Handgun purchase dilemma


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spacejunkiehsv
December 22, 2006, 04:50 PM
I want to get a RELIABLE handgun for home defense, for $250 or less, used is fine with me. I want to get one that my wife would also be able to use. From what I've read, the best solution is a medium or full frame revolver.

My dilemma starts when I start wanting to be able to put a light on the gun. A laser/tactical light combo is what I'd like to eventually get. That way you could actually see in the house at night if you needed to use the gun.

Wanting to mount a laser/light combo rules out a revolver, doesn't it? I don't know much about revolvers and how tactical lights can be mounted on them. I'm about to start researching that though.

Do any of you know of products that would allow me to mount a tactical/laser combo onto a revolver? What type of rail system do I need to look for when searching for the right gun?

Thanks

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Srigs
December 22, 2006, 05:07 PM
A Kel-tec PF9 with a light mount on it in the 250 range brand new. A K-frame smith used would work well in 3 to 4 inch barrel but no light.

ronto
December 22, 2006, 06:30 PM
The best home defense weapon is a 12GA pump shotgun like the Remington Model 870 Express. Just the sound of racking the slide should scare off the intruder. A barking dog helps also. If you want a handgun, A Ruger GP100 or Security-Six in 4" should do the trick. IMHO shining a light around just lets the intruder know where YOU are.

ugaarguy
December 22, 2006, 07:29 PM
Space, with a $250 budget your best bet is a revolver, if you must have a handgun - see other comments below. The Kel-Tec PF-9 is a nice pistol, but it's definetly a carry gun and not a HD weapon. It's a tiny gun, and something larger that points more naturally and balances better would be best for the intended use. In a revolver any .38 Special or .357 Mag medium frame will be just about ideal. A used gun from S&W, Ruger, or Taurus should be available in your price range, just do a little looking around.

See Jim March's Used Revolver Checkout thread stickied at the top of this subforum. Print it out and take it with you when you go shopping. Using that as a guide anyone can ensure they're getting a mechanically sound revolver.

You also should look at grips while you're at the gun store(s). Revolvers can really be tailored to you hand with a simple grip change. Take your wife with you, and find a set of grips that will fit both of you comfortably since you'll both be using the gun.

I wouldn't be terribly worried about attaching a light. You can use many techniques to employ a light with the weak/support hand. Google Rodgers/Surefire Stance as a start. A search in THR's Strategies & Tactics subforum would also be helpful. A good light is a great tool for postively IDing a presumed intruder, and the blinding white light output is very useful. Since were keeping this budget oriented, I'll recommend the Surefire G2 "Nitrolon" plastic bodied lights. Same light output as their other 2 cell lights, still very tough, and the approx $30 price tag won't hurt the wallet too bad.

Other Comments. I agree that a shotgun makes more sense than a handgun strictly for HD if there is no intent to carry. For a new shooter, and with other family members in mind (i.e. the original poster's wife) a 20 ga. might be a better idea, but we'll leave that debate for the aropriate forum.

Let us know if we can further help or answer more questions.

GunNut
December 22, 2006, 08:13 PM
Get a revolver, something like a Ruger Service/Security-Six and a good flashlight.

For me a weapon mounted light is not that practical. Don't get me wrong I have a light for my Glock, but prefer to just grab one of my Surefire lights when the need arises.

Steve

wooderson
December 22, 2006, 08:32 PM
I agree with the others - hard to beat a Wal-Mart Remington for under $250 if it's never going to be a range/fun/carry/plinking gun as well.

DogBonz
December 22, 2006, 08:39 PM
Look around at all the gun shops in your area for a good used deal. I have seen used, but not abused, GP100's for $200 and change. Load that up with some good ammo, and its a great HD gun. Just keep looking, there are a lot of nice revolvers out there that are just not Tact-i-cool enough, so they get sold off and the they sit in gun stores, just waiting for a good home.

orionengnr
December 22, 2006, 09:25 PM
Don't get too wrapped up in tacti-cool gimmickry.

A good Smith K-frame is a good start, and $200-250 allows a bit of shopping.

CrimsonTrace laser grips (should you be so inclined) are available, often gently used and about 1/2 retail price, on these forums (also easily transferred from one K-frame to another).

If you buy either or both of the above at a reasonable price, each will hold it's value when/if you decide to move into something different.

Good luck.

treebeard
December 22, 2006, 11:08 PM
My HD gun is a S&W Mod. 36 snubbie.:D :D I shoot it well and I would not want to be on the other end of it for sure.

earplug
December 22, 2006, 11:17 PM
Have you considered home motion lights?
Light the area away from your sleeping quarters. Where the bad guy would be.
I don't like the firearm mounted lights for my own use.
I have practiced with a dark indoor range.
I'd budget a little more money due to inflation and some US made revolvers/pistols going up in price due to model changes.
Don't get to hung up on anything other then does the firearm fit your family and will you/they practice with it.

spacejunkiehsv
December 23, 2006, 10:43 AM
Thanks for all the input guys.

I have a 12 guage Mossberg 500 pump inherited from my grandpa, with a LONG 28" barrel. It's my HD weapon right now, and I will never modify that gun. However, we have two kids in the oven right now. So, I want to lock up all guns before they are able to get into them. I want a handgun so I can get one of those small safes with the fingerprint biometrics lock or keypad. That would allow us to get to the gun QUICKLY if needed. We have a lockable gun cabinet on the way this Christmas.

