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  1. #1
    Andrew22490 is offline Junior Member
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    Looking to buy my first handgun.

    I can't decide on what caliber of gun I want to buy. I was leaning towards a .40 or .45, but then I think I should get something smaller for cheaper ammo since this will mainly be used for range shooting. So I guess what I want to get out of this is just a couple opinions from more experienced handgun users of what would be recommended for this type of use. I seem to be stuck on the Springfield XD's at the moment, but I don't want to make the wrong choice and just get a gun without doing research. I know little to nothing about handguns, so any advice, opinions, or anything will help.

    I just joined this site, so sorry ahead of time if something like this has already been posted. I haven't had much of a chance to browse around in here yet, but I will soon! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Geezer Squid is offline Junior Member
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    Get some safety training immediately. Check at the local gun shops and ranges. They will have some recommendations for you as to local trainers. Then go to a range that rents guns and shoot everything they have. Then find a different range and do the same thing. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Gimme3Steps is offline Junior Member
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    Agreed with the above post, perhaps some safety classes are a good idea. Especially a good idea if you've never really been around guns before. Also a good idea to check out ranges and renting a couple guns to try them out.

    My personal opinion, as a gun to just go to the range and shoot (as well as being plenty for protection), I say try a 9mm. Ammo is significantly cheaper than other calibers and also very easy to find, and recoil is low and manageable. However as far as recoil goes, I've found that going up to a .40 caliber is not that big of a difference. Granted ammo increases 6-7 dollars more per box (from my limited knowledge). I'm sure online you can find ammo at better rates and all of that.

    Take your time deciding though! Good luck!

  4. #4
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Use the forum's "search" function to find all of the similar stuff that has been asked and answered already.

  5. #5
    C1
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    I would recommend a first handgun to be chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The ammo is inexpensive and with the low recoil you can concentrate on proper form without worrying about the recoil. For a .22LR semi-auto, it is hard to beat a Ruger Mark II/Mark III or Browning Buckmark. For a .22LR revolver, it is hard to beat a Ruger. Seek proper training. Look to see if the NRA Basic Pistol course is taught in your area.

  6. #6
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by C1 View Post
    I would recommend a first handgun to be chambered in .22 Long Rifle...
    ...And I disagree.

    A .22 is a poor choice because the only things it can help you learn, that are transferrable to your carry gun, are seeing the correct sight picture and trigger control.

    But you need to learn recoil management, which involves getting back onto your target quickly—or onto another target—at the same time that you manage both sight picture and trigger control. A .22 will actually impede your learning these necessary techniques, since there is almost no recoil to manage.

    Buy a full-size or medium-size carry pistol in the type and caliber you end up preferring, and learn to use that well. This requires lots and lots of practice, and also some professional instruction, which will smooth your path considerably.
    Do not try to learn to shoot a pocket-size pistol. That's a job for a shooter who already has a good amount of practical experience. Pocket-size pistols (3" barrel or shorter) are extremely difficult to shoot effectively.

  7. #7
    C1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    ...And I disagree.

    A .22 is a poor choice because the only things it can help you learn, that are transferrable to your carry gun, are seeing the correct sight picture and trigger control.

    But you need to learn recoil management, which involves getting back onto your target quickly—or onto another target—at the same time that you manage both sight picture and trigger control. A .22 will actually impede your learning these necessary techniques, since there is almost no recoil to manage.
    I have witnessed many people who had poor habits because of starting off with a centerfire. IMO, the .22LR is the best cartridge to learn the fundamentals, and I know most certified instructors would agree. You still do follow through no matter what caliber you are shooting. If they take a course from a certified instructor, they will be taught the proper form and techniques.

  8. #8
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by C1 View Post
    I have witnessed many people who had poor habits because of starting off with a centerfire...
    People develop poor shooting habits using the .22, also.
    The cartridge one uses does not cause the problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by C1 View Post
    IMO, the .22LR is the best cartridge to learn the fundamentals, and I know most certified instructors would agree...
    That is a big surprise to me.
    IMHO, it is only NRA-style target shooters who are taught to begin with the .22 RF. Most self-defense instructors of whom I'm aware will require the student to learn with the gun he'll be carrying.
    Could you please name a few of these instructors who teach self-defense shooting using the .22 RF?

  9. #9
    manta's Avatar
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    If you are looking for something mainly for the range i would go for .22 to start with. It has the advantage of having low recoil and cheap shooting, and then go to 9mm. The .45 and .40 have no advantage over the 9mm on the range but the ammo is dearer.

