Newbie looking for carry pistol advice


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Guildenstern
July 18, 2012, 04:30 PM
Hey folks, I'm new to the forums around here and figured I'd jump in by asking some of the more experienced of you around here for your two cents on a decision I'm trying to reach.

I'm a new shooter, at this point only having minimally fired an old Mosin of mine and a few other odds and ends with some friends (S&W 686, Ruger Super Blackhawk, Glock 19, Kel-Tec P3AT [which I hated], and a few other semi, bolt, and black powder long guns). That being said, I turn 21 tomorrow and instead of going out and getting myself blackout drunk like most people my age, I'm instead looking into picking up my first pistol. While I likely won't be carrying for a while as I want to refine my skills a bit more and just generally get to the point where I'd be more proficient with handling a weapon on my person at all times, the eventual purpose of this pistol will be to carry it concealed on a regular basis.

I've been doing some research for quite a while now and I've narrowed it down to a few choices: The Smith and Wesson M&P9c, the Kahr CW9, and the Ruger SR9c. Each one has a few problems (Smith and Wesson is expensive and I'm on a college student budget; The Kahr is said to have a revolver-like trigger and I'm not especially jazzed about that after firing a few old S&W wheelguns; and the Ruger has had some reports of barrel peening and stores around here just don't have them in stock since Ruger is apparently way behind on getting their products shipped out). Additionally, I can't seem to find a range anywhere that rents the M&P or the CW9, which makes it hard to get a good feel for them outside of just holding them in the store.

So with that in mind, I was hoping to get a bit of direction from you guys as I've read around on here before but wanted to get a little more direct advice on my particular situation. Any suggestions or other words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Also, apologies for the wall of text, but I tend to get a bit verbose whenever I put fingertips to keyboard and I wanted to provide as much relevant information as I could.

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Skribs
July 18, 2012, 04:44 PM
My personal vote would be the M&P9. All three of these products have a lot of happy customers, but I would want a double-stack (rules out CW9) with no manual safety (rules out SR9C).

WinThePennant
July 18, 2012, 04:50 PM
I'll echo what Skribs said.

At this point in time, the only two pistols I'd consider for "normal" concealed carry are Glock and S&W M&P. Deep concealment is a different story, and for that I like the S&W BG380.

Doogledog
July 18, 2012, 04:53 PM
I just bought the Kahr CW9. I can't be happier. It carries very well, has extremely light recoil and points very well for me. I have not shot the ruger or the S&W. However, I do own an M&P22 and it feels very similar to the 9mm in the hand. I am pleased with the trigger on both my M&P and my Kahr. In the end you'll need to fondle them yourself to make the decision but, for me, I love the Kahr.

Nico Testosteros
July 18, 2012, 05:21 PM
I'm a S&W guy, so my vote is for the M&P. Might want to go for the new Shield, basically a single stack M&P. Very compact and have been selling like hotcakes.

9mmepiphany
July 18, 2012, 05:29 PM
I own an M&P9 and the CW9, I've also shot a SR9 recently. All shot very well...accurate and reliable.

What you likely need to decide first is if you like the wider grip of the M&P and the SR better than the slim CW9.

The CW9 is the easiest to carry and conceal due to that slimness. Also its DAO trigger is very smooth and light, making it very easy to shoot well

Buckeyeguy525
July 18, 2012, 05:37 PM
I've owned just about every gun you mentioned. The best one for concealed carry is the one you will actually carry! The m&p, glocks, xd's, etc may not feel big in your hand, but they sure will inside your waistband! Heavier than you would think also. I (and just about everyone I know) can not comfortably carry these all day. Sure, you will have many chime in on the forums and say they carry them all day, but the forums have a lot of hardcore gunners that will tough it out.

