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  1. #1
    SenorJefe is offline Junior Member
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    Buying first handgun, stuck on caliber

    I've been doing my research for about a month now and have not come much closer to making my decision. I've been touting some "weapons bans" and "price increase" rhetoric to her for months now, so, very recently, my wife gave me the final go-ahead on my first weapon purchase. My main reason for wanting a handgun is for home defense. (now, I know other weapons might be ideal, but the handgun is the ONLY thing that she'll allow, for now....it's my gateway, if you will)

    For 10 years now, I've been very fond of Sig Sauer handguns. Yes, I've shot nearly every other type of handgun on many calibers. Several weeks ago I was stuck on the P220 .45 (maybe the Equinox). Since this gun will be something I'd like my wife to learn and train on, I've kinda moved away from the notion of such a big gun. Also, shooting practice rounds at the range will cost way less if I'm shooting a 9mm as opposed to the .45acp. I really, really LOVE shooting the ever-popular colt round, but am afraid the recoil will make a lady scared to shoot it. Anyone have advice or similar experiences with "girls shooting guns" expertise to share?

    So really, I've been leaning towards Sig's P226 9mm. I like the gun as well, but not as much as the more powerful rounds. Now, I'm thinking about the plausibility of getting the P226 .40S&W and also buying a Bar-Sto 9mm barrel for cheap shooting (and wife-training). So with that, my question is this: Am I putting to much into a larger round for my defense purposes? Should I just stick with the 9mm and get used to it first...maybe later buying another, larger, handgun?

    My other original concern for a 9mm, was it's ability to penetrate beyond target. My son sleeps 15 feet from my bedroom door - and right in it's line-of-sight. In the horrible scenario I'd be aiming in that direction, I'd be afraid of those possibilities. Please, tell me if I'm over-thinking this

    Any help or advice you guys could bestow on this young married guy, I'd appreciate it.

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  3. #2
    Yjeepin's Avatar
    Yjeepin is offline Junior Member
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    I'm pretty much in the exact situation as you are... except the direction of where I'm firing. I've pretty much concluded with help from this forum as to sticking with the 9mm so I can draw my wife into shooting and being ok with them. That is if I don't find my 357 gun I use to have, in that case I'll have to buy her her own gun. Which is a win win since I'll get a 9mm and my old 357.

    I was really considering the 40, but based on everything I've read since I want her to buy into the whole thing the 9mm probably would be easier for her to deal with. She is pretty anti-gun, but the latest changes in laws and politics combined with the economy makes it almost logical to get one.

    Good luck with your decision, I'm hoping within a week to get mine.

  4. #3
    curlyjive is offline Junior Member
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    Similar for me as well. Bought an XD9. With all the craziness in the world, I just can't see not owning a firearm. I went with 9mm since it is my first gun and I want to be able to practice alot....so 9mm will be cheaper there. Talking shop with many different people at local shops, all agree that a good hollow point 9mm is just as good as a larger caliber round. Plus it's where you put it that counts most.

    I also want my wife to learn on it, so 9mm will make it easier. I don't know if she'll ever "let" me have mulitple guns.....so if I get proficient with the 9mm and feel the need to move to a larger caliber I could always trade it in.

  5. #4
    SenorJefe is offline Junior Member
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    You two are awesome! Pretty much answered my questions/doubts and made my decision right there.

    Get a 9mm.

    If it's too hard to shoot, she'll hate 'em and probably not ever let me get any more.

    I'm buying mine tomorrow

  6. #5
    funkypunk97's Avatar
    funkypunk97 is offline Member
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    Welcome to the club..... I made my first purchase a few weeks ago. And also went with 9mm on advice from those here.....

    It was a good choice, you will be surprised by the snap of a 9mm polymer frame gun..... I still have not let the wife shoot it though.....

  7. #6
    Yjeepin's Avatar
    Yjeepin is offline Junior Member
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    Yeah.. that's what I figured out. One of these more experienced guys might pipe in, but that's what I gathered from a lot of reading and common sense. Seem a lot lean toward the 40 but as a first gun witha hesitant wife in the wings I don't think we can go wrong with the 9mm.

    Good luck with what you get, let us know.

  8. #7
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    I think an all-metal 9mm is a fine handgun to start off with, especially since your wife might be shooting it as well. My wife handles all of our 9mm's without problems, but she does prefer the slightly heavier ones for range use. Also, the nine's are the most powerful calibers that she will shoot. She has used our 1911 .45acp and the .357, but only to try them out, and she did not enjoy shooting them.

    Yes, I think you are putting a bit more than needed on the caliber debate. All of the calibers you mention are fine for defense use, as long as you are using modern HP's that are designed for such.

