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Thread: Opinions

  1. #1
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    Opinions

    Hi, new to the forum

    Things in the world are starting to scare me. I want to get my first handgun. I've shot weapons before (used to be in the army many moons ago) and I've been going to both indoor and outdoor ranges with my friends who own all sorts of weapons.

    Anyway, purpose of this weapon is primarily home and personal defense, though I will probably be occasionally carrying (openly) and may seek a CW permit. I want my wife to learn how to handle the weapon as well. Thinking of a 9mm as a first weapon, good for my wife and probably enough stopping power. Price is a factor (between $400-$650), but I don't want cheap junk. I want something that will be:

    1. Reliable/dependable, it must not misfire/jam. 1st shot matters.
    2. Safe, I don't want something that will accidentally go off or become a hazard to my family. So built in safeties are crucial, but not so much that its too cumbersome to operate.
    3. Accurate.
    4. Easy to fire, not hard recoil. Should be able to fire accurately with one hand if necessary in a pinch. Not too heavy a trigger pull
    5. Easy to handle
    6. Easy to clean (low maintenance)

    What do you think of the following models:

    Baretta Model 92
    Glock Model 17 or 19
    Ruger SR9
    Springfield XD9

    Any other good, reasonably priced options?

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    redcell_43 is offline Junior Member
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    The beretta would be a good choice, the glock and springfield options are more for what i would call a seasoned shooter. My best recommendation is the Sig Pro Sp2022 in 9mm. I paid 575 for mine and it came with three 15 rd mags, and night sights. It is a newer weapon on the market, but you can find them rather easily at any reputable gun shop. It can also be seen in Sig's website. It is extremely accurate, and very safe and reliable. I have acquired many handguns over the years from a 1911 to the beretta, to the glocks. and for some reason the Sig Pro is the one that winds up going everywhere with me.

  4. #3
    Joeywhat's Avatar
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    I vote for the XD. Great gun, shoots well, very dependable, I can and do trust my life to it every day.

    FYI the SR9 has a recall right now.

  5. #4
    submoa is offline Member
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    You are asking for opinions on 4 very different guns.

    Beretta Model 92 - all metal DA/SA 5" barrel, heaviest and biggest gun consequently reduced felt recoil
    Glock Model 17 or 19 - polymer Glock Safe Action 4" or 5" barrel, unsupported chamber vulnerable to case rupture explosions
    Ruger SR9 - a very new unproven gun, with a recent recall
    Springfield XD9 - polymer single action of unspecified barrel size, billet internals, high bore axis exaggerates muzzle flip

    The best answer is always to get the gun that you can shoot the best. Just as we all come in different shapes and sizes, not all shooters have the same preferences. And, you are asking for a gun that will work for both you and your wife.

    By asking folks for their recommendations between 4 highly different guns, the responses you will get will be answers to "of the 4 guns, which is your favorite." Rather than which gun will work best for the both of you.

    As a new shooter, I highly recommend you follow the link to the FAQ as it covers what new shooters should know about selecting guns as the more objective responses you will get will be the same as found there.

    FAQ for New Shooters

    Come back when you've narrowed your choices to similar pistols that match your shooting preferences and we'll help you out.

  6. #5
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Talking

    All around for a starter I would get the M&P-9 or Glock-19. Both have good fit and feel and are very accurate. I am sure your wife will adapt to either one to. Good luck.

  7. #6
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    tekhead1219 is offline Senior Member
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    I would have your wife shoot both, then have her try a .380. If you are wanting it for home defense, your wife may not care for the 9mm recoil. I know when I purchased a handgun for my wife, she opted for the .380 because of the recoil difference. I'm glad I decided to take her instead of buying one for her. If she doesn't like to shoot what you get for defense, might as well give her a rock to throw.

  8. #7
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    You sure are asking a lot from one gun . Have you considered a revolver? Maybe a S&W .38 special with a 4" barrel.

  9. #8
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the responses. I'm taking my wife to an indoor range this weekend with a friend who has a XD40. They rent guns there, so we'll try a few to get the feel.

    Didn't know that about the SR9. What's the recall for? The review in American Handgunner seemed to give positive feedback about it and they seemed to claim that it should be as reliable as their p series. I know I'm asking for a lot in a handgun. Just trying to get the biggest "bang" for the buck. Anyway, I may get two weapons, one for her and one for me. We'll see. So the recoil on a .380 is much less than a 9mm. How about stopping power?

