I live in a small town with a high crime rate, and I'm looking to pick up something for defense. I'm new to firearms, aside from a session shooting a .22 with my dad, long ago. I will be getting instruction along with a weapon, and a case of ammo for lots of practice.
After some research, I've settled on a DA/SA semi-auto in a 5" barrel, though I'm still trying to work out which specific model to get. I'm mostly looking at Taurus's 24/7s. I'm considering 9mm or .40 S&W, and I was leaning toward the .40 S&W... until I went to the range yesterday.
At the range I ran 10 rounds through each of a .40 Glock 22 and a 9mm H&K. I was nervous and jumpy while shooting, but I did okay with the 9mm, probably around a 4-5" median group at 7 yards. The Glock 22 was a different story. The muzzle flip was bad, it felt like the pistol was going to jump out of my hands every time I fired it. I missed the paper entirely a couple times, and the rest of the holes were scattered over the bottom half of the target. Obviously, I can control the 9mm H&K much better than Glock 22. However, I wasn't shooting +P rounds in the 9mm.
Here are my questions:
Do the +P 9mm rounds - in particular the Corbon DPX 115gr +P - have substantially more recoil than a blazer FMJ round? Would that load be as difficult to control as .40 S&W?
Obviously the design of the handgun can influence recoil and muzzle flip. Do Glock 22s have excessive recoil/muzzle flip compared to other .40's such as the Taurus 24/7? Is the .40S&W recoil something I would learn to handle with practice? I don't have strong arms. I'm a scientist and I sit in front of a computer all day...
I've seen forum posts elsewhere which said the Glock 22 has a lot of muzzle flip, and other posts which say the Taurus 24/7 .40 is not bad. Unfortunately, the firing range didn't have Taurus models and it was expensive enough that I can't afford to try shooting a wider variety of handguns.
I'm open to considering other models as well; the H&K was very nice, though I didn't like the magazine release. I definitely want a manual safety, so Glock and Springfields are out. I prefer DA/SA also. The one thing I dislike about the Taurus 24/7s is the lack of a decocker; their 24/7 OSS model fixes this, but it's not available and I've had conflicting information as to whether or not it will be available to civilians. With no decocker, I assume you must remove the magazine, eject the cartridge from the chamber, and dry-fire it to get it into a de-cocked state without firing?
Advice would be greatly appreciated... thanks.
I'm with Scooter. I carry a Glock 23 (.40) and like it but will be going to a 9mm someday so I can shoot cheaper.
What you were running into with the Glock vs HK was the caliber difference, .40 is generally "snappier" than 9mm. +Ps in 9mm aren't that dramatic of a jump, IMO. Also, Glock triggers feel very different from the USP trigger. Personally, I've never shot well with Glock triggers, but I probably could given enough practice.. Glocks are very popular for competition, so a lot of people can shoot a Glock well, I just can't.
I've never owned a 24/7 so I can't speak to those specifically. I do have a HK USP in 9mm, and yes, you do get the advantage of a manual decocker and safety (if so equipped, and most are from the factory). Some people love or hate the USP mag release - I have short thumbs so a conventional mag release requires me to shift my grip - but if you work the USP style with the index or middle finger of the shooting hand, it actuall ends up faster, IMO..
On some guns, like the Glock, that are striker fired, the decocker is debatable - the striker isn't fully cocked until you pull the trigger - so you carry it with the striker in a 'pre-cock' condition.
power doesn't mean much if you can't hit what you're aiming for; if a 9mil feels better to shoot, stick with that. i carry a 9 sig and i figure 15rds of jhp is likely to deter anyone.
Wow, thanks for all the replies.
My problem with the .40 wasn't necessarily the amount of recoil; it was the way the gun jumped UP instead of pushing back. Every time I fired the .40, the side of my trigger finger got hit by the trigger guard. If the recoil had pushed back more instead of up, I don't think it would have been a problem.
I'd prefer the more powerful round, but obviously I must be able to control it.
Thanks again, everyone.
Don't let too many folks fill your head with the caliber wars. If 9mm wasn't adequate about a million people need to get up and walk out of their graves since they were killed with a sub-par caliber.
