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Recommend a first handgun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Rapidfire_85, Oct 30, 2007.

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  1. Rapidfire_85

    Rapidfire_85 Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    Alright, I'm a poor 22 year old college student. I've been shooting other peoples stuff for the past several years, but only bought my own first firearm this year. (a ruger 10/22)

    I'm slowly piecing together an ar15 build, and don't have a ton of money to devote to firearms. I currently live in North Dakota, where crime is nearly non-existent. At the end of this school term I will likely be moving to a larger metropolitan area, and am looking for a center fire handgun that will be reliable and affordable.

    I'm starting the process for my CCW, but I don't have any strong desires to carry as of yet. (though a relatively smaller frame handgun capable of concealed carry may be a decent choice for future needs). I like 1911 style handguns (who doesn't?) but I haven't shot one.

    Sorry this post is getting long... I like the availability of .22 conversions for 1911's, I've been thinking about the Rock Island 'Tactical' 45. But I'm not sure anyone carries RIA here.

    Long story short. I would like to keep it under $400. The cheap hi-points do look quite attractive right now, but I figure I'd ask The High Road first. Should I buy a Hi-point now and use the $ saved for practice ammo, or the Rock Island .45 shoot it a little, try to save $ to buy a .22 conversion? What handguns should I look into? They don't have to be .45cal

    :banghead::cuss: Im just confused, what am I not thinking of? HELP ME OUT GUYS! :)

  2. Jimmie

    Jimmie Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Poor college student. Home and self defense. First handgun. Bigger than a .22.

    I know you want a .45, but that screams 9mm to me. You'll spend less on ammo, so you can shoot more often (a good thing) or you can get a nicer pistol in the first place than the HP (another good thing).

    Sorry I wasn't more help on your actual question - whatever it was. ;)
  3. Rapidfire_85

    Rapidfire_85 Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    yeah, wow. I came back and even I dont even want to read my post. I kinda ramble....

    are there any guns im not thinking of between hi-point and $400? lol
  4. GlockShock&Awe

    GlockShock&Awe Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    have you shot a Glock23? its a smaller frame then standard (a beauty to carry) but a bit more punch then the 9mm. (better for defence) it also doesent jump outa your hands like the 45 can. also for a first gun?? its pretty much indestructable. you can get them in the high 4's
  5. Rapidfire_85

    Rapidfire_85 Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    I've shot a friends Markarov a fair amount, ran a few mags through a Beretta 92, Hi-Point .45acp and a ruger 22/45 but thats my experience hand gunning. My friends just don't have enough guns!
  6. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Sounds like with your budget and reasons for wanting it, (HD/SD), a 9mm is what you're looking for. I would recommend a used Glock 17/19 or a S&W XD. Both a little more than $400 but worth the extra $50. otherwise I believe you'd be looking at a revolver. A nice CCW is a S&W 642 that shouldn't cost you more than $400 too.

    I'd just stay away from Taurus, Rossi and other cheap guns. Buy quality.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  7. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Stoeger Cougar. Damn sight better than a Hi-Point. Good reviews too.

  8. GlockShock&Awe

    GlockShock&Awe Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    ... first, Change friends. second, try the glock. i think you'll like it. its worth the extra $60... hey i know what being in college is like... constant decision between top raman and ammo.
  9. plexreticle

    plexreticle Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I like CZ_52 for bad ass cheap pistol but the ammo may be expensive.
  10. possom813

    possom813 Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    An hour south of D/FW
    I like the Ruger P series. I recently picked up a P89DC and it's morphed into the primary HD gun. Wallyworld has 9mm FMJ for around 15 bucks per 100 rounds to practice with and a good box of Cor-Bon 115gr for HD. Anyways, I got the P89 150rds of practice ammo and a box of the corbon and came out right at 400 give or take 10 bucks.

  11. Gustav

    Gustav Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    Welcome to THR

    Nothing wrong with being new or a beginner we all have been at one time in the same place.

    For around $400 I would consider one of the options listed below

    Used Smith & Wesson 6904/6906

    Used Glock 23/22/19/17 many police trade ins can be had for very close to what you have to spend

    Argentine built FM Browning High Power or Charles Daly imported ones

    Walther P 1 (aluminum framed post war P-38)

    Used Smith & Wesson models 19 66 13 65

    Used Ruger Security or Speed Six

    I would do some research on each one and if at all possible either borrow or go to a range that rents them and try out some of the different models side by side if they have them.

    Shop around for an FFL who is willing to order for you for a small fee.
    Be patient but diligent and check:


    You may also want to pick up a copy of shotgun news or have your dealer order the catalogs from CDNN investments Southern Ohio Gun and J & G in Arizona

    There are good deals to be found out there with luck preparation persistence and being ready when the right deal comes along.

