Soon-to-be 1st time gun owner w/ alot of questions...


January 26, 2006, 01:53 PM
Troy Cole here, and I'm, looking to purchase my first handgun in less than 2 weeks. I've narrowed my choice to one of the Sprinfield XD models for the following reasons: 1. It's competively priced ($430-$460 @ my local gun shop) 2. Ease if dissassembly 3. The lifetime guarantee and 4. I really like the way they feel when I pick them up. (If you don't think my reasoning is valid, or you know of other models for which the same reasoning applies, feel free to tell me so)
I've done some reasing on the forumn before posting, and I know that some recommend a .22 caliber for a first handgun, but I really don't want to buy a gun to learn with and turn around to buy another gun to fulfill the purpose for which I wanted a gun in the first place (CCW and Home defense)
Ok, now for the questions:
1. What caliber? My thinking at this point is 9mm. It's my understanding (according to some posts I've read) that it's possible to close the gap somewhat between the 9mm's stopping power and that of a .40 or .45 with the right ammo (if that's true, what are the best ammo choices for the job?)
2. I really like the sub-compact because it would be easier to conceal and still has a 10 rd. mag.., but A. How well does it perform with a .40 or .45 round if I go that route? B. How easy is it to shoot without the magazine extension? and C. If I need the magazine extension, does that negate any advantage (in terms of concealability) for the sub-compact frame, thereby meaning I should go a head and get the service model?

I know the gun shop had a range, and I'm goign to see if I can rent some models next week to do some hands-on research, but I would certainly appreciate any and all advice. I'm just wise enough to admit I know very little.

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Black Majik
January 26, 2006, 02:01 PM
you've picked a great first firearm. For me, I think that starting out with a centerfire weapon is perfectly fine. I get bored faster with .22 than I do with any centerfire gun. As long as you're willing to take proper lessons you'll do well. Hell, my first firearm was in .45 ACP :D

Ammo is cheap for the 9mm, so that's what I'd go with. Wally World has em' in 100 round value packs by Winchester for $11. That'll give you lots of practice. As for the sub compact, I'd personally go for the service size 4" if this was mainly for a range gun. Bigger guns have longer sight radius, and usually is more forgiving to the shooter.

Good luck, you must be excited as all heck! I know I was.

January 26, 2006, 02:11 PM
I definitely look forward to spending soem time at the range, but I'm also looking very hard at my choice for it's ability to serve as a defensive weapon (I know it doesn't take the place of a shotgun. I love my 870, but that doesn't help me when I'm out and about).

A week and a half ago, someone knocked on my door twice in the span of 3 days at like 4 in the morning...rather insistently. being only half awake, by the time I got to the door, no one was there. A few days after that, I learn that an escaped convict from a prison in the next county over was in teh area knocing on doors attempting to use people's phones. Considering that I'm 10 minutes from one town, and about 15 from one in the other direction, I'm going to be on my own for a good little bit even if I can call for help right away.

January 26, 2006, 02:41 PM
If CCW is a definite possibility, I'd go subcompact.

It's a personal call, but I'd go 9mm if I were buying. More affordable ammo, plenty of different bullet weights/types, etc. Plus I hate the way .40 recoils, though 45 doesn't bug me. Unless you have a strong urge in another direction, go 9mm.

If the XD fits your hand and budget, there's no reason not to choose that one. If you've fondled a variety of guns at the XD stands out as fitting your build, that's a very good sign.

So far as .22 vs. full-caliber: you're exactly right. A .22LR makes a great training pistol, but if your highest priority is to have a good defensive gun, go 9mm first. If you find yourself heading to the range to practice every couple weeks, and .22 would make a great second purchase.

You've done your homework on this subject, and it really shows. Good on you, I'm sure your first gun purchase will be a great experience.


January 26, 2006, 02:45 PM
Heh, I know it's not much for advice, but here goes:

1.) Caliber - totally personal preference. 9mm lets you practice the most for the same money as cost goes up with caliber generally. My vote is either 9mm or .45ACP because I don't like the way .40 recoils. Head shots and wise ammunition choices generally mean your target won't tell the difference.

2.) Sub Compact vs. Service size - totally personal preference, and depends on how you dress and what kind of weather your area has. I have a P99 that isn't hard to conceal, but all things considered I'd like to have the compact for comfort reasons. It's worth noting that .45ACP ballistics aren't so great out of 3" barrels, but that might be a moot point since I don't think the sub compact .45ACP XDs are out yet.

