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  1. #1
    xamsx is offline Junior Member
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    Looking to buy first handgun soon.. please help!

    I'm looking to buy my first handgun soon, but am unsure of what exactly to get, and am asking for some input on some options I could go with.

    I've held a few pistols, but have never shot one. I'd mostly be using it for self defense/protection, as I live in a somewhat bad neighborhood and would feel safer with a gun I could turn to if the situation called for it.. but I would also enjoy going to a range every now and then to shoot as well. I plan on getting a CCW license/permit ASAP after I make my purchase. I've been looking online at quite a few makes of guns and have been reading posts on here and I have an idea of what I'm looking for.. Something affordable, but very reliable and trusted (somewhere in the range of $200-450ish) - 9mm semi-auto (I thought I wanted a .40 at first, but then read a thread in this area that starting off with a 9 would be the best, haha).. I'd prefer DA, but would also like to de-cock too - I'd like a compact model for easy concealment, but nothing too small. I'm thinking somewhere around 3.5" barrel length, or a little more/less, but not a 3" and nothing higher than 4" - I'd also like there to be a safety switch/thumb safety (I'm kinda iffy on trigger safety's) and a somewhat high lb. trigger pull.. I don't want anything with a hair-like trigger. - Great ergonomics - And finally, something that doesn't have a lot of kick (lower resting barrel?) and is exceptionally accurate.

    Hopefully I don't sound like an idiot and know what I'm talking about at least a little bit (call me out on it if I don't though!), haha.

    All this being said, some guns that interested me were the S&W M&P9c (I really like the idea of interchangable grips), Kahr CW9093, and the H&K USP Compact. All of these seem to be out of my price range though.. Anything of the likes for a little less money?

    I'm open to any thoughtful and helpful opinions.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    OwensDad is offline Junior Member
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    Welcome xamsx! Feature and quality wise, you might also want to look at the Walther P99, especially the QA version given your preferences. They come compact, but even the standard one is fairly small and light and might work for you.

    I think any of the guns mentioned, including the Walther will be over your budget, but you might be able to pick up a used one in your price range.

  3. #3
    SAV
    SAV is offline Junior Member
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    Try the SW 9VE

    Similar to the Walther P99, but has a traditional mag release and is in your price range. The Glock-like trigger safety has a stiff feel like a double action revolver. Takes some getting used to for semi fans.

    I believe several miltaries use it as a sidearm. You can get 17 round mags for it, but i found that last round was too tight against the slide so only carry 16+1.

    A used SigPro 9 might also fit the bill. It sits a little higher in the hand, but it is very manageable.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    A few comments on your comments...

    You should be able to find the Kahr for slightly over $400, less if you order it through Bud's Gun Shop. It does not meet your requirement for a decocker (or safety lever, for that matter).

    The H&K won't be in your price range.

    The M&P would make a very good choice for defense use, but I don't think it decocks.

    You will most likely not be able to combine a decocker with a safety. Decocking a semi-auto is essentially putting it on safety, so they do not need a separate safety lever. Think of them like a revolver, which also do not have safeties.

    Nothing meant for defense use will have a "hair-like" trigger. Some of the revolvers from S&W will have a fairly light trigger in single-action mode. You will only find "hair-like" triggers on firearms meant for target shooting.

    "Great ergonomics" is subjective. What is great for me might not be great for you.

    A compact 9mm w/decocking is the Sig 239, which would pretty much meet all your requirements except the safety lever thing, which you won't need anyway since it decocks. You won't be able to find one new in your price range, but you can find them used on occasion.

  5. #5
    48dodge's Avatar
    48dodge is offline Member
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    I'm fairly newish to handguns myself but I can say if you haven't shot any handguns you can probably throw some of your specifics out. You may end up getting something that fits all of your criteria by I think you need to test some guns out before narrowing it down. My wife and I handled and shot probably about 10 or so different 9mms before settling on something for each of us.

  6. #6
    48dodge's Avatar
    48dodge is offline Member
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    One gun that fits the most of your criteria that I can think of especially maintaining your budget would be a stoeger cougar. Probably a little larger than what you want though

  7. #7
    Pistolero's Avatar
    Pistolero is offline Member
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    I suggest looking into the Ruger SR9. The gun isn't what you might consider small, but it's quite slim and conceals well. Ruger has a corner on the lower-priced semi-auto market if you'd prefer a new handgun to a used one. The SR9 has a manual safety and a wonderfully slim high-capacity magazine that holds 18 rounds! That's a whole lot of bullets. The pistol is very light but controllable and would make an excellent first pistol considering your desires and needs.

