handgun selection


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geronimotwo
October 24, 2006, 10:33 AM
hi, i'm looking to purchase a handgun, and would appreciate input regarding revolver vs pistol, which gun caliber, and maker to go with. my main considerations would be:

home security - we live in a small town, probably will never be needed, but...

i have two small children, ages 2 and 6, is there a gun safer for them?

personal safety in the woods - i cut firewood and spend time outside, again, probably will never see an aggressive animal......

fun to shoot at the range - okay here it will be used a few times a month so it should be a durable, reliable gun, and somewhat economical to shoot.

we spend time on our sailboat (saltwater), and enjoy camping, so it may be exposed to various corrosive elements, although will typically be cleaned and stored properly.

how does stainless vs blued steel hold up with repeated firings. also, how are plastic and alluminum frames.

thanks for the knowledgable input, g2

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OH25shooter
October 24, 2006, 10:45 AM
i have two small children, ages 2 and 6, is there a gun safer for them?

NO...at that age keep it locked away. Your 6 year old will be most curious. He doesn't need to know where you store your firearm. Regarding the other questions, a stainless 38/357 revolver might serve you well. Be safe around your kids.

Ala Dan
October 24, 2006, 10:55 AM
I agree with my friend OH25shooter in saying that:

NO gun should be left unattended in the
presence of a child.

The ideal age to start a youngster out with a bolt-action, single shot
.22 caliber rifle is seven.

Shawnee
October 24, 2006, 11:01 AM
Hi Geronimo2...


Considering all you said - I would suggest a .22 caliber revolver - and though you would be fine with either a blued gun or a stainless, the stainless is less to worry about around the water. I would say the Ruger Super Single-Six, either stainless or blued finish in a 4 5/8" or 5 1/2" barrel. This is a MAJOR durable gun! The Super single-six also comes with an extra cylinder that will enable you to also shoot .22 Magnums which are more powerful but also cost more.

Reasons for my selection? Your main criteria are

safety around the kids - revolvers are inherently safer than semi-autos.

fun to shoot - with it's low noise, no recoil, and cheap ammo - it just don't git more fun that a .22 rimfire. The whole family can enjoy it for decades (which means you get to go shooting more often.:) )

durability - many semi-autos are fine for durability but revolvers like the Ruger are as rugged as anvils.

home defense and protection from 4-legged creatures are, as you say, pretty esoteric criteria and neither is at all something you are likely to face. Taking the Fun and Economy out of your shooting just to have The Ultimate Defense Gun would be extremely silly - not to mention extremely expensive.
But even if you have to use the gun for defense of some kind - the .22 revolver is not ANYbody's favorite gun to get shot by and I have sent more than one coon to Heaven with my Ruger and they usually do not leave the dance floor easily.

Finally - if later you actually develop the need/desire for something that makes a much louder noise, kicks your wrist for you, and throws a bigger stone - you can always go back to the store and buy your second gun. I know several people who have done that.

Good Luck !!! :D

Local opinions may vary.

10-Ring
October 24, 2006, 11:05 AM
Safer? Well, no firearm should be left unattended & loaded w/ kids around. That said, I went w/ the HK P7M8 when my son was young. I figured he wasn't strong enough to squeeze the grip & pull the trigger. By the time he was, I could teach him about firearms & firearm safety - good investment! ;)

DogBonz
October 24, 2006, 11:58 AM
period. End of story. Get atleast a lock box of some kind. I have a bio-metrix one opens only for my or my girlfriend's finger print, but opens in a second for quick emergency access.

safety around the kids - revolvers are inherently safer than semi-autos

I disagree. Most kids would not have the physical strength to work a slide. Also, with an auto, you could leave the magazine loaded and keep it in a different location form the gun. That way if you need it in a hurry, just pop in the mag, rack the slide, and you are in business.

While I do agree with a lot of folks that a stainless 38/357 would be the way to go, an auto might serve you well. For carrying, I find autos more comfortable.

