First Gun Purchase Advice

Not open for further replies.


Jan 21, 2012
Alright guys, I've been doing a ton of research lately and I like what I've read on THR so I'm going to get yalls opinions on my first handgun purchase. I've shot plenty but never bought one, but I feel like it's time. I don't plan on carrying that often, it will mostly sit in my bedside table for home defense or be used at the range for fun/practice.

Here are a few of the guns I'm considering... what would yall recommend?

Bersa Thunder 380 - $280
S&W Sigma VE 9mm/40S&W - $300
Taurus Millennium Pro 9mm/40S&W - $330
Ruger P95 - $380
S&W SD9/40 - $400
SigPro SP2022 9mm/40S&W - $400
Ruger SR9/SR9c - $450
Beretta PX4 - $500

Right now, I'm really leaning towards the Sig Pro or the Sigma based on what I've read. Love the Bersa, but figure I might as well get bigger than 380 if it's my primary defense gun. Also would love to get some input on 40 vs 9mm in the guns that offer both.

And I was also checking out the Rossi R461 357 mag but I get mixed reviews on the Rossi revolvers. It's currently at $280 also.

All of these would be new guns but I'm planning on checking out some used ones in my area too.

Thanks guys.
The SR9 and PX4 are both great shooters. I have shot both at my range on multiple occasions. If you have not had a chance to shoot them all, I would recommend doing that first. I joined a club and rented numerous firearms to find the one I liked the best. I really liked the PX4 and the CZ 75B. I went to the store to make my purchase and they had a CZ SP-01 Phantom that is based on the CZ 75 and I loved the feel so I purchased it. You want to make sure you like the feel and, if possible, shoot one first. The SP-01 was less than the PX4 at $480.

Also, I would shoot both the 9mm and .40 to see what you think. I shot both and realized I DO NOT like the .40. However it is a great round with more stopping power. I found I was far more accuarate with a 9mm.

I am new to this too, so I am no expert. Just my experience so far and opinion.

Welcome to THR. Over your shooting career, your biggest expense will probably be ammo; 9mm is a lot cheaper to shoot. I really like my Ruger SR9c. The 2 different sized magazines make it easy to carry concealed and it is nice to have the larger magazine for the range and the night stand. Try to rent the guns and find what feels best for you. Good luck!
Welcome to THR.

Of the models you listed I would vote for the PX4 or s&w SD9 or SIGPro.
I would suggest the SIG Pro. I like the way the SR9 shoots but i dont like magazine disconnects. I understand the safety of it, but to me, it just presents opportunity for an issue. For instance, if you carry it, and i know many of you do, what happens if you get into a situation, your brain is racing, your heart is going like a bat out of hell, you go for your gun, and you accidentilly hit the magazine release, the mag drops and youre left with a non functioning gun. Yes, if you drop the mag in any other gun, you only have one round, but id rather have a single round, than nothing at all.

Eitherway, id suggest the Sig, ive only fired one once a few years ago, but from what i remember, it was a hell of a gun.
Go to a gun range that rents guns. And shoot the models your interested in. Then get the one that you shoot best. It may or may not be the one that feels the best in your hand.
First I would stick with 9MM for ammo costs, and more practice. The better SD loads for 9MM are fine.

Consider the CZ line, especially pistols like the 75D PCR and P-01 if you are going to carry them, as they have lightweight alloy frames. Both in you price range but a lot of guns stores don't stock them so don't push them.

Others to consider are the Walther PPQ, Glock G19, and Springfield XD. If you need to spend another $50 - $100 DO IT. Many on your list are the lower price point pistols that gun stores typically push, so do yourself a favor and listen to some of the folks here. You can do a lot better for the same or a little more money than Taurus, Smith Sigma, and Bersa products.
Of those choices go with the SigPro.

But the Glock 19 is arguably the best, first gun - and no, I'm not a Glockaholic myself.
My standard referral for a 1st pistol: S&W 4" revolver in .357 Mag. Shoots .38 Special all day long on a good budget and easy to learn on, not too complicated for HD purposes. Run .357 Mags when you get more comfortable with it. Excellent trainer gun for kids/women to learn on, later on.

Have fun shopping! :D
My first auto loader was a Ruger P series. Great gun. I have an SR9c--even better. I'd go with 9mm as ammo is so much more affordable. The Bersa is fine choice for a .380 (they make a nice 9mm as well). Really, all your choices are pretty good, but it depends on what you are going to use it for. If you don't plan to carry, the bigger pistols are generally better range guns and fine for HD.
Out of that list, I'd go with the SR9C or SP2022. Both are excellent guns for the money (~$400).

If you were going to spend the $500 for a Beretta PX4, I'd just bump the budget up another $30 or so and get the awesome Walther PPQ.
From your list I'd go with an SR9 or SR9c if you think you may carry down the road. However, my 1st choice would be a CZ75b or variant which also would be in your price range.
Went to a local gun shop yesterday and handled a few on the list. Loved the feel of the Bersa, but I think I'll get it as my 2nd gun for carrying/keeping in the glove box.