3.) Most modern autos are pretty darn quick and easy to dissasemble, don't let that be a factor in your decision.

4.) Budgets are a real life pain, but I assure you that you will have spent more money on ammo than you did on the gun very shortly. Don't get too hung up on price.

5.) The XD is a fine choice, and it feels good in your hand (IMO the most important factor of a weapon aside from reliability). That's a good start. Don't ignore all the other choices out there though just because they might cost $50-100 more or because they take an extra 2 seconds to reassemble.

Glocks, Walther P99s, Steyr Ms, CZs, Berettas, etc. etc. are all solid reliable guns. Different flavors for different people. Take the time to find your flavor early, or buy dozens of guns figuring it've been warned :-)

edited to add: dang, beat to the punch

January 26, 2006, 02:48 PM
Has anyone on here had any expereince shooting the sub-compact? I'm really interested to find out how necessary the mag extension is, and whether or not it makes a real difference in terms of concealability.

Black Majik
January 26, 2006, 02:58 PM
Has anyone on here had any expereince shooting the sub-compact? I'm really interested to find out how necessary the mag extension is, and whether or not it makes a real difference in terms of concealability.

I haven't shot it yet, but it fits my hand comfortably, unlike the other subcompacts such as the Glock 26/27 where my pinky hangs under the grip.

Dont thin a mag extension is needed, and not necessary for CCW, as you're trying to have as short of grip as possibly for concealability.

January 26, 2006, 05:57 PM
My close friend has an XD 4" service model in 9mm and it is a joy to shoot. I would not suggest a larger caliber because in a polymer gun they will kick more and a novice shooter may develop a flinch. As for .22s, they help when learning and are cheep to shoot, but if you don't mind buying ammo, are responsible and take (and listen to) some shooting/self defense classes you should be fine.

My friend carries his XD eveywhere, most of the time inside the waistband, its not hard if you buy a decent holster and were a jacket or long shirt. You can even get holsters that will let you tuck a shirt in over the gun.

Some people like to carry itty bitty guns, others care full size glocks, 1911s, and sigs, if you think hard enough, you can find a way to carry any size of gun so get one that you are comfortable with.

MS .45
January 26, 2006, 06:25 PM
A friend has the sub-compact. It shoots and functions flawlessly. More accurate than I thought it would be. Because I have larger hands, I find it a little uncomfortable to shoot without the magazine extension. However, for a CCW I would gladly carry it without the extention. A great little gun.

January 26, 2006, 07:12 PM
Hi Troy, welcome. I'm pretty new here myself, but these folks have been a lot of help to me.

My friend has the XD-40 4" model; it fits her (and my) hand perfectly. The recoil is sharp, snappy, but manageable. It seems to be pretty accurate, at least we beginners are having good luck with it. I will say, that I don't think I would want this caliber in the sub-compact model; I rented a Springfield MicroCompact .45 one day, and thought that its recoil was more pleasant than the 4" .40, but that's a very subjective thing. I also have rented (several times) the XD-9 sub-compact, and I just love it. It feels good, and I really enjoy shooting it. I have been thinking about getting one myself.

The very best way to know is to actually shoot them; it sounds like you know this, and are planning to do so. This is the most helpful thing to do.

Good luck, have fun, stay safe.

January 26, 2006, 07:36 PM
Good first gun. Don't worry too much about size of round. Others have said they had a .45 for a first gun, mine was a .357. Practice is much more important. My PERSONAL preference is to choose the largest caliber that you can handle. +1 on renting and then deciding! Good luck and have fun!

January 26, 2006, 07:57 PM
Has anyone on here had any expereince shooting the sub-compact? I'm really interested to find out how necessary the mag extension is, and whether or not it makes a real difference in terms of concealability.

I have three of the XDs; a service model, a tactical and a sub compact, all 40 caliber. I know that some folks consider the caliber too 'snappy' but I like it. I have fired probably 3500 rounds through the service model, maybe 500 through the tactical and close to 1000 through the sub compact. Comparing the sub compact to the other two models I can tell you if I only owned only one, it would be the sub compact.

The magazine with the extension gives a better grip for sure, but the gun is still easily controlled with the shorter magazine in. As far as concealability goes, with the shorter mag in it is easier to conceal, of course that depends on the holster too. In a Don Hume JIT slide holster, with a untucked shirt covering it, the shorter mag prints less. You have 9 rounds of 40 in it and another 12 in the extended mag.