My vote is the Kahr CM9. Has a shorter grip than the CW9 so it conceals well in the pocket or waistband. Zero difference in shootability. Ive shot both extensively. As for the trigger, its a double action but it doesnt feel like a revolver trigger, maybe a super smooth revolver like the lcr. Kahr makes the most shootable small guns around in my opinion

Ala Tom
July 18, 2012, 05:48 PM
Of the guns you name, I would suggest the SR9C. Scribs is wrong when he says it has no manual safety. (I just cleaned my SR40C today using the same user's manual as for the SR9C showing a manual thumb safety.) I have fired the SR9C on a range for 50 rounds. I own and have fired at least 200 rounds through, an SR40C (which is identical to the SR9C except for the inside diameter of the barrel to fit the .40 S&W cartridge). I have average-size hands and the SR9C fits my hand just right. It was the easiest small gun to shoot (in 9 mm) of several that I tested. The .40 S&W version is not much more difficult to shoot but is not a beginner's gun. Any 9 mm is a good beginner's gun that will teach you good shooting habits. You want one that is small enough to be carried in some cases. Read some books on concealed carry before you start wandering around with any gun in public places. (Of course, get a Concealed Carry permit before you do.)

It is possible Scribs saw an SR9C that had the thumb safety removed. This is a common practice today. I bought my S&W M&P 40 with no thumb safety. I regret it. A manual or thumb safety is helpful when drawing from a concealed holster to make sure you don't shoot yourself.

WinThePennant
July 18, 2012, 05:54 PM
Skribs is saying that the SR9c does have a manual safety, and he ruled it out because it's not his preference.

Skribs
July 18, 2012, 06:06 PM
If you're going to misread my post, at least spell my name right. The Ruger SR series has a manual safety. I do not like manual safeties because of the chance of A) leaving it off when you want it on or B) leaving it on when you want it off. This is especially true of a striker-fired pistol that does not need a manual safety, because I would just leave it off (if a Glock don't need it, the SR don't need it), but there is always the chance that it would activate, leaving me with a paperweight in a firefight. And polymer paperweights don't make good clubs or projectiles.

Guildenstern
July 18, 2012, 06:14 PM
The manual safety argument is one I've seen a lot in doing some research, and I guess I'm just one of those people that hasn't nailed down a hard preference yet. Part of me likes the added measure of a thumb safety to keep me from accidentally blowing a hole in my foot while holstering (which admittedly won't happen so long as I keep my finger away from the trigger but still: peace of mind), though I also see the problems with it potentially getting nudged on when you need it. This is one thing that I actually do like about the Kahr's trigger: it being a little longer is an added safety in itself. I'm just not sure if I'll like that long pull and reset when I actually have to shoot.

Skylerbone
July 18, 2012, 06:25 PM
I own a 9c, purchased a CW9 as a gift and recently purchased a K9 (all steel Kahr). I have a healthy number of rounds through the M&P and CW9 and was planning to purchase another CW9 to replace the 9c for carry. As luck smiled on me I got a great deal on the K9 and can say after 400 rounds it will indeed be my EDC, weight be damned!

200 of those rounds were fired back-to-back with the Smith (whose trigger has been modified to a smooth 4 1/2 lbs.) but the Kahr simply won out. I've got a few weeks before my holster is done to hit the 1,000 round mark (without cleaning) which I'm confident it will do.

I would consider either of the two an excellent choice with a nod to the CW for weight and width. The Shield would be worth tracking down as well for comparison.

Ala Tom
July 18, 2012, 06:37 PM
If you are pulling a gun out of an IWB, you are likely to shoot a hole in a more important part of your anatomy than a foot. I have been practicing a draw with both guns (empty). Something got into the trigger on one try. The SR40C will be my carry gun (when I carry) because of the safety. I do not find it difficult to train to get the safety OFF once the gun is clear of clothing and ready to be shot.

Also consider the recent case where a young lady was fatally shot while trying to hug an off-duty cop. His gun discharged in his hidden holster.

Because my M&P does not have a manual safety, I may trade it in on a 1911 for my home-defense gun.

Sorry to misspell your handle and miss-read the part about the SR9C safety.

Guildenstern
July 18, 2012, 06:40 PM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you buy manual safeties for the M&P line that are fairly easy to install?

Skribs
July 18, 2012, 06:43 PM
Also consider the recent case where a young lady was fatally shot while trying to hug an off-duty cop. His gun discharged in his hidden holster.

A proper holster and he wouldn't have had that issue. A kydex or leather rig wouldn't have let her finger manipulate the trigger.