As for your boating needs a polymer framed 9mm might be the ticket. I know that HK and Glock have very tough finishes that are very corrosion resistant. Cheap ammo will mean that you can shoot more. Shoot more = more fun.

KC&97TA
October 24, 2006, 12:36 PM
Children and guns just don't mix... when I was 5 my old man took my brother and I (he was 7, his second time seeing a cow shot) out to see our pet cow butchered and he put Moo-Bell down with his .44 mag, seeing a 1800lb cow drop from one shot was quite the experince of my child hood. Gun Safety and Children starts as soon as they can crawl. I have to sugest a Sentry Safe, if you only plan on haveing a few hand guns, one of the 1cuft or bigger ones, you can get them almost anywere, Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart; for just one hand gun the cost of $140 on a safe isn't a bad price. Lowes has a decent 7-14 gun safe for around $400. I don't trust any of the build in locks that come on any weapon, I've actually gotten rid of the locking systems that came on 2 of my pistols.

As far as Revolvers go; Ruger makes great revolvers. I'm looking at a S&W 686 right now, it's a 7 shot .357, comes in Stainless, they're around $560. As far as caliber goes .357mag is great, you can shoot .38 out of it for cheaper target practice and reduced recoil, .357mag packs some punch to it, it will put a man down with a torso shot or if you hit him in the hip or leg, he's going to recieve an instant attitude adjustment.

As far as Auto's go... you kind of speculated but it seems you're leaning more twords a Revolver. Springfield makes some great 1911's for the money; the Mil-Spec and Loaded Models come in Stainless, .45acp is my favorite round, 230gr ball round, (that's bigger than what some deer hunt with in high powered rifles), when pointed at someone in the day light, they just see a 1/2" hole pointing at them, a .45 will put a man down or adjust his attitude.

I don't personally like the plastic guns, Glocks are good guns, so are the XD's, but they just aren't for me. I have a Kimber TLE, .45 that has an aluminum frame, never a problem with it, fired over 8k rounds through it, know guys that have shot over 80k rounds through thier aluminum framed Kimbers before haveing to replace small parts, but not the frame or slide.

22LR was sugested, and they're great, they'll still kill a man in a HD situation. I guess I grew up with 45 LC, 45ACP, 44mags and .454's ... so recoil from a .45acp and .357 isn't anything to concerning after fireing hand cannons most of my life.

No mans Gun Collection is Complete with out a 22LR, it's also great for plinking, teaching on and the ammo is cheap. You can get a 22LR conversion for most semi-auto hand guns, I have one for my 92FS. It's a great training tool, expecially for rapid fire.

Small caliber/high capacity auto's. The the gun I recomend to most of the people who ask (who are mostly Marines besides 1911's). The Beretta 9mm & .40S&W are great guns, 9mm will pack in 15-17 rounds with a flush mag, .40 will pack 13. Its an ambidextrous gun, the military considers them safe for any idiot to use, very reliable, I don't even clean mine, just dab a litte CLP on it from time to time, once in a while pull the slide off and use a cig but to scrape carbon out of it. The biggest draw back to me is the plastic mag release, I replaced the mag release with a metal one, plastic trigger that come on the civilian sales, hasn't broke on mine with over 23K rounds. (don't listen to the BS about the military M9).

The best advice anyone can give, there are ranges around that rent guns, normally $5 rentals + booth fee's and targets, go shoot and see what you like.

MatthewVanitas
October 24, 2006, 01:00 PM
I'll go with Shawnee on this one.

If this gun is primarily for fun and practice, maybe small animals, a .22 could be a great option.

It's still a gun, so better than no gun for defense. And this way you can try out shooting (and teach the family) inexpensively.


Some great options include the Ruger Single Six and the Ruger Bearcat (which is slightly smaller than the SS). Both are cowboy-style guns, which must be cocked for each shot. This makes them great for teaching kids, because it takes a very deliberate action to prepare for each shot, and it's quite obvious when the gun is cocked.

