Wanting to get into competition pistol shooting, what handgun to buy?


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streetstang67
February 13, 2007, 07:41 PM
I'm gettin a new autoloader soon and I would like to participate in some competitive handgun shooting. I don't know what class or type or anything, all i know is that it looks like fun and I'd like to do it. I was planning on getting a new pistol anyway, so I figured I could choose one that would work in competition.

Only restriction is that it needs to be a good all purpose handgun, under $500 or close to it.

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lycanthrope
February 13, 2007, 07:56 PM
Depends on the type of competition.

HSMITH
February 13, 2007, 08:31 PM
Close to $500 and would cover about most competitive disciplines well? Glock.

If you care to expand on what type of competitive shooting you want to do there might be more info that can be shared.

ojdidit
February 13, 2007, 10:00 PM
I was in the same situation about 3 years ago. I bought a Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 for $550 and some GOOD 8rd mags and went shooting (a little IDPA and a lot USPSA-style). I wasn't very good, but it was a lot of fun. Then I put $200 into a trigger job and internals for a light trigger pull. Then $300 to cut the frame for a beavertail grip safety and fit a mag well. Then $80 for a heavy guide rod to reduce muzzle flip (not sure that's within the rules, but ohhhhh what a difference). Not to mention the endless number of grips I tried to get the right feel. Then my local club put guys with 10rd mags in with us, so I bought $100 worth of those. I will say that I went from finishing around 18th out of 20 to around 4th. But, I would bet most of that gain came from practicing and competing for 3 years. Needless to say my thoughts on competing for low $ were flawed.

So listen close, if you want to compete without creating a money pit like I did BUY A 9mm GLOCK. Period. Not something that looks like a Glock, not some "project" 1911, not a .45 ACP Glock, or any other semi-auto. All the fastest polymer-framed pistol shooters at my club and the ones I've visited have Glocks. There are other pistols there, but they don't seem to score as well. Get some good mags, an inexpensive holster, and shoot the pi$$ out of it. As your skills improve you will be competitive with the best guys there, and you didn't spend a mountain of cash like I did. Check out www.BudsGunShop.com for good prices. Your $500 buys plenty with those guys.

Sorry, this post turned into a rant. Take any advice you like and leave the rest.

streetstang67
February 14, 2007, 01:12 PM
I definitely will be getting a 9mm, it seems like a great all purpose cartridge.

LHB1
February 14, 2007, 01:47 PM
What kind of competitive shooting do you wish to participate in? Go to a match and see what guns, models, options, calibers, etc. they use. A good choice for Bullseye shooting would probably not be the best choice for IDPA or IPSC, etc.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

steveracer
February 14, 2007, 02:01 PM
Get a CZ-75 for about $400. Then get a lot of magazines and a really good holster. You can now compete in most pistol games.

lil ski
February 14, 2007, 03:46 PM
You should figure out what kind of competitive shooting you want to do. A 9mm is not good for every thing.

streetstang67
February 14, 2007, 05:40 PM
Well since this is not a dedicated competition pistol, I'll stick with 9 mm

Hopefully this handgun will get me into some competitions, then if/when I get more serious, I'll get a dedicated competition gun.

Justin
February 14, 2007, 05:50 PM
9mm is fine for IDPA.

It's ok for IPSC, but the rules will kind of skew against you.

For any of the more traditional pistol sports it'll be pretty much out completely.

mscott
February 14, 2007, 07:08 PM
G17 or XD Tactical

Joe D
February 14, 2007, 07:33 PM
If you do not reload get a G34. I you do or plan to get a G35. The G35 is the most versatile gun available. You can shoot Limited, Limited 10, Production, SSP, and ESP. You can load to either Minor PF or Major PF.
You can also get a 9mm conversion barrel from Lone Wolf Dist. for $89.
A G34/35 will cost about $100 more than a G17/22. Pick your budget.

streetstang67
February 14, 2007, 07:42 PM
so far...

four recommendations for Glock

one recommendation for CZ-75

one recommendation for XD

lycanthrope
February 14, 2007, 08:02 PM
But...you never really answered the question...."Which competition?"

