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  1. #1
    m3coupe4me's Avatar
    m3coupe4me is offline Junior Member
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    Are pistol manufacturers...

    ... similar to other industries where a few big names dominate the majority of the market while smaller companies have equally as good or better products with but with not much of a marketing budget? If I really do my research on purchasing a handgun, can I find a safe, reliable semi-auto that it worth the likely hood it will be more expensive? Or should I go ahead and just pick a Ruger or a Glock and feel more comfortable that I've purchased something from an (allegedly) reputable company?

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    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I think it's more that the smaller companies produce niche products. Look at Kahr, KelTec, STI, etc. Nice guns, but the products mainly fill niches not covered by the bigger manufacturers.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  4. #3
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    Most of the big boys have a fairly decent track record of being reputable in that their firearms have good reputations and well as their customer service departments. Some with great firearms such as Glock and Beretta, I've heard some mixed reviews regarding CS (mostly good though).

    The two companies that seem to have the very best rep for CS are the two old line American companies: S&W and Ruger.

    BTW, sometimes the smaller companies are not necessarily less expensive, such as Kahr for example.

  5. #4
    m3coupe4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    I think it's more that the smaller companies produce niche products. Look at Kahr, KelTec, STI, etc. Nice guns, but the products mainly fill niches not covered by the bigger manufacturers.
    Thanks. I think that's a really good point. Perhaps I should just feel comfortable buying what's available based on what the salesperson at the gunshop recommends. Then after a few years and after meeting other shooters I can see what else in the sport interests me.

  6. #5
    submoa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by m3coupe4me View Post
    Perhaps I should just feel comfortable buying what's available based on what the salesperson at the gunshop recommends.
    Uh, no. The folks working at gunshops are little more than trained chipanzees with even worse hygiene. The main motivation they have is to move inventory.

    Assuming you have proper handgun training and actually shoot before you buy, the best place to find out about customer service is 2 places.

    The internet is a good source of complaints. If the complaints follow a pattern, stay away, because there is a legitmate issue.

    The second place is a local gunsmith. My preference is to deal with former MOS 2111 Marines with MEU (SOC) experience. If you plan on custom work, better to pick something the guy who is doing the customizing prefers.

  7. #6
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by m3coupe4me View Post
    Perhaps I should just feel comfortable buying what's available based on what the salesperson at the gun shop recommends.
    Stop! Do not listen to the salesman! I wouldn't trust the guy at the gun shop to steer me in the right direction for a gun any more than I'd trust the guy at Best Buy to tell me what TV to buy. In both cases they are told what to "recommend" and most of the time, their knowledge is really, really poor.

    Follow Submoa's advice and you're going to be off to a good start.

  8. #7
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    The gun companies offer "incentive programs" for salespeople who push their products. Free guns, trips to Hawaii, etc.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

    Donate to the Christian and Stephanie Nielson Recovery fund: http://www.nierecovery.com/.

    All opinions, particularly those involving politics and Glocks, are mine and not Galco's.

  9. #8
    unpecador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m3coupe4me View Post
    Perhaps I should just feel comfortable buying what's available based on what the salesperson at the gunshop recommends.
    Actually, there's a lot of good information available on this forum, this is a great place to learn about guns.

  10. #9
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unpecador View Post
    Actually, there's a lot of good information available on this forum, this is a great place to learn about guns.
    Especially in the Beretta and S&W forums.

    Seriously, there is alot of good info here. Hang out awhile and you will get a feel for who's giving out the good advice.

    Opinions are like a**holes: Everyone's got one and they all stink.

    What it comes down to pretty much is most of the models put out by the mainline manufacturers are of good quality, some makes/models are highly regarded for accuracy/reliability. You can pretty much start and end with the makes that have their own forums here. There's really no need to look beyond these as among them there is plenty of choice and price points.

    Do the research and find a range that has a some of these for rent, and shoot them. Among the good makes/models it really comes down to personal preference i.e. which feels/fits you best personally, and which you shoot the best. You need to determine what you will use the gun for and then decide on which caliber and trigger action you prefer. Especially with the latter the best way to decide is to shoot them.

    Good luck and enjoy the search.

  11. #10
    tony pasley's Avatar
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    Do not trust the clerk!! Do your home work first, if possible find a range that rents so you can try it out.
    These steps will help you avoid the one that was owned by a little old lady who just carried it to church on Sunday.

  12. #11
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony pasley View Post
    Do not trust the clerk!! Do your home work first, if possible find a range that rents so you can try it out.
    These steps will help you avoid the one that was owned by a little old lady who just carried it to church on Sunday.
    +1

  13. #12
    P97
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    My advise is to heed the advise already given. It is excellent. Don't be in a hurry and shoot them and see what fits you best before buying. We all have our favorites and you will too. Good luck, and have fun.

  14. #13
    m3coupe4me's Avatar
    m3coupe4me is offline Junior Member
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    All good advice. I didn't think I'd get such a fervent reaction from so many people. I think what I'll do is call around to gun clubs and see if I can get some training, rent some pistols, then make a determination as to what I want to purchase. I'll also continue perusing these forums. Lot's of good discussions here. Thanks again for the good advice.

  15. #14
    m3coupe4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    Especially in the Beretta and S&W forums.

    ...

    Do the research and find a range that has a some of these for rent, and shoot them. Among the good makes/models it really comes down to personal preference i.e. which feels/fits you best personally, and which you shoot the best. You need to determine what you will use the gun for and then decide on which caliber and trigger action you prefer. Especially with the latter the best way to decide is to shoot them.

