James, just cut through the BS and buy an Smith & Wesson M&P9 or 40. If you do so by the 15th of July you can send off for a free range bag and 2 extra magazines. Thats an extra $100 value. The M&P has adjustable grip sizes and I have both the 9 and 40. They work great. If for some reason you don't like it you should be able to recover most of the cost in a trade for what you do like.
Just get one and start enjoying life.
Hahaha... I still have the PS90 - Just a bit too big to make a carry gun :P
I'm working on a new front pocket design for my cargo pants to fit it in there
I keep having guys try to convince me to buy a Five-Seven handgun - but I just can't get into the pistol. I do love the PS90, though
Did you read those two links listed by snowman. I've had them both in my Favorites file since before I joined here. Those % numbers are only guidlines, not Gospel.
Do you understand the various "manuals-of-arms"? SA, DA/SA, DAO, SA/DA, Safe Action, etc? In DAO, some models have the striker/hammer partially cocked over a live round at all times (lighter trigger). Some don't (longer trigger pull, but capable of a re-strike if needed).
My personal recommendation woud be to start with a 4 inch, .357 magnum revolver. Buy several hundred rounds of the lightest-kicking .38 special ammo you can find, and become very intimate with the front sight. Ask Sucklead about her S&W 586.(or is it 686?)
If there is a particular brand/model that interests you, run a search for a forum of that brand. (Ruger Forums, FN Forums, etc) Also try the sub-forums on this home page.
You're correct when you say that this is all confusing. In the end you need to select what will work best for your situation(s). Remember, the journey is the best part of the trip.
O.K. Get back to work.
So I went into a local gun shop today. Yeah, talk about overwhelming.
I think I should stop thinking about it so much and just pick one. They had all kinds of stuff in here. It was pretty cool. I liked the M4 a lot. Oh and the shotguns were pretty sweet too. I think I opened up a can of worms.
Anyway, back to hanguns...
They have an indoor range and I can rent guns too. Unfortunately there selection of rentals isn't very good. Mostly Glocks. I'm not really into the Glocks. They had some HK's which I liked and I was into the XD's as well. There was a compact HK .40 (I forget the model) and it was pretty comfortable. It wasn't much fun to look at though. I think after this weekend's gun show I will pop back in there and have fun at the range and see how I like them. I will try out different calibers as well as different manufacturers. I would really like to try a 1911 style gun, but they didn't have one to rent. There is another range nearby, I will check them out too and see if they have better selections.
The only thing is I wish there was someone that could watch me and make sure I'm doing everything right. (at the range) I'm pretty sure I'm holding it right and all, but I feel kind of awkward because it is really unlike what I'm used to. Give me that M4 and I'm a happy man!!! But a handgun is like learning chinese to me.
Does that range not have a Safety Officer on duty when it is open? Ask the counter-person if someone could keep an eye on you, seeing as how you're not that familiar with the rentals. I'm sure that they wouldn't want any accidents.
Find a Basic Pistol class here: www.nra.org.
Most guys think they already know everything about shooting because they have a penis, watched a Die Hard movie and read two gun magazines, but you seem like the kind of guy who wants to do things right. Taking training will put you way ahead of the curve, and you won't be reinforcing bad or unsafe habits.
A wealth of information on good shooting technique can be found here: www.brianenos.com. My standard disclaimer - don't be put off by the eastern/Zen mental shooting stuff advocated by a lot of the guys over there. Just absorb what is useful about the physical techniques.
The best book I've ever read on shooting technique is "Shooting From Within" by Mike Plaxco. It's out of print and hard to find, but I learned more about shooting from that book than I did in a decade of shooting on my own.
My POV after 3 months of gun ownership:
I wanted .45, simply because of how people described the way it shot. It's more of a push than a .40, which is much snappier. 9mm was out because all but 1 person I spoke to believed in the 9mm round. That did it for me. Also, I'm in California, so I get a max 10 rounds, I want those 10 rounds to be big. You may not have that problem, so a .40 might do it for you. But be aware that a .40 is not as nice to shoot as a .45.
I bought a Springfield 1911 Loaded. Very very nice gun. I would not recommend this gun, however, as your one and only.
That recommendation goes to the SiG 220. This is my second gun and it is just astonishing in terms of quality, accuracy and ergonomics. There's a few different versions, but I got the Carry Single Action Only (SAO) because it acts the same as my 1911. However, it's much more accurate than my 1911, is much easier to clean, and seems less "touchy" about caring for it.
Also look at the HK USP full size. 10+1 rounds of .45 and it's a great great gun. Very accurate. If they surprise us by releasing it soon, you may also look at the HK 45, which is basically a fancy, modernized, desert roaming 1911 with more features.
Anyway, I hope this kinda helps, I gotta get on a plane soon, so I've got to end here.
The HK is more reliable, however.
I've never picked one up. All I know is Mr. 1911 Vickers had a huge hand in it, and I vaguely remember him saying he was trying to come up with a modern 1911 style gun. Thus my comparison Heck, my SiG has a higher bore axis, is lighter, and shoots much lighter than my steel, perfectly aligned everything 1911. While my 1911 is in need of a trigger job, I'm tending to prefer the SiG's trigger pull over the 1911. Just my .02!
You're in the Army. Don't they have a range/armory for you guys on the base? Seems to me from back when I was in the service that there was but I may be misremembering. (getting old ya know). I'm also positive that if you asked around you'd find some old gunnie sergent who teach you a basic firearms safety course for the asking. Use your resources.
I wouldn't recommend a 10mm, .40 or .45 for a noob. Maybe not even a 9mm if the person doesn't have any exposure/experience with firearms. Any of these models/calibers tend to need someone who knows something about shooting in order for the weapon to be useful and/or accurate. If you can't hit what you're aiming at, then you get discouraged really fast.
You're much better off right now in getting a .22 and learning how to use it correctly and then moving up. Buy the .22 used and trade it later (or keep it for cheap shooting & plinking) and buying a bigger handgun when you know more.
By then you'll have shot a bunch of beauties and you will know what you want in both caliber and model/mfg. Afterall, it's not a dragrace and you don't have to hurry because there's no finish line you have to get to first. Take your time and learn.
4 rules. KNOW THEM. PRACTICE THEM. NEVER FORGET THEM.