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Thread: First Handgun

  1. #1
    Big Hand's Avatar
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    Thumbs down First Handgun

    I am all new to this forum, thanks to all that have greeted me with so much welcome.

    Since I am now in the market for my first hand gun.......what would your suggestion be on a 40? I have little knowledge about handguns, so be gentle on me. Thanks, BH

  2. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    My first suggestion would be to get a 9mm instead of a .40 for a first centerfire handgun. 9mm recoils considerably less than .40, making it easier for a novice to shoot well. It is also less expensive to purchase, allowing you to stretch your shooting dollar. In the beginning, the more you shoot, the better (assuming you have good shooting technique - see paragraph three).

    You will read on the internet about 9mm being a weak sister and inadequate for defense, but that's mostly just bias. A good 9mm round is fine for defense, and the .40 is hardly the Hammer of Thor.

    Since you are inexperienced with handguns, consider taking an NRA Basic Pistol course. Instructors are all over the country, and a list of courses can be found at http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/find.asp.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 01-16-2008 at 11:24 AM.
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    neophyte is offline Member
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    spot on

    "Mike's" advice as usual; spot on. Add another dimension; go to you local gun range [that rents] shoot as many different available models . Find one that fits.
    Don't limit yourself.
    Hearty welcome

  4. #4
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    My first suggestion would be to get a 9mm instead of a .40 for a first centerfire handgun. 9mm recoils considerably less than .40, making it easier for a novice to shoot well. It is also less expensive to purchase, allowing you to stretch your shooting dollar. In the beginning, the more you shoot, the better (assuming you have good shooting technique - see paragraph three).

    You will read on the internet about 9mm being a weak sister and inadequate for defense, but that's mostly just bias. A good 9mm round is fine for defense, and the .40 is hardly the Hammer of Thor.

    Since you are inexperienced with handguns, consider taking an NRA Basic Pistol course. Instructors are all over the country, and a list of courses can be found at http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/find.asp.
    You're going to find alot of good advice here no doubt. I'll eloborate a bit on the above posting, and it depends on what your first hangun is for. Full size, compact, subcompact? Size and perceived recoil are relative as well as materials of the firearm, polymer, polymer/steel, alloy/steel, etc..........If this will be a carry piece for you, you'll need to practice often, and want it to last and perform well. If you're particularly looking for semi-auto handguns--I would suggest looking a bit more into the future, and base your decision on similar models in a certain manufacturer's line-up as I firmly believe in following along later with another handgun with similar operating characteristics as you'll be intimately familiar with them. Alot of excellent choices on the market these days, and mostly cost are the issues. I stand firmly on my choices in handguns for my own reasons, and won't dare to suggest one make or model over any others as people are as diverse as the models available, and need to chose what's best for them. I would suggest however that you research the forum and others before ultimately making the decision. Stick with something you tend to hear alot about and has good reviews from those who have experience with them. If cost is an issue, seek factory refurbished in the models that interest you. The range rentals are a very good testing grounds for making that personal decision as well. Good luck, and come back and let us know how things turn ot.

  5. #5
    Big Hand's Avatar
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    Well as it stands right now I am undecided between the XD or the M&P. I am going to go Friday to "test" both of these weapons. Who knows, it may be neither one that is decided. I would really like to have a Kimber.....but darn at that price, a little out of my range. Besides I am only going to use it mostly for home prot., a little range shooting, and minor hunting. I am pretty dead stuck on getting a 40, since I have fired many a 9mm.......NOT impressed. I want a little more "beef" when I shoot.

  6. #6
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    Honestly - I have been shooting for many many years. And, I've owned tons of handguns over the years. I tend to get bored fast and trade away or sell stuff when I need money to get something else (as my wife is not a gun fan, and getting money for a new one can sometimes be an uphill battle).

    Anyway - my Walther P99 A/S in 9mm is my all time fav handgun.

