OK , another newbie looking for advice here.
Hello all informed gun enthusiasts. I appreciate all your advice and comments.
I am considering purchasing my first handgun at the ripe age of 30 after our home was almost broken into, and now that I am a father(no , not to shoot my child!). I live in CA. I have shot guns before, but not a lot. I would love to never "have" to use the gun I buy for self defense. I will use it for SD and fun at the range with a few friends. I've never been a guns and ammo guy, but now seems the time for me to make this purchase.
I went to the range last week and shot about 7 guns. Three different .22 pistols, a .22 rifle, a 9mm(believe it was a Baretta, it held 16 or 17 in the clip), a .45 (I want to say colts combat commander?), and a six shooter revolver .357 mag with a friend who has a few guns. The four of us had a good time, and actually I was the most accurate with the 9mm and the .45.
I am looking to buy a gun based on the following factors:
Reliability, Cost, Accuracy, Amount of ammo it can hold, Cost of Ammo, Parts availability and Cost, durability, , easy to maintaine , and ergonomics in my hand. I would like to incorporate a light(to see in the dark), or laser target on it eventually?
Things I don't care about:
Trendiness, appearance(so long as it functions well), use in TV shows, macho factor, and concealment(it should be small, but do I need a "compact" model?).
I was thinking a 9mm something? What do you recommend? I would like to be able to hold at least 15 per clip. What kind of 9mm can I get for a decent price? I guess it doesn't have to be 9mm, but why not? Like I said accurate and reliable. I have long/thin hands/fingers. So maybe that will help with any recommendations. I can spend $400-600. Also, where can I buy such a gun at a great price? I will also consider used, but how does one go about buying a used gun? I would appreciate all the help you guys can offer, thanks!
Last edited by hipmatt; 03-11-2007 at 12:15 AM.
Check out CZ's line of pistols, they are all dependable and you can sort thru the models and get the capacity and rail features you're looking for on a few of them, Try looking here for examples:
I'm sure you'll get a lot of varied responses here. So, take everyone's advice,
even mine, with a grain of salt and make your own decision.
I have learned over the years that the most important consideration is the
ability to hit a specific target without missing.
This means finding a firearm that fits your hand. If it feels good in your hand,
you'll be able to control it better than one that doesn't fit. Therefore, you
should try several different guns and find one that you are comfortable firing.
Also, having a bunch of rounds (a "round" is a cartridge) in the magazine
of a semi-auto gun (correct terminology is magazine, not "clip") is vastly
over rated. Most gun fights only last for one or two shots. Make your own
If your purpose in obtaining a firearm is protection of yourself or your family,
you should consider something larger than .22 caliber.
Semi auto handguns can sometimes be difficult to learn to use. Therefore I
suggest you don't reject the idea of getting a revolver for your first gun.
A revolver in .38 special/.357 magnum would be a good gun to learn on, and
.38 special ammunition is not overly expensive.
Be careful about getting advice from salesmen in gun stores. Most are paid
on commission and some of them don't know much about firearms, believe it
Last edited by OMSBH44; 03-11-2007 at 07:00 AM.
For a first handgun I recommend a Glock 19, which shoots 9mm ammo. It is very reliable, always goes bang, is quite accurate, and is in a medium price range: around $520 for a basic model. If $520 is too much, a Smith and Wesson sw9ve is $200 less, and is also very reliable and durable, though it has a tougher trigger pull than many people like. The trigger doesn't bother me a bit.
I aslo lean towrd the Glock since one of mine is a Glock 23 (.40). But also check out the Smith's MP's. Some people don't shoot Glocks as accurate as others. I must also mention a Walther P99. I had to say something before Shipwreck did just to beat him to it. Though I've never shot one they do feel great in my hand.
1st and foremost are 2 things. Get something that is accurate and reliable. It may be the biggest and flashiest gun by the biggest name with all of the bells and whistles, but if it is inaccurate or doesn't work all of the time that it is pretty much worthless for its intended purpose.
