Complete Newb Advice - Opinions and Help Please


November 26, 2006, 11:46 PM
Venerable members of THR:

Sorry in advance for the somewhat long post. I need some advice and trust the opinions on this board after searching and reading many threads. Here is basically what I want: an autoloader in 9mm with a decent selection of holsters and pre-ban clips that is:

a) Easy to field strip, clean, and re-assemble. (My biggest worry)
b) Reliable.
c) New shooter friendly. (easy to point, external safety)
d) A good value. (No sense spending more than $400 dollars when I canít shoot for crap.)

After reading a ton of threads Iíve come down to:
Ruger P95
CZ 75
Taurus 24/7

One note: No Glocks. I know I can get a used one in the right price range but they just feel weird to me.

The background:

Iíve never owned a handgun in any caliber ever, though Iíve shot quite a few at the range about 6 years ago. I would just go there now and see what I like, but after a couple of ďrent a gun Ė shoot yourselfĒ incidents at my local range they stopped renting unless you already own. Since Iíve never owned a gun really, Iíve got all kinds of concerns you guys would probably think are silly but bear with me.

I want to learn responsible gun ownership, handling, safety, and defensive shooting for a variety of reasons I wonít get in to. I plan on taking several classes to that effect once I have a suitable weapon. I figure a 9mm is a good place for me to start because itís cheap to shoot and there are tons of options. And should I happen to need it, itís a decent enough defensive caliber.

Iíve never disassembled a firearm, and so for whatever reason, that aspect and maintenance worries me. I am mechanically inclined Ė Iíve done all my own automotive work for fun since I was 16 including engine rebuilds and such. But a car wonít kill you if youíre an idiot or a newb.

I want something that will allow me to learn to shoot, handle and maintain a firearm until I get comfortable enough that I can actually discern what I like in a gun and get something else. The list I have above seems to qualify based on posts Iíve read but Iím open to other options. With all that in mind, please let me know what you think.


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November 26, 2006, 11:55 PM
Simple to teardown, falls w/in your budgetary restraints, fun to shoot and are good guns???
My first thoughts were of the Beretta 92fs (I bought one used for $400) and the BHP (I bought mine w/ 4 extra mags for $425). Of the group you mentioned tho, I'd go w/ the CZ

November 27, 2006, 12:00 AM
I want something that will allow me to learn to shoot, handle and maintain a firearm until I get comfortable enough that I can actually discern what I like in a gun and get something else.

The CZ 75 meets all your stated criteria at a good price and, IMO, is probably the best pick on your list. There is a real good chance you won't feel a need to replace it.

November 27, 2006, 12:13 AM
Is the BHP a Beretta? Sorry, I've never heard of that one. :banghead: My newbieness is an irritation to me as well. ;)

November 27, 2006, 12:22 AM
BHP = Browning Hi-Power

The original 9mm hi-cap pistol, from 1935. Single-action only, which means you carry it with the hammer cocked and safety on.

Another vote for CZ. The 75 is good if you want full size, and the PCR, Compact, and P01 are also great variants. All these CZs are between $375-475 brand-new. Just try and feel out the possible models to see how they fit your hand, and go with the one you like.

Oh, with the CZ you can also buy an extra slide in .22 caliber (the "Kadet"), and get in inexpensive practice with .22 ammo. The slides just swap right out in ten seconds.

Concur with the choice of 9mm, the most affordable and lowest recoil.

Holsters are widely available for any gun that's not completely obscure. There are also several prolific custom grip-makers for the CZ.

Why the need for pre-ban magazines? Does your state restrict current-production ones? Were you aware that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired, and only a few state-level ones remain?

Mechanical inclination: I can barely put a chain on a bicycle, but I have no problem disassembling and reassembling pistols and rifles. They're very simple, mechanically. Also only a partial disassembly is needed for anything short of a post-disaster cleaning. On a CZ, you slide out one pin (the slide stop), pull the slide off the frame, take off the recoil rod and it's spring, and slide the barrel out of the frame. Done.

IRT Classes: very good call. Are you having an easy time finding classes in your area? If not, just ask here on THR and folks will set you straight.

Welcome aboard,


November 27, 2006, 12:26 AM
Don't worry too much about the maintenance. Manuals are pretty good, and a good dealer will run through it with you. Most folks would rather have you ask than run into trouble.

Most stuff in the defensive range is also designed to be dealt with in less-than-optimal conditions. Field stripping/maintenance is less intimidating than you think.

Find someone who has some experience and have him/her go through it with you.

Buy what feels good in your hand. If it feels the best and has three more parts --- learn what the parts are :D !

