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Opposites attract!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mayo, Feb 23, 2005.

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  1. Mayo

    Mayo Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Wonder if you guys can help me answer a question for my friend. He is just starting in the handgun phenomenon and asked me what I thought was a pretty simple question and then I started to think about it. Now I've owned some SIG's, Glock,s and CZ's before but not any 1911's so it was hard for me not to be biased.
    His question was---since I am a beginner(only shot .22's a long time ago) which gun type should I start out with to learn---SIG's etc...or a 1911.(of course I said revolver for a beginner but he insists on a pistol).
    Now there is 2 ways of thinking IMO on what to tell him is correct:
    1. Start out with the easiest to handle and work your way up.
    2. Start out with a more difficult because he has no bad habits to break at this point and will learn from the top.
    Now money is no object for him(lucky guy) as to which gun and he wants to use it for range/home defense only. Being as they are opposite type guns which would you recommend he start with--a 1911 or other pistol? Thanks.
  2. George S.

    George S. Member

    Jan 11, 2004
    Western WA
    IMHO, I would start with a .22LR pistol like a Ruger MKII or 22/45 or a Browning Buckmark. These are fun pistols to shoot and ammo is dirt cheap.

    Learning the basics of shooting is more important when starting out than a specific brand or caliber of pistol. Once your buddy has mastered the proper shooting techniques and safe handling of a pistol, he can move up to something else. While money may not be an issue, it could be a wate of money and time to go buy something that he may not like after a few range trips.

    The Ruger 22/45 has a feel like the 1911 in terms of grip angle and balance. They are reasonably priced and there should be some good used guns available. The MKII is more like a Luger in feel but is still a good platform for learning. Bot are very accurate especially the models with the heavy "bull" barrels.

    Buying a home defense handgun should be a personal choice. How a gun feels in his hand, ease of operation, caliber, and price all play a part. He should find a gun shop with a range where he can rent a number of models and calibers to find what suits him best.

    I have a 1911 and a Ruger P89 9mm and the Ruger is my home defense pistol. It was my first centerfire handgun and I spent a lot of time with it at the range in order to become comfortable with it after years of shooting revolvers. My 1911 is more of a range gun but I do carry it occasionally.

    There are lots of arguments about caliber and stopping power. I believe that 9mm is a perfectly adequate home defense pistol when the right round is selected. My P89 is always loaded with Remington Golden Saber 147gr JHP's The ballistic tests I have read show this particular round to work very well in terms of penetration and expansion. Other calibers work well and it comes down to what feels right in your hand and how well you can shoot.

    Practice is all-important once a selection is made. I shoot at least 200 rounds per month thru both my P89 and SA 1911 (I reload .45 so it's pretty cheap to shoot). He should also shoot a minimum of 250 rounds of his chosen defensive round thru the pistol to insure there will be NO issues with that round. It has to go BANG every time without fail if he is to trust his pistol when he really needs it.
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Cape Cod
    DA/SA or 1911, seems to be the question.

    Either one can make a great learner's pistol. My first exposure to pistols was a 1911, then the army-issue Beretta. The two experiences complimented my pistol knowledge overall, but as far as learning the basics of how to shoot, niether one trumped the other. Since money is no object, I recommend a DA/SA from a reputable manufacturer on the basis that they're easier to clean and maintain than most 1911's.

    Whatever he gets, the key to his learning will be good instruction, so encourage him to take a class or two for familiarization. The NRA basic handgun course is a good place to start.
  4. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    North Texas
    Starting out

    The question seems to deal mainly autoloaders, and this is THAT forum, so we'll set aside the pro-revolver remarks.

    If a young person (The Kid,) age 15 to 17, contemplates getting a driver's license for the first time. Never driven before, but wants to learn. Has watched the motor sports on TV or at the track. The Kid has a burning desire to at least try out SCCA racing, NASCAR, Formula I, and drag racing. He/she also has an uncle with a thriving road construction business who says he pays his heavy euipment operators very well.

    See where I'm going with this? Economics aside, should The Kid acquire a super duper race car in which to learn driving skills? Maybe get hold of a huge dump truck to acquire the basics? Some of these systems are pretty tempermental and require a LOT of upkeep.

    Might The Kid better learn driving with a competent instructor in a normal passenger car of modest power and an automatic transmission?

    Again, price no object: Does the person wishing to learn to fly go out and try to learn on a B2 bomber or in an F14? Hopefully, he/she would first take dual instruction in a light Cessna, Piper, or other suitable light training aircraft.

    The question pertaining to handguns is a bit less far fetched perhaps. People HAVE started right out on big guns. I believe any proficiency they attain is in spite of using a .45 or 9mm, rather than because of an absence of bad habits.

    I believe the novice shooter should have competent instruction with a .22 - - A full size Ruger or Buckmark would probably be best. I would say a .22 conversion on a 1911 or Glock, but these require a certain amount of pampering to run consistently. The manual of arms, sight picture, trigger press, and so on can more easily be learned on one of the .22s, without the sound and fury of a service handgun. The magazines are easier to load, the ammo is so inespensive as to be no factor (Yeah, I know - - cost is no object. ;) ) With a structured program of instruction, from a qualified teacher, the .22 keeps the tyro from acquiring bad habits, which might otherwise be masked by the noise and recoil of the high powered pistols.

    All part of the standard progression: The Kid should learn to crawl before walking, and walking before running track. :p

    Two other points:
    -- If money is of little or no concern, the acquisition of a high quality .22 should be of little concern, BEFORE getting a service pistol.
    -- In most of the USA, there is no problem with owning two or more handguns. The question sounds as if the prospective user is being limited to ONE and ONE ONLY pistol.
    -- I don't care how many firearms a person ends up with, a good .22 is a good FUN gun to have.

    One man's opinion, shared by a lot of others. I've been teaching others to shoot -- and hopefully learning some myself -- for a lot of years. Your mileage may vary, of course.


    PS I began writing the above before there were any other replies to the original post. I see some very on-point responses, but I'll just add mine as written.
  5. Calhoun

    Calhoun Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    CZ-75B and a Kadet kit. Problem solved.

  6. sturmruger

    sturmruger Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    NW, WI
    I have to agree with what some of other guys said here. Have him start out with a .22 of some sort and then have him take a good class or two before he settles on a HD gun.
  7. Hawk

    Hawk Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Grand Prairie, TX
    That strikes me as a really good idea.

    However, since
    How's about this here? A nice SIG P210 9mm with .30 and .22 kits.
  8. Mayo

    Mayo Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    DA/SA or 1911, seems to be the question.

    First, thanks for all the replies. Next, yeah I guess it boils down to a question of DA/SA or 1911. Since it will be for range/home defense he wants at least 9mm but as I said, since he is first learning would you advise going with a .45 since most 1911's come in this caliber.
    As far as some of you have stated, I believe also to start slow and work up. His arguement for wanting to start out "higher" relates back to his watersking days. It is more difficult to ski on 1 ski then 2, but since he learned from the start to use only 1 ski----2 was a breeze. Now the opposite doesn't always hold true---many people who can ski with 2 have difficulty mastering the 1 ski.
    So DA/SA or 1911?
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