Best First Handgun


November 25, 2007, 11:05 PM
Hey everyone I'm new to forum and new to shooting but I wanted to know what is a good first handgun. I need it both for fun and home/self defense because right now there is a problem with a violent family member. I need something in 9mm and so far it thinking either a Glock 17, Springfield XD 9mm, Smith & Wesson M&P, or a Beretta 92. I have shot the Glock, handled the XD, and handled the Berreta. I have not even seen the M&P yet. However I'm actually leaning toward the M&P quite a bit because I've heard nothing but good things about it and my dad and I like the features alot. Especially the internal lock. I may not have handled it yet but that doesn't bother me because all the other guns felt comfortable in my hands and considering that this ones grips are changeable it should certainly not be a problem. Also I like the look of it. But I want to hear suggestions and If you have an M&P and like it please tell me about it because I'm hoping that would be the one to get. Thanks.

P.S. My other firearm is a 12 gauge Winchester model 1200 defender shotgun. I know this is best by lightyears for self defense, but my dad and I would still like a handgun.

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JP from Phoenix
November 25, 2007, 11:18 PM
My vote goes for the beretta because it is probably the most simple gun to dissasemble and put back together. they are all good choices though a 9mm isnt the best home defense gun though, I'd recomend a .357 or a .45. that'l stop em for sure

honestly though if you have a problem with a violent family member I'd lean towards something non lethal like a taser or something, a stranger is one thing but i would find it hard to live with taking out a family member even if he deserved it

November 25, 2007, 11:20 PM
I am going to give you fair warning: Gun people HATE internal locks. Some, like me, just choose to ignore them, but others just flat out hate them to the point where they just won't buy a firearm with them. If you like them, thats OK, but I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of commentary about that...

Now, to answer the substance of your question, you picked a good group of guns to be interested in. It really just boils down to what you like. Everyone has their favorites, but the truth is, your probably not going to go wrong with any of those guns, at least from the perspective of function. My personal choice of what you have listed is the Beretta, but thats largely due to the fact that one is sitting about 1.5 feet away from me as I write this. (It is a Taurus PT99, but the design is essentially the same, with the exception of the safety). Practically, it has a lot going for it. It is pretty easy to shoot, spare magazines are easy to find, holsters are easy to find, grips are easy to find etc... It is also by far and away one of the easiest guns to disassemble for maintenance. Downside, it's big and some people find it too bulky, and I personally like the sights better on the Glock and the XD.

I support your right to defend yourself, and I support your right to buy a handgun to do that, but make sure that you are, in fact, buying the gun for that reason. If your buying it so that you have a pistol to wave around, thats not a great reason. Shooting someone is the absolute last line of defense, and if you know you have a violent family member, your probably better off pursuing other ways to rectify that situation.

November 25, 2007, 11:23 PM
I am a Glock fan personally. The M&P is okay IMO, but I find the trigger a bit gritty. The XD is a good choice also, but again IMO, the trigger isn't as crisp as the Glock trigger.

From the sounds of your post, you are going to get the M&P, but if you can, handle and feel one first.

HK makes a great pistol with interchangable grips also, the P2000. You can even choose your trigger variation with it.

I am a Glock fan though, and I say, get a Glock!:D

November 25, 2007, 11:24 PM
My bad, double post.

November 25, 2007, 11:25 PM
Best bet for a first handgun is the S&W M686 (stainless steel) or M586 (blue steel) revolver hands down. Works perfectly for home defense, personal defense, target shooting, plinking, and even hunting. Accuracy is phenomenal. Trigger pull is excellent, both DA and SA.

And they're flat out gorgeous...

Load it up with .38 wadcutters for practice and .357 mag for anything else. A 4" 686 is probably the single most versatile handgun you'll ever find.

