First handgun - free choice


July 27, 2011, 07:33 PM
My dad offered me to take one of his handguns (private party transfer - all legit), and I'm torn between choices. I don't have any guns in my place, so that's a first... Not much experience either, only very limited time at the range.

He's giving me a choice of either .45 (stainless Springfield of some sort), 9mm Browning that looks really cool (black with wood on the handle), or .357 revolver (smith wesson). These are all older guns in perfect condition, he had them for a while now. He told me I gotta choose myself.

Seeing as this is popular gun forum, you guys should have something to say on this subject.

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July 27, 2011, 07:36 PM
45 Springfield. Great knockdown power.
9mm Browning. Cheap ammo, decent protection tool.
357 Revolver. Limited rounds in a gunfight.

I know this is your first, but do you plan to just keep it in a drawer by your bed or get involved in a competition or just plink on the weekends?

Me, I'd go with the 45...

July 27, 2011, 07:39 PM
Let's not say things like "knockdown power" - there is no such thing

July 27, 2011, 07:39 PM
Buy ammo for all of them, go to the range with your Dad and shoot them all. Take the one you shoot best, like best, or screams that you can't live without it. It's easy. :neener:

July 27, 2011, 07:39 PM
If I could do it all again ... in an ideal world ...

My first handgun would be something that really tickles my fancy. Something I pick up at a gun-store, and utterly ignoring any concerns about practicality ... it has to make me smile. And feel like I am about to have a ball.

This could be a SA revolver, a Sig with a laser, light and dagger on it ... a faded and old Kahr ... a derringer, you name it.
Make sure your first gun starts the habit of having fun. You can always branch out into serious shooting later. 8)

July 27, 2011, 07:39 PM
I know this is your first, but do you plan to just keep it in a drawer by your bed or get involved in a competition or just plink on the weekends?

-No competition. Maybe a little shooting. More of a drawer by my bed kinda thing.

July 27, 2011, 07:43 PM
As for me, I'd go with the .357 revolver. As a first gun, it'll be more user friendly than the others, especially with maintenance. You can buy cheap .38 Special loads for practice/plinking, and all sorts of .357 Magnum for serious use. It's a more versatile platform than any 9mm or .45 can offer

July 27, 2011, 07:45 PM
ya know, Manithree has a point...

If you have the opportunity to shoot all three, then pick what you like AFTER you shoot them! (Will dad give you all 3? ;) ).

July 27, 2011, 07:45 PM
And for home defense, a revolver is probably better for you. You don't want to worry about messing with a manual safety and a light trigger at 3:00 in the morning if a bad guy decides he wants to break in and hurt you

However, don't let anyone fool you into thinking revolvers never jam, or that you don't need to practice much with it. Anything mechanical can malfunction, revolvers included. Make sure you practice and inspect/clean it regularly, like you would any gun

July 27, 2011, 07:46 PM
I like all of them. The Browning just looks awesome. I found picture on the internet, it is called Hi-Power. But that revolver, it just feels so right in the hand. It feels serious. And if you don't have any bullets left you could always smash someone's head with it.

July 27, 2011, 07:52 PM
But that revolver, it just feels so right in the hand. It feels serious.

Sounds like you get what I'm saying.

July 27, 2011, 07:54 PM
I would choose the revolver.

July 27, 2011, 07:54 PM
Hi-Powers are great guns, that would be my second choice after the revolver

However, it shares the same thing as the 1911...a manual safety. Not something I want, or would have on my home defense gun. The less things to have to remember, the better...especially when your life could depend on it

July 27, 2011, 07:54 PM
If the revolver appeals to you than that's the one to have. The Smith & Wesson will shoot the .357 AND .38 special. Which is good since you might not want to shoot a whole lot of full power .357 magnum at one sitting. The .38 special is also a bunch cheaper to buy.

You have a great dad.

July 27, 2011, 07:59 PM
Nushif knows what i'm talking about. That little "Click" in your head when you pick up the "right gun" for you is the best indicator of what will make you happy. :D

My first "right gun" purchased just for me, and not the family general collection was a Single action Schofield replica. It practically felt alive in my hand.