  10. #9
    Joeywhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    Thanks for the responses. I'm taking my wife to an indoor range this weekend with a friend who has a XD40. They rent guns there, so we'll try a few to get the feel.

    Didn't know that about the SR9. What's the recall for? The review in American Handgunner seemed to give positive feedback about it and they seemed to claim that it should be as reliable as their p series. I know I'm asking for a lot in a handgun. Just trying to get the biggest "bang" for the buck. Anyway, I may get two weapons, one for her and one for me. We'll see. So the recoil on a .380 is much less than a 9mm. How about stopping power?
    I believe the gun will fire when dropped. I'm not 100% on that, though. Don't put too much stock in what the gun rags say, either...they say what they are paid to say, so if Ruger sends them a fat check for some advertising, the mag will probably run a good article for it. Ever remember reading a BAD review for a gun?

    .380 recoils less then 9mm holding all other variables constant, however it's known to be a marginal defense round. Typically .38 +p or 9mm is considered the "low end" of defensive loads.

    If you would like something with low recoil, that can also shoot a good defensive round, get a .38 revolver that can fire +P loads. Shoot standard pressure .38's for practice, and shoot just enough +P to keep up on it. I do that with my .357 (practice with standard .38, carry .357).

    I would only carrry a .380 if it were a pocket pistol, where the small size of the gun only permits a .380. Yes, it will work, and it's certainly better then a punch to the face...but I'd go bigger if you can.

  11. #10
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    If you do plan to carry, weight is a BIG issue, and the 92 is pretty heavy. The Ruger has been recalled, but we'll see on that. Very new platform.

    The Glock and XD are NOT for advanced shooters. They are two of the simplest, safest, most reliable guns on the market, and I would stake my life on either in a heartbeat. (I carry an XD45 every day)

    Both are in the $500-600 range, and about a $100 cheaper used.

    Either is a great place to start, as a handgun owner.

    Most who choose one over the other, choose based on feel. They feel/point quite differently. Shoot both, and decide confidently.

    Some XD advantages:
    Steel sights vs Polymer
    "Better" field-strip set up
    Lower price

    Some Glock advantages:
    Shorter trigger reset (advanced speed-shooting)
    Lower bore axis (advanced speed-shooting)
    More holster/accessory options (but the gap is closing fast)

    Good luck

  12. #11
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    The Beretta, Glock, and Springfield are all great guns. The Ruger, as Submoa mentioned, is new, though certainly Ruger is a quality manufacturer. But I think the Beretta most closely matches the 5 criteria you posted:

    1) Reliability: is legendary.
    2) Safety features: Ambidextrious safety/decocker and full double action pull option for first shot.
    3) Accurate: Very. 5" barrel with long sight radius.
    4) Easy to fire: Just pull the trigger . Low recoil: Arguably the softest shooter available.
    5) Easy to handle: Yes, but it is a big gun.
    6) Easy to clean: Very. Take-down on the Beretta is about as easy as it comes. No tools required.

    The Beretta is a big, heavy gun. That is part of the reason why it is such a soft shooter. How that enters into how it fits your wife, have her handle one. Many say it is better suited to large hands, but fit is such a personal thing. I have small hands but the Beretta fits me like a glove, including the reach to the trigger in double action. Keep in mind though that the bigger, heavier the gun, the less it will buck and kick. So even though a gun may be big or heavy for her, it may be easier and more enjoyable for her to shoot.

    For HD forget the .380 and stick with .38 special at a minimum. Around here the preferred rounds for HD are 9MM; .40; .45; .357. Out of all of these the 9mm ammo is the least expensive to shoot and also has the least felt recoil. In any of these calibers, premium JHP's are preferred for defensive purposes, not range ammo.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Wyatt; 06-27-2008 at 09:29 PM.

  13. #12
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the feedback! What about the S&W M&P?

