First Handgun Candidates
A few of you have read in the "New Member" forum that I'm preparing to purchase my first handgun in the near future. In my introduction post, I said I would be getting my CC permit and the gun would be used primarily for target shooting and self-defense. While this is true, I'm not sure how often I'll actually carry the weapon on my body. The gun will most likely live in the nightstand or in the vehicle when I'm not trying to hone my shooting skills.
It seems as though the 9mm is probably one of the best calibers to start with, so I'm pretty sure that is the route I'm going to go. Aside from that, a polymer frame has also been suggested. I first mentioned that I would like to get a new handgun, a holster, and some ammo for $750 out the door. The budget is slightly flexible, but I'd have to really see the need to spend more than that for a first handgun. I want to get a good gun, but I don't want to break the bank. Looking at what everyone else has makes me want to just jump in the game and buy the best of everything, but at this point, it just isn't practical for me.
I hate to make my post into a novel, but I have a few questions that hopefully you guys can help me answer.
1. What differs between a steel frame and polymer frame in terms of maintenance and cleaning?
2. Many handguns are offered in two-tone with polished or satin slides and blued frames. Why? Is it for looks, or does it serve another purpose?
3. Some handguns are offered in both SA and DA. Which is best for a beginner?
4. Are there any true American manufacturers left? This is more of a curiosity thing than anything else.
I know they're not all polymer frames, but here is my current list of choices with a few notes on each. It'd be great if you guys could post some fair prices for each if you don't mind.
Beretta 90-TWO F11
Kahr K9094C (blackened stainless)
Kahr K9093C (matte stainless)
-Sig P239 DAK
*8-round mag (7-round for .357SIG)
*8-round mag (7-round for .357SIG)
-Beretta PX4 Storm
-KimberKPD (9mm available soon)
-Sig P226 DAK
-Sig P229 DAK
Prices vary, but here is what I Googled...
G19 - $438.00
XD9 - &514.00
1. The difference is that the steel frame will need some kind of rust prevention product. Eezox is a good one, for example.
2. Mostly for looks, IMO.
3. For range use, either is fine. For concealed carry however, I firmly believe that a DA is better for a beginner.
4. Yes. There are many.
For fair prices, go to gunbroker.com, or one of the more popular gunshop websites such as Bud's Gun Shop.
www.XDPistols.com has XDs around $500.
I got my XD45 for $500, and my XD9SC for $479, both on sale at a mega-shop in Orlando. Shop and wheel and deal.
1) Cleaning/care difference: None. Modern polymer and steel guns simply break down (field strip) into few pieces than traditional 1911-style guns. That said, there are now polymer-framed 1911's. Metal or polymer frame only effects weight. Lighter, better for carry, heavier, better for range.
2) Two-tone is mostly for looks. The slide finish on most modern guns s very hard and durable. Regardless of color.
3) Some guns are offered in SA/DA, and in DAO. SA/DA is Single/Double Action. Single action fires from a pre-cocked striker or hammer, DA requires actuating the hammer, or cocking the striker, with the trigger pull. DAO is Double Action Only. DAO is consdered "safer" by some due to the longer, more deliberate trigger pull, but less accurate, due to the tendancy to disrupt the sight picture during that pull. Some guns are hammerless, striker-fired SAs, like my XDs. The little knob out the back indicates a "cocked" postion, as opposed to a hammer. BOTH are safe, when used as recommended.
For a beginer, both are fine, if you understand the difference, and practice with it.
4) There are a few American manufacturers left, but many of the guns built for most of the American Distributers are made completely, or in part, overseas. It's a small world... Gun manufacturing is one of the truely globally balanced industries. German, Austrian, CROATIAN, Italian, and American guns are all getting rave reviews, and acceptance. I'm not a expert here, but I think Ruger, S&W, Para, Colt, Kimber... etc are all US brands.
Hope this all helps.
Para-Ordnance is actually Canadian. Other than that, the above posts are excellent advice.
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Hey I see you guys are online.. got my mitts around an XD tactical .45 last night.. If I had the change in my pocket I would have bought it.. The story by the guy behind the desk is it was used by a LEO to qualify but didn't like it, so sold to the pawn shop... checked out the finish and barrel and looked brand spankin' new... rifling looked pristine... came with all box, holsters, etc like a new one..
