Which Handgun For Personal Defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by GunCritic.com, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. GunCritic.com
    • Contributing Member

    GunCritic.com Contributing Member

    Aug 6, 2020
    Someone asked me that old question that we all get asked, "What is your favorite gun for self defense?" At 60 years of age, and with a background that's had a "sticky situation" here and there, I generally reply, "The one that's in my hand when the trouble starts!"
    That is such a broad question. There a millions of answers........and most are correct.
    For a semi-auto, I love a .357SIG, and for wheel gun, I like a j-frame in a .32 magnum or .327 magnum or .357 magnum. I know that's a little odd, but they send heat down the pipe and and the devastation is remarkable........your authority unquestionable.
    Whiskeyhotel2020 and Boarhunter like this.
  2. AK103K

    AK103K Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I try and keep it simple. The gun I shoot the best with, that carries the most onboard ammo of a realistic caliber, that will allow me to deal with as pretty much anything I might have to deal with.

    Right now for me, thats a Glock 17, with maybe a Glock 26 as a BUG, or at least the "smallest" Id go. It shoots and handles a lot like the 17, just a few rounds less with its factory mag (and as many or more than the 17 with a simple mag swap) if I had to go minimal dress wise.
    bannockburn, Hartkopf and JR24 like this.
  3. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

    Jun 9, 2019
    For me its my ruger LCP ll in my front pocket with a additional magazine. For home its a Glock 19. With a ruger PCC that takes Glock magazine's.
  4. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

    May 25, 2005
    Colorado Front Range
    It just depends...

    Carry in a very NPE (but still legal): NAA Mini Revolver or Guardian work well.

    Open carrying at home when the Corona Stupid was at maximum effect: Original Beretta 92 Brigadier

    Working outside at home after dark: 4" 629 with night sights.

    Limiting yourself to one gun for all defensive scenarios is nonsensical.
    defjon likes this.
  5. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

    Oct 9, 2006
  6. Darto

    Darto Member

    Sep 30, 2012
    I think those who are familiar with guns already know their choice. For anyone unfamiliar, especially women, the Shield Easy S&W's are easy to recommend because rounds poke down effortlessly into the magazine and the slide is easy peasy to pull back (light springs everywhere). And they come in .380 or 9mm.
    jstert likes this.
  7. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

    Feb 28, 2015
    N. Georgia
    Best? The one you shoot best and can
    easily carry. Doesn't hurt to have more
    than one of the same design, operation
    but perhaps slightly different sizes.

    The power factor is up to one's individual
    ability and practicality.

    Perhaps a Smith L-frame in .357 and
    a Kimber A6 in .357.

    Or a K-frame Smith 4-incher in .38 and
    a J-frame also in .38.

    Or a Glock 19 in 9mm and a Glock 26 in

    And perhaps a Colt 1911 style in .45 and
    a Colt Officer's in .45.

    The list may not be endless but certainly long.
  8. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    NW Florida
    Whatever you like and can shoot and handle safely is a good choice.

    I'm probably going to limit my choices to more common caliber's though, such as 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 Auto, in semi-automatics, or .38 Special, .357 Magnum (as you've chosen), .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Auto, in revolvers.

    Choosing .357 SIG, .32 Magnum, or .327 Magnum would not only limit your choices in firearms, but also limit your ammo choices.
    Hartkopf likes this.
  9. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    One that I can shoot effectively--rapid controlled fire. Good trigger, big enough grip, not much recoil.

    Comfortable to carry.

    Preferably meeting FBI test protocols, but I would take a .380 if pressed.

    No magnums (.327, .357, .41 and up) for indoor use due to sound pressure.