    Good luck and enjoy the search.
    I called a few places here in NJ and they say no way to renting guns. How am I supposed to even test these things out if no one is willing to rent them? However, I did find out that PA ranges will rent out, but now I'm not sure if I need to have a permit there before using their ranges. Very difficult. Also, sounds like NJ townships are notorious for giving applicants the run around, so I'm probably not going to contact my township until I'm absolutely on the right path.

  16. #15
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m3coupe4me View Post
    I called a few places here in NJ and they say no way to renting guns. How am I supposed to even test these things out if no one is willing to rent them? However, I did find out that PA ranges will rent out, but now I'm not sure if I need to have a permit there before using their ranges. Very difficult. Also, sounds like NJ townships are notorious for giving applicants the run around, so I'm probably not going to contact my township until I'm absolutely on the right path.
    You can probably answer that question with a call to a PA range. I'm not sure what kind of permit you would need, I doubt you need a carry permit. In California, one of the most stringent states, all the ranges have rental guns and you just have to show a drivers license and sign the form stating you are not mentally ill or a felon etc. and you are good to go.

    Some ranges will want to check you out on the gun and if you don't seem to know what you are doing they will not let you shoot. Whenever I rent a gun I've not handled before I usually preempt this by asking the range officer to check me out on the gun and explain all the controls if I'm not familiar with that particular model. They seem to appreciate this, probably because so many guys come in all macho that have no clue so exhibiting a little humility works.

  17. #16
    JagFarlane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    You can probably answer that question with a call to a PA range. I'm not sure what kind of permit you would need, I doubt you need a carry permit. In California, one of the most stringent states, all the ranges have rental guns and you just have to show a drivers license and sign the form stating you are not mentally ill or a felon etc. and you are good to go.

    Some ranges will want to check you out on the gun and if you don't seem to know what you are doing they will not let you shoot. Whenever I rent a gun I've not handled before I usually preempt this by asking the range officer to check me out on the gun and explain all the controls if I'm not familiar with that particular model. They seem to appreciate this, probably because so many guys come in all macho that have no clue so exhibiting a little humility works.
    PA, last I recall, really wasn't super stringent so I can't imagine you needing a permit there.

    +1 for the suggestion to have the rangemaster check you out on the gun.

  18. #17
    m3coupe4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    You can probably answer that question with a call to a PA range. I'm not sure what kind of permit you would need, I doubt you need a carry permit. In California, one of the most stringent states, all the ranges have rental guns and you just have to show a drivers license and sign the form stating you are not mentally ill or a felon etc. and you are good to go.

    Some ranges will want to check you out on the gun and if you don't seem to know what you are doing they will not let you shoot. Whenever I rent a gun I've not handled before I usually preempt this by asking the range officer to check me out on the gun and explain all the controls if I'm not familiar with that particular model. They seem to appreciate this, probably because so many guys come in all macho that have no clue so exhibiting a little humility works.
    So I did some more calling and there are definitely ranges in PA that will rent out guns. I called one called Pistol People in Bensalem (http://www.pistolpeople.com) and spoke with the owner. He said he would set me up with a free lesson and show me the basics, which I though was perfect. About $47 to rent his safety equipment and a gun. Once he sets me up first on the training gun, I'm allowed to rent others. Perfect.

  19. #18
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    I wouldn't have a problem with the $47 since he is giving you some instruction, but I don't consider that a free lesson. I know you said the fee was for renting of safety gear and a gun but consider that around my parts the range provides eyes and ears for free if you don't have them (even if you are not renting a gun) and gun rentals are $5 to $10 per firearm depending on the range. Maybe he is including ammo for the instruction session.

    Typical range cost at my home range is $18 for the lane (no time limit, $9 for an additional person in that lane). Targets less than $5. Eye and ear protection is included with the lane. If you are renting then $10/gun. Lastly most ranges around here require you shoot their ammo through rental guns and that can get stiff ($15 for 50 bag of 9mm).

    So if he is including a box of ammo it makes sense compared to my range: $18 for the lane, $10 for the gun, $15 for a box of ammo leaves $4 for targets. Then the lesson would be free.

    No biggie really as you are getting a lesson for $50. You can check out the pricing for repeat trips when you get there. If they don't require you buy rental gun ammo from them, hit Walmart on your way to the range. Check if certain kinds of ammo are not allowed (my range allows FMJ ammo only - no naked ball).

    Congrats M3, sounds like you are on the right track. Enjoy and let us know about your trip to the range!

  20. #19
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    Typical range cost at my home range is $18 for the lane (no time limit,
    Is that an indoor range? The indoor range that I usually shoot at charges $16 an hour per lane, 25 yards max with target retrievers. There is a huge outdoor range in the area that charges $10 per shooter for all day but doesn't have target retrievers.

  21. #20
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    Yes, it is a 25 yard indoor facility with retrievers. The lane cost is per session, not by the hour. Of course, per session assumes you don't leave and come back. I don't think many people have sessions of more than a couple of hours except perhaps some of the serious target shooters - heck, they can take an hour between shots sometimes.

    Are you referring to the Angeles Shooting Range? I'm hoping to get up there and check it out. I'm anxious to see just how accurate my 92FS is at 800 yards.

    Most of the outdoor ranges just stop fire periodically to allow target retrieval.

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