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Which second gun should I buy?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by wingnut, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. wingnut

    wingnut Member

    I am new to owning handguns although I have shot them for a while. A couple of months ago I got a good "starter" gun, a Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm. It has been fun and I have enjoyed putting several hundred rounds through it and am getting better each time I go.

    I am at the point I'd like to look at getting another (probably a bigger caliber) handgun and I can't decide what to get. I have been looking at 1911's, and although I haven't shot one yet, they feel great to me. The Springfield 1911 Loaded Combat in particular has my attention, and is around the price range I'm in ~$700. I also have been fondling Sig Sauer P226's and P229's. They also feel great and are in the $$$ range.

    So, I know everyone's advice to me will probably be to go shoot them all and see what feels best and what performs best for me - and that's good advice. And you'll say I'm comparing apples to oranges thinking of .45ACP vs .40S&W, I know. But, beyond that are there ant reasons I should steer clear of either of these or lean one way or the other? Any major factors to consider? Oh, by the way, this will be for home defense and range fun -- and at some point CC.

    So, hit me with your biased opinions. :)

  2. NGIB

    NGIB Well-Known Member

    Lots of factors to consider not the least of which is ammo prices. I own multiple .40s & .45s and all of them shoot well. I find the recoil of the .45 less "snappy" than the .40 and very manageable. I don't own a Glock or a 1911 (yup, I must be weird) so I can't comment on either of these. If I were to choose between a .40 or .45, I'd go with the .45 probably...
  3. threefeathers

    threefeathers Well-Known Member

    I'm going to suggest an EAA Witness in 40. I have 34 handguns and my son't each have small CCW weapons but on the range they grab the Witness that's in my range bag. It easilly has 5K rounds through it with maybe 4 cleanings cause I seem to just stick it back in the bag. We've decided to get 2 more of them.
  4. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    "bigger" calibers are great but like was said above ammo prices are crazy. if the next gun you want to buy is gonna be shot alot i reccomend that you stay with 9mm or bump to .40 maybe as it is cheaper than .45acp

    if you go for it anyway than in .45 i would look at the sa 1911's like you said i have one and love it. or the sa xd in .45

    something in .40 then an xd service model, or h&k usp

    9mm? choices are endless, glock 19, 17, s&w m&p, ruger p series, sig, berretta 92, berretta px4, xd.. h&k there are many options but that is a goo starting point.
  5. Cowboy2

    Cowboy2 Well-Known Member

    All the guns you named are solid weapons. I am sure that there are bum Sigs out there, but I've been lucky enough to never run into one (nor have any of my friends, so far as I know).

    As for caliber, I'd lean towards .45. First, because I just like the caliber. Secondly, if its going to see a lot of range time, .45 ammo is cheaper. Thirdly, for self-defense, it makes a bigger hole. 40s&w is no slouch, though, and my Sig239 in .40 gets carried a lot.

    I love 1911's, and think they are just the embodiment of what an automatic should be. That said, you won't ever see me looking down on a Sig. Every one I've owned has run like a champ. If I had to pick one or the other to defend my life with, right out of the box--no break in rounds, no fuss, just load and shoot right then and there--I'd pick the Sig (ugh, I hated saying that). That's just a function of me never having a problem with any Sig I've owned. But if it was one to just enjoy shooting, and home defense after a break-in period, I'd go with the 1911.

    For concealed carry, size and weight matter. Check the specs on each and see how they compare. If you live in a hot climate, smaller is better. How far will you usually be carrying it concealed? If its just to run into the gas station, weight doesn't really matter. If you plan on a shopping trip to the mall with the wife, you'll notice every extra ounce at the end of the day. Capacity plays into that, as the more rounds it holds, the heavier it'll be.

    Ultimately, you need to buy the gun you want. Life is just too short to not to. When think of yourself at the range with one of them, or carrying one, or fighting off zombies with it, which gun is in your hand? That's the one you ought to buy.
  6. Run&Shoot

    Run&Shoot Well-Known Member

    The first thing I look for is a good trigger pull: length of pull, smoothness, and weight. A single action (1911, Hi-Power, etc) will have a short light trigger that is hard to beat. There are some light weight double action only pistols with smooth 5-6 lb. pulls such as the Para-Ordnance LDA, the new SIG P250, Glocks, etc.

    Then there are the DA/SA pistols with a heavy first pull and light subsequent pulls such as the older SIGs (P220, P226, etc.), HK USP, etc.

    First, I suggest you first find the short list of pistols with triggers you are most comfortable with and confident in. A bad trigger makes it hard to shoot well no matter what other features the pistol might have. For me it was 1911 as tops, plus Glock, and SIG. Beretta was nice but too long of travel.

    Second thing I would look for are the controls you prefer and their placement. Some like the extreme simplicity of DAO pistols such as Glock, SA XD, etc. Others like a safety such as the Beretta,CZ, 3rd gen S&W, 1911. Or, you might prefer just a decocker with no safety as with the traditional SIGs.

    Third factor I would suggest to consider then is size: sub-compact, compact, or full size.

    Of course, I would only consider a pistol from a line that has been proven through many years of service use by military or LEOs.

