Help me pick one handgun for 8 years.

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Apr 22, 2003
Im not of age to purchase handguns, and my parents said that they will buy me one handgun. I have a Colt Officers Model, which I like, but I want a centerfire autoloader. Criteria:

Under $800
A common, affordable caliber (9mm, 45, etc.)
A full-size. Don't need\want CCW models.
Reasonably accurate
Common mags
Good eregronomics
Hi-caps are a non-issue, I live in California
I have large (and growing) hands
Hi-caps are a non-issue, I live in California

I'm open to suggestions. Those that I like now are

Springfield Loaded
Kimber Custom II
Springfield XD
Sig 226
Beretta 92
a CZ
Glock, somewhat
...well, since you want it to be in a readily-available, inexpensive-to-shoot chambering, I'd suggest a 9mm...since you profess to have large--and growing--mitts, I'd recommend either the Beretta or the CZ...the Beretta is fairly accurate and wonderfully reliable, and the CZ is among a handful of true "Sleepers" price- and two cents' worth, anyway....mikey357
Woops, didn't mean for this to go to the Revolver forum. Mods, can this be moved to the Autoloader forum or Handgun General Discussion?
My two bits worth. If you are set on an auto I suggest a Springfield 1911 Mil spec. It meets all of your criteria. And it is a simple to operate, basic gun. Learn on that as you grow. And then after learning all you can about it, you can make educated decisions on what sort of modifications you want.
Factory loaded models rarely have the options I want, and usually have a bunch that I feel are worthless.

Actually I like the 1911A1 as is. I have had a Springfield 1911 Mil spec that was the best out of the box .45 I have ever owned.
Shot great, reliable, already throated, good sights. And simple.

So thats my suggestion.

Good luck on your choice.
Given that you are young and self defense/protection doesn't seem to be an issue I would forget the center-fires for now and get a high quality .22 handgun. Ammunition is much cheaper then any big-bore, and you can perfect you're marksmanship.

Well over a half-century ago I started with a .22 Colt Target Woodsman and never was sorry. My second handgun was an as-new surplus Colt 1911-A1 Government Model. It too was a good choice, but I'm glad I got the .22 first.
Glock 34. Good, full-size weapon that will take inexspensive mags ($18.00 each for 10 rd. CA mags) and inexspensive ammo (9mm). Well under $800.00, and if that's your limit, you could buy 5 more mags and 9 boxes of 100 count Winchester White Box 9mm ammo and stll come in just under $800.

Just a thought.
same like your situation puck, i selected HK USP 45.
mag is kind of hard to find, and very expensive. ergonomics is much better than the glock 21 i was handling before deciding on which gun i'd get: the USP 45 or the Glock 21.
i also recently purchased Ruger KP95, mags are cheap for this one. it's 9mm, and I live in DPRK too. my dad has the Sig P226, i like that one too :) fun to shoot.
I have a Colt Officers Model, which I like, but I want a centerfire autoloader.

Of course, the Officer model is a centerfire autoloader...

I would recommend a CZ75 or Beretta/Taurus design. And definately in 9mm due to ammo and magazine costs. Cheapest to most expensive:

Taurus PT92, PT99
EAA Witness
Beretta of your choice
Browning Hi Power

If you're already completely comfortable with the single action operation of the 1911, the CZ75SA would be my first suggestion. Very smooth operation, very good trigger out of the box. Many find the CZ75 and the BHP to be the most ergonomically comfortable guns around and I would agree. The CZ75SA is available around here for around $390 so shouldn't be much more than $450 anywhere. The EAA Witness is even more affordable but I see no reason to get one if your budget allows for the CZ.

If you're wanting to go more for a historically-significant pistol, the Hi Power might be a good choice though I've never handled a stock HP with as good a trigger as an average CZ.

The Beretta platform seems to be on somewhat of a downward path of popularity. It is pretty bulks as far as a 15 round 9mm goes but I still like it quite a bit. I had around 18,000 rounds through my Taurus PT99AF and I've never had a single failure - I obviously can't compain. Of course, I've replaced a couple things and the springs several times but nothing ever broke and nothing ever failed to feed, fire or eject. I don't really shoot it anymore through. I originally had a Beretta but with having grown up with 1911s, couldn't get used to the location of the safety... or at least I didn't want to get used to it.