    I'm wondering why you would worry about 9mm overpenetrating, when all of the useful defense calibers will penetrate one or more walls.....

    PhilR.

  9. #8
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
    BeefyBeefo is offline Senior Member
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    I think 9mm is a very wise choice. My girlfriend loves to shoot with me, although the gun that she shoots (she picked out the Stoeger Cougar) is a metal-framed handgun, not polymer-framed. This makes a big difference in perceived recoil. Personally, I don't like the 40S&W round at all. Many people do...I don't for personal reasons. I think going to a larger caliber is possible with a heavier framed gun, but I wouldn't advise such a thing. Start with the 9mm for cheaper practice and a whole lot of fun. If she doesn't like 9mm, she won't like anything (except maybe a .22). Once you/she gets used to the 9mm (after a long while), then maybe go to a larger caliber, but it's not necessary at all. A modern hollow-point 9mm is very efficient as long as the shots are put on target.

    -Jeff-

  10. #9
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkypunk97 View Post
    I still have not let the wife shoot it though.....
    You should, it's possible she may be relied upon to be the hero of the day.

  11. #10
    SenorJefe is offline Junior Member
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    EDIT: nevemind


    Good point about over-penetration, Phil, thank you.

  12. #11
    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    I say go with the P226 in 9mm. The .40S&W really does not offer anything the 9mm can't already do, and the P226 is a proven pistol in the 9mm caliber. With regards to penetration concerns etc., there really is no difference in the three service calibers i.e. 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP.

    I am a retired police officer and law enforcement firearms instructor, and I was once convinced that the .40S&W was THE service caliber. After much testing and experience, I have settled on the 9mm as my personal caliber of choice and shoot a Glock 19.

    The worse thing you can do is get a gun that your wife will hate to shoot because if she does not have a pleasant trip to the range the first time I doubt you will ever get her to go back.

    If you want something a little smaller than the full sized P226, consider the P228 or P229.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum.

  13. #12
    oak1971's Avatar
    oak1971 is offline Member
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    The nine is fine. I love my Les Baer .45, but right now it is expensive to feed. I also don't handle the recoil well enough for longer range shots. I have my friend shoot it and he prints one hole groups at 25 yards. Me, i manage to get a few in the bull and scatter the rest. I like to shoot fast, rapid fire and double taps are a blast. 9 mm allows me to get back on target faster.

  14. #13
    JustRick's Avatar
    JustRick is offline Member
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    My wife and I fired a bunch of handguns -- revolvers in .38 special and .357 and 9mm auto-loaders -- before picking the FNP-9. It has a soft recoil and doesn't weigh much. I've fired it back-to-back with steel 9mm pistols and it is no worse than they are. If you can find one at the range give it a try. Ours has been bulletproof (heh!) and a joy to shoot for 1,000+ rounds. The downside (or upside if you think of it another way) is that you won't see many at the range and most gun shops, at least around here, don't push them. I kind of like the fact that in a sea of Glocks, my pistol is different.

  15. #14
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    9mm will do fine . . . .

    Seems like you've gotten some good advice already on the 9mm. If you are concerned with over penetration, go with a 115 gr Speer Gold Dot JHP.
    I use a 135 gr. Federal JHP in my Beretta 96 for home defense as I live in an apartment and don't want over penetration. I set up some wall panels made like our complex's construction and I get the fragmentation I am looking for if anything other than a straight shot is taken at close range. The fiber cement Hardie fills the cavity along with the insulation and if you hit a stud, it generally comes apart. There is no substitution for shot placement to avoid any need for concern about over penetration with JHP rounds. To that end I have a LaserMax LMS-1441 guide rod laser in the 96. As long as I do my job a hole appears where the red dot was. As a Reserve Deputy I have found that the imtimidation factor of the laser is a plus as well. Some fine folks have given you good advice. Shoot often, take basic classes and advanced if you can and live by the 4 rules of gun handling without exception.

  16. #15
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    I've owned a 40, a few 45's, a bunch of 9mm's, my little 380 Kel-Tec, an old 357 Mag... even a 44 Mag.

    I may very well be all 9mm (plus the Kel-Tec), very soon.

    After lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of research, I see NO evidence that the 45 or 40 are any better of a man-stopper than a modern jacketed hollowpoint 9mm.

    And my OWN personal testing PROVES that I can put more rounds into a hand-sized target MUCH faster with a 9mm than any other caliber.

