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  1. #1
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    first Handgun advice

    I am sure this is asked a lot and I have read the sticky, which is excellent btw. I am going to the local gun range today to look over various handguns. I am finding it hard to pick what would suit my needs as it is not a common need. I am a photographer by heart and often find myself in the wilderness. I am thinking this will serve best as a last resort protection from dangerous mammels and hopefully nothing else. Basically I know nothing about handguns(read this literally). I am looking at either a Sig or glock but that is not based on any knowledge as i am open to anything. I would like for this to be light/small as the camping gear/climbing/photo gear is enough as is I am also planning on enrolling in some classes(the ones at Sig's sight looked good)? What do you guys recommend for <1000 new or used any brand. I would specifically like to hear from anyone that has the same needs/


    edit: forgot to add will need to handle extreme conditions(weather wise) and be easy to clean and VERY safe.

    Jonathan
    Last edited by the chemist; 10-20-2006 at 09:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    If you are the same person who asked the choice between the Glock 19c and the Sig Pro, I just answered U over there.

    Here, it seems like U are looking to widen your range.

    U will get tons of ideas from people here probably - As a new person to handguns, I would typically recommend you get a 9mm. Cheap to shoot and not much recoil. There are many good choices out there. It would also make a decent home defense gun or a carry gun if you get a permit later.

    1911s are nice guns - but as a newbie, I don't know if I would recommend one as your FIRST handgun. The bullet size - 45ACP is good - but many 1911s can be picky and can take some work to make them reliable (some do work right out of the box, but not always). As a FIRST gun, I can't make the recommendation (Mike, another member here, has suggested the same thing to others in the past).

    But, U added a new wrinkle to the whole issue - U want it for defense in the wilderness. IF that is what I wanted out of a gun, I would want something more powerful than a 9mm and a 45ACP. At a minimum, I'd get a 357 revolver w/ 357 rounds. This might be a good option for you, because you could practice with .38 rounds until you get good with the gun. At some point, U'd have to practice with the more powerful 357 rounds that you would want to carry, though.

    The possible problem with this is that U wanted a semi-auto. For a semi-auto in the forest, I'd probably get a Glock 20 - a 10mm handgun. But once again - That might not be the choice for someone new to handguns. I think you are wanting a powerful handgun, but don't yet have the practice with something like a 22 or a 9mm yet. So, it's really tough to make a recommendation.

    I'm not a revolver guy - I prefer semi-autos. I have 6 of them. But if tomorrow, I wanted to go out into the forest and wanted protection, I'd probably go buy a Ruger GP 100 - a stainless 4" barrelled 357. A .44 would be an even better choice, if ya came in contact w/ a bear, but i personally would stick with the 357 and pray it was enough

  3. #3
    jimg11 is offline Member
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    Wink Big medicine for dangerous critters.

    The one that comes to mind is of course the ultra light weight Smith & Wesson model 329 44 Magnum revolver that they claim that that they made with you in mind.
    While firing full house 44 Magnum rounds in a 24 oz Revolver may seem like the dream of one of those guys that like to hurt, It would be just the thing if you happened to get between a she bear and her cubs. That phony Naturalist and his girlfriend that ended up on THE INSIDE of a bear a couple years ago in Alaska should have had one. Of course they were too stupid to even consider one.

    it gives you the absolute maximum power to weight ratio Safety wise a double action revolver is about as good as it gets.

  4. #4
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks shipwreck! No that other guy is not me i am not opposed to revolvers and will go check them out and perhaps post over there. Hopefully I can get a good sense of recoil today at the shooting range. Are revolvers as safe/ light?

  5. #5
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimg11 View Post
    The one that comes to mind is of course the ultra light weight Smith & Wesson model 329 44 Magnum revolver that they claim that that they made with you in mind.
    While firing full house 44 Magnum rounds in a 24 oz Revolver may seem like the dream of one of those guys that like to hurt, It would be just the thing if you happened to get between a she bear and her cubs. That phony Naturalist and his girlfriend that ended up on THE INSIDE of a bear a couple years ago in Alaska should have had one. Of course they were too stupid to even consider one.

    it gives you the absolute maximum power to weight ratio Safety wise a double action revolver is about as good as it gets.
    Thanks Jim, that 329 looks real nice! checking into it...pricey

  6. #6
    Hal8000's Avatar
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    While firepower is an important factor for a pistol used primarily for the woods, hitting your target is even more vital!
    Either the .44 mag or the .357 magnum will take down most any North American animal. Shoot them both and see which YOU are more comfortable with. I prefer the .44 Magnum. Mainly because it does not have that super sonic "crack" to it like the .357... That's my reason, you choose because of your own reason.

