New Pistol Owner...soon


October 18, 2007, 01:49 PM
I signed up here to better my education on hand guns, Ive never fired one before. Ive fired many a different rifles however. My wife wants a pistol for christmas and I just wanted to know what is a good relaible Handgun on the market. Im looking into 9mm and I hear that the Browning Hi-Power 9mm are great guns and would be great for her as well. Anyone have any thoughts or help/feedback I can look into before making my first purchase?

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October 18, 2007, 02:10 PM
If I had to recommend a pistol for a woman knowing nothing else, fast and without proir testing, I would suggest a S&W Model 60 revolver with a 3-inch barrel.

That would be the most reliable weapon and most versatile with regard to ammo choices from light to heavy and grip sizes and shapes.
Everything else highly depends on her expertise, size, strength, etc.

Since you do not have practical knowledge of handguns, do not buy her any semi-auto unless she shot a full box of ammo through without problems and liked the experience.


October 18, 2007, 02:16 PM
Thanks for your advice Miko. I have taught her how to fire a .50 cal black powder musket and she loves it. She will be joinging me this year on my annual hunting trip and is very excited to do so. So she has experience in the Caliber and strength department

October 18, 2007, 02:30 PM
Range trip try different calibers and different guns and see what she worked for me. happy hunting

The Bushmaster
October 18, 2007, 03:05 PM
Before you buy a handgun for your wife...You better know what she wants...Make sure she gets to try out as many as you can come up with...Even the same style gun is different from manufacturer to manufacturer...

October 18, 2007, 03:12 PM
what exactly is the purpose for said handgun? plinking, self/home defense, competition? will it be carried or just kept at home?

my first foray was to a) get used to firearms and b) self/home defense. i got a springfield XD .40 as my first handgun. great gun, just wished i'd bought a 9mm b/c of the cheaper ammo, etc.

next gun i'll buy? a .22lr handgun. REALLY cheap to shoot, little- no recoil. if defense isn't a concern, this should be everybody's first handgun. 9mm is a good balance of cost/power. (some people will chime in that 9mm isn't a good SD round... let's not go down that road please).

still, look at a good ruger .22 if you can just to start.

or, if $$ isn't a problem, get a nice 1911 (colt, kimber, springfield) and get the .22 conversion for it.

October 18, 2007, 03:24 PM
She wants the handgun mainly for home defense. That and she thinks its a good stress reliever. I have no problems with her having one but she needs to learn how to use it and be comfortable with it. She is telling me that she wants a S&W M&P 9mm compact. Small, Powerful and reliable. I was reading through these forums and saw numerous people having problems with them and just want to make sure its good. How does one go about trying out different firearms before purchasing? I personally think a 22 is too weak for us, well me personally and im sure she will think the same. Would you recommend a training course?

Ala Dan
October 18, 2007, 03:53 PM
Ditto the revolver recommendation, for a novice shooter~! ;)

It just makes plain sense, as the revolver is much easier too master;
unless you are willing to devote lots of time and spend $$$ on proper
training with the self-loading pistols~! :scrutiny::)

October 18, 2007, 04:09 PM
Go to a range that has rentals and let her try a few to see what she likes. My wife has shot all of mine from 45 to 357 to 22 but her favorite is my Glock 17 9mm.

October 18, 2007, 04:24 PM
Thanks for everyones advice. I think Im going to sign us both up for a pistol training course and go from there.
Does anyone know if Bass Pro Shop OutDoor World allows you to rent different firearms for their shooting range?


October 18, 2007, 04:35 PM
You might want to look into guns with 22 conversions available. Handguns take a ton of practice to get good and you'll both shoot more when the ammo is that cheap.

CZ offers the Kadet kit for the CZ-75 (an excellent gun).

There are a number of 1911 manufacturers that offer 9mm guns with conversion kits. Kimber comes to mind, but Marvel makes conversion kits alone.

Advantage arms makes 22 conversions for Glocks and 1911s.

