Need some ideas on weapons for myself and wife.
This is gonna be kind of a 2 part post so I'll separate each part.
I am an experienced shooter mainly with long guns. I have shot some handguns but mostly smaller caliber such as .380. I am looking to buy my first handgun and need some guidance of where to start looking. I want something that is fun to shoot, a good concealed carry weapon, and something that would also serve as a good home defense weapon. This will be a weapon that I will plan to shoot frequently at the local range so it would also need to be affordable to shoot a lot of rounds through. I just don't know where to start or what calibers/models I should be looking at. Should I be looking for 2 different weapons or can I find what I'm looking for in an "all-in-one" weapon? I also don't want to break the bank but I want something that's reliable and decent quality.
Ok now for part 2.
My wife is a complete novice who has never shot anything before. I am going to go through classes with her for my own benefit and to support her in her quest to learn to shoot. I want to buy her something that she'll be able to handle rather easily, but still have plenty of power for self defense. Other qualities need to be similar to mine above also.
i guess i will be the first to post a reply, mostly from my short time of handgun ownership, so my opinions may not carry much weight with the experienced folks here.
based on your criteria of needs, you should actually by 6 guns, 3 for you and 3 for your wife.
1. Fun to shoot: this can be a large caliber (1911) for you (big boom) or a large capacity semi auto for more shooting without reloading, with more reload time.
this could also be a long barrel revolver (S & W 686 6" barrell) since the larger sight radius will be easier to shoot accuratley at the range or a 22 target pistol (more shooting for less $$)
2. since large calibur, long barrell and high capacity do not necessarly conceal easily, you will need to by two more to meet the conceal carry category. carry will more comfortable if you can go lightweight. the new polymer guns and allow revolvers are around a 1/2 pound unloaded. light weight guns in large calibur are not fun to shoot at a long session at the range.
also a shorter barrel (sight radius) is easier to conceal but accuracy past 7 yards is the compromize,
here i would recommend a 9mm or .40 cal in a polymer gun (LC9) or a snub nose revolver in a alloy frame (SW 642)
3. home defense. this will depend on your neighborhood and surroundings. Apartment dwellers should have something that will not create a risk for your neighbor, or the guy 2 doors down. hollowpoints reduce the risk of over penatration, and a shotgun load will also help shooting thru multiple walls.
if you are Urban inter-city or suburban home owner with children readily acccessiblity when the need arises and security from theft or small inquisitive minds should help in the decision of a bed side handgun safe or a larger gunsafe for your new collection
if you live on a farm or country estate, a long gun may meet your needs. being able to stop someone before they can get to or in your door may be a concideration.
i don't think your new obsession will be a bank breaker, make your purchases as your interest grows and you "toy funds" accumulate. start out with something that is fun to shoot (keep interest in the hobby) and inexpensive ammo. as you skills grow and confidence in the guns, find a conceal carry that will meet your reqirements for a carry weapon.
Wow, thanks for all the great information John. Even though you say your a short time hobbyist it sounds like you know your stuff. I appreciate the time you took to post all that. I was kind of afraid of what you said about multiple guns but also kind of figured that would be the case.
What would you recommend for a good starter gun that would be fun to shoot and rather inexpensive to shoot a lot of rounds at the range?
A good all around gun is the Stoeger Cougar in 9mm. Stoeger Industries is a subsidiary of Beretta. The Stoeger Cougars are made in Turkey using the same machinery that Beretta used to make the original Cougars. It is every bit the quality of the Beretta. The Stoeger 8000 in 9mm is identical to the Beretta Cougar L Type P (Cougar L slide, lighter barrel and beveled slide, but with a full-length magazine). The Cougar is a great gun for the money. They are available in 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP.
The best advice I could give is go fire as many of the guns you are considering as you possibly can. Rent at the range or borrow from friends, if you can. It's difficult, at best, to try to make a decision solely based on reading literature, getting free advice on the internet or even handling pistols in a store. Being able to actually fire a gun is the best way to determine what feels best and shoots best for you. Everyone has a different opinion about which guns are the best. It will ultimately depend on your intended use of the gun, how it feels in your hand, amount you want to spend, etc.
For a multi-use handgun, it's really hard to beat a .357 revolver. I would recommend a 4" Barrel as a good compromise.
