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  1. #1
    Lucretius is offline Junior Member
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    Buying 1st handgun need some input please

    Well, kind of a dubious first post, and I'm sure many get tired of the same old questions, but I need more qualified input than my buddy telling my "Get that one, I think it looks sweet!".

    Basically, I've got it narrowed down to 4 different guns( and one of them is completely different). I'm looking to get a .45 cal in a glock,springfield XD, S&W M&P, and possibly a springfield 1911.

    I haven't shot any of them yet( going to the range to rent them all this saturday). But I would like any/all opinions and what I should be looking for as I test run these guns. This handgun will be a target/camping sidearm as well as home defense. I plan on getting my concealed carry after I take a few defensive/conceal classes at my local range.

    I am leaning toward the glock 21 actually at this point, basically for it's simplicity and the fact that price wise I can buy the gun and slap a crimson trace laser on it and still be cheaper than the particular 1911 model I like(which is my second choice at this point).

    So what should I be paying atttention to as I shot these guns. I need to hear the good the bad the ugly. Also if there are any other handgun suggestions as far as make goes, I would like to hear that as well.

    Thanks in advance for any/all info.

  2. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome to the forum!

    At the outset, I'll say that as a new handgunner, you might consider some guns that recoil less than a lightweight .45, and also some calibers that are less expensive to shoot. But if you are set on the .45, here's my take on the guns you mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucretius View Post
    Basically, I've got it narrowed down to 4 different guns( and one of them is completely different). I'm looking to get a .45 cal in a glock,springfield XD, S&W M&P, and possibly a springfield 1911.
    Good guns all. Observations on each:

    Glock. Excellent and deep track record for reliability. Low bore axis and short trigger reset, subtleties often unrecognized by new shooters that make guns easier to shoot well when accuracy is weighed against speed. VERY big grip, really only suited to shooters with very big hands. Holsters, magazines and accessories very widely available.

    Springfield XD. Excellent reputation for reliability. Has some safety features that some people, especially newer shooters, like. Grip more comfortable than the Glock for most people. Bore axis is fairly high and trigger reset somewhat long. Holsters, magazines and accessories fairly common.

    S&W M&P. Bore axis and trigger reset better than XD. Interchangeable backstraps to customize fit to hand size. Seems reliable thus far, but not too many guns in the field yet, compared to Glock and XD. Accessories probably harder to find.

    Springfield 1911. Superior ergonomics, with low bore axis, potentially excellent trigger, and small grip. Best carried cocked with safety engaged, which requires more training than the "point and pull" guns above. As with all 1911s, reliability is something of a crapshoot, especially when shooting modern hollowpoint ammo. Holsters, magazines and accessories are everywhere.

    I am leaning toward the glock 21 actually at this point, basically for it's simplicity and the fact that price wise I can buy the gun and slap a crimson trace laser on it and still be cheaper than the particular 1911 model I like(which is my second choice at this point).
    I have the Crimson Trace grips on two of my three Glocks. I won't be getting one for the third. The CT Glock unit, while mechanically very well designed, makes an already big grip even bigger, while the housing for the laser diode barks my thumb knuckle in weak-hand shooting. These problems may be due to peculiarities in my particular hand size/shape, but you should probably try one live-fire before you spend the money.

    So what should I be paying atttention to as I shot these guns.
    It really depends on how experienced a shooter you are. When I evaluate a pistol on the range, I observe four things:

    1. My group size.
    2. How high the front sight flips during recoil.
    3. How quickly I can reset the trigger.
    4. My speed between shots (called "splits"), as measured with a shot timer, if one is available.

    I personally don't get too hung up on "feel." As long as you can reach the trigger and get enough hand on the gun to manage the recoil, your hand will likely adapt to almost any variation in grip shape. This is one big reason not to completely rely on subjective impressions of "feel" when fondling guns at the dealer, but rather to shoot them and see how they compare objectively in terms of accuracy and speed.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 01-03-2008 at 09:26 PM. Reason: punctuation
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  3. #3
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    Are you a new shooter? Specifically to semi-auto handguns? This may come into play when trying them out. The reason why is that you may develop some "bad" habits" such as bad posture, loose gripping, etc.

