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First handgun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Warpspyder, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. Warpspyder

    Warpspyder Member

    Hey all I am new too these boards and wanted to get some feedback.

    I am going to be turning 21 in the great state of "Kalifornistan" and will be purchasing my first handgun. I have taken the courses on safety and properly handling a handgun.

    I am leaning towards buying a .40 handgun. I know Glock makes a good product but what else is there? Any ideas for a first time handgun owner/operator?

    Take it easy.
  2. pauli

    pauli Well-Known Member

    i'm in a similar situation (spending my time these days considering what should be my first handgun purchase). personally, i'm planning on a .22... i want something cheap to buy, and cheap to shoot, and that means .22lr. learn good habits with it, too - few people pick up a flinch from a ruger mark II ;)

    /me goes back to researching
  3. Warpspyder

    Warpspyder Member

    Im not sure the benefits of going with a smaller caliber weapon over a larger one in the early stages of learning how to shoot a handgun.

    I have a slight time constraint in that I am starting the police academy and will be using 9mm, .40, and .45 handguns. Id guess owning one in advance and having a working knowledge of it would be beneficial.

    I really like Glocks and have heard nothing but great things about them. They dont have a safety though, right? Would that be a downside for a person who is trying to learn all the proper ways of handling a handgun? I really dont mind prices so that isnt too much of an issue for me.

    I just want a handgun that is user friendly and easy to learn on.
  4. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    To be honest how can you judge the benefits of something when you have no working knowledge?
    The .22lr will allow you to learn to shoot easier and quicker than a larger caliber. After you have master the basics of shooting then moving up to larger calibers and dealing with their recoils will be far easier and quick to pick up. A lot of shooters today start with large calibers, but truthfully they would be better shots and would have learned quicker and cheaper with a .22lr.
    First learn to shoot. On the average, most LEO's aren't very good shots. That should tell you how much emphasis is placed on training and practice.

    You can get your chosen Glock and the .22lr conversion kit. Install the kit and learn to shoot with the .22lr then when you are proficient with it change it back to the designed caliber and learn that. Revert back to the .22lr kit to solve shooting problems that will pop up from time to time.
    One day you will realize the virtue of the little .22lr and purchase you a handgun chambered in that cartridge.

    Glocks do have safeties, but they are not very forgiving pistols. Light triggers and the manual safety is on the trigger face. Not a very good design I think. A true DA/SA pistol may be a better learning platform for you.
  5. Denmark116

    Denmark116 Well-Known Member

    first gun

    When I got my first gun, I talked with many people and got many opinions. However, the opinion I listened to was a LEO Range Officer. He told me that my first gun should be a wheel gun.... To be exact a S&W 686 .357...

    Easy to use, great for learning....
    Fun to shoot at the range...
    Cheap Ammo (.38's)....
    Move up to a more powerful caliber (.357's)....
    Great for Personal Protection (mostly home, thought I do have a rather large IWB holster for it)...

    Just my .02..... but I was happy and moved up to an automatic about 6 mons or so later (the Ruger P89 at the time)....

    now I have 1911's, Sig's, etc... But in a place of honor in the safe is that first 686......

  6. iwjev

    iwjev Well-Known Member

    If your local gun shop has a range then I bet they rent out used guns. I would go by pick out a few different models and see what you like the best. Once you have the model the just pick a caliber. I myself only get 44mag, 45acp, 9mm, 357, or 22lr. The three guns I would recommend trying are the H&K USPc 45acp, Glock 30, Sig P245. They are all great for shooting, home defense and CCW.

    Enjoy your new gun,
  7. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Well-Known Member

    What Denmark suggested used to be true--.38 was the cheapest ammo--but these days it costs about twice as much as 9mm ammo. Since you are going to be using an autoloader in your professional career, I think you might as well learn to shoot using one.

    Since you are going into law enforcement, you will have the opportunity to own numerous guns in your career so you needn't look at whatever gun you buy now as a lifetime commitment.

    If money is tight, which I assume it is for a student, the most economical route is to get a Ruger P95. You should be able to pick one up new for around $310. Take the money you'd save buying a future family heirloom like a USP or Sig and spend it on ammo and range time. A proficient shooter with an inexpensive Ruger is a lot more effective than a collecter with a vault full of unused 1911s, Sigs, HKs, and Beretta safe queens. Given your choice of careers, your life could very likely depend on your becoming a proficient shooter.
  8. MaterDei

    MaterDei Well-Known Member


    I'll probably get flamed for this.