Not sure if the Springfield XD or S&W M&P have 22 kits available.
If you don't get a gun with a conversion kit consider a used Ruger 22 for about $200 in addition to whatever 9mm you get her. Alternatively, buy her a case of ammo and give it with the gun just to make sure there are no barriers to her shooting the tar out of her gun.

October 18, 2007, 06:45 PM
Hi, and welcome to THR.

As a woman, I can tell you that guns that fit my husband do not necessarily fit me. He has, for example, a 5" Springfield 1911 that is just too big for me to shoot, despite having pretty large hands for a woman. But I can shoot my Kimber Ultra Carry (a compact 1911) just fine. I can also tell you that revolvers can be difficult if a person (male or female!) lacks the finger strength and hand strength to hold the revolver steady while pulling the double-action trigger. One can cock the hammer and shoot SA, but in a HD situation, that may not be possible.

Many people will tell you that women lack the strength to rack the slide of a semiauto. That is actually rare, particularly if she's taught different ways to do it. However, it is not at all rare for that DA revolver trigger to be hard to master. Just a caution.

My first handgun was a Springfield XD-40. I traded it for a HiPower and I am very glad I did. The HiPower is classy, accurate, easy to shoot, and makes me look more talented than I am at the range :D I also have a J-frame snubbie, and my Kimber Ultra Carry; those two are my concealed handguns and the Kimber is always on my bedside table when I go to bed.

While I know this is supposed to be a Christmas present (you get MAJOR good husband points for that as a Christmas present, lol!) she needs to pick it out herself. At least take her shopping and let her figure out which one fits her hand best. If possible, find a range that rents guns so she can shoot several. But at least shopping and trying the grip on different guns, being shown how to disassemble it for cleaning, checking whether racking the slide is ok, etc., is something she needs to do herself.

Also, both of you check out for more info on finding handguns that fit you and other good things.

Happy shopping, and happy shooting.


October 18, 2007, 07:06 PM
What makes you think the Browning hi-power is that great? Is it just based on what you read on the net? Current hype? (because they weren't this popular just, say, 5-7 years ago).

Hi-powers are great pistols, but they are not as user-friendly as today's pistols. Depending on your wife's pistol skills (looks like nil), it may not be a good fit. They are also on the heavy side and require more lube and maintenance (or they may rust) than many plastic framed pistols (which, if you need to carry it, may make you think twice). Plus the ergo isn't as good (but this is truely subjective).

I'd suggest that you and your wife take a trip to a gun store and just try on the range of pistols they have. See which ones fit, points more naturally, more suitable to what you want to do with it. Do go off and buy a Browning hi-power just because they happens to be popular right now. (I remember when Glocks first came out, they used be more expensive than hi-powers; so you may be over paying for hi-powers.)

October 18, 2007, 07:35 PM
PotatoJudge nailed it. One of the CZ pistols in 9mm coupled with a Kadet kit (22 conversion) is a really nice package. Start her off with the Kadet installed and let her get comfortable with the pistol shooting nice gentle 22. Once she's used to pistol shooting, then remove the Kadet and let her shoot 9mm.

The operational aspects of the pistol are identical except for the sights, which are adjustable on the Kadet and the number of rounds in a magazine (Kadet will hold 10 round per magazine vs somewhere between 14 and 19 rounds in a 9mm -- depending on model). The trigger, safety, magazine release, etc are unchanged, as they are mounted to the frame of the pistol.

Moving back and forth between the standard configuration and a Kadet takes less than 30 seconds.

It's also worth pointing out that 22 caliber is a LOT cheaper than 9mm. I just picked up a box of 550 rounds of 22 for $11. You'll have a hard time finding even 50 rounds of 9mm for that price.

If this is a home defense and range gun, I strongly suggest the CZ-75 SP01 Tactical, with night sights. I have this (and several other) CZ and it's by far my favorite on the range. It's also the go-to pistol on my nightstand.


