View Poll Results: Which Handgun?

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  • Sig Sauer P239

    8 20.00%
  • Beretta PX4

    8 20.00%
  • Glock 17

    5 12.50%
  • Other

    19 47.50%
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  1. #1
    2ndAmendMan is offline Junior Member
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    Question First Handgun Purchase - Best gun for small hands

    I just completed a 3 hours Introduction to Handguns course from my local range. I shot 50 rounds with a Sig Sauer P229. I am going to try some other guns before I purchase, but the range doesn't have the guns I'd like to try.

    The problem I had was that, when I de-cocked the gun, I had to change my grip to get my finger in the right position on the trigger since it was in DA mode. After the initial shot, and back to SA, I would again shift back the "comfortable" position for the remainder of the rounds. Also, the mag release button was difficult to reach. Also, I found my hands getting sweaty, and my grip just wasn't holding. Sites were nice, and the recoil was minimal. Pulling back the slide, and engaging the slide lock was pretty hard, but that's just something that I think I need to get used to. Snapping the slide was easy

    So, the problem seems to be that the gun is just too big. I think I need a single stack magazine, or a thinner grip. Anyway, I was looking to use this as a home defense backup to a Mossberg 500, but more likely will use it for shooting paper at the range...

    Here is what I am comparing. I like the de-cock on the Sig. Does the fact that the Glock has a trigger safety bother anyone? Also, I'm not using this as a CCW, so size is really just what fits my small hands best, so my recovery is more controlled after my first shot, and I don't have to reach for the controls. Also, the Sig was heavier than I expected (probably because of the double-stack mag)...

    Sig Sauer P239
    Beretta PX4
    Glock 17
    Your suggestion!

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
    -----
    Sic Vis Pacem Parabellum!

    Matt

  2. #2
    denner's Avatar
    denner is offline Senior Member
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    If I were you I'd give the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact a close look. Very nice grip for a double stack 15 round magazine and a great CCW, home defense and range gun, and very light also. My hands are on the smaller side and I use the medium backstrap. I alternate between the subcompact and compact for carry, the compact has the thinner grip of the two, but I don't have a problem with either.

  3. #3
    cclaxton's Avatar
    cclaxton is offline Member
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    I have shot the Beretta PX4 and the Glock 17, and dry fired the 239, but not shot it. (I have shot the 226)
    I voted Other: I would look at the Bersa 9mm UltraCompact (although not really a micro gun), or the Walther PPS or other guns with adjustable backstraps.

    One important thing you need to decide first is whether you want a DA/SA gun (with a hammer and usuallly a decocker/safety), or do you want a striker fired gun (no hammer and may have decocker), or a SA only gun (like the 1911's) or a DAO gun. This is a personal preference and will make a big difference in how you practice shooting at the range and whether you will like operating the weapon. Talk to your instructor or gun experts about your options. Once you make that decision, then that allows you to focus on the options.

    My own preference is for DA/SA guns with hammers and decockers and sometimes a thumb safety(depends on the gun). The reason I like decockers is that I can safely decock the gun if there is a round in it and I can always pull the trigger and the gun will fire if there is a round in it. On a 1911 SA only, once the gun is cocked, there is no safe way to decock it (you must eject the round). Also, the SA only guns MUST be cocked in order to fire the round in the chamber (you can't just pull the trigger), or the action must be used to load a round (automatically cocking the trigger). I don't care for some striker-fired guns because I can't dry-fire the gun without pulling the action back each time. And, I have found dry-fire exercise is really helpful to build up muscles and muscle memory for more consistent shooting. There are also DAO guns with internal hammers that DO allow you to pull the trigger and an internal hammer will fall forward every time. These guns have consistent trigger weight for every time. DAO hammer-fired guns have a long, heavier pull for each time, and can be used for dry fire exercises. Please see Trigger (firearms) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and look at Relative Merits for a better description than mine.

    Then, you need to think about whether it will be a concealed carry firearm or for home/range use. For concealed carry, you will want as small a gun as you can get. For home/range use, you can get as large a gun as you find comfortable. I carry a Bersa Thunder380CC for concealed because it is as small DA/SA gun that I can easily carry in my wasteband or cargo pocket. I also have a S&W Bodyguard 380 that is even smaller but it has considerable recoil and hurts the back of my hand. (That may not be true for you because every hand is different.) For a small 9mm for CC, look at the Kahr micro series or the Ruger LC9 or the Walther PPS or the Bersa 9mm UC. IMHO, the Glocks and the Sig's are just too large for most people for CC, although the 250 is the smallest of the bunch and concealable if you can carry a larger gun. Take a look at the Kel-Tec PF-9 and PF-11 9mm's and 380's as well...very light CC and reliable. For CC, a lot of people use the Kahr 9mm series (CW9, PM9, K9, etc).

