Help me pick one handgun for 8 years.


April 22, 2003, 09:56 PM
Im not of age to purchase handguns, and my parents said that they will buy me one handgun. I have a Colt Officers Model, which I like, but I want a centerfire autoloader. Criteria:

Under $800
A common, affordable caliber (9mm, 45, etc.)
A full-size. Don't need\want CCW models.
Reasonably accurate
Common mags
Good eregronomics
Hi-caps are a non-issue, I live in California
I have large (and growing) hands
Hi-caps are a non-issue, I live in California

I'm open to suggestions. Those that I like now are

Springfield Loaded
Kimber Custom II
Springfield XD
Sig 226
Beretta 92
a CZ
Glock, somewhat

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April 22, 2003, 10:06 PM
...well, since you want it to be in a readily-available, inexpensive-to-shoot chambering, I'd suggest a 9mm...since you profess to have large--and growing--mitts, I'd recommend either the Beretta or the CZ...the Beretta is fairly accurate and wonderfully reliable, and the CZ is among a handful of true "Sleepers" price- and two cents' worth, anyway....mikey357

April 22, 2003, 10:08 PM
Woops, didn't mean for this to go to the Revolver forum. Mods, can this be moved to the Autoloader forum or Handgun General Discussion?

J Miller
April 22, 2003, 10:25 PM
My two bits worth. If you are set on an auto I suggest a Springfield 1911 Mil spec. It meets all of your criteria. And it is a simple to operate, basic gun. Learn on that as you grow. And then after learning all you can about it, you can make educated decisions on what sort of modifications you want.
Factory loaded models rarely have the options I want, and usually have a bunch that I feel are worthless.

Actually I like the 1911A1 as is. I have had a Springfield 1911 Mil spec that was the best out of the box .45 I have ever owned.
Shot great, reliable, already throated, good sights. And simple.

So thats my suggestion.

Good luck on your choice.

April 22, 2003, 11:42 PM
Your wish is our command... moving to Auto's.

April 22, 2003, 11:47 PM
I recommend the Browning Hi-Power or the CZ75 Single Action.

But then, that's what I always recommend :D

Old Fuff
April 22, 2003, 11:53 PM
Given that you are young and self defense/protection doesn't seem to be an issue I would forget the center-fires for now and get a high quality .22 handgun. Ammunition is much cheaper then any big-bore, and you can perfect you're marksmanship.

Well over a half-century ago I started with a .22 Colt Target Woodsman and never was sorry. My second handgun was an as-new surplus Colt 1911-A1 Government Model. It too was a good choice, but I'm glad I got the .22 first.

April 22, 2003, 11:54 PM
Glock 34. Good, full-size weapon that will take inexspensive mags ($18.00 each for 10 rd. CA mags) and inexspensive ammo (9mm). Well under $800.00, and if that's your limit, you could buy 5 more mags and 9 boxes of 100 count Winchester White Box 9mm ammo and stll come in just under $800.

Just a thought.

April 23, 2003, 12:19 AM
same like your situation puck, i selected HK USP 45.
mag is kind of hard to find, and very expensive. ergonomics is much better than the glock 21 i was handling before deciding on which gun i'd get: the USP 45 or the Glock 21.
i also recently purchased Ruger KP95, mags are cheap for this one. it's 9mm, and I live in DPRK too. my dad has the Sig P226, i like that one too :) fun to shoot.

April 23, 2003, 01:18 AM
I have a Colt Officers Model, which I like, but I want a centerfire autoloader.

Of course, the Officer model is a centerfire autoloader...

I would recommend a CZ75 or Beretta/Taurus design. And definately in 9mm due to ammo and magazine costs. Cheapest to most expensive:

Taurus PT92, PT99
EAA Witness
Beretta of your choice
Browning Hi Power

If you're already completely comfortable with the single action operation of the 1911, the CZ75SA would be my first suggestion. Very smooth operation, very good trigger out of the box. Many find the CZ75 and the BHP to be the most ergonomically comfortable guns around and I would agree. The CZ75SA is available around here for around $390 so shouldn't be much more than $450 anywhere. The EAA Witness is even more affordable but I see no reason to get one if your budget allows for the CZ.

If you're wanting to go more for a historically-significant pistol, the Hi Power might be a good choice though I've never handled a stock HP with as good a trigger as an average CZ.