November 25, 2007, 11:28 PM
Thanks for your replies. I know that 9mm isn't the best defensive caliber but being a first gun its what my dad wants. Also we do have a less than lethal solution, but this is for the worst case scenario and recreational shooting as well. I saw that one of you said not to buy a gun just so you can wave it around, don't worry as we are taking this more seriously than almost anything else, I understand and respect the power of firearm and I am very safe minded, I promise you this is not for the wrong reasons. More thoughts would be appreciated. Also why do you not like internal locks, we liked the idea because it stops unauthorized people from using that firearm, and safety is a huge concern with my dad and I. Further thought on that would be nice.

November 26, 2007, 12:11 AM
Well, since I was the one who said that bit about the locks, I will explain. I personally don't care about them, because they are easy enough to ignore, but it really boils down to a couple of issues:

1. People have had locks fail while shooting, which isn't great.
2. Tactically, the lock is a bad idea. The goal is to get your gun up and running, not to be fiddling with finding the key, getting it unlocked, etc.

What it really boils down to is common sense. If someone is close enough to you that they can grab your gun, they are probably too close to you to give you sufficient time to unlock the gun and fire, which is bad. There are other options out there, like nightstand safes, that offer great protection against unauthorized use without seriously impeding the speed with which the gun can be brought into play. For the record, I now have 4 pistols with locks, and have not had a problem with any of them, although I don't use the locks at all.

It's good that your thinking about safety, but remember that the only safety that matters in the end is you. Guns don't fire themselves, so if you act in a safe manner, you have a safe gun. With that being said, maybe the Glock wouldn't be the best choice for you, since outside of the trigger safety, it doesn't have a manual safety of any kind. Let me state clearly that I am not saying that the Glock is an unsafe gun, rather I am simply saying that some people don't feel comfortable unless they have a slide/frame mounted safety that they can positively flick on and off.

November 26, 2007, 03:15 PM
Thanks everyone I give it some more thought based on these points you brought up. The lock shouldn't be an issue of speed, because we have GPS on this person and early alert systems set up. I am now leaning toward the beretta though because about 2 people said they were easy to clean. So ease of use is nice.

November 26, 2007, 03:34 PM
Glocks are incredibly simple to disassemble and clean. A Glock 17 or 19 would be a great defensive firearm. The drawback is that grip: some people find the size and angle of the grip unsuitable.

The M&P offers interchangeable grip panels, so sizing is less of an issue.

If you're interested in an internal lock AND a manual safety, check out the Taurus 24/7 Pro 9mm. I have one and love it. I also have a Glock and love it too.

And don't let others kid you: 9mm, esp. in +P varieties, is very good for self defense.

November 26, 2007, 03:38 PM
See if you can go to a range and just test drive everything and get what you like the most. My Beretta 9mm sucks on paper (especially limited to 10 rds) but it's what I am the most comfortable with.

November 26, 2007, 04:26 PM
I would opt for the Glock of your listed choices. I am biased though because I own one and love it dearly. If I had to pick a last ditch gun, thats the one. It is utterly reliable, affordable, accurate, durable, and easy to shoot. The downsides are the trigger; very reliable and safe but gritty. Then there is the polymer guide rod on the recoil spring and the stock sights. Replace them both and the gun truly is "Glock Perfection".

November 26, 2007, 04:43 PM
I would sugest either the XD as top of the class in polymer guns or a CZ75 if you want a steel gun.

November 26, 2007, 05:03 PM
I don't know if they're still out there, but my first hand gun was a police trade in S&W mod. 10. Bought it for the princely sum of $150 about ten years back. That police transistion to autos period was a beautiful time.

November 26, 2007, 07:44 PM
Nobody's mentioned Ruger, probably because OP didn't. I would highly recommend a P89 (bigger all-round, fat grip, been in production for almost 20 years) or a P95 (newer design fixed some flaws of earlier P-series, Picatinny rail, slightly smaller "mid-frame"). My first gun is a KP95PR (stainless). I could not be happier; it's easy to shoot, easy to clean, and totally reliable. Grab a Hogue slip-on grip and you'll get a very clean, solid feel to it. Mr. Ruger's politics aside, it's a great target/HD weapon.