Kadet conversion:

October 18, 2007, 07:37 PM
Don't go off and buy a Browning hi-power just because they happens to be popular right now. (I remember when Glocks first came out, they used be more expensive than hi-powers; so you may be over paying for hi-powers.)
Well I'm glad somebody finally said it. :D

The Hi Power has a fatter grip that she may not care for. I know my wife doesn't. She likes the feel of a 1911 but that may not be the best for you.

Shop around with her and if you have some friends in your area that have a broad collection of handguns see if they will take the two of you shooting.

October 18, 2007, 09:29 PM
First of all you had better take your wife out on a nice date to fondle different models. You might be suprised at what you find out. Are you pushing her towards a auto? I was suprised when I bought my first auto that my wife was actually unable to rack the slide w/ her weak hand. This caused her to hold the gun in her weak hand and rack the slide w/ her strong hand. This is very uncomfortable and unsafe in my opinion even in a recreational environment.
A six shooter might be better.

October 19, 2007, 12:36 AM
I would suggest taking her down to a range and renting the guns. When she finds one she likes let her decide what she wants and buy that gun. Then help her get a carry permit if it is legal in your state.

Halo is for Kids
October 19, 2007, 12:49 AM
My wife liked shooting a Sigma in .40 more than my 9mm Highpower. Now don't get me wrong here, I'm not suggesting a Sigma for a new shooter. My point is that feel is subjective.

I love the HP but my wife likes slides that are easier to manipulate and polymer frames to soak up recoil: Glock, XD, M&P etc. Her favorite was the fullsize M&P in 40.

Be sure that she actually shoots the guns in consideration. When I rented the M&P9C and Glock 26, the M&P felt better at the counter. When I shot both guns back to back the Glock 26 felt better to shoot.

-Let her choose.
-First shoot, then buy.
-For new shooters I like to keep it simple: rack slide and shoot. The Four Rules make lighter triggers safe.
-Revolvers are a great second step. DA pull on a REVO is uncomfortable and difficult to master for some novices.
:evil:-After the revolver move on to the Sigma. If she can learn to shoot that one well she can shoot anything.

October 19, 2007, 01:06 AM
I'm not an expert, but I gotta say that as teh rank beginner with handguns that I was a couple months ago, I didn't find a revolver easier than a semi. At all. I'm also a woman, if that makes a difference. I doubt it does, everyone, regarless of gender, is gonna be different. But, honestly, the smooth pattern of rolling the cylinder around the eject cartridges was awkward and felt like I was gonna drop the gun. I was shooting a fairly good-sized revolver--a Ruger Blackhawk--but it fit my hands fine to shoot, just loading and unloading felt awkward. The semis on the other hand, seem easier and more fun to me. As much as I prefer the look of a revolver, and the idea of an older style weapon, even as a rank beginner, I find a semi more fun. It took me two range trips to get down to four or five inch groups with no flyaways at 25 feet. I'm pretty sure I'm not an extraordinarily good shot :rolleyes:, just seems that at HD distances, just basic handling stuff and getting to know how it feels in your hand and how it behaves when you fire it don't take that long. Don't get me wrong, I think skill is important, and I'm gonna keep working at it, but I just didn't personally find that a semi was harder than a revolver as a beginner.

And yeah, I started to commit the cardinal sin of gun-buying today--I went to a store to buy a gun for my husband. It took me about ten minutes into holding and tryingn differnt guns to realize what a bad idea that was.

So it is still a gift, of sorts. When we have time, we will make a day of it, go gun-shopping, a nice lunch, then a range trip. The gift is in the giving, not in the surprise. If we were planning on buying at the big-box type store, I might even get a gift card type thing ahead of time. I realized again today that everyone really is right--one just cannot choose a gun for someone else.

October 19, 2007, 09:56 AM
Wow! Lots of hits while I was away.

First, Potatoe Judge - The conversion kit seems quite interesting to me and just may be her ticket in becoming comfortable with her gun while still being able to have her 9mm. Thanks for the pointers on that.

