Asking for advice in Helping A Family Member Chose an Autoloader


January 1, 2012, 11:52 PM
My daughter, son in law and my son enjoy shooting and have been for several years. My son in law tends to gravitate towards any pistols I bring for shooting at the range. So far he has handled and fired the following:
Colt Woodsman .22 LR
Ruger SR9 9mm
Browning High Power 9mm
Kimber 1911 45 ACP and .22 conversion.

Now he is very interested in purchasing his own pistol. The indoor range we visit has a small number of rental guns to try, which we'll look at. Does anyone have some good opinions on recommendations for models we should consider?
After we discussed the economics of the cost of factory ammunition, he is interested in a pistol of 9mm chambering. Cost of said pistol will be considered also, $600 will be the upper end of what can be spent.
Appreciate any feed back, thanks.

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January 1, 2012, 11:59 PM
There are really a LOT of great options in this scenario. The best way to start narrowing it down is based on action type. Does he want something like a classic single action (Hi Power), a SA/DA action (tons of options, with Beretta 92fs, Sig SP2022, used Sig P226, Beretta PX4 Storm, CZ SP-01 Phantom, FN FNP or FNX etc. all being solid pics), or a constant trigger pull (SR9, Springfield XD, Glock, Walther PPQ)? Narrow that down then we can start talking; otherwise it's just going to be a bunch of folks calling out what they like... and it's all irrelevant to your needs.

Any of the major brands (Sig, Beretta, Walther, Ruger, Glock, Springfield, Browning/FN) are all going to be good quality products that will be more accurate than the shooter.

Now, for my own personal plug, if it's SA/DA consider the PX4 Storm or Sig SP2022 (both under $500 and both great firearms), if it's SA only the Hi Power is the way to go, and if it's constant pull of course the Glock is a popular choice by I favor the Springfield XD and also just bought a Walther PPQ. :D

January 2, 2012, 12:50 AM
Martkowski,I'm a revolver guy, and don't have a lot of interest in pistols over revolvers (other than the Colt Woodsman I own). I have heard some opinions supporting the XD in 9mm but haven't handled one, and have thought about it. Myself, not a Glock fan, having sold a 9mm and 40 S&W I had briefly, but I won't be making the final choice. Thanks for your thoughts.

January 2, 2012, 02:40 AM
For a nice, easy to shoot all around I'd say a Beretta 92 variant would make the price point and is simple enough for a novice to take care of/field strip. The grip is somewhat large which may factor in if your daughter intends to shoot it as well though plenty of service members have proven capable of adapting. Lots of accessories and parts available, lots to like.

January 2, 2012, 03:12 AM
I would probably go with a Sig 228 or 229. They are very accurate, reliable guns and there are quite a few police trade in/surplus pistols floating around out there that are well maintained (or more likely shot very little) and are within their price range. I also think they have one of the best DA triggers in a combat pistol. If he's interested in something with a more consistent trigger pull (no DA/SA change), I would go with either a Glock or a Walther PPQ. The Walther is rather new though, so it will be harder to find a used one and it will be at the upper end of their price range.

January 2, 2012, 09:23 AM
The Walther PPQ can be found for under $500. My PPQ from Cheaper than Dirt was $471 + $11 shipping. My FFL charges $20 transfer fee, so it will be in my hands for $502; very reasonable and less than a Glock is typically found in terms of out the door pricing.

Stonecoldy, FWIW, my XD40 is one of the most accurate handguns I own. I'm constantly surprised by how well I shoot with it, and it's a very comfortable pistol as well. I'm anxious to try my new PPQ as it's getting rave reviews from others who own it. You mentioned you're more of a revolver guy. My recommendation for beginners or new shooters is typically a 4" .357 from S&W or Ruger for one "all around" handgun, with my personal nod going to the S&W 686 since that's what I own. But I didn't mention that since you talked about pistols.

January 2, 2012, 09:36 AM
Does he only want to buy new, or would he consider used?

You didn't state what the purpose of this gun will be. Is it just going to be a range toy? Home defense? Carry? How much experience does he have?

There are some questions that need to be answered before really useful advice can be given.

