Good first handgun?


February 2, 2010, 07:35 PM
I want a 9mm for my first handgun. I've shot a .22 and want something bigger to take to the range. I own an AK47 and an AR15 so I'm not new to guns, just handguns. What are your opinions? I was looking at a glock. My range is 200-500. I would like to keep it on the lower end around 300 if possible. But if I have to spend more so be it. I just want a nice starter gun to shoot at the range.

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February 2, 2010, 08:08 PM
A nice revolver will teach you the most about the basics of hand gun shooting. Check this out for the best balance of bang/buck (if you'll pardon the expression)

Have fun!

Edit: Doh - missed the 9mm bit. Try here:

A revolver is still a great way to learn the basics, though.


February 2, 2010, 08:19 PM
Glocks fit that price range on the used market. A CZ 75 can be had in tthe upper part of that price range at some big stores. I usually do not degrade guns but stay away from the high point. Some people have em and like em, but you can do better in the 300 to 500 price range.

Spend some time and money, go rent a few guns at the ranges, shoot as many as you can before you buy. Don't overlook the .38 revolver, they are fun, mild recoiling and can be found all day for 300 and up.

Glock- 350 used once in a blue moon, usually around 450 used
Ruger- 350 used in good shape, usually less than 500
Some XD's are getting on the used market
CZ's are always good

February 2, 2010, 08:26 PM
You know, even though the first responder missed the 9mm request, I believe his post is soooo valid.

A revolver IS a great way to learn the basics . . . and a .38 Special round IS the equivalent to a 9mm round in recoil, effectiveness, etc.

Why a revolver for a new centerfire handgunner? EASY! . . .

When I'm teaching novices how to shoot centerfire handguns and they haven't developed the finer points to hand technique yet, soon their accuracy goes quickly to crap after transitioning from .22 handguns I start them on.


They unconsciously either develop a flinch or, more typically, they begin to "milk" the handgun to try to anticipate the moment of recoil. Suddenly they become horrible shots at ten yards.

It is then that I work with them on why things turned south and they TRY to follow instructions . . . and begin to doubt they have a flinch. It is at this time that I start to reload the revolver for them.

Without telling them, I leave a cylinder or two empty. Boy, they are amazed when they hit the empty cylinder and yank the gun down like crazy. It is a real revelation indeed to them . . . and the beginning of their development into a decent shot!!!

As we progress, few cylinders later I may actually leave every cylinder empty (or still containing spent brass) except maybe ONE!

Thus, they eventually learn to trip the trigger without the gun moving. Once they get that proper feeling, we slowly move back to full cylinders and they begin "driving tacks" (relatively)!

A person can also do this by themselves during a practice session . . . leaving a cylinder or two empty and rotating the cylinder randomly before starting a string.

This kind of practice will quickly make a handgunner progress with centerfire handguns.

Plus, although only six rounds . . . if one learns to shoot without a flinch, he/she's a better shot with those six than the average Joe on his high capacity "bottom feeder" who milks every round!

Food for thought, PLUS . . . one day shooters of bottom feeders who progress eventually discover the benefits and awesome triggers and accuracy of double action revolvers.

If you ever see an old fart with a S&W or Colt revolver on his belt, with a Tyler T-grip attached . . . look out . . . he'll probably take your money on the range if you bet against him!

Try in fine, used S&W .38 Special revolver next. It will make you a better shot!

February 2, 2010, 08:29 PM
check out the thread jd608 s&w 659 for 475 delivered to your ffl

February 2, 2010, 09:58 PM
I would go with a used Glock or M&P, or a used GP 100 if considering revolvers.

February 2, 2010, 10:11 PM
Ruger P95 comes to mind. You can get one for sub 300. Smith and Wesson Sigma (DA only) under 300. CZ's are great, but not in that lower price range you requested. Good luck.

February 3, 2010, 08:27 AM
I bought a cz75 .40 s&w at Academy for 415.00. That was 3 yrs ago. They do usually run higher but I got lucky.

February 3, 2010, 08:44 AM
Get a will not be sorry.

