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  1. #1
    lisa007 is offline Junior Member
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    I need some advice from all you gun experts...

    My name is Lisa and I'm looking into purchasing a handgun. I've only been to a gun range once and I don't know a whole lot about guns.

    My husband is deployed to Iraq and I have a new baby son. I don't feel safe in my neighborhood and I would like to purchase a handgun to better protect myself and my family.

    Where do I begin? What kind of handgun should I buy? Make, model? Also, I need it at a decent price. I just want to make sure I get a nice gun that shoots well, easy to clean, and wont jam up when I need it the most. I need all the information I can get. Nobody I know has a clue about guns. My husband knows more about riffles and I can't speak to him much so he's no help.

    Anyone who can help point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.

    ~Lisa~

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  3. #2
    Todd is offline Banned
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    First, welcome to the forum!

    My suggestion would be to first take a basic pistol course. There you will learn safety, shooting techniques, etc. that your husband and friends are unable to teach you (then you can teach them!). Secondly, I'd go to a range that rents guns and try a few out and go with what you like. I'd suggest a 9mm since you're a new shooter and the recoil on a 9mm is pretty manageable, if you want an auto. In terms of makes and models, there's a ton of choices and everybody has their favorites. Some of the more popular, reliable, and affordable brands are brands are Springfield Armory XD line, Glock, Smith & Wesson M &P line. Ruger also makes some solid, affordable guns. If you would like a revolver, which have some definite advantages to a new shooter since they are a bit easier to learn, then I'd suggest a .38. But like I said, you need to hold them and shoot them to decide. I like to say guns are like shoes, one size does not fit all and what is good for one person is not good for another.

    Also, be sure to get some sort of safe that allows you quick access to the gun but will keep your baby out once he starts crawling, walking, and getting into everything (I'm at the stage right now with my 2nd son).
    Last edited by Todd; 05-18-2008 at 06:40 AM.

  4. #3
    submoa is offline Member
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    Welcome. Glad to have you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    My suggestion would be to first take a basic pistol course. There you will learn safety, shooting techniques, etc. that your husband and friends are unable to teach you (then you can teach them!). Secondly, I'd go to a range that rents guns and try a few out and go with what you like.
    I second Todd's motionfor education. After all, the whole point is using a gun when you need to, not just owning one.

    Most modern handgun designs over 5 years old will be reasonably reliable (newer gun designs have been subject to recall). The biggest limiting factor will be your budget.

    For the amount you have set aside for a handgun, include some money for a means of keeping your gun out of the way of small, curious hands. Specifically a safe. Do not use any locking device that goes inside the triggerguard as putting anything inside the triggerguard when you don't want to discharge a gun is inherently dangerous.

    I would suggest 9mm not only as the minimum defensive caliber you should consider, but because it is among the least expensive ammo you can buy. After you take classes and get your gun, you should run through a box of ammo at least every other month at the range to keep up your skills.

  5. #4
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Well, I'll be the second one to second what Todd said. After that training, and hopefully trying out some pistols at your local range (which by the way should only cost you ammo in my opinion since you're a woman, and a serviceman's wife), you'll likely find one you like and can handle well. I'm a huge Glock fan and by all outward appearances, that would fit your criteria to a tee---no frills--and something you can depend your life on--with little care involved even though the simplicity in design makes it easily maintained. G19 would be recommended by me. I'd stay away from new pistols that just hit the market this year as they haven't been time tested. I hear there have been some breakages in the Ruger LCP and things of that nature. Matter of fact, if your local range takes police trade ins----look at a used pistol with night sights and start thinking about a good flashlight (for attaching to the pistol, or to carry separately. Above all---check into another forum that I will PM you a link--it's another serious forum to help educate you in your decisions and the route you want to take. Many single pistol safes on the market that are very affordable also. Good luck.