The Beretta platform seems to be on somewhat of a downward path of popularity. It is pretty bulks as far as a 15 round 9mm goes but I still like it quite a bit. I had around 18,000 rounds through my Taurus PT99AF and I've never had a single failure - I obviously can't compain. Of course, I've replaced a couple things and the springs several times but nothing ever broke and nothing ever failed to feed, fire or eject. I don't really shoot it anymore through. I originally had a Beretta but with having grown up with 1911s, couldn't get used to the location of the safety... or at least I didn't want to get used to it.

Also had a Springfield Loaded in 9mm but all things considered, I think I would recommend the CZ, EAA, or Beretta over it.

April 23, 2003, 01:46 AM
Get a Sig 226 tu-tone in 9mm

Just a great, great pistol in every respect. I bought one 3 years ago. 3000+ rounds through it and ZERO failures. Not even my glock will do that.

I have quite a few pistols now, and it is the last semi-auto I'll ever sell. Handsome, accurate, reliable, a good investment, very ergonomic and nice big sights. And the trigger just gets better with use.

- - -

Then get yourself a .45.

I've been down the HK USP route. After considerable thought, I can't recommend it. You'll be happier with a good 1911 or Sig220 stainless. I do NOT recommend Kimber because of recent quality control problems. Hard to beat the new SW1911 for $700.

April 23, 2003, 02:04 AM

A couple questions. You say 8 years, I'm assuming you're 21 - 8 = 13?

How big are your hands? Will your parents be willing to pay for ammunition, and gunsmithing for modifications? Are you planning on leaving California when you graduate high school?

April 23, 2003, 03:11 AM
From your list, I'd pick the Beretta 92 (or Sig 226). 9mm ammo is pretty reasonable these days.

If you want a less expensive pistol, then take a look at the Ruger P95 which is a 9mm. Frame is polymer and slide is steel. Mine has a stainless slide, is a conventional double action, and has a decocker. It has never malfunctioned with 115 gr. FMJ, Proload 124 gr. JHP+P, or Federal 115 gr. JHP. I "think" the blue slide pistol can be bought for $300-$350. I went with this model because it's definitely a best buy.

April 23, 2003, 04:12 AM
You already have a single action 1911 in .45ACP, so I'd go for "expanding your horizons" with a DA/SA 9mm.

Big hands? Lean towards the Beretta.

CZ gets ergonomic top bill, though. (for me)

April 23, 2003, 04:45 AM
My suggest the following in this order. But try and see if you can rent or test fire a friends prior to making a decision.

1-Browning Hi Power
2-Sig P226
3-CZ 75B

April 23, 2003, 07:08 AM

April 23, 2003, 07:32 AM
Sig 226 in 9mm. Cheap ammo and great ergonomics.

April 23, 2003, 09:19 AM
Since you already have a Colt Officers Model, I'd add another 1911, a Kimber Stainless Target; it meets all of your criteria;

Under $800 at discount
common, affordable .45 ACP caliber
full-size, government model
Reliable with decent factory ammo, or quality reloads
Extremely accurate range gun with the excellent adjustable sights and great trigger
Common mags available from numerous sources
Very good (1911-pattern) ergonomics

April 23, 2003, 10:22 AM
No no no no, it's a Colt Officers Model in .38 Special. A double action, 6 round revolver. The Python's granddaddy.

April 23, 2003, 10:58 AM
Sorry, I thought you meant one of these (attach.);

To me, a good full size centerfire pistol is a good range gun that is accurate; my advice still stands on the Kimber Stainless Target

April 23, 2003, 03:00 PM
There are lots of good choices out there....

That said, I'd suggest you look at a Hi Power or the CZ75B.

A Hi Power, marked either Browning or FN. (FN is the actual manufacturer and just certified for sale here.) In either 9mm or .40. A fantastic pistol and a true classic that has been absolutely proven all over the world.

I don't have a CZ, but they are highly regarded by folks all over the world.

Of course, another choice would be any 3" to4" .38/.357 S&W K, L, or N frame....

April 23, 2003, 10:10 PM
Okay (Beretta), I'm not one to tell someone which gun to get (Beretta). You should get one you're familiar with (Beretta) and has a history of being totally reliable (Beretta).

;) :D

April 23, 2003, 10:22 PM
Check out the Walther P99. An excellent quality pistol that has adjustable backstraps on the grip, so you can switch them around to best fit you.

mr. e
April 23, 2003, 10:44 PM
Unless your hands are larger than average, I would avoid both the Beretta and the P226. Both are great guns but have fat grips.

The grips of the Browning HP and the CZ 75 are somewhat smaller, but still accomodate a double stack mag (I know, that's not an issue in CA, but the grip size doesn't change just because of a round limitation for the mag).

