Standard or Compact? Can't CC
I cant get a straight answer from people that I ask. I can't CC in NJ so the pistol will be used for target practice and home defence. Since I wont be carrying the pistol, it seems like the smart thing to buy would be a standard sized handgun. The dilemma I am having is I have a smaller build, therefor I have smaller hands. I'm about 5'7. I have had people tell me that compacts will be smaller in size, but according to most sites I visit it seems that the width of the guns remain the same size whether standard or compact. The 3 guns I am basically looking at are H&K USP, Glock, and Sig in that order. Probably in a .40 caliber at this poitnt. I know this will be asked so I might as well just say it now - I just turned 21 so my handgun app is being reviewed, and I am NOT allowed to handle any handguns at a local shop until I have a permit. Any suggestions are appreciated
I believe this is essentially correct, so provided the make of gun you're looking at is comfortable (many people find Glocks too wide, for example), a standard sized pistol and a compact pistol from the same maker should feel similar in your hand. However, the standard sized pistol has a few advantages:
Originally Posted by Medic
1. Longer sight radius, which should result in better accuracy. I've heard of some people shooting compacts better than they do standard pistols, though, so mileage may vary.
2. Higher capacity. This point may be moot depending on NJ's laws, I can't remember if there's a 10-round limit on magazines there.
3. Higher weight, which should reduce felt recoil.
Based on these points, and assuming you never plan to CC, I'd recommend a standard sized pistol. However, especially considering your age, keep in mind you might end up moving, and might have the opportunity to CC after all. It would be frustrating to have a gun too large to conceal easily...of course, you could always get another one if/when you hit that point.
I know you stated that you can't handle any handguns at the shop, but if you have any friends that shoot, the one thing everyone on here would recommend would be to try out a few handguns to see what's most comfortable for you.
I have smaller hands also, I'm only 5'8" and there are some guns that are just not comfortable to me, like the Glocks. How far from Delaware are you? You could take a trip to a gun shop there and handle a few, NJ sucks. I have a Sig P229, a Springfield 1911 and a Bersa 380. My 1911 is a fullsize and it is very comfortable for me because of the single stack magazine, so it's not very thick. My P229 is also very comfortable to handle, my wife has even smaller hands than I do and she has no problems shooting it. Good luck with whatever you choose.
Another vote for the P229. My hands are on the small size and the P229 fits like a glove. It's not truly full-size, but not a compact either; kinda a mid-size. You get the benefits of an almost full-size gun and it's pretty easy to carry and conceal if you ever move to a free state and get the option.
I would not buy a gun until I handled it. I would in your case get a standard sized weapon. If you are not CC and going to shot it at paper and sitting on your night stand A compact is not a bad choice but in my opinion standard is a better one. The barrel is longer accuracy should be better, sight plain is longer, again this should aid in putting holes where you want them. A little heavier and they will hold more bullets in the magazines. You can CC most standard sized weapons if you have the correct equipment. I carry a CZ 75B or a Ruger SR9 on occasion and no one is any the wiser then when my Kahr is holstered at my side.
Good luck...straight answer get the bigger gun for your first one given the circumstances you are strapped with living in NJ. Handle the guns before you buy them. Enjoy it when you get it. Shooting is a great hobby!
Seems to me that you have it right Medic. In the cases I can think of, the compact versions of standard handguns vary only in barrel length and grip length. While these are benefits for concealment, they are detriments to accuracy and comfort.
If you have concerns about the grip size, consider handguns with a single stack magazine too. A Browning Hi-Power is an example that can be had in .40cal.
I know it wasnt one of your options but you should really look at the M&P's, Both the standard and compact models have three different size backstraps for their grips, will fit most any hand. I also have small hands but the middle sized grip on my M&P's fit me like a glove, In my opinion it is the best feeling handgun I have ever held, But you may not like them, everyone is different thats what is so great about the whole thing, after all if we all liked the same things there would be a lot of gun companies out of business. Good Luck
The part of a handgun that's the most difficult to conceal is its grip (handle). A long barrel can just slide down into your pants, but a large grip area will stick out and "print" through any clothing you put on over it.
If you choose a revolver as your concealed weapon, you have complicated the issue: The bulge caused by its cylinder may also "print."
There are holsters which can help hide a full-size grip, but they limit your position-of-carry options, and some make your presentation slower. For OWB wear, there's the old "Askins Avenger" style, with it's behind-the-grip belt slot. But it's hard to conceal. For IWB (inside the pants, actually), there's the Smartcarry. But it's hard to access.
"Compact" pistols are actually kind of medium-size. Watch out for so-called compact guns which still have full-size grips, though. There are lots of these, and they'll be useless for your purposes. You need a gun with a compact grip, not necessarily a compact barrel.
As pistols get smaller, they get much harder to control well and to shoot effectively. Until you're a very experienced pistol shooter, stay away from the smallest powerful guns. (Less-powerful—e.g., .380 ACP—small guns are easier to shoot well than are .38 Special, 9mm, and .45 ACP shorties, but they don't deliver fight-stopping bullets.)
As pistol barrels get shorter, their pistols also tend to become less reliable. There are very few powerful, short-barrel semi-autos that are really, truly worthy of staking your life on.
So, now, I haven't told you which particular gun to buy. I can't. I don't know you personally, nor have I any idea of your real competency. But I have given you some valuable guidelines that can aid your choice.
Since your state forbids you from even handling guns until you have a permit, I suggest travelling to a nearby state that doesn't have this stricture, for instance maybe Pennsylvania, or even Virginia or Vermont. Tell the people in the out-of-state gunshop why you're there, and I'm sure that they'll let you handle a few pistols to get the feel of them and to scope out their sizes.
I would second the M&P suggestion above. You should look into the pistols that have interchangeable backstraps, which will allow you to customize the size a bit. You will not have that opportunity with any of the three pistols you mentioned.
Besides the M&P, you should also look at the full-sized Walther P99 and Beretta PX4. I personally like the P99 the most, but it's not worth the money they are wanting for them now. The M&P is as accurate and reliable as anything else you will find, and costs less than the Sig or the HK.
You could also look at the metal single-stacks from S&W such as the 3913 and it's variants, but they will not be as easy to find as an M&P.
There are a lot of good guns out there but I also prefer the M&P series and speak from 4 years experience with the M&P9, M&P40 and more recently M&P45.
Try before you buy.
Well, I was in PA for the weekend and was lucky enough to handle about 20 pistols at a gun shop! Nothing felt even close to as ergonomic as the H&K P30. I wasn't able to shoot any because the store/range was closing within 30 minutes but as of now that pistol is #1 in my book..
H&K P30.....nice choice. i do not own one but i would like too. Next trip to PA you may have to visit the gun store an hour earlier. Good luck gun shopping is pretty fun.
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