Looking for my first handgun


November 25, 2012, 04:53 PM
I am planing on getting my carry permit soon but I need a gun. Nebeel took me to a gun shop and we looked around for a while. I think I like the Glock 26 and 19 plus the Ruger SP -101. I have very small hands with weak wrists and hate recoil. I am waiting to hear back from the range if they have them for rent. I want to fire them before I buy. Are there any big problems with these guns? Or any other small guns that might be worth looking in to?

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November 25, 2012, 05:00 PM
Shoot as many different guns as you can. Also keep in mind the size and weight of the gun if you are going to carry it. You might look at the S&W M&P compact as well. I like mine, and it has 3 different size backs for the grips, so might work well with smaller hands. I have heard good things about the M&P Shield, but have not shot one.

The main thing is to get one you like, and can shoot well. Have fun! Post up a range report when you decide on the one you get. :)

November 25, 2012, 05:01 PM
I will always steer a person towards the Springfield XDM or even the XD 9mm. They are great and I feel that it allows a newbie more versatility to shoot other platforms. The triggers are better in the XDM than in a Glock IMO. I also think the XD/XDM are more comfortable to shoot than the Glock, which has a little finger groove just below the trigger guard that bites my finger. Either way you choose, welcome to the shooting world!!

November 25, 2012, 05:05 PM
Lemmy hop in here and offer some advice... or rather, offer a direction to a whole bunch of good advice. Have a look at the "Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/)" website... it's the absolute best source of information for women shooters available in one place.

November 25, 2012, 06:18 PM
Regarding small guns, keep in kind the smaller/lighter the gun, the more recoil you'll feel. As far as the Glock 19 goes, I have one and love it. I owned an XD in the past and wasn't crazy about it. That isnt to say you wouldn't like it, just sharing my experience.

November 25, 2012, 06:42 PM
"Small hands, weak wrists, hate recoil" pretty much contra-indicate the Glock 26 in particualr and most 9mm and up semi's in general. Strong recoil and magazine springs will be a challenge to manipulate. Light weight and strong recoil spring make the 26 prone to malfunction with the slighest amount of limpwristing.

Revolvers, which you have considered, were doing an effective job 150 years ago and still do. There are more choices now than ever. The Ruger 101 with a 3" barrel or a comparable S&W would probably better fill your bill.

As already mentioned, only you can determine what best suites you. There are no "perfect" "best" guns so you will end up compromising somewhere. Definately try before you buy. It can save a costly mistake.

November 25, 2012, 06:55 PM
Lemmy hop in here and offer some advice... or rather, offer a direction to a whole bunch of good advice. Have a look at the "Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/)" website... it's the absolute best source of information for women shooters available in one place.
Good idea to get advice from other women......they actually think with their heads. Top choices would be S&W Model 12 or Colt 'Cobra' both now sadly available on used market only.

Mike J
November 25, 2012, 07:01 PM
Choosing a firearm is a very personal thing. Only you can decide what you can handle. If you were to get a SP101 in .357 magnum & load it with .38 specials the extra weight of the gun might help alleviate recoil some though. I agree with Fred G that you should try as many different guns as you can before buying. A trip to the rental range might save you money in the long run.

November 25, 2012, 07:03 PM
I'm not a fan of recoil myself and have smallish hands, so we have that in common.

There are many things to consider. How are you going to carry? (pocket, IWB, OWB, Purse/fanny pack, etc.) Then, what will be comfortable. Does weight and length matter? Budget may also be an issue.

I've carried everything from the tiny .22WMR Black Widow to the fairly heavy Ruger P95 9mm. My favorites have been the Bersa Thunder CC in .380, the Ruger SR9c in 9mm and the Springfield XD 3.8 in 9mm. These were comfortable to shoot and reasonable to carry.

However, I also like my new Ruger SR-22 and Taurus PLY-22 for pocket carry. I'm very OK with 22LR.

Shoot as many different revolvers and pistols as you can. What works in winter, might become cumbersome in summer. Be true to yourself.

November 25, 2012, 07:34 PM
Is this going to be a carry piece? Or just a "first handgun" to bring you about to handguns for home and personal (concealed-carry) defense use?

