First semiauto


March 24, 2004, 01:59 AM
I'm planning at getting my first semiauto (first firearm at all, but that's *kinda* beside the point) soon. Other than the usual things, I'd like to hear what as many people as possible have to say on firsts, especially on preferred training (pick someone local, an ex-LEO, or national course of some kind?), good round selection (9mm, other?), etc.

Let it be known that:
- I won't legally be able to carry in my *cough* wonderful state, Wisconsin, until someone else takes the CCW issue back to the courts or someone throws Doyle out of office, or both.
- My goal IS a self-defense weapon, with CCW secondary in my mind at this point, though I'm still hoping it gets passed here. If not, maybe I'll move to a saner state, or get more involved in local politics.
- I'm current considering a G19 or G17, in no particular order.

Thanks in advance for any/all input.

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March 24, 2004, 08:54 AM
Howdy, and welcome in.

You'll find about as many opinions as there are members here, and
a lot of input on your questions. You'll also find that the members are
willing to go all out to help. Absolutely a world-class forum here.

For MY input, go to a range or club that rents different makes and models
and try a few on for size, then make a selection based on what suits
YOU. One man's trash is another man's treasure. All of'em have their
strong and weak points.

Aside from that, about all I can add is to resist the urge to go for the
cheapest deal. You get what you pay for, as a rule, and if the pistol may
ultimately wind up being all that stands between you and the Highway of no Return, you want the very best that you can afford.



Black Snowman
March 24, 2004, 09:30 AM
My advice typically starts with "Listen to 'Tuner" or "Listen to WildAlaska" ;)

There are so many good choices you're going to have a heck of a time narrowing them down. The 9mm is a good choice in whatever platform you choose because it will be relatively inexpensive to practice with. Bulk and milsurp 9mm ammo can be had at very low cost.

I prefer full size guns personally but if you're going to CCW the slighly smaller G19 might be a better option of the two. My 1st handgun was a Glock, the G24P competion model in .40 S&W (no longer in production). One of the reasons I chose the Glock was because it was "unsafe" and I knew I would have to pay more attention to my safety procedures and wouldn't develop as many bad habbits.

Since then I haven't bought a single Glock. It's a good gun but I've fallen in love with the feel, performance, looks and value of the CZ pistols. My next 3 handgun purchases I plan on are all CZs. I don't regret getting the Glock but I don't think it's as versitile as the CZs and I've since decided I like a true single action trigger pull over the "SafeAction" on the Glocks.

So, go rent some stuff ;)

Gary in Pennsylvania
March 24, 2004, 10:11 AM
I second Black Snowman . I am also a hopeless CZ junkie. You cannot beat their price vs. reliability vs. accuracy.

If you wanna home defense with no regard to CCW, look at the


Or the CZ-75B

Both are excellent choices - It just depends on how you prefer your weapon to wait in "standby mode" so to speack (cocked & locked vs decocked)

If CCW is in the future - look at either the P-01 or the PCR respectively:

Hey Clipse, wouldja toss a pic of your P-01 in here?

March 24, 2004, 10:35 AM
There's a lot of guns you could go with and I'm sure all would be great, but since you've expressed an interest in the Glocks...I'd get the 19. I've recently bought this myself and it'd make a great carry gun too at some point. I can't carry either so I'm in the same boat as you. I've never handled the 17 so I'm guessing it's larger than the 19 and may not carry as easily.

The only draw back I've found with the Glocks is that they don't strip for cleaning as easily as the you might want to look at a compact L or type M. I've recently struggled taking apart my 19, which I was told was a "breeze." It was anything but. The Berettas allow you to keep the slide in place, press down on the lever on one side while pushing the other downward -- and it comes off easily. With the Glock, you grip it in an awkward way (for me), and slide it back only a few inches while pushing both levers downward -- which I found was a Hell of a chore to get my nails to grip. Take a good look at it again....this could be a deciding factor or maybe you'll be better at it than me.

As someone pointed out, the CZ is another option you might want to check out. The best advice is never rush your first buy and make sure that aside from looks and performance, this is a gun that you can handle well both shooting and cleaning.


March 24, 2004, 11:09 AM
No prob Gary,
This is a great gun that I could recomend to anyone. I love it.


March 24, 2004, 11:31 AM
Welcome to THR, Jadecristal.