  6. #5
    gmaske's Avatar
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    My two cents

    I'll add a +1 to the get in to a gun safety class first. I would strongly suggest a revolver as your first pistol. They are very easy to learn how to use and they are the least prone to problems. It is extreamly rare for a revolver to jam or malfunction. They go bang every time you pull the trigger. I would look for a pistol that uses 38 Special bullets. The brands you should look for would be a Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, or Tauras. In that order. Smith & Wesson makes some really nice small framed revolvers that will fit a ladies hand quit nicely. When you are taking your safety class talk to your instructor and tell him or her your situation and ask if they can help you find a good gun. Used is ok if it's in good condition and has been checked out by someone who knows a bit about guns. This is were your instructor might be of help.
    If you really feel that you are at risk in your neighborhood the best thing to do is move. I understand that your reality can make that difficult. If you are gonna keep a gun for protection then it needs to be readily accessible at all times. You'll need to keep it in a place that is safe but at hand at a moments notice. At night I sleep with my house gun on the headboard of my bed. It goes into the bedside drawer during the day. There is no sense in having a gun for self defense if it isn't loaded or with in easy reach when you need it. Having a baby in the house does complicate the problem some. Everyone who has had kids learns how to child proof to the correct level as they grow. Just use some good common sense on this and you'll be fine.
    Get educated and arm yourself with a weapon that you understand and make sure you have the resolve to use it. You must be willing to be deadly as there are no second chances. You are your childs mother and your husbands wife. Survive! Practice with it as often as you can. You can practice with an unloaded revolver in your house anytime you want. Unload it and practice aiming at a safe point and pulling the trigger. You should try to keep the sights as still as possible as you pull the trigger while maintaining your point of aim. Good luck and we will be here to answer any questions you might have.

  7. #6
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    oslo66 is offline Junior Member
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    EDIT: I'm going to be generous and assume this was a bad joke.

    PM incoming, Oslo66.
    - Mike
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 05-18-2008 at 06:08 PM. Reason: potentially offensive content

  8. #7
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    ^^^^that won't last long around here---I don't care who you are. I think edits are an option--before someone else sees this. Just a friendly warning, and more than likely the only one.
    Last edited by Todd; 05-18-2008 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Removal of insutling quote by another member

  9. #8
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    i concurr on the class
    i would probably look at a smith & wesson j frame in 38spl
    (or get the .357 models for resale value if you ever want to sell it) -
    BUT ONLY LOAD THE 38SPECIALS

    if you are strong enough to rack the slide on an automatic then many doors are open to you

  10. #9
    gmaske's Avatar
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    Problem Solved
    Last edited by gmaske; 05-18-2008 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Removal of insulting quote by another member

  11. #10
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    niadhf is online now Senior Member
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    i would much rather the OP be here than an attitidue like that. At least she is willing to learn about something she doesn't know about, you would not appear to be of the same type.

    Lisa. There is a lot of good information on here, starting with Todds (and discounting the narrow minded post i quoted above) . You will notice that we all tend to have our favorite ideas, guns, types, etc. Take a bit of time to learn safety and how to shoot. Then get something that fits for you and is easy for you to shoot.



    Thanks Mike.
    Last edited by niadhf; 05-18-2008 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Removal of insulting quote by another member

  12. #11
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    Safety first last and always. Find a basic pistol course, gun shop, local LE, family support personel. You will find most shooters are willing to be helpful. Try as many different types as possible before investing. Revolvers are easiest to learn the basics of and .38 spl. ammo is cheap to buy for practice. Semi-autos are easier to carry on you, and some are cheaper than others to shoot. Best of luck in your quest, many members here are helpful and some want to be jerks ignore the jerks and enjoy the forum.

  13. #12
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    Lots of reading here.. http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx

  14. #13
    gmaske's Avatar
    gmaske is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by propellerhead View Post
    Wow! That's a great site! I'll be saving that one for the future

  15. #14
    lisa007 is offline Junior Member
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    It has taken me awhile to come to a decision on whether or not I should purchase and learn how to use hand gun. I was hesitant with my son because of the fear of him finding it when he gets older. So I've been looking into safes and locks. My question is.... Should I get both a safe and a lock for the triger? Or just the safe? I want my gun to be in a safe place but I don't want it to be too unreachable if I have an intruder in my home. I found a key pad safe at a reasonable price. But I'm still not sure if I should purchase a trigger lock. I most definetly will be looking for a shooting range and and a basic pistol course. Thanks everybody for your suggestoins and yoru hospitality. I really appreciate it and I've gotten some really good information so far. Thanks again.