  10. #10
    kg333's Avatar
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    The answer to your question, OP, depends heavily on what you mean by "mainly for the range". If you don't intend to use it for anything else, a .22 will be the cheapest by far, and a great deal of competitive shooting is done with .22 handguns. However if "mainly" means something else, a .22 is wildly inappropriate for concealed carry, home defense, or even a nightstand gun.

    So I'll back up Steve on this one, go with a carry size weapon to learn to properly manage recoil. Personally, I would recommend the 9mm Para. Ammo is reasonably priced, which will encourage you to practice relative to a .40 or .45. Recoil will be easier to handle in this caliber as well.

    Going to the range and renting a few weapons as mentioned already is highly recommended. A handgun is a highly personal weapon, and renting will help you get an idea of what feels right in your hand. For example, I had my heart set on getting a Glock, but after shooting a friend's, concluded I didn't care for it (felt like holding onto a brick). No one on the internet will be able to tell you what will be right for you.

    KG

  11. #11
    C1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    People develop poor shooting habits using the .22, also.
    The cartridge one uses does not cause the problem.



    That is a big surprise to me.
    IMHO, it is only NRA-style target shooters who are taught to begin with the .22 RF. Most self-defense instructors of whom I'm aware will require the student to learn with the gun he'll be carrying.
    Could you please name a few of these instructors who teach self-defense shooting using the .22 RF?
    People who develop bad habits with a .22LR learn them due to not seeking out proper instruction. There are a lot of people who consider themselves to be a good shooter and knowledgeable, but their fundamentals are lacking. A lot of the military and LE do not have the best form because they have never been taught the fundamentals. When they are taught the fundamentals, they ask why this was never done at their military or LE training. For most new shooters, they would be better off starting off with a .22LR as they are not use to recoil or the muzzle blast. They can focus on the fundamentals, form and firearm safety without any apprehension about recoil or muzzle blast. I would not recommend a Harley, street or dirt bike for anyone who has never ridden a bicycle.

    A certified instructor will not recommend a .22LR for personal defense or for use in a personal defense course. However, they will recommend a .22LR for learning and practicing the fundamentals. The instructors themselves will use a .22LR for practicing their fundamentals. The OP had a question regarding a first handgun for shooting at the range. I personally know dozens of certified instructors on a first name basis, and each of them has at least one .22LR handgun. Most if not all have multiple handguns in .22LR. Each of them would also recommend a .22LR as a first handgun. For those students who have a centerfire but not a .22LR, they most likely will suggest getting a .22LR or a .22LR conversion kit. Most people can't afford to shoot thousands of rounds per month using a centerfire. The cost of a .22LR will be recouped in ammo savings.

  12. #12
    C1
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    Quote Originally Posted by kg333 View Post
    The answer to your question, OP, depends heavily on what you mean by "mainly for the range". If you don't intend to use it for anything else, a .22 will be the cheapest by far, and a great deal of competitive shooting is done with .22 handguns. However if "mainly" means something else, a .22 is wildly inappropriate for concealed carry, home defense, or even a nightstand gun.

    So I'll back up Steve on this one, go with a carry size weapon to learn to properly manage recoil. Personally, I would recommend the 9mm Para. Ammo is reasonably priced, which will encourage you to practice relative to a .40 or .45. Recoil will be easier to handle in this caliber as well.

    Going to the range and renting a few weapons as mentioned already is highly recommended. A handgun is a highly personal weapon, and renting will help you get an idea of what feels right in your hand. For example, I had my heart set on getting a Glock, but after shooting a friend's, concluded I didn't care for it (felt like holding onto a brick). No one on the internet will be able to tell you what will be right for you.

    KG
    If a new shooter starts out with a .22LR, the ammo savings will pay for the cost of a second handgun in the future. At that time, the new shooter has more experience and knowledge as to what they want in a centerfire handgun. I don't know of any new shooter who started out with a .22LR that wished they had started out with a centerfire. I have witnessed buyers remorse for many people who started out with a centerfire and wish they had started out with a .22LR.

  13. #13
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    C1;
    Yeah. You're right—I read the OP's post too quickly. He does say "for the range," and I missed that.
    In that case, I agree with you that a .22 is the better choice.

  14. #14
    Andrew22490 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for the responses! That all helps a lot! I was stuck on with the bigger caliber, but it really wouldn't make sense me to get anything bigger than a 9mm. I never knew you could just go to a range and just rent a gun either, but I have found out that there are actually a few by me. I also found a handgun safety course that I have enrolled in. And kg333, I should have left "mainly" out of my original post. I don't think I will use it outside of a range. Thanks for answering that both ways though.