November 27, 2006, 12:51 AM
BHP = Browning Hi Power - Ha! I should have known better. There seem to be many 1911 afficianato's here. I would love to own one; that gun has served our country well. I am absolutely positive I will purchase a 1911 as soon as I get comfortable but I don't want it to be my first. I need a "practice girl" first.

Ah yes, I recall now that the ban has lifted. No, my state does not restrict them. I think I had that ingrained as meaning "more than 10 capacity" since the last time I fired a handgun.

The local range (which is 4 miles from my house) does offer the classes discussed and has good instructors by all accounts. I think that's probably more important than the ultimate firearms choice. Thanks for the suggestions thus far - please keep them coming.

November 27, 2006, 01:21 AM

I would recommend the CZ75.

Honestly, everything on your list is a good choice. However, the CZ75 is probably the most accurate and ergonomical. Others will disagree but it’s been selling for 30 years and Jeff Cooper (god bless his soul) admired the pistol greatly.

I hate to add to your list, but if you can live without the external safety, I would consider a Springfield XD9. In my opinion (and others), it’s the best sub $500 9mm available today if you don't want a Glock.

>> But a car won’t kill you if you’re an idiot or a newb.
Cars kill more people than firearms by a large margin. Just something to keep in mind.

Good luck with your decision and please join the NRA if you want to keep your gun after you buy it.

November 27, 2006, 01:31 AM
My vote is for the CZ75 , you can't go wrong with that as for carry single action weapons , they require a lil more mental comfortzone for most newbies to carry but don't be afraid of trying it out .

Ala Dan
November 27, 2006, 01:37 AM
Not really within your price range, but before you make a decision be sure
and try too find a SIG-SAUER P228; as its the mostly perfectly balanced
[and natural pointing] weapon (along with its big brother, the .45 caliber
P220A) that I have ever held. Generally speaking, you can still find these
starting at about $475 (used, but not abused) too a high of 'bout $650
for a LNIB weapon. :cool: ;) :D

November 27, 2006, 01:42 AM
Cool, much CZ supportiveness. But do check out the other sizes if your shop has them available, especially if you have small hands. I'm pretty slight, so picked the CZ PCR.

The PCR is also cool because it has a decocking lever, which is good if you don't feel comfortable carrying cocked-and-locked. Also good if you, like me, aren't fond of safety switches. The PCR takes a 15rd magazine, not sure about the CZ75.

Since we've brought up the BHP anyway, many consider the CZ to be the modern descendant of the BHP.

Hope you enjoy the class; the confidence you'll get from learning things the right way will be well worth it.

Do come back and let us know what gun you pick. Once you find the right one, folks can give some advice on the right holster, grips, etc. to get it to suit you just right.


November 27, 2006, 10:38 AM
Can't really go wrong with any of the above. Best bet if to find a range that rents out handguns, and fire them all, to see what fits your hand the best. Personally, I like the way the CZ and Ruger feel in the hand, but it just seemed like the controls were a bit too far away for me.

See here for my review of the Taurus 24/7. (

Good shooting!

November 27, 2006, 11:00 AM
I'd go with thw CZ. But I'm with 10Ring that the Beretta 92FS would be a great choice. Also, you might be able to find a SIG 226 used for around that price, maybe a few bucks more, but if you can, snatch it up, and trust me, you will love it.

November 27, 2006, 11:15 AM
From what you listed, I would go with the CZ. I love the Rugers, and they would be my second choice here, But I really feel that the CZ is the better gun. I owned a 24/7, and it was a good, extraordinarily comfortable gun, but not so great when it came to take it apart to clean.

If I could throw a suggestion into the ring, consider a Taurus PT92 or 99. I have 2, and they are great guns. Pretty much the same as the Beretta 92 except that the safety is in a different (and some say Better) location. Also, it is considerably cheaper than a 92. Takedown is about as simple and as easy as you are ever going to find.

The Lone Haranguer
November 27, 2006, 11:48 AM
They're more like $500, but I was quite impressed with the S&W MP 9mm I rented yesterday.

November 27, 2006, 12:18 PM
Thanks so far for the suggestions; CZ seems to be a good choice. They're almost universally liked on this board. I've never held an XD9 but know what they are. I'll check one out when I have an opportunity along with the Beretta/Taurus 92/99.

From my recollection my favorite guns to shoot the last time I did so were the Sig P228, and The H&K USP. However, they're upwards of $600 new and like I said I need to learn to get comfortable and shoot first.

Thanks for the help guys - keep the suggestions coming.

November 27, 2006, 12:19 PM
Oh, and I joined the NRA already. :)

November 27, 2006, 12:22 PM
I'd go with a Springfield XD 9mm. They are probably one the best feeling/shooting guns ergonomically, they are good for concealed carry or target shooting, and best of all for your situtation they are really affordable. I've seen them go for around 450 brand new all the time at my local gunshops.