    However, this Sat I will be buying my 1st 40 cal. I have never cared for the round much, but one 40 cal gun really stood out to me. In the Summer of 2006, I got to shoot a 40 cal Beretta PX4. With that rotating barrel, it felt like a 9mm. In fact, after the 1st shot - I looked at the slide again to make sure it was a 40 cal gun.

    The rotating barrel doesn't do as much for the 9mm - it feels like any other 9mm to me. But the 40 - wow. Biig difference.

    The prices are too high in my area, so I'm hitting a gunshow to get one. I've already stacked up on some ammo. The PX4 is the only 40 cal I'll probably bother getting.

  7. #7
    Fred40 is offline Member
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    You mentioned maybe a little hunting. I wouldn't hunt with a .40 or a 9mm or .45 ACP. But then again it would depend on the animal your gunning for.

    I too am looking at getting my first handgun. I've done a TON of research and reading. I started out with my heart set on a .45 ACP.....and really liked the 1911's as well as hearing great things about the XD's and M&P's...........but.

    Everything points to a .357Mag revolver as quite possibly being the ideal first handgun. Have you considered it? Easy to care for; Reliable; Accurate (especially in the longer barrels). Can shoot cheap .38's for practice (with low recoil to boot). Then load up with .357's for Home Defense and Hunting. There are some outstanding revolvers out there ..... S&W 686's seem to be a fan favorite.....Ruger MP100's (the "TANK") and Colt King Cobras or even Pythons (very pricey).

    If you need more than six shots to get the job done.........then good luck to you.

  8. #8
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Go to gun shops and finger print every thing that you may like. Then fine them at a range and shoot them. One of them will stand out to you. Buy it I don't care what make or caliber it is. You'll be happy and shoot it more. Don't worry about money were all broke half the time anyway, but we can shoot. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Big Hand's Avatar
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    'back in the day'........i owned a S&W 357 "j" frame.......absolutely HATED that gun. I can say I will never own another 357 in my life. To me.......it was bulky, hated the finish on it (nickle plated), tried my best to "get used to it"..yeah WHATEVER!!! I don't and wound not recommend that firearm to anyone as a first gun. It has really put a bad taste in my mouth. I think that is the reason I have waited so long for 'purchase' my first handgun. That 357 was given to me....

  10. #10
    Big Hand's Avatar
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    I plan to go to several gun shops and ranges around here to 'finger' every weapon that I think I might be interested in. I'm not going to "settle" for anything that I dont think that I will not be comfortable with. I have a good idea about what I am looking for. Let's throw a Walther in my choices. My budget is not that large.....something around $500 or $550.......OTD.

  11. #11
    neophyte is offline Member
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    Xd&m&p

    BigHand: good thinking Spend some time; do not carry your 'wallet'
    Visit with intentions of exploring.
    Kimber vs XD. M&P hands down XD-M&P value for your buck

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    jp344478 is offline Junior Member
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    "If you need more than six shots to get the job done.........then good luck to you."

    ... or perhaps theres more than 1 guy... or maybe your getting shot at for the first time and miss (gasp). hmmm revolver, best home defense choice i don't think so on a multitude of reasons aside from those.

    and beside that to say a 9mm is inadequate is simply ridiculous as proved by the thousands of police officers who carry it on a daily basis (oh and 95%of the military)

  13. #13
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    Big Hand, I would suggest you go and play with all the guns at the gun store and see which one feels best to you then research it and see if anybody has had any serious problems with it and check to see if its reliable on sites such as these. If your gun store has a range ask them if you can put a couple rounds downrange to see if it shoots well. Shot placement is much more important then caliber when it comes down to the Nitty Gritty. I have a .40 in a Sig P229, I love the gun and use it as my CCW gun. Sigs aren't cheap brand new but sometimes you come across a used one at a reasonable price.

  14. #14
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Hand View Post
    ....NOT impressed. I want a little more "beef" when I shoot.
    Your choice, but accurate hits on target are a lot more impressive than noise and recoil.
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    Fred40 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp344478 View Post
    "If you need more than six shots to get the job done.........then good luck to you."

