first handgun purchase


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Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 01:19 AM
first i'd like to say im new around here and so far it looks like a great place. im turning 21 in the next few months and im determined to purchase my first handgun (not first one ever, just first owned by myself.) and had a few questions for you guys.

first off as this will be my first firearm purchase from a shop (first firearm not handed down, or bought privately) what in Virginia, what would i need with me to make the purchase? i know i will need two proofs of identity, but what can i use for them? drivers license obviously, but what else? and is there a waiting period in Virginia for handguns?

also, what are some good shops in the richmond area that have a large selection? im interested in the taurus PT1911, or any decent 1911 under $700 as i have the most experience with 1911s and i like their feel better than other handguns i've used. any opinions besides the taurus?

and for my last question. is there a good range in the area? i would hate to have to go out to my dads in deerfield every time i want to shoot

anyway, thanks in advance for any help.

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gunnutery
January 22, 2013, 01:41 AM
As for the 1911 under $700, Springfield Armory has their GI models that were around the $500-600 mark (not sure on current pricing). I believe their Range Officer goes for around $800.

I'm not really a 1911 guy, but when I was tempted, SA was the only brand I was looking at. Check on Remington R1 prices too, they may be in your range.

Solo
January 22, 2013, 01:47 AM
I like my Rock Island 1911. Should be available for much less than $700.

BHP FAN
January 22, 2013, 01:59 AM
I got my RIA G.I. .45 for $500.00.

mnrivrat
January 22, 2013, 02:22 AM
Your get a lot of features with the Taurus . That means quite a bit IF you want those features. (many do). My personal experience has been with three of them , one range gun, and two that friends carry. All shot and functioned well.

RIA has a good reputation for lower priced guns. They also offer some basic and some enhanced versions. Seldom a complaint .

I have owned several 1911's by Colt , Detonic's, Para Ordenance, Remington Rand, etc. Most were very good guns . Detonic's was the lemon of the bunch.
I presently own an American Classic (Metro) in a Commander size . It has good features, including sights, beavertail grip safety, etc. Fit and finish on mine is very good, function has been flawless, and accuracy above average. Not bad for a cheaper end gun and I wouln'r hesitate buying another.

Overall the field is pretty darn good for 1911's and Remington as well as Ruger, and Springfield, make a quality example at mid range prices

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 02:47 AM
what about the Colt 1991? ive seen them rather cheap, but to be honest a cheap colt scares me. i havent heard enough about then to consider buying one though

22-rimfire
January 22, 2013, 04:36 PM
As far as I know, in VA you will only need your driver's license with current address. The NICs check will take care of the other concerns unless you don't fill out Form 4473 properly.

Isaac-1
January 22, 2013, 04:41 PM
I would like to suggest you look at like new, used guns, since the 1911 is not usually a high capacity handgun it is likely a relatively slow seller at this point and some people may be trading them in so they can buy the in demand high capacity guns due to fear of a ban.

Fishbed77
January 22, 2013, 06:02 PM
what about the Colt 1991? ive seen them rather cheap, but to be honest a cheap colt scares me.

The Colt 1991 is a better pistol than every other one that's been mentioned in this thread so far.

The quality is the same as every other mass-produced Colt (which is to say excellent), it just doesn't have as many features as their other pistols, and was originally introduced to meet a lower price point.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 06:43 PM
The Colt 1991 is a better pistol than every other one that's been mentioned in this thread so far.

The quality is the same as every other mass-produced Colt (which is to say excellent), it just doesn't have as many features as their other pistols, and was originally introduced to meet a lower price point.
im not arguing with you, but i've heard that the QC on the 1991 isnt very good.. so you could get a lemon more often.. i dont really know though...

Thompsoncustom
January 22, 2013, 06:51 PM
RIA, STI, Taurus, American Classic, and I'm sure there's more but that's all I could think of off the top off my head under 700 new.

Taurus has a stainless model, American classic has a Hard chrome, STI probably has one of the better guns for the guns and RIA makes great guns and are probably the cheapest.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 07:01 PM
are there regional boards here? i cant seem to find them.. and i was thinking the same thing about trade in.. i know a guy i work with at the shop just traded in a few handguns so he could get an AR before the ban... anyway, anyone know of a good shop in the richmond area? im not fond of greentop...

Fishbed77
January 22, 2013, 08:04 PM
m not arguing with you, but i've heard that the QC on the 1991 isnt very good.. so you could get a lemon more often.. i dont really know though...