November 26, 2007, 07:55 PM
I like the beretta off your list. I haven't handled all the guns listed, but most of them are primarily designed as lightweight carry pieces. Easy to carry and easy to shoot are often two very different things.
The beretta is a large, heavier framed gun, that is a very soft shooter in 9mm. Easy to control,accurate and reliable. Its also very easy to strip for maintenance. I have shot several actual berettas, and I own a taurus PT 92. Its a great gun for range use, home defense etc. even though its not ideal for ccw.

As far as the issue of your family member. You know this person, and apparently you know their whereabouts. That is a much better step towards defending youself than buying a gun. Situational awareness, and avoiding trouble are key.
And on that same note, I'm another one who doesn't like internal gun locks. A home defense weapon should be accessible in stressful situations. If you can get your hand on it, you should be able to shoot it. Guns are not for threatening, and a locked gun is just an empty bluff. You may be forewarned about the family member, but not about drug addict randomly breaking into houses in the middle of the night.

November 26, 2007, 10:41 PM
Thanks everyone this was a big help so far, but as long as people want to keep posting I'd love to hear even more thoughts because I want to keep learning. Also I'll try to at least see all the guns you guys recommended, I'm still leaning toward the beretta but I will look at all of those recommend anyway because they seem like fine firearms too.

Deer Hunter
November 26, 2007, 10:43 PM
CZ75 with a kadet kit.

November 26, 2007, 10:51 PM
I was looking at the Taurus 92 and I began to wonder if Beretta or Taurus is better gun with that design what do you guys think?

November 26, 2007, 11:03 PM
Whatever you buy, get a copy of Massad Ayoob's book "In the Gravest Extreme." Then, you and your dad should read it separately and then together.

November 26, 2007, 11:10 PM
Glock 17 or 19, whichever fits your hands better.

Note: Glocks are incredibly easy to field strip and clean, and are far more forgiving of neglect than most guns.

Consider getting a big dog... :eek:


November 27, 2007, 02:11 AM

I was going to suggest you consider the Taurus PT-92, then I saw your latest post. If it's a first handgun, I'd consider it over the Beretta simply for economics. My current pistol is a Sig P229 I bought used for ~$400 a couple years ago. I have smaller hands, if you or your father do too, maybe consider a CZ-75 or one of its copies. Look at the EAA Witness pistols, inexpensive, but good guns.

The best thing you can do is visit several gun or pawn shops, and hold various pistols to find what feels the best.

Here's a couple links, the first one has some good general info on 9mm pistols, the second typically has good prices on used or un-issued guns:

November 27, 2007, 11:11 AM
I was looking at the Taurus 92 and I began to wonder if Beretta or Taurus is better gun with that design what do you guys think?

Well, some people think that the Taurus is a better gun, solely because it has a frame mounted safety as opposed to a slide mounted safety. Having shot both, I own the Taurus. Other than that, they are pretty much the same gun. Oh, and Beretta and Taurus magazines are NOT compatible, though they are close.

Glocks are pretty easy to take down, but there just isn't any easier auto to take down than the Beretta/Taurus 92. Also, I am going to say what everyone else is thinking: What kind of family member is so bad that they have GPS and an early warning system on them? I don't want to be nosy, but I want to hear more of that story...

November 27, 2007, 05:03 PM
might look at the CZ-75b which is a great weapon

or the new Ruger SR-9, also a promising weapon

the problem with the beretta, is that while its is a tried and tested design, it is very large and bulky...

November 27, 2007, 05:14 PM
I can't say much of this but I can tell you a little. This family member has had a bad history that always enraged him and made him do some wrong things. But the reason why we are taking all these measures is because he has committed 3 crimes involving a gun against us. The last was the worst when he actually shot his way into our house but luckly no one was hurt

November 27, 2007, 05:16 PM
So this is why I really appreciate the help but don't go around spreading this story. I told you guys only because you are all a big help.