Many people are under the wrong assumption that a good competition pistol is not a good pistol for self defence. A decent 9mm or .40 Glock/1911 is an excellent option for either and trigger pulls acan be modified quickly and easily on both platforms.

But....for Bullseye.....most people aren't going with Glock.

The 9mm is nice and works well in IDPA SSP or USPSA Production for the Glock platform. In Glock .40 it's IDPA SSP or USPSA Limited or L10.

For the 1911 the .45 ACP works well for IDPA CDP and USPSA L10. In .40 it's IDPA ESP and USPSA Limited or L10.

In those two games the .40 offers more options than the 9mm or .45 (from a competition point of view since 9mm doesn't make Major in USPSA).

FYI, The STI Spartan 1911 in .45 is going for under $600 these days.

The Glock 35 can be shot in IDPA ESP and SSP as well as USPSA Production, L10 and Limited.

SoCalShooter
February 14, 2007, 10:44 PM
If you shoot bullseye...three gun, you really only need two guns, a .22lr and a service pistol such as a 92fs or a .38 revolver or a 1911.

browningguy
February 14, 2007, 10:53 PM
I'd give a close look at the EAA Witness Elite Match. It's not a carry gun but an incredibly accurate pistol for match shooting. I have one in .40 and am looking at getting one in 9mm for IDPA ESP. They run around $429 at the gunshows here, and there is nothing as accurate for twice the price. I currently have about 30 pistols, 5 BHPs (including a Competition model), CZ75, etc., and nothing I own is as accurate as the Match out of the box. It also has the advantage of a superb SA trigger and very good sights.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v11/jcm9371/Pistols/WitnessMatch2.jpg

LHB1
February 14, 2007, 11:40 PM
Quote: "If you shoot bullseye...three gun, you really only need two guns, a .22lr and a service pistol such as a 92fs or a .38 revolver or a 1911."

Not quite. You must have a .22 LR pistol, a .45 ACP pistol and optionally, a centerfire pistol larger than .32. Most of us just shot the .45 ACP in both the centerfire and .45 classes, thus needed only that gun plus the .22 pistol. A 9mm or .38 can be shot only in the centerfire class but then you must still have the .22 LR and the .45 ACP unless they have changed the rules since I quit shooting Bullseye.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

lil ski
February 15, 2007, 05:52 AM
[QUOTE][COLOR="Red"]Not quite. You must have a .22 LR pistol, a .45 ACP pistol and optionally, a centerfire pistol larger than .32. Most of us just shot the .45 ACP in both the centerfire and .45 classes, thus needed only that gun plus the .22 pistol. A 9mm or .38 can be shot only in the centerfire class but then you must still have the .22 LR and the .45 ACP unless they have changed the rules since I quit shooting Bullseye.


The rules are still the same. I have been shooting bullseye for over 10 years and I still have yet to see a 9mm shoot centerfire. Most use a 32, 38 or 45 I have seen some 44s. I don't think the 9mm has the bullet selection as the others for shooting bullseye. Just my 2 cents

streetstang67
February 19, 2007, 01:19 PM
Well I'm getting a lot of suggestions...one more question though:

Anything in particular I should NOT get? any handgun or feature I should stray away from?

Longbow
February 19, 2007, 01:43 PM
Glock 35/34 or XD 9mm/.40 cal Tactical. It will give you more options on what division you would want to compete in, in USPSA. Mags for these guns are more affordable too.
Stay away from those with DA/SA pull. The trigger characteristic is hard to master. It can be done, but its harder to master than DAO pistols.
Just my .02 cents.

Joe D
February 19, 2007, 03:16 PM
I thought the 9mm was used for Service Pistol Matches.

Caseless
February 20, 2007, 11:15 PM
CZ-75 SA or Springfield Armory XD 9mm
Minimal maintenance required for either.

Glock is OK if it comes with metal sights.

HighVelocity
February 21, 2007, 08:03 AM
I would stay away from guns that force you into a single class until you have been competing for a while and know where you want to be. For example, a Springfield xd is only allowed in ESP class (in 9mm).