    The PX4 is a great handgun, is VERY accurate and has adjustable backstraps and comes in three sizes. I personally think they are little too large for CC for the average person, though. The Sig's are always great guns: accurate, reliable, but heavy and harder to carry. If you are looking for a range/home gun, take a look at CzP01/2075P/P07. These have great triggers and very accurate, too.

    If I had to do it over again, I would get a Cz SP01 Phantom as my range/home gun for practice, and a Kahr 9mm with safety for 9mm CC and the Bersa 380CC for smaller concealment when needed.

  4. #4
    C1
    C1 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cclaxton View Post

    On a 1911 SA only, once the gun is cocked, there is no safe way to decock it (you must eject the round).
    This is because a SA pistol should not have a round in the chamber with the hammer down. Most SA 1911 models do not have the proper safety mechanisms to safely have a round in the chamber with the hammer uncocked. With a SA the chamber is empty or it is cocked and locked.

  5. #5
    2ndAmendMan is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Thanks

    Thanks for your inputs so far. I want to emphasize, this is NOT a CC weapon, so that is not really a factor. I do not shoot for a living, but I am interested in getting started in handguns as a hobby, and as somewhat a patriotic obligation. I admire guns for their mechanical beauty, as much as anything. With that said, I narrowed down to a 9mm almost immediately. Anything bigger is for later. I'm not trying to be Dirty Harry here. I just want to protect my family if need be.

    I also ruled out DA only guns. I do not want to have to put that much pressure on the trigger each time I shoot, and I want to practice about once or twice a month. Also, in a stressful situation, I may not have the strength to pull the trigger. So I ruled out revolvers. Although simple to operate, they just don't appeal to me.

    My dilemma (besides having small hands), is that I like the ability to de-cock the gun. If I need to keep it in a night stand, the extra safety seems psychologically appealing. However, once again, in a high stress situation, that extra pull needed for that first round may be strange, as the next pull will be in SA mode. Seems like the same pull pressure needed for each round should be the same in order to be most accurate. I guess I could always snap the slide back to put it in back in SA mode...

    The Glock is what is being pushed on me the most. I'm just not sure I'm comfortable at this point to have no ability to de-cock the gun once the first round is chambered (please correct me here if I am wrong). Also, the safety on the trigger seems, well, weird. If your finger has already entered the trigger guard, you're ready to fire anyway. What good is the safety at that point? Also, the Glock is advertised as a "DAO only" gun. I know that's not right, but it confuses me.

    I like the Beretta because it still has a manual safety, but I wonder if that would be an issue under stressful conditions. It seems to have an adjustable backstrap as well.

    The Sig just seemed a little clunky and heavy...although I did hit 50 out of 50 at 15 feet (9" target areas) with some nice groupings. I'm still finding it difficult to fire with both eyes open. My biggest problem was that my trigger finger was just a bit too short when it was de-cocked, which made a smooth pull nearly impossible. Once in SA mode, the travel was fine, and I could use the pad on my finger to squeeze out the rounds.

    The Walther P99 looks pretty good as well. I think the PPS is too small. I dry fired a sub compact (Glock 15?), and it just didn't feel right.

    I just think there has to be something lighter and smaller (width-wise), without looking like your shooting a water pistol...

  6. #6
    Doug B.'s Avatar
    Doug B. is offline Junior Member
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    Keep in mind that there is a "comfort factor" with most anything you buy. You don't just jump in a new automobile and know every little idiosyncrasy. It takes time. Even a brand new pair of blue jeans or shoes don't feel quite right when you first slip them on. The same goes with a new handgun. I found my Beretta PX4 was really comfortable in my small hands, even the full size type f. When this gun was first handed to me, I sensed immediately this was the gun that was going to follow me home, and it did after handling many potential candidates. You might find that it takes several range trips to get the "comfort factor" working for you, and especially if this is your first sidearm purchase. I handled it a lot at home unloaded as well which more than likely did more for me than the range as far as becoming acquainted. I am now am very "comfortable" with mine, keeping safety first. In fact the safety features of my Beretta were again another factor that influenced my purchase.

    Oh, BTW......did I say I really like my PX4? I made the right purchase with this 9mm Luger.

  7. #7
    droptrd is offline Junior Member
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    I recently made my 1st handgun purchase. The de-cock feature was the deciding feature for my 1st purchase. As this is my 1st handgun, extra safety feature were a plus for me.