You've heard wrong.

The pistols coming out of Hartford these days are some of the best Colt has ever made. Colt has invested heavily in new CNC equipment lately, uses less MIM parts than most makers, and features more skilled hand-fitting than most other mass-produced 1911s these days. Unlike the RIA, STI,or American Classic pistols, Colt are manufactured with forged slides and frames. They are also fully manufactured in the USA, unlike RIA, STI, American Classic, Taurus or Springfield Armory. The 1991 is made to the same level of quality as every other production-line Colt, but doesn't offer as many features in order to meet a lower price point.

Colt customer service is excellent, and the head of the Colt Custom Shop is an active participant over at the 1911 forum. He goes by the handle BJT72. If you have a problem with your pistol (which isn't likely), he WILL make it right.

Pud
January 22, 2013, 08:12 PM
You will need your driver's license, AND a secondary "official" something with the same address, name, etc.
Second one can be as easy as a check book, car registration- just make sure all info matches that driver's license..
Just curious, why do you not like Green Top?
Pud

Also, you only have to wait for the results of the state police background check to come back, then you go home with your new fire arm....

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 08:21 PM
You will need your driver's license, AND a secondary "official" something with the same address, name, etc.
Second one can be as easy as a check book, car registration- just make sure all info matches that driver's license..
Just curious, why do you not like Green Top?
Pud
the last 2 times ive went there with my father, we've gotten incredibly rude service, and theyve always been over priced, and we were told "we will not compete on prices"... which i know i dont spend alot of times in shops, but i feel like alot of them compete, especially whne they are trying to charge 275$ more for a mosberg 500... thats why i dont like green top

TheAmericanWay
January 22, 2013, 08:43 PM
First post, I thought I had to comment here.
I turned 21 a little over a month ago, I've bought a few handguns since then. Most recently I've been in the market for a 1911 and I was searching around from LGS to LGS and online but with the rush I've sworn off online orders for the time being.
As to 1911 "bang-for-buck" I would go with springfield, Kimber, Ruger or Colt.
If you do not have the $ on hand for a Springfield loaded or Kimber custom II I would look for the Ruger sr-1911 or a Springfield GI. I saw a RIA tactical for 450 and it was easy to pass up in favor of spending more for a higher quality 1911. Ultimately it was between the Springfield range officer for 749 plus tax and the Springfield loaded for 849 plus tax. OTD with the Springfield loaded stainless for 905 and haven't looked back. Although I am not naive to the fact that "there's always a better gun for only $100 more."
Whatever you do please don't buy a Taurus. The range officer is a much better 1911 but I went in favor of the stainless loaded over the range officer because it felt much tighter and the beaver tail was better feeling IMO.
Whatever you decide to buy, enjoy it and I hope your birthday is one to remember.

Furncliff
January 22, 2013, 09:13 PM
DeGoff's in Richmond. It's a much smaller shop than the others, it may be more to your liking. I was shopping for a Colt Gold Cup when I looked at Taurus and RIA. I bought the RIA , a 1911-.45 tactical. Great trigger, accurate and reliable. I put a nice set of Pachmyer grips on it, and it has served me well for ~ six years. I recently bought another RIA 1911 this time in 9mm ...used. This gun came to me with extraction problems. The RIA folks sent a UPS driver to pick it up and paid all the shipping. It did take two trips to Nv. to get it running right, but the customer service people, gunsmith and shipping dept were great to deal with. You may have to order it, they are not fancy but they work well. You can also buy these on line and spend a little less.

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 10:05 PM
I spent 700.00 on a Kimber Custom II Target a couple of years ago (maybe more like 4?) I have been very happy, would be surprised if you could get it within your budget. Should be close. I have seen Kimber flamed on the internet for years and have never actually witnessed the atrocities in my 1911 or friends. I suspect at one time there was something to it when they shifted from a "craftsman" kind of operation to mass production. I think it is far overstated at this point. It is (or was) known as the producer that brought the features of a "custom" 1911 to mass production and set the bar in that niche. Remington, Ruger, Springfield, and Taurus too have tried to follow. You could say that Colt with the 1991 tried to introduce Colt cache at this price point.

STI, RIA use the Phillipine frames to enter the fray and some love 'em. At the price point you mention I still like the above paragraph, but STI does really good work at a bit higher level. The Spartan is what you are talking about if you go STI and it's certainly credible.