A Glock 17 is less than 5 bills, carry-able, accurate enough and reliable out of the box, accessories are abundant and mags are cheap compared to other guns. You can use it in SSP or ESP class in IDPA and you don't need to be an aerospace engineer to work on it.

my .02

Igloodude
February 21, 2007, 11:58 AM
Well I'm getting a lot of suggestions...one more question though:

Anything in particular I should NOT get? any handgun or feature I should stray away from?

You have in effect said "I want to get into driving a car, inexpensively. What car should I get?" And city commuters have told you "get a reliable 4cyl" and rural types have told you "get a pickup truck". Until you narrow down what sort of competition you're looking at (even to say 'action pistol' or 'conventional pistol') the answers aren't going to be nearly as useful.

What you shouldn't get into? A handgun that doesn't feel nice in your hand, before during and immediately after pulling the trigger. ;)

streetstang67
February 22, 2007, 12:44 PM
Hmmm, I think a better comparison would be me saying:

"I'm wanting to get into racing cars, what car should I get that I can drive on weekdays and race on weekends? The car needs to run on pump gas, and handle well for road racing and accelerate well for drag racing. I know this is a compromise, but it will help me get into the sports and decide which I like best. Whenever I pick one, drag racing or road racing, I will get a dedicated race car."

Maybe thats a better comparsion, I know yal need more specifics on which competition I want to get into, but I don't know yet. So, what I'm asking is with the few specifics that I have given, what do you suggest?

Thanks a lot!

Longbow
February 24, 2007, 02:32 AM
So, what I'm asking is with the few specifics that I have given, what do you suggest?

Thanks a lot!

Glock 17.
If you don't mind a used one, I've seen them go for <$400 in my area. And then ask and look around in what ever competition you get into.
If you decide to go into some other gun design, you are still ahead because, it is really a very robust and reliable gun.
Some might chime in with their Glock KB stories, but I can tell you, without bull, from my USPSA experience (12 years total), that I've seen more 1911 Kb's (and one CZ) than Glock Kb's...........wait.....actually, I've never seen a Glock KB!

CaptRon1953
February 25, 2007, 08:41 AM
After reading the thread I had to check. 9mm pistols are allowed in the service pistol category, if you don't wish to shoot a .45 for the service pistol segment, then an M9, or pistol based on the M9 can be fired. It also meets the centerfire rule, so you could get away with shooting Bullseye with a .22LR and a .45, or with a .22LR and a 9mm. Or you can go nuts and get them all! Some rules do apply for the pistols, be sure to check carefully. YMMV

Torrent71
February 27, 2007, 10:49 PM
Get a 1911 in .45 and lots of mags. You dont need to trick it out. Use it, work with it, learn from it. It will serve you well in all circumstances- competition to defense.

S&W
Kimber
Springfield
Sig

Find one that fits you right. Sigs seem to offer a little better versatility to smaller hands.

MarshallDodge
February 27, 2007, 11:24 PM
Torrent +1

My recommendation would be a 1911 variant in 45ACP with good sights and then get a trigger job. Best all around gun in my opinion. You can shoot targets, pins, steel plates, and they will all fall down!

Glock KB's :rolleyes:
http://www.thegunzone.com/glock/glock-kb-faq.html#kB!

joevilla71
February 28, 2007, 12:04 AM
It's the good ol' realiable option that works in any situation. It's thin so it's easier to conceal carry, put between the seats, or under the seats. It's also powerful enough to knock down an assailant if needed.

Your wife can learn to use it if you grow her into it and don't just scare her.

It's accurate enough for competition and there are thousands of parts to add, but you don't really need to.

It's my favorite pistol in the world ... the Marines taught me with it and it's never felt uncomfortable.

EDIT: OH YEAH ... it will shot ... every dag gum time ... through dirt, mud, rain, snow ... it will shoot.

Centurion
March 1, 2007, 10:31 PM
Here is some pictures and ideas about: Olympic Program (ISSF)
& NRA Intercollegiate Competition Program.