Doesn't have a manual external safety, but it has awesome built-in safeties that do a good job of preventing accidents. A grip safety, excellent loaded chamber indicator, cocked firing pin indicator, and a trigger saftey make this thing almost impossible to fire off accidentally, but it still has no external safety so whenever you need it you can intentionally squeeze off a shot in a hurry without having to flip any safeties. The XD is probably the best beginner's gun out there IMO.

November 27, 2006, 12:27 PM
What's a grip safety? Does that mean that you must be gripping the gun with a certain firmness before you can fire? How does it accomplish this - a lever or something? It sounds interesting. I could live without the manual safety if that's the case.

Lobotomy Boy
November 27, 2006, 12:33 PM
The CZ with the Kadet kit is an excellent choice, though the two combined will get a bit spendy. If you shoot a lot, the money you'll save buying .22 ammo will help offset the cost, so if you can afford the initial investment, it's a good choice.

Gander Mountain is advertising used Sig 226s for $335 last week. Functionally the Sig is quite similar to the CZ (for better and for worse). Both have some functional quirks, but both also rank among the highest-quality, most-reliable firearms on the market. You could trust your life to either one. And $335 is a heck of a good price for a 226. I need another 9mm firearm like I need a third nipple, but at that price I was tempted.

November 27, 2006, 01:40 PM
What's a grip safety? Does that mean that you must be gripping the gun with a certain firmness before you can fire? How does it accomplish this - a lever or something? It sounds interesting. I could live without the manual safety if that's the case.

The same type of grip safety that's found on 1911s, pretty much. The trigger can't even be pulled unless there's positive pressure on the back of the grip.

I agree with CP --- if you can do without a "dedicated external safety safety lever," the XD-9 or XD-9 Subcompact is not only an easy gun to shoot, but a no-brainer to maintain.

As with nearly any modern firearm, there's pretty much no way :D to mis-assemble. It would take creativity to put things together incorrectly.

November 27, 2006, 01:49 PM
I would say M&P, but you need pre ban mags. I would look hard at the FN and CZ.

*note-don't think the FN will have pre ban mags*

November 27, 2006, 03:17 PM
Of the guns you listed, I'd go with the CZ 75. Try one before you buy it though, as many times there were guns I liked "on paper" but didn't actually like nearly as much once I shot them. You have to find what fits your hand well and what "feels right" for you.

Actually, for a first pistol, you should SERIOUSLY consider a .22 autoloader. I like the Ruger Mk II or the new Ruger Mk III. You learn more, faster, with a .22 pistol then any 9mm. Spend $240 or so on the gun, $100 or so on the NRA Basic Pistol class (or equivilant training) and $60 on .22 ammo. You'll be a better shot in the end and will have a better idea of which 9mm pistol will be best for you.

This advice tends to get ignored because most people want to jump right to centerfire pistols. If your willing to learn on a .22 first though, you'll be surpised how quickly you can learn and how good of a shot you can become.

November 27, 2006, 03:40 PM
a) Easy to field strip, clean, and re-assemble. (My biggest worry)

If this is your biggest worry, you've got it made. Stripping and cleaning most autoloaders is not very challenging.

Of all your choices, I like the CZ 75 and I strongly second the suggestion about getting a .22 conversion kit for it. A .22 is the key to improving handgun marksmanship. Shooting lots of .22 brainwashes your mind with the message "what recoil? Recoil? What's that? Handguns don't recoil." Then when you switch to 9mm, the recoil will be a surprise - which is exactly how you want it.

Also, with the low cost of .22 for practice ammo, you can probably recoup the cost of the .22 conversion kit in a few range sessions.

November 27, 2006, 04:59 PM
Then when you switch to 9mm, the recoil will be a surprise - which is exactly how you want it.

This is very interesting to me. Can you elaborate a little on why you'd want to be suprised by the 9mm?

I think the learning on a .22 is good advice. I imagine that sending 2000 .22 rounds down range would be more productive in the end for my proficiency than sending 500 9mm rounds at the same targets.

Does anyone know if the Kadet will fit the P-01?

November 27, 2006, 05:15 PM
This is very interesting to me. Can you elaborate a little on why you'd want to be suprised by the 9mm?

Most of "recoil" is your body's pain-reaction to the noise/jump of the gun.

Shooting a .22 and then moving to 9mm, or even just dry-firing and then going to live-fire, is tricking your subconcious into thinking that shooting is no big deal. Your body won't expect a big "boom" and you won't flinch accordingly. Pretty weird, huh?

The opposite is also true: one famous elephant hunter (cite?) stated that the big guns ruined him for plinking. His body built up such a "clench eyes, grit teeth, pull trigger on .577 caliber elephant gun and experience monstrous recoil" muscle memory over the years that he had real trouble shooting a .22 rifle after that.