    Best of luck and always think safety first.
  12. evan price

    evan price Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    http://www.ohioccw.org/ Ohio's best CCW resour
    Best bet for a first gun on a tight budget:

    Your budget isn't so tight you should be hitting the Hi-points right away. Not that the Hi-Point is a bad first choice, it is what it is, you get what you pay for and that's all, it's a great budget SD gun. Not what I would want to carry, though.

    IMHO I would scout out all the gunshops in the area for trade-ins. For $300 you should be able to find yourself a pretty decent "high end" pistol in used but good shape. Police trade-in guns are great bargains. Around here you can find Ruger "P" series, S&W semiautos, etc. for under $300 with a little looking.
    I see Springfield XDs for $349 often. When a "new" gun comes out there are those who rush right out and buy one and then realize they don't like it, so they trade it in for the next "new" gun. I've found almost new "used" guns this way for deep discounts.

    If there is a Gander Mountain near you they have the SIG/Sauer P225 (actually, W. German P6 police pistol) for $349. It's a single-stack 9mm, kinda large for its mag capacity, but it is SIG reliability and accuracy for cheap prices. Conditions vary from very holster worn to mildly holster worn, most were carried around for years and shot a few times if ever. A good deal for a great gun in your price range. Sigs also have a very CCW friendly decocker and safety design. You won't find a better gun for as cheap.

    9mm ammo is the cheapest out there right now and likely will continue to be for some time unless you want to get into reloading.

    Failing that, you could always look at revolvers. I know you like the idea of a .45 but again, you can find a used S&W Model 10 for under $250. It may not look pretty but it would be a solid, heritage-quality firearm with a nearly hand-fitted lockwork and S&W's trademark smooth trigger. .38 ammo is not as cheap as 9mm but it's close if you buy online.

    Most entry-level 1911 style pistols will have features that as you become more familiar with them will make you unhappy. MIM parts, junk mags, etc.

    My best advice is get SOMETHING and get to the range, often. Get used to shooting with something cheap like 9mm and then move up to .45 when the funds are available.

    If you really want a .22 caliber 1911 style check out the Ruger 22/45 pistol.
  13. Alton

    Alton Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Riverview, Mi
    Hey Rapidfire.
    If your looking for a first gun under $400. You may wont to look at getting a used hand gun.I would go with 9mm its alot cheaper to shoot then a 45.
    I have a XD 9mm and I realy it.I think you would too. But there are alot of good guns Ruger,SW,CZ and Glock if you can go to a range and rent the guns your thinking about getting so you can see if you like shooting it.
    I was thinking about a .22 conversion allso but after reading and talking to alot of peaple I found out alot of the conversion do not work well and the cost of them. By the time you buy a conversion kit and put it on you could have payed for a .22 pistal and now you have 2 pistals :what:
    Good Luck and let you know what you get.

  14. jameslovesjammie

    jameslovesjammie Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Where in ND do you live?

    I'm in Minot. I've only got a couple .357's and .22's, but my buddy Josh has a CZ75 in 9mm you could probably shoot. I think he got it for like $399 at Sportsman's Loft. I have access to a few other guns as well, but I don't think any of them are in the price range you listed.
  15. WVMountainBoy

    WVMountainBoy Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    West Virginia
    Okay, heres my .02
    In your price point I have to argue for you to check the used market, and I think you may be looking at a revolver more so than an auto. Lots of good Rugers and such in that price point. I'm not familiar with ND's pricing, but I've seen just about every make of ruger revolver go for around 390 used here. A good DA revolver in .38 could be your answer. I'm going to deviate from standard THR doctrine and state that I do really like the .38 Spl. Its cheap ammo, low recoil, and good accuracy.
    As for that price range...try going to www.galleryofguns.com and searching due to your price point. May be surprised whats out there. I think the firestorm guns stay under that price and are in various cal. Bersa also makes some .380's under that point.
    I have a hi-point in .40, I took it on due to a friend needing some quick loot and not willing to just accept the money from me. It shoots well enough for a SD/Combat gun...but you wanna be aware of their MASS. Suckers are outright heavy. Its a boat/truck gun, there is no CCW with it, it would tug your pants down if not make you walk with a strange gate.
  16. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    I'd go with the RIA or a used Springfield. A 1911 was my first pistol, and I've never regretted it for a second. Can't imagine it any other way in fact.
  17. BAT1

    BAT1 Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    First pistol

    I'm with eldon519, the but would go with the SA milspec over the GI model. The RIA are reliable too. The CZ 9mm would be a good choice with less recoil. Bring a bore light with you.:)
  18. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    Charlottesville, VA
    I see you are looking for a semi-auto pistol and many others have given good advice on them. I would like to suggest you not overlook a good revolver. My recommendation in this area would be a S&W K-frame in .38 Spec or 357 Magnum. Another I would recommend is a good Ruger. You can a find Ruger Security Six fairly inexpensive. Some consider them the ideal revolver. While I am a Colt and S&W guy I regret passing on a couple of the Security Sixes I was offered many years ago. If you consider handloading (to allow more practice ammo) I found the .38 Special a very easy starting point. Good luck with your search.
  19. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

    Sep 21, 2007
    Californicated Colorado
    Congrats on the 10/22, it is a very fine gun.
    For your first handgun, you can't go wrong with a .357 wheelgun.
    It will give you the ability to shoot .38 special, .38 special +P, and .357 so that gives you flexibility. You won't be disappointed.
    Later on, you can jump into the autoloaders with preparedness.