.357 magnum
November 27, 2007, 06:27 PM
Welcome to THR! First off, do not let anyone talk you out of a semi-auto as a first handgun. They are easy to learn and provide a lot of mag capacity. I own .45's, 40's and 9mm's. There is nothing wrong with a 9mm for defensive use. With the correct ammo, it is very deadly and you can get shots on target very quickly. With all that said. I have owned a number of semi-auto's and nothing out there beats the MP right now. I own a SW-MP .40 and 9mm. As soon as they change the mag capacity on their .45, I will own that one too. The MP is the most ergonomically balanced gun I have ever shot. Excellent accuracy and the least recoil of all the polymer guns I have ever shot. I put the Hogue slip on grips on mine and I can shoot a flea out of mid air at 100 feet:eek: [OK that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point;)] Hell, the MP is also the easiest to take down and clean too. I still own Two Springfield XD's [Great Guns] Two Taurus 24/7's [The .45 Taurus is really a Nice Gun] A couple of Ruger's and one Glock, that was a gift. I would trade ANY of them for an MP, thats how much I like the MP.:D I hope you find what your looking for.:) The Best Ammo for self defense in a 9mm is the Winchester Ranger T 124gr +P or the Federal HST 124gr +P. You can order this ammo on line at a great price from from MAH supplies.--

The Best to You and Yours!


November 27, 2007, 06:30 PM

November 27, 2007, 07:02 PM
Hey guys I want to throw one more in here. What about the Baby Eagle 9. The Best Nines website said it was excellent.

November 27, 2007, 08:15 PM
my advice is to any new shooter is to find a gun that is easy to disassemble and reassemble, and requires minimum maintainence. also, reliability is key. that said, i'd recommend:

1. a S&W sigma. it was my first gun, and is still my primary.
2. any glock. they're #1 for a reason.
3. a revolver. they are a cinch to take care of, and they as reliable as the person holding.

i'd avoid 1911's, beretta 92s, and other high end guns. good luck.

.357 magnum
November 27, 2007, 08:27 PM
Give credit to the Gentleman [DWARREN123] that recommended the CZ, they are Totally reliable guns and I will probably get myself one someday.[My favorite is the CZ 75 SP-01] The Baby Eagle has a reputation for a less then desirable finish. The SW-MP would be number one on that Best nines list if it had been around longer. It is extremely reliable! I still recommend the MP over the CZ because of its simplicity and the ergonomics are the BEST:) Take Care Buddy!

The Best to You and Yours!


November 27, 2007, 08:48 PM
I am leaning toward the M&P alot. I just wish it had a manuel safety but an internal lock would be ok if the key was always near.

.357 magnum
November 27, 2007, 09:12 PM
Once you get around semi-auto's you will learn the best safety is in your head. Some of my guns have external safeties and I never use them. Keep your gun fastened in a nylon holster, even when it is on your night stand fully loaded with one in the chamber. Then you know once you get it out of the holster it is ready the moment you pull the trigger. You will practice not to put your finger inside the trigger guard, until you are putting your sight on a target [practice or a real bad guy] God gave us the best safety possible-our brain.:) I recommend nylon holsters because they will never cause a gun to rust. It is rare, but a gun can rust in a leather holster, because they retain moisture. Take Care!:)

The Best to You and Yours!


November 27, 2007, 09:31 PM
Thanks Frank, i'll keep that in mind. You made a good point.

November 28, 2007, 01:17 AM

The Baby Eagles are nice, but I don't like the safety/decocker/whatever mounted up on the slide. Frame mounted controls seem easier to manipulate to me. Having said that, I'd look at a true CZ, or an EAA Witness, if you like that style of pistol. If money is an object, you can find used Sig Sauer P225 (P6) pistols on the internet for around $300. They're not high capacity, but they'll fit anyone's hand, and are first rate weapons.

