Picking my first handgun
I'm a long time rifle enthusiast getting ready to purchase my first handgun. I'll be using it for plinking and potential home defense. I was hoping to get some suggestions on what would meet my needs:
1. Readily available ammunition
2. Low-moderate recoil
3. High(er) capacity/double stack
4. I won't be concealing it, so it doesn't need to be compact; in fact, I prefer full size weapons for the longer grip
5. I prefer a 'traditional' safety vs. the Glock-type trigger safety (no offense to Glock shooters out there!)
Numbers 1-3 seem to point to something like 9x19mm. I've had a lot of luck with military rifles, so I imagine that I would like something which is either police or military issue. I've been looking at everything from Sigs and Berettas to Jerichos and Makarovs, and still have no idea what I'm looking for. I understand that I haven't done much to narrow things down, but I'm still pretty early in the process. Any suggestions? Thanks!
What is your budget? That will narrow it down a little. Have you thought about revolvers or are you staying auto?
Welcome to HGF!
I'd like to stay under $700. Growing up, my dad had a Dan Wesson .38 I was fond of, but I'm mostly looking for a semi-auto these days. I wouldn't mind something like a Smith & Wesson Victory revolver or something, and I may well get one at some point, but for now I'm aiming for function.
Originally Posted by dosborn
That's a good budget and it will give you a nice selection. Go to a gun shop and hold a few and see what feels the best in your hand. If you have a local range that rents guns, that would be your best bet to see what feels the most comfortable shooting.
Under $700+9mm+Double Stack+manual safety=
A: Taurus-Various Models, IF I were to go that route, I'd probably select the 24/7 OSS line
B: Smith & Wesson M&P 9 with thumb safety
C: CZ75, P01 ETC.
D: Beretta PX4
Of the three, I'd probably take the CZ first as I prefer metal frames with the M&P as my polymer choice. However, I don't think I've ever heard of an unhappy Beretta owner. Taurus would be at the bottom of my list and with your budget you should be able to get B, C, and D with $$$ left over. The CZ has been around the longest and has a good track record and is probably on of my favorite "sleeper" pistols, they don't get talked about much but are great shooters and reasonably priced. You can go metal of polymer frame wiht CZ.
As stated above, Beretta has a very happy customer base and they are one of the worlds oldest firearms makers. They know how to make a gun. The Beretta has some unique features that some of the others don't have like the rotating barrel.
The M&P will offer a consistent trigger pull for every shot and still have the thumb safety, that's one bonus that the other guns don't have.
A lot of good choices out there.
Edited to add:
Another possibility would be the Ruger SR9.
Last edited by VAMarine; 01-07-2010 at 08:32 AM.
Happy Beretta owner here. The PX4 9mm model F will meet all of your requirements and sells for around $550.
Welcome from Big Sky Country. Beretta is a good venerable semi-auto. Used by millions of military personnel around the world can't be all wrong.
Welcome from Michigan.
If you have not held the CZ P01 you owe it to yourself. Like posted earlier, maybe a "sleeper", but the feel of that gun in the hand is awesome and it shoots nice, too. I chose a 9mm HK over the CZ for my first handgun (couldn't buy them both ). Now I am looking for a .40 and I keep going back to the P06 which is identical to the P01 9mm. To me, they are the sweetest feel in the hand.
Sig, Sig , Sig! The only criteria that it doesn't meet is the manual safety.... so I say.... grow a pair, and learn how to use the fool-proof DA/SA!!!!
In my personal opinion, No. 5 eliminates some of the best options, unnecessarily. Any properly trained pistol shooter is completely safe with a Glock, XD, or most of the other striker fired pistol.
Originally Posted by ifssal
But if you insist on the lever type safety, I would recommend anything in the CZ-75 family, a Sig, or maybe an XD-M, in 9mm. There's nothing wrong with .40, really, but it is an expensive, high pressure round, with the accompanying tendency toward muzzle flip, in lighter guns, and is just not really necessary, when you compare it to the modern 9mm SD loads.
A Beretta 92FS fits all your criteria. Beautifully crafted and all steel and best looking IMO . The only negative is you can't change or upgrade the front sight without some work by a gunsmith.
I think you're right on with going with the 9mm round. it can be found for about $10/50rds here, has adequate stopping power, and very manageable recoil.
I would reconsider your manual safety restriction. I was in the same boat when I purchased my 1st handgun as well, and with a little research I came to the understanding that its a mechanical device, it won't fire unless prompted to. And if you're worried about youngsters getting into it, I would lock it up, as its just as easy to flip a safety as pull the trigger. Its understandable if a manual safety is your preference though.
Berettas and Sigs are great makes of guns, another one that i strongly considered that has a manual safety is the Stoeger Cougar, and that gun is much more moderately price.
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