    I purchased a used 9mm Hi Point C9 for $100, and can't really get over it. It is just a good little pistol. It has never jammed, not once, and it gets abused at the range, believe me. I hesitate to speak of it because some people will rip me seven ways to Sunday for having one, but it really is great. I do like higher quality pistols like the 1911s far above this Hi Point, but so far, it has exceeded all my expectations.
  20. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    In the land of make believe.
    In general a .40 S&W will have much more kick than a .45 Acp. Especially the Glocks which have a polymer frame.

    If your looking for a good first handgun I would suggest a Glock in 9mm or perhaps a Sig 228. I would stick to the 9mm as it is a good round and is cheap to shoot.
  21. dasmi

    dasmi Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Welcome to THR.
    If you aren't 100% set on an auto, I'll give you the same advice I give everyone who asks me about a first handgun. Medium frame, .357 magnum revolver, like a Smith model 10, Ruger GP100, Ruger Service Six, etc. .357 Magnum loads for defense, .38 special for fun and cheap practice.
  22. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    The fact that you are willing to tinker a little makes your options better. If you are willing to be crafty enough to build your own AR, then it's not that big of a deal (with a little guidance) to customize an entry level 1911. I have never had a part failure due to MIM parts or anothing like that, but if you wanted to upgrade them with better parts and springs, it's no big deal.

    I use a Ciener conversion kit on my Kimber 1911, and it's great, as long as I blast it our with gunscrubber every 200 rounds or so, and I use hot ammo. (Mostly stingers and velocitors.)

    I would also direct you to a full-size Glock. USED. A Glock is probably the only pistol I would buy used without much concern, if any, and if you decide you don't like it, you can always get rid of it for a much smaller loss than you would take on a new one. For years, I carried a G-22, and I had a Advantage Arms .22 kit for it. It was ok, it occasionally spat hot lead traces on my hands as I fired it. Looking back, the only thing I really don't miss about the Glock is the gooey trigger, but even that is mostly a question of discipline. Advantage Arms makes .22 kits for all full and mid-size Glock frames.

    .22 kits are great, with a couple of understandings. The full size slides, even the aluminum ones are heavy, and you are going to be better off with higher quality, hotter ammo. Just because you CAN shoot the cheapest .22 you can find to spend 1/10th on ammo doesn't mean it will work very well. All the kits I have seen require about a 500 rd break in to function reliably.

    Also remember, as a tinkerer, the 1911 and Glock are the two simplest pistol designs to detail strip.
  23. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    +1 on the springfields... i have 2 right now (XD 9 SC and .40 service). The .40 is actually for sale, $380 shipped to FFL but i digress... The .40 ammo is probably a little too $$. you'd do better and shoot more w/ 9mm.

    Couple thoughts:
    - Do you have a gander mtn near you? mine has european police trade in Sig P225's for $349. Hard to beat that.
    - Taurus handguns are pretty reasonable. I've only shot one and liked it. do some homework b/c there are ones to buy and ones to avoid.
    - Bersa/Firestorm Guns: I have the thunder .380 and love it. .380 is a little pricey compatred to 9mm, too. Look at the Firestorm Thunder 9mm. Nice gun.

    Lastly, talk to some of the glock people. i know there are .22 kits for some of their guns... Springfield XD should have one out soon.

    Good luck!
  24. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    A used Ruger P-97 is the first thought that comes to mind.

    I'd also second the 9mm as a first choice. After having owned .45's, .357's, and .40's, the only caliber I have right now is 9mm and I'm actually OK with that. It won't do some things but it will do what I need a handgun for pretty well.

    My suggestion is to shoot as many different handguns as you possibly can. The main reason I have owned so many guns is that I sort of worked my way through them looking for what I wanted. In the process it cost me a lot of money.

    A good starting point if you're willing to forego the .45 ACP requirement might be a SIG P-225.


    One thing you SHOULD NOT do is let any of us tell you exactly what to buy. Guns are very personal and none of us can pick what will suit you best.
  25. Lock_N_Load

    Lock_N_Load Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    I shoot a G23 quite a bit and the recoil is wicked. I would stay away from that as a first gun. +1 on the XD9-SC. I love mine. Whatever you get, I would recommend that you make it an easy to carry weapon. You also want to go with 9mm since it will be more affordable to shoot and you definitely want to take your first gun to the range as often as you can. Go to your gunshop and handle an XD SC or one of the smaller Glocks in 9mm.
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