First time buyer


June 26, 2010, 11:23 PM
I grew up on a farm shooting, spent 15 years in the military shooting all kinds of weapons.

BUT I have never purchased a gun for personal use. I want to get a fairly priced dependable semi automatic hand gun. I will be living at a range basically and then taking a safety class so I can get my Concealed Carry Permit.

Appreciate any suggestions. Was looking at some Glocs and some S&W but it's hard to decide so looking for input on different types and good or bad experiences.

Thanks in advance!

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June 26, 2010, 11:40 PM
I was in the same boat as you about 2 years ago. I had narrowed it down to either a Glock, Springfield XD or S&W M&P. I had narrowed the caliber down to either 9mm or 40s&w, and didn't really care which of the calibers I ended up with as long as I got a reliable self defense pistol.

So I went to the gun shop and held each of the guns mentioned above. Well, that ruled out the XD because it did not fit my hand at all.

So now I had it narrowed down to either a Glock or M&P. The Glock fit my hand decently, but the M&P, with the smaller back strip, fit my hand like a glove. So I shopped around until I found a good deal on either an M&P 9 or an M&P 40. In the end I ended up with the M&P 40 because the gunshop I got it at was out of the M&P 9's and gave me a better deal on the 40, than the shop that had the 9mm version.

I have been totally pleased and impressed with my M&P 40 and can't wait to add another M&P to my collection. FWIW, I also want to add a couple of Glocks to my collection.

If you stick to a major manufacturer like Ruger, S&W, CZ, Beretta, Springfield, Sig, H&K etc... then you should end up with a reliable weapon that will serve you a lifetime.

Edit: Thank you for your service!

June 26, 2010, 11:42 PM
First off, from somebody that spent 8 years in the military, thank you for your service. As far as suggestions go, you can't go wrong with a Glock, M&P, or XD. Some others would suggest the Sigs, but they are on the large side. Also, after a few years in uniform, I have no love for the Beretta 92s. They work great, but again, they are overly large. With the Glock, you can look around and find police trade-ins at good prices. Plus there are many accessories for them.

June 27, 2010, 12:17 AM
LOL forgot to mention. This is something I would never carry as a full time weapon the thing weighs like 100 pounds (actually about 44 oz). It's a Coonan arms .357 automatic.

My dad has had one for quite a while and I shot it the other day. Forgot about the recoil of that thing OMG it's nuts.

If you ever get a chance to shoot one they are pretty good as long as its for a short duration.

Just an oddball thing that put a smile on my face :) absolutely no relevance to this post.

Going online now to do some more research so I know what I'm talking about when I actually go look at hand guns.

Thanks a ton for the suggestions and posts so far :)

June 27, 2010, 12:23 AM
You could always starts with something a little cheaper. Maybe a Hi-point, or a Taurus. It all depends on what you like though.

Shadow 7D
June 27, 2010, 12:37 AM
Go shoot, I would suggest a berreta 92 or the taurus version of it because they are basically the same as a M-9, otherwise, go find something that feels good, and shoot it. As for CCW, start with something like a KT or similar.

June 27, 2010, 12:39 AM
Try out an FNP40.

June 27, 2010, 12:41 AM
While Colt is always the right answer, the steel S&W autos are not exactly a wrong one, but if you swear it will never leak out of this thread, and you can deal with the 'red headed step child' look, them Glock thingamajigs do, kinda, have a pretty decent track record. I'll deny saying anything good about a Glock if ever asked, but it sure isn't the worst sidearm you could strap to your hip.

Colt is still the right answer.

June 27, 2010, 07:51 AM
While Colt is always the right answer, the steel S&W autos are not exactly a wrong one, but if you swear it will never leak out of this thread, and you can deal with the 'red headed step child' look, them Glock thingamajigs do, kinda, have a pretty decent track record. I'll deny saying anything good about a Glock if ever asked, but it sure isn't the worst sidearm you could strap to your hip.

Colt is still the right answer.

Can't argue with that. If you are going to buy a gun, why fool around? Go for the best. Get a Colt ... or else you'll never be satisfied.

Plastic guns? Bah.