You probably can't go wrong with any of the three, the revolver can shoot .38 special cheaply... 9m is cheap even if you aren't reloading. the .45 will cost a bit more to shoot if you don't buy a press. All will work for home defense, or Plinking.

July 27, 2011, 08:01 PM
You have a great dad.

Agreed. I hope to give my children the same treatment when I have them, and they are old enough

Kendal Black
July 27, 2011, 08:03 PM
.357 revolver is very versatile and more of a user friendly machine than an automatic. You don't have to take it apart to clean it or worry about bad magazines and it isn't at all fussy about what ammo you feed it.

I'm partial to revolvers, I admit it, but that is after many years of shooting and owning a variety of automatics as well as revolvers. If you don't need a bucket full of bullets and a lightning fast reload, why not go with the friendlier machine?

July 27, 2011, 08:05 PM
I concur with those that suggest the .357 revolver. You can practice with the lighter .38 Special and have less moving parts to "learn in the dark". I would not recommend picking a home defense weapon based on looks, pick the one that hits what you aimed at, consistently. Consider what you want to do (protect your family), and choose the best style in which to accomplish that. Either way practice with what you choose. Alot.

July 27, 2011, 08:19 PM
I think another feller mentioned this but, try and talk your dad into letting you shoot the three choices before you make any decisions. If for whatever reason he won't let that occur, think of longevity, feel of the weapons, cost of ammunition and frequency of shooting.

Seeing as how you mentioned this is basically a home defense/nightstand gun, I'd go with the revolver or the .45. My Smith .357 mag. has been my nightstand gun for over twenty years and has never failed in it's purpose. And yes, it has been drawn as well, unfortunately. Just the sight of it ended the attempted break-in though and happily without any shots being fired.

July 27, 2011, 08:30 PM
Another vote for the revolver, especially if it's a "pre-lock" model (no built-in locking mechanism.) Strong, versatile, and well-finished solid hunk of steel; will feel good in the hands. Makes a great defensive weapon, recreational shooting is reasonable with .38SPL standard ammo, +P loads for protection, and Magnum loads for "blowin' up stuff" (or even hunting.)

July 27, 2011, 08:39 PM
I'm partial to the HP as it was the first pistol I ever shot but that being said, sounds like you are not going to be super hardcore about training with the weapon for now. Auto's mentioned have safeties and are single action which requires a bit more familiarity. Even more important if they have to be used under extreme stress, as in a self defense situation. I would start with the 357, a simpler, plenty power reliable wepon. If you choose to get a firearm, do yourself and your family a favor and take all necessary steps to insure that the gun adds to the safety of your family as oppose to being an extra hazard.

David E
July 27, 2011, 08:47 PM
-No competition. Maybe a little shooting. More of a drawer by my bed kinda thing.

You've answered your own question with this post: pick the revolver.

July 27, 2011, 09:36 PM
I've always wanted a top shelf Hi Power. I just never wanted to pay for it. This is your perfect opportunity. :)

July 27, 2011, 09:43 PM
the hi power is most likely the most valuable. If you really like it, you should pick that one. It also shoots the cheapest ammo. Sounds to me like you are young and ammo costs are going to be a major issue. The hi power is also most likely the easiest to shoot well for a new shooter. You won't enjoy shooting a gun that is difficult to shoot well.

July 27, 2011, 10:15 PM
Get revolver

Scipio Africanus
July 27, 2011, 10:20 PM
You really do have a good Dad. All three are fine guns. If the revolver tickles your fancy take it. Revolvers far out number autos in my safe and I have never been let down by any of them.

July 27, 2011, 11:25 PM
.357 all the way. Options with ammo, Limited capacity is bunk. 6 rounds of .357 will do anything you would ever need it to. The browning is a great second option, but i would pass on the Springfield. You can get that anytime, a classic .357 is a rarer treat.

July 27, 2011, 11:48 PM
All right. I told him .357, but I also want the Hi-Power.

He said I can have the Hi-Power when I can consistently put 6 rounds in the red inside 25 yard target at 25 yards from that revolver. I don't know how hard that is, but I told him he got himself a deal.

July 28, 2011, 12:08 AM
Hi Power. Shoot it , you'll love it.

July 28, 2011, 12:13 AM
Is he gonna let you take that 25 yard challenge with .38SPL ammo, or full-house Magnum fodder? Either way, that's a great dare he's got in front of you..!