January 2, 2012, 10:23 AM
I would vote for a Glock when going for an all around gun. If he is ever thinking about carrying it, go for the model 19. If it will just be a range/home defense gun I would go for the 17. The others listed so far are all good choices too.

red rick
January 2, 2012, 12:07 PM
If it's for the range or HD, CZ 75B.

January 2, 2012, 03:42 PM
It will be for range use and home defense, I apologize for not clarifying that earlier.

January 2, 2012, 03:47 PM
I would get him what he does not want: a .357 revolver. Shoots all .38 ammunition you can buy and is a great HD/range piece.

January 2, 2012, 04:31 PM
I like the concept of interchangeable backstraps when there are several shooters who might use the gun. It is also a bonus for new shooters who don't yet know how to properly fit a gun to their hand...most folks find grips that are too large the most comfortable.

In a DA/SA gun in your price range, my recommendation would be the SigPro is usually a very good value with outstanding accuracy, high reliability and a very smooth DA first shot.

If he is more inclined toward a striker fired platform, I'd lean toward a S&W M&P9 or a Springfield Armory XDm.

January 2, 2012, 04:39 PM
The best choice is what makes him feel all warm and fuzzy with it in his own hand.
There are so many excellent designs on the market right now that it really comes down to this.
No one else can tell him what will be best for him.

I CAN offer some manufacturer suggestions.
Smith and Wesson
Heckler and Koch

January 2, 2012, 04:45 PM
What are his preferences as to action, as well as to steel/polymer? (or does he have any). Does he have a minimum capacity in mind?

I would get him what he does not want: a .357 revolver. Shoots all .38 ammunition you can buy and is a great HD/range piece.

While I'm not bashing a revolver, getting someone a gun they don't want is one of the worst ideas I have heard. A 9mm is also a good range/HD piece, and 9mm is cheaper than .38 (OP said he was using factory ammo). I don't see what in the OP suggests that a revolver would be a good choice here.

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2012, 04:53 PM
Kimber 1911 45 ACP and .22 conversion.

In this combo you have the greatest fighting pistol ever developed, along with the ability to shoot literally tens of thousands of rounds of cheap .22s in practice. And he already has experience with it. What could be better for a beginner?

January 2, 2012, 04:57 PM
Out of the ones he has handled that you own, is there a particular piece he liked more than the rest?

I almost got a SP2022 but went with the Stoeger Cougar instead. The Sig had an easier racking slide, fit wasn't as good for me as the Cougar though and the store I was at only sells it with one 10 round magazine, but sells the Stoeger with 4 mags.

I had an XD45 and had no issues with it but sold it to fund a 1911 so I'd also vote on an XD if he wants striker fire, but since he has had the opportunity to shoot your SR9, maybe he'd be interested in one of those if he liked it.

If you could provide more info as to what he has liked of yours and the rentals he has tried, as well as what action type he is looking for we can narrow down the options, as there are a ton.

January 2, 2012, 05:22 PM
I believe the OP indicated this is his son in law, so I'm guessing he won't be buying it himself. And, while the Kimber is a nice idea with the .22 conversion, you won't find that for under $600. $600 is the TOP END of the price spectrum here according to the OP.

I agree that having someone get what they don't want is not good advice. Why? They won't enjoy it as much as they could, and won't feel "giddy" about their new toy. And that means it won't get used, which means it does no good and ends up at a pawn shop in 5 years or sitting in the closet in a case for 30 years.

I stand by the earlier post that preferred action type is the first criteria, and then stick with any of the major manufacturers after that. People on internet boards will get all caught up in range vs. HD use, etc., but as long as it's a reliable pistol that goes bang when you squeeze the trigger you're fine.

January 2, 2012, 05:49 PM
I would encourage a first time handgun owner to go polymer. Striker fired consistent shot after shot. Simple to use and has hi cap mags. Easy to field strip and clean. I would recommend the Gen 4 G17. It will shoot anything and has replaceable backstraps. The S&W M&P felt really nice in my hand. I haven't shot one yet.
The simplicity of those guns make them a great choice.

January 2, 2012, 08:26 PM
In this combo you have the greatest fighting pistol ever developed, along with the ability to shoot literally tens of thousands of rounds of cheap .22s in practice. And he already has experience with it. What could be better for a beginner?
For under $600?