  15. #15
    WINGFAN is offline Junior Member
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    I had the same problem. I came across a Colt Defender in a 9 mm and decided to go with it. The ammo is cheaper & I already had a 45. There is a good article in American Handgunner September / October magazine issue. It explains the differences on defensive ammo. At my age I prefer the 9mm. I own an XD 9mm SC. It is the easiest to clean and has proven to easily conceal and take down. I also have a Sig P238 for my back up & summer carry. The best option is what you can control best, I found that too small of pistol usually equals more recoil and less comfort. Much depends on your hand size. I keep going back to my Xd, She is like my wife of 31 years always there for me. Anyone can tell you what they shoot but what really matters is what points naturally in your hands. Pistols are like cars, they may all look good but sit in them some fit better than others. Hope this helps, happy hunting, by the way half the fun is the hunting. Go to gun directory .com they have some good reviews and pictures. too

  16. #16
    aarondhgraham is offline Member
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    Bottom line could be money,,,

    You gentlemen can argue .22 versus centerfire until the world ends,,,
    Neither of you will change the other's mind in our lifetime,,,
    So how about we bring practicality into play.

    One thing is an indisputable fact,,,
    You can not learn to shoot without actually shooting.

    So the question is,,,
    Can you afford lots of centerfire ammunition?

    If you can afford 2-3 boxes (or more) of centerfire ammo each week,,,
    Get yourself a quality centerfire pistol and go have at it,,,
    With instruction, you will do just fine.

    If you can't afford that much money for ammo,,,
    Then why buy a handgun that needs it.

    If you can't afford to feed the gun,,,
    You can't learn to shoot the gun.


    I'm not a rich man,,,
    I shoot 2-3 times a week,,,
    I shoot a lot of .22 ammunition and some centerfire.

    I go to the range at least twice a week and sometimes 3 times,,,
    The pistols I take mostly are my CZ-75B in 9mm,,,
    And my CZ-75B Kadet in .22 LR.

    I will usually shoot 50 rounds of .22 LR,,,
    Then 10 rounds of 9mm ammo,,,
    Lather, rinse, repeat 5 times.

    That gives me lots of trigger time,,,
    With identical platform pistols.

    Now to those who say that one does not translate to the other,,,
    I say you are not buying the correct pistols,,,
    Buy pairs of pistols in .22/centerfire.

    CZ-75B Kadet in .22 and CZ-75B in 9mm
    Bersa Thunder 22 and a Bersa Thunder 380,,,
    Beretta Model 87 in .22 and Model 85 in .380,,,
    S&W Model 18 in .22 and Model 15 in .38 Special,,,
    In mouse guns try the Taurus 22-PLY and the .25-PLY.

    There are also the 3 very fine Sig-Sauer Classic-22 pistols,,,
    Buy the .22 pistol and the X-Change adapter to make it a 9mm, .40 S&W, or a .45 ACP.

    One other on the market now is the EAA Witness 9mm/.22 LR combo,,,
    Get it from Buds Gun Shop for only $480.00,,,
    My friend bought one and it is very nice,,,
    Over 1,500 rounds of .22 LR ammo,,,
    Over 250 rounds of 9mm ammo,,,
    No failures yet.

    Anyways, I am a proponent of learning to shoot with a .22 pistol,,,
    They are inexpensive and so is the ammunition for them,,,
    Learn the basics without the restraint of cost.

    Hello C1, you said,,,
    Could you please name a few of these instructors who teach self-defense shooting using the .22 RF?
    Tom Smith at Stillwater Armory,,,
    NRA Certified Instructor,,,
    CLEET certified.

    Tom is a proponent of starting with a .22 for the same reasons I am,,,
    He and I have both experienced too many people buying nice centerfire handguns,,,
    And never practicing with them because of that pesky reason of not having enough cash for ammo.

    Tom recommends one of the Sig-Sauer Classic 22 pistols and later on an X-Change kit,,,
    My personal favorite is the CZ-75B Kadet and the CZ-75B in 9mm,,,
    Another viable option is the Bersa Thunder 22 & Thunder 380.

    I am not an NRA certified instructor but I teach a lot of people to shoot,,,
    The .22 is the perfect affordable platform for that purpose.

    Just my not-so-humble opinion

    Aarond

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