    Frankly, for a walk in the woods, I don't feel underguned even with my 9mm. That's because I can shoot it very well. Would I take it on a bear hunt? No.
    But if you can't hit any thing with the magnums and can hit with the 9mm, I'd go with the 9mm. 15 rounds in the animal is better than 6 on the rocks!

  7. #7
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal8000 View Post
    While firepower is an important factor for a pistol used primarily for the woods, hitting your target is even more vital!
    Either the .44 mag or the .357 magnum will take down most any North American animal. Shoot them both and see which YOU are more comfortable with. I prefer the .44 Magnum. Mainly because it does not have that super sonic "crack" to it like the .357... That's my reason, you choose because of your own reason.

    Frankly, for a walk in the woods, I don't feel underguned even with my 9mm. That's because I can shoot it very well. Would I take it on a bear hunt? No.
    But if you can't hit any thing with the magnums and can hit with the 9mm, I'd go with the 9mm. 15 rounds in the animal is better than 6 on the rocks!
    Thanks jeff. Is there a good middle of the road? power and accuracy? I am planning on going to the shooting range once a month or so? With a big caliber am I ever really going to be accurate?

  8. #8
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    I suppose for a courgar or mountain lion - 9mm might be ok. But if bears are even anywhere in your area - I wouldn't even think of taking a 9mm - despite the greater # of rounds. You'll just piss the bear off.

    As much as I am not a revolver fan - I'd get one if it were me in your position.

    Desert Eagle is too damn big to think of a semi-auto 357. a 10m Glock is the only other thing that comes to mind outside of a revolver. I guess a 40 cal is better than a 9mm, but still not in the same range as the 357.

    Hell, get 2 guns and carry both, if ya want something powerful AND something with capacity. I suppose if it were me, I'd carry 1 of my existing 9mms AND a revolver.

    U can get 8 shot 357 revolvers too. U aren't limited to ONLY 6 rounds.

  9. #9
    jimg11 is offline Member
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    Talking First Handgun advice.

    Hi Chemist,
    Someone once told me that everything is a compromise! If it were not I would have a palm size pistol that was about 1/2" thick that fired many huge bullets at pinpoint accuracy and power enought to bowl over an elephant without it recoiling enough to disturb my aim. Since this is not posssible I own several guns.
    1. I believe that the easiest and best gun to learn on is a .22 with sufficent size and weight to give really good accuracy. There are many good choices to start from. I learned to shoot with a ruger 22 auto many years ago. I started with the fixed sight standard and then got a 7" target model. I loved the size of the standard but the target model had better sights and trigger so I sold both and got a 4 1/2" Colt Match target for the best of both worlds.
    There are many Accurate 22 pistols or revolvers out there. Learn the Basics.
    2. the Medium range Guns are the place where most go next then end their search. 9mm, 38 Special, 357 magnum are relatevely easy to use and shoot. With good bullets they do most any thing that needs to be done with a handgun. Ammo is reasonably inexpensive. They come in many sizes Pistols or revolvers, various sights, capacities from 5 rounds to 17 rounds. This is where the compromises become really appearant. smaller, lighter = easier to carry or conceal = more recoil. Bigger, Heavier = easier to hold / shoot = less recoil.
    3. go on from there as there ar bigger bullets, bigger guns, different experiences. Try various guns, Brands, styles. Shoot until you find something that you really like and will do what you think you need to do.

  10. #10
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    You have to know the area that you going into also to figure out what to carry. I been all over the hills in the mid-west and never run into anything bigger than deer or bobcats. Now in the Smokey Mountains I have run into Black Bear. Never been out west where they got Grizzlys.
    The frist area I carried 4"/.357.
    The second area I carried 6"/.44mag.
    The thrid area I would want a larger caliber, but I am not sure what.

  11. #11
    Revolver's Avatar
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    The best thing to have if travelling in the wilderness is a shotgun or rifle slung over your shoulder. If you want the utmost relaiblity in the wilderness under adverse conditions, a semi-auto is not the best choice.

    If you absolutely must have a sidearm, you would be best going for at least .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, or .45 Colt. I wouldn't expect a weak action as the modern recoil operated systems are to be great platforms for such duty. Even the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt lack power that is ideal. Keep in mind that the .44 Magnum is only half the power of the .30-30.

    For a beginner, you can use .44 Special, .38 Special, and light .45 Colt loads. All of which have mild recoil.