June 27, 2010, 11:15 PM
Lots of great options out there so I'll stick to my experience. Bought a couple plastic pistols of the S&W variety in 40cal and 9mm to tide me over while saving for a 1911. (also plan to tap S&W on that one)

Thus far I'm nearing 1000 round of 40cal without a failure of any sort. I had to file a burr from the slide stop slot to allow the release to be usable though I don't use it myself unless fieldstripping.

The 9mm compact has failed to feed twice for the wife (new to shooting) who limp-wristed it continually. I put 30 rounds through it without incident and will likely use it for carry after finding the wife a 686.

You cannot go wrong with a good 1911, remember to put enough rounds downrange to determine reliability for any gun. As you know, your life may depend on it.

June 27, 2010, 11:34 PM
I'd suggest going to a gun show or a rental range or gunstore and fondling anything in sight ... guns that is.

That way you'll know what feels good for you to hold. and that is a very large determining factor in what you should own.

Col. Plink
June 27, 2010, 11:50 PM
I'd say go with a .40 or .45, I can recommend Springfield XD's on price, RELIABILITY, and ergonomics. You can spend more, but why? You'll likely not find more accuracy and performance trade-off, certainly not capacity...

June 28, 2010, 12:04 AM
Glock 19. Concealable. Reliable. 9mm is just fine for defense, negligeable difference in actual shooting effectiveness when using quality ammo compared to .40 or .45.

Nico Testosteros
June 28, 2010, 12:50 AM
There are many weapons that will suit your purpose. There are many, many opinions as to which are the best. But, there is a reason there are so many to choose from, because so many work well. It comes down to personal preference in the end.

Caliber wise, I'd go 9mm. I'm told it works OK on bad guys and is cheap to practice with and isn't unpleasant to shoot.
After that, find a gun you're comfortable with.

The Smith and Wesson M&P series is good, as is the Springfield XD series.
Sigs are good. Used 3rd generation Smith and Wessons are legendary for their reliability. Glocks have very fierce advocates and just as many detractors.
CZs are supposedly top notch. I don't own one yet, nor have I shot one. I want to :)

I haven't helped much, I guess, but really, you don't have to get caught up in the brand/caliber wars that go on.

June 28, 2010, 02:34 AM
Hold every single pistol you can get your hands on. Chances are if it points naturally for you ya won't have an issue. Personally I have a thing for glock. I have yet to have a single issue with them. But its all about what fits YOU. Opinions are valuable but cannot stack up to first hand expeiriance.

June 28, 2010, 04:12 AM
I know (pacerdude) didn't like the feel and comfort of the XD, I for one loved the way the XD subcompact fits my hand. Thats why all the gun makers don't just copy one grip and thats your only choice.
But i too was down to the Glock,XD, S&W but not the M&P as i liked the P99.
That too shows you don't have to buy a gun thats new or even still in production.

I carry a 5" 1911 most of the year and the XD SC .40 in the summer. So sometimes even 1 gun is not even the right choice for everyone.
Just keep an open mind and only believe half of what you read on the internet.

June 28, 2010, 09:06 PM
I can highly recommend the Glock 23 for everyday carry. The finish holds up really well. It is very accurate right out of the box. Night sights are readily available and the . 40S&W is a great cartidge. The trigger will take a little getting used to if you are used the Beretta but I think you will like it in the long run.

June 28, 2010, 09:36 PM
Glock 19 or 23. big enough for range and HD, small enough for cocealed carry. and fairly cost effective.

June 28, 2010, 09:42 PM
Ask your local freinds if they own the types of pistol you would be interested in trying out, if they do offer to pay for the ammo and range time to try them out for yourself.

If you are in the Ft. Smith, AR area I would gladly let you try out my pistols to see if you like any, provided you pay for the ammo of course.

June 28, 2010, 11:16 PM
I CCW between my Taurus PT1911(5in) and Kimber Tactical Pro II(4in). Bedside is a FN FNP 45 w/ laser. I shoot all regularly and feel very comfortable w/ the 1991's in a IWB holster. Go to a range that rents and see what you like. Just because one person likes their pistol like a religion doesn't mean you will.