I do not find it difficult to train to get the safety OFF once the gun is clear of clothing and ready to be shot.

If you have trained for it, this is true. If you have not trained for it and just plan to leave the safety off (let's say, for example, I got a FNS because it is one of the only fully ambidxtrous striker-fired pistols and I'm a lefty, but it has a manual safety, so I decided to leave it off), and then I am in a situation where it somehow activated, I would have to fumble to get it off. Personally, since I won't use the manual safety on a SFA, LDA, or DAO pistol, I'd rather not have one at all.

Guildenstern
July 18, 2012, 06:57 PM
I guess the advantage of this being my first pistol then is that I can train for whatever configuration I get with a fresh mind; I won't have to re-learn anything in order to accommodate a safety (thereof). So that's not a huge concern for me. Really my big questions relate to concealment and shootability, i.e. is the M&P too big, the Kahr too snappy, etc. and how those factors relate to each other. I'm liking what I'm hearing with the Kahr so far, in that Skylerbone seems to think that its trigger can compete with the M&P, plus I can find a CW9 for way less than the M&P would cost.

tobenheim
July 18, 2012, 07:08 PM
I'll throw in my two cents and give a thumbs up to the Ruger SR9c. I have two of them. They carry great with the 10 round magazine and they come with a 17 round magazine and grip extension which converts the it into a great range/HD gun. I have owned the Smith and the Kahr and they are very good guns as well. With the guns you are talking about they are all good and it's going to come down to preference. If there is any way to rent and shoot the guns you are interested in that would be best. At least make sure you get to handle each one of them. Sometimes a gun just "talks" to you when it's in your hand--it looks and feels just right. One last consideration: customer service. God forbid that you need it but from what I hear Ruger C.S. is about as good as it comes. That definitely made a difference in my purchase decision.

Guildenstern
July 18, 2012, 07:20 PM
Customer service and American-made products are part of the reason I narrowed it down to these three instead of say, a Taurus. Though I'm to understand that Kahr's service isn't as great and there's a few weird questions about the owner's other business affiliations.

justice06rr
July 18, 2012, 08:11 PM
I would suggest the M&P9c or SR9c so you can easily use them both for concealed carry and range use.

Another thing I always find funny is people's dislikes on manual thumb safety. Thumb safeties have been around for decades and should not deter you or anyone from buying a particular pistol. Even rifles and shotguns have safeties.

Not buying a firearm due to a manual safety is a moot point, and a preference at best. Train with what firearm you will be using and this will not be an issue.

Skribs
July 18, 2012, 09:44 PM
Even rifles and shotguns have safeties.

That's because 99% of the time a rifle or shotgun is carried, it's not in a holster. A pistol needs either a manual safety, a trigger safety, or simply a nice DA pull in order to be safe while in a holster. Multiple options do not make the pistol "more safe".

Manual safeties have been around on semi-automatics because they were needed. With modern designs, you eliminate the possibility of the firing pin striking the primer unless the trigger is pulled, and all you need is a good holster to prevent that from happening. Older style pistols, particularly those that will fire in single action (including SAO or DA/SA) will require a manual safety in order to prevent the hammer from falling down.

"Others have safeties" is true, but it's not the whole story. What is that safety preventing? That is the question. On a long gun, it is preventing the trigger from being pulled and firing the weapon while it is slung on your back, in the event something sneaks into the trigger guard while it's slung on your back. In a handgun, it prevents the hammer/striker from inadvertently triggering while the gun is in a holster. If there are other safety mechanisms at play, a manual safety is not required to have a safe weapon.

I believe in KISS, and if all I have to do is point-shoot, then it's simpler, keeping in line with the first S in KISS. Oh, and revolvers don't have manual safeties, if we're comparing other guns.

Skylerbone
July 18, 2012, 09:55 PM
That first Kahr, the CW9, was never on my radar until an excellent description by 9mmepiphany mentioned it and described for my mind's eye the trigger feel. It was the accuracy of that description that lead me to my own epiphany: there was a well versed professional behind that screen name. The stars aligned when one showed up locally mere weeks ahead of my father's birthday.