  8. #8
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    FNP9 has a decock and a saftey. but you're looking around 450-500

  9. #9
    rfair is offline Junior Member
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    I just purchased a Sig SP 2022 in a 9mm and I love It!
    It's light
    It has a decocker
    It's accurate
    It's reliable
    The controls are very reachable even for small hands.
    It sells for $ 500 ish
    Comes with night sites for that price
    2 15 rd mags.
    It is a DA/SA but can be changed later to DAO for $ 165.00
    You should go handle a few though!

  10. #10
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Certified Pre own Sigs of several varieties can be had around 450.00
    One of the best buys one can make in my opinion

  11. #11
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    Stoeger Cougar as an option

    Take a look at the Stoeger Cougar as an option. It holds 15 +1 and is very user friendly. The rotating lockup system handles recoil excellently and is a very accurate handgun.

    I have one in .40 S&W and it is a great weapon. You can use holsters designed for the Beretta 92/96 series and they work well and designs are plentiful for concealed carry. It is a good choice with the MSRP at $469.00 on the web to fit your price range.

    Gunshops in my area have a selection of over 10 weapons between them. They are priced at $450.00 across the board locally.

    Try this link to take a look: http://www.stoegerindustries.com/fir...ger_cougar.php

    This is mine: [IMG][IMG]

    Good luck with your search. If you want to see approximately how it feels to shoot rent a 92FS as the grip is almost identical, mag release is interchangable and mags will fit well, not lock up but fit so the grip angle is dead on.
    Last edited by Scratchshooter40; 03-15-2009 at 04:24 PM. Reason: sp.

  12. #12
    truman565 is offline Member
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    I would look into a Beretta PX4. They come in a couple of sizes including a compact, have good ergonomics, interchangeable back strap, thumb safety, decocker, etc. Check out this website for more info http://www.px4storm.com.
    You may be able to find a used one on www.gunbroker.com or at a show for under $500 but in this economic climate you may have to be patient or just cough up the dough. Good luck.

  13. #13
    xamsx is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the input, everyone. Appreciate it!
    I'll be looking into all of these guns mentioned.

    Also, what does everyone think of the Kel-Tec PF-9 as a possible option?

  14. #14
    artman is offline Junior Member
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    I was recently in your boat....I went to the range for about 2-3 months and rented a few different guns. I ultimately ended up with the Springfield Armory XD(M) 9mm. I am very happy with my choice. I don't plan to Conceal carry, and was looking for a gun I could handle and one that would be easy for my wife to use also. This fit the bill. I am relatively accurate with it, from various distances, & thus have confidence with it. With the right self defense round in the magazine, this will serve the purpose of home defense just fine.

  15. #15
    Bisley's Avatar
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    With your experience level, I would forget the decocker, and just go with a straight striker-fired compact 9mm. The Kahrs are great guns, but it would likely take a beginner a good bit of practice to be accurate with one. I would go with a Baby Glock (G26) or a Springfield XD, in the subcompact, if you prefer a small gun.

    Neither have flip-type safeties, but you don't need one anyway, if you learn the correct way to draw and fire. Neither is going to 'go off,' by itself. You can carry it around the house until you are convinced of that.

    The XD is a very natural pointing gun that beginners and experienced folks alike seem to be able to shoot pretty well, from the very beginning. I recommend the standard size, and find them not too difficult to conceal, but the compacts are OK, too.

  16. #16
    xamsx is offline Junior Member
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    Does anyone have any experience with a CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm Compact? It's another gun I'm really looking into getting for my first CC. I like it's size/dimensions, it's 10 + 1, it has a safety, and the price is right up my alley.
    Only negatives I hear is that it kicks a bit (as to be expected) and there have been some problems at first with feeding (mainly JHP's), which is believed to be corrected after a longer breaking-in period..? I've also read, on another handgun forum, that an owner having this problem just replaced the springs in his mags and the problem was instantly fixed. Can anyone vouch for any of this?

    Before this, I was looking into the Kel-Tec PF9 because of it's awesome dimensions (lightest & flattest 9mm ever made) for a CC, but read reviews of high kick and some feeding problems. I hear the grip is pretty abbrasive on ones hand though and users mention wearing a glove when they shoot.

    Has anyone ever shot a Kel-Tec P11? Is it similar to the PF9? This may be another CC option to me..

    I'm ultimately looking for a sub-compact with demensions around what these guns have, but with light recoil (which may be hard to come by). Any suggestions?

    Thanks for everyones help, thus far! Appreciate it..