I'm another CZ supporter and I JUST got into this as well. Because of that, let me just tell you that if your smart and have balanced moral values, your mentality for being armed will change dramatically in the next few weeks if you keep reading and researching. This forum was the best thing that could happen to me. After many posts in many forums, I went with what most people were saying was the perfect "first pistol". My first first firearm of any kind as well.
I'm with clipse, I bought the CZ 75 (P-01) because of it's praise by many, it's compact and sleek design and its ease of taking apart to clean. I'm glad I was steered toward the CZ 75 series after looking at many pistols throughout my first purchasing process.

There are so many makes/models that it gets tough. Your going to get supporters of all types. Just remember that regardless of which firarm you pick, that your doing this for a serious reason.

This was my first post. We may have different types of questions, but you may find the questions your looking for in this post and throughout.

Just keep reading, researching and posting questions and comments, everyone here is great and theirs alot of knowledge and experience here.

Gary in Pennsylvania
March 24, 2004, 12:05 PM
Hmmmmmmmm - CZ Porn. :cool:

March 24, 2004, 12:54 PM

The Glock 19 was my first firearm and pistol. It makes a great first gun, but you really need to follow the 4 rules, as it's as close as you can come to a double action revolver. The 9mm is a great round, as it comes in cheap target packs but also has great premium defense rounds. It has an easy takedown, is durable, and most importantly reliable. The trigger isn't the best, though. I found the 17 to be too an overly large platform for the 9mm, where the G19 has great proportions.

Guns, being very subjective, are different to different people. You may want to choose after trying a couple of different varieties. But, you can't go wrong with a Glock, even if you are surrounded by CZ's.

March 24, 2004, 01:11 PM
Wow, nobody picked up his training request yet.

First, 9mm would be my choice (and it was my choice) for your first real pistol. Cheap enough to train with, good enough to stop bi-podal hairless apes with social deficiencies.

For training, I'd just start with an NRA Basic pistol safety course. There should be plenty of certified instructions around (I know there are here -- but they advertise for CCW purpose). Ask at the local gunshop. There's probably a signup sheet there.

Purchase pistol, buy snap caps, get familiar with taking it apart, loading it, unloading it, etc, and take your basic pistol safety course. From there? Well, I don't know what to tell you. Whatever tickles your fancy past that point.

Oh, and buy some ear/eye protection too with that pistol. Can't forget that!

Since you didn't mention price (which is rare!) pick anything in 9mm from Glock, CZ, Sig, H&K, or Beretta and you won't go wrong. Don't forget the Springfield XD9 either. I get to go play with one today. Find something that fits your hand and your wallet.

March 24, 2004, 01:12 PM
I'll add to the G19 vote as well. Excellent and fun to shoot. The earlier comment about field stripping must be an error. It takes less than 2 seconds to take down the Glock for field stripping. It was the ease of doing it that was one of my reasons for purchase. The other poster said you had to bring back the slide a few inches and then press a lever etc. Well, no wonder. That DOES NOT WORK. You bring back the slide about 1/10th of an inch...easily done with one hand as per the directions.

That does not suggest that the beretta is hard to do, but the Glock is about as simple as it gets.

Mr. Mysterious
March 24, 2004, 01:24 PM
I've recently struggled taking apart my 19, which I was told was a "breeze." It was anything but. The Berettas allow you to keep the slide in place, press down on the lever on one side while pushing the other downward -- and it comes off easily. With the Glock, you grip it in an awkward way (for me), and slide it back only a few inches while pushing both levers downward -- which I found was a Hell of a chore to get my nails to grip.

I don't own a glock, but I believe that you are only supposed to pull the slide back 1/8", pull the slide lock down, and then slide the slide forward and off. I've broken down friends Glocks...and this is what I did and found that it takes nearly no effort to accomplish.

If you are really pulling it back a few inches then you are reseting the trigger and the striker and making more work for yourself.

Any experts want to chime in...I think that this may be your problem.

Sorry about going off topic!

Back to the topic...

Buy a good .22lr and learn to shoot before you go to a centerfire. For the price of a glock (say $535) you could buy a good .22lr like a Ruger Mk2 or even a Beretta Neo (opinions vary, I like mine) and buy a Steyr M9 or a CZ75 pistol. That way you get something to train and practice on (not to mention spend less money on ammo) and something with bang for self-defense. The Steyr makes an excellent pistol as does the CZ's.