A bit more: I have 3 M&Ps. Dear old dad was toting around a stainless Colt Govt. Model that more often than not got left in the RV. After detail stripping and cleaning the Kahr we went to the range and the M&Pc came along, set up with grip extension for a southpaw (not that he cared though he is one) and had him shoot both. He could have walked away with either that day (much as I like my M&Ps I was hoping I'd get the Kahr) but he too chose the Kahr.

Recoil was remarkably soft, he shot markedly better with it (and I consider him an expert shot) and, to my surprise, I'm shooting the K9 better than the 9c. The real regret I have with buying the K9 (NYPD trade-in, $329 w/night sights) was that I didn't buy 3 of them.

Kentr
July 18, 2012, 10:01 PM
Get a Glock compact G19 9mm. Great gun. It just works. Look for a Gen 3. I've heard the Gen 4 is buggy.

9mmepiphany
July 18, 2012, 11:24 PM
Thank you Skylerbone, you are much to generous...I just try to help folks meet their needs with some hands on experience and information

Really my big questions relate to concealment and shootability, i.e. is the M&P too big, the Kahr too snappy, etc. and how those factors relate to each other.
Here's a size comparison between the two
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/DSC_2060.jpg

...I didn't have a 9c, so you'll just have to imagine it 1" shorter
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/grip040.jpg

...or maybe compare it to my other carry
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/grip056.jpg

...which is very comparable to the CW9
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/DSC_1646.jpg

Over the years, I've developed a grip that works just as well with or without a thumb safety. It does take a little instruction for a new shooter to understand when/how to flip it off most naturally/reliably

Plan2Live
July 19, 2012, 08:05 AM
Your budget limitations and limited availability of non-Glock rentals will probably prevent this but you really need to shoot all the candidates you are considering. I held several Kahrs and even dry fired one or two and ruled them out because I didn't like the trigger. I recently fired a Kahr MK9 and liked the trigger a lot. Weird huh?

I fired 100 rounds through two rental Sigs (229 and 239 both in 9mm) on two seperate occassions and didn't shoot either well. I recently bought a used Sig 239 for my son (for his upcoming birthday) and it shoots like a laser. Double weird.

Best wishes and good luck!

The_Armed_Therapist
July 19, 2012, 11:47 AM
I love my Kahr CW40, but would be hesitant to recommend it to a newbie for their first pistol. It's very finicky at first and has a lot of break-in issues. Now, from what I gather, not everybody goes through Kahr's intensive break-in period, but I and many others did. Mine has gotten to be a great purchase, but I refused to carry it for a while after I bought it.

There are a lot of compact 9mms out there and almost all of them are fine pistols. Both the Ruger and the Smith are fantastic! You might try checking other stores for Rugers.

JEB
July 19, 2012, 12:05 PM
my vote goes to the sr9c hands down. very accurate and reliable, as well as a soft shooter. all in all, just a great pistol!

Guildenstern
July 19, 2012, 01:50 PM
Your budget limitations and limited availability of non-Glock rentals will probably prevent this but you really need to shoot all the candidates you are considering. I held several Kahrs and even dry fired one or two and ruled them out because I didn't like the trigger. I recently fired a Kahr MK9 and liked the trigger a lot. Weird huh?

I fired 100 rounds through two rental Sigs (229 and 239 both in 9mm) on two seperate occassions and didn't shoot either well. I recently bought a used Sig 239 for my son (for his upcoming birthday) and it shoots like a laser. Double weird.

Best wishes and good luck!
Trust me, I'd love to shoot everything on my list, but we just seem to be lacking in good rental ranges around here. And most of the gun stores stock new guns that they really don't want you dry firing, hence all my questions about the triggers. I may just have to set aside a weekend and find someplace a little farther out that'll let me handle the guns a little more extensively.

Anybody know of any good rental ranges in SW Washington?

GlackAttack
July 20, 2012, 02:16 PM
I reccommend the sr9c. Also the kahr may be worth a try since it is singlestack and should conceal easier.