  16. #15
    gmaske's Avatar
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    Some would say that trigger locks are dangerous. I think there is some truth to it. There is a chance that you could pull the trigger while putting the lock in or removing it. The safe should be more than enough. As I pointed out earlier if you're in need of a gun it will be a NOW situation. I'd pick one that you can open really quick. Keep the gun loaded while it's in the safe. In an emergency you may not have a chance to load it. If you buy a revolver they make what is called a speed loader that holds six cartridges in the same alignment as the cylenders or six chambers of the gun. All you have to do is stick it in the chambers and turn a knob and they all drop in to place. They are really great for a fast load or reload. Here is a speed loader in action. The two lower pictures are of my Grandmothers pistol. She didn't do such a hot job of keeping the outsides pretty but the inside of the barrel and everything else is perfect. This would be a cheap gun used because of the finish but it is a Smith & Wesson and would be totally reliable. I'd stake my life on this gun. Just food for thought
    Sorry for the fuzzy pictures





  17. #16
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    A safe would be better than a trigger lock. If you leave your keys unattended, a child could unlock the trigger lock when you aren't looking. A trigger lock also does not help to prevent theft. It will also delay you getting to your pistol when you might need it the most.

    A safe with a simple combination or fingerprint biometric will be easily and quickly accessed, and as long as you don't tell your children the combination, they won't be able to mess with what's inside.

    Once you have some basic education under your belt, you will be able to decide if you want a revolver or automatic. When you decide what type you want, come back here and let us know, and we will be able to provide numerous suggestions.

    Lastly, keep in mind that the best home defense weapon is a shotgun, though you'll need a larger safe to keep it in....

    PhilR.

  18. #17
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Biosafe +1

  19. #18
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa007 View Post
    My question is.... Should I get both a safe and a lock for the triger? Or just the safe? I want my gun to be in a safe place but I don't want it to be too unreachable if I have an intruder in my home.
    Triggerlocks are inherently dangerous.

    There are 2 reasons:

    First in situations where you have to use your gun, you will need to search for your key and use it to unlock the gun. In such a stressful situation do you really want to be fumbling for a key, much less searching for one in a dark house with an intruder inside?

    Second, installing a triggerlock on a gun risks unintentionally moving the trigger and causing the gun to fire. Possibly injuring yourself or anyone else nearby.

    Case in point. There was a recent case where use of a triggerlock on a TSA mandated holster caused an unintentional discharge of a firearm by Federal Flight Officer on US Airways 1536 denver-charlotte. And this is with a someone trained in the use of firearms.
    http://www.crimefilenews.com/2008/03...ckpit-was.html

    Again,

    Quote Originally Posted by submoa View Post
    Do not use any locking device that goes inside the triggerguard as putting anything inside the triggerguard when you don't want to discharge a gun is inherently dangerous.
    Get either a safe with a combination lock, or better still and electronic keypad or fingerprint scanner. Do not rely on a key that needs to be found or could be found by your child.

  20. #19
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmaske View Post
    Problem Solved
    We aim to please.

    Get it? AIM?

    Cut me some slack and at least chuckle, I didn't get enough sleep last night.

  21. #20
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa007 View Post
    My question is.... Should I get both a safe and a lock for the triger? Or just the safe?
    Another vote for just the safe. Getting both a safe and a lock is just going to cause problems with the getting to gun quickly. A quality safe will keep the little guy out and allow you quick access when you need it.

    Or you just might end up like a lot of us here and carry all the time.

  22. #21
    Spartan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post

    if you are strong enough to rack the slide on an automatic then many doors are open to you

    Hideit brings up a good point. My g/f is has trouble racking the slide on my 92FS and G19 (both 9mm) and can barely, and I mean barely, rack the slide of my .40 and 357sig guns. So barely I don't trust her to do it while actually loading a round. Forget about the 45 all together.