June 29, 2010, 12:31 AM
Went out today and fondled a lot of things (yes only the guns :) ) And am now leaning towards a Glock 23 or an XD .40.

You all are great, tons of ideas and lots of feedback love it :D

June 29, 2010, 01:37 AM

I've never been a brand beater in the past. I own a Beretta, Ruger, several Remingtons, a Rock River, Knight, etc., etc. Barring sentimental value of a few they don't inspire the loyalty my M&Ps do.

Just passed 1100 rounds today and put my 40cal in the hands of a new shooter. He was ready to trade in his PX 4 on the spot. Went from where did I hit to on target at 25 yds. and smiling.

Just so you don't kick yourself later at least have a look at Bowie Tactical and burwell gunsmithing to see what's possible. My gunsmith, a looong time friend was amazed the first time he pulled the trigger on my M&P. It was moments after he handed me his new Glock. Apex parts installed by me beat his work on that Glock in half the time. He didn't want to give it back.

Point is, every guy I've handed that pistol to has noted how they wished for a do over on what they bought and that's before trying any of the other grip inserts.

S&W has a lifetime service policy and has a $50 rebate or 2 free mags deal on right now, mine took 6 weeks I think.

I know I'm beaten this horse hard but I'd take the Pepsi Challenge vs any and all for reliability, accuracy and trigger (mine scaled at 4 lbs).

One final note on barrels, the M&P is broach cut rifling (most expensive, time consuming process), Glock uses polygonal (hammered around a mandrel, least expensive, not recommended for shooting lead) and most others use button cut (one pass with a cutter that forms the rifling while hardening via compression, not bad unless it slips leaving chatter marks).

June 29, 2010, 02:48 AM
Ya I was looking to get my hands on an M&P 9mm and a .40 today but the place I went didn't have in stock. Going out again tomorrow to browse. Also wanted to look at a P99.

I'm kicking myself because just when I thought to look up when the next gun show was coming to town, It was at the fair grounds this weekend that just passed /grumble. Will have to wait until Sept. until next one comes through unless I just take a weekend drive to go find one.

June 29, 2010, 03:13 AM
You don't happen to be in OR, do you?
If you are we can go shooting and you can try on mine to see if you like one of them.

June 29, 2010, 04:21 AM
In Iowa unfortunately.

One other question. been looking at a lot of these and they have options of night sights. Are they worth the few extra bucks?

June 29, 2010, 12:57 PM
The Walther is a nice pistol and I really like the decocker. It's on my short list of future acquisitions.

I prefer the Beretta PX4 F to the S&W, but you owe it to yourself to take a good look at the FNP9 or FNP40; they are very nice pistols with great triggers and they come with three magazines. I went with the 9mm which is a competent round, widely available and less expensive than either .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

One pistol no one has mentioned is the Stoeger Cougar. It is the Beretta Cougar, a very well regarded 9mm pistol, that Beretta makes in its plant in Turkey. This results in a very low cost for a handgun of this quality. It has received excellent reviews.

June 29, 2010, 01:02 PM
Plastic pistols? ... bah.

June 29, 2010, 01:03 PM
I have an LCR that has the option for additional sights, but because they're expensive I just painted the front sight a bright yellow.
I don't think that'd work on the Glock sights, though.

June 29, 2010, 01:54 PM

Beretta has a promotion going on their full size Px4's in 9mm or 40cal. Now the MRSP for either gun is 500 bucks.. NIB

Either gun, caliber, are very soft/forgiving shooters and are lighter weight with the polymer frames with 4.1" barrels, IIRC.

I've owned a Px4 40 now for just over 3yrs and it has just over 10k flawless rounds thus far and is "very accurate" up close or at distance, to say the least..

Gun has never hiccuped once during any type one-handed shot as well, be it weak hand, poor grip, limp-wristing, upside down, it just keeps going bang every pull of the very smooth (out of the box) DA pulls and clean/break SA pulls and just keeps getting better and better with every shot/pull..

Eats just about anything one feeds them.. as well.

Low maintenance required, with the exception (but this is good) of the rotating barrel, as it needs a tad of grease there vs good gun oil on the rails and guides and is one of, if not, the easiest guns to disassemble, inspect, clean, and reassemble, out there, bar none

Great platform/balanced/accurate/ soft-recoil shooter in either caliber..