Springmom thanks so much for your insight. The site you provided (corneredcat) is a wonderful site and my wife and I will be looking over it.

j1133s, Ive read up on the Browing Hi-Powers on the net, I didnt know they were In or the "Hot" Item. From what Ive read they seem to have been around for ages and are very comfortable and reliable. Though I never really noticed their weight and materials they are constructed from. Something else to consider. Thank you for your opinion on the matter.

Stevemis, thanks for backing up on potatojudge's opinion. I will be looking more into the conversion kits.

sb350hp, I wasnt going to spring a gun on her without her knowing. She is actually pushing me towards getting her a semi-auto. Ill make sure when we go out and look for guns that she is able to handle the weapon properly in every aspect. Thanks for your .2 cents

tecumseh, Yes we will be going out so she can fire multiple pistols to find the one she likes and is more comfortable for her. And yes, I would like to get a concealed weapons permit once she is ready. Florida has no problems with that.

Halo is for kids, thanks for your tips on this subject. They are quite helpful. I think that the HP would be more for me than for her. Maybe ill break down and get one for myself.

Delta9, my wife does not want a revolver. She doesnt like the fact that it only hold 6 shots. That and she doesnt like the looks of them. She much rather have a semi-auto. Thanks for your insight and for your reasons why you prefer semi-auto as well.

Thank you everyone for your inights. They are appreciated

October 23, 2007, 10:43 AM
Has anyone fired the new Ruger SR9 yet? Any comments on it?

October 23, 2007, 11:44 AM
I'd also suggest a double action or DA only revolver (but not a single action). I personally don't shoot them as well as autos but they are just simpler to operate, don't need a bunch of spare magazines, reliable with about any ammunition that fits in the chamber, and all you have to do is basically point and click.
Complications of any kind are bad for people who are just learning guns. Even clearing a stovepipe safely can be an issue for a beginner.
Revolvers also have the virtue of working just fine even if you trying to teach someone who has a less than perfect grip or is limpwristing.
I am sort of thinking of the same thing for my GF but I'm not sure how she would handle the recoil of a .38 snubbie (some of them are a little rough in that department).
So I am thinking of maybe just going with a .22 for her (eventually). It isn't ideal but it is something and it would make more sense to arm her with something that she could handle over something that she wouldn't even want to shoot because it was unpleasant for her. It would at least be something that she could have for defense until she knows enough about guns to decide what she likes and wants.

A friend of mine bought his GF a CZ P-O1. She rarely shoots it because the recoil is just a little too snappy for her and prefer's to stick to her Ruger Mk II instead.
Lesson learned.

October 23, 2007, 11:56 AM
Thanks for your input, I was worried about clearing stovepipes too and what not. I just dont have the experince needed. I am however thinking about signing up for a class on all the basics of a semiauto handgun though, it will cost me $75 but I think it will be well worth it and I can ask him all the questions necessary such as clearing stovepipes.

October 23, 2007, 12:27 PM
If she really learns the gun, practices and becomes one with the gun, any gun is just fine as long as she likes it and it fits her hand.

It's tough to beat a 9mm BHP. Great gun!

October 23, 2007, 01:20 PM
Marshall, you like the classic or the markIII?

October 23, 2007, 01:55 PM
I'll second the take her out to see what she likes. Never thought much of it until my buddy's girlfriend, who is all of 110lbs, came out shooting, and fell in love with my 1911. Not the 9mm, not the 380, but the 45 that I always hear is too big for women. Shot it better than all the others, but the big selling point was that the slide was BIG, so she had more to grip onto to rack the slide. The PPK she couldn't rack at all, and she actually liked the recoil on the 1911 better.

October 23, 2007, 02:40 PM
Marshall, you like the classic or the markIII?

Yes. ;)

As an owner of all three, for everyday use and carry, the Mark III is my choice. Put some nice wood grips on it though. For overall looks, it's tough to beat a highly polished "Standard" Hi Power. I also like the Practical, a lot!

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