Target Shooting Pistols: http://www.midwestshootingacademy.com/pistols.shtml

Centurion
March 1, 2007, 10:32 PM
Here is some pictures and ideas about: Olympic Program (ISSF)
& NRA Intercollegiate Competition Program.

Target Shooting Pistols: http://www.midwestshootingacademy.com/pistols.shtml

Igloodude
March 15, 2007, 10:14 AM
Hmmm, I think a better comparison would be me saying:

"I'm wanting to get into racing cars, what car should I get that I can drive on weekdays and race on weekends? The car needs to run on pump gas, and handle well for road racing and accelerate well for drag racing. I know this is a compromise, but it will help me get into the sports and decide which I like best. Whenever I pick one, drag racing or road racing, I will get a dedicated race car."

Maybe thats a better comparsion, I know yal need more specifics on which competition I want to get into, but I don't know yet. So, what I'm asking is with the few specifics that I have given, what do you suggest?

Thanks a lot!

Fair enough. :)

A stock 1911 in .45ACP caliber, with adjustable (ideally Bo-Mar) sights, trigger adjusted to 4-5 pounds, but otherwise not tricked out at all, with plenty of magazines and a good holster.

With this, you'll be able to shoot bowling pin, steel plate, IDPA, IPSC, and all non-rimfire portions of Bullseye matches, which collectively present enough different styles of competition to enable you to decide which sorts that you like more than the others.

AlbertaMuskeg
March 16, 2007, 08:42 PM
I was thinking of getting one of the BUL M-5 Government .45 ACP (here is the site I found them on http://www.marstar.ca/gf-BUL/M5-Govt.shtm) and try my hand at IPSC. I spoke with a rep who told me that as long as I didn't get the ported model I could shoot in the regular classes http://www.thehighroad.org/images/smilies/confused.gif Any comments? I need to know before I commit any cash on what will be my only semi most likely.

waynedm
March 17, 2007, 03:25 PM
A CZ 75 or variant will work well or something like a Glock 34. I'd stay way from XDs, the triggers are horrible and the reset is too long, I'm guessing you don't want to send it off to get a trigger job or do it yourself.

akanotken
March 30, 2007, 01:21 PM
The S&W M&P is getting a small following. It's not as tried and true as the 1911 or the Glock.

I skipped the Glock when I was in your shoes as it didn't fit my hand well, and I didn't like the trigger. I'm pretty sure if I had bought it and stuck with it I'd be fine. I went a hi power instead, it's still one of my fav's.

If you allow yourself the .45, my vote would be the 1911 platform. Otherwise, the 9mm 1911 are too much $$ and can be a little finicky (mostly the mags).

The Glock is the mainstream option, there's a ton of advice and accessories for it, some of the top shooters have proven it can take you to the highest level in IDPA and USPSA.

VARifleman
March 30, 2007, 10:45 PM
A CZ 75 or variant will work well or something like a Glock 34. I'd stay way from XDs, the triggers are horrible and the reset is too long, I'm guessing you don't want to send it off to get a trigger job or do it yourself.
Not necessarily. I've felt some nice XD trigger pulls.

8ring
April 2, 2007, 02:00 AM
Start with a 9mm pistol: they have less recoil and are easier to control than larger calibers. Whether you reload or not, 9mm is about the most economical round you can get. This allows you to practice more.

The above suggestions are good:

1. Glock 17 or Glock 34.

2. CZ 75 or the one I have, the CZ 85 Combat, which has adjustable sights, ambi controls, and a slightly better trigger than the 75 series.

3. Springfield XD - try the trigger before you buy - you might like it.

4. S & W Military and Police.

These all work well in the Production Division of USPSA, which is meant for 9mm pistols. You can also use them in IDPA. You can also shoot them in Limited 10 in USPSA although you would be at a slight disadvantange to larger calibers if you didn't get all A-zone hits.

Get a decent plastic holster and read a few books about the sport. Find an experienced shooter to practice with, dryfire a lot, and get started.

Chris

starboard
April 2, 2007, 02:22 AM
Should one compete with the pistol one would reach for in SHTF?

That's a G19 in my case. How big of an accuracy disadvantage is its length compared to a G17? Is there a drawing / target acquisition speed upside?