    I'm not sure that getting anything right now is such a good idea. If you are indeed about to enter the police academy you need to be very careful you don't teach yourself bad habits that will hamper your instruction and ability to qualify at the academy. They will expect you to handle and fire your firearm in a specific manner and if you learn something different now you will have to unlearn it at the academy.

    If you are intent on getting one anyway and since cost is not an issue I would recommend you get a .22 AND whatever kind of gun you will be shooting at the academy. In a perfect situation the .22 would either be a conversion kit for the full sized version or a 'cadet' version of the full sized weapon.

    Along with the weapons you should find an instructor who is either on the force you are joining or is familiar with their techniques so that he can instruct you properly. If he is on the force and teaches on the side he might end up being your instructor at the academy! A real benefit! At a minimum you can score points by dropping his name to your firearm's instructor.

    Good luck!
  9. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    If you're going to be able to practice a significant amount of time between now and entering the academy and budget is a concern at all, a 9mm will probably cost about half as much to shoot as a 40 and if you're new to guns, you're less likely to develop a flinch based on actual recoil as opposed to blast. On the other hand, many folks flinch as a reaction to muzzle blast and in my experience 165 and certainly 180 Gr 40 ammo is often quieter than 115 or 124 Gr 9mm.

    Usually I recommend a CZ or an EAA in 9mm as a first auto loader but going into law enforcement, I can see reasons to recommend a SIG or a Glock.

    Overall, my gut reaction is to say a used G17 or G19...
  10. Warpspyder

    Warpspyder Member

    Sorry Majic, I thoght I made it clear that I wasnt forming an opinion but rather posing a question. I said "Im not sure" indicating I dont know a darn thing and it just seemed like a plausible question to me. You are definately right though, I dont know much.

    It was suggested at some point that waiting until I actually shoot at the academy could be more beneficial. Would it be a better idea to purchase the same type of gun I will carry on duty and just become familiar with it? Know how to clean it, operate it, and anything else I might need to know?
  11. dairycreek

    dairycreek Well-Known Member

    Dear Warpspyder!

    Welcome to THR. You have picked a good place to add to your education about handguns. Lots of good info here. As to your questions---

    Glock makes a good product as you suggest. Others that make good handguns in .40 include SIG, S & W, CZ, and Ruger just to name a few. The four that I mention vary significantly in price but are all reliable weapons and I would suggest (if at all possible) trying them out to see how they fit and feel for you.

    If cost is an issue the .40 may not be the best place to start as 9mm ammo tends to be less expensive.

    A .22 is always a good place to start to learn the fundamentals of shooting such as grip, stance, sight acquisition, trigger pull, etc. The basics can be learned and improved upon with less cost as .22 ammo tends to be very inexpensive. Once again, there are a number of good brands from which to choose. Personally, I would recommend a Ruger as they are reliable and exceedingly well built.

    If you can begin with lessons from a qualified, professional, shooting instructor it would be a great help. Learning the right way to shoot (like golf) is much easier than trying to unlearn the bad habits that an individual alone tends to pick up. Hope this helps. Good shooting;)
  12. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Well-Known Member

    A .40?

    The various Glocks, SIGs, HKs, Walthers, and S&Ws are all good choices.
    Add the Rugers in 9 and 45.

    The SA XD gets rave reviews, but I don't trust em as much as the above guns yet. Visit some rental ranges where ya can try some; no telling what you will like best.

    Get what ya like, or flip a coin and like what ya get. ;)
  13. JeepDriver

    JeepDriver Well-Known Member

    Sig 226

    You'll thank me later!;)
  14. Top_Notch

    Top_Notch Well-Known Member

    Not true. They have 3. It's just not what you think as a safety. One shouldn't rely on mechanical safties over proper handgun handling techniques. The Glock is about as close as you can come to a DA revolver in a semi-auto package. I really like the 19, but your needs and requirements may be very different than mine. The 19 (9mm) was my first handgun, and then I expanded into .45. I am now on the prowl for a Ruger KMK 512 .22 so I can learn better shooting habbits (I flinch with the .45) and shoot more for less $. IMO, the 19 makes a great gun, but I should have went down instead of up, or started with a .22. YMMV
  15. SLCDave