March 24, 2004, 01:41 PM
I figured out what I had done wrong. I pulled the slide back too far which kept resetting the trigger. I struggled because I had to hold the gun in a way that felt awkward while trying to pull levers downward. It wasn't easy but I'm sure that may change with more practice -- this is after all my first Glock. What surprises me about the gun is that the trigger must be pulled before attempting to remove the slide. This makes it all the more important to remove the ammo and clear the chamber before attempting to clean it -- but I would hope everyone would do that regardless of the gun since it would be equally dangerous, even on a Beretta.

I've nothing against the Glock and I'm proud to have the 19 in my collection, but I hope to someday include a CZ and an H&K compact. In my state though, it'll be a long wait unless I'm able to afford to move. For the person that started this post -- I would try to handle a variety of different handguns to see which is most user friendly. If the one you like best is more than you hoped to spend -- save up -- a good firearm will always prove it's worth.

March 24, 2004, 01:51 PM
That's one not so nice feature with a Glock, you must pull the trigger to break it down. But breakdown is a breeze.

Mr. Mysterious
March 24, 2004, 01:58 PM
Mastrogiacomo, was your firearm new? If so did you read the manual...I just have to ask... not want to flame you, but with dangerous things like guns and cars the manual is required reading.

I know that with the last gun that I bought, I read the manual...and did the breakdown step by step while waiting for the background check to come back. This way there would be no suprises when I went to the range a few minutes later.

If you buy a gun used and don't have a manual, I don't know a reputible gun company that will not send you a free manual if you request one.

Once again, don't mean for this to be a flame...but it is pretty good advice especially in a thread with someone wanting advice for their first gun.

March 24, 2004, 02:12 PM
I'm not offended. I did read the manual but I always have to go over things a few times before I "get it." This is not a new Glock but an old model since new guns aren't allowed in my state. Everything of the "banned" guns is pre 10/21/98, used, or refurb -- mine's a refurb. I obvioulsy didn't want to use it at the range right away until I practiced loading/unloading with the snaps and understood how to take it down for cleaning.

At this site you can find the link for guns we can't get in my state. It's a large number sadly.

Mr. Mysterious
March 24, 2004, 02:15 PM
Wow, that list is crazy...come move out to the midwest...they let you buy anything and everything.

March 24, 2004, 02:17 PM
Glocks are always a good choice. Out of the models you noted the G19 is the best choice if you intend to carry it when you are given the opportunity. Having said that, I personally feel that 9mm is not the best self defense round. Others will disagree. I am a firm believer in the .45acp round. As such i think that the Glock 30 is best option for self defense currently availible. 10+1 rounds of .45 in a compact, durable, accurate package cant be beat. Throw in some good night sights and youre set.


March 24, 2004, 02:21 PM
Best caliber always starts up a debate. Shot placement is everything and people have been killed with .22s. If you're going to practice a lot with it, any gun will do you. The .45s cost more to feed but I say go with the gun and caliber that's most comfortable for you.

March 24, 2004, 07:03 PM
You have been given some excellent choices here....I suggest you look at what the majority of law enforcement and military use: the short list is: Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Glock, many 1911's, Ruger. Most/all have pretty good websites. Unless you are 100% set on a semiauto, I'd consider a revolver in .357 which will also fire .38 Special. -- Or, you may do great with a Government type 1911 .45 ACP(Colt, Springfield Armory, Kimber, Etc.) can't go wrong with a .22 Lr. revolver or pistol, either. Everyone's comfort level and learning curve is different. Have fun!

March 25, 2004, 12:20 AM
9mm is good to start with as it is cheap and available. As far as guns go check out the Walther P99, I love mine. I do have a CZ P-01, as well, just don't have the same amount of range time.

March 25, 2004, 02:04 AM
Thank you for all of the advice. I went out and paid for (but can't take home for 48 hours from the background check, which won't happen until Thursday morning) a G17. I was relatively set on a Glock to start with, and with the encouragement of a few here who affirmed that a 9mm Glock was a (arguably) good starting point, I went to the store and tried on both a G17 and G19. Since I have larger hands, and the bottom of my grip falls below the bottom of, or right to, the magazine on a G19, I opted for the G17.

Since I won't be carrying it for a while, if at all, depending on the legal process here, I'm vaguely planning on getting the G17 a little brother if it comes to that point here in Wisconsin. :) I get the vague feeling that this "gun" thing could get become addictive.

Cost wasn't too major of a factor in purchase decision, though I would've balked at 1k, 3-600 dollars is about the range I was aiming for (bad accidental pun). Living at home and not paying rent has it's advantages. And disadvantages.

Now, on to the great choice of ammunition.