    Reasonable capacity--6 is better than 5, 7 is still better, and so on. Don't want a big double column magazine.
    JR24 and Armored farmer like this.
  10. JDeere

    JDeere Member

    May 31, 2020
    Commander size 1911 .45 is all I need for self defense...I'm just a fan of keeping it simple...
    Armored farmer likes this.
  11. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    South Eastern Illinois
    My model 66 S&W is my favorite handgun. I shoot it best.
    I really would like it to be the ultimate self defense handgun, but i would be lying to myself and my thr friends if I said I believed that.
    Make mine a .45acp.
    Manageable recoil, tolerable report, quick follow-up shots, fast reloads, and big lethal bullet holes.
    20200906_222915.jpg 20200705_172836.jpg 20200705_073152.jpg 20200722_165902.jpg 20200906_190341.jpg
    My choice is a 1911 commander, but i won't criticize other more modern choices.
    My ideal would be hammer fired, loaded chamber indicator, railed, rds, .45acp with magazines that indicate ammo capacities on the back of the magazine, not the side(pet peave).
    Iggy likes this.
  12. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

    May 21, 2015
    When someone asks me what gun they should buy for self defense the very first question I ask them is “Are you willing to take a life to protect your own or your loved ones?” I tell them I do not want an answer. I tell them to answer it for themselves.
    If they decide they want my recommendations I offer to take them shooting and I teach them to shoot my guns, but I recommend they take a safety course and some formal training at a range. I also recommend they shoot many different guns at a range that rents guns, preferably during their training session at the range.

    I do things this way because I don’t really want my preferences or biases to affect someone’s choices until they have found what works for them or what they are interested in. I also do things this way because I want them to have more real information than I had starting out. Real information not macho BS or hyperbole.
  13. Creed Bennett

    Creed Bennett Member

    Jun 23, 2014
    Western Kentucky
    Mine varies as the temperature rises and the clothes become fewer. My summer, humid, shorts, t-shirt and flip flops is a first year Smith and Wesson 60. Fall and Spring its a Glock 19 and a Glock 43 backup and dead of winter it’s a Glock 17 and the 43 for backup. If I had to make one of them do it all it would be the 19. It’s the small block chevy of pistols. I am however a Ford man but the 19 it is!
    .308 Norma and Hartkopf like this.
  14. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

    Dec 25, 2011
    I think if I was pressured to recommend a specific handgun for a new shooter it would be a 9 mm M&P Shield. Preferably a first-generation model.

    1. It's a relatively inexpensive handgun. At least it was before Coronageddon.

    2. It's small enough to conceal easily and people who are not committed to concealed carry will still carry it.

    3. It's an easy gun to shoot well.

    4. Nine rounds is adequate to most self defense needs.

    5. They won't be too butt hurt when they eventually move on to something else.

    I think I told this story before but the senior pastor at my church approached me one morning and asked for my advice on what kind of handgun he should get for concealed carry.

    I didn't even actually suggest a gun I just told him that I carried an M&P 9 and without any further examination of the gun he said that's too big. That's too much to carry. Somebody told me later that he ended up with a Glock 42 and they weren't even sure that he carried that ever.

    Now if somebody asks me I just recommend the Shield and list the reasons I mentioned above except for the part about people not being committed.

    ETA I probably wouldn't make the butt hurt comment either
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
    Kleanbore likes this.
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Every Day Carry-Summer Edition: Kahr CM9 or S&W Model 638.
    Every Day Carry-Winter Edition: Ruger SR9c, CZ P01, or CZ P07.
    Every Day Home Defense Edition: SIG P229.
  16. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    I'm a pocket gun junkie. Short of dressing around a gun because of perceived threat, I just don't have a means to carry more than something in my pocket while at work. As is often said, a .380 is better in a pocket when you need it than a full size 1911 left at home. Most of the time, a BG380 with laser gets the nod. I dont really rely on the laser, but I like the option having a beam that can get me close to on target if I'm under CQ attack. When it comes to wheel guns, a DAO .38 special is great for the coat pocket.

    If I carrying with a purpose through rough country, I find myself gravitating toward the 1911 more and more. Heavy and sturdy (thus why I dont like it for edc), my cheapie Springfield Defender has given me less hiccups than any other 1911 I have owned, even more reliable than the Loaded model that was supposedly tuned and had all the bells and whistles (along with the frustrating FLGR). If I am willing to strap on 4lbs of gun, holster, and extra mags, I think the 1911 makes good sense for me.

    This morning, as I type, BG in my strong side pocket, NAA Blackwidow in my weak pocket.