    You might want to try handling some and seeing if you have trouble even racking an autoloader (which will probably be a given during a class). I prefer autoloaders over revolvers, but they don't do you any good if you can't rack it.

  23. #22
    Spartan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    We aim to please.

    Get it? AIM?

    Cut me some slack and at least chuckle, I didn't get enough sleep last night.
    I am laughing on the inside, I promise.

  24. #23
    Brad01 is offline Banned
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    Lisa, I'm at work so I may not remember these sources 100%. Please be tolerant.
    First, your mental attitude... I second the recommendation of the cornered cat website, and it's by a female. Also, Armed and Female book, by Paxton Quigley. Also, try Massad Ayoob's book, In the Gravest Extreme, which deals with the psychological aspects of self defense and justified homicide. Both of these books are somewhat outdated now but both have tons of timeless info. This is not an easy topic to deal with and I encourae you to think through this very personal issue first.
    Second, assuming you have the mental decision, then I would recommend the largest caliber handgun you can comfortably shoot and will practice with. You would be better off with a small caleber like a 22 that you will practice with regularly and therefore will become proficient than a larger caliber that you can not afford or stand to shhot.
    Third, as to the sfety issue with your child, there are many ways to deal with it and mine may not work for you but if your son is a new born then he can't get to it anyway but this may not work when he is a todler and into everything. My only suggestion is to carefully think through how you would access the firearm in a critical situation when you only have seconds and are very stressed out, probably in the dark.
    Just my .02. Good luck to you. It is always nice to welcome another female to our ranks. We appreciate the sacrifice your family is making for our country. Take care.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 05-19-2008 at 01:18 PM. Reason: fixed author names for easy web searching

  25. #24
    kenn's Avatar
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    Take it or leave it.

    Quote Originally Posted by lisa007 View Post
    My name is Lisa and I'm looking into purchasing a handgun. I've only been to a gun range once and I don't know a whole lot about guns.

    My husband is deployed to Iraq and I have a new baby son. I don't feel safe in my neighborhood and I would like to purchase a handgun to better protect myself and my family.
    I hope this correspondence finds you well.
    1st off - Thank you for your family's sacrifice and congratulations.
    2ndly (please note that this is only my opinion) - It sounds like that you want a gun RIGHT NOW, because you do not feel safe in your neighborhood.
    As I will probably get yelled at/flamed for giving you this advice, go ahead and get a gun now.
    If you went the training route, you might have to save up for the course(they can be upwards of 200$). you would have to wait to take the course, take the course, then figure out what kind of gun you want. After that, your state might have a waiting period.

    So your looking at 3 weeks? a month? 2? - the whole time you are living in the same neighborhood.
    If would be sad if something were to happen to you or your family while you waited to get yourself a gun because of our advice.

    So, lets assume that, since you live in a rough neighborhood and all the money that should go to soldier's family's is being spent by our government on stupid crap, that money is an issue.
    1. I would recommend an inexpensive revolver (used Smith and Wesson or Charter) or a cheap easy to use semi-automatic pistol (Hi-point 380 / Keltec pf9 or P3AT). If you can get to a gun show, get one there.
    2. Go to a gun store and ask to buy a training DVD - basic self defense shooting / home defense
    3. Go to Walmart and get an airsoft or a nerf (yes nerf) pistol - use it to practice aiming and any drills that are on the DVD. This way you won't be starting off with a gun.
    When you feel more comfortable, use the gun.
    3b. (in the same Walmart trip) AND get yourself a really bright Flashlight
    4. Since you have a newborn, him picking up the gun and hurting himself is unlikely for at least a year. So I would not worry about it as much. If you want some security on the cheap, get a Kobalt toolbox(18.99 retail) from Lowe's or Walmart. Then lock it with a padlock with a key. Put the key on a necklace. Keep the key around your neck when you are in the house or apartment and when you sleep.
    PRACTICE opening the toolbox in the dark. Runnning to the toolbox, etc... (opening/pulling out and aiming the gun - use the nerf gun for this)