February 3, 2010, 11:20 AM
Many quality guns from a number of quality manufacturers will fill the bill for you. You should beg, borrow, or rent a variety of handguns and take them to a range where you can test-drive them, one after another, until you find one that best fits your hand and eye and wallet. Along the way, I'd highly recommend that you take a good look at the Walther P99 or the P99C. You won't find a better handgun, IMO.

February 3, 2010, 02:53 PM
If you check with top gun supply they were getting some Sig Sauer P228's PD trade ins from Zurich coming in and check some of the classifieds on the gunboards such as this one and you might find some of the P6"s that came in from Germany they are both good weapons and usually under $500.00 .

February 3, 2010, 02:59 PM
The John Ross S&W Performance Center 5” .500 Magnum is a great first handgun. Easily concealed, handles easily, minimal recoil, cheap to shoot.

February 3, 2010, 03:12 PM
I have an 9mm S&W Model 39-2 single stack mag that I got for $220 a year or so ago that was very gently used before I got it. It is a most excellent pistol!! Go on and you can find some really good deals.

If you want a new pistol, get an S&W M&P 9. I also have one of those, and it shoots WAAAAAAAAY well!!

Also, please do not ignore what you are being told about a revolver as a first handgun. Get a good S&W or Ruger and you won't be disappointed.

Good luck!!

February 3, 2010, 04:10 PM
you ll find zillions of people who will tell you they are happy with their gun ...

go and handle a Glock, a Sig, a Ruger, a .....

and find one that fits your hand and points naturally.

February 3, 2010, 04:42 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Mp7. If at all possible get thee to somewhere that rents and handles a variety of different manufacturer's products. What suits me or your buddy or anyone else may not necessarily suit you. You will be much happier if you tried it and liked it than you will be relying on someone else's opinion about fit and feel. A gun that fits your hand well and shoots to your liking will be much easier to get proficient with.


Big Bill
February 5, 2010, 01:37 AM
I vote for a glock or CZ 75. The Stoeger Cougar is also a good gun.

February 5, 2010, 01:44 AM
The only glock I have shot was a .45 caliber. It isn't mine, but it was a gun I could picture buying. There are several 9mm out there that fits your needs.

I have heard good things about Bersa thunders. A used glock can be gotten for your price range, but have a competent gunsmith look it over. The person is selling it for a reason, maybe fit, maybe finances, or maybe a lemon... this applies to all used guns. S&W Sigmas fall into that range, I don't like them but some people do... need to hold one yourself to determine that. Keltec 9mm guns are also in that price range and are pretty reliable... again, I don't like them but my dad loves his 2 of them.

February 7, 2010, 10:19 AM
Get a Glock 19 which is the perfect balance of a plinking/home defence/CCW gun by joining GSSF for $30 annually. They will give you a voucher for any Glock model at cost.

February 12, 2010, 10:29 PM
i'd recommend picking a 9mm or .40 and going to the gun store and start handling guns in your price range. see which one fits and points nicely for you. i had a glock and really liked it but the grip didn't feel good in my hand. sold it. bought a stoeger and its perfect. I also really liked the cz's. the springfield xd, and beretta px4 were very comfortable for me but i decided to go with a steel framed gun this time. and the fnp-9 was nice too.

February 12, 2010, 10:34 PM
a revolver would be a good start, i recommend a 460 S&W magnum.

a friend from school recently fired his first gun ever and it was a 460.

btw i'm just kidding about a 460 for a first handgun, a .22 or a .38 would be a good start, or a 9mm.

Al LaVodka
February 12, 2010, 10:42 PM
6" .357 L-Frame Revolver and start with .38's.

February 12, 2010, 10:43 PM
If your not set on just a 9mm look at these from Summit gun broker.

February 12, 2010, 10:53 PM
S@W 500 You will never feel undergunned.

February 13, 2010, 10:32 AM
The best way to come out ahead, spending-wise, is to buy something you really like and will hang onto for a long time. What you don't pay for initially can come back to haunt you if you:
(1) have to send it back to the manufacturer or seller on your own dime, or pay a gunsmith to fix it
(2) are not satisfied with the gun and (a) trade it or sell it at a huge loss, (b) keep it but never shoot it because you don't want to lose money, or (c) spend a bunch more money on upgrades in an effort to like it more.

