First Handgun for Personal Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Atomic_Dog9601, May 28, 2021.

  1. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    First gun, not necessarily carry, pick a modern polymer service gun that fits your hand well (Glock, Sig, S&W, HK, Springfield, CZ, FN, Walther and I'm sure I'm missing a few, all are good) and learn it and learn to shoot.

    As some folks have said a basics class is a very good start.

    Also, buy snap caps and possibly a laser target system like iTarget or similar and get a dry fire routine down between range sessions, it will really help your range days be more efficient and reduce ammo use (which is critical these days).

    Of course, safety is extremely important here. Keep the live ammo in a different room and check, check, and check again that you have the snap caps/laser in the chamber and an empty mag. Every time. Complacency is your enemy.

    Comfort and "natural pointing" will be useful on a first gun, because you want something comfortable you'll desire to keep shooting, same for a trigger that "feels nice" (completely subjective). Anything can be made to work with enough trigger time, but to start comfort will help ya keep at it.

    A full size is more challenging to carry but far more comfortable to shoot, it might be worth, if carry is a possibility, considering the compact size guns, like a Glock 19 or similar size. Still very pleasant to shoot and easier to carry when needed. Most will accept full size magazines and grip sleeves for HD/nightstand duty.

    Even in these crazy times 9mm is a good choice. It's still the cheapest and generally most available service caliber and will get the job done.

    From your choices, and I've owned M&P and XDs as well, I favor the Glock, but that's subjective and all are good guns. In a vaccume, just starting out knowing what I know and like I'd personally favor the HK VP9, but they are all so close. Beretta APX makes a high quality, comfortable, good trigger at generally a lower price, so that's worth looking into as well.
     
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  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I agree. Getting a full size duty gun, as a first gun, will be easier to learn to shoot than a small compact gun like the Shield.

    I'd choose the G17 as they are everywhere and there is more aftermarket support for the G17 than just about any other gun.
     
  3. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    My first gun was for home defense and it was a G17 Gen2. Before the G19 and the G26 were around. Glocks were new and I was an early supporter of the design and high capacity. I decided on a full size gun for this and wanted 9mm because I wanted something affordable to reload. I shot it competitively in the stock class. I did this so I would become proficient with it. It is still my home defense gun and it has night sights.

    When we got concealed carry in Texas I decided to buy a G26 for that role. I like that the G17 magazines will fit the G26. I would consider the G19 as a perfect gun for both roles and probably the gun I would buy today if I had to choose one gun to do it all.
     
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  4. Atomic_Dog9601

    Atomic_Dog9601 Member

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    Habitually I was drilled to keep my finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. I have membership at a local pistol range that allows for quick draw practice and instructional classes on pistol handling. After doing some more research I decided to consider two different pistols. A full size for open carry while off work or at home and a compact or sub compact for my CC. The pistol I'm looking at for this is either the compact m&p shield or a Ruger lc9. My main focus on 9mm is simply due to the fact my grandfather left me a sizeable store of federal 9mm ammunition. But sadly he sold both his 9's before moving on.
     
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  5. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Too large, you won't like to carry it. Too small, you won't like to shoot enough to be proficient.
     
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  6. Craig_VA
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    Craig_VA Contributing Member

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    Not a bad reason to settle on that caliber. Choice of ammunition for CC revolves around carry comfort (size and weight of loaded gun), # of rounds, and stopping power. Common semi-auto SD choices include .380, 9x19mm (Luger), 10mm, .40, and .45ACP. Guns (generally) get bigger and heavier as you move up that ladder. A great many folks settle on 9x19 for size, weight, and cost & availability of FMJ practice ammunition, along with reasonable stopping power when used with a good quality JHP SD round.
     
  7. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

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    Sounds like you are really thinking this through. Best of luck to you.
     
  8. DFM914

    DFM914 Member

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    P365 with 3 12rd mags.
     
  9. George P

    George P member

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    I would also add the SIG 365 series, P, X, or XL10-15 round capacity and, for MY hands, a much better and more comfortable grip than any of my Glocks
     
  10. 1942bull
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    1942bull Contributing Member

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    Take a look at Ruger pistols. I have used them for years, and currently have four. Ruder makes excellent guns, has excellent customer service, and they are reasonably. The chart below lists three options. I do not own a Max 9. I do own the other 3. My EDC is the Security 9 with either 10 or 15 round magazine. I carry the LCP II when at home. Those two replaced ny LC9S which I keep in case one pistol needs work.

    DCCA883E-163B-44BE-AB16-0D9869305BCD.jpeg DCCA883E-163B-44BE-AB16-0D9869305BCD.jpeg
     
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  11. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    OP you have been given good advice and great choices in pistols. Again go with what fits you and what you shoot the best. The main thing is that the pistol is comfortable for you to shoot and comfortable for you to carry all day.

    This is also solid advice to follow.
     
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  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't pick a gun until you've gone to a rental range and tried several to find out what fits you. Grip angle, grip width, reach to trigger are all vital in avoiding getting something that doesn't fit YOU.

    I've had petite women settle on double stack .45s in 1911 grip angles and big guys settle on CZ75s all because of the size of fingers, palms, natural pointing angle with the hand/forearm.

    At the very least, make sure you get something with interchangeable back straps that you can adjust.

    Once you know what fits, you can then stay within that style and get what you can afford.
     