The snub revolvers, particularly the "lightweight" ones, like the Ruger LCR, can be unpleasant to shoot, but there are many that reduce that with nicer grips and all-steel construction. The latest offerings from Charter Arms (Undercover .38) are among them. I have two of them from days gone by; one from 1987, and the other more than 20 years older than that. They have the smaller, wooden grips common on snubnose revolvers of those days, and aren't a lot of fun on the range. But, the newer, rubber-gripped offerings from them and Taurus/Rossi, and Smith and Wesson, fill the hand better, for greater control. Loaded with a lighter-recoiling .38 Special round, they can be perfectly manageable. Another caliber option for the snub revolver category is .327 Federal Magnum. These can fire any of the .32 caliber family, such as .32 H&R Magnum, S&W Long, and even the .32ACP.

I like the SP-101, and, hey, it's even available in .22LR now (as is the LCR!)

In semi-automatics, someone already mentioned the Bersa Thuncer CC, a slimmer version of their popular Thunder .380. I have the latter, and it has very minimal recoil. It's a solid and affordable performer, and I'd bet the CC version is equally reliable. In that same caliber, Beretta and Taurus also have entries that have thicker grips and hold more rounds; these are the Model 85 and PT-58, respectively. Both, like the Bersa, are all-metal construction, which helps to tame perceived recoil as well.

November 25, 2012, 07:36 PM
The Gen 4 Glocks tame that recoil remarkably well.

November 25, 2012, 07:46 PM
As others have said, try to shoot as many different models as you can to see what you like best. At the range I shoot at, most people are glad to let someone try out their gun. Based on the choices you mentioned along with the comment about recoil, I think the Glock 19 would fit the bill.

November 25, 2012, 08:15 PM
I have very small hands with weak wrists and hate recoil.

Glocks are sensitive to "limp wristing" (not having a secure hold, allowing the gun to move)

November 25, 2012, 08:51 PM
Thanks everyone. Yes, this will be a carry piece. I am looking for a small gun as I would like to use the flashbang type holster. I have shot the guns we have at home and i don't like any of them expect my little Ruger bearcat .22. I call her ping ping well because compared to the others that is what she sounds like.:)

November 25, 2012, 08:59 PM
Just as a side note, all the handguns currently at home are full service sized pistols. The smallest I currently have is a CZ P-01 (my current CC).

November 25, 2012, 09:23 PM
My wife has a sp101 and likes it but it is heavy and therefore she seldom carried it. Before that she adopted by walther ppk .380 she also liked it but due to arthritis in her hands she had a hard time cycling the slide and the sights are kind of small and it is also heavy for its size. then Ruger came out with the lcr, its light, has a great trigger , easy to open and reload and with the laser grips a real confidence builder. She also adopted by keltec p3at when I got me a keltec pf9, its light, small and simple, but the recoil is a bit sharp. Shop around think about all the pluses & minuses. The best starter gun is a 22, learn the basics with it then move up in caliber as you feel more confident. Remember the best carry gun is the one that you WILL CARRY EVERY DAY. Good luck with your quest and have fun.

November 26, 2012, 12:37 AM
Smith Bodyguard .380 is a great little shooter!

November 26, 2012, 12:54 AM
Go to Pax's website corneredcat.com (http://www.corneredcat.com/article/choosing-firearms/trying-on-a-handgun/) and read the "Trying on a handgun".

What fits me may not fit you or the next person. You need to determine what points naturally for You and you'll be amazed at how it improves recoil management and accuracy. To figure out what points for you I suggest the following silly sounding exercise -
get a solid one hand grip with the firearm and focus your attention on a small point roughly 30 feet away that would be safe to point a gun at (the intersection of two walls and ceiling make a good point). Focus intently on that point until it fills your vision and then thrust (not sweep) the gun into that point as if a rod was sticking out of the barrel and was going to skewer that point. Look at the sights. Not first, but after you've skewered the point. They'll be aligned properly or the front sight will be high or low. If they're aligned properly you've narrowed your fit to that type of handgun (it may be a 1911 or a Glock or a Sig or a CZ). If you have to raise the front sight (or lower it) switch to a different family of handguns and try again. The rest is covered in Pax's site.

My wife points a CZ naturally as do 3 friends of ours. A buddy points 1911 single stacks and shoots a 9mm Kimber 1911. Another points a widebody 1911 and shoots a .45 Para. Yet another, Glocks. Me, I point a BHP, but do fine with 1911s.

The point is that the different grip angles available allow us to find what matches each of us the best and that helps with managing recoil and accuracy. Find what fits you and then shoot your way up the calibers until you find what is most comfortable (our pal that shoots the Para in .45 hated the Glock in 9mm).