As far as training to use a light with the gun, that seems like too much of a stretch for my wife. She will do good just to shoot anything besides a 22.

The home lighting idea seems like it would work for us though. Are you talking about simple little nightlights? I think you said motion sensing lights though. Those would be nice, just for getting up at night to get a drink. hmmmmm..... Lowe's trip coming up.

I'm going to go read that "buying guide" post mentioned.

1911 guy
December 23, 2006, 11:01 AM
First off, congrats on the kiddos on the way. Twins, eh? You'll have a vague memory of sleep. :) My son is two and a blast. Have fun with them.

Now, thank you for thinking ahead about security from prying eyes and curious fingers. Your kids are worth the effort.

A revolver will be fine, especially since it has to be a "one gun for everybody" proposition. If you and your wife are both shooters and can learn an auto pistol (not hard) then that option can remain open. If not, don't beat yourself up on the choice of a revolver. You are correct in thinking that a full or medium frame is best for non-concealment. The weight will dampen recoil considerably. .357Mag would be my first choice. I have a Ruger GP100 that is plenty accurate, recoil isn't bad at all even with full house handloads and it's simple to operate.

As far as lights go, I agree that a good light is a necessity for HD. However, there is a debate on whether mounting the light is best or having it detached. I shoot with a seperate light, other shooters I respect mount their lights. Just learn the technique for an unmounted light first since you'll be using that with a revolver. If you get an auto with a mouted light, learn those techniques first.

Just remember that clearing a house, going room to room, is a messy proposition. Your place as a husband and father is between your family and a threat, not out roaming around looking for Bad Guys. If the time ever comes, herd the wife and kiddies into one bedroom and call the fuzz.

Ben Shepherd
December 23, 2006, 11:02 AM
PRINT that guide and take it with you. Serious. ESPECIALLY if you are new to handguns.

You could get a different barrel for that mossy, you know. No need to chop up the one thats on it.

spacejunkiehsv
December 23, 2006, 11:26 AM
Yeah... I've already told my wife that her job is to dial 911 and that mine is to wait and cover our butts in the our bedroom, the back bedroom. I won't be "clearing" any rooms! I don't think watching movies is enough to qualify me!

I copied the text from that thread and pasted it into a Word document. I'm going to borrow my wife's uncle's least valuable revolver (to him) and practice on it. That way I won't have to take the list with me. Plus, it'll look more like I have a clue. I don't have any feeler gauges, but I do have some cards of different thicknesses. I'll measure them with some digital calipers at work. That'll be close enough probably. We'll see. Maybe I'll get some feeler gauges at Lowes, if they're cheap. I'm saving all the spending money I can to get a good gun in January.

lee n. field
December 23, 2006, 11:34 AM
Accessory rails are a fairly recent feature. I kind of doubt you'll find a used gun with one in your price range.

Wanting to mount a laser/light combo rules out a revolver, doesn't it?

Yeah, kind-a. AFAIK, there's one S&W revolver with a rail. Nothing else, from anyone.

$250? Used wheelgun. Used Ruger auto. Mossberg 500.

have a 12 guage Mossberg 500 pump inherited from my grandpa, with a LONG 28" barrel.

Swapping barrels wouldn't be a permanent modification.

rem1187a
December 28, 2006, 03:52 AM
As mentioned above,always secure the wife and kids and call 911.The best offense is a good defense,position wise that is.Dont go look for them.Your job if to defend loved ones til police arrive.This is the teaching of every home defense/ccw trainer.As for the firearm of choice,that argument will never end.which ever firearm you choose the most important thing to do is practice.At the range and at home.At home you practice like it is the real thing,minus the live ammo and intruder.may sound strange or stupid to some but when **it hits the fan its the training that takes over.Good luck and we hope you never need to put that training to use

Revolver Ocelot
December 28, 2006, 01:54 PM
there are plenty of nice guns available for that price range but any that would take a light are semi autos and would be more for ccw then hd like ugaarguy said, I would have to agree that a mossberg 500 pump would be a much better choice plus you can put a kight on the forend of it, I've seen a nice 327 s&w revolver that had a light rail on it which I also think would be perfect for what you need it for but its very much out of the price range you've stated.

spacejunkiehsv
December 28, 2006, 02:09 PM
Well folks, I got $200 cash for Christmas. That has raised my spending limit by a good bit. After holding a good bit of new 9mm's, I've decided to get a Taurus 24/7 Pro 9mm with a blued barrel and 17 round magazines. I'd like to get it at a local store, but they are just TOO high.

The least expensive I can find it is on budsgunshop.com. They have it listed for $339 + $29 transfer/shipping fee. It is about $30 more expensive than the Ruger P95PR15 I was thinking of ordering, but the grip is thinner and MUCH more comfortable.

Lupinus
December 28, 2006, 03:07 PM
if you say she isn't willing to train then laser or no I wouldn't go with putting the handgun in her hands. Having a laser on the gun and expecting her to hit anything without training isn't that far off from sighting in the scope on a rifle and expecting her to hit something a few hundred yards off with it IMO.

You can have the best sights or gizmos in the world, in the end it comes down to knowing how to aim and handle the gun, not the sights or gizmos.

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