POLL: Pistol purchase what factors are most important to you?


June 18, 2012, 03:10 PM
When you purchase a new or even used pistol what factors are most important to you? I am asking more about a purchase for a primary pistol and not some niche pistol.

Please from the list in the poll select the SIX most important factors for YOU. The poll can't enforce six choices only but it will be much less meanigful poll if everyone decides to select what they want. So please let's try to keep this consistant.

I would have liked to add a couple more factors but the maximum is twenty so please go easy on me.

Thanks for participating and comments welcome!

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June 18, 2012, 03:18 PM
The poll is missing?

June 18, 2012, 03:29 PM
The site doesn't let you make the poll until after you post, which can cause problems if your work computer blocks the poll but not the post.

June 18, 2012, 03:44 PM
Okay, looking at the poll options, some of these don't really make sense.

Cost - best for me and to maximize my skills.

Does this mean more expensive so you get a "better" gun?

Striker Fired vs. Hammer Fired - hammer can be SAO, DA/SA, or DAO. DA/SA is the only type of hammer you mentioned. DAO and SAO pistols have consistent trigger pulls. DAO is going to be heavier than SFA, and SAO is going to be lighter and require a manual safety.

You left out several big considerations as well...

Caliber options
Lack of manual safety (that's what I go for)
Size (i.e. "will this fit in my pocket")
Ambidextrous Controls (most people dont care, very important for me)
The Box (i.e. what comes with it, some guns come with only 1 magazine, others come with 3)

For me, it's:

Consistent trigger.
No manual safety.
Ambidextrous controls.
Model vetted by online forum reviews.
Capacity in the 9mm model.

That's my biggest concerns out of 6, although its not whats on the poll.

June 18, 2012, 04:37 PM
The thing is it totally depends on what the pistol for. For example, some factors that are highly relevant when I buy a carry gun have no bearing whatsoever on guns I buy for other purposes such as range use or HD. Primary is too vague to me without identifying particular uses and needs it is hard to pin down what is important. What roles does a primary gun need to serve. For some it might be CCW duty daily and occasional use in IDPA etc. If a gun is 99% range gun/night stand gun that might get carried every once in a blue moon then different attributes become important. Each could be someone's "primary" gun.

There are some things that carry over to anything I buy, namely, reliability, durability and quality of manufacturing. I have little interest in unreliable or poorly made guns.

Metal frame/poly frame, striker/hammer fired, external safety/none are not anywhere near being primary concerns for me. I have guns with various mixes of those design features.

June 18, 2012, 04:39 PM
From your posting, I'm guessing you are firmly in the PFSF camp, yes?

The cost issue is one that overwhelmingly favors this. Everyone knows this, but I think the question is still a valid one, depending one the factors that matter most to you and for others.

Regarding SAO requiring a manual safety, the PPQ is one, and does not. Curiously, it appears to me that a 1911 with the now nearly obligatory firing pin lock could be carried Condition Zero without much more concern if one has his wits about him.

Recent "one shot stop" results tabulated by an Ohio police officer who took issue over the Marshall/Sanow methodology indicates that 1) the number of shots fired is still pretty few - 1-4 rounds, and 2) the standard 9, .40, and .45 rounds are pretty identical except that a higher percentage of precision hits were obtained by .45 wielders (he did not specify firearm type).

Thus, while most would agree that a large mag capacity is a "Tactical positive," in reality for most of us CCW folks, it doesn't matter as much as several other factors, such as a good factory trigger, superior accuracy if it does not compromise reliability, and ergonomics (that generally favor smaller handled sidearms).

All that said, after carrying a Government Model .45 for over 25 years daily, I've now morphed to a PFSF in 9X19...but I don't consider it markedly superior, either. Just lighter and a bit easier to clean. I don't feel ill-armed in either case.

Kudos to your signature quote, by the way!

June 18, 2012, 04:40 PM
none of the above.

how about concealability?

June 18, 2012, 05:10 PM
I wasn't talking about cost in general, but the fact there are 2 cost options:

1. Good enough for me for what I need it for.
2. Best for me and to maximize my skills.

How does cost play in to #2, if cost alone is the factor? "Good enough for me for what I need it for" could mean that if multiple pistols meet your minimum requirements (good enough for what I need it for), you select the cheapest option. "Best for me and to maximize my skills" seems to also be based on a set of requirements, although at that point I'd be looking at requirements as opposed to cost.