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  13. jstert

    jstert Member

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    if your budget is, say, $500, get two: $200 ruger wrangler 22lr for cheaper range practice, $300 taurus 85 or 856 38sp for protection. notes: im obviously a revolver guy and i shop online.
     
  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    As our @GEM points out, this is often backwards. We focus on the "what" rather than the "how."

    Your first gun will always be a first gun. It may not be your best gun though. And your first carry gun probably ought be your best gun. Which might be anything in near any caliber. And, "best" also means "best trained with/upon" too.
     
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  15. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    Good point.

    My wife 5'7/145# was able to shoot (compare) a Glock 19, 22 and 21SF over several range sessions, she prefers the 21SF
     
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  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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  17. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Shield +(13 Rd shield)
     
  18. grampster
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    grampster Member

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    Feel overwhelmed with suggestions yet? LOL. The best advice on this thread is to find a range where you can handle and fire a number of different handguns with a variety of options. Might take a bit of time doing this, but better to play with a bunch of them than to have regrets or 2nd thoughts after you've doled out the $$$.
     
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  19. Leon tP

    Leon tP Member

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    All good advice above, so the only thing I will add is don't be cheap. Bring some of the Defensive ammo you actually plan to keep your gun loaded with and run all of your potential choices with that ammo. It would suck to find out that while your final choice ran great with the cheapest ball ammo you could find, it doesn't run worth squat with your newly acquired wizbang Defensive ammo. Don't ask how I know. :rofl:
     
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  20. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

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    If you're gonna carry, go with the shield, if this is a home defense gun, go with the glock. Just my 2 cents
     
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  21. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Your first handgun really ought to be a .22LR. Practice is what builds proficiency and .22LR is affordable accuracy in an easily managed format. The Walther P22 is an excellent, affordable (under $300 new), reliable and accurate trainer for concealed carry, IMHO. Start there and learn how to shoot, carry, and care for a firearm first. Then worry about energy and penetration.

    Getting a WunderNINE as your first handgun is like getting a Bugatti Veyron as your first car. Bad things are bound to happen.
     
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  22. golden

    golden Member

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    DOG,

    I think you should start in the middle and not a choice of large or small, unless you are larger or smaller than average.
    I carried a GLOCK 19 and then a GLOCK 17 on duty, many years ago and now my agency has gone back to the GLOCK 19. It is just as reliable and would easier to conceal if you decide to start carrying concealed. It is about 1/2 an inch shorter in length and height than the GLOCK 17. In my experience, the GLOCK 17 has no advantages over the 19, it just holds 2 more rounds.

    I also really like the SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD pistols and might actually prefer one over a GLOCK. The SPINGFIELD ARMORY is MUCH, MUCH easier to take down for cleaning than the GLOCK pistols and adds an extra layer of safety with the grip safety feature. Other than those two features, they are more or less interchangeable.

    I have also shot the S&W Shield and passed on buying one. Like all the 9m.m. mini guns, it has a lot of kick and while I can shoot a 50 round box through it, I would really prefer not to shoot it.
    This applies to all the 9m.m., plastic single stacks that I have tried, like the GLOCK 43, SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XDS, Shield and KAHR CW-9. I find them too light and to have too small a grip area for comfortable sustained shooting.

    Right now, you may be able to get SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD for about $100.00 less than a GLOCK. SPRINGFIELD sells a model called the XD-9 Defender which is really just the first generation XD9, with a new name. My experience with them has be excellent.

    Good luck,

    Jim
     
  23. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    My 2 cents is this (and it's worth what you paid for it):

    Sidestepping the whole "get some training" issue completely and focusing on the hardware, I think you need to bear in mind that whilst ergonomics are somewhat of a factor, if it fits in your hand you should be able to make it work, with practice. I can use any TV remote, video game controller, TIG torch, MIG gun, SMAW stringer, grinder, keyboard, mouse, cellphone, electric drill, can opener (despite being left handed), or any other tool made for common human usage.

    So my advice, is to get a commonly available and reliable polymer double stack, and learn how to make it work for you. And honestly, I think a Glock G17 is a great place to start.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
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  24. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Fit is important. I know that a Gen4 or Gen5 G17 fits my hands, very well. I know that the Shield does not fit me. The Springfield XD series have never interested me, probably because I did not like the feel, or the fit. I like some Ruger and S&W revolving pistols, too.

    Your hands are not likely to be like my hands, so I agree with those who recommend trying rental guns. Consultation with an instructor is also a good thing. Untrained people tend to hold pistols incorrectly, often too low on the grip, which prevents one from being able to judge proper fit, and can result in “limp-wrist” malfunctions, in the case of auto-loading pistols. An improperly-centered hold, on the grip, can wreck one’s thumb and wrist, if the cartridge is powerful.

    “Feeling” can be misleading. The best-feeling gun may not be the one which actually fits best. I thought S&W N-Frame revolvers felt mighty nice, but my grip was not centered, and I did plenty of damage to my thumb, hand, and wrist with .44 Magnum recoil, in the mid-Eighties.
     
  25. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    My first handgun was the 1911A1 familiarization firing (14) Rds at MCRD Parris Island SC in the Summer of 1964. Recoil of a 9X19mm or 45ACP is not that overwhelming for the average adult male or female. I'm tired, really tired of hearing that recoil generated by either of the previously mentioned cartridges inhibits first time shooters. As Colonel Charles Askins use to occasionally write, do these people have lace on their underwear.
     
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