2nd most important, get something that is a comfortable fit and comfortable to shoot. I have a wide variety of handguns and some do fit better than others. The ones that fit better also seem to shoot better (fit does correspond to accuracy imho) I get chided regularly because I pack a 380 rather than a 45. (Not to start an "X caliber is better than Y caliber because" battle) My 380 Mak is more comfortable to shoot and a lot easier to reacquire the target after each shot. Remember one hit with a 22 is better than 10 misses with a 45.
With all of that in mind, go to a gun show or good gun shop with a lot of inventory. I make most of my decisions at gun shows as I can go to a well stocked table and get a feel for a large number of makes and models.
You mention wanting something that can hold 15 rounds in a clip. Keep in mind that hi capacity clips use a staggered bullet arrangement and tend to have thicker handles.
There are some brands to avoid and some to look for but the most important thing is getting accuracy and reliability in something that shoots well for you.
I concur though that the 9mm is probably the round to go with. It is readily available and there are lots of gun makes available. I am not a fan of Sigs or Glocks but they are fine weapons. Check out Bersa's too. I picked up a Bersa 40 yesterday. $365.00 or so. It fits my hand great. Is thinner than my Ruger P95 (9mm) and smaller overall than my Mitchell 45.
Shop around and don't get in a rush.
For a first gun, go for the 9mm. Ammo is cheap which means you can practice more. As for brand, pick what's comfortable. All the brands mentioned are good guns, but I'll say not to forget the Springfield XD.
I'd be hesitant about getting a Walther. Not because they're a bad gun, but because they seem to have strange effects on their owners. I don't know if it's a chemical in the grip, subliminal programming, or what, but it turns all Walther owners into constant advertisements for the brand. Just look at Shipwreck and Jenglish!
Thanks for the advice. I was never considering a .22, I had just mentioned that I did shoot 3 the other day. I am honestly not interested in a revolver. The capacity is too low and it takes to long to reload. I do feel that capacity is important. If more than one person is threatening my life or family, likely I will need more than 6 shots. Besides, my buddy's dad recommended a 9mm, and he has a huge gun collection, and has been shooting for many years.
My local shop/range says that they can get me the Walther P99 AS for $599.99. I hear thats a decent price for socal, and I can afford that. What do you all think of that gun? Is it reliable? Thanks, Matt
Check out budsGunShop.com. He has a list of FFL dealers that they can send it to if you don't want to ask your local gun shop. They want 523 for it and the FFL will take 20 to 30 bucks and you pay for overnight shipping. Cost should be less than 50.
Watch this and you may think different about revolvers and reloading slower.
Originally Posted by hipmatt
That's what i paid for my P99. Mine is a .40 and I could not be happier with it. I only had one failure in the nine months I've had it, and I attribute it to a new magazine. Walther makes a fine gun and I suggest you check one out.
Originally Posted by hipmatt
That said, I strongly disagree with your reasoning for not looking at revolvers. I would say that you will probably need far fewer than six shots should the need arise. This is especially true if you're using a .357 Mag with a whopping 97% max one-shot-stop rating. I can understand the better safe than sorry mentality, but revolvers have other virtues as well such as being totally reliable.
If you still insist on an automatic (and there's nothing wrong with that) I suggest you check out the Ruger line. I have heard very good things about them, and they're priced right.
I have a glock 19, it is a very nice pistol.
Originally Posted by Mousegunner
my brother has the new sprngfield xd 4" model in 9mm, it to is a very nice gun for about the same price.
i however, love the glock line of pistols.
but, like it was said earlier, take it with a grain of salt, and find one that you like.
