help me choose my first gun


September 29, 2007, 06:57 AM
hi everyone. i was recommended here by a friend of mine. i'm looking to buy my first gun. I have a few certain things i'm looking for in one:

1. SA capable
2. exposed hammer
3. manual safety
4. can be accessorized with LAMs and night sights etc.
5. I don't have to worry about bullets. that is, can use +P or unjacketed lead.

I was thinking a USP 9mm but have heard problems with magazines. I have also thought of a browning HP. I live in Ohio and gun laws are extremely liberal here - the only restriction is you must be over 21. basically I want a multipurpose gun, but primarily for target shooting/the range.

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September 29, 2007, 07:40 AM
a lot of people are going to come in here and tell you to try a bunch of guns and buy the one that fits your hand the best. this is the best advice, but i'm going to go out on a limb and just suggest a handgun for you to buy because i think that's what you made this thread for...

CZ 75B SP-01

it fits your description perfectly. i have one, and although i had to replace a few springs, I love the gun.

September 29, 2007, 09:12 AM
The USP won't work because it has polygonal rifling which isn't recommended for shooting lead bullets.

If you want 9mm, how about:
-CZ P-01: Great overall pistol, but it has a decocker instead of a safety.
-CZ SP-01: The big brother to the P-01 and it has a safety. The downside is that it is awfully heavy.
-CZ 75b: Great pistol overall, but it has no accessory rail.
-Sig P226: One of the best if not THE best. Uses a decocker instead of a safety though.
-Browning HP: Good overall pistol, but it has no accessory rail and the HPs are becoming harder to find and in good condition.

Personally, I recommend that you consider the Sig P226 with a rail, or one of the CZs. Of the CZs I prefer the P-01 for its carry abilities, but it is very light and full power NATO or +P loads kick a bit. So, you might want the 75b or SP-01 if you are just going to be target shooting.

September 29, 2007, 09:33 AM
well i can do without unjacketed lead I guess.

September 29, 2007, 09:37 AM
well i can do without unjacketed lead I guess.

With all the ammunition available today, I don't see why you would need to shoot lead bullets. The H&K USP is a great pistol and if your heart is set on it, go for it.

September 29, 2007, 09:43 AM
I also could go without a rail, as long as night sights are available. so, with you guys' help, i've narrowed it down to a USP or HP

September 29, 2007, 09:56 AM
Call up some gun stores and ask if they have both the USP and HP in stock. When you find store that does, go there and asked them to let you handle the pistols. You might instantly say, "I want that one!". We all have different tastes in firearms, and what I like might not be what you like.

Either the USP or the HP will be a well made pistol that is reliable and a good performer. Personally, I would go with the USP, but that is just personal preference. I also prefer the Sig P226 over the USP.........personal preferences, that's all.

September 29, 2007, 07:54 PM
I would say to find a range that has those pistols for
use - I'd also advise a 1911 in .45 ACP - it is a proven
accurate handgun, and the range of bullet weight leads it
to more versatality than a 9mm. You could also
consider a drop-in barrel in .400 CorBon = .40 cal bullet
at 1350 fps if you like the velocity trip.

FWIW - I buy hardcast ( to minimize leading ) Leadhead
200 gr. SWC in .45 ACP @ 1,025 FPS for practice and
the 200 gr. Hornady XTP for carry - my SW 1911 is just
getting broken in but no FTF/FTE so far.
The difference is about 10 cents a round because of the
cost of the bullets.

September 29, 2007, 07:56 PM
Are there .22 LR conversion kits available for a
USP or Hi-Power ? They are available from several
makers for the 1911 = versatality

The .22 LR conv. kit would be a very good thing if this
is your first gun.

September 29, 2007, 08:54 PM
CZ SP 01
Sig P226

September 29, 2007, 09:37 PM
In truth, and very seriously, I could list a half-dozen firearms which work for me, and when you try them you might find them uncomfortable. I suggest that you go to an indoor range that rents firearms and try the ones that interest you.

When I am preparing to purchase a new pistol, the owner actually let me try the rentals free-of-charge, because I plan to leave with a NIB one of the version I like best.



September 30, 2007, 02:08 AM
My first thought was for the HK USP 9, but your specification that you wanted to shoot lead kinda killed that idea :scrutiny: My next idea would be the BHP
Welcome to THR! :D

September 30, 2007, 02:11 AM
Sig Evolution 1911

September 30, 2007, 03:44 AM
I wanted a pistol with all the criteria you'd mentioned, except the accessory rail, and I did *not* want a magazine 'safety' (which ruled out a Hi-Power).

