Went to my first Gun Show..some thoughts..kinda long


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Crue4
January 22, 2006, 09:06 PM
I am new to handguns, but really am enjoying my new hobby. I got to attend a Gun Show today with my brother-in-law, who is a LEO (Drug Detective). Here are my thoughts on some semi-auto pistols and Brands that I have seen on the web but never held in person. I will comment on only the NIB unless otherwise noted.(granted I cannot comment on how the shoot, only in look, finish, and feel)

Walther P22-- absolutely a great feeling gun and great finish, very uniquely shaped, and very ergonomic. When I find the right one pre-owned.. I will likely add this gun to my collection.

Bersa- I liked the little .380's although they were slightly bigger than I thought they would be... much bigger than the Kel-Tech.. It really made me think that the Makarov might be a better choice for less money.. with a little more power and basically the same size. The Thunder 45's and 40.. felt good, but the satin nickel finish was very poor, and definitely changed my perception of them.. at least about how they look.

Llama-- Not meaning to step on any toes, but I did not like these at all.

SpringField-- XD's Absolutely feel great in my hand... I am definitely going to add a sub-compact 40 to my collection soon. 1911 Champion will be in my future as well... and Custom Loaded FULL-SIZE 1911-A1 WOW!! I do love the look of the black stainless.. simply beautiful. I did not care for the basic GI models, but then again I think folks buy those and modify them to their own custom liking.. so that is unfair to judge the gun in it base form. I am fastly becoming a Springfield man.

Glock-- A glock is a glock, I just don't like how they feel compared to XD

Taurus MP's-- really a good looking gun, light, very compact, great capacity for a small gun, great price, feel and hold very well in the hand.. Very very tempting especially in PT145.. 10 round mag in a compact lightweight gun.. but I am weary of "Taurus" simply b/c of past reputation. No night sights available either which is a negative for me... but all in all at the low price, I will probably grab one down the road.

Kel-tech-- Well it is small, very small, but the .32 is a very tempting pocket pistol due to its size.. my brother-in-law wants one with a pocket clip attached to it.. but we did not see one with it.

Para-Ordance-- This was a brand that I was intrigued about based on looks from pictures and website... After seeing them in person I now view them a little differently.. The Hawg, NiteHawg, and WartHawg finish was not nearly as nice in person as in pics. But the LDA's and 1911 in stainless finish were extremely good looking and feeling pieces... Prices were very high on their entire line though... and at those prices a Springfield 1911 will be my choice.

Ruger-- the P345 and P90.. man they are pretty darn good feeling guns. They are not the best looking pieces but are finished nicely, but new grips and hard chrome would do wonders in the looks aspect. They are pretty solid choices at a low pricepoint. I may infact get one in the future.

S&W-- I like Smith's, they had a lot of good looking Smith's at the show. Being the owner of a Smith, I was already familiar with their look and feel. I think they are just simply great guns.

Kahr-- Now they impressed me in look and feel.. they are very easy to hold and feel great, point well, and are light and compact... of course mag capacity is what you give up to get these great features... but wow the prices were up there! Man if these were b/n XD/Glock price range they would be very tempting...

HighPoint--- My brother in law cringes when he sees those as he sees those in the wrong hands on a daily basis in his line of work.. I have to say that they are not the pleasing to eye...

Kimber-- Nice looking and fine finishes but when I hold the Springfield 1911 line side by side I gravitate toward the Springfield.. and it appeared that Kimber was a bit higher priced in comparable models.. (Although if money was not an issue, I would own a Kimber as well.)

Charles Daly, Rock Island, Amscor-- Saw some 1911's and they were all the basic "GI" style... they all held and looked very basic but nice.. I guess they folks customize those as well... they were all very basic 1911 GI style, but prices were very very good and if you want to build it to your liking, they seem like good values.

H&K-- My brother in law loves them, they felt really good. They are well above my price point for a polymer pistol though.

Star or Firestar?-- They actually were pretty nice little guns. Felt good, finish seemed to be better than other in the lower price rang (Llama, Bersa, FireStorm).. We both actually like the ones we saw both they way the felt and looked... Wonder what the shooting and quality is like with these?

STI-- Only 1 there, the Trojan... but WOW!!!! Wish I was wealthy b/c that baby would have come home with me.


