Suggestions for handguns?


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mongoose1175
March 4, 2012, 07:10 PM
Hey all,

I am new to owning guns. I am looking for a small or medium sized semi-automatic handgun with a mild to moderate recoil. Gun would be used for target shooting and self defense in the event of home invasion. Any suggestions?

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Thompsoncustom
March 4, 2012, 07:16 PM
Well I'm not going to recommend any one gun but as a rule all steel handguns will have less recoil but they are heavier so you have to trade weight for recoil. The best thing would be to go to a gun show and fell them all and see what fells good to you.

JimStC
March 4, 2012, 07:28 PM
+1^^^
Go to gun shows, local gun shops, big box stores and do your research. The gun that fits you is different than what fits me or anyone else.
If this is your first gun, it may be wise to start with a revolver until you have acquired enough training/experience to deal with semi-auto malfunctions.
Just some thoughts and good luck.

JTQ
March 4, 2012, 07:35 PM
In this general category, I think it is hard to beat the group of 9MM polymer guns such as Glock (17/19), S&W M&P, Sigma & SD, Springfield XD, Ruger SR9 & P95.

All are fairly inexpensive, light weight, reliable, and easy to shoot.

420Stainless
March 4, 2012, 07:35 PM
Not knowing what you like its hard to recommend specifics. Mild to medium recoil in a midsize gun would lead me to either 9mm or .380 in pistol or .38 Special in a revolver.

Almost all manufacturers sell a midsize 9mm. I'm not a 9mm type, but people I respect have great things to say about the Beretta PX4 and Springfield XD lines. Don't know anything about the Ruger SR9 or the S&W M&P 9mm, but they both seem like attractive candidates. I have a SIG 229 in .40 S&W and like it very much, I'm sure the SIG 9mm offerings are very good as well.

.38 Special revolvers abound in both old and new. I tend to buy used and my two favorites are a Colt Detective Special and a Police Positive Special. But there is a big love affair with Smith & Wesson J and K frames around here. Used S&W Model 15s and 67s are fairly common and reasonably priced. Seems like one would be ideal if you like revolvers.

dirtengineer
March 4, 2012, 07:38 PM
Pick a service caliber in a weapon that fits your hand well and has a good reputation. There are probably more than 50 good makes/models.

A .357 magnum with a 4" barrel is about the most versatile handgun there is. Good for a house gun, a trail gun, and marginal for a concealed carry weapon. Can shoot .38 special for reduced recoil. Forgiving in the maintenance and malfunction department.

I would visit your local gun shops, a gun show, and preferably a range where they rent. Do take rental performance with a grain of salt, they are usually pretty abused.

beatledog7
March 4, 2012, 07:50 PM
It's been said, but it's worth repeating: go to a range where you can rent and shoot several different pistols and revolvers in a variety of calibers, and do it with a qualified instructor, one who personally owns and shoots a variety of handguns. These two things will get you on the right track.

murdoc rose
March 4, 2012, 07:53 PM
c96

BIGGBAY90
March 4, 2012, 08:11 PM
it's been said, but it's worth repeating: Go to a range where you can rent and shoot several different pistols and revolvers in a variety of calibers, and do it with a qualified instructor, one who personally owns and shoots a variety of handguns. These two things will get you on the right track.
this is a good choice, go do it, be safe and have fun

almherdfan
March 4, 2012, 08:21 PM
How much do you wanna spend? How much you gonna practice. There are probably 100handguns that would work, from the $125-$150 Hi-Points (.380, 9mm, .40 & .45) to custom .45 1911's that will run several grand.

I like Rugers: P95, SR9, or SR9c, SR1911, GP100. I also like the Sig p226. So many options...

jad0110
March 4, 2012, 09:45 PM
I agree, go to a range and rent some varying models, such as a polymer framed auto, a steel framed one and a revolver as well. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of polymer autos. I just don't care for the way they feel in my hand either when firing or when simply holding them. To each his own, but I prefer steel autos to polymers, my favorites being the CZ-75, Vz.82 and CZ-83, Browning HiPower and 1911s. As for caliber, in autos I prefer 9mm, though I do own a 1911 in 45 ACP. 9mm is the about the most affordable centerfire cartridge out there, it is plentiful and it works very well for HD with good quality ammo. It is also a very plesant round to shoot, particularly in a gun that "fits" your hand like a glove.

But I prefer DA revolvers (particularly S&Ws) more still. The only way to find out what you like is to try some out. You may even luck out at the range with someone who would be happy to let you try a few shots through their handgun.

FMF Doc
March 4, 2012, 09:57 PM
Glock 19. 9mm is cheap so you can practice pleanty, and the recoil in a G19 slize gun is quite tolerable.

orionengnr
March 4, 2012, 10:05 PM
A small or medium gun has certain advantages--mostly, it is easier to conceal and carry. The downside is that this same gun will have heavier recoil.

If you are looking for a range/HD gun and have no need to conceal it, a full sized pistol in 9mm will have milder recoil, and be easier to shoot well. A G-17 or equivalent is a good place to start.