    45 ACP 1911's a beautiful, romantic, super accurate pieces of history.

    40 S&W was a milder replacement for the mistake that the FBI made in the 10mm. A solution looking for a problem.

    For home defense, 15-20 rounds of high quality, high velocity, 9mm hollow-point ammo will be more shootable, controlable (by you and your wife), cheaper to practice with, availible everywhere, etc...

    The 9mm carry guns are smaller, lighter, and higher capacity. They are ultra reliable, as the round is very conical, and slim, and short enough to cycle fast, and reliably. They can be loaded up to +P+ velocities producing enegry ABOVE a standard 45 ACP, and loaded down to target loads that shoot like 22's out of a full-size gun...

    This from a guy considering trading his first real love... a highly modified XD45... for a 9mm.

    They're faster, cheaper, lighter kicking, more economical, and more availible... And I'd hate to be on the wrong end of one...

    I shot a +P+ 9mm gun this weekend that blew away any 40 I ever shot for power and performance... and was SCARY accurate, and easy to shoot in a bigger gun. Pushing a 125 gr hollow point OVER 1500 fps... HUGE energy.

    Get a fully supported chambered 9mm, and load it UP for power, and down for accuracy... and shoot daily for $15 per 100...

    JeffWard

  17. #16
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Man... reading Jeff's post makes me want to go out and buy another 9mm. I'm thinking a Sig this time, a 239 perhaps...


    PhilR.

  18. #17
    SenorJefe is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilR. View Post
    Man... reading Jeff's post makes me want to go out and buy another 9mm. I'm thinking a Sig this time, a 239 perhaps...


    PhilR.
    Agreed. Thank you Jeff.

    I appreciate it everyone. I'm sure other unsure buyers might come across this thread and find it helpful one day.

    The conclusion is the 9mm will be perfect for what I need right now. I have to say, the help on this site was far more superb than the advice I received elsewhere.

    : : : :

  19. #18
    eazyasone23 is offline Junior Member
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    I went with the 9mm because it holds more and ammo is a couple bucks cheaper per box and almost 20 dollars cheaper by the a 1000

  20. #19
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    All that said... be careful. Emptying 15-20 rounds down range in 5-10 seconds with a 9mm is a lot of fun... but not cheaper... lol

    The guys shooting Open Class USPSA with a 28-round mag, can dump 24 rounds, accurately, on 12 targets, in about 15 seconds. Their custom "hand-rolled" ammo is around 20 cents each... That's $4.80 in 15 seconds, or $19.20 per minute, or $1152.00 per hour.

    Load 5 at a time.... LOL

    Jeff

  21. #20
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
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    1st pistol for me is a 9mm p226 Sig metal frame.. LOVE IT!

    Though now I've got pistol-itis and now I want one in every color, and caliber. I want a .45, I want a P232 / PPK .380 and everything in between. hehehehehe FNP-45, Sig 220, 1911, XD, M&P, blah blah blah... I want one of each please.. Thank you!

    .. you have been warned. Gun-itis or pistol-itis... It is very real.. You will find yourself swimming around cases each week to see what's new in the shop. hehehehehe

    But seriously, 9mm ammo prices.. easy recoil.. great all-around round for learning and defense (with good defense ammo choice).. It's not a snappy round that's hard to control, allowing a new shooter to learn. In a metal-frame, it's even better.

  22. #21
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    9mm is a great caliber to cut your teeth on. Many start there and never get any other. Then there are those like me that seems to have to have as many different calibers as I can

    I mostly carry a 40 or a 45 bur still shoot 9mm when I'm on the hunt to take down that ever elusive paper target...They are EVERYWHERE!! and they mist be stopped my 226 sig 9mm and my 229 40 are two of my favorite pistols that are not 1911's...They just work.

    For me guns are like tattoos for others. I could no way stop at just one. I have all together have 30 long and short guns and am still not happy I think just a couple more and I'll be able st stop..yeah..that's it..a couple more...uh huh...heh

  23. #22
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
    .. $4.80 in 15 seconds, or $19.20 per minute, or $1152.00 per hour.

    Load 5 at a time.... LOL

    Jeff
    Excellent advice! At the range the other day, looked back as I grabbed that magazine for another target page and asked Mark.. "Dude, what'd you do with that box of range ammo???" .. to which he replied.. "We shot it up man! Where you been?!"

    paper targets are evil and must be filled with many holes. hehehe

  24. #23
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    9mm
    Glock 19

  25. #24
    Yjeepin's Avatar
    Yjeepin is offline Junior Member
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    There are a lot of choices, even with me "trying" to stick to a 9mm it still seems an overload of choices.

  26. #25
    SenorJefe is offline Junior Member
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    Ok, I finally ordered my first gun. Sig P226 9mm Blackwater


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