Alaskapopo
April 2, 2007, 06:55 AM
I would recommend the Glock 34. You can shoot SSP in IDPA and Production in USPSA. You can also shoot in GSSF matches.
Popo

akanotken
April 2, 2007, 03:36 PM
Starboard,

Gun games are games. They are excellent for getting a shooter accustomed to their gun, gun handling, manual of arms, etc. and for putting some pressure on the shooter.

But as games they have rules, to keep the sport to the inventors vision and other reasons (level the playing field, etc). So you'll do things that would make good training (failure drill?) to bad training (confront 6 badguys by yourself?).

Point is that games do not teach everything a tactics course should, and emphasize a bunch of things that are contrary.

So, if you want a pistol with the potential to finish the game first, look at what the winners are using (longer bbl is better, some like a light gun, some heavy, etc).

The premise behind IDPA is for you to use your carry gun. And many folks do.

Aneat
April 27, 2007, 09:44 PM
Like many others have mentioned it really depends on what competitions are availabe and what you plan on shooting. For example no sense in getting a Glock for a bullseye match or no sense in getting an XD for shooting GSSF matches.

If you reload the most versatile setup for trying a little of everything would be a G22.
You can shoot GSSF matches in everything but the sub compact classes.

You can shoot IDPA in most classes.

In USPSA you can reload 40 minor and shoot production. Load major and shoot Limited 10 or get some mag extensions and shoot Limited.

You can get a police trade in G22 and put a quality set of sights on it and you will be set for less that your $500.00

Personally I shoot more bullseye than anything but have shot some GSSF and USPSA. Its all fun and a darn shame a guy has to work for a livin instead of going around and shooting all the time:D

Encoreman
April 29, 2007, 09:11 AM
Hey Stang, As you can see everyone has an opinion. My suggestion is to find a competition in your area, go there get to know the guys and I'm sure you can feel and shoot an assortment of guns. Then you can make your own decision. I shoot ICORE and USPSA. You can go to USPSA website and click on your area then state and find most of the affiliated club's there. Good luck, be safe, shoot straight, and HAVE FUN!!! God Bless, Mac

Damien45
April 29, 2007, 06:34 PM
Hmmm, I think a better comparison would be me saying:

"I'm wanting to get into racing cars, what car should I get that I can drive on weekdays and race on weekends? The car needs to run on pump gas, and handle well for road racing and accelerate well for drag racing. I know this is a compromise, but it will help me get into the sports and decide which I like best. Whenever I pick one, drag racing or road racing, I will get a dedicated race car."

Maybe thats a better comparsion, I know yal need more specifics on which competition I want to get into, but I don't know yet. So, what I'm asking is with the few specifics that I have given, what do you suggest?

Thanks a lot!

Based on this, I would say a 1911. It is the most customizable handgun there is.

However, as a couple people said, find the gun that fits you. If you are not comfortable with it, you are not confident with it. Yes, the type of competition you choose to do will change your caliber somewhat. As a base, since you are unsure, I would say start with .40sw. It is a little more versatile.

shotgunred
February 29, 2008, 11:05 PM
While it is true that the 911 is the most customizable handgun there is. It is also going to cost the most.
Start with the glock 35. it is the best bang for your buck with the most different games available. it is also and rock solid dependable. If you donít like it you can resell it at little lost. Also if you are a cop, military, EMs or retired from them glock will give you a hundred dollars off and throw in a third mag. I just bought a new Glock 35 on that deal for 480. plus tax.
I am sure that I could sell it for that or a little more.

best of luck with your choice.

Jumping Frog
March 1, 2008, 08:12 AM
You asked about "gotcha's" to look out for?

If you are going to shoot IDPA, keep an eye on the unloaded weight of the gun+magazine. If you want to shoot Stock Service Pistol (SSP), it must weigh 39 oz or less.

For example, some people have mentioned CZ-75. I've heard some models don't meet the SSP weight limit. I think some of the full-size, all-steel SIG's have the same issue.

Another gun that gets disqualified for the IDPA SSP division are the Springfield XD's. They do not qualify as double action and must shoot Enhanced Service Pistol division.