The place I went had more S&W than anything and I really liked the SD9 Home Kit they had for $500, but wasn't sure of the quality. The light, 2 mags, and lock box was a nice little package though. I did notice the slide and mag fit a little loose compared to some of the others I've handled. They had a bunch of M&Ps too that I liked but I wasn't a big fan of the slide release, I had a little bit of trouble getting it to reliable release. Also handle a Glock, which I liked. Still need to handle the SP2022, I'm going to try to do that this weekend.

Right now, I think I'm down to the SD9, Sig Pro 2022, or Glock 19. I may try to handle a CZ too but I like the other 3 better I think. I think I might eliminate the Beretta and Ruger for now, maybe in the future.

Of course all of this may change as I'm going to (try!) hold off on purchasing for 2 weeks until I have the chance to go to the gun show that's going to be in town. I figure that will be the best opportunity to handle everything on my list and maybe take a look at some used guns or get a better deal on something.

Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll keep you posted when I make a purchase!
Another option might be the Stoeger Cougar, should be around $400. It's like the PX4 just not polymer and a few other differences. I was looking at that one and the SP2022 but took the Cougar since it fit my hand better than the SP2022.
Of the ones you list, the Sig. I'd recommend a Glock though, 17 or 19. The Sigma is nearly a direct copy of the Glock, but man is it ugly --uglier than the Glock which grows on you. I have a 2nd gen G17 I got pretty cheap, I also have five newer ones in various calibres. That beater 2nd gen is probably my favorite Glock. Built in the early '80's, been shot tens of thousands of times, it is still kicking with no problems yet. Only small parts have been changed. You can't beat reliability like that, and the accuracy? Not much different than a newer G21 that I seldom shoot.

For your next purchase, get a .22 rifle or decent .22 pistol, like Mk2. You'll need that to learn how to shoot well unless you are rich (and I'm assuming you don't reload!). Trust me here, that .22 is your friend and a LOT of fun. As old as it is, it is FAR from obsolete.

Forget the Bersa. Cheap pistol in a marginal calibre. Keep the cash, save up another month or so, get something better. Oh yeah, and if you get a G17, you can get a G26 later and use those high cap mags in the smaller pistol. I do this with a G27 and a G29.

Oh, nearly forgot. The BEST DEAL GOING right now is a Smith and Wesson 3rd gen. pistol. HIGHLY underrated. Highly. A 5906 can be had for $299 or so, and that thing is a tank and very well built. I have a 1006 and I love that thing, looking for cheap giveaways on these 3rd gens. at the moment.
I was all set to buy a Ruger P95 and then I shot a few guns. I decided I wanted either a CZ P01 or a Glock 17/19.

When I went to the store they had a sold P01 and a bunch of Glocks, I picked a 17 because I was not going to be carrying it anyway.

Point is, go shoot some and see what you like.
IMHO... the Ruger is the tallest midget in that class. Actually, other than the Taurus, they're all solid choices.
Last edited:
Go to a gun range that rents guns. And shoot the models your interested in. Then get the one that you shoot best. It may or may not be the one that feels the best in your hand.


But since you asked from the group I would suggest the SIG SP2022. Not on the list I would HIGHLY recommend the Walther PPQ - easily my favorite striker fired pistol. German engineering with incredible grip, ergos, and most important a trigger that puts all other striker fired pistols to shame.
One of the very best values on the market today is the Stoeger (Beretta) Cougar full size or compact. $369 NIB in my neck of the woods. Research the history of this firearm and you'll understand why. It's meets your criteria perfectly.
Of those on your list, my first choice would be a Ruger SR9 or SR9c for carrying. Next would be the SP2022, though it doesn't fit my hand.

Outside your initial list would be Glock 19 first, before anything on your list, but I have heard many good things about the Walther PPQ too. So much so, I may have to find one myself.

I prefer .40 but in the name of limiting expenses, go for a 9mm.
I'm new to all this myself, but my first (and only so far) purchase was the Sig SP2022 in 9mm. Just loved the feel of it in my hand.

The biggest drawback to the Sig is it comes with only one mag. I was able to buy some spares for $20 each, but that is pretty rare.

I paid $325 for mine in a auction. $15 shipping to my FFL who charged $25 for the transaction. So - close to your $400 price noted.

I've been to the range once so far with it. It is a much better gun than I am a shooter!

I came close on the PX4. Felt great in my hand. But the price was a bit high for my budget.

I'll close by agreeing with many - shoot as many as you can, then buy the one that you shoot the best and are comfortable shooting.

Good luck!
If you have the 500.00 - I'd get a Walther PPQ. Next I'd look at a CZ-P07 or the SP2022you have on the list. Both the SP2022 and P07 have excellent triggers and ergos - but feel totally different in hand. I have the P07 - got it at Academy. I wish I'd purchased teh SP2022 but I really like the CZ. No regrets at all, just wish I'd had twice the cash.

If you like Bersas, they do not make only the little Thunder 380 but also the 9mm, 40 and 45 line of full size pistols as well.

You may want to look at their full size Thunder.....I sugget for you to stick with the 9mm...cheaper to shoot than 380 and a more capable defense round.

This is the Bersa Thunder 9 Pro......18+1 DA/SA, lifetime warranty, very good trigger, accessory rail.....all the goodies of a SIG for $400....

Not open for further replies.