If you have really large hands, this might not be the case for you. If you can try before you buy, all the better. However, any XD you purchase is going to be money well spent.

Old Dog
January 26, 2006, 08:02 PM
For a first handgun ... I'd definitely recommend the XD-9. 9mm is always an excellent caliber selection for one's first pistol. And the XD is not really any bigger than a Glock 19/23, which I regard as easily concealed packing pistols, but that 4" size is great for any sort of shooting and extended range sessions.

January 26, 2006, 08:55 PM

Heck, I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents as well.

First gun having to be a .22 caliber? Hogwash. Mine was a .44 Magnum. Maybe that's why I think all the talk about recoil in these smaller cartridges in medium sized pistols is foo foo dust?

The XD is a fine pistol, I have been nothing but pleased and impressed with mine. The gun is simple to use and take down and requires little thought in doing so. You rack the slide and pull the trigger to fire, no manual safeties or decockers to mess with. The trigger pull is the same on every shot, first or last.

With that said, it's a very safe pistol. The grip safety must be compressed for the pistol to fire. Additionally, a pin sticks out the back of the slide when the gun is cocked giving you a visual and tangible way of verifying the guns condition.

As for the caliber, get what you want and, don't let people shy you away from a .40 caliber if that is what you want. The difference in recoil in the gun in 9mm or .40S&W is not that big of a deal. There are many folks that think the .40S&W is a cartridge that was never needed, therefore, don't recommend it at all. The .40S&W is a fine cartridge and has it's advantages over both 9mm and .45ACP in certain ways. It also has it's downfalls to the other two cartridges but the downfalls are few.

Size of gun and caliber? The 40S&W would be better suited for the 4" and 5" guns simply because the longer barrels and larger grip would make the recoil feel more controllable, plus you get one more cartridge in the mag. The 9mm would be my choice in the sub compact.

The Mag Extension is up to you. I happen to like the feel but my hand better be on there just right or the mag extension makes it too tight. I have decent sized hands though. The nice thing is that they are cheap and give you the ability to have it either way, with or without.

Concealability? (I don't think it's a word but it should be if it's not). The 4" service model conceals very nicely in an outside the waistband, high ride holster, providing you cover it with your clothing. Inside the waistband it's a little more difficult but done easily enough. An XD of any size is not the easiest gun to carry inside the waistband because of it's squarish/blocky figure. That will provide the most difficulty you have in concealing comfortably, not the length of barrel or grip.

Finally, if you can afford the models with Night Sites, get one, you won't be disappointed.

Side note....Keep the slide oiled frequently, wipe it down after you mess with it and you'll have no finish problems. If you don't think you would do that and can afford a stainless slide, and like it, do that. You can put Night Sites on the stainless slide afterwards if you decide.

They're not bad looking for a polymer gun. Not great looking by any means but not bad.

XD-40 Service Model

January 26, 2006, 09:12 PM
I know the gun shop had a range, and I'm goign to see if I can rent some models next week to do some hands-on research.

It is incredibly helpful to try a variety of pistols before you buy.

When I was going to get my first handgun I thought I knew exactly what I wanted beforehand, and after shooting it I liked it ok. However, I also tried a number of others, and found that even though my first choice was decent for me, some others I tried after were more "perfect fits". Finally I ended up trying one I hadn't even considered at all (on a friend's offhand recommendation) and it turned out that it was the one for me!

(As a sidenote, I purchased it in a caliber I thought I needed, but after more experience discovered I actually was served better in another caliber altogether.)

So try as many as you can, as you may find that you snubbed your "true love" for rushing to what may only be a crush.


January 26, 2006, 10:35 PM
XD: I like them I feel they have a better grip angle than Glock, I like the loaded chamber and cock indicators, and they do shoot well. With the advancements over the past 10 years defense ammo has improved for 9mm for a first gun I do recomend the 9mm cheaper to shoot and easier to shoot well. Master that and you may want to move up but dont need to the 9 will get the job done. I recomend Gold Dot 115gr. If Concealed carry is in your future go with the baby XD. With the 9mm the compact XD will be much easier to control.

One personal bias if you are buying your XD with the Springfield package deal with the extra magazines and the holster throw the holster in the trash and buy a good pancake or IWB!

Good Luck and Congrats.

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