    If you look at these factors with your personal preferences the you will probably have it narrowed to just 2-4 models. i don't think you can go wrong with any of the proven model lines, but it should be one that you feel is intuitive and you have great confidence in with your ability.
  7. larry24

    larry24 Well-Known Member


    I would stay away from the 1911 style pistols if this was only my second handgun..........

    I have never been a fan of the "cocked and locked" approach.........I have several 1911's and am a very experienced shooter but several years ago actually discharged my colt in my kitchen as I was releasing the hammer when my finger slipped..........Yeah stupid I know, but things happen........I definetly prefer the Decocker handguns..............

    If you are looking for a very user friendly steel fram pistol...........i love my S&W 3914.

    As far as caliber and ballistics go, do some investigating. I think youll be impressed and surprised by the +P 9mm ammo.........

    Most of all buy what you like, and what you shoot well...........I personnally cant hit S**T with any of my .45's,

  8. MustangHowie

    MustangHowie Well-Known Member

    If you like your Cougar get a Beretta 8045 Cougar, they also have an 8040.
  9. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Well-Known Member

    Allow me to completely disregard your desires and suggest something totally different.

    You say you want something bigger... a .45 or the like. I suggest your 2nd pistol should be a .22 rimfire. Either a rimfire pistol similar to what you have, or a centerfire pistol and a converter. Get both even if it means selling your current nine.


    Practice. 200 rounds per month, half 9mm half .45.
    .45acp: $408/yr
    9mm: $192/yr
    Total: $600/yr

    Or... .22LR and 9mm
    9mm: $192/yr
    .22: $ 25/yr
    Total: $217/yr

    Which means you will save $380 per year. That's enough to buy a decent .22 pistol.

    Or, more realistically, it means you can afford to practice at the 100-150/rd per month level even when finances are tight. That practice will mean you are a better shot with all your handguns and will pay off in the long run.

    Just my thought on the matter. IMO a good .22 should be the first or second pistol everyone owns. I can see the argument for starting out with a practical self-defense gun like a 9mm. Even then a rimfire gun/converter should be very very near the top of the must-have accessories list.
  10. tblt

    tblt member


    I agree buy a 22 lr for your second gun I always take mine and shoot a few hundred rounds and it does not cost much.It will also give you more practice.
    Next I would buy a 40
  11. mikec

    mikec Well-Known Member

    I agree with the previous two posters about a .22 For whatever reason I tend to shoot slower and more deliberately when I shoot .22 then when I use another caliber. The lower cost of ammo also is a nice bonus.

    As long as your 1st gun is reliable, for home defense usage, then you have that covered. If the Cougar isn't reliable then OK I can understand getting another large caliber for that use.

    You mention possible carry in the future, there are some smaller carry guns that due to size they don't make great range guns. The opposite is also true. My last purchase was the 5" Springfield XD, .45ACP. It is a great gun but for me the 5" barrel and 14 rounds of .45 ammo (actually the weight of the ammo) makes it a little impractical for carry use. For range use and home defense it is a great gun.
  12. Hoffy

    Hoffy Well-Known Member

    Something to consider...

    ...a CZ-75, with the thought that you could also get a .22 conversion.
  13. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    .22. There are many good choices out there. I have a S&W 22A(great), Browning Buckmark(awsome), Hi Standard HD(spectacular), Heritage Rough Rider (sucks). Get one that feels good and looks cool.
  14. wingnut

    wingnut Member

    Wow, interesting all the .22LR suggestions. Cool, I hadn't thought about that. Might be good too to get my wife in the game. I'm sure she'd feel more comfortable shooting a .22. Ok, so, any good suggestions for a nice .22 in addition to what has been mentioned (S&W 22A, Browning Buckmark, Hi Standard HD, CZ-75 w/conversion)?
  15. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Well-Known Member

    I'm torn.

    On the one hand I'd say that if money was no object the cz75 w/ a converter would be a great choice. Or a 1911 w/ a converter. Kimber, Ciener, Wilson, Marvel and others make 1911 converters that will drop onto any standard frame. Prices range from $200 to $400, so you can get a $400 imported 1911 in .45 and drop another $250 on a converter to have two guns for $650. On the other hand it is really nice to be able to switch back and forth at the range without much fuss, especially if you want to get the wife involved too. My experience says don't let wives/girlfriends try 1911s because they tend to grab onto them as "theirs." :D

    Beyond converters there are a lot of great choices. Unless old politics interferes you shouldn't disregard the Ruger options either. My mother has a MkII govt. target slabside .22 that was a joy to shoot even before the volquartzen triigger was installed. She's not much of a gun person in general but try taking that Ruger away from her and you'll find it is hers no mistake. :)

    My range .22 is an old (1940s era) Hi Standard HB. Not because it is especially good but it ain't bad and I enjoy keeping the old dog in service.

    I don't have many concrete suggestions because there are a lot of great choices. They range from about $200 to over $600 and truth be told there isn't a huge amount of functional difference high to low. I suggest you find something similar (grip angle, controls, general feel) to the guns you want to shoot long term. That's the great advantage of the converters.
  16. wingnut

    wingnut Member

    Sweet. Thanks for the feedback.
  17. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Well-Known Member

    +1. Your 1911 might run fine, but......part of the 1911 right of passage any more seems to be the outrageous break in, and the expensive hunt for mags that feed, etc. Why chance it until you know more? The 22 suggestion is probably the best advice you've been given.

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