  4. #4
    neophyte is offline Member
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    just thinking

    Lucretius: Sir; re-read "Mike's" thoughts carefully. He makes sense of 'the' complicated feel issue.
    Welcome to this site. Some mighty bright folks will show up with ideas and most will "suggest" rent and shoot. Find the one that fits.
    My thoughts on .45's
    Expensive to shoot
    bang for your buck
    Looks about the same as all others.
    More recoil

    First gun thinking
    something that will last
    something pleasurable to shoot
    something affordable to shoot
    something that I find "fits" my life style
    something that fits my hands

    .22's cheapest to shoot
    9mm next cheapest to shoot
    .40's almost double to shoot
    .45's almost double to shoot.

    Sir; my shooting starts with .22's 9mm, .38, .357,.40 and ends with .44's
    Fun shooters .22's, "working arms;" are exactly that. You'll learn a lot from the .22's but the 9mm covers another spectrum.
    Follow up with your thoughts.
    Last edited by neophyte; 01-03-2008 at 12:57 PM. Reason: incomplete sentence

  5. #5
    Steve's Avatar
    Steve is offline Junior Member
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    grab up a 9mm Xd Service, you will love it, and is harder to "accidental discharge" with the grip saftey, excellent first gun you will keep forever

  6. #6
    NAS T MAG's Avatar
    NAS T MAG is offline Junior Member
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    Mike's reply was very well written, as usual.

    That first gun purchase decision is tough. It's easier if you know you will be adding to the herd later on.

    My thought process, when I made my first purchase a few years ago, started with thinking how I was really going to use the weapon. I decided I wanted something for self defense and something my wife could handle. I decided on a Taurus Ultra Lite .38 Special. Not complicated and reasonably priced. I used it to take my CCW class. It's a nice compact gun and conceals well.

    Then I decided I wanted a semi automatic and the only one I considered was the Glock 19 9mm. I really liked shooting it and spent more time at the range. Then the Glock 26 was my next acquisition. I was already using 9mm with the 19 and the magazines were inter changeable and, well, I just thought it would be nice to have a sub compact.

    When I first saw the Taurus Judge I flipped! Home defense and .45 stopping power all in one. Just too cool.

    I had added the Crimson Trace to the .38 and internal Lasermax to both Glocks. Recently, added Trijicon night sights to both Glocks.

    This past week, I decided I wanted something traditional and bought a Colt 1911. It is a handsome gun, but requires more care than the rest of them.

    Now, when I go to the range, I take all of them. They're all good shooters and I always have someone ask about the Judge after 5 quick shots at a silhouette target with .410 #4. Up close and personal protection. That's the one that is closest to me at home.

    You're a lucky man. Getting to get that first firearm is a blast. If you think you're struggling with a decision now, wait till you ready to buy your first holster!

    Buy what feels right to you and something that you shoot well. You can always add others, later.

  7. #7
    Lucky7 is offline Junior Member
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    Mike has laid out a very well thought out outline of what to look for at the range, as well as the various makes and models of guns. Do yourself a favor after shooting each specific gun, just "jot" down some notes about likes and dislikes of that particular model. Sleep on it, and remember to buy what YOU feel comfortable with, not what your friend thinks looks cool. I was in your shoes a few months ago, and truly drove myself crazy trying to pick that "perfect" gun.

    I wanted a gun that I could easily conceal and went with the XD40SC. I made the right decision, and love the gun. Like most on this forum I have a sickness that causes me to develop needs for other firearms. In NJ you have to wait for permits to be approved before you can buy subsequent guns. I applied for (3) more permits, and they should be here any day. I will be buying another XD, a 1911, and I am not sure what I am going to buy with the other permit.