Also had a Springfield Loaded in 9mm but all things considered, I think I would recommend the CZ, EAA, or Beretta over it.
Sig 226

Get a Sig 226 tu-tone in 9mm

Just a great, great pistol in every respect. I bought one 3 years ago. 3000+ rounds through it and ZERO failures. Not even my glock will do that.

I have quite a few pistols now, and it is the last semi-auto I'll ever sell. Handsome, accurate, reliable, a good investment, very ergonomic and nice big sights. And the trigger just gets better with use.

- - -

Then get yourself a .45.

I've been down the HK USP route. After considerable thought, I can't recommend it. You'll be happier with a good 1911 or Sig220 stainless. I do NOT recommend Kimber because of recent quality control problems. Hard to beat the new SW1911 for $700.

A couple questions. You say 8 years, I'm assuming you're 21 - 8 = 13?

How big are your hands? Will your parents be willing to pay for ammunition, and gunsmithing for modifications? Are you planning on leaving California when you graduate high school?
From your list, I'd pick the Beretta 92 (or Sig 226). 9mm ammo is pretty reasonable these days.

If you want a less expensive pistol, then take a look at the Ruger P95 which is a 9mm. Frame is polymer and slide is steel. Mine has a stainless slide, is a conventional double action, and has a decocker. It has never malfunctioned with 115 gr. FMJ, Proload 124 gr. JHP+P, or Federal 115 gr. JHP. I "think" the blue slide pistol can be bought for $300-$350. I went with this model because it's definitely a best buy.
You already have a single action 1911 in .45ACP, so I'd go for "expanding your horizons" with a DA/SA 9mm.

Big hands? Lean towards the Beretta.

CZ gets ergonomic top bill, though. (for me)
My suggest the following in this order. But try and see if you can rent or test fire a friends prior to making a decision.

1-Browning Hi Power
2-Sig P226
3-CZ 75B
Since you already have a Colt Officers Model, I'd add another 1911, a Kimber Stainless Target; it meets all of your criteria;

Under $800 at discount
common, affordable .45 ACP caliber
full-size, government model
Reliable with decent factory ammo, or quality reloads
Extremely accurate range gun with the excellent adjustable sights and great trigger
Common mags available from numerous sources
Very good (1911-pattern) ergonomics
No no no no, it's a Colt Officers Model in .38 Special. A double action, 6 round revolver. The Python's granddaddy.
Sorry, I thought you meant one of these (attach.);

To me, a good full size centerfire pistol is a good range gun that is accurate; my advice still stands on the Kimber Stainless Target


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There are lots of good choices out there....

That said, I'd suggest you look at a Hi Power or the CZ75B.

A Hi Power, marked either Browning or FN. (FN is the actual manufacturer and just certified for sale here.) In either 9mm or .40. A fantastic pistol and a true classic that has been absolutely proven all over the world.

I don't have a CZ, but they are highly regarded by folks all over the world.

Of course, another choice would be any 3" to4" .38/.357 S&W K, L, or N frame....
Okay (Beretta), I'm not one to tell someone which gun to get (Beretta). You should get one you're familiar with (Beretta) and has a history of being totally reliable (Beretta).

;) :D
Unless your hands are larger than average, I would avoid both the Beretta and the P226. Both are great guns but have fat grips.

The grips of the Browning HP and the CZ 75 are somewhat smaller, but still accomodate a double stack mag (I know, that's not an issue in CA, but the grip size doesn't change just because of a round limitation for the mag).

Both are solid, full size guns. I find that I get better accuracy with all kinds of ammo from the CZ, and although it's somewhat gritty, the CZ has a better out of the box trigger.

I have owned and sold the Beretta and the P226, I still own the HP and CZ. If I could only keep one, it would probably be the CZ.
Well first and foremost I would recommed the CZ-75B, it has all the features that you could possibly want (Was my 1st centerfire in fact). However, if you have the cash, I would recommend the Browning Hi-Power, its just in a leauge of its own in my opinion. Both of these have GREAT ergonomics (especailly the Hi-Power), and mags are fairly common also for both models. Of course since you are stuck in the PRK, the hi-caps are out of the ?, if you ever move away, there a TONS of cheap hi-caps for the Hi-Power. Anyways, those are my recommendations, good luck.
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