recommendations for first handgun?


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random_gun
December 14, 2012, 09:28 PM
I am thinking about getting the first handgun...
After trying a 44 magnum revolver, I was like "WOW, my fingers hurt"....
For now I guess that's too much recoil for me

Price under $550
I would like one to do some target shooting, and maybe hunting as well.
For practice I guess I would definitely prefer one caliber with cheap, abundant ammo
Reliable, that saves a lot of hassle for beginners I think...

Right now what I have in mind is Glock gen4 G23 or G32.
They are almost identical other then the caliber, can be converted with just a barrel. Readily-available/interchangeable parts such as magzines
Compact model: not too big and still provides decent accuracy at 50 yards (imo subcompact barrel is too short for great accuracy)

.40, .45 Auto, .357 auto can deliver enough energy, but the trajectory of .45 auto is not that ideal beyond 50 yards(too much drop).

Any thoughts? Options other than Glock? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks.

Edit1: I have some experience with rifles (7.62x39), but less than a year. There is a public range around occasionally some nice people would let me try their gun. Not that often tho..

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Steve H
December 14, 2012, 09:32 PM
If you have a local range that rents guns I suggest a few trips there to see what you are comfortable with.

Japle
December 14, 2012, 09:40 PM
How much shooting experience do you have?

Kahr33556
December 14, 2012, 09:40 PM
try the XD and the S & W M & P along with the Glock.
For hunting get a 357 which you can also shoot 38 rounds.

Plan2Live
December 14, 2012, 09:41 PM
Plus one on the rental range. Or, look for a Certified Pistol Instructor, many of them will take people to the range and let them try a few of their pistols for a fee.

The only thing I will caution you against is listening to anyone who says "Brand ____ all the way, or Model ____ no questions asked." or something along those lines. There are many great options out there these days (or at least for now) so go out, try different brands and different actions and see what works best for you.

Also, once you narrow your selection, go to Youtube and watch a few Users field strip their pistols and make sure you are okay with each and every step of that process on the gun you have narrowed it down to.

wlewisiii
December 14, 2012, 09:48 PM
Look to a basic .22 automatic (Ruger MKIII, Buckmark, etc) and hone your skills while then occasionally rentin center fire pistols & revolvers till you discover what you enjoy and what best fits your needs.

random_gun
December 14, 2012, 10:11 PM
For the purpose of practice, shouldn't I be using a gun with heavier recoil than a .22?

I would love a rental range but I am not aware of any in northwestern NC & eastern TN.

rcmodel
December 14, 2012, 10:28 PM
For the purpose of practice, shouldn't I be using a gun with heavier recoil than a .22?No!

All heavy recoil and louder muzzle blast will do is reinforce bad habits like jerking the trigger and flinching.'

Even the top guns in competition have to back off and shoot a .22 every once and a while to get over a flinch or other bad habits.

Get a .22 and worry about other more glamorous harder kicking and louder calibers after you can put 10 rounds in one ragged hole with the .22 at 25 yards time after time!

You can practice with 500 rounds of .22 for less cost then 25 or 50 rounds of any centerfire ammo.

rc

wlewisiii
December 14, 2012, 10:29 PM
If it's your first gun, then I believe that no you shouldn't. Learn the basics without the needless jarring. Get your trigger and sight picture down - those will remain the same later no matter what caliber you choose to shoot.

MedWheeler
December 14, 2012, 10:35 PM
If you really don't want to start out with a .22, consider a .357 Magnum revolver. You can run .38 Special all day through it, then pop a few .357 rounds in it when you want more "boo-yah" to show off. The .357 is a good handgun-hunting round as well.

Ruger's SP-101 would be a solid choice.

Incidentally, my first handgun was indeed a .357 Magnum revolver. But, I was back in the shop three weeks later picking up a .22LR.

BYJO4
December 15, 2012, 12:21 AM
As a new shooter, a 22 makes the most sense for learning as ammo is cheap and depending on what you buy, good accuracy. If you definitely need it for hunting use along with range use, the 38/357 would be my choice. Good selection of factory ammo and recoil can be controlled by using mild loads.

22-rimfire
December 15, 2012, 12:53 AM
I also agree that as a new handgun shooter, you should consider a 22 in whatever configuration (DA revolver, SA revolver, or semi-auto pistol) to start.

The 44 mag has too much recoil (for now).

If you are dead set on a center fire revolver, get yourself something like a Ruger GP-100 (4") and shoot 38spls out of it paying close attention to the basics of shooting. After you feel like you are shooting okay, step up to 357 mag. No barrel changes, no nothing...