  14. #13
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback! What about the S&W M&P?
    Revolver

    Quote Originally Posted by http://web.utk.edu/~giles/third.html
    The Smith & Wesson Model 10 Military & Police Revolver is the most successful handgun of all time. It is not the most powerful or the most accurate revolver. In fact it may not be the best gun for most uses but the genius of it is in its versitility. The Smith & Wesson Military and Police Revolver made its debut along with its revolutionary new cartridge, the .38 special, in 1899. The revolver has been manufactured largely in its current form since 1902 and has been produced with many variations for both commercial and military use. Its is estimated that about six million of these revolvers have been produced to date. Nearly all of them have been produced in .38 special. although British military contracts for the weapon were were designated the 38/200 British Service Revolver and were chambered in .38/200 which is essentially a .38 Smith & Wesson cartridge with a significantly heavier bullet. Until the 1980's when semiautos began to catch on in the United States this revolver was the standard in most American police departments. It still remains the standard in many although it has been largely supplanted by .357 magnum revolvers and numerous semiauto handguns. Commercial sales of the Model 10 have been in the millions and continue. Many military surplus and police department surplus revolvers are for sale in used condition today.

    Even after a full century of technological advancements the Model 10 is still hanging in there as a reliable weapon with respectable stopping power. It has been produced in numerous variations over the last century but the square butt frame and standard weight 4 inch barrel is the most common. Even though semiautos are the norm now for police and military organizations it is unlikey that the Model 10 will disappear anytime soon. It is chambered for the popular .38 spl. cartridge and is weighted perfectly at 30.5 oz to make it very controlable for both novice and expert. Most of the Model 10's produced since World War II are also capable of handeling a limited amount of +P ammunition as well in an emergency situation improving their stopping power. It is simple to use and easy to maintain. Many early Model 10's still function flawlessly and have very smooth actions. A vintage Model 10 is usually superior in quality to the products Smith & Wesson currently produce.

    The history of the Model 10 is one of unparalleled success. Its commercial demand has not ceased since 1899. Military use of this revolver reached its highest levels in World War II. The S&W Victory Model revolver is essentially a Model 10 with lanyard swivel and dull parkerized finish. Over 1.1 million were ultimately delivered to the U.S. government. By March of 1945 568,204 revolvers were also supplied to British forces chambered for the 38/200 cartridge. Old stocks of Victory Model revolvers supplemented with goverment purchases of additional Model 10's with commercial blue finishes were in use by the U.S. military until the 1980's. The British version proved quite popular as well and in 1947 Smith & Wesson resumed production of the Military & Police revolver in 38/200 for purchase by the many Commonwealth nations. In 1958 Smith & Wesson introduced the current model identification numbering system and this alien counterpart to the American Model 10 became known as the Model 11. Production continued until the late 1960's.

    Perhaps the greatest testimony to the success of this revolver is that it has led to dozens of different models. This first Smith & Wesson revolver built on the K frame is the grandfather of all K frame revolvers today. K frame revolvers chambered in .38 spl or .357 magnum are are available in many barrel lenghts, finishes, choice of steel or alloy frame, with fixed or adjustable sights etc. The Model 10 is also one of the most copied designs in other countries. Millions of close copies of this revolver have been made in places like Spain, France, Brazil and Pakistan.

    Many gun collector's do not collect Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolvers. The answer to this lies in its success. It is so successful it's not unusual or different. Still, for the collector who can appreciate the greatness of a no frills workhorse with many years yet to go, many varieties exist, some of them rather rare, to collect. A vintage Victory Model is collectable and historic yet still viable as a weapon today. A collection of humble Military & Police revolvers can be great fun. I predict this weapon has another century of use to go before it is obsolete.
    Semi Auto

    The Semi-Auto trades on the success of the original revolver's name and replaces the failed SW990 in S&W's lineup.

    The M&P has a magazine disconnect safety (optional on special order). I prefer a weapon without this feature. I do understand that it can be a life-saving safety feature. Some folks drop the magazine, and think that the gun is safe without checking the chamber. This is using a mechanical device to correct a training issue. There are also some who like a magazine safety for police work, in the theory that if an officer is about to lose his weapon in a struggle, he can drop the magazine, buying a bit of time to reach for his backup gun. Early production had a number of unexpected magazine drops, avoid used.