Spdracr39
March 5, 2012, 12:59 PM
I put in a vote for the Ruger SR9, or SR9c. Easy on the hands and less expensive to shoot then other calibers.

Lee D
March 5, 2012, 01:38 PM
best bang for the buck? P95
wanna spend a little more? G19

golden
March 5, 2012, 07:15 PM
MONGOOSE,

There are so many choices and you have so little information that I would recommend you go to the range with a friend who is a gun person and try both what they have and rent some others. Offer to pay for the ammo and range time.

IIF YOU HAVE NOT SHOT A HANDGUN BEFORE, THEN START WITH A .22 RIMFIRE. THERE IS ALMOST NO FELT RECOIL AND IN A GUN LIKE THE BROWNING BUCKMARK OR RUGER MK III.

After that, I would try a medium size 9m.m. like the BERETTA PX4, GLOCK 19, RUGER SR9 or even the SR9 Compact, SMITH & WESSON M&P and/or SIGMA pistols, SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD or XDM or the STOEGER model 8000 Cougar pistols.
All of these are good guns and should give you a large choice without having to buy an expensive gun. The SMITH & WESSON pistols are made of polymer (plastic like the GLOCK) and the SIGMA is a bargain. They are really a GLOCK clone, while the STOEGER is the old BERETTA 8000 pistol, now made in TURKEY. A good choice if you want a soft kicking, metal framed gun and a low price.
I personally like the SPRINGFIELD ARMORY which works like the GLOCK pistols, but has better ergonomics to me and offers the extra security of a grip safety.

If these kick to much, you can up size to the BERETTA 92 that is the same gun the U.S. military uses. It is a full size gun and harder to conceal.

If you want less kick, the BERETTA 84 and SIG 232 are my choices in .380ACP. They are among the most reliable .380ACP pistols with the BERETTA probably the most reliable.
The good points of the BERETTA 84 are large, comfortable grip, large magazine capacity (13 rounds + 1 in the chamber), soft recoil, nice trigger and reliability that is second to none.
Also, the models in production now will safely drop the hammer from the cocked position, early models did not have this feature.
The only real bad point the weight and bulk. It is a holster gun only.
If you are going to use a .380ACP for home or vehicle defense, this is probably the best choice I no off and would be my choice.

In the small to compact catergory, my other choice in .380ACP is the SIG 232with the aluminum frame. The adequitely sized and well shaped grip on the aluminum framed model minimizes recoil and gives good control.
I have fired 150 rounds of hollowpoint ammo at a session with this pistol and had no misfeeds and did not feel beaten up like some pistols leave me feeling.
Also, good triger, SIG'S famous quality construction and hammer dropping lever on the side of the frame behind the trigger. It also has nice sights with night sights available and is compact enough for a pocket carry if you wear casual slacks like Dockers with deep pockets. Takedown for cleaning is also easy.
Downside is that the magazine release is on the bottom of the grip and it is larger than the some other .380ACP pistols like the COLT MUSTANG, SIG 238 or WALTHER PPK.

One other .380ACP that I would consider is the CZ 83 in .380ACP. It is similar to the BERETTA in bulk, but is heavier because the frame is made of steel instead of aluminum. It is very well made and reliable.
Same negatives as the BERETTA, but even more so because of the extra weight. Recoil is very mild howerer.
An identical pistol in 9m.m. MAKAROV is the CZ 82. They are very cheap on the used gun market as there has been a huge police trade in.
The negative is that 9m.m. MAKAROV hollowpoint is hard to find and much more expensive than .380ACP. You are better off with the .380ACP, in my opinion.

If you do not have any handgun experience and cannot get a friend to help, then consider either a private instructor or a group course. The NRA may have some in your area.

good luck,

Jim

Sauer Grapes
March 5, 2012, 10:24 PM
Being new to guns, I would suggest you take a NRA pistol course. You don't need a gun to take the course. Learn the do's and don't's and then buy a gun.
This way you won't be the whack job at the range that we all talk about on line.
BTW, welcome to THR.......;)

Jim K
March 5, 2012, 10:36 PM
The three uses, pocket carry, target shooting and home defense, are not totally incompatible, but like buying a delilvery van for a family car. A target gun is generally heavy, with a long barrel, adjustable sights and quite costly. A home defense gun should be medium size, with a good sight radius, fixed sights, and instant availabililty (double action revolver or DA auto pistol). A pocket carry pistol or revolver will be shorter, usually have fixed sights and also have a DA capability. (No, I don't generally support an SA auto pistol for a new gun owner.)

I second the pistol course if one is available.

Jim

harmon rabb
March 5, 2012, 10:44 PM
Well I'm not going to recommend any one gun but as a rule all steel handguns will have less recoil but they are heavier so you have to trade weight for recoil. The best thing would be to go to a gun show and fell them all and see what fells good to you.
eh. i hear this constantly. then i shoot a service sized steel pistol vs. a service sized polymer pistol, and totally disagree. the polymer, for whatever reason, soaks up recoil better imo.

shooting my xd45 back to back with one of my 1911's, for example, is enlightening. the xd45 is very noticeably softer shooting.

massive weight differences seem to help -- my 5906 is my softest shooting 9mm -- but that's only because it's such a severe weight difference. i think a 5906 slide weighs as much as an entire 1911 :D

CheckFire
March 5, 2012, 11:08 PM
All good advice re: trying your interests out at a range/shop.