I'm also taking some advice from people who advise extra mags, saying something about "reloading at the range" not being fun. One extra is sitting with the box for pickup on Saturday, and I might pick up a fourth. More isn't always better, sometimes it's just more - but in this case, I think more is better.

March 25, 2004, 02:20 AM
mags are always a good thing to have..and while i am not a glock fan, for personal reasons, i too think they are a great starting point for beginner shooters...They are drop dead reliable, accurate enough for defense, reasonably priced, and popular enough to be serviced anywhere.

Good go shoot it...a lot. Until you know it like the back of your hand.

Lobotomy Boy
March 25, 2004, 08:52 AM
Odd how everyone assumes Jadecristal is a male. From the request for training, I assumed he or she was a female. I'm in the business of writing and publishing instructional books on the subject of motorcycling and our research has shown that women entering the sport of motorcycling are far more likely to seek formal training and to purchase books on the subject than are men.

I've also noticed that women tend to have far less experience with mechanical objects than do men. I suspect this is cultural because women have better finger dexterity than do men and thus should be more skilled mechanically. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that little boys are given Fischer Price Tool Kits and little girls are given Barbie Dolls.

Whether we are talking male or female, owning a gun comes with a great deal of responsibility, and one's first gun should be as uncomplicated as possible to allow the owner to develop basic skills without getting confused by complex controls and involved safety procedures. These things are second nature to anyone who has any experience with handguns, but they can prove distracting to a brand new shooter.

For autoloaders, I'd highly recommend the Glock 19. It's as safe as a revolver, and its complete lack of controls allows the owner to focus on developing basic skills. Then when he or she is comfortable with the basics of gun safety and proper usage, he or she can start learning to use 1911s and CZs and Sigs.

March 25, 2004, 09:19 AM
You have been given some excellent choices here....I suggest you look at what the majority of law enforcement and military use: the short list is: Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Glock, many 1911's, Ruger.

Not to be nitpicky but, according to CZUSA:

CZ 75 B is used by more Governments, Militaries, Police and Security agencies than any other pistol in the world.

Just thought I would throw that in there. :D


March 25, 2004, 11:41 AM
heh, it's too late clipse

But maybe after the Glock 17, Jade will try a CZ 75 at a range. I shot afew Glocks myself and I gotta say, thier nice pistols. One thing I didnt like was the small slide-lock release lever. Aside that, was a nice shoot.

Lobotomy Boy
March 25, 2004, 11:52 AM
I hear a lot of complaints about the slide release lever on the Glock being too small, but has anyone ever had any trouble using it in spite of its size? I've shot hundreds, maybe getting up towards thousands of rounds through Glocks in a variety of calibers, and never once have I had an issue getting the slide release button pressed. It's small, but it works so well it doesn't need to be large. Unlike the slide release on a Ruger P97, which is so big it is practically a breaker bar. And it needs to be big because you need all the leverage you can get to release the slide. I've even had to resort to using both hands to get the danged things to work, which is not the safest situation, especially with a single-action/double-action autoloader. With the Glocks, I get a safe grip on the gun, have the gun safely pointed down range, exert a reasonable amount of pressure on the release and it works exactly as designed, every time.

It seems to me that the complaints about the Glock slide release are more aesthetic than practical.

March 25, 2004, 11:56 AM
Yeah, after I posted that I went back and read all the other posts. I wasn't really trying to kick a dead horse. :D I just wanted to put out there that the CZ 75B is used by military and police agencies just that same as the rest on the list. (Possibly even used more) The only difference is that that is in other countries. The 75B would be used here more if it were more popular. Not that I don't mind the CZ being a wall flower. It helps keep the price down. :D Besides everyone eventually comes to their czenses and gets a CZ. :D ;)


March 26, 2004, 04:22 AM
as a side note, several other striker fired pistols require you to pull the trigger to release the slide. One of them being my Fabrique Nationale Forty-Nine which uses the repeatable secure striker system.

March 26, 2004, 08:11 AM
The FortyNine is a great a CZ100 with a slightly better trigger.

Look your question is highly subjective.....choosing a gun is a very personal thing.

Rent them, shoot them and price them out. You never know what is gonna Melt in your hands.....simply put. CZ's are a smoking deal and are reputed as one of the best shooters out there......all with great reason.

But Glocks, Berettas and otheres twist alot of peoples knobs also. There is no "ONE PERFECT GUN" out there. If there was IMO, its my PCR. But it twisted my knobs and keep on doing it.

Shoot, shoot and shoot some more until you find one that works for YOU!

Shoot well.

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