July 28, 2011, 12:38 AM
Good luck

Rail Driver
July 28, 2011, 12:46 AM
I'd go with the 1911 personally. It's been said that the Browning Hi-Power is the 1911, refined... I'd believe it if it came in .45ACP, but anyway ;) (this is all assuming the .45 is a 1911 and the 9mm is a hi-power).

If you're a revolver guy, you can't beat a good ol' Smith and Wesson. They're great guns, and a .357 is plenty stout enough for defensive purposes (and a darn good hog gun as well, with a high velocity load and FMJs or jacketed flat points).

July 28, 2011, 01:02 AM
Sounds like your dad has recognized the wisdom of your choice and has given you an opportunity to earn the Browning too. The man is wise. Follow his lead. Practice with that revolver and prove you deserve the Browning.

July 28, 2011, 01:42 AM
357 MAG -
outstanding choice

July 28, 2011, 02:32 AM
45 Springfield. Great knockdown power.
9mm Browning. Cheap ammo, decent protection tool.
357 Revolver. Limited rounds in a gunfight.

45 if you can afford the ammo

9mm, affordable ammo, more bang mileage for your buck/s..

357 Revolver, least amount of moving parts, things to learn/know



July 28, 2011, 03:46 AM
The .357 S&W is the best all around choice.

David E
July 28, 2011, 03:48 AM
Really impress your dad and master the double action pull on the revolver.

You never did say what the model and barrel length is....

Cop Bob
July 28, 2011, 02:49 PM
Revolver: more dependable, variety of ammo choices.
Hi Power, cheap plentiful ammo, but not the best choice for self defense
45 in 1911, good caliber, proven platform. not the easiest caliber and platform to master,

+1 for the wheel gun, less to learn, few moving parts, wont jam, wont fail.

45 in 1911 format, great gun, but a learning curve. lot of moving parts that have to be lubricated and held/shot correctly to prevent stovepipe type jams.. just a learning curve.

9mm Browning, High collector value, lowest punch of the bunch as far a ballistics.. also requires familiarization and more maintenance...

A hard learned lesson for one of my close friends...(note to Hi-Power Fans: this could have been any dry, dirty,unmaintained semi auto) He took one through the top of the head, 19days before his retirement.. responded to a robbery in progress, crooks came out shooting, he fired his Hi-Power, it jammed, (not properly lubed and cleaned in a while) he bent down behind his patrol car to clear the jam, crook rounds the bumper and put one in the top of his head.. Lesson here, keep em clean and lubed.. Also, problem solving and management, practice clearing jams, tap n rack. If your gonna own em, ya gotta take care of them. Failure to do so can get costly...

Smokey in PHX
July 28, 2011, 02:58 PM
For a new shooter the revolver is the best choice, all are good guns.

July 28, 2011, 03:35 PM
Took revolver to the range, single action trigger pull is unbelievable. This happens to be 686-5 with 4 inch barrel. Six shot. I am trying to put all 6 bullets in the red zone inside the black area of 25 yard target, using .38 special ammo. I have to do this unsupported, from 25 yards. Any tips on how to do that? I can barely put 1 out of 6 there, if that...

July 28, 2011, 04:09 PM
Shoot all three, pick the one you like best and then buy a .22LR that closely replicates the action, size, look, weight and feel to actually learn how to shoot with.

July 28, 2011, 04:41 PM
This happens to be 686-5 with 4 inch barrel.

You chose wisely. That would have been my first choice.

In most cases, the 1911 would have been my second, but I'm no fan of Springfield, so I also think you did good in working that deal for the BHP. They're nice guns (once you get rid of the magazine disconnect so you can actually squeeze the trigger)

Kendal Black
July 28, 2011, 04:55 PM

You might find this book interesting (it's free online). Some of the best target shooters you will find use this as their guide:

Or you can download it as a PDF if you prefer:

A more combat-related view of the matter, as opposed to a competition training view, is linked here:

Know what you mean about that trigger; it is schweeet! But...just as an additional exercise, learn the double action mode as well.

