Get a glock 23 in 40 and get a conversion barrel to shoot 9mm
I generally favor the .40 but that is only for people who are fairly proficient at pistol shooting. The best first gun does depend heavily on who you are - your age, health and build. For the young person, such as the young guy who started this, I think 9 mm is the best place to start. But with a year or two of active shooting (2X per month) I'd expect you to move to a .40 or .45 with perhaps a 9 mm mouse gun for backup. The point would be you need to learn to shoot accurately given moderate recoil before working up to heavier recoil. If you are middle age or older in less than great shape, you should consider a smaller caliber than 9 mm, perhaps .22, .32 or .380. (I recently noticed a .22 round - the "stinger" - that has enough energy at 190 ft lb to be useful in self defense.) You could work into a .40 cal with practice. For people older than 70 who have never shot a gun before, I'd recommend they learn and stay with the small caliber auto and, perhaps the revolver if they cannot operate the slide or load a magazine.
I am 68 and use a small .40 cal. But I learned to shoot many years ago with a range of calibers. Still loading the magazine and operating the slide are things I have to practice to do well. I can shoot it fairly well as well as a medium-sized .40 cal. I tried smaller 9 mm guns with mixed success. I have been trying to advise my 91 year-old brother-in-law on a self-defense gun. He can operate the slide on my .40's but can't load a magazine. He's the one who showed me the "Stinger" .22 loads in his Beretta .22 LR. I am hoping to move him up to a .380 with a laser - another feature older people can use. I use an LGS/Range in a medium southern city and regularly see oder men and ladies buying guns and shooting on the range for the first time. People of all types feel a need for protection.
One thing that is clear, everyone can have fun shooting on a range as they learn. It does not have to be work.
Get a glock 23 in 40 and get a conversion barrel to shoot 9mm
I just started shooting handguns within the last few months myself. I have a variety of guns and calibers already. I would honestly say go with the 9mm 1st or a 45 ALL METAL GUN. I have a CZ 75 compact 40 and even though its heavy it has a sharp recoil and I shoot the worst with it.
Look into either the FNP-9 which is a very nice gun for less then $500 or the Stoeger line in either 9 or 45. I have the stoeger in 45 and its a great gun with barely any more recoil then the FNP-9. Both can be had NEW for less then $500.
Just remember you can shoot 100 rounds of 9mm for the price of 50 rounds of 40 or 45. 9mm is very capable also
9mm is cheaper to shoot
I have a Glock 23 40S&W, I then purchased a Lonewolf 40 to 9 conversion barrel and two Glock 19 magazines. That gave me both the 40 S&W and 9mm. Then just recently I bought a Glock 32, 357 Sig barrel. With the Sig barrel I can use my G23 magazines. So for a total of about $850 I have a 40 S&W, 9mm and a 357 Sig. all in one pistol and any of the combinations have been 100% reliable.
Last edited by tarmac; 05-01-2012 at 05:46 AM. Reason: typo
I guess I'm repeating points a lot of people have already made by noting that 9mm is cheaper and a bit easier to shoot and a perfectly capable defensive round especially with the right ammo. For a new pistol shooter the benefits of a higher caliber when it comes to hitting power are offset IMHO by the benefits of 9mm - you'll be able more easily to develop good shooting basics and you'll want to shoot a lot to develop skills and the cheaper ammo will make that more fun. Plus there's a pretty good chance you'll be looking for another pistol in the near future (it just works like that lol) and you can move up in caliber then.
9 mm is best in most respects but not if you expect to meet big angry bears or people. It depends on where you live. In Grizzly Country, you need a revolver with at least a .41 magnum hole in the end. For general shooting and defense against troublesome people, a .40 is better than a 9 mm as long as you have nearly a full size XD. Springfield makes a great sub compact but you need that in a 9 to start with. You will adjust for ammo cost with the frequency of your trips to the range. You need a lot at first and then not so many.
I'd opt for the 9MM. Ammo is a lot less expensive and it has less recoil. Shoot it enough to be competent with it, bullet placement is usually more important than the difference between the 9 and the .40. I've shot both and found the 40 to be a lot snappier than the 9.
Where I shoot, 9mm costs $13 and .40 costs $15-18 depending on how picky you are. Not that much difference. I still pay $1.20 per bullet for defense loads but don't go through many of those.
Here locally the cheapo ammo at the range $12.96 for 9mm, 22.99 for 40. The stores I have looked at retain roughly the same price spread comparing same brand/model of ammo.
One thing I noticed yesterday while looking was that all the big box stores with cheap ammo were OUT of 9mm, as in cleaned out of the cheap stuff. I finally found a 100count box @ wallmart for $19.98, and got the last one. That puts it @ 9.99/50. The 40 they had was more than double that.
I don't know where you're buy ammo, but:
Bass Pro Shop
Academy Sport & Outdoor
are all approximately
9mm $11 + or -
.40 $22 + or -
Prices change daily, but .40 is always about double the cost of 9mm.
Go with 9mm.
If possible, go to your local gun store or range & try both out & see how they work for
you, as to recoil, and how well you shoot each ( same gun in each, of course ). Go with
what you shoot the best. The price of ammo isn't what you're going to be concerned about
when it hits the fan with a bad guy.
I've had both, still do, actually, have no problem with either. My carry gun is a 40, as is my
Asking someone else which caliber you should buy, is like asking which woman you should marry.
Personal choice. JMHO
Crazy animals and crazy people in the woods I choose G-20 , long barrel 10mm.. It will stop a bear and where I pack there many bear.
$6.35/week x 52 weeks (one year) = $330.20 x 10 years = $3,302 or a Cruise to the Caribbean for my wife and I. If that isn't persuasive to go 9mm over 40 caliber nothing will persuade you.
Youtube has extensive ballistic gel tests using Gold Dot 124 grain +p vs. 40 Gold Dot and there really is not enough difference to go 40 caliber. The penetration is 13 inches for the 9mm and 3 inch wide gashes. The 40 caliber is less than one inch more penetration.
Enjoy your 40 caliber. I will be thinking about you on my cruise.
Try a couple of each & see which you like. Should be easy if you have friends or a gun club nearby that have members that will let you.