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dont know much about handguns?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by sdhunter, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Bongo Boy

    Bongo Boy New Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Wow, there's kind of a world of space between plinking and concealed carry--and you're never in a position where you'll have to carry. It's a decision to carry, or a decision not to carry. I don't think it's a matter of 'oh, there's a lot of holdups in my area these days I guess I'll start carrying'.

    Anyway, I don't think there's going to a single gun that's going to be a fun plinker and a good carry weapon, but you can certainly plink with any gun you choose.

    As for carry, there are definitely folks who carry the 1911 in any of its 100s of forms, but there are also far more folks who complain of carrying anything as heavy as even the small 1911s. Sub-compact 1911s are not known for their reliability, and in fact, while I'm a 1911 bigot and love the platform, I'm not sure I'd consider the average 1911 to be necessarily all that reliable out of the box. Tons of exceptions, but I don't believe you'll know until you own one then find out, one way or the other. The proof is in the shooting--I began my search for a carry gun as a lifelong 1911 Believer, having owned one since I was 13 years old (1967). I also knew I would 'never' buy a plastic gun. About ten test guns later, it was the M&P 45c hands down winner, and two years later it was still the right choice for me. 45ACP is never the wrong choice, if you can score hits, live with the capacity and are okay with the concealability of the particular choice. This is the gun FOR ME...I can shoot it more accurately than ANY handgun I've ever fired, including a $3,000 Les Baer 1911. YOU may not have the same experience.

    A lot of folks like 9mm, I don't. I don't find it comfortable to shoot in any gun I've shot it in, don't trust it much as a self defense cartridge, don't want to handload anything that small, and don't feel the need for the extra capacity it generally provides. But, you should definitely find some examples of 9mm auto pistols and shoot them. In my opinion, if you don't at least rent and shoot a Glock or two and an M&P or two (in 9mm) then you're not exploring about 1/2 the world of handguns (for carry). While I don't find any Glock satisfying to shoot, I certainly shot a number of them in my search for a carry weapon--to ignore them in your search is, again, ignoring what is arguable among the most popular, accurate and reliable platforms available.

    Everyone has their favorites, and you'll have to find yours. But two things: shooting one box of ammo in one particular gun isn't enough information to conclude much (positive or negative) about the caliber or the gun.

    I think a .22 LR pistol for plinking is a great idea for a few reasons--they are as easy and/or as hard to learn to shoot as any handgun in any caliber, they are far cheaper to shoot and that makes them fun, and unless you're out of your mind, you won't be tempted to have it do double duty as your carry weapon--so you won't be choosing a carry gun for the wrong reasons.

    An extraordinarily popular line is the Smith and Wesson M&P line, and for plinking I can't imagine having much more fun than the 5" Pro Series guns in 9 or 40. If you plan to handload, my recommendaton would be the 40, but I happen to like 40SW a lot. It can easily be handloaded to provide what I think is a much nicer feel than any factory 9mm, but that's me, not necessarily you. They are relatively inexpensive, many find them more comfortable than GLocks, and they are most certainly easier to look at. For carry, I can't recommend any gun more highly that their .40 compact or .45 compact.

    There's quite a bit to learn to shoot any handgun well, IMO, and the ability to dry fire practice will have more positive impact, faster, on your good shooting than any amount of live fire, regardless of caliber. IMO. It may sound silly, but anyone who shoots a lot of handgun (competitively or otherwise) will confirm--dry fire, and transferring what you learn in dry fire to the range--will make more difference than just about anything else you can do.

    Don't expect to find the right handgun the first time around, and don't expect your plinker to be a good carry weapon (and vice versa). It's not that likely, IMO. Finally, don't pay much attention to what folks say about recoil this and recoil that--decide for yourself and remember that your response to recoil changes dramatically with practice. But, all the generalizations about 45ACP having huge recoil and 40SW have a harsh 'snappy' recoil is all largely bunkum, IMO. The differences between factory ammos in any caliber is astonishing, and renders all such generalizations pretty much useless. They are beside the point anyway, since you grow accustomed to recoil differences fairly quickly and perceived recoil is driven to a large degree by your platform choice.

    Best wishes!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  2. surjimmy

    surjimmy Senior Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Rock Island Tactical, you can't go wrong.
  3. JohnBiltz

    JohnBiltz Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    Well I carry and plink with a Glock G26 and a G19 would do both jobs as well. A Ruger SR or S&W M&P would be fine as well. My personal opinion is if your carry is unsuitable for plinking its not going to be that good when you need to defend yourself either.

    Here is a simple truth, a 1911 is an experts gun. You need thousands of repetitions with it just to be sure you remove the safety when you need to shoot. Otherwise you may find yourself with trouble in your face wondering why your gun did not fire. Get yourself a DA/SA like a SIG or Beretta or one of the strikers like Glock/M&P/SR. You pull the trigger and it goes bang.