IOW, if there are 3 guns that fit my minimum, $500, $700, and $1800, under #1, I'd obviously go for the $500. But under #2, which one would I go for? The cost alone doesn't tell you which one is "better", and something may be more expensive just because it added features you don't want or don't plan to use, or because it's name brand and you're paying a grand just for that.

June 18, 2012, 05:13 PM
I'm just a sport shooter. I want:

good trigger

in that order.

June 18, 2012, 07:50 PM
I also want good adjustable sights.

June 18, 2012, 08:15 PM
I wasn't talking about cost in general, but the fact there are 2 cost options:

1. Good enough for me for what I need it for.
2. Best for me and to maximize my skills.

My jist is do you just want to invest just enough in a pistol just enough to do what you need it to or do you want to invest enough in the pistol that you can shoot the best with and grow your skills if that is the goal and have a pistol your are confident that can help you do that?

When I go to the range I constantly see shooters put up a silhouette target at 10 feet away, blast away, and get most on the paper - somewhere and are satisified with their pistol and their shooting and pronounce the "bad guy" dead. Others, like myself, want to put up the same target at 75 feet and get 3 out of four shots in a four inch target.

June 18, 2012, 08:18 PM
I also want good adjustable sights.

Understood but there is a maximum of 20 questions in a poll.

I would like to have added - "because it is use in a lot of first person shooter games" also. :)

June 18, 2012, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the participation and comments. Again with the limitations of doing a poll on the forum there is no way to make an all inclusive poll and to take every conceivable parameter into consideration and even if it was participation would most likely greatly suffer due to time involved. As it is now about 190 have read the poll but only about 40 particiapted though I suppose a lot of that 190 could be non member views. I am just curious in the factors I posted what forum members found to be most important to them and thought others might find the results of interest also.

If I was back in a college marketing class it would be a 25 pages of polls and sub polls with ranking ability not to mention pre polls to help decide the topics and questions.

Monster Zero
June 18, 2012, 08:28 PM
Either you're overthinking this, or I'm underthinking it.

I buy guns for a purpose, sure, but really I tend to choose one over another just 'cause I like it better.

Case in point, my used Smith model 64 2" I just picked up... I could have analyzed it 'til the cows came home and ended up with, oh... a brand new SP101, which would have been a perfectly safe choice, or somekindaautoloader but you know what... I just liked the idea of a 2" model 64.

So that's what I bought. Call it the road less traveled if you want... The one that I just liked.

June 18, 2012, 08:40 PM
but really I tend to choose one over another just 'cause I like it better

That is pretty much impulse buying. Nothing wrong with it but I would bet the vast majority usually have some sort of more methodical process. Especially those that own just a few pistols or are buying their first couple of pistols.

June 18, 2012, 09:39 PM
what will go bang when i pull the trigger
glock fits my hand. so does sig

June 19, 2012, 05:54 AM
My Top Ten

1) Reliability
2) Accuracy
3) Ergonomics
4) Durability
5) Quality
6) Design
7) Trigger
8) Sights
9) Concealability
10) Cost

June 19, 2012, 06:20 AM
For me, it's the following -

1) Ergonomics - if it does not fit my hand from the get go, I'm not going to like it.

2) Trigger - consistency and a nice feel is important.

3) Size - You said primary so I assume you mean EDC? If that's the case then I like small and thin.

4) Weight - for carry, I prefer under 20oz.

5) Reliability - This of course is the most important factor. However, when I buy a new gun I usually do find out how reliable my gun is till I shoot it. Sure I do my research but each gun is different and I've had my fair share of lemons.

June 19, 2012, 02:02 PM
I voted for five choices. Since I carry 1911s in 38 Super and 45 auto most of the time; reliability and durability are #1, plus the combinations of accuracy, trigger, ergonomics and manufacturers reputation for quality.