If you have your eyes set on the big hand cannons, you will eventually move up to the 44 mag. You will find the 357 mag has a fair amount of recoil and you can make a judgement after you are fairly comfortable with it. It is a fairly big step from 357 mag to 44 mag.

Glocks... I like them personally for a basic pistol. I prefer the M23 (40 S&W) or if you like the M19 (9mm). You will find the M23 a little harder to master due to the recoil.

You need to decide which platform you lean towards (revolver or pistol) and make your first choice based on your preferences now. In my opinion, it is better to start the learning curve with a 22. But some do start with the 9mm or 38spls.

blaisenguns
December 15, 2012, 02:02 AM
I always suggest a .357 MAgnum REvolver. Revolvers are easy to use and get your head around or a first timer, and you can train yourself with .38s, which hardly kick in a full size .357, and eventually you can get used to the recoil and muzzle blast of the .357 Mag.

40, .45 Auto, .357 auto

I would say that none of those rounds are adequete for hunting.

mauiglide
December 15, 2012, 03:53 AM
My very first handgun was a Taurus PT99 (Beretta 92F knockoff). If I could do it all over again, my first handgun would have been a S&W Model 686 Plus with 4" barrel. BTW, the Taurus is long gone and the Model 686 Plus is still around.

Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Tapatalk 2

BCRider
December 15, 2012, 05:00 AM
I third or fourth the idea of finding a Rent-A-Gun range and trying out a variety of handguns.

While you're at it look around your area and check out the various handgun competitions held by the clubs. IPSC, IDPA USPSA and other club level matches can provide a great reason for leaning one way or the other.

If you're a hunter and want to take on the challenge of handgun hunting then a revolver is likely your best bet for that style of handgunning. A .357 or .44Mag and sneaking up on the game in the manner more familiar to bow hunting or hunting from a fixed blind at the reduced ranges typical for handguns is part of the challenge. Handguns are all about close in for the most part. And that is part of the mystique of them. Oh sure, you can lob the bullets out to 100 and 200 yards to see if you can hit a target. But for hunting you want to be closer to ensure a quick takedown.

As for the center fire vs rimfire debate I'll simply add my usual advice. If a .22 handgun is not your first handgun it should darn well be your second. A lowly .22 isn't terribly dramatic. But it can provide so much to your practice and skill level for so cheap that it is most certainly a valuable tool for any hand gunner.

Lawdawg45
December 15, 2012, 10:25 AM
Let me go completely outside the box with my recommendation. New shooter+target shooting+hunting+low recoil+distance accuracy........please look at a Ruger Blackhawk in .357. It will also allow you to shoot cheap .38's at the range, plus it comes with a 9mm cylinder and has adjustable sights. This is a textbook gun to learn on and will be a great multi-tasker!;)

LD

blaisenguns
December 15, 2012, 10:27 AM
New shooter+target shooting+hunting+low recoil+distance accuracy........please look at a Ruger Blackhawk in .357. It will also allow you to shoot cheap .38's at the range, plus it comes with a 9mm cylinder and has adjustable sights. This is a textbook gun to learn on and will be a great multi=tasker!


Thats what I learned on!! :D

bannockburn
December 15, 2012, 10:40 AM
I would start with a .22, either a DA revolver or a semi-auto. Once you have mastered getting the proper sight picture and trigger control, then I would look for a centerfire gun. In a revolver it would probably be something versatile like a DA chambered in .357. For a semi-auto I would start with something in a 9mm., preferably one that also had a dedicated .22 conversion kit available for it.

Byrd666
December 15, 2012, 11:20 AM
As quite a few have suggested, go to a range and try every, and all, varieties of pistols and revolvers available.

I learned how to shoot with a .357 mag/ .38spcl 2" Ruger revolver as a kid. And to be quite honest, I really wish it had been a .22. I do believe I would have learned muzzle and trigger control quite a bit better with less recoil and flinching.

As also has been mentioned, quite a few shooters practice with a .22 to unlearn "bad" habits and such that come with shooting the the larger caliber weapons. And it's a whole lot more cost affective. Consider spending $5.00 for 250+- rounds of .22lr as compared to $60.00+- for the same amount of 9mm ammo. And more for larger calibers. Just as a FYI, I am planning on getting a Smith M&P 22 for practice myself. I'll practice with that, then fire off a mag. or two of the .40, 9mm, and .45 and the end so muscle memory still comes into play.

Good luck with whatever you choose, and enjoy the hunt as well.