Both are solid, full size guns. I find that I get better accuracy with all kinds of ammo from the CZ, and although it's somewhat gritty, the CZ has a better out of the box trigger.

I have owned and sold the Beretta and the P226, I still own the HP and CZ. If I could only keep one, it would probably be the CZ.

April 23, 2003, 11:44 PM
Well first and foremost I would recommed the CZ-75B, it has all the features that you could possibly want (Was my 1st centerfire in fact). However, if you have the cash, I would recommend the Browning Hi-Power, its just in a leauge of its own in my opinion. Both of these have GREAT ergonomics (especailly the Hi-Power), and mags are fairly common also for both models. Of course since you are stuck in the PRK, the hi-caps are out of the ?, if you ever move away, there a TONS of cheap hi-caps for the Hi-Power. Anyways, those are my recommendations, good luck.

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 12:15 AM
You're asking questions. Thats good.
I'd stick with the .45 because you already have one. Accuracy is better than the 9mm and it is easier to reload. (Another good hobby). I'd pick the Sig 220. I had one that would go sub half inch groups at 25 yards with reloads... and we all know that only accurate guns are interesting. If they still provide a test target with the gun, look around till you find one with a nice cloverleaf or better yet a bug hole.
Two things are most important when you choose a handgun. It has to be accurate and it has to go Bang each time you pull the trigger. Sig does both well.
When you get older and find that your tastes have changed you will look back and feel well served by the 220.

April 24, 2003, 01:01 AM

I've reloaded both, and 9mm is easier. The case mouths hold up to abuse better and it takes less lever arm force to size.

.45 more accurate? What are you basing that on?

April 24, 2003, 01:13 AM
CZ-75B was my first centerfire pistol and I am still in love with it. It is simply a dream to shoot and it considered one of the greats for reliability and durability.

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 01:15 AM
The .45 does not need the final crimp the 9 does.
If you think the 9 is inherently accurate, imho, you have not much shooting experience.

April 24, 2003, 01:24 AM
CZ 97B

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 02:43 AM
I had the CZ a good while back and suffered from a real snappy thwack from the trigger after each shot. They call it "backlash"...and I am curious, does yours exhibit this? Anybody know what causes it?

April 24, 2003, 10:08 AM

There are a lot of real good suggestions made on this thread. It is damn difficult, if not impossible to recommend a firearm without first knowing something about you the shooter, and your shooting habits.

Once I took the NRA Basic Pistol course and rented a Browning HP MkIII, since at the time I did not own a handgun. I asked my instructor, who had enough NRA training and instructor certifications to fill a large binder, which gun I should purchase. He told me that it was good that I did not yet own a gun, and the gun I rented was a good one, but also try S&W, HK, Sig, CZ, Glock, Beretta, Springfield, Colt, Kimber, etc., etc. In other words, try every quality semiauto pistol you can get your hands on, and find one that is SHOOTABLE for you.

A gun that is shootable is one that is reliable, accurate, fits your hand properly, with a comfortable weight and balance, has a sight radius that is appropriate for the intended purpose, and has good sights and trigger pull. These guns are all reliable and accurate in competant hands, in good condition, with proper maintenance, using quality ammunition. But the other parameters of shootability are the issues you have to work out for yourself. Pick one that you like, then go out & have fun!

April 24, 2003, 10:12 AM
big hands? beretta or taurus 92
small hands? walther p99 with its adjustable grips.

12 Volt Man
April 24, 2003, 11:02 AM
I would recommend the CZ75b as others have suggested. You should be able to keep the price around $400.00. You will also be able to pick up a Kadet kit for this gun for around $200.00-$250.00. This gives you one gun and both 9mm and 22lr. It will also keep the cost well below the $800.00 and your parents will be happy!
If I had a 13 year old son, I would help him get this setup. Although I believe that everyone's first gun should be a Ruger 10/22. :)

April 24, 2003, 11:58 AM
First, I would begin with the 9mm platform. It is rapidly becoming the worldwide handgun caliber of choice. Ammo is universal, widespread, plentiful, and cheap.

Now, comes the hard part. There are so many outstanding 9mm autoloaders out there. (eyes fixed in glassy glaze, wiping drool from corner of mouth) Beretta, CZ, Glock, H & K, Browning, Ruger, Sig.

I am also pondering the lineup of 9mm's myself. The one at the head of the pack at the moment? Beretta 92.

Shoot as many different types as you can (friends, family, associates, range rentals)

Enjoy the search; the choice is not going to be easy but you should enjoy getting there!

April 24, 2003, 12:05 PM

It's a shame such pistols as the Sig 210, HK P9S and S&W 952 are hampered by their caliber.