The Glock 35's aren't legal for IPSC's "Production Division" because this class requires a minimum 5 lb trigger pull. The Glock 35 comes from the factory with a 4.5 lb trigger pull.

You described your needs as basically wanting a "stock" or "production" division instead of an open class requiring highly modified pistols. That is why I'd encourage you to find out what clubs are in your area and narrow down what kind of competition you want to do. Then, you can verify whatever gun you are considering will meet the rules.

SA Friday
March 1, 2008, 08:41 PM
"The Glock 35's aren't legal for IPSC's "Production Division" because this class requires a minimum 5 lb trigger pull. The Glock 35 comes from the factory with a 4.5 lb trigger pull."

Yes, this true for IPSC, but in the USA we shoot under the USPSA rules unless the match is specifically identified an IPSC rules match. The Glock 35 is legal in production in USPSA, and there is no trigger pull weight restrictions. The Glock 35 is THE most versatile pistol to shoot competitively in the USA, period.

1911NM
March 4, 2008, 04:05 PM
For all around just clean and shoot guns, XD or CZ. Don't listen to that 1911 bunch. A 1911 is an addiction that is impossible to break. (ahem, and I don't need any more competition) :D Just kidding, good luck, have fun and be safe.

CrankyCrash
March 5, 2008, 10:52 AM
Personally, I think a Glock 17 is the easiest and probably least expensive way to go.

The Glock 17 is an extremely reliable pistol, easy to maintain, and very affordable.

I've been using a Glock 17 for 4+ years for IDPA and Action Pistol. I started using it for USPSA 3 months ago. I've also used CCI Blazer 115gr ammo and never had a problem taking down steel - unless of course my aim was off. Now that the cost of ammo has gone up dramatically I've started to reload my own. :cuss:

Over 25,000 rounds and no failures whatsoever from the Blazer ammo. The only thing extra I've done is put in a 3.5# trigger. I've replaced my magazine springs once since I started. I do Flitz some of the internal metal parts on occasion.

FWIW.

atek3
March 8, 2008, 07:10 PM
Streetstang67, since you like racing analogies...

the Glock is basically the small block chevy of pistols, reliable, affordable, and versatile. Get the Glock 34, try IPSC production class, it's the SCCA showroom stock of pistol shooting.

You said you want it to run on pump gas? Get a 9mm. You can shoot 40S&W and be competitive in Production or SSP but you'll have to handload which is a whole 'nother set of expenses.

Later when you get more serious, you could spend about ~2500 and buy an STI 2011 Open gun and shoot the Formula 1 of pistol.

atek3

robertbank
March 9, 2008, 11:52 PM
CZ 75/85 , Tanfoglio *EAA Witness your way) will get you into USPSA Production (No Major PF), and into SSP or ESP in IDPA. 2nd Choice would be the S&W M&P for USPSA Production or IDPA SSP.

9MM is the most versatile of the three cartridges commonly found ie 9MM, .40Cal and .45acp. (If you reload the 9MM & .40 cal are a wash).

Steel guns have the advantage of less felt recoil. Faster target acquisition for us mortals.

Glocks are great but the grip does nothing for me. The grip on the CZ/Tanfoglio is, IMHO, the nicest of any pistol I have ever shot.

Take Care

Bob

Feanaro
March 10, 2008, 01:30 AM
This is my advice, which is worth what you paid for it. This thread has given you some options to look at. Now go check them out at a gunshop, dry fire them(after asking), check how well they balance... and buy the one you like. Don't let how many different categories you can compete in or how many other people are using it influence your decision.

I don't think it makes sense to pick a pistol that's "ideal" for SSP or Open or Bullseye before you've actually tried these things. First, you don't even really know if you want to play those games. Second, you don't know what your wants and needs are. The Glock/CZ/whatever might be the absolute best thing for 99 out of 100 people but not what you need. Once you compete, maybe try other people's gear, you can find out what you need.

If you end up with a pistol that's not optimal to competition, you can get one that is. But you've got something you want. If you buy something just because it's "the best" and it ain't, you're not as fortunate.

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