That is about it for the semi's... Any comments or additional info on some of the brands would be fun discussion. I learned a lot today, and got to see and hold a lot of brands that I have only seen in pictures.. I probably saved myself a lot of money in the future by attending the show, as now I have definitely crossed a few off my list, and I learned that I will NEVER buy a gun without having seen and held they exact model in my hand before purchase.

Guns I was really impressed with (appearance and feel only):
Springfield XD
Springfield Champion
Springfield Custom Loaded FULL-SIZE 1911-A1 (see a pattern emerging here)
Kahr (price was a negative though)
Para LDA series
Walther P22 (if I ever get a 22, this is my first choice at least for now)
Taurus PT145 (very tempting, but worried about quality of the brand)
Star or FireStar-- look and feel pretty good.. but know nothing about them

Guns I wasn't impressed with (appearance and feel and/or price):
Para-- compact series
Kahr-- price
Llama-- feel and finish was a negative
Bersa-- finish on satin/nickel

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Javelin Man
January 22, 2006, 09:35 PM
Nice observations and well spoken.

The Kel-tecs do not come with clips. They can be easily purchased and then installed. My .32 stays in a pocket holster.

Herself
January 22, 2006, 10:01 PM
I carry and shoot both the more traditional Star line and their more modern-looking Firestars (and Ultrastars).

They are very nice indeed, though most are heavy. (Alloy-framed PD in .45, BKM and BKS in 9mm are exceptions, along with the polymer Utrastars. The steel .380 S, Super S and SI are also fairly light). Star itself is out of business, so parts can be an issue. The older Stars retain the firing pin by a cross pin in the slide and must not be dry-fired without a snap cap, as the firing pin can break if it slams into the cross pin repeatedly. Model letters are stamped on the heel of the guns behind the magwell, making it easy even for me to tell one from another.

If you are comfortable with an "orphan" sidearm, Stars (Fire-, Ultra-, etc.) are a good value for the money. The going rate for a model BM (9mm) is $150 or less. This compares favorably to a Makarov. The BM is a bit larger but IMO it's nicer-looking and holds and points more naturally.


I have also carried and shot the Bersa .380, which is one of the best values in a current-production sidearm. There aren't any surprises to a Bersa, good or bad. It does the job.

--Herself

wally
January 22, 2006, 11:23 PM
Walther P22-- absolutely a great feeling gun and great finish, very uniquely shaped, and very ergonomic. When I find the right one pre-owned.. I will likely add this gun to my collection.


I'd be leary of a used P22. A fair number of the earlier ones had problems, and its such a fun little gun I can't see anyone selling one that works unless they were totally off the wall and bought it thinking they'd be winning bullseye matches with it.

--wally.

Crue4
January 23, 2006, 01:39 AM
Wally that is good to know as well... and it makes perfect sense.

Falconeer
January 23, 2006, 10:22 AM
Any comments or additional info on some of the brands would be fun discussion.
Hope I'm not changing the focus, but did you try any of the Sigs? I didn't see them on your list, and was wondering if you were avoiding them or the opportunity didn't come up. :)

Onmilo
January 23, 2006, 11:28 AM
What?? No Smith and Wessons??

Hardcore
January 23, 2006, 12:34 PM
What no COLT'S, SIG, :confused:

poppy
January 23, 2006, 02:10 PM
Crue Kahr-- Now they impressed me in look and feel.. but wow the prices were up there!
I'm with you there. I would not buy a new one simply because of price. You should be able to find a good used one.

At this past week end's gun show, I saw a guy trying to sell his P9 with 3 factory mags for $400 with no takers while I was there. I would have considered it except I already have one that I bought at another show several years ago ANIB for $400. poppy

Black Majik
January 23, 2006, 04:18 PM
What?! No Les Baers, Wilsons, Rock River, Ed Brown or Nighthawk testaments?! :evil:

Pretty entertaining report. Thanks for the good read :)

Lennyjoe
January 23, 2006, 05:53 PM
I know one thing, prices are sure on the way up. I didn't find a decent deal at all at the last gunshow.

Actually, I did find a decent deal on Elk jerky. :neener:

Phaetos
January 23, 2006, 06:08 PM
I want your gun shows. Man, everything around here this time was Hi-Point, Jiminez, Cobra, Glock, Taurus(mostly revolvers). Not many 1911's, but did see a nice Rock Island for $319.