January 2, 2012, 09:19 PM
There was some other information I should have supplied to answer many of your additional questions.
My son in law unfortunately does not care for revolvers (except for my S&W 625, sorry, that stays as mine), I had a police trade in S&W 66 in .357 Mag, stainless 4" that I thought might be a nice gift, but he wasn't so keen on.
Of the above pistols listed he likes the Browning HP 1st and the Kimber 1911 as 2nd. Seemed ambivalent with the Ruger SR9.
It's obvious (in my opinion) we need to try several other pistols as rental range guns.
He does seem to favor the single action pistols.
He is somewhat recoil sensitive, but part of that could be as a newer shooter. I started him with a .22 pistol and then a 38 revolver, he went right to the other calibers but wasn't a fan of the heavier 158 gr 357 Mag loads.
He is small in stature, has small hands, so handling/ergonomics will be really noticeable (we changed around the backstrap of the SR9 from the arched to the flat, he liked it better that way).
He does not seem to care if said pistol is all steel or steel/polymer. He is very concerned in how accurately he shoots any given handgun.
I intend for all four of us to attend shooting classes this year, which I'll pay for, by a certified instructor, which I'm not.

January 2, 2012, 09:54 PM
I have somewhat smaller hands as well (but not "carnie" small). The Hi Power works well for me but the trigger is only so so in my opinion (I own a Practical).

Knowing this additional information, have him try the Beretta PX4 Storm. Nice grip with interchangeable backstraps and well suited for smaller hands. Has a decent SA trigger as well since he seems to like SA trigger pulls. You can get them from CDNN for $435 or so too. I have one and am just getting into it.

January 2, 2012, 10:41 PM
I have small hands and I'm a small guy, but I like the double-stack polymers. Depending on where you live, the XDM might be in the price range, but I like the Glock and the M&P. I think small hands are actually better, since some of those compacts (like my XDM compact, for example) would be 2 1/2 finger guns for others, but it's a 3-finger gun for me.

Another poster above is right - the polymer striker-fired gun is very easy to strip, clean, and shoot.

January 3, 2012, 12:25 AM
I'd suggest letting him take a look at a CZ75 variant since he liked the Hi-Power. It will soak up the recoil fine enough, should fit his hand well enough, and the longer sight radius will help him starting out.

January 3, 2012, 02:56 PM
If he likes the H.P., I would look at the FEG, PJK -9HP. It is a H.P. clone. I have owned 4 &they are fine copies of the real thing. They do need some braking in. I still have 2 that I put up for grandsons! Mags. are cheap &easy to find.The money you save can be spent on ammo! Just a thought. Have fun, stay safe! Good luck!

January 3, 2012, 06:02 PM
If he has no preference for the steel/polymer combo, seriously try a Walther (P99 or PPQ). The backstrap's interchangeable for different sized hands, and Walther's big on ergonomics; my P99AS feels like it was custom made just for me.

Good guns for range and home defense.

January 3, 2012, 10:10 PM
Bersa 9mm compact around $400 for the alloy frame 13 shot . Their is a new poly 9mm but I haven't saw on or know street price yet.

January 3, 2012, 10:11 PM
Personally I do not find the CZ-75b to be similar in fit/feel to the Hi Power, and I do own both. The CZ's trigger reach is much longer even in SA mode compared to the Hi Power, and the Hi Power's grip is much more slender; the CZ to me is even more of a handful than the Beretta 92fs. Just one man's opinion.

January 3, 2012, 10:16 PM
I'll put in a word for the S&W M&P 9.

The only flaw DH has found with it is that its a bit big to carry in light clothing during hot NC summers. It gets handed around at the range a good bit and with the right choice of backstraps nearly everyone can shoot it.

January 3, 2012, 11:47 PM
If you're feeling generous, you might consider selling that Mod. 66 and "Pony" up $200 for a nice SS Colt 1911. Sure he'd be shooting more expensive ammo but he'd be shooting something he likes. Heck, you'd have a few bucks left over yourself.

If that idea doesn't float there's always the RIA for around $400. I've not fired one but I have shot a Citadel (its twin cousin) and it was a solid performer.

I stand by my original suggestion of a Beretta 92 or variant for an easy to shoot, reliable, inexpensive to feed and accurate pistol; at least worth a test drive.

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