    My honest and humble assessment of myself: I am not one who can easily bring myself to violence through firing a weapon. Short of getting jumped from behind because of my lack of situational awareness, I don't see myself drawing with intent to kill, and even then If I smell trouble, I dont investigate or power through. Head down, go around, keep my family out of harm's way.

    I understand that sometimes violence comes to us. A bang at the door at night, going around the wrong corner at the wrong time, being in a gas station at 11:47pm, or even getting a sandwich at Subway at 10:32am, etc. I certainly see being prepared. Its one of the reasons why I carry something small enough to keep on my person without discomfort or needing to dress around the gun yet large and sturdy enough that I can shoot it well and practice with it as often as I can.
    defjon likes this.
  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    No one should ever draw with intent to kill.

    Good thinking.
  18. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

    Mar 15, 2017
    Ruger LCR 38 special+P with laser grip. in pocket holster in pocket. I don't switch carry guns as I don't want to think about what I'm carrying when pressure is high. Keep it simple. Same gun all the time.
    defjon likes this.
  19. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Good thinking.
    Jack B. likes this.
  20. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

    Jul 6, 2017
    What I have chosen is Gen 4 Glocks converted to .357 Sig. Either a G22 or G23. And for times when I cannot carry anything larger, a G42 (.380acp).

    I've swapped between guns a lot in the past. I don't like Glocks as much as some other handguns, but they work for me. So there it is.
    tommy.duncan likes this.
  21. The Last Outlaw

    The Last Outlaw Member

    Sep 22, 2020
    Fiv3r, I am sitting here with the exact same guns. Got BG 380 in the strong side pocket and Black Widow in the weak side. I am a big fan of pocket pistols too.
    defjon likes this.
  22. jar

    jar Member

    Jan 17, 2003
    Deep South Texas!!!!!
    My personal primary choice, the one that is always present is an FN 1906 in 25acp.
  23. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    My answer to the question in the title: Full-sized 1911*, all-steel, with the junction of the trigger guard and front strap relieved, to allow the weapon to sit lower in my hand, such as Les Baer pistols, some Colts, and some others, OR, a Ruger GP100**.

    My answer to the first question, in the narrative, which does not specify “handgun,” well, Benelli M2 shotgun. That is what I reach for, when available. Two are strategically placed, within the home. (No, not in a closet near the front door. Burglars KNOW to look there, ASAP.) If we are at a family-owned, heavily-wooded plot of land, located in the well-watered, green part of Texas, a Beneli M2 is good for that environment, too.

    Regarding the second bold section, in the quoted area, well, I am not usually walking around with a handgun, in my hand. ;) I might well have a Benelli M2 in my hand, or hands, when walking in the woods. I have long experience with the Remington 870, too, especially the 870P, which I often had in-hand, while working night shift police patrol, but I made a final switch back to Benelli, to take advantage of the Comfort-Tech stock, and the nicely bold rifle sights, which work well with my aging eyes.

    *My first handgun, in late 1982 or early 1983, was a Detonics 1911. It did not stay with me, very long, as it was a problem child, with reliability, but I have loved 1911 pistols, since them. As my hands age, and prefer more-comfortable handguns, the 1911 remains relevant, as the low bore axis minimizes muzzle flip, the steel damps recoil, and the .45 ACP may have a considerable total free-recoil energy figure, but that recoil is delivered with a gradual, kinder, gentler push, rather than the snap-and-whip of faster-accelerating cartridges.

    **I had to train with DA revolvers, in the police academy, in 1983-1984. I thought revolvers were quaint, and obsolescent, at the beginning, but learned to really like them. My first year of sworn service, as a police officer, was revolver-only, 24/7/365. So, even if I did not like revolvers, I needed to learn long-stroke DA shooting. The mid-Eighties was a troubled time for quality control at S&W, so, having established a liking for revolvers, I did not hesitate to consider all brands, and I settled upon the GP100, by 1990 or 1991. The original-version factory GP100 grip is custom-level perfection, for my hands. My index finger naturally falls right into a perfect spot for a optimal DA trigger stroke.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
    defjon likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice