The 500 is a load of fun and a real good stress relief! LOL! But for revolvers, especially first ones that you plan to carry, I would say try out the various barrel sizes of the S&W 686 and the Ruger GP-101, and also try a Ruger SP101.
I'm not to sure about first handguns but I spotted one of these at the local gun shop the other day and is on my list of to get guns for backpacking and biking in the mountains.
I was looking at a .454 though.
I don't think a 454 is a good FIRST handgun
Any revolver over 357 is gonna be too much for him to begin with
Some have suggested the .357 mag revolver types...what about this
a smith and wesson M&P .357 Sig. Is this going to have the same power as a .357 mag? Or am I confused? Also let me know if you think it would be too much for me.
357 sig is not the same as a 357 magnum. The .357 sig is a new round. I'm not into it, personally. It is more powerful than a 40 cal.
But, its not the same thing.
My first gun was a S&W 686-6 Plus 4" .357. I liked it but alot of people on the S&W forum complained about newer S&Ws with the Internal Locks. From what I've read on the forums I visit, a older model used S&W or new Ruger revolver is the way to go.
I can hardly believe I am reading recommendations for 10mm Glocks, scandium .44 Magnums, and .460/.500 revolvers for a novice handgun shooter! Jonathan, I can pretty much guarantee if you start with guns like these, you will never become a good handgun shooter. These are guns for very experienced shooters and really no one else. I can scarcely imagine a worse first gun than a .500 revolver.
If you seriously need a firearm for bear defense, save yourself a whole lot of trouble and buy a Marlin Guide Gun. It's a lever-action .45-70 carbine that you can find for under $500 new. Yeah, it's not as cool and romantic as a handgun, but it's still pretty slick and easy to carry on a sling, very simple to operate, and a whole lot easier to shoot well than a hard-kicking big-bore handgun. A shotgun stoked with Brenneke slugs is second choice, but bulkier and harder to shoot well versus a Guide Gun.
From personal experience of introducing about a dozen people to shooting, a .38 Special revolver is the handun of choice by my new shooters. I always start a new shooter on a .22 LR handgun, but after not much range time they want something that "feels" more powerful. A .38 has enough felt recoil to give them that feedback, yet is mild enough that they're not immediately scared of it. It's easy to move on from there after they get used to that.