Bill73
January 23, 2006, 06:14 PM
I don't buy new handguns any more. The prices are to high. I do buy clean used ones. New guns are just like new cars......as soon as you take posession the value falls. The used gun market is jam full.

Crue4
January 24, 2006, 01:33 AM
Hope I'm not changing the focus, but did you try any of the Sigs? I didn't see them on your list, and was wondering if you were avoiding them or the opportunity didn't come up. :)


I like the sigs but the 245 and the 229 are my favorites and they simply are not realistic buys for me due to price.. I would rather have a 1911 style for that price.

Crue4
January 24, 2006, 01:35 AM
What?! No Les Baers, Wilsons, Rock River, Ed Brown or Nighthawk testaments?! :evil:

Pretty entertaining report. Thanks for the good read :)


Nope didn't see any of those... 1 STI, and 1 Smith Performance (very very sweet).. that was the closest... I do love the Ed Brown's... and Les Baers though.. never held a Wilson... although I would love to see one.

Falconeer
January 24, 2006, 12:18 PM
I like the sigs but the 245 and the 229 are my favorites and they simply are not realistic buys for me due to price.. I would rather have a 1911 style for that price.
I know the feeling. It's all about price point. :) I'd love to own everything Sig makes, but I'd kind of like to stay married too. :p

What price range are you looking for, if you don't mind my asking?

George S.
January 24, 2006, 08:58 PM
Guns I was really impressed with (appearance and feel only):

Springfield Custom Loaded FULL-SIZE 1911-A1 (see a pattern emerging here)

Taurus PT145 (very tempting, but worried about quality of the brand)


I've owned an SA Loaded for a couple years now and I have found it to be an accurate and totaly reliable pistol. For the money, you can't go wrong with any one of the SA pistols. Haven't had a chance to shoot an XD (would really love to try the new XD in .45ACP) but they certainly have a great feel to me.

I have a Taurus PT145. Got it early last year and after about 400 rounds thru it with no failures, it is now my carry pistol. Taurus has really turned their pistols around from a few years ago; the Millenium Pro line is definitely something to consider for a compact pistol. I really like the 10+1 capacity in something that is not much wider than my 1911.

I also have a Ruger P89 (9mm but same frame as the P90). Rugers may not be the 'prettiest' pistols around, but they are rugged and well-made. Ruger even states in writing that you can fire any factory load made to any of the known standards (CIP, US, NATO, SAMMI) in their pistols without any problems. That says a lot about the strength of their products. Mine has a set of Hogue grips and that makes it a very comfortable pistol to hold and shoot.

Crue4
January 25, 2006, 02:38 AM
I know the feeling. It's all about price point. :) I'd love to own everything Sig makes, but I'd kind of like to stay married too. :p

What price range are you looking for, if you don't mind my asking?


For a Polymer gun.. no more than about $450... (XD or Taurus)..

For my 45 1911 style... around $750...


Sorry the high priced models are awesome...but in reality I simply will not pay that kind of money for a hobby.

Crue4
January 25, 2006, 02:41 AM
I've owned an SA Loaded for a couple years now and I have found it to be an accurate and totaly reliable pistol. For the money, you can't go wrong with any one of the SA pistols. Haven't had a chance to shoot an XD (would really love to try the new XD in .45ACP) but they certainly have a great feel to me.

I have a Taurus PT145. Got it early last year and after about 400 rounds thru it with no failures, it is now my carry pistol. Taurus has really turned their pistols around from a few years ago; the Millenium Pro line is definitely something to consider for a compact pistol. I really like the 10+1 capacity in something that is not much wider than my 1911.

I also have a Ruger P89 (9mm but same frame as the P90). Rugers may not be the 'prettiest' pistols around, but they are rugged and well-made. Ruger even states in writing that you can fire any factory load made to any of the known standards (CIP, US, NATO, SAMMI) in their pistols without any problems. That says a lot about the strength of their products. Mine has a set of Hogue grips and that makes it a very comfortable pistol to hold and shoot.


I do think I will buy and XD 40sub compact... and PT145 or Ruger P90... and then I will get the Springfield Champion.

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