    Hope this helps,
    Kenn
    Last edited by kenn; 05-19-2008 at 01:50 PM. Reason: got some tenses wrong - surreptitiously typing this at work

  26. #25
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenn View Post
    I hope this correspondence finds you well.
    1st off - Thank you for your family's sacrifice and congratulations.
    2ndly (please note that this is only my opinion) - It sounds like that you want a gun RIGHT NOW, because you do not feel safe in your neighborhood.
    As I will probably get yelled at/flamed for giving you this advice, go ahead and get a gun now.
    If you went the training route, you might have to save up for the course(they can be upwards of 200$). you would have to wait to take the course, take the course, then figure out what kind of gun you want. After that, your state might have a waiting period.

    So your looking at 3 weeks? a month? 2? - the whole time you are living in the same neighborhood.
    If would be sad if something were to happen to you or your family while you waited to get yourself a gun because of our advice.

    So, lets assume that, since you live in a rough neighborhood and all the money that should go to soldier's family's is being spent by our government on stupid crap, that money is an issue.
    1. I would recommend an inexpensive revolver (used Smith and Wesson or Charter) or a cheap easy to use semi-automatic pistol (Hi-point 380 / Keltec pf9 or P3AT). If you can get to a gun show, get one there.
    2. Go to a gun store and ask to buy a training DVD - basic self defense shooting / home defense
    3. Go to Walmart and get an airsoft or a nerf (yes nerf) pistol - use it to practice aiming and any drills that are on the DVD. This way you won't be starting off with a gun.
    When you feel more comfortable, use the gun.
    3b. (in the same Walmart trip) AND get yourself a really bright Flashlight
    4. Since you have a newborn, him picking up the gun and hurting himself is unlikely for at least a year. So I would not worry about it as much. If you want some security on the cheap, get a Kobalt toolbox(18.99 retail) from Lowe's or Walmart. Then lock it with a padlock with a key. Put the key on a necklace. Keep the key around your neck when you are in the house or apartment and when you sleep.
    PRACTICE opening the toolbox in the dark. Runnning to the toolbox, etc... (opening/pulling out and aiming the gun - use the nerf gun for this)

    Hope this helps,
    Kenn
    Here's where I agree:

    If you feel you are in danger now, and need a gun now, then get the gun. Get yourself a quality revolver (used or new, depending on your budget). Probably a Smith & Wesson or a Ruger.

    If you go this route, get yourself to the range and talk to the range officer and see if he or she can give you some pointers. Practice with your gun. You need to know what to expect. You do not want to be finding out how much recoil the gun has and learning how to aim it for the first time when you're defending yourself.

    Flashlight. Get one.

    Here's where I disagree:

    No Hi-Point. We want the gun to work. They're crap IMHO. Hell, we don't even have a Hi-Point forum here. That's got to tell you something. No Kel Tecs. I have a Kel Tec. Others here have Kel Tecs. Most will agree they are not range guns and are not that fun to shoot. Why? Your hand takes a beating because they are so light. We want you to practice with the gun, and practice properly, not flinch and develop bad habits because you're anticipating recoil. In fact, no auto. Autos have a higher learning curve. You need to practice more with them, more can go wrong with them, and they require more maintenance. If you haven't taken a class, don't go the auto route.

    No gun show. Unless you've done your homework or go with someone who knows what a good deal is, the guys there are vultures! Go to a reputable gun shop and build a relationship with the people there. You'll also have a place to bring the gun to if there is ever a problem with it.

    No Nerf. Get some snap caps (basically dummy rounds) from the gun shop, and practice with your actual gun.

    Gun security. It's not just the newborn we're concerned about here. There will be family and friends that are in the house. We don't want anyone stumbling upon the gun. Additionally, I'm assuming you're not at the point of getting your concealed carry license, therefore you need a secure place to lock up the gun when you're not home. If budget is a concern and you can't get a dedicated little gun safe, then for the same cost as a tool box and a padlock, you can get a lock box with a keypad. This will eliminate the need to worry about carrying a key with you or fumbling with a key in a high stress situation, like burglary or home invasion.

    I'm indifferent on the DVD, since there is some good stuff out there and there is not.

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