    All steel guns are heavy. They are really heavy when carrying one all day long inside your waistband. Polymer is light. Compare the weight of what you want to buy.

    Thickness is an enemy of carry. A 1911 is thin. High capacity is thick. Common sense will tell you double stack is going to be thicker than single stack.

    Caliber is not that important as long as you stick with a service caliber; .38, 9mm, .40, .45. They all stop things pretty similar with modern hollow point bullets. Another truth. The larger the round the less rounds the same size magazine well will hold.

    Another truth, the more recoil a gun has the longer time there will be between your first and second round being fired. Training and practice will bring that time down over time but there will still be a difference.

    I carry a 9mm Glock G26, Its small enough to be easy to carry and large enough to be easy to shoot and fight with. I shoot 100 rounds a week through it and its easy and fun to do.
  4. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    A cabin in the woods, on the way to nothing.
    Check out the Springfield XDs. Great pistol.
  5. truckinmann

    truckinmann New Member

    Feb 4, 2013
    If it's at all possible, go shooting and take your wife with you. The next time you go to the city go to a shooting range that will let you try different guns they have. (some ranges have this option) You'll have to use their ammo and all, but you'll get a feel for the different calibers, and your wife can figure out how much gun she can handle. The first time I took my wife shooting she tried everything in handguns from 22 LR's to 44 magnums. The 44 mag was a bit much for her, but she had no trouble with a 357 magnum, or a 45 auto. I think the grip size was the factor, as she also shot some of my rifles up to my 338 win. mag. Her favorite rifle was the 338 win mag. Go figure... Recoil won't be as big of a factor if the grips on the handgun fit her hands correctly, and she grips it correctly. I wouldn't blindly purchase a handgun without checking it out for both of you. With $600.00 you could get two used handguns. One for her, and one for you. My wife carries a mouse gun because it conceals so easily. ( Kel Tec 32 auto) I prefer a 45 auto. I've got a S&W model 4506-1 which is a full size 45, but single stack so it's very slim, and a Taurus Mil.Pro 745, which is also a single stack and very compact for a 45. (Also very reasonable price) The full size guns are fine for running to the store and back, but for all day carry you'll want something compact and comfortable.
    There are a lot of 380 auto "mouse" guns out there that you could get two of for you and your wife with the money you've got, and that's brand new ones. Take your time and find what you want. There's so many to choose from nowadays that you can find the perfect gun for you somewhere. Once you purchase one handgun, you'll find a reason, or ten, to buy another. They can be very habit forming because they're so fun to shoot. A good 22 auto target pistol can give you hours of fun for very little money, and you can even hunt squirrels and rabbits with them. I've killed more tree rats than i can remember with my old Ruger mark 2 target pistol. I've put thousands and thousands of rounds through that pistol, and never grow weary of it.
  6. tarosean

    tarosean Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    With that budget I would forgo the budget 1911's. Since you want 9mm I would suggest
    FN Hi Power.. Like the 1911 its a full size gun, SAO trigger (Single Action Only). Yet thin so its easily concealed. IMO, It still remains one of the most ergonomic pistols ever designed. 13rd capacity with ability to purchase higher cap mags.

    If you want modern, M&P 9 compact or Full size. American made and lots of people love them. I personally hated everything about the MP45c I owned, but that was a matter of personal preference. It never malfunctioned or gave me any issues.
  7. ljnowell

    ljnowell Senior Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    The Peoples Republic of IL
    Op dont take a single link to heart. Every gun of every model and make has had issues at some point. My first 1911 was a RIA GI compact, its a fantastic gun. Nevewr malfunctioned and feeds SWC, HPs, etc. I shot well over 2k rounds theough it in the first year I owned it. If you like it get it, you wont be unhappy.
  8. ku4hx

    ku4hx Senior Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    Shoot many; buy one. Many ranges rent guns and our club sponsors new shooter events and classes quite often. You might want to check into both those possibilities in your location.

    Many new shooters purchase what they believe is exactly what they want only to find out it's not. Many experienced shooters will tell you it's rather unlikely you'll get the perfect gun for you on the very first try.
  9. Edarnold

    Edarnold Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    Northern Illinois
    Have you actually handled a 1911-style pistol, or any of the other guns being suggested? One of the reasons you see so many 'like-new' handguns offered for sale is that people get all hopped on the coolness of a gun, then once they actually own it and shoot it they realize it doesn't fit them at all. The grip, balance and design of a handgun can make it feel like an extension of your hand, or like a lump of iron. No amount of aftermarket add-ins is going to make pistol fit you. Buying a pistol by the history or cool factor is like buying a pair of boots because they look cool, without trying them on.

    Find one or more gun stores and try the feel of a bunch of pistols, shoot them if you can, then lay your money down.

  10. easyg

    easyg Senior Member

    May 19, 2007
    off-line mostly.
    How about a .357 magnum revolver, like the Ruger GP100?