I picked up a nickel-finished CZ 75B. So far, it's wonderful - have put close to 1,000 rounds through it and not a single issue (to even include about 30 rounds' worth of trying to induce failure by limp-wristing), though that sucker was absolutely filthy after the range session.

I know CZ makes some newer pistols with accessory rails, so even though you say you could do without, I'd highly recommend checking out CZ's line.

... though the 75B, if it fits your hand well, is definitely worth a good, long look, at least.

September 30, 2007, 11:28 AM
thanks, you guys have been helpful. btw i'll check out the CZs. just before I go, I would still like to know some other alternatives if my local gun store doesn't have them. i've updated my list:

1. SA capable / exposed hammer
2. safeties: manual safety decockerand a firing pin block. not all three are required but preferred.
3. can be accessorized with LAMs or night sights etc.
4. can use +P
5. 9mm

September 30, 2007, 12:21 PM

Read post below: Double post here

September 30, 2007, 12:22 PM
1. SA capable / exposed hammer
2. safeties: manual safety decockerand a firing pin block. not all three are required but preferred.
3. can be accessorized with LAMs or night sights etc.
4. can use +P
5. 9mm

Some good 9mm pistols:
-CZ 75b
-CZ P-01
-Sig P226/P228/P229
-Browning HP
-Beretta 92f
-FNP 9mm

These are all pistols that meet your requirements and have a good reputation and record. My favorite of them all is still the Sig P226 or P228. However, any of the other listed pistols will serve you well.

September 30, 2007, 12:25 PM


Hammer, DA/SA, safety-decocker in one, +P 9mm or 40cal, your choice..

Mid-full size, CCW, thin grips, with 2 extra backstraps to customise your grip.

Has a rail for attachments. One of, if not, the easiest guns to field strip, inspect, and reassemble out there, bar none.

Accurate out of the box, reliable, they just keep on going and going and going..

Narrow, overall gun, lightweight, for both CCW and balance and ease of point to aim.

Mid price range for a NIB gun.. 450 - 600 bucks..

And the 3 key features I really like, after 5300 rounds without ANY failures of any kind, are: A smooth, lighter, full DA pull weight, enhanced by a semi-cocked DA mode, with a shorter, easier DA pull, and of course, a smooth, sharp, SA pull and break of the trigger/hammer. All this, with a "rotating barrel, which absorbs recoil, along with, a non-tilting barrel, yet chambering is flawless, as is the barrel, not moving, tilting-up, for the chambering of all rounds.

All this, and you'll appreciate the EASE of the slide chambering action, along with the ability and ease of thumb-cocking the hammer into SA mode.

Check out a Beretta Px4 9mm or 40cal, same gun, same weights, your choice.

Enjoy whatever you end up choosing,


September 30, 2007, 04:37 PM
If you can spend a little more, look at a good 1911 Perhaps a TRP Pro or similar

If cost is a big consideration, Ruger pistols are very inexpensive and reliable, if not highly polished.

And, if I may, perhaps you could look at a good wheelgun in .357 magnum. They are much more versatile, powerful, and easier to learn on. Check out the Smith and Wesson 327 TRR8 if you think a wheelgun might work for you.


October 1, 2007, 08:52 AM
thanks for your help, guys. one very tiny question before I go: I seem to recall hearing once that +P only wears down the barrel? so, basically, if you can replace the barrel, you can shoot +P? I heard this from some guy at a range I went to once with a friend.

October 1, 2007, 09:54 AM
papajack, go with HK USP. +P rated out of the box, not to mention reliable without tweaking/adjusting/trying different mags/extractor/ejector bullcrap out of the box either :) I already did the homework for you, any of these guns pictured here ( are very reliable. I don't keep jamomatics.

October 2, 2007, 07:04 AM
thanks gudel. i'm going for a USP. i've found out the H-P has a magazine disconnect and no firing pin block. can the USP be dry-fired though? if yes, the USP will be my perfect pistol! :D

October 2, 2007, 10:54 AM
Yes it can be dry fired. Just use a snap cap.
You can also put a round in chamber and drop the slide :) It's a non finicky gun. I keep my USP under my pillow every night because I know it just works.

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