Why? Well, once you learn to hit well with a double action revolver, no trigger you encounter after that will seem half bad. It's like the fellow who began every day by eating a toad for breakfast. Why? He reasoned that if he did that, nothing that happened the rest of the day would seem all that bad. :D

David E
July 28, 2011, 05:51 PM
How do you get all six shots in the red at 25 yds? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice !

July 28, 2011, 06:16 PM

Practice, practice, practice... watch for dips and jerks in your trigger pull.

Buy a set of Snap-caps for your gun...spend that time in front of the boob tube dry firing. (before the debate starts, most centerfire pistols can be dry-fired safely, but why risk it? besides, they're handy for simulating failures)

If you're a cheapskate like many of us, keep a set of used brass, and carve some pencil erasers to fit in the primer pocket.

Good luck!!!!

July 28, 2011, 11:48 PM
You made the right choice going for the revolver. Well done

July 30, 2011, 09:33 AM

As I'm going through the same learning process myself the best advise I got was to do A LOT of dry firing practice around the house. Remember to make sure it is unloaded even if you just did a second before. Aim at a light switch for instance and keep focusing and pulling the trigger until it is almost a surprise the hammer was engaged. Keep doing this until you can consistently pull the trigger through without having your sights move at all. I do this myself about 50-100 times a day, just whenever I think about, and I gotta tell ya', it helped me out immensely with live fire.

Keep practicing and good shooting

Oh yeah, congrats!

July 30, 2011, 09:59 AM
All right. I told him .357...............This happens to be 686-5 with 4 inch barrel.

You did good Gunny. I have a feeling at some point all three will reside at your house. The 686 will last a lifetime and allow you to continue the tradition your father started. Don't let him down.

July 30, 2011, 10:07 AM
I would agree with Byrd 666. I would add though, think about how you will store and carry this weapon. Along with dry fire on snap caps look for the most comfortable and easiest to access holster. A good holster is not cheap. I like a Bianchi cross draw with a thumb snap for S&W. Learn to check cylinder for rounds whenever you pick it up or put it away. What you are trying to do is establish muscle memory of the whole process of getting the gun to fire safely. When you get to that point, concentration on aiming point will get easier. There will come a time when the hole you make in the bullseye will almost come as a surprise, eventually you will put six in there almost without effort. The whole process is a lot less complicated than driving a car, the more you want to do it, the more you practice, the easier it gets.


July 30, 2011, 05:57 PM
I think you want the Hi Power gunny...Good Luck!

July 31, 2011, 12:38 AM
The .357. It's the most flexible of the bunch and the manual of arms is the simplest. If it has a 4" barrel it's a no brainer that it's the best. If it's a 2" or so, then I'd go with the Hi-Power instead. Accuracy - there is no substitute for barrel inches.

The Hi-Power is next. It's what John Browning meant for the 1911 to be (oh, oh, there come the heresy police!). Arguably the finest service auto made of all steel.

1911 last. By far for a first time hand gun. They can be excellent, but are seriously harder to learn to shoot properly than either of the other two. The ammunition is more expensive as well.

July 31, 2011, 09:51 AM
Why is 1911 harder to shoot properly, especially vs revolver? I mean when it comes to actually shooting the weapon? At least you have same trigger pull, and an easy one at that. With revolver you have double pull to master. It is very hard to grip the weapon in a wrong manner, I understand that revolver maybe more forgiving with incorrect grip, but you literally have to go out of your way to screw up holding 1911 properly...

Just wondering :)

July 31, 2011, 10:19 AM
If someone afford me a BHP I would not hesitate. All 3 are great choices but my .357 revolver just sits in the safe. I look at the price of .45 and always go for the box of 9mm. Your lucky to have a Dad with good taste.

July 31, 2011, 04:25 PM
Wow, you have a really cool (and wise) father! That is an awesome thing to do, that he has done for you. Before you made your pic, I would have said the Hi-Power would be best for what I percieved to be your purpose. The Smith is an awesome gun too, and you really can't go wrong with it. Too bad you didnt choose the Browning and your Dad make you the same deal for the Smith. I am thinking that would have been more quickly accomplished! Does your Dad want to adopt, btw? :)

July 31, 2011, 04:44 PM
Wow, a minty vintage S&W 357 AND a Browning HP? That is a princely gift. Sounds like you owe your dad big time now. :D

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