Ala Tom
July 20, 2012, 03:04 PM
I also recommend the Ruger SR9C. It handles very well and is easy to get out of most holsters and to shoot accurately. Some people do not like any manual safety but I like the safety on my SR. You are a little safer when digging for the gun in an IWB holster (inside the pants) where it would be easy to get clothing caught up in the clothing. People say all you have to do is keep your finger off the trigger but the trigger can snag on clothing in some designs.

Before you actually begin carrying a gun routinely, you should take a class in CC or at least read a good book about it. Two books I have read recently are "THE CONCEALED HANDGUN MANUAL" by Chris Bird and "Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry" by Massad Ayoob. As soon as you step outside your home with gun on your person, you expose yourself to the chance of losing all your money and your freedom if you don't do things just right. They give examples of good guns, good carry techniques and also of situations in which people legally carrying a gun got into considerable trouble. So far I have not found the need to carry.

As I write this, I am hearing the news of the Aurora Shooting. Could someone carrying have stopped that nut before he killed all the people he did? Probably not. You don't want even to draw your gun in a crowded theater with smoke and noise and a guy who is protected wearing armor from head to toe.

Guildenstern
July 22, 2012, 02:30 AM
Big thanks to everybody that contributed their opinion on here. I dropped by my local gun shop today and handled each of the firearms I was considering. The guy behind the counter was a great help about it and let me dry fire each and hold each in the waistband to see how well they concealed. At the end of the day, I became much more confident in the Kahr's trigger, slim profile, and lower price point, even though I did have to trade down on magazine size somewhat (though 7+1 should still suit me just fine). So I made a withdrawal and put the money down on it. Paperwork should go through within the next several days and I should have it by next weekend, at which point I'll head out to the range with a few buddies to see how it shoots.

Again, thanks a lot for the input, folks, I appreciate your efforts to help out a new shooter.

ColdDayInHell
July 22, 2012, 02:36 AM
SR9c or G19.

edfrompa
July 22, 2012, 04:20 AM
Ala Tom, This is just my opinion. If someone is shooting up a theater and smoke or whatever and I am armed, I be damned not to at least try to stop the threat. I would not sit on my arse with a firearm and say oh well he has body armor, he has whatever. And just let him kill me, you have got to be kidding me. The school that I came from says kill the enemy before he kills you!! Use whatever means possible at the time. Believe me even if I had a 22cal on me I would use it. Not sitting on my hands while someone is throwing lead all over the place is not in my rule book. When you are in a firefight situation it is called survival my friend, nothing more nothing less. Protect yourself or die!

To stay on subject: the sr9c is very accurate and easy to handle firearm. You will not be disappointed with this firearm. Not too expensive either.

USMC Vietnam Vet

WinThePennant
July 22, 2012, 10:50 AM
Ed - I agree. From time-to-time, I act like a hard-head and say that I'd only protect myself and my loved ones. I've often said that if you made the decision to not carry a concealed weapon, then you've made the decision to be a victim. Well, truth is, if I saw kids getting killed I would certainly put my neck on the line. I'd never let children or young people get slaughtered if I had the means to put an end to it.

KTXdm9
July 22, 2012, 03:09 PM
Big thanks to everybody that contributed their opinion on here. I dropped by my local gun shop today and handled each of the firearms I was considering. The guy behind the counter was a great help about it and let me dry fire each and hold each in the waistband to see how well they concealed. At the end of the day, I became much more confident in the Kahr's trigger, slim profile, and lower price point, even though I did have to trade down on magazine size somewhat (though 7+1 should still suit me just fine). So I made a withdrawal and put the money down on it. Paperwork should go through within the next several days and I should have it by next weekend, at which point I'll head out to the range with a few buddies to see how it shoots.

Again, thanks a lot for the input, folks, I appreciate your efforts to help out a new shooter.
Congrats! I'm glad you got the chance to at least hold and test carry before purchasing. I'm with you, I like the slimmer single stack for iwb carry. One word of advice, you might want to do a little research on the proper break in for the Kahrs. Some of them can be a bit finicky.

9mmepiphany
July 22, 2012, 03:47 PM
It sounds like the OP has made his choice and given his thanks for information offer.

I'm going to close this before the thread drift continues.

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