Above your price point and shooting at the Wilson, Baer, Brown market is the Dan Wesson. Smith and Wesson has jumped in to make it more confusing and their price point is settling in between the first and third paragraph.

What do you think of external extractors? Schwartz safeties? Beavertail grip extensions? Form an opinion on these issues before making a decision. IMHO you should avoid Detonics, Para-Ordinance and AMT. They are not really surviving the competition.

P.S. Then ther is Sig Sauer and the imports, doesn't get any easier.

I would give preference in a tough decision to good organizations to stand behind the arm. Smith and Wesson is premium in my book, Taurus still highly suspect. Remington is apparently going through another corporate sale and the last one did them no favors.

You chose the most complex market to ask people to comment on, advise. So forgive me for rambling.

chris in va
January 22, 2013, 10:09 PM
I would not recomment a 1911 45 as your first handgun. Ammo is costly and rare, and recoil of the 45 will encourage flinching.

Have you taken a handgun safety class yet? Do that before buying.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 10:33 PM
I spent 700.00 on a Kimber Custom II Target a couple of years ago (maybe more like 4?) I have been very happy, would be surprised if you could get it within your budget. Should be close. I have seen Kimber flamed on the internet for years and have never actually witnessed the atrocities in my 1911 or friends. I suspect at one time there was something to it when they shifted from a "craftsman" kind of operation to mass production. I think it is far overstated at this point. It is (or was) known as the producer that brought the features of a "custom" 1911 to mass production and set the bar in that niche. Remington, Ruger, Springfield, and Taurus too have tried to follow. You could say that Colt with the 1991 tried to introduce Colt cache at this price point.

STI, RIA use the Phillipine frames to enter the fray and some love 'em. At the price point you mention I still like the above paragraph, but STI does really good work at a bit higher level. The Spartan is what you are talking about if you go STI and it's certainly credible.

Above your price point and shooting at the Wilson, Baer, Brown market is the Dan Wesson. Smith and Wesson has jumped in to make it more confusing and their price point is settling in between the first and third paragraph.

What do you think of external extractors? Schwartz safeties? Beavertail grip extensions? Form an opinion on these issues before making a decision. IMHO you should avoid Detonics, Para-Ordinance and AMT. They are not really surviving the competition.

P.S. Then ther is Sig Sauer and the imports, doesn't get any easier.

I would give preference in a tough decision to good organizations to stand behind the arm. Smith and Wesson is premium in my book, Taurus still highly suspect. Remington is apparently going through another corporate sale and the last one did them no favors.

You chose the most complex market to ask people to comment on, advise. So forgive me for rambling.
the only experience i have with external extractors is on a kimber... and have to say didnt like it... like beavertail extensions.. and pardon me asking, but what is a schwartz safety?

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 10:40 PM
Start here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQcT8yooEmE

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 10:45 PM
I would not recomment a 1911 45 as your first handgun. Ammo is costly and rare, and recoil of the 45 will encourage flinching.

Have you taken a handgun safety class yet? Do that before buying.
i have been shooting since age Six, and this is not the first one i have ever shot. its just the first one i have ever personally owned. i am used to .45ACP, and actually have quite alot of ammo, as i pay for my own ammo when my friends bring their hand guns over.. read original post because i stated that. please dont assume that because i am asking these questions i am green when it comes to operating and safety.

dirtengineer
January 22, 2013, 10:45 PM
I have as Stainless Taurus PT1911 and like it.

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 10:49 PM
To some John Moses Browning was a genius of the first order and anything that deviates seriously from his orginal design is nothing short of heresy.

Others are more pragmatic. Some of the greatest unsettled debates about 1911's revolve around the extractor and making the cocked and locked condition more palatable for either users or the manufacturers lawyers. Kimbers employ the Schwartz safety. You must do your own research regarding which of your possible choices employ the extractor and safety features YOU prefer.

JTQ
January 22, 2013, 10:52 PM
rswartsell wrote,
Kimbers employ the Schwartz safety.
It's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

It is a SWARTZ firing pin safety.

And as usual, may the schwartz be with you.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 10:57 PM
i believe im going to stay away from kimber. my buddy has a kimber and it frequently fails to eject and he has had other issues with it and is planning to trade it because in his words "i've spent more at the gun smith then i paid for the gun"

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 11:07 PM
I stand corrected. You should however give me a bastardized break as my last name is Swartsell.

