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Thread: First handgun

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    soobaroo's Avatar
    soobaroo is offline Junior Member
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    First handgun

    Hello all, my first post here. I have a lot of experience with shotguns but none with revolvers or semi auto's. I'm looking at a Ruger SP 101 and a Charter Arms undercover. This will be for home defense and practice shooting. I can get a CC permit in Michigan but spend a lot of time in Wisconsin where I couldn't take it with me so no point. I've been advised a revolver would be a good choice for a first handgun. Don't hear too much good about Charter Arms but Ruger seems to have a good reputation. I'm open to any suggestions but don't want to spend more than about $500. Thanks much.

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    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    I'd pick the Ruger over the other hands-down. Bull-strong, super reliable, and much more comfortable to shoot with comparable ammo, the Ruger is a far better choice in my eyes. You'll also find a wider range of accessories (holsters, grips, speedloaders, etc.) for the Ruger due to its wider general distribution and use.

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    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    Of the two, the Ruger is the better choice. That being said, I would higghly recommend a Smith & Wesson revolver over a Ruger. I have owned both (a Ruger SP-101 as a matter of fact) and all Smith & Wessons I own and have shot are much nicer guns. Also, I am wondering why you are considering a compact weapon like the SP-101 rather than a full sized gun. If you do not plan to carry it concealed, I recommend a larger gun like the Ruger GP-100 or, even better yet, a Smith & Wesson K or L frame.

    Last but not least, I think a revolver is a great choice for a first handgun.

    Good luck.

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    soobaroo's Avatar
    soobaroo is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarmigan View Post
    Of the two, the Ruger is the better choice. That being said, I would higghly recommend a Smith & Wesson revolver over a Ruger. I have owned both (a Ruger SP-101 as a matter of fact) and all Smith & Wessons I own and have shot are much nicer guns. Also, I am wondering why you are considering a compact weapon like the SP-101 rather than a full sized gun. If you do not plan to carry it concealed, I recommend a larger gun like the Ruger GP-100 or, even better yet, a Smith & Wesson K or L frame.

    Last but not least, I think a revolver is a great choice for a first handgun.

    Good luck.
    I thought the S&W were more expensive than what I wanted to spend but I see some that aren't really that much more. A friend had a GP-100 and told me it was a little big for him and the SP-101 might be a better choice. I'll look closer at the S&W lineup and see what kind of price my dealer will sell for. Thanks.

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    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Pretty much echo the above. Ruger makes a revo that will handle many thousands of rounds over several lifetimes. Charter's products aren't bad by any means, but they are not built to the level of a Ruger.

    Also, since you aren't going to carry, might as well buy something that will be comfortable to shoot, and more accurate to boot. Besides the Ruger GP and S&W's already mentioned, you can also consider trying to find an older Colt Trooper, Cobra (not the older snubby version, but the newer full-sized .357) or even a Python if you have a bunch of money lying around with nothing to spend it on.

    But really, make it simple on yourself and get a new Smith 686......

    PhilR.

    oops - just noticed your budget. Well, you won't get a new 686 for under five c-notes, but you can get a used one for that price. Lots of used .357's out there, even a classic Trooper can be found in your price range. Just don't get a Charter - they aren't meant for your situation.....

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    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    A new Smith & Wesson is probably more than $500 but you can most likely find a nice used one for way less than that. All my Smiths have been used and I like them that way. Unless you are dead set on a .357 Magnum, look at used .38 Special K frams like the model 10, 15, 64, 67 etc. They are great guns and the K frame is the perfect size revolver for range and home defense use in my opinion. I carried one for my first duty gun (model 67) and our "house gun" so to speak is a nice model 15. I actually prefer fixed sights but the model 15 was a great deal on a trade so I took it.

    I have no interest in shooting Magnum rounds so my revolvers are .38 Special. They are fun to shoot and there is plently of good defense ammo on the market to make it useful for that purpose as well.

    There are some used K frames on the market chambered for the .357 Magnum and as long as you do not shoot magnum loads all the time, they will last for along time. Look for model 19 and 65 as they are most common.

    If you look around long enough, I bet you can find a nice S&W for $300-400 or maybe even less. My last one was a model 640 which is a J frame (snub nosed revolver) for concealed carry and I got it for $270. Great gun.

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    soobaroo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarmigan View Post
    A new Smith & Wesson is probably more than $500 but you can most likely find a nice used one for way less than that. All my Smiths have been used and I like them that way. Unless you are dead set on a .357 Magnum, look at used .38 Special K frams like the model 10, 15, 64, 67 etc. They are great guns and the K frame is the perfect size revolver for range and home defense use in my opinion. I carried one for my first duty gun (model 67) and our "house gun" so to speak is a nice model 15. I actually prefer fixed sights but the model 15 was a great deal on a trade so I took it.

    I have no interest in shooting Magnum rounds so my revolvers are .38 Special. They are fun to shoot and there is plently of good defense ammo on the market to make it useful for that purpose as well.

    There are some used K frames on the market chambered for the .357 Magnum and as long as you do not shoot magnum loads all the time, they will last for along time. Look for model 19 and 65 as they are most common.

    If you look around long enough, I bet you can find a nice S&W for $300-400 or maybe even less. My last one was a model 640 which is a J frame (snub nosed revolver) for concealed carry and I got it for $270. Great gun.
    A used S&W would be fine. Just came back from a local dealer who agrees with you. He said a GP-100 would be a better choice than a SP 101 for what I want it for. He's got a tauras .357 SS for $390 in stock that he also thinks would be fine for me. Too many choices out there.

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    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    The Taurus revolvers are not too bad. They are very similar to the Smith & Wessons. I have a friend who owns a Taurus very similar to my K frame and it seems like a nice gun.

    I am a bit of a history buff, well I am an actual historian, and since I do not care for the 1911 .45ACP I feel that a great American handgun to own is a .38 Special Smith & Wesson. Great service records with law enforcement in this country with nearly 100 years of service in some places. I realize this is not a reason to pick a firearm but it works for me.

    Also, like I may already have mentioned, my first duty gun was a S&W model 67 and this was the first handgun I ever shot. I feel that learning on this type of gun made it easy to learn others later in my career. The first time I ever shot a qualification shoot with a semi-auto I shot 96% i.e. I placed two rounds outside the scoring zone on the target. Not to bad for a "rookie."

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