$460+tax... "Like New" whata think?
That particular shop has a big gun case and is one of the listed stores on gallery of guns so apparently they do some handgun business. The guy I talked to was pretty knowledgeable about the XD's.. He has a 4".. and checked out a 24/7 9mm he had.. Felt good, but I think the .45 xd trigger was a bit more "there"... The 24/7 trigger was very light but looooong.. maybe I prefer the XD then.
I'll add I need to learn up on what else to look for in used pistols besides barrel rifling and feed ramp condition and slide rails condition. ?? Always open to learn.. of course.
Thanks a lot for the advice guys. I think I'm overthinking about this, but I just want to be sure.
Also, I'm going to edit the original post each time I eliminate or add one to my list of candidates. Stay tuned!
In answer to your last question Rugers are american made and are a rugged and reliable auto. I have a P94 in 40 S&W (now P944) and it has been 100% reliable and accurate for the 12 years I have owned it. For your purposes of nightstand, auto or target the P series will serve you well. That said I haven't tried the newer P345 or the SR9 and have read reports both good and bad on them.
Now here comes the really hard part. I've decided that I definitely want a DAO and it looks like the 3 Sigs listed above are most likely to fit the bill. Now I just need to decide which one fits it best. Opinions on this matter are more than welcome.
I would suggest that before you buy a Sig with the DAK trigger on it, you see how that trigger pull feels to you. Most people I have talked to hate the DAK triggers. You may like it but from my experience most do not. I am not against a Sig at all (I plan to buy one soon myself, w/o the DAK trigger though), but you want to make sure its something you are comfortable with. If safety is the concern, why not just buy a handgun with a safety on it like an H&K or something. In fact, I didn't see an H&K on your list. If memory serves me, they are slightly less expensive then Sigs but still excellent handguns. While not DAO, the safety on it doubles as a decocker so your first round would be DA. I had an H&K USP compact .45 and loved it. I sold it but only becaue I had several other guns at the time and a very close friend begged me to sell it to him. Just my $0.02.
Thanks for the reply.
I've read and learned so much on these forums and various handgun sites over the last few weeks that I think my eyes are going to fall out and my brain is going to implode. I've taken a ton of things into consideration that I otherwise would have overlooked. One those things is the DAK (or DAO). I love the idea of consistant trigger pull. I'm sure a lot of Glock guys will chime in and suggest a G19, but in all honesty, after reading up on the Glocks, they just don't seem like my cup of tea. I know they're proven, but I just don't like too many things about them. You suggested H&K. I've been to their website a few times and nothing seems to grab me. Granted, I haven't held one, but I don't have that pre-purchase connection like I do with the Sigs. I'm sure when the day comes to actually fork over $800, I'll handle everything in the case, lol.
I just called Gander Mountain to get an idea of what the Sigs cost. I hope I can find them cheaper... I'm sure I can. In fact, they want MORE than MSRP for 2 of them and they said the 229 was on clearance...
P226 DAK - $899.99
P229 DAK - $949.97
P239 DAK - $799.99
I'm actually leaning toward the 239 and not just because of the price. I just think it would be an all around good performer that could also be a good CCW candidate if I decide to carry.
The H&K, I believe, is German. I think SigArms is foreign too, so at this point I don't think it makes much difference to OP.
Originally Posted by sbc_pd10
I can't believe, considering that OP's looking at a couple of full-sizes anyway, that Ruger hasn't been mentioned. They make excellent polymer and aluminum-frame pistols in a variety of calibers, at a great price (best bang for the buck on the market). Oh, and they're American.
Better look fast though; the 9mm lineup is being seriously shaken up. The P89 and P95, both very reliable, serviceable pistols, are being retired in favor of the SR9. The .45ACP P90 is heading to the big armory in the sky in favor of the P345. Those 3 older P-series pistols are VERY popular models, highly recommended by their owners, and are being replaced by "California-safe" models with trigger locks and magazine D/Cs . I'm not sure the 89 or 90 have pin blocks; the 95 definitely does but there is no mag disconnect or integral trigger lock (making it simple yet still very safe; DA/SA with a decocking manual safety doesn't get much safer on a loaded chambered gun). The gun stores are probably looking to offload those to stock the current catalog, so you might get one heck of a deal if you shop around. The money you save can buy a couple extra mags, a Hogue Hand-All grip, and/or new sights, and you'll still be hundreds up on a SIG.