BCRider
December 15, 2012, 03:05 PM
Lawdawg's suggestion for the Ruger .357/9mm convertable model is a pretty good one.

With low energy .38Spl target wadcutter loads the recoil would be soft and not a whole lot stronger than a .22. So this COULD be a good option as a "one and only" handgun for target shooting and hunting as you can shift from very mild to wild with just a shift in the ammo loads.

If you find that some of the action shooting matches are attracting you then a single action gun of this sort won't cut the mustard though. At least not unless it's Cowboy Action shooting that draws you in. In that case you're back to a 9mm or similar to keep the costs down. And with that comes the likelyhood of developing a flinch or other issues that simply do not happen or are minor things where a long gun is concerned. At that point a cheap but effective .22 training gun can be a great first or second gun for practicing the proper technique and for beating the whole flinch thing.

almherdfan
December 15, 2012, 03:17 PM
I learned to shoot on .22LR, but the first gun I bought was a Ruger .44Mag. The recoil didn't bother me, but the cost of ammo sure did.

I echo the suggestion to purchase a 22LR. Save $$, build confidence, and have fun!

random_gun
December 16, 2012, 01:35 PM
Thanks guys. I guess I will might go with a 22LR pistol. Just found out yesterday there are a few ranges around (well not that close) offer rental at a reasonable price.
How do you guys compare SA/DA/semi-auto (for the first handgun)?
Is 7'' barrel a lot better than 4'' barrel?

Franco2shoot
December 17, 2012, 02:36 PM
Remember, that a .44 mag gun doesn't need to always fire Magnum. You can run .44 special through a Ruger blackhawk to train, and use the magnum for hunting.

KKKKFL

Vern Humphrey
December 18, 2012, 01:14 PM
Look to a basic .22 automatic (Ruger MKIII, Buckmark, etc) and hone your skills while then occasionally rentin center fire pistols & revolvers till you discover what you enjoy and what best fits your needs.
Absolutely!

First of all, to be good with a handgun, you need to shoot a lot. .22s are cheap -- you can buy a bulk box of 500 for what a box of 50 centerfire rounds will cost you.

Next, you don't need distractions while learning to shoot. Low recoil and a low report will make it possible to concentrate on fundamentals without worrying about "Is this gonna hurt?"

While you're at it, get a big bulk pack of disposable ear plugs and a good set of earmuffs -- and wear them both while shooting.

MikeNice
December 21, 2012, 11:50 AM
People might laugh but, I suggest a Heritage Rough Rider in .22lr/.22magnum combo form. You have to switch out the cylinder but you get both calibers. The gun is low priced and will hold up for thousands of rounds.

Another thing is that while you're learning the basics you can switch up to .22mag for a little extra fun and a bit of rabbit or squirrel hunting. It is also effective against possums, racoons and other small varmint that can be a hassle. Hornady makes a Critical Defense round in .22mag as well.

mdauben
December 21, 2012, 12:09 PM
Price under $550
I would like one to do some target shooting, and maybe hunting as well.
For practice I guess I would definitely prefer one caliber with cheap, abundant ammo
Reliable, that saves a lot of hassle for beginners I think...
Honestly, what you are describing sounds like a .357 magnum revolver. You can find used a Ruger GP100 in that price range (you might even be able to find a new one, if you are lucky!). Its built like a tank, utterly reliable, can shoot (relativly) inexpensive .38 special ammo, and with care and the right bullets can be used on game up to deer size (although some consider it marginal in that use).

Right now what I have in mind is Glock gen4 G23 or G32.

I love my Glocks (I own several) and think they are first rate defensive firearms. Their accuracty tend to be "good enough" though, and not really what I would want for pure target shooting or hunting.

.40, .45 Auto, .357 auto can deliver enough energy, but the trajectory of .45 auto is not that ideal beyond 50 yards(too much drop).
None of these are particularly long-range cartridges and all of them tend to be somewhat expensive unless you reload. They are all capable defensive rounds, but none of them would be my first (or even second) choice for target shooting or hunting. The 9mm is about the cheapest centerfire pistol round and is often chosen for pure target shooting for that reason. Most of the people I've heard from who want to use a semiauto for hunting tend to gravitate to the more powerful 10mm, which is even more expensive and harder to find than the options you listed.

callenlee
December 21, 2012, 12:40 PM
I'm not sure how eastern tn you're wanting to stay, but I'm in sevierville and there is an indoor range here that rents handguns. I know there is definitely one in knoxville, and I think maybe a second but I've not been and couldn't say for certain. I can provide links/info if you're interested.

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