    Other features include:

    steel sub-chassis in polymer frame
    Frame rails are easily replaced if damaged (without frame replacement)
    Heavy slide dust cover to resist damage if dropped
    Beavertail grip frame to reduce potential for slide bite
    Grip inserts include palm swells as well as back strap differences
    Ambidextrous slide stop lever
    Reversible magazine catch button
    Large, robust extractor
    Stainless steel recoil guide rod assembly
    Beveled barrel hood
    Through-hardened stainless steel barrel & slide (no zone tempering)

    Fairly accurate. One feature I do like is that you don't have to pull the trigger to disassemble as the M&P comes with a sear release. But the texture of the grip rubber is a little too neutral for my tastes (ie. sweat, mud, oil would reduce firmness of grip contact). M&P has a soft trigger reset. The 6.5 lb trigger pull and 17rd grip size would rule this one out for you.

    My personal 9mm preferences are for Walther P99 (best grip, most accurate for me) or SA XD subcompact (best flexibility CCW, billet internals).

    M&P - 15

    AR-15A2 clone with A2 flash suppressor, 16" barrel with 1:9 twist to stabilize 40-73gr bullets, CAR type collapsible stock, STANAG mags, in standard and tactical variants. Tactical is a picatinny flattop, SOPMOD compatible with Troy folding sights. One of the better AR specimens and shoots reasonably well.

    ARs not my choice for black rifle. Direct impingement gas system, 5.56 ammo. Designed for full auto capable engagements to 300 meters without cover but implemented as semiauto. Prefer gas piston semi-auto or bolt and 7.62 ammo to hit varmints even when they are on the other side of a tree.

  15. #14
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    Get a good .357 and shoot .38 specials in it except if the world gets too rough. Then shoot the .357's instead. They are solid, reliable and safer than semi-autos for someone who does not intend to become a specialist. The two calibers span quite a power range and give you flexibility nothing else can.

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    Joeywhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teuthis View Post
    Get a good .357 and shoot .38 specials in it except if the world gets too rough. Then shoot the .357's instead. They are solid, reliable and safer than semi-autos for someone who does not intend to become a specialist. The two calibers span quite a power range and give you flexibility nothing else can.
    THis is what I do. The .38's are a dream to shoot, while the .357's start breakin bones after 20 rounds or so...but when the SHTF, a .357 ain't bad to have

  17. #16
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teuthis View Post
    Get a good .357 and shoot .38 specials in it except if the world gets too rough. Then shoot the .357's instead. They are solid, reliable and safer than semi-autos for someone who does not intend to become a specialist. The two calibers span quite a power range and give you flexibility nothing else can.
    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    4. Easy to fire, not hard recoil. Should be able to fire accurately with one hand if necessary in a pinch. Not too heavy a trigger pull
    Can't see a DA revolver meeting this guy's requirements. DA trigger on a revolver is the definition of heavy trigger pull.

  18. #17
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    ok, can you recommend a good reasonably priced 357 mag? I wasn't aware that you can shoot 38 ammo from a 357.

  19. #18
    Joeywhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    ok, can you recommend a good reasonably priced 357 mag? I wasn't aware that you can shoot 38 ammo from a 357.
    That's a pretty broad question...what barrel size? What weight? What hammer type?

    I have a model 649 which I love. Has the bodyguard hammer, which means the hammer is full enclosed in the frame, save for the very tip, so it can still be put into SA. It's all steel, with a 2" bbl. Not too heavy, but a lot heavier then the airweights. For .357 it's a handful, but it gets the job done. Very easy to conceal.

    If you got a full size (6+ shot) with a longer bbl (say 4", or even 6) the recoil will be MUCH more manageable, however it won't conceal very easily.

    Also, if you never plan to shoot .357 just get an air weight .38 that allows for +P loads. It'll be lighter, probably hold one more round then if it were .357, and might be a bit cheaper.

  20. #19
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    ok, can you recommend a good reasonably priced 357 mag? I wasn't aware that you can shoot 38 ammo from a 357.
    Yes, but not visa-versa, for obvious reasons. But don't get too enamored with the ability to shoot cheaper .38's out of a .357 since .38's are still almost 60% more expensive to shoot as 9mm. A 100 box of Winchester White Box (WWB) costs about $18.50 at Walmart for 9mm and about $29.50 for .38's.