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by xamsx View Post
    I'm looking to buy my first handgun soon, but am unsure of what exactly to get, and am asking for some input on some options I could go with.
    Great! Welcome to the forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by xamsx View Post
    I've held a few pistols, but have never shot one. I'd mostly be using it for self defense/protection, as I live in a somewhat bad neighborhood and would feel safer with a gun I could turn to if the situation called for it.. but I would also enjoy going to a range every now and then to shoot as well. I plan on getting a CCW license/permit ASAP after I make my purchase. I've been looking online at quite a few makes of guns and have been reading posts on here and I have an idea of what I'm looking for.. Something affordable, but very reliable and trusted (somewhere in the range of $200-450ish) - 9mm semi-auto (I thought I wanted a .40 at first, but then read a thread in this area that starting off with a 9 would be the best, haha).. I'd prefer DA, but would also like to de-cock too - I'd like a compact model for easy concealment, but nothing too small. I'm thinking somewhere around 3.5" barrel length, or a little more/less, but not a 3" and nothing higher than 4" - I'd also like there to be a safety switch/thumb safety (I'm kinda iffy on trigger safety's) and a somewhat high lb. trigger pull.. I don't want anything with a hair-like trigger. - Great ergonomics - And finally, something that doesn't have a lot of kick (lower resting barrel?) and is exceptionally accurate.
    Nothing personal, but you're asking for an awful lot here. The limited amount of compact handguns which come with a decocker AND safety are almost always in the $600+ range and are too big for most people to carry. There are exceptions to the rule like the Bersa Thunder, some FNP variants, and some M&P45c variants, some XD45c variants, but they are quite rare.

    In regards to the caliber, I'd say you're spot on with a nine. As your first handgun it's logical to choose 9mm over the others as it will be relatively inexpensive buy ammo, it will be the platform on which you get exposure and practice, and it is plenty effective in a self-defense situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by xamsx View Post
    All this being said, some guns that interested me were the S&W M&P9c (I really like the idea of interchangable grips), Kahr CW9093, and the H&K USP Compact. All of these seem to be out of my price range though.. Anything of the likes for a little less money?

    I'm open to any thoughtful and helpful opinions.
    Thanks a lot!
    If I were in your shoes, I would HEAVILY consider buying a used compact. There's no reason to buy new first firearm, just do your due diligence regarding the quality and reliability of the manufacturer and model in question. Also, hit your local gun dealers and ask to hold whatever weapons they have available. Assuming the weapon is reliable, the best handgun for you is the one that sings to you when you hold it. Based on the above, I recommend a used CZ compact but your only options are going to be decocker OR safety, not both. Still, after it sings to you while you hold it (and it WILL sing to you, especially after holding something like a Glock), you may be willing to compromise on the decocker/safety issue a bit. Definitely give some of the CZs a look.

  18. #18
    Bisley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xamsx View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with a CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm Compact? It's another gun I'm really looking into getting for my first CC. I like it's size/dimensions, it's 10 + 1, it has a safety, and the price is right up my alley.
    The CZ RAMI is my favorite carry gun. I shoot it almost as well as my full-size semi-autos. The only reason it is not at the very top of the list, when I'm recommending a subcompact to a new shooter, is that some of the early models have had reliability problems, especially with self-defense type ammo (JHP). Mine is a 2004 model and had to have all new springs and a trip back to the factory for six weeks, before it would fire hollow point ammo. They did a ramp job, throated and polished the chamber, and deburred and polished the rails, to make it work properly. It now feeds everything properly, and is a pleasure to shoot.

    My understanding is that these problems were addressed and eliminated on later models, but I have no hands-on experience with that.

  19. #19
    xamsx is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bisley View Post
    My understanding is that these problems were addressed and eliminated on later models, but I have no hands-on experience with that.
    Yeah, I've read online about that problem with the RAMI's. I was reading on another forum that an owner of one changed the springs in his mags and the problem was corrected, but after reading all of what you had done to yours, I'm not so sure if I believe that or not, haha.

    I'd really be interested in finding out if all those problems were sorted out on the latest models..

  20. #20
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    I'm pretty dang new as well and I was having a lot of the same thoughts you are having. All the Glock style poly guns were very intimidating to me. I had very limited experience as far a guns go. Most of my shooting had been done early on in life with my Gran Dad. He had big single action revolvers and a Colt 45. I felt that being new I needed a hammer that I could see, be able to cock/decock. I went to the local range by my house that had rentals and I shot a bunch of guns and spent a lot of time picking the brains of the guys behind the counter as well as some friends that were either military, cops or avid shooters. My first pistol ended up being the Springfield XD9 sub compact. It's small, easy to conceal and built solid. It's very easy to take apart and clean and has multiple safety features. Having a hammer and thumb safety isn't important to me now because I understand the features of my gun and have taken some classes, shot a lot of bullets and have carried it frequently. I usually carry with a 10 round mag with one in the pipe. One of the things that really helped me was just learning how to draw the gun, practice A LOT and never put your finger on the trigger unless you are going to pull it


    Oh yea, I found my XD very slightly used for $400

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