FYI, they also offer a limited few out there in a Px4 45, which, from much I have read, the owners luv them and repeat what I have said above about my 40cal, and those with 9mm.. Very soft/forgiving recoil shooters making for quick, accurate, follow-up shots..

They come with a rail as well..

It is almost the exact same size as my 3 Sig P229's just a tad taller/longer, but not much.. and that is good in my book.

And, may I add my "thank you for your service" as well.. :)



June 29, 2010, 02:42 PM
You should find a Glock law enforcement dealer and find out if you still qualify for the LE/MIL discount. Brand new Glocks for $398. It applies to all models except the .45 and 10mm ones. Those still cost a bit extra because of the large frames and slides.

June 29, 2010, 03:22 PM
Decide on the round you want to use, than check out the models available.

Hold and fire them, and pick the one you shoot the best that has the features / fit you like the most.

First time, or any time, autos:


Poly - Glock 17 or 19, Springer XD, Smith M&P
- All are reasonably priced and have excellent reliability.
- All are extremely simple to operate. Load, point, press.

Steel - CZ-75
- Reasonably priced and reliable.
- This thing has great ergonomics and just plain feels great in your hand.
- Provides double action option for point, press simplicity.
- Well positioned external safety for ease of operation.

.40 cal
- Same as above.

.45 cal

Poly - Same as above.

Steel - 1911 from Springer, STI, Colt, Dan Wesson
- More expensive.
- More complicated to operate.
- Great ergonomics.
- Can be tuned for your individual preferences like no other platform.

Doctor Sprinkles
June 29, 2010, 04:19 PM
The first gun I purchased was a S&W M&P 9mm, and I have been very happy with it. It's easy to take apart and clean, shoots fairly accurately, and with the interchangeable back straps that come with the firearm it's easy to find a set up that fits your hand. Of course I'm biased, but I'd reccommend this one out of your potential choices.

September 26, 2010, 06:15 PM
Hate to rehash my old post here but I finally bought my first pistol today :)

Took ALL of the ideas and suggestions here and went on the prowl.

Got a Smith & Wesson M&P.40. Think I got a pretty good deal on it paid $495 Brand new and it came with 3, 15 round magazines and night sights (along with all the other stuff that came in the case - 2 grips, lock, etc...). I can't wait to get it out to a range and let it loose a little :)

My thanks to everyone for all the help. THR rocks!! :D

September 26, 2010, 07:51 PM
Appreciate any suggestions.

I have an M&P9c and really like it. I'm sure you'll like yours.

All of our suggestions are worth exactly as much as you've paid for 'em. ;)

But from a guy who owns more than a dozen handguns of different makes, calibers, and designs, I can say that there are two particular handguns that really make me smile when I shoot them.

1. Colt 1911

2. S&W 4" k-frame revolver

I know - both are very old school. And I kinda like some hi-tech stuff, too. But these two always feel "just right" to me, anyway. They could (and do) serve as home defense weapons.

As always, YMMV.

But beware... handguns can become habit forming.

September 26, 2010, 09:01 PM
The M&P 40 is a very nice choice. Congrats on the new gun! If its brand new, it should qualify for the $50/2 Mag rebate S&W is offering -

September 27, 2010, 02:38 AM
If its brand new, it should qualify for the $50/2 Mag rebate S&W is offering

Oh ya totally forgot about that Thanks Tiro6. Just filled it out and going to get the 2 magazines. 5 of them in total should be enough for a while :)

September 27, 2010, 07:35 AM
We have many of the pieces named above. My main carry is a Kimber UCDP 3" in .45acp.

The most used piece is the G26, for many reasons. It is our go-to piece.

Large selection of holsters & accessories, ammo available anywhere, fits in pocket/purse, takes extended magazines, very accurate, reliable, liked by wife, etc.

The G19, only slightly larger, stays in the safe more.

If you are to have only one weapon, the G26 is hard to beat.

(For pocket/purse carry, always use a pocket holster or some sort of holster.)

Good luck,


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