    SLCDave Well-Known Member

    If you're set on a .40 S&W, see if you can rent a Springfield Armory XD40 at a range. Cost-wise, you get a lot for your money, and Springfield Armory has a great warranty. Drop me a note if you want more info on them. I love mine, but you'll get a lot of recommendations on what to get. Get what works best for you, and if at all possible, try it out before you buy it, no matter what brand/model you choose. Noone can tell you "Brand-X" is what you have to get, no questions asked. It may not fit your hand, or aim as naturally in your hand, or you may feel more comfortable with a traditional safety, or whatever the reason. Remember, there is no perfect gun.

    My first handgun was a .357 Magnum revolver, and that's not a bad way to go, either. Especially since, in California, concealed carry is less of an option.
  16. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    My 1st handgun purchase was a wiz-bang Glock 24P uber-pistol. Great gun, reinforced my good gun handling, and I haven't bought another Glock since. I just bought my 2nd CZ and plan on buying at least 2 more.

    They fit and point better for me than any other gun I've tried. Don't lay out your hard earned money until you can at least heft a CZ. Great value, accurate, fab triggers once broken in or with a really basic "buff and fluff" trigger job. If they don't point well for you, look elsewhere.

    I have the Glock, a Colt Delta Elite (1911 pattern 10mm), a Taurus 669 revolver, a Desert Eagle, a Buckmark, a CZ75B in 9mm and I just traded off my CZ 40B (the straight grip didn't work for me) but the guns I've grown to love are the CZs.
  17. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Having experience with the gun you will carry (or are likely to carry) makes sense, but in many instances, once you are an officer (possibly a reserve in some jurisdictions), you can buy certain guns at a significant discount... esp full-cap magazines.

    My personal opinion is that super speed issues aside, what you learn with one basically full size pistol (Glock 17, 19, 22 or 23; SIG 226, 228, 229; XD9 or XD40, CZ75 etc...) is going to help you get going in the right direction. I've owned Glocks and SIGs and a Beretta... and I've found them pretty hard to get excited about... Mostly because they are boringly reliable and almost always combat accurate.

    Personally, if I had no guns at all and I was going into a LE academy soon, I'd look pretty hard at the CZ PCR or P01... Simple preference... I like 1911s, BHPs and CZs... The CZs are the cheapest and the PCR/P01 makes the most sense as a carry gun. Once you are issued whatever you are going to be issued, then you can buckle down on that, but until then, what you learn on the CZ (or most any other gun mentioned on this thread) will transfer to whatever you will be carrying. I'd just hate to see you pay full price for something now only to be offered the same gun at $325 in the future.

    Either way, good luck and welcome to The High Road. :)
  18. Marshall

    Marshall Well-Known Member

    You might consider a CZ-75 with the .22lr Kadet conversion kit. The pistol is only $399.00 and the conversion kit can probably be had for $200.00.

    You get two handguns in one and both are the same, if you will. CZ makes a great pistol, the quality is very good. I think it's a good idea for for people to start off with a full size steel pistol anyway. A traditional single action pistol like the CZ-75 is tough to beat. Learn with the .22 portion and step to the 9mm or .40 caliber, whichever you choose.

    CZ USA
  19. taoshooter

    taoshooter Well-Known Member

    When just starting I bought a lot of guns trying to find just the one best gun for me and found....there isn't just one perfect gun but:
    Like many said, I'd try to find a range that will rent a few different types of guns and try them all before buying anything - then get the one that 'feels' the best in your hand and the one that you are most comfortable firing - if its uncomfortable the first time...it will usually be pretty uncomfortable forever I think. And remember : pretty is as pretty does. I wouldn't even try a Glock for the longest time just because I thought they were so ugly - but learned that lesson the first time I fired one.
    You will eventually find one that feels like going home - it will just feel right. The caliber is dependent on the use - for me, there's the .45 and then there's everything else (and that .45 is an STI).
  20. Black92LX

    Black92LX Well-Known Member

    i would have to agree with JeepDriver. Considering I turn 21 on Monday and will be picking up my first handgun as well. A Sig 226 in 9mm. I have shot it and a various amount of other handguns in different calibers, and it is by far the finest that i have fired and can't wait to pick it up. You can't go wrong with a Sig.

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