    ... or perhaps theres more than 1 guy... or maybe your getting shot at for the first time and miss (gasp). hmmm revolver, best home defense choice i don't think so on a multitude of reasons aside from those.

    and beside that to say a 9mm is inadequate is simply ridiculous as proved by the thousands of police officers who carry it on a daily basis (oh and 95%of the military)
    Who ever said a 9mm was inadequate? I said it was not the best choice for "Hunting". A 9mm makes a perfectly good HD weapon.

    Also never said that a revolver was the best HD gun. Just said it was one of the best first handguns to own due to reasons stated.

    You seem to be focused on HD.......I was/am not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Since you are inexperienced with handguns, consider taking an NRA Basic Pistol course. Instructors are all over the country, and a list of courses can be found at http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/find.asp.
    Great advice!

  17. #17
    glock27bill is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    Honestly - I have been shooting for many many years. And, I've owned tons of handguns over the years. I tend to get bored fast and trade away or sell stuff when I need money to get something else (as my wife is not a gun fan, and getting money for a new one can sometimes be an uphill battle).
    When I was deciding on what my carry gun would be, I would purchase one, try it out for a while, and then sell it if I really didn't like it. Except for an instant dislike, one range trip was not enough for me to make a decision, maybe that's just me. I also liked to take the thing down to see how easy it was to disassemble, clean & reassemble.


    It cost me some money in devaluation, but I found a gun that was a good fit for me, ergonomically and otherwise. I found that accuracy was a much a function as a good hand fit than anything else.

    Regarding the 9mm, I read an article recently in a gun mag (can’t recall which one) saying that their bad rap for lacking “stopping power” is a carry over from their early days. Technology advances in ammo especially has made the 9 a fine defensive weapon.

  18. #18
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    I have an S&W 586 L frame 357 and a Ruger P345. I've had the 586 for over 20 years and it is a great wheel gun. Shot a lot of 38 specials through it. I just got the P345 and I'm in Hog Heaven with it. I don't think it kicks as much as the 357 with hot loads and it fits my hand really nice. The price is a bit easier to swallow than some of the Upper Crust stuff. I think Ruger makes a pretty good working man's gun. From what I'm reading you ain't no wet behind the eyes shooter as you have stated you've shot a bunch of 9mm's. I think the cost of ammo is about the same for the 40 and the 45 but you'll find ammo for the 45 a bit easier to find to my way of thinking. Hope you find "YOUR GUN" and it gives you many years of enjoyment.

  19. #19
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    I agree with all the advise, especially with going and seeing how the guns fit your hand and feels while shooting. My first hand gun is my PX4 .40 and I LOVE the gun. It a gun I can put 200+ rounds through at the range and not have a tired hand at the end of the day. I tried all different guns from Glocks to Sig's. I just like the way the PX4 fit my hand and shot. I've also put several hundred roounds through a friends XD 40, he loves the PX4 too, and really liked that gun too. Both guns have over a thousand rounds through them with no problems.

  20. #20
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    I really appreciate all of the wonderful advise that everyone is giving me. I have taken the opportunity today to go and 'play' with a few of the mentioned weapons that I think I would enjoy. Not having the time to fire any of them, I did however get a chance to get a little info. about each. All info. that I have gathered from everyone on here and the few dealers that I have gone to today, it seems as if it is more personal preference than "popularity". I like the look of the Walther....the feel of the XP, but the grip and weight of the M&P. So now what do I do?? I guess I am going to have put some rounds down range and go from there. As stated before....it may not be any of those mentioned that I take home. I held and drooled over the Kimder 45.....But I know I can't afford that. So for now that is only a dream.....ha ha!! Besides I think that is too big of a gun for me to be toting around all of the time. I will, in the near future, look into that handgun class as mentioned to me earlier. Again, Thanks everyone. I look forward to hearing any more input about this as I find my first handgun.

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