June 19, 2012, 02:53 PM
I think what we've learned from this is that there are way too many factors to look at an in-depth poll, along the larger sets including:

Style (polymer vs. metal, hammer vs. striker, DAO/SAO vs. DA/SA)
Value (quality, accuracy, reliability vs. cost)
Specs (caliber, size, sights, capacity)
Ergo (fit, placement of controls, ambi)
Reputation (manufacturer, general design, specific gun)
Support (aftermarket support, familiar gunsmiths or trainers)

I'm just scratching the surface, but I think these are the general categories. And, as people said, a plinker, hunting weapon, four-legged defense, two-legged defense, target pistol, and competition pistol will all have different requirements.

June 19, 2012, 03:17 PM
In all my pistol/gun purchases, I always consider the guns potentially to be called upon to save my life, should the scenario occur. So, reliability is the most important factor.

June 19, 2012, 03:48 PM
I agree concealability could be on there, except it really only applies if you are shopping for a carry-gun. It could be argued that all the options listed can apply to ANY handgun purchase, whether it is concealed carry, range gun, plinker, competition, home defense, etc.

I voted for the following (no particular order)

Cost - good enough for me. Because if it does its job, I never understand spending 2x as much for essentially the same thing.
Reliability/durability - I can definitely understand why this was most voted-for. We all want our guns to work reliably and last forever.
Manufacturer's reputation. I will admit I went with the LCP over the P3AT partially due to the reputation of Ruger vs KT, but also fit and finish.
Ergonomics - It just has to feel good in your hand!
Aesthetics - I will admit it. I like guns that look good. I am not ashamed, we all spend probably just as much time looking at our guns as we do shooting them.

Things that don't affect me so much

Metal vs poly - I don't distrust plastic, and I don't mind extra heft of metal, of course this depends on the role the gun needs to fill
Striker vs Hammer - never noticed I shoot one any more accurately than the other
External safety - again comes down to the role. For HD or range fun, I don't mind safeties, for my CCW's I like no-safety
Accuracy - I mean, probably any gun is more accurate (mechanically) than I will ever be! Of course things like sight radius and stuff come into play, but that's separate issue.
Polls/internet - I mean, who actually uses the internet as a source of info anyways? :neener:
Police or Military - I was tempted to check this, since it does seem IN GENERAL that quality guns are often adopted by our police and military, but there are so many other factors like cost and politics that come into play, it is far down on my list.

June 19, 2012, 06:37 PM
My choices from the options presented, were:

Metal-frame- Steel to get specific, I like 'em heavy

reliability/durability- goes a long way

Manufacturer and their reputation- their products speak for themselves, but you also are buying their customer service in case of a fluke

trigger quality out of the box- this option also said "no trigger jobs for me," I don't entirely agree with the second part of the option, I have never purchased a trigger-job for any of my guns, but when I have the $$, I have a few that I'd like a 'smith to smooth-out. That being said, out of the box trigger-quality is important to me

feels best in my hands/ergonomics- if it don't feel right in my hand, I won't be buying it, simple enough.

and final choice was Aesthetics- Even an 'ugly' gun can look good to me, for instance I think Edsels are the the prettiest ugly cars ever :)
I must admit that the way the gun looks is important to me, not as important as how it feels and shoots, but it's a factor.

June 19, 2012, 09:35 PM
I'm not sure if I picked six, but whats important to me are:

- Reliability and durability from a reputable manufacturer
- Cost is reasonable
- Looks good; I don't want an ugly gun
- Feels good in the hand.

June 19, 2012, 10:17 PM
If it doesn't fit, why would I want it?

Durability and reliability.
If it isn't reliable and durable, again, why would I want it?

If it fits me, and is reliable and durable but is minute-of-barn accurate, what good is it?

I had a S&W Gunsite 1911 in police lockup for 6 months. Now, I keep my carry piece under $600. If it would need to be replaced, I want to be able to replace it instantly.

I still refuse to buy anything Ruger. It's my choice. It matters to me. Some manufacturers don't take care of customers and products as well as others.

My last one SHOULD be size and weight.
Too long, too tall, too heavy, these are things I consider.

I've got poly, metal, hammer, striker, lo bore, hi bore, guns people bash, guns people love, hi cap, lo cap, and each has it's pros and cons. Trigger jobs are something I can usually do myself. I've got ugly guns and beautiful guns. That stuff doesn't matter to me nearly as much as the functional aspects of the gun.

June 19, 2012, 11:15 PM
Reliability and durability was one of my choices, but my "top tier" might be different than someone else's. Glock meets that definition for me, but might not to someone else.

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