Shot placement is key and in order to get consistent shot placement you need to be able to control your gun. The human brain, heart and other organs don't know or care what size the hole is they just know they have been hit.
If you really have your heart set on a DA/SA I have two of the softest shooting 9mm on the market, a Beretta 92fs and a Baby Eagle polymer framed semi-compact. Both of these guns have great accuracy and are very easy to control, which make follow up shots much easier. Plus they give you 15 + 1 to 17 + 1. There are tons of great guns on the market so keep shooting different ones until you find what is right for you, don't worry about what is popular.
I was in about the same state and I ended up with a Walther P99c in 9mm. I couldn't be happier. The gun is small enough to carry, accurate enough to hit what I point at, and totally reliable. It breaks down in about three seconds (literally). I don't know about the caliber wars, but I can shoot 9mm from this small gun without excessive muzzle flip. I also happen to really like the looks of this gun. Handsome but not frilly. Also, it has three trigger modes and a decocker. Look into it.
BTW: Don't give Shipwreck your phone number or he'll start calling you until you buy one. He sure helped me decide. Thanks SW.
Tharmer, doesn't the Walther P99 lack a manual thumb safety?
Yes, it does not have one. It is DA/SA - or U can set up the 1st shot as SA with the longer pull. Your choice. It has a deocker button. But, it is a sweet gun
Hey your a member over at thefiringline right?? You will like it here. These guys will steer you in the right direction.
I shoot and carry that load in my Combat Commander and in my S&W 3913 I find its a great load and have no trouble with 9 as a SD gun. I had a 40, fired 1 one box of ammo and was history. My 45 will do better than 40 and a lot less on the snappy recoil. The +P 9mm will also do fine . So 40 went by by.
You were using a full sized Glock in .40. Your shot placement indicates you were anticipating the recoil to the extent that it seriously affected your accuracy. Also, I suspect you were not holding the gun securely enough if you experienced the kind of muzzle flip you describe. There are thousands of competition shooters who use the Glock 22 and its longer barreled sidekick, the 35 and they are able to place shots quickly and accurately at greater distances than 7 yards.
I think the 9mm is an effective self defense caliber if used with hollow tip cartridges. Even if a bad guy is shot with a .40 or .45, it doesn't necessarily mean the threat ends immediately. If you read detailed descriptions of police shootouts, you find men who are shot once or several times in the torso with higher caliber rounds and they continue to fire their weapons or otherwise present a threat, even though many of them die afterwards of their original gunshot wounds. My thinking is if confronted with this type of situation, shoot and keep shooting until the threat is neurtralized.
Shot placement and being comfortable with your handgun are much more important than caliber especially when comparing the 9mm and
.40. I suggest you go with the 9mm.
I know my opinion may upset those that like to get into 9mm vs. .45ACP arguments but the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45ACP are all somewhat-anemic rounds. They all fill the same role as far as I'm concerned(which is to serve as an alternative when a proper defensive weapon is not available. ). Keep in mind these are PISTOLS we're talking about. Don't think you're gaining a huge advantage with one caliber over the other. Use what you are most comfortable with.
As somewhat of a "beginner" I would recommend a 9mm Luger or .38 Special chambered pistol to become proficient. You can always get a different pistol later down the road.
Last edited by Revolver; 11-20-2006 at 09:30 PM.
Thanks very much everyone, for all the great advice. Looks like I'll be getting something in 9mm. I'll start investigating all your suggestions.
Uno99, yeah I signed up to thefiringline also. I'm getting lots of great feedback both here and there.
Tharmer, Shipwreck... as I explained elsewhere (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...37#post2163737) I'm not going to consider any gun that doesn't have a thumb safety switch, no matter how great the gun is otherwise. I want a safety switch in addition to the trigger. Even the most careful people make mistakes, so redundancy in safety is good. I know a lot of people don't agree, and that's fine - this is my opinion. I am not willing to compromise on this, as I feel it is a matter of safety.
I carry and shoot primarily 9mm (usually Glocks, lately a beastly Beretta), so I obviously think it's adequate for defense. However, recoil management has almost zero relation to strength. Anyone (even a scientist ) can control a .40 or .45 with correct technique - but that's the key. You have to know how to hold the pistol properly; poor grip technique and arm/wrist position are some of the most common errors I see on the range.