Went to the range today and shot a few dif. guns. Shot the Walther p99 QA version in 9mm, which was nice, but had a long trigger pull. They didn't have the A/S version, which is what you all seem to like. Shot a Sig 9mm, which was also nice. We also had a Baretta .40 which I liked as well. Then I even got to try a Desert Eagle .50 (wow), but not for me. Then my buddy wanted to try the AR15 rifle, so we rented that too which was fun. Afterwards the sales guy was showing me some dif. guns. I kinda liked the SW M&P 9mm. I'm not a whole lot closer to finding the right gun yet, but I'm having fun learning, and I'm not in that big of a hurry.
But I have a question and a concern. I was told that being in CA, I am limited to 10 in the mag, is this going to be a burden for me if everyone else can hold 15-17 in the same 9mm guns? How bad is it to be caught w/ a mag that holds more than 10(it seems like others in CA do)? If this is a big deal, let me know. Maybe I should look at a .40 since they hold 10-12 usually anyways.
Thanks for all the help, have fun, and be safe!
As long as it's a "pre-ban". Not quite sure how your lovely state does it but in NYS, it really wasn't easily enforceable as long as it didn't have the telltale "LEO/GOV'T USE" or similar markings that would prove it to be a "post-ban". I would think that as long as it can't be proven to be a post-ban then you'd be safe. I don't know the laws of your crooked state though. "Innocence until proven guilty" doesn't seem to be policy in most places anymore.
Originally Posted by hipmatt
If you like the 9mm Luger cartridge, there are some nice single-stacks on the market that don't have the issues of wasted bulk where the rounds are meant to be.
Point well taken!!!, and great video, but still probably interested in a magazine gun.
Originally Posted by tnoisaw
You live in California. If there is a chance that it is illegal, don't do it. There are too many liberal prosecutors and courts out there. The last thing you need is a possible felony conviction for ignorance of the law. Then firearm ownership is illegal.
I have to second a previous comment on the Rugers. I got my P95 a few years back for $350.00. It is a double stack and as such has a thicker handle. I can shoot it accurately and it feels good, but I have thinner handled handguns that I can control easier.
If you are in a gunfight I can see needing 15 rounds, but if someone breaks into my house I would not expect to shoot more than 3 times.
The 9mm Beretta that you shot at the range sounds like the 90-two type F with a 17 rd. mag. I too have long slender fingers/hand and the 90-two grip fit my hand perfectly. My 90-two has been 100% reliable and is very accurate. It comes with an accessory rail for lights and lazers, parts (if you should ever need them, which I doubt, for a long time) are available from Beretta USA, and cleaning/maintaining is very easy and explained with wording and pictures in your manual. The 90-two also comes in the California version - factory 10 rd. mags instead of 17 rd. This handgun also comes with an external manual safety and since you are new to handguns and have a child in the house, this will give you a little extra piece of mind. This handgun can be bought from several places on-line and runs from around $625.00 - $650.00. I highly recommend you getting a 9mm handgun instead of .40 cal. The .40 has a lot more recoil and IMHO is no fun to shoot at all at the range. The 9mm is much cheaper for range ammo (WWB @ Walmart - 100 rds. for $14.88)and much cheaper for high quality defense ammo. I believe you would be well served with this handgun because afterall, it's a Beretta!
Take a look: www.beretta90two.com
Last edited by voodoo90-two; 03-12-2007 at 09:46 AM.
This guy amazed me because I would have never thought of anyone being that fast with a revolver.
Originally Posted by hipmatt
I understand since I have semi autos. My first Gun was a Ruger Security Six revolver which I loved. I shot a couple grouse with it with .357 mag loads. Needless to say, it took 'em apart. Gutted the first one without losing meat. The second one was not as good. I only got half a good breast. They were tasty though.
$599? And I'm assuming they'll actually order you the right one too?
Originally Posted by hipmatt
Where is this mystical gun shop??
*goes back to sulking over paying $650 to have a gun shop order the wrong gun*
BTW, don't get a hi-cap mag unless you can get the permit for it, which is damn near impossible.
It's a felony, you lose your gun and your right to purchase one...plus a nifty fine and some time in jail.
It's not worth it. If you're worried about capacity, carry extra mags.
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