It started out as Schwertzel. A very old germanic name that means "armorer".

Das Schwert=The Sword

P.S. I like my Kimber, you should make an informed choice based on what YOU like.

P.P.S. It may be your fingers, but my family IS the chalkboard.

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 11:23 PM
I would like to add the observation that to owners of reasonably quality 1911's perhaps 90+ percent of malfunctions are attributable to magazines. In this area I will agree that Kimbers factory mags are not good. By using a combination of Mec-Gar, Checkmate and Wilson mags, such anecdotes don't trouble me at all.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 11:25 PM
i am making that on my personal preference. im not saying that a kimber cant be a good gun, but i did not enjoy shooting my buddies kimber because every 4th round it fails to eject. and he cant seem to get that fixed. once again, no offense to you and your kimber i just didnt like my brief experiences with one. im not entirely sold on the taurus though, im really considering looking into the colt 1991.. maybe finding it used. im really worried about prices i mean its only 2 months from now, but i feel like the current scare might increase prices...

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 11:32 PM
Sir,

I am HIGHLY in favor of you making your own decision independent of "internet wisdom". I believe in your choice of the 1911 platform and I say educate yourself to make the proper decision for YOU. Remeber that bit about mags, especially for 1911's.

Spike_akers
January 22, 2013, 11:39 PM
Sir,

I am HIGHLY in favor of you making your own decision independent of "internet wisdom". I believe in your choice of the 1911 platform and I say eductae yourself to make the proper decision for YOU. Remeber that bit about mags, especially for 1911's.
i understand the mags are prone to failure, and my friend replaced his factory mags with wilson, and that stopped his feeding issue... i feel bad because im asking questions and going i know i know i know haha, maybe i need to figure out a way to reword my questions. if i were to go used, what would you look for outside of kimber and taurus? i think the colt is going to be a long shot..

rswartsell
January 22, 2013, 11:59 PM
Ruger, Springfield

mnrivrat
January 23, 2013, 01:17 AM
if i were to go used, what would you look for outside of kimber and taurus?

In a used 1911 remember that it is the type of gun that sees a lot of customizing work. Some of that work is not well done. I would learn to field strip the type of 1911 you are looking at and inspect the internals for signs of tampering before purchase - if not allowed ask them to field strip it. If that is not allowed, you are taking an extra significant risk.

A good example of this was a Colt Commander I picked up at a gun show many years ago. Looked OK but when I got it home and field stripped it ,the rails were full of deep punch marks.

For what is worth I have been working the past 5 years for a friend who owns a gun shop. The most freguently traded in 1911 just happen to be Kimbers. The functioning complaints on the Kimber just happen to be the highest for this shop over all other 1911's . I will not knock Kimber based on our experiences, but it is at least notable that one of the top builders for quality 1911's should turn out this way.
I also was informed, by customers ,that Kimber was good at standing behind their guns. Folks just don't like having to send them back for adjustment when they have paid the high price for a quality gun.

Another funny fact is that I have owned 5 Colts over the years, but the most accurate 1911 out of the box happens to be the American Classic I presently own. When they come together right they are great guns, no matter who made them.

JTQ
January 23, 2013, 07:31 AM
Two things you need to decide before you buy a 1911 are what kind of sights you want, fixed or adjustable, and can you live with a GI grip safety or do you need a beavertail grip safety.

Making the wrong choice, and deciding to change later usually will require some professional expertise, some grinding or welding on the frame, and some significant outlay of cash.

I'm a Colt guy. They make a solid pistol and are a good value, but the 1991 model comes with a GI grip safety. I can live with the GI grip safety, but you need to see if you can live with that before you buy. The percentage of guys that need to have a beavertail grip safety is very large. If you find out later you don't like it, expect to pay somebody to grind your frame to put a proper beavertail grip safety on it.