Identifying what you really want isn't always easy, but I think you can narrow it down quite a bit through reading, handling a lot of guns at the store, and renting your favorites if possible.

For $500 inclusive, you could have a new Springfield XD from That's what I would do, because:
* I already know that I love XDs and own two.
* This is an excellent price for an excellent gun that, IMO, requires no modifications whatsoever. Modifications cost more money (new grips, better sights, trigger work, etc.).
* If necessary, I can send it to Springfield for repair on their dime. Last time I sent a gun back (to Ruger), it cost me $55 to ship.
* There is a high demand for them, and they have a reputation for quality, so I wouldn't take quite as much of a beating if I decided to sell it.

Just keep in mind that the gun industry gets paid no matter what, and the price tag is often only your first payment installment for a particular gun. Consider what you pay and what you get, in totality.

February 13, 2010, 10:48 AM
Get a Glock 19 which is the perfect balance of a plinking/home defence/CCW gun by joining GSSF for $30 annually. They will give you a voucher for any Glock model at cost.

+1 on the G19

February 13, 2010, 12:44 PM
Get thee hence to a "Rent-A-Gun" range and try out everything you can lay your hands onto. Be sure to try everything and get a feel for which you like and then go back and try those ones again to narrow the field down.

Some of us like plastic framed pistols and others like all metal handguns. Striker fired guns have a different feel than hammer fired guns too so that's another issue. Finally there's the overall grip size and reach to the trigger which determines how well it fits your grip. None of OUR preferences for any of these factors will mean diddly in YOUR case. You need to test drive a bunch of guns and decide for yourself.

More so than with long arms handguns work best when you get one that fits and balances in your hands and has a trigger feel that suits you the best. But if you don't use the correct grip then you can't properly get a feel for the guns in a way that you'll be using them. Two of the best free guides on how to hold a pistol in the modern two handed grip are linked here. If you haven't gotten proper guidance on holding handguns or want to check that what you picked up is correct then check these out before you go off to the Rent-A-Gun range for a day of testing.

Todd Jarret in a trailer for a video on pistol gripping and shooting. Lots of good hints.

And a similar series on holding and shooting revolvers from the master;

It's safe to say that none of the guns from any of the major makers is anything less than good quality and well performing piece these days. On that count if you stick with the major players you won't go wrong with any of them. They are all far more accurate than us mere mortals can hold them. On that count you won't go wrong with anything mentioned in this thread so far... except the wags that are suggesting .460's and .500's :D You may find you want one eventually but it's something more to work up to rather than for your first handgun.

Handguns at the range are all about fun. And for down in the USA as practice "just in case". One of the best ways to have great fun and get some better and more meaningful practice is to shoot in the various speed shooting matches such as IPSC and IDPA with IDPA having a fair amount more validity for defensive shooting than IPSC. But both have much to offer and it would be nice to pick a gun and extra mags that is elligable in both events. Check out YouTube for many, many videos of both these handgun events for inspiration if you haven't already seen them. Just poking holes in paper soon pales in comparison. Also there may be club level speed steel or bowling pin competitions as well. Look into them for fun ways to use your guns while getting quicker with accuracy.

And WHEN you are at the Rent-A-Gun range do try out a couple of revolvers as well. You may well find that they strike a chord with you like they have for a lot of us. I love my semis and I've started shooting in IPSC but I actually have more revolvers than semis because from the first time I shot a S&W model 19 in .38Spl I was hooked.

One final note. Although a .22 doesn't seem all that exciting if you have a companion .22 semi they are superb as a practice gun to work on accuracy, proper hold and, most of all, curing yourself of any flinching habits you acquire. A 9mm or larger handgun is an excellent flinch teacher and it can take some of us a lot of ammo and concentration to break that flinch and become a really good shooter. Shooting a magazine or two of .22 then switching on the fly to a magazine of 9mm is a great way to unlearn that nasty flinch and develop better trigger habits.

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