EDIT: And I would definitely trust my life to a Ruger's reliability and accuracy. In fact, I do; it's currently my only weapon.
X6Stringerx: Sir; I checked at the Sig Sauer Forums. Maybe for information and the feel of a specific group? HGF is a better forum but not specific with this model. I don't know squat about a Sig.
Follow up when you can
The Ruger SR9 was actually a candidate before I made this post, but after researching and reading a bunch of reviews, it seems as though they haven't worked the bugs out yet and there are some feeding and ejecting issues. Before I decided that my only options left were Sig, I had the Beretta PX4 on the list. It was the last one to go after I decided I definitely wanted DAO.
I've read a ton on the Sig board here on our forum, but I haven't checked any other Sig boards. I'll see what else I can dig up on some other boards before I plop down the cash.
Maybe true, maybe not. There definitely are some bugs to work out, but over on rugerforum.com I haven't seen a lot of posts about SR9 failures; the chambering/ejection is largely based on the P-series which is absolutely solid. The P89, P90 and P95 though, like I said, each have 10+ years of reliable service and since you're looking at hammer-fired Browning actions anyway it can't hurt to rent a Ruger and see what you think. Any self-respecting range will have at least one Ruger P-series; Those that do not probably still have a bone to pick with Mr. Ruger's politics (Mr. Ruger in his later years was lambasted by gun owners for the "Ruger letter" written in support of a round limit and other measures that were ultimately included in the 1994 AWB).
Originally Posted by X6StringerX
In any case, I would be ABSOLUTELY SURE you want a DAO before you buy one. A lot of people who've posted about their selection of a DAO version of a hammer-fired pistol like the Sigs have ultimately regretted the decision. Having one double-action pull as a safety (DA/SA) is a great idea; forcing yourself to make the DA trigger pull every time reduces accuracy and firing rate, both of which are undesireable effects of DAO in a defensive/range handgun. It also is a FULL DA trigger pull, not the "safe-action" pull of Glocks at alii which are half-cocked at rest.
I'm not trying to turn you off of Sigs - they're great - I'm just making sure you know what you're getting into if you buy a DAO hammer-fired pistol.
This just keeps getting more and more confusing. One minute I say I don't like Glocks and then I go to the Sig board and see that most of the Sig guys prefer the G19 over the P239. I'm going to have $200 in rental fees, lol.
I am sorry but I fail to see the point of this post? I never said they were not foreign made to begin with. I am well aware of where they are designed and made but once again what difference does it make to this topic? Also you seem to be implying that all Sigs are DAO. This is simply not true. If you did not intend the statement that way, then I apologize but remember that the OP may not know.
Originally Posted by Liko81
To OP.. I usually look on gunbroker.com to get an idea of what prices should be ranging. Granted sometimes they are high on certain models but it can help.
Just to clear up any confusion. I didn't mean to imply in my original post that I was looking for USA made guns only. I was just asking out of curiosity what manufacturers are in the USA. I could only think of 2 or 3 off the top of my head and I thought there had to be more than Colt, Ruger, and S&W.
It makes a difference, or at least I thought it did, because OP asked if there are any remaining American gun manufacturers, leading me to think that he might prefer American to otherwise. That does not seem to be the case.
Originally Posted by sbc_pd10
You interpreted my statement incorrectly. Sig makes a DAO variant of many of their pistols, and those are the versions OP was interested in. OP is well aware that Sig makes manual-safety and decock-safety as well, but was going for DAO for safety reasons. In my (limited) experience, I've learned that DAO hammer-fired models have some definite downsides over DA/SA, and the advantage (a "safe" state after every shot and no need for a safety) simply is not worth it. That was what I was trying to communicate to OP.
Also you seem to be implying that all Sigs are DAO. This is simply not true. If you did not intend the statement that way, then I apologize but remember that the OP may not know.
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