    Bottom line, no matter which of the guns you listed you will not be unhappy. The 1911 is truly a beautiful gun, but I would get a polymer framed pistol first. Everyone has their theories about a 9mm not being enough "stopping power." My question for these people is, "Would you stand in front of my 9mm while I empty a clip?" I wouldn't, and I don't know anyone else who would. My .40 kicks very hard, and it also happens to be a SC, which does not help either. I have shot many full size .45's that have less recoil. I'm sure this purchase won't be your last, so if you get something you shoot well and feels right, go for it. Best of luck and welcome!

  8. #8
    Lucretius is offline Junior Member
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    I want to voice my appreciation for all the great feedback an information regarding my original post.

    I immediately realized I didn't add much "background" to myself or this purchase actually,...and I apologize.

    First, I am 31 and have grown up and been around guns in general but not handguns specifically. I have owned 5 different handguns in my short life, 2 of which I still own ( ruger MK3 22/45 with red dot scope, S&W sigma 9mm). I have owned a ruger vaquero 45 LC, and a sig P220 that I regret getting rid of.

    The 22 I own is great fun, I have 2 children and they love to plink with it along with my wife. The 9mm I acually don't shoot much. I don't really like the trigger, and I've never been accurate with it to be honest. I got rid of my Sig P220 quite awhile ago to foot the bill for my other hobbie (bowhunting). And while I really enjoyed shooting the Sig, and like the gun, I am just looking for something "new" to me. I also want something with a bit more punch than a 9mm at this point, as I said it would be a camp/hike gun. I have considered a 357 mag revolver of some type, but I know ever less about the revolver world and most of my experience is with semi-autos.

    Thanks again for all the great help and advice. I look forward to your replies.

    Chris

  9. #9
    Lucretius is offline Junior Member
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    Bah!!

    The title I used for this thread reads "buying 1st handgun", I didn't realize I wrote that. I already bought my first handgun quite a few years ago.

    Sorry for the confusion all,...I was in a hurry for work when I was trying to type this up this morning.

  10. #10
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    After reading your following post a .357 with a 4" barrel would be a great choice. They are easy to learn using .38spl ammo cheap to practice with and a wide selection of different types of ammo. They are not really great for CCW but every thing else they are great.

  11. #11
    Lucretius is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony pasley View Post
    After reading your following post a .357 with a 4" barrel would be a great choice. They are easy to learn using .38spl ammo cheap to practice with and a wide selection of different types of ammo. They are not really great for CCW but every thing else they are great.
    Tony,

    Could you suggest a make/model 357 I should rent or look into? The shop I am visiting has many options available. I just want to be sure about this purchase, as the wife has given me basically the freedom to choose whatever sidearm I am most nterested in ( within reason price wise).

    I owned the ruger vaquero only a short time, so my revolver experience is limited to say the least.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  12. #12
    mc2
    mc2 is offline Junior Member
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    I've used the Glock 30 (45 ACP) and liked it a lot. Has a smooth trigger, accurate at 25 yards and is reasonably priced.

    You should also try this model when you go to the range

  13. #13
    Lucretius is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc2 View Post
    I've used the Glock 30 (45 ACP) and liked it a lot. Has a smooth trigger, accurate at 25 yards and is reasonably priced.

    You should also try this model when you go to the range
    Is that a compact model??

  14. #14
    mc2
    mc2 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucretius View Post
    Is that a compact model??
    Yes.

    The Glock 30 is a compact pistol

  15. #15
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    My pick would be a S&W 686 but you should try others as to which you would be most comfortable with. IMO the Colt Python is the very best and holds value, but cost the most. Baldy can give more info on .357's.

  16. #16
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    The Glock 30, was designed to be a "carry" gun. You already have the 19. You'll most likely love shooting it and won't give the 30 the attention it needs. Smaller guns take longer to master. Just put the 30 on the back burner for now.
    I would be inclined to agree with a .357 magnum, for reasons already mentioned. A 4 inch bbl is considered to be the standard.
    I bought a used one in stainless steel with a 2 1/2 inch bbl. I thought that it was a good deal, and jumped.
    I doubt that you'll be able to carry in N.J. (I'm from there), so Ensure to get a good, lockable gun rug too.
    Have fun.

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