FWIW-- don't necessarily discount a .45acp; if it fits your handling, the recoil may be lighter than you imagined. If it fits, even smallish hands are no problem.

I shot a G-lock 30 compact for the first time yesterday, and well; works for me.
MUCH lighter recoil/accuracy than my .44Spcl. 3"bbl. revolver, prob b/c it fits my hand better, with a better trigger, and I do like wheel guns generally.

B/f you buy, at least try a compact .45acp, models abound, suitable for carry and other intentions. Drawback may be the cost of factory ammo vs. 9mm. IMO just as concealable w/ correct holster and clothing.

Just saying don't assume you won't like the .45 recoil, it may be a non-issue, as it was in my personal experience.

Enjoy your new companion, whatever it may be!

knoxy
March 6, 2012, 12:11 AM
MONGOOSE,

One other .380ACP that I would consider is the CZ 83 in .380ACP. It is similar to the BERETTA in bulk, but is heavier because the frame is made of steel instead of aluminum. It is very well made and reliable.
Same negatives as the BERETTA, but even more so because of the extra weight. Recoil is very mild howerer.
An identical pistol in 9m.m. MAKAROV is the CZ 82. They are very cheap on the used gun market as there has been a huge police trade in.
The negative is that 9m.m. MAKAROV hollowpoint is hard to find and much more expensive than .380ACP. You are better off with the .380ACP, in my opinion.


Great suggestion on the CZ-82/83. I love my CZ82 and am going to get another. For less than $250, it the best deal out there. Rugged as hell, accurate, and carries 12+1. For that price, get 2!

I've got to disagree on the costs of .380ACP vs. 9mm Makarov. The Makarov ammo is cheaper everywhere I've found it, usually by at leat $.05 per round. Either way, buy in bulk online for the best deals.

Certaindeaf
March 6, 2012, 12:28 AM
Hey all,

I am new to owning guns. I am looking for a small or medium sized semi-automatic handgun with a mild to moderate recoil. Gun would be used for target shooting and self defense in the event of home invasion. Any suggestions?
I think there are a couple suggestions and arguments that have been given since the inception of userdom. Back in the old days, it was word of mouth, then, it was magazines, and then these days, there's that internet business.
Were you to have the will, "it" is and has always been there.

Lawdawg45
March 8, 2012, 04:50 AM
Hey all,

I am new to owning guns. I am looking for a small or medium sized semi-automatic handgun with a mild to moderate recoil. Gun would be used for target shooting and self defense in the event of home invasion. Any suggestions?

Welcome! As a new shooter, I would not pick a semi auto for your first handgun. Try looking at a S&W model 19 (4 or 6 inch), the adjustable sights will work with your target shooting and the choice of .38 range ammo or .357 for SD is a good multi-tasker.;)

LD

glassman
March 8, 2012, 07:03 AM
Welcome to the forum. I agree with the other folks who say rent before you buy. Be patient and do your homework before you put your money down. Better to spend a little more money for a quality gun than save a few bucks and wind up with something sub-optimal.

RickMD
March 8, 2012, 09:15 AM
With firearms, as well as most other things in life, everything's a compromise. If you have limited experience with handguns I'd recommend you shy away from a semi-auto as your first gun. As a previous poster mentioned, a 4" barreled .357 magnum revolver is arguably the most versatile handgun available. They're available at reasonable prices from a plethora of reputable manufacturers. They're accurate, powerful, safer than an automatic for a novice, and a wide variety of ammunition is available to suit nearly every need.

Jim NE
March 8, 2012, 07:06 PM
I am new to owning guns. I am looking for a small or medium sized semi-automatic handgun with a mild to moderate recoil. Gun would be used for target shooting and self defense in the event of home invasion.

Welcome to the forum, Mongoose1175.

I agree with RickMD. May I ask - if you're new to owning guns, how did you so quickly arrive at the opinion that you need a semi-automatic?

I'd never want to portray revolvers as "starter guns" but they are an excellent place to start. Double action revolvers are what I call "more intuitive" than semi-autos. These guns all basically function the same. Once you learn how to load and shoot a DA revolver comfortably, you know how to load and shoot most other revolvers comfortably as well.

Semi-autos can have safeties, or de-cockers instead, or maybe have NEITHER safeties or decockers at all, and those devices can be placed in slightlydiffferent places on different guns. Same with magazine release/catches. And you may have to own a DA/SA before you realize you don't really like DA/SA semi-autos.

Also, if you're looking at semi-autos, be prepared to include "learning how to clear misfires/jams" in your required skill set. Even if you buy a high end semi-auto. A good semi-auto on a good day is as reliable as an average revolver on an average day.

There are a lot of good reasons for buying a semi-auto, and it ain't rocket science to shoot one safely. I just think every gun collection is incomplete without a good revolver, and revolvers are a better place to start. JMO.

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