If you have limited experience with shooting handguns, I still say to go hold as many styles as possible, and see what works best for you .

the lone gunman
November 29, 2007, 06:55 AM
This is what I use / carry most of the time. trigger pull is terrible but in a way thats what makes it safe to carry . I have never in hundreds of rounds had a misfire or failure to load or eject. I have better bigger pistols , but this fits in my pocket so well and runs so good its my main defense weapon.

Pic wont come up. oh well its a Kel-Tec P-11 9mm

November 29, 2007, 09:46 PM
I would go with the beretta. I have a glock 17, and the beretta is a better gun hands down. it is very simple to operate and clean. It also has a safty switch unlike te glock. XDs are better than glocks, but i am not a big fan of poly framed guns.

November 29, 2007, 10:32 PM
Soldier... my best wishes to you in your trying situation. You seem to have your head on your shoulders, so I'd like to offer a little bit of advice.

Handguns are relatively simple, but learning to use them is actually very challenging and complex. Being relatively new to handguns, I was really surprised at just how much there is to know and master. That's one reason why you should really just get a shotgun (see tip #5). You are in a disturbingly dangerous situation, and that is why you and your dad should PLEASE take a introductory AND a tactical handgun course with a good instructor. I may have skipped this, but I don't seriously expect to ever have to use a gun for self defense (knock on wood). I don't ever want to shoot anybody, and it sounds like you don't either... good start.

That said, there is a lot of info you can glean from these boards, maybe other THR folks will give you some good links.

First, Jeff Coopers Four Rules of Gun Safety!
1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Let me just say that I am no expert and my advice is well informed but lacking experience... that said here are my tips:

1. Practice... A LOT. Shoot 50 rounds a week if you can. Take slow careful shots and make that 50 rounds as educational as possible. While you're practicing, try different types of ammo. Some ammo doesn't feed well in some guns... especially Hollow Points. That means your gun could JAM in the heat of battle. Don't just buy a box of hollow points to keep at home without trying at least 100 at the range.

2. Be aware of penetration! Even 9mm bullets can go through lots of walls and hurt your family or neighbors. In fact, a Hollow Point 9mm bullet shot out of a handgun can penetrate 8 Pieces of drywall. That's no joke. It's also very possible that the bullet can pass through an attacker and zing into your neighbors house. Another reason to seriously consider pepper spray. Please look at to learn about penetration.

3. Learn the Law about home defense with a firearm in your area. Find out exactly when lethal force is acceptable. Even if you shoot him in the knee cap, its still lethal force. Also, be aware that if you do have to use your gun for self defense, the police are probably going to confiscate it as evidence for a very long time... so you don't necessarily need the most expensive gun around.

4. Learn some basic first aid and get a good kit together. If someone does get hurt, you may only have seconds or minutes to respond. Do you know how to slow down massive bleeding or treat shock? This is a good thing to know about anyways, even if you never hear from your terrible family member again.

5. Consider getting a shotgun with 00 Buck Shot (NOT BIRD SHOT!) Handguns are less than ideal for home defense. They are more useful for concealing or for fighting your way to your long gun.

6. Study the layout of your house and figure out what the most defensible position is and where the safest backdrops to shoot at are (god forbid). If said attacker does invade your house, the best thing to do is probably hole up in the safest room with your gun pointed at the locked door while your cell phone is dialing the police. You DO have a cell phone, right?

7. Like another poster said, get a big dog! Also, you could get an alarm system.

As for other tips, I think they should be specific to your tactical situation. What kind of neighborhood are you living in? Is it urban, suburban, rural? How far are you from your neighbors? What is your house constructed of?
How long does it take for the cops to arrive? What kind of pepper spray do you have? Can you set up this GPS tracker thingy to set off an alarm if he gets close?

Thats it for now....

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