    The .357 magnum is an excellent self defense caliber, and can even be used for hunting.
    And you can shoot cheaper .38 special rounds for plinking and target practice.

    And once you master the double-action revolver trigger, shooting other pistols is a breeze.

    Another thing to consider...

    Most modern autoloaders are rather reliable, but none are immune from a bullet related malfunction (failure to eject, failure to feed, hard primer, dud round).
    If you're not willing to routinely practice failure drills then you might be better served with a revolver.
  11. ku4hx

    ku4hx Senior Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    That's one of the best and most meaningful comment I've read in a long time.
  12. jamrock

    jamrock New Member

    Apr 12, 2013
    I wouldn't recommend a 1911 as a first handgun for someone unless they had a lot of experience shooting someone else's 1911 and I mean years.

    I always suggest a glock 19 as someone's first handgun.
  13. Pilot

    Pilot Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    I would suggest a 9MM, and here are a few to check out:

    CZ-75D PCR (light weight compact version)
    Beretta 92FS
    Sig P228 or P229
    HK P30 or USP series
    Glock G19
    Springfield XD series

    The CZ accepts the wonderful .22LR Kadet conversion unit which changes the CZ-75's into a .22 pistol. It is accurate, and reliable, but also lets you practice cheaply with a full size service pistol.

    1911's also have .22 conversion kits, if you decide to go that route. Since you reload, the choice between 9MM, and .45 ACP isn't as big a difference. For 1911's, I still like Colt.
  14. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    Why - because that's all your familiar with? What in the world did people do in 1981? Not shoot semi-autos because they couldn't buy a Glock?

    Today you have so many good 9mm pistols available like the S&W M&P line, HK pistols, Beretta pistols, Springfield XDm series, Walther PPx series, Browning Hi Power, CZ 75 series -all as good or better than a Glock.

    If you want to shoot a 1911, the only way you learn to do it is by shooting it. I started shooting semi-autos with a 1911 in 1980. Shooting a 1911 isn't rocket surgery, doesn't take an advanced degree from a university, and isn't nearly as difficult as people are making it out to be. All of the hoopla about "muscle memory" makes it sound like a 1911 is the equivalent of launching the Space Shuttle by yourself. Shooting a 1911 is no more difficult than learning to ride a bicycle where balance is learned - you just do it until you understand how it works.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  15. PabloJ

    PabloJ Senior Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Buy popular model that is currently made. This means accessories and spare parts are readily available. Never pay premium of any gun that is no longer made and even when found in box as new deduct about 30% from current model offering. Oh, very important first pick up some ammo then go to the counter and pick up the gun.
  16. Bentonville

    Bentonville Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I would have to say that I wish I had discovered the Beretta 92FS as a first 9MM. I like the heft, the safety is as close to fool-proof as far as safety of having the gun in your hand. It requires training but it is simple: when pistol is drawn, automatically sweep the thump up and forward. The double action first shot is a safety in itself in case of a high adrenalin situation. The gun is very reliable, accurate, and has low felt recoil. It uses 15, 18, or even 20 round magazines which won't break the bank to purchase. It is easy to disassemble and clean. I like the trigger for HD and for plinking after an easy installation of the D spring. It has a great track record with millions being used. After all, it's in a lot of action movies from the 80s and 90s. What else do you need to convince you?
    As far as a .45, I have owned many different models and for me, the HK45c is an ideal pistol. All of the above and top-shelf quality with interchangeable back strap to semi-customize the grip. Either will last a lifetime. Either can be carried discreetly with the proper holster and lots of training. If I had to choose only one, it would be the 92 due to cheaper practice ammo and high capactiy magazines. Good luck on deciding. With all of this knowledge and experience found on this great forum you can't go wrong. Its best, as you know and has been stated, to hold and fire various guns. I couldn't because of my location so I had to go on hearsay. I did not go wrong in the least. Love my Beretta and my HKs. Love my snubbies too! i wonder if you can really only purchase ONE gun???
  17. Thompson9494

    Thompson9494 Member

    Feb 28, 2013
    The CZ 75 series is a great choice for a beginning handgun, especially if you want a .22 conversion to go with it. Depending on the price of the CZ 75 itself it may exceed your $600 budget by a few dollars if you throw in the Kadet kit but there are deals to be found like any other gun. The CZ 75 has light recoil, 16 rounds of 9-mm, is accurate, reliable and easier to disassemble than the 1911. You can't go wrong. You may wanna check out the threat "Beretta 92 vs CZ 75B" for more info on the CZ 75B.

    Good luck! What ever you buy, enjoy it!
  18. jamrock

    jamrock New Member

    Apr 12, 2013
    Agree Def. an experts gun, especially the safety disengagment under stress, while draw from a holster. Not the same as standing at a static range and not drawing from holster.

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