I'll try and get more experience. I would assume your statement comes from the experience of firing nearly identical pistols chambered for both rounds?

Of course you have that experience, otherwise you wouldn't have any basis for comparison.

April 24, 2003, 12:14 PM
---Under $800
Springfield XD9 ~$400

---A common, affordable caliber (9mm, 45, etc.)
9mm very affordable (especially if you like ammoman)

---A full-size. Don't need\want CCW models.
Yep, it is

How's 170,000 rounds on a rental gun that didn't have a full cleaning for 8 months? (;f=1;t=003202#000000)

---Reasonably accurate
It's more than reasonably accurate

---Common mags
The XD has inexpensive mags. I don't know if california will allow this loophole, but you can buy XD40 mags (10 rounds) and per the BATF use them in the 9mm, where they will hold 15 rounds. They cost about $20 if you want to try it.

---Good eregronomics
very good. I have big but not thick hands and it fits well. I haven't heard of many who have an issue with it if they have 'meat paws'

---Hi-caps are a non-issue, I live in California
See above. The XD may give you a loophole - especially if you add an XD40 later and mistakenly happen to load your XD40 mags with 9mm and use them in the XD9 ;)

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 02:01 PM
Let's not argue in front of the kid Handy.
We know that ugly parents can have one or two beautiful children.
I had the privilege over a 10 year period of owning and shooting and trading almost every handgun made: stock and custom. When I liked one I'd pick up the new improved version when it came out and had alot of fun while I was at it. That's how I came across the Sig that would do a half inch at 25 yards. I have never met a gun that in every feature was perfect for me. That's why my criteria is accuracy and total reliability and the rest is negotiable....a compromise of features for the intended purpose.
The 9 is popular and it is "meets code". I wanted to like it but never could no matter who made it...just like the 40 Short and Weak.
A "keeper" for me must always go sub 2 inch groups at 25 yards and sub 1 inch when I want it to. Period. But that's just me.

April 24, 2003, 03:36 PM

It was the fact that you made your statement "in front of the kid" that prompted me to post.

Sites like this one can be a haven for information, and a curse of rumor and false legend.

You made the bold statement that 9mm is less accurate than .45. I would say that has no basis (in my 16 years of shooting) and in every reasonable information source I've come across.

When prompted to defend your statement, you resorted to belittling my experience. Despite that, there is still absolutely no evidence that 9mm isn't as accurate as every other well designed cartridge. And sense you brought up reliability, the long ogive and tapered case of the 9mm give it an edge in reliability over every other straight wall cartridge, including .45 acp.

If you like .45, great, you're in good company. You don't need to invent "facts" to support this already excellent cartridge.

If you want to site something more definitive than your experience, feel free. I've never found any. But until then, I think you're dissemintating myth as fact.

(I've owned quite a few autos, too. That's how I came to own 3 factory, non custom 9mm pistols that produce 1 inch groups from the bench.)

s&w 24
April 24, 2003, 04:07 PM
A 1911 type pistol would make the most sense to me and then get a marvel 22 lr conversion for it.

April 24, 2003, 06:48 PM
I would also recommend looking at Ruger's P series. They have somewhat blocky grips and are better for people with large hands. You can get them in 9 mm or 45 ACP and standard capacity mags are less than $20. If you ever leave CA, you can purchase hi caps for less than $20.

April 24, 2003, 07:33 PM
You cant go wrong with a SIG 226. I've had mine since Dec and its eat over 1K round with no hickups. It shoots 115gr, 124gr +P rounds flawless. It eats any ammo I put in it. For someone with large mitts the double stacked handle would probably bit you very well.

The Sig will service you well for a long time. Its been 5 months since I have had mine and I still cant wipe the silly smile of my face when I shoot it.

2nd best contender in 9mm is the CZ75B. Its the most bang for your dollar. For 400 bucks your get alot of good features. Its reliable and accurate. It feeds just about anything you feed it. Mags are very common as well as affordable.

If your set on a .45ACP go for the Sig 220

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 09:03 PM
It was the fact that you made your statement "I think you are disseminating myth as fact" that prompted me to post.
If large doses of B vitamins don't work, I'd see a doctor.

Gordy Wesen
April 24, 2003, 11:44 PM
Hmmm, did some looking...good article.

April 25, 2003, 12:35 AM
The Baer accuracy results are lackluster. I have P7 test target that is clearly inside an inch. I have also shot an 8" group at 100 yards with a standard P9S and practice ammo.

Mr. Petty seems to be repeating the same unfounded statements you are, then correcting himself with new experience.

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