I believe that some THR members have mounted Kadets on the P01; hit the "Search" button with those keywords to get more info.


Bazooka Joe71
November 27, 2006, 05:23 PM
CZ75B...Even if money wasn't an issue, I would still suggest this gun. No need for more research, go get it and you'll be more than satisfied.

November 27, 2006, 06:14 PM
I just found the thread where many CZ owners were discussing the Kadet - yep, looks like it fits the P-01. Looks like I'm going for a CZ-75 in which ever model fits my hand best. I'll report back on what I actually end up getting even if it's a 75. Thanks for all the help guys.

November 27, 2006, 07:31 PM
My choice among those would be for the CZ, *BUT* I am not you!!! My hand fits the CZ very nicely.
I know you said that your range will not let you rent their guns, so instead, go tot he gun store, and see if you can at least handle them, and see which is the most comfortable in your hand. If I were you, this would be the most concerning issue to me. Go to the store, hold the gun. Pick a spot that is somewhere in a safe direction. it can be a light swtich, lamp shade, hole in the wall...doesn't matter. Then close your eyes, and try to point the gun at that spot with your eyes closed. When you open them again, if your sights are pointed there (or very close), you're cool. The gun should point naturally for you.

Don't be concerned about the maintenance so much. As others said, it's not difficult. I guarantee, anyone who can so much as change their oil and spark plugs, can do a field strip on almost any modern, decent quality gun.

You mention availability of holsters. Do you plan to carry this gun? If so, I think i ought to warn you, none of them are small guns. I know that people do carry guns this sized and manage to keep them concealed, but it won't be all that easy.

Best of luck to you.

whoops, I missed your last post. I'm gald you decided to go with the CZ that fits your hand best. But don't eliminate all your other choices. Go and check things out with the CZ as your leading contender, but try other guns as well.

November 27, 2006, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the additional advice, I will definetly try the closed eyes pointing technique.

This will not be a carry weapon, I was asking about holsters just to get a feel for avaliable options. After reading many threads here, it would appear that some are easier to holster than others.

Although I said CZ makes sense based on recommendations from the board, I will definetly keep my mind open when I go shopping. I'll just try the CZ's first :).

This discussion has been very helpful. It's nice to be able to ask stupid questions and get respectful, incisive answers. Thanks again THR.

November 27, 2006, 09:12 PM
I definatley support the CZ. Its a very well made and affordable pistol. I personally skipped the .22 stage myself. Never felt the need to invest the money into something I didn't want to buy in the first place.

November 28, 2006, 01:54 AM
I would say M&P, but you need pre ban mags

This is probably a dumb question, but how do you get pre-ban mags for a pistol that was introduced post-ban?

.357 magnum
November 28, 2006, 07:58 AM
You can get the Taurus 24/7 brand new from 360-400. Lifetime repair policy. It has a grip you will love. I own two of them in .40 cal Never a fail to fire after thousands of rounds. They are easy to clean. With the Taurus you get a lot of features you normally get on more expensive guns. [polished feed ramp, double recoil spring etc.] Check out the video. If you will pardon the pun you get more bang for your buck.

The best to you and yours!

November 28, 2006, 02:17 PM
When I bought my XD-9SC, it came with a flyer for hi-cap mags (Beretta 92 17-rounders) that would fit it. I'm wasn't interested.

Some newer guns are designed to accept older mags.

Kinda makes ya wonder how many martinis it takes to write a law :D .

November 28, 2006, 11:06 PM
Holy crap, my local shop wants $530 for a CZ-P01 and they didn't have a single CZ in stock I could hold.

Anybody from Western Washington here that can tell me where to go shopping?

I got a chance to try out the 24/7 fit me like a glove; pointed very naturally, and just all around felt great. I also like the Ruger but not as much.

For giggles I also checked out the Walther P22 - really liked it, I may have to get that too to follow the recommendations from the board on shooting a bunch of .22LR.

November 29, 2006, 01:14 AM
Where are you around? Seattle?

Here's a thread of Seattle gunshops. You can revive this thread and see if there's any new info.

I should add DJ's Sport and Loan (Bothell) to the thread. Almost no new guns, but hundreds of older guns. If you get really bored, you can read the thread where my brother and I counted all the guns at DJ's. Not all their prices are great, but there are some outstanding prices mixed in with the average, and a minimum of the crack-smokin'-high prices some stores have.

I'd read plenty of reviews of the Walther P22 before buying; it's got a really mixed reputation. The hands-down THR favorites are the Ruger MkII and the Browning Buckmark, so far as .22s go. Though the S&W 22A is an up-and-comer, and often sold as low as $190 new.


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