For quite a while lots of guys have been recommending the STI Spartan (and I believe the Trojan is now only available with adjustable sights also) as a good value in the inexpensive range, and the Springfield Range Officer at a slightly higher price/quality point. No doubt both are good values, but they both come with with adjustable rear sights. The slide cuts for those adjustables are very different than the cuts for most fixed sights. I've tried to warn guys, and it's taken longer than I thought it would, but the posts from guys saying "hey, I love my Spartan/Range Officer, but these adjustable sights are uncomfortable for concealed carry, or I'd like to get night sights, or dot sights, or the screws come loose, or they broke, etc", are finally starting to show up in significant enough numbers for it to be noticeable. Harrison Design and I think 10-8 Performance make fixed sight options, but if you really do want fixed sights, get them up front you'll have a lot more options.

mnrivrat wrote
In a used 1911 remember that it is the type of gun that sees a lot of cutomizing work. Some of that work is not well done.
This is an excellent point. Since most of you guys have spent just about your entire lives in the "Glock/AR era" they all think if there is a part out there for my weapon all I have to do is buy it and snap it onto/into my gun. It doesn't work that way with a 1911. The stuff you see guys doing or at least trying to do to their 1911's on the various 1911 forums is truly scary.

Spike_akers
January 24, 2013, 07:03 PM
So, I stopped by a shop with a guy from work and looked at some used 1911s, and I gotta say, I have to have the beavertail grip, I could definitely deal with the GI, but the beavertail feels a lot more comfortable to me. I looked at a new Taurus while I was there as well, and I was pretty impressed with it... And thanks for the heads up on field stripping them. I would have never thought of that...

rswartsell
January 24, 2013, 07:24 PM
1911 mags are not just prone to failure which I interpret to be wear. With so many manufacturers out there I would say they are prone to shoddy design and execution too, and apparently just plain incompatibility sometimes. Finding good mags that just plain work for you is a common 1911 owners goal nowadays.

Bob C
January 25, 2013, 08:51 PM
I've had a Remington R1 Enhanced for a few weeks, and it has been 100% reliable with various factory loads and reloads. Based on that experience, I just purchased an R1 Stainless, and the first 150 rounds ran through it 100%.

Both are more accurate than I am.

Spike_akers
January 27, 2013, 01:47 AM
Has anyone had any dealings with Sig sauer?? They have a .45 1911 that's close to my price range and was just wondering if anyone's ever dealt with them... I like the remington, but 1200 is a bit out of my range..

mnrivrat
January 27, 2013, 02:37 AM
Has anyone had any dealings with Sig sauer??

Sig Sauer has a reputation for quality guns. I have not personaly handled their 1911 gun so can not speak toward it.
My brothers Model 220 has been flawless and Sig's pistols have been used by a number of law enforcement agensies. Well respected

The Mesqito 22 auto however has not lived up to their standard from all I hear, and from the couple I have handled. Their pot metal slide is mostly the issue .

Spike_akers
January 27, 2013, 04:49 AM
I haven't been able to find many personal experiences online or in person about sigs 1911 but apparently the mags are horrible... Not that its surprising with a 1911... So depending on what kind of deals I can find its between the Taurus and the Sig so far... I'm definitely leaning towards the Sig... We'll see how much I can scare up to put towards it though... I was anticipating mags right out of the gate anyway...

Spike_akers
January 27, 2013, 05:14 AM
An experience I forgot to share, kimber has sealed their negative reputation with me. Me and the guys went out shooting and I fired 3.5 mags and in the first three I had 4 FTEs and on the 4th the extractor evicted itself and hit me in the face. Thank god for safety glasses. Does anyone know which extractor the Sig has? I can't find that info..

The only good I can say that has come out of it, is he called Kimber and even though is gun is quite old, they offered to replace the slide with an internal extractor model... So if nothing else kimber has good service.. but I plan on staying far away from them.

Edit: I don't know why I'm having so much trouble posting, this is the 3rd time I wrote that. Hopefully it doesn't come out as a repost.

kalel33
January 28, 2013, 12:47 AM
Sig Sauer has a reputation for quality guns. I have not personaly handled their 1911 gun so can not speak toward it.

Same here. I own the SP2022 and it's an absolute awesome firearm. With the craziness of the pricing and that I have more than one handgun, I'm selling it locally here soon with 2 15 round magazines, along with the 10 round that came with it for $600. I can't believe what people are paying for handguns and magazines right now but I might as well get a little kickback. I'm not selling here or taking messages about the sale.

Spike_akers
February 3, 2013, 07:52 PM
i know this thread is dead at this point, but i had a chance to fire a brand new kimber. and apparently they have went away from the external extractor (at least on some of their models) and i have to say that i'm open to getting a new kimber at this point.. although im fairly certain ill be getting the sig, the kimber definitely has a shot at this point.

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