The Bearcat is also nice and small; easy to carry in the woods (not much heavier than a big hunting knife), and a kid of eight or so should be able to hold it with adult supervision.

Both are available in stainless steel for about $350, and are practically indestructible. Important thing: .22LR ammo costs about 2c per shot, vice 20c per shot for .38 ammo. You can practice 10x as much with a .22


If it's mainly a defensive gun, go larger. If it's mainly a fun gun (but capable of defense in utter emergencies), go .22

You can always buy another handgun, or shotgun/rifle down the line.

Here's two great reviews of the Bearcat:

http://www.gunblast.com/Bearcat.htm
http://www.gunblast.com/Stainless_Bearcat.htm

Take care. Make sure to come back and let us know what you pick!

-MV

bb21
October 24, 2006, 01:36 PM
Well I read your post and a few others, I NEVER try to be confrontational in my posts but I do have to disagree with some of the posts. I believe that Children and Guns can mix, but the important issue is that you must teach your kids. Many gun owners, including myself grew up around guns and saftey has been etched into our mind so it becomes second nature. If you tell them "no" don't touch guns EVER, then curiosity will eventually get the better of them. You must educate your children, because sooner or latter they will come across a gun, hopefully not in your home because you will be responsible enough to keep them locked in a safe, but chances are that at sometime they will be around them. They need to know what to do in that situation. There are plenty of programs and books that will help you educate your children. As far as type of firearm something Stainless sounds like it would work for you I would recommend a 9mm or .38/.357 or the .22 is not a bad way to go. It is easy to see throughout our history that education is the key and ignorance will result in regret and digression. Just my opinion. Be safe!

dasmi
October 24, 2006, 01:41 PM
A basic .357 magnum revolver from Smith, Ruger, or Taurus would fit the bill perfectly.

44AMP
October 25, 2006, 12:45 AM
I would go with either a .22 revolver (if your main concern is learning to shoot a handgun and cost) or a .357 Revolver (if your main concern is defense).

The .357 can be used with (slightly) cheaper .38 Special ammo for practice.

Now, several people immediately warned you (rather stridently) about children and guns. If properly taught, children and guns are not a problem. What CAN be a problem is unsupervised children and guns (and ammo)!

Ever hear of one of the tragic "child shoots playmate" stories that happened under adult supervision? I never have. All these stories have one thing in common. The owner (or other responsible adult) is not present. Don't hide your guns from your kids. Don't hide the skilsaw. Don't hide the carving knives. Don't make a big deal about it. Just another tool. We know guns are the most fun tools, but kids need to wait to learn that, until they are big enough, and responsible enough.

And don't think you can leave the gun in one place, and the ammo in another, and leave unsupervised children with access. When it is something they think they want to do, kids can be a lot smarter than you think.

I know of one case where a five year old boy got a .22 rifle (from the closet), the bolt for the rifle (from a dresser drawer) and the ammo from a high shelf. Said child put th bolt in the rifle, loaded a round, and fired it, fortunately, into the floor. One older child, and one younger were present, but the parent had "run to the store". Boy were they surprised when they got home.

My own children were raised with guns, taught what they were, what ammo was, how to check to see if it was loaded, and never to touch a gun they didn't/couldn't check. The also got some graphic examples of firearms impacts. Never had any problems. Might not be the best thing for you, but it is worth considering.

Best thing for most people, if you aren't around, either the gun or all the ammo should be secured (locked storage), and both would be best.

Autoloaders do have some advantages, if they fall into the hands of smaller children, often the child does not have the strength to cycle the slide. Also, the magazine is easily removed and stored elsewhere. The best thing is, don't let the kids get their hands on your guns without you being there. It is a serious responsibility, which if taken seriously, will protect you and your family from accidents. For everyone of the kids and guns horror stories, there are thousands and thousands of families that never have any problems.

I wish you well, whatever your choice is.

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