My wife is 5'2" and shoots extremely fast and well with a .45 pistol. She's a dean at a university and also works on the computer all day. It's not about strength, simply because post-modern shooting technique teaches us not to muscle the gun or fight the recoil. You actually want the gun to pop straight up and down in recoil; your hands only guide the pistol's recoil so that it returns to the same place after each shot. This requires little strength, but does require intelligent application of technique.
As the late, great Jeff Cooper said, "It's not about muscular strength in your arms, so much as how you put your hands on the pistol." He was a fight-the-gun user of the Weaver Stance, but it was obvious even back then that the hands control the recoil more than the tense arms.
You can learn about post-modern shooting techniques here: www.brianenos.com. Try not to be put off by the rather silly "Eastern" Zen-type shooting philosophies promulgated by many of the forum members there. Learn about The Grip and the shooting stance Enos advocates, and any issues controlling a .40 (or any other pistol of reasonable power) will evaporate.
Last edited by Mike Barham; 11-21-2006 at 09:14 AM.
Stay away from any pistol that makes you flip the muzzle because that can make your gun jam. I've seen it all to often. My son is a big, strong kid and shoots almost everyday. He has a problem with muzzle flip when shooting one of my compact S&W 40's but he can control the 45 ACP with no problem. When he shoots the 40 it jams on him every other magazine. Check out the XD's. I would stay with the 9mm, it's a great all around round.
Ok, I'm going to throw this out there because I'm a Sig nut.......
Check out the Sig P220 Carry in .45 auto. That's right. Not 9mm and not .40 S&W. I don't think that there's anybody here who will argue against the stopping power of the .45 round. It's recoil is mild in my opinion as compared to a .40 S&W. Sigs are dead on accurate and reliable. I have two and love them both.
Again, I know that this isn't exactly what you were asking about but it's a solution that addresses all of the concern that you brought up.
The Glock 22 is about as bad a snap as you can get with .40 (except for those baby kahr's) untill you put a hogue on it. A rubber grip with that gun makes it feel like 9mm! I would suggest giving a .45 a try as well. I find it more pleasant to shoot then the .40. I am an HK guy and if you decide to go with that then you will not be let down. Go over to the HKpro forum for all that jazz. If I were you and wanted a 9mm then i would go for a CZ75 or the Tac model. The tac has a decock and can hold 19+1 of 9mm and with a boar axis lower then the Beretta it feels like the sofetest 9mm I have ever tried. CZ's are very durable and accurate. They also have a lovely grip on them. You may want to handle one and see what ya think. Hope this helps!
Mind you I'm not a fan of S&W, but for your first auto, not costing a ton, I'd suggest looking at an used LEO trade-in. Caliber 9mm. They have a decocker. The 5906 is a good size duty gun or the 3913 is a little smaller frame. One thing about S&W, they do warrant any and all of their firearms. Doesn't matter how old or who the current owner may be. Used LEO auto's work. Some are not pretty, they just need to be polished and cleaned. Of course, nothing compares to a Sigsauer. I had to say that...look at my name.
I've looked at the Sig-sauers. Like the H&K USP, they're just not in the budget. If I had the money, I'd probably get an H&K USP 9mm.
Around $400-$500 for the gun itself. I'm also going to pick up 1000 rounds of FMJ ammo for practice, 80 or 100 rounds of Corbon +p DPX (2 loaded magazines to keep for defense, the rest will be shot to test how they feed), a cleaning kit and perhaps an extra magazine or two... but that's all separate in my budget.What is your budget?
I was in the same boat about two weeks ago less the high crime. I fired a S&W 9mm, .40 Glock, 357 Revolver, S&W 45 and a Beretta 92. I found the heavier 9mm felt more comfortable and easier to shoot then the others. I decided my first gun should be a 9mm and ended up buying a Beretta PX4 Storm and love it. I was actually looking at a Beretta 90-Two and liked the way the PX4 felt. It has been a great gun with very good accuracy and no issues at all. I've only put 400 rounds through it and love the choice I made. My suggestion is if you are going with a 9mm try many different styles because you may find that a heavier gun is easier to control. Being new this is only my rookie advice.