November 26, 2012, 03:32 AM
You might want to go through these links as well.
Cornered Cat (http://corneredcat.com)
Babes with Bullets*|*Babes with Bullets firearms camps (http://www.babeswithbullets.com)
NRA Women's Programs (http://www.nrahq.org/women/)
Women In Shooting (http://www.womenssportslink.com/Shooting.shtml)
Programs (http://www.nra.org/programs.aspx)

Second Amendment Sisters - Self-Defense is a Basic Human Right (http://www.2asisters.org/)

Pay attention to the 2nd and 4th link guys.

You might find these helpful.

Take a beginner basic course from either the NRA (data in the links provided) or to the NSSF First Shots program. Then you can decide which ammo/gun combo fits you and your needs best.

Here's the data for the NSSF First Shots program.

November 26, 2012, 04:07 AM
Smith and Wesson 351 22 magnum revolver, 8 shots, very little recoil, expensive gun.

November 26, 2012, 05:02 AM
Seconding (or thirding, fourthing or whatever) checking out The Cornered Cat, particularly the page about fitting a handgun.

I'll add another gun to check out to the list: The Ruger LCR.

November 26, 2012, 11:56 AM
^^ In .22LR. I'll never disparage anyone carrying a .22 for defense, and you could probably live ten lifetimes without encountering the person who would continue with an attack countered by a well-executed rimfire defense, but would stop for a centerfire defense.

Also, I think the SP-101 is available with a .22 Magnum cylinder, too.

I don't carry a .22 simply because I have other choices available, and one of them is even smaller than my smallest .22 (Kel-Tec P32, smaller than my Taurus PT-22.)
But, I wouldn't be shaking in my boots at all if I did go out tomorrow with a .22 in my pocket.

November 26, 2012, 02:32 PM
I was going to suggest that the Glock options are a serious handful for someone with small hands. Then I went to the "Trying on a gun" at the Cornered Cat site and lo, there's exactly what I was thinking in the picture where the gun's grip size is just to large to be able to hold the gun correctly in line with the forearm and still reach the trigger.

Yep, I'll just 12th or 13th the suggestion to read and soak up what she put onto her web site. There's being able to hold the gun and there's being able to hold it correctly. All the Glocks I've seen and handled need bigger hands to fit well.

If you go the revolver route I'll just suggest that you seek out and try a Model 10 with a snub 2 inch barrel. It is a trifle bigger than the J frame 5 shot guns and the SP101 that have been suggested so far but you may find that the little extra size and weight soak up the recoil from a stout .38Spl enough to make the gun more comfortable to use. Not suggesting that it's THE GUN for you but it's worth digging around to find one and try it. Working as a safety officer at my own local rental range for a while I found that folks that didn't like the snap and bang of even a full size all metal 9mm found that .38Spl from the medium size K frame Model 10 or similar was highly tolerable and generally they were smiling by the end of the box of ammo. So it's worth a try in your case.

November 26, 2012, 02:55 PM
Everyone else telling you to try on a bunch of guns are absolutely right. You have to do this to find the right gun. But of the choices you gave, and the fact that you hate recoil, I recommend you go with the SP101 of the choices you listed. It's weight will help tame recoil, and if you load it with 38 special +p's, you should be just fine. I think you should explore other options though. The SP101 is rather heavy to tote around for a small gal.

It's a balancing act. Good luck.

November 26, 2012, 08:55 PM
+1 on the Cornered Cat site.

Kathy has the gift of a natural writing style that anyone can absorb, appreciate and learn from. She has both knowledge and wisdom, and that is a combination that is not nearly as common as you might think. :)

If you read every word on her site, it will not take long in terms of time, but will allow you to "narrow down the field" a bit, and will, in short order, save you hours of frustration and dollars spent shooting a pistol that works for someone else.

November 26, 2012, 09:04 PM
Based on what you have said, I would say a revolver of some type is the way to go. Now, you can shoot something like the SP-101, a nice heavy, soft-shooting and accurate revilver with some reduced recoil .38spl and probably be ok. If you still think that is too much recoil, then you can use your .22lr bearcat. While few would reccomend such a small caliber for self-defense, if you are practiced with it, and you can shoot it, then it may be the best choice for YOU in the end. Whatever you end up with, become proficient with it.

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