the first forty or so handguns I bought she just kinda gave up on having any objections. Now when I am with her at a gun show trying to decide on buying a particular specimen she always tells me to "buy it so I won't feel like I should have later". I just celebrated 20 wonderfull years with this woman and not a day goes by that I don't think of how lucky I am to have my wife.:D

Best Regards,

January 3, 2003, 12:28 AM
My buddy made his choice and ordered his first gun today.

He got Colt 1911 series 70

His reasoning
'cause it looks hot, and it is a blast to shoot...
He chose Colt because of the name. Plus he wanted something different from what I have (Springfield).

Anyway, thanks for all your input :)

January 3, 2003, 12:05 PM
Just wanted to chime in that my fiancee was an anti and her grandmother founded a chapter of NOW in California. I had the "ONLY ONE!" option for a long time until my fiancee found one that she likes (Makarov). Now she understands and we're going to be getting firearm #5 soon ;). There is always hope...

January 3, 2003, 02:59 PM
It's a toss up between a 1911 and a CZ-75.

I picked CZ-75 this time.

January 3, 2003, 03:58 PM
I think that a quality 1911 will have more "gun" appeal than a plain jane Glock or Sig. If you can have only one you might as well get one you can pet, stroke, fondle...oops. Never mind that. Anyway I think the 1911s are sorta like HD scooters. You can tinker with them endlessly and still not loose interest.

January 3, 2003, 05:20 PM
If he is on a budjet, the 9mm makes sense because ammo is so cheap.

Also the CZ-75 is a lot less money than the SIG or H&K. I would go for a used Beretta 92fs, they are great guns and can be found for less than $300.00 if you look. A lot of people like the CZ-75 so have him hold one of these and the Beretta and see which one he likes better.

January 4, 2003, 12:21 AM
If I could only keep one of my hanguns, without a doubt, it would be my CZ-75B Mil. Full size double stack 9mms are the best general purpose handguns out there. Sufficient for defense, easy to shoot, and cheap enough ammo to shoot often. I'd really hate giving up my CZ-40, 1911 and other pistols, but man, they are expensive to shoot regularly.

Plus with the CZ-75, he can add a .22 Kadet slide later for real cheap practice.

If it was for carry, I'd go with something like a CZ-75 PCR or similar sized nine.

happy old sailor
January 4, 2003, 12:38 AM
i voted for the 38/357. i like K guns.

then i thought, he will be buying ammo otc, and 357 is way more expensive than cheap practice 9mm fmj. if money is tight, can he handle this end of it.

but, if time is not tight, he can get a little Lee Loader and build a box or so of .38 spec a week and shoot for a little less than 9mm.
using cast bullets.

what am i saying here. i am a little short on info to make a decent recommendation. so, either of these two, depending.

January 4, 2003, 08:14 AM
Right now, probably my Wilson KZ-45. 10 rounds of .45 acp. 1911 platform. Fits like a glove. Sweet trigger. Wilson quality. Not one hiccup since I purchased it.

January 5, 2003, 04:36 PM
Based on your post I'd reccomend the Browning Hi-power. Simple and 'cheap' to shoot. 9mm rounds are everywhere for pennies. I just bought 100 rounds of Winchester in the wihite box at wallyworld for 8 bucks! If he can lose the restrictions, I'd tell him to get a 1911. Contrary to popular belief they are soft shooting IMO, and should he want to carry it *I* believe it's a better option than the 9.

January 5, 2003, 08:44 PM
my recommendation is for an HK USPc 9mm with nite sights.

Reliable, low recoil, accurate, inexpensive ammo to practice with and with a top notch defense load, it's very leathal.

And I take this over my .357 and 1911's.

Marko Kloos
January 5, 2003, 09:20 PM
A 4" .357 Magnum revolver is the single most versatile handgun you can own.

You can avail yourself to literally hundreds of different loads in both .38 Special and .357 Magnum, from very mild .38 wadcutters all the way up to 700+ FPE "Deerstoppers". It won't care about the shape of the bullet, or the powder charge. It's easy to use, easy to teach, and easy to maintain. It has no magazine to lose or mag springs to wear out. It can be used for CCW, home defense, plinking, range use, and hunting.

A 4" .357 is the Universal Handgun. It can do any task in a competent manner.

January 6, 2003, 12:19 AM
Right after I got out of Army the next day I worked for Defense Intelligence Agency. I only could have on my carry permit one gun. One of the choices was 1911 .45acp so I got one of the brand new Combat Commanders. I never regreted the choice in trips to Thailand,Germany,or Rhodesia(especially Rhodesia) . It was carried in a Chick Gaylord made holster with a double belt mag pouch. I only had to pull it once on a taxi driver and never shot anyone in the two years I carried it . It kept me warm and comfy so much so that I quit job when assigned to desk job in belt way with no permission to carry.:(

January 6, 2003, 04:34 PM
Get him a Ruger P-95 DC. Even though it isn't on your list

I have one that has been 100% reliable from day 1. And after 10,000+ rounds of just about every ammo I can think of It is still 100% reliable. 15 round mags are still around at good prices ($15-25)

The 9mm is such a cheap round his wife can't really say much about the ammount of money he's spending on ammo. $35 at Walmart get him 300 rounds to go shooting with.

January 6, 2003, 06:55 PM
None of the above.

January 9, 2003, 01:52 PM
It would have to be a K frame S&W .357 mag.

January 9, 2003, 02:30 PM
With the parameters given here, I would recomend a 4" .357, my preferance being a Ruger GP100. A good all around, "jack-of-all-trades" gun.
My own choice would be a stainless 5 1/2" Ruger Bisley in .44 Mag. Good loaded down for range plinking, loaded up for hunting, in a crossdraw for woods bumming. :)

January 9, 2003, 10:15 PM
Why not a .22LR semi auto or revolver? If something more potent is "really needed", then the funds will be found to aquire it. But .22 = a lot of shooting for cheap = familiarity = accuaracy = confidence = reasoned decision to get something bigger.

January 9, 2003, 10:28 PM
My S&W Model 28-2 "Highway Patrolman" 357 mag in a N-Frame package....It's the only way to fly (IMHO). :)

January 9, 2003, 10:33 PM
A USP in 9mm would be the best choice. In full or compact size.

Save a lot in ammo cost, meaning more practice.

With a weapon that's virtually indestructible. And for me, a looker to boot ;)

January 9, 2003, 11:00 PM
Let it be a Sig P226 with light mount rail.

January 10, 2003, 09:47 PM
My brother in law and I had this conversation before Christmas. We decided that while we love our 1911's, We'd have to chose the 9mm, probably Sig 228. Ideally, I'd like for my wife and daughter to shoot the gun as well and, while I'm a big guy, they are not. Therefore, the .45 scares the hell out of them. Plus, when introducing friends to shooting, the 9mm is much more forgiving to new shooters. My P7 M13 is a little too big in the grip for most ladies but they really enjoy shooting the SIG. I try to introduce at least one person a month to the joys of handgun shooting. Further, while power is great, at 7 yards I can kill you as dead with one properly placed shot from my SIG as I can from my Springfield TRP.

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