Good range toy.
Reasonably priced ammo if you go .38 special for plinking/practice.
User friendly for novices or people that don't see guns as a hobby. No extra levers or things to manipulate. IMHO, easier to learn to shoot well. Limp wristing , slide bite, & so forth, not an issue.
Adjustable power level for self defense. You can run full power .357 magnums or 38 special +P ammo as you see fit. Either are plenty for 2 legged vermin.
Concealable if your willing to work with it. Maybe not ideal, but workable.
In your Test & Evaluation stage, you might wish to look at Ruger GP100 or any of a number of different Smith & Wessons. I'm not going to recommend Taurus. It's a shame too, because they offer a number of nice looking revolvers. Quality is too hit or miss.
Great advice above. Shoot as many guns as you can before making a decision!!
Originally Posted by cougartex
FWIW, now my opinion...
If it comes down to 1 gun that's reliable, good quality, small enough to carry, shoots accurately, is of a defensive caliber, and is relatively inexpensive to shoot / practice with.... Then I would recommend looking at compact 9mm semi-automatics such as the Glock 19, the CZ 75B Compact, or perhaps a Colt Commander or similar format size made by other quality manufacturers. These "Compact" models have 3.5 to 4 inch barrells -- not quite full size (5"), not sub-compact -- yet a reasonable size for carry. Plus several guns in this category can hold up to 16 rounds in the magazine (depending on what's legal in your state). The Glock (or similar Glock format guns) are nice for carry because they don't have an external hammer, are relatively smooth (nothing to get caught on clothing or dig in your skin), and are generally a little lighter because of the poly frame.
Some may argue that 9mm is a small defensive round. That's true, but good shot placement with a 9mm hollow point will definitely do the job in a defensive situation. If you don't have good shot placement, the largest caliber in the world won't help you! Additionally, I think the 9mm is the most cost effective for practice (compared to .38, .357, .40, .45, etc...).
If your wife is a new shooter and you want to start her off slow and have an inexpensive plinking gun, then consider a .22LR caliber as a second gun. You can get one that is very similar (or nearly identical) in format and size to the 9mms noted above so you'll have a consistent feel from one gun to the next (except the recoil, of course). That will help with practice. Plus, .22s are very inexpensive to shoot.
By the way, this is exactly what I did. I'm a relatively new shooter. Started with a Glock 19 (a compact 9mm) and then got a Sig Mosquito (22LR). I'm happy with my selections.
Originally Posted by ronmail65
I had actually thought about starting my wife off with a .22 just for her to get used to shooting something and become comfortable with a gun. She's just starting to come around and I don't want to "scare her off" with something that she is uncomfortable with.
The 22 is good for a novice -- not quite as loud, and little to no recoil. Plus it's good for inexpensive practice (sight alignment and other fundamentals) when you don't want to bring out the higher caliber gun.
Originally Posted by Hoosier Hunter
By the way -- sorry for hammering you with such a long post. Your original post sounded a lot like me when I was looking, so I thought my experience would help you.
Being honest, at times I wonder if maybe I should have gone with a higher caliber pistol. But, the fact is, if I bought a 38 or a 45 ACP and I didn't have the 22 -- I would not shoot nearly as much as I do now. The ammo is just too expensive for me (that may not be an issue for you). And, like I said, if you have good shot placement (lots of practice) and good defensive ammo, then I think caliber is a little less critical. Good luck!
One of the best things you can do for your wife (my opinion of course) is have her check out corneredcat.com. It's a website that is by a woman, for women. It would be worth your time to check it out also. It helps women to see things through the eyes of an experienced woman shooter and it can help the guys see things from a womans perspective also which can help the guy to not dominate every aspect of guns and shooting. You don't want to turn her off to the whole thing. Many guys have. I read almost everything on the site and was glad I did. Maybe she can read some stuff over there that can help narrow down the types of guns she might want to look at. Good luck.
You can get a Springfield XD-9 for a little over $400, and I have found that nearly everyone finds them to be easy to shoot accurately. They have a high capacity magazine, and despite being a striker fired pistol, the trigger actually sweetens up very nicely at about 1000 rounds. My personal experience is with the XD45 and XD45 Compact, and both are good shooters, but might be a little much for your wife, until she has fired a few hundred rounds.
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