    For sheer simplicity, a revolver is the way to go. But you are sacrificing capacity compared to a semi-auto. In regard to your comment about 9mm having "probably enough stopping power", I can assure you that with any of the premium HD hollow point loads you are not under-powered by any stretch of the imagination. But yes, .357 magnum is a more powerful cartridge and will stop just about anything unless your home is being robbed by a grizzly bear.

    If you choose a revolver I would strongly suggest a heavier gun such as the S&W "L" frames.

    BTW, I don't really have a bias here since I own both a Beretta 92 and a S&W model 686 Plus "L" frame revolver (the plus signifies it is a 7 shot revolver). Either would be fine for home defense or open carry, though I would recommend the 4" barrel in a revolver. It is more accurate than a snubbie and has less recoil. A 6" is too long for carry as the length presents drawing problems. By the time you are permitted for concealed carry you will likely already be the owner of more than one gun, then you can get a compact for concealment.

    Training is the key here and you should be honest about how much time you and your wife will devote to it. First off, shot placement is WAY more important than caliber and that takes training. But if you choose a semi-auto you need to consider you or your wife's ability to clear a jam etc., in an obvious stressful situation. While a malfunction is highly unlikely with the Glock, XD or Beretta, it is still something you need to train for if you will rely on a semi-auto. Less to go wrong with a revolver. Typically if it doesn't go off, you just pull the trigger again.
    Last edited by Wyatt; 07-01-2008 at 01:28 AM.

  21. #20
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    4" for a revolver is a good length. I agree. Whatever we choose, its not going to sit in a lock box and collect dust. Of course we want to get accurate with the weapon(s) and we will go to the range and take NRA certified training. The 686 is quite expensive. Any cheaper alternatives? $650+ is a bit much. I want to stay under $600.

  22. #21
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Speaking of lock boxes, do you have children in the house? If so, you must budget for a secure, quick access box for your firearm.

    I know the 686 is expensive (but what a great gun, lol). I haven't priced revolvers lately and since I live in California the prices out here are on the very high side for firearms from what I hear and see elsewhere in the country. But one option in revolvers would be to buy used. A good used S&W "L" frame will still last two lifetimes. If you post this question in the general revolver area you will probably get some good info about .357 magnum in your price range. I believe Rugers are generally more reasonably priced than S&W and they also make excellent revolvers. Smith and Wesson also has other models that are not as expensive as the 686.

    Check out Bud's Guns. You may not find local prices as cheap, but it will give you some idea of relative prices between models.

    http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php
    Last edited by Wyatt; 07-01-2008 at 01:31 AM. Reason: Add link

  23. #22
    steven_b46 is offline Junior Member
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    yeah, a lock box is a must have before the gun.

    Would you all recommend buying guns off of the internet? How does that work?

  24. #23
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    a 357 under $600
    don't know - maybe taurus or ruger single action or find one on sale
    download the S&W catalog to your computer for free - they have retail prices on their gun descriptions
    they have several 38+p for $549
    at my lgs they have me give them the info and they fax the info to the place where i am buying then that gun is shipped to my lgs and i pay them $25 for handling fee - i also am in email contact with them so i send a certified check to them

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_b46 View Post
    yeah, a lock box is a must have before the gun.

    Would you all recommend buying guns off of the internet? How does that work?
    Wyatt has provided a link to a great site for buying guns online. They also explain how the process works, check the information section in the lower left of their page. You should have no problem finding a S&W .357 mag for under $650 and some under $600, other manufacturers for even cheaper.

  26. #25
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Check first with your local FFL to find out how much they would charge to do the paperwork on the gun, since this adds to the cost. I don't get all these reasonable fees guys are talking about for the dealer receiving a gun bought from another dealer. Man, every local FFL (Southern Cal) I've talked to want >$100 or won't do it at all. They will do a private party transfer for $20 or so, but buy a gun from another dealer and they will eat up any savings you may have had with their huge fees.

    Depending on where you live, gun shows have also been reported around here to have very good deals. Once again, in California I haven't found that to be the case.

    Note on Budsguns. I believe their prices include shipping.

    BTW, check out the Taurus line of revolvers. I'm sure they are available under $600. Their 8-shot .357 model 608SS4 has an MSRP of $584. I'm sure you can get it for well below MSRP.
    Last edited by Wyatt; 07-01-2008 at 01:37 AM.

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