    As much as I like the .44 Magnum, I would not want to test the revolver's effectiveness on dangerous game. That's what my Ithaca Model 37 is for. There are plenty of choices in light, fairly short rifles and shotguns that would be a much better choice for such duty.
    Last edited by Revolver; 10-20-2006 at 12:07 PM.

  12. #12
    Hal8000's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Shipwreck;39427]I suppose for a courgar or mountain lion - 9mm might be ok. But if bears are even anywhere in your area - I wouldn't even think of taking a 9mm - despite the greater # of rounds. You'll just piss the bear off.[QUOTE]
    With all due respect, that's not entirely true Shipwreck, I know from personal experience... Black Bears are not as tough as their Brown cousins... However, I'm not advocating shooting a bear with anything, unless you absolutely have to. The last resort type of thing...

    My point is, you have to be able to hit with what ever your shooting, or your just making noise, which is not a bad idea when confronted with any wild animal...

    Yes Chemist, a person can be very accurate with a .44 magnum, it just takes practice, and a lot of it. The big draw back with a magnum is the recoil is very punishing and you simply can not shoot as many rounds at a given time, like you can a lighter load. The .38 special/.44 special suggestion is a very good one... If you choose the magnums, shoot the specials for the bulk of your shooting (it's cheaper too), then follow up with a few of your carry rounds to keep familiar with them...

  13. #13
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    phew lots of good advice guys. I am thinking i may look into a heavier model of some sort. Hopefully when I go to the range in a few hours I can test several of the suggested or similar and therefore come back with better questions

    thanks

    the wildlife varies and not always in the US. However if I am not in the US it will be usually on a reserve or similar. i might opt for some bear spray and choose something more suitable for other mammelian disasters if that were the case.

  14. #14
    -gunut-'s Avatar
    -gunut- is offline Senior Member
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    Your search is over!



    This will stop anything in North America. (well...everywhere actually)

    Reliable and easy to clean. 9mm will just piss of the animals (this will take em out)


  15. #15
    -gunut-'s Avatar
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    And if that is too big then you can alway go for this one.

  16. #16
    john doe. is offline Banned
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    Okay, my two cents. Much good advice as usual. I too am a photographer (more portrait) and am out in the wilds as often as possible. I live thirty miles from Glacier National Park in Montana so we have the Grizzly and Black bear and also Mountain Lions. Right now I only carry my Glock 23 (.40) which is not what Iíd recommend for Mr. Grizzly but right now itís better than nothing.

    When funds are sufficient I will probably get a ported .454. KA BOOM! I carried a .44 magnum when I lived in Alaska. I never had to use it defensively luckily. Personally, if your going to be around Mr. Grizzly I would not be comfortable carrying anything less than a .44 magnum.

    Legally carrying in some areaís is also an issue. Technically it is illegal to carry a handgun in Glacier National Park (any national park). Do I? I plead the 5th.

    You may have to consider more than one gun and when you start shooting you will probably want more than one anyway. It's like a cocaine habit man, that one snort will just do it for a while until you need another fix. Luckily, I am not experianced in this area.

  17. #17
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    From all the shows/info I've watched (Discovery Channel/Outdoor Channel, etc) most outdoorsmen carry a revolver. The stainless version and the magnum caliber. If it were me, I'd look at an used stainless .357, .41 and .44 S&W, Ruger and Taurus. Rubber grips, light weight and a short barrel. For pack carry, I'd have the hammer bobbed (the extended hammer spur is ground flush). Don't want it getting hung up on anything inside your pack if needed in a hurry. Finally, keep in mind, a small short barrel magnum revolver will have a "holy s***" recoil. But, if you are being attacked by a wild animal, I doubt you'll feel or care about the recoil. Don't forget to practice. You sure don't want to go to the woods carrying a handgun you are afraid to shoot. Know your gun like you know your camera. Watch where you step.

  18. #18
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Well, I'd presonally have to say if U want a revolver - go with the Ruger or S&W - I'd skip Taurus. I know there is always a guy who will say he loves Taurus revolvers - But for every +1 I read, I read 5 negative posts about Taurus revolvers.

    Too bad they don't make those old 45 mag Automags (semi-autos)

  19. #19
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Chemist, as I said in my 1st post - U will get many, many points of view here. Some I agree w/. Some I do not. Just as some people agree w/ me and some do not. In the end - take all the advice - put it into a ball.... Mull thru it - and then ya just gotta take your chances and make up your mind

  20. #20
    the chemist is offline Junior Member
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    Wow guys, I had a blast shooting today!! I shot with a walther 9mm and a glock23(.40). I really liked the glock! How much of a difference is there in the glock 23 and the ruger .45's? I still need to try a revolver..next week

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