  8. #8
    C1
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    Seek proper, professional training. The best safety is the grey matter between your two ears, training and practicing those proper methods.

    If your finger is not long enough when the firearm is uncocked, I would not consider it as an option. Make sure you are not manipulating your grip for your finger to reach the trigger. The trigger finger and thumb of the strong hand should be parallel with a semi-auto grip. The beaver tail and backstrap should be in the web of the strong hand. Watch this clip by Todd Jarrett.
    YouTube - ‪Todd Jarrett on pistol shooting.‬‏

    You are not a revolver fan, but a Ruger SP 101 may be a good option for you. The Ruger SP 101 has a smaller grip and and shorter distance from backstrap to trigger than a lot of handguns. For the Ruger SP 101, I like the 3" barrel in .357 Mag the best (5 shot). I do not suggest a barrel smaller than 3" for a new shooter and would suggest 4" to 5" barrels.

  9. #9
    C1
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    Quote Originally Posted by droptrd View Post
    I recently made my 1st handgun purchase. The de-cock feature was the deciding feature for my 1st purchase. As this is my 1st handgun, extra safety feature were a plus for me.
    Never trust a safety, as they can fail. There have been instances where using a decock feature has actually fired the round in the chamber. Make sure the firearm is pointed in a safe direction at all times.

  10. #10
    Tubbs's Avatar
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    If size is not a big deal for you I suggest looking into the Heckler & Kock USP. They come in 9mm .40cal and .45 I have shot the .45 with some law enforcement and that is the only one they choose.

  11. #11
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndAmendMan View Post
    Thanks for your inputs so far. I want to emphasize, this is NOT a CC weapon, so that is not really a factor. :
    Because you can carry a pistol concealed doesn't mean it doesn't fit all the criteria you've mentioned. To me, a smaller pistol that shoots as well as a larger is a winner in my book. Have you tried a 1911 style pistol? They for the most part have thin grips. Hope you find perfect gun Grasshopper.

  12. #12
    jakeleinen1 is offline Member
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    I'm very biased towards the GLock 17 owning one myself BUT

    I cant do it, and you should honestly go with the Beretta Px4 will be far more ergonomic and better for a person with small hands...

  13. #13
    rgrundy's Avatar
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    The 239 is a good pistol. I carried one for years. You won't be unhappy you bought one. As far as the Glock trigger system goes it's a safe system. Most of the stock Glocks have a 5 pound trigger so it's not that easy to fire. Also when you aquire any training you learn to keep your finger off the trigger and along the frame as you draw (so you don't shoot yourself in the leg) and keep it in the same position until you are ready to fire so you don't inadvertently shoot something you shouldn't have. You can get a 22 LR conversion for the Glock so you can practice and develop the skills to gunfight so you can use it for home defense. My Glock 35 has a 2.5 pound trigger and I've never had any problems with it firing unless I wanted it to and I shoot under some stress in competition.

  14. #14
    samurai is offline Junior Member
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    I would look a the S&W M&P9fs or 9c. They have interchangeable back straps to help fit your grip and a safety if you want that option. I have both and my wife has no problems shooting either one.

  15. #15
    2ndAmendMan is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Thanks for all the input

    I have read all of your suggestions, and have narrowed it down somewhat. Unfortunately, many of the excellent suggestions I just cannot get a hold of to fire. I've been through the Glock Family (G23 .40,G34 .40, G19 9mm), and the Glock 17 is the best one for me.
    I can get really good groupings at 15 ft (yeah, I know that's not far, but I'm starting out). Recovery (resetting?) is still an issue, so I'll speak to my instructor about that.

    Next time (this stuff costs $$!) I'm trying:

    Beretta PX4 Full Size 9mm
    Springfield 1911 .40
    H&K ?
    any other 9mm

    They don't have Bersa, Taurus, Cz, Kahr, etc., and I don't know how I feel about buying a gun I've never fired before. Seems wiser to buy a gun that is easy to disassemble, clean, and have a local expert around. Glock seems to have that. There are a few Glock Armourists at the range.

    Question:

    On the PX4, do you pull the hammer back, or do you pull the slide back to cock the gun? Is that an ignorant question? If you have to pull the hammer back, that could once again be a hand issue. I've gotten pretty used to sling-shotting the slide once I put the magazine in. It doesn't change my grip at all, so I'm ready to just reach up with my weak hand. I feel like I might be fumbling around if I have to position both my hands at the same time because I had to shift my grip to cock the gun.

    Any more handling info about the PX4 would be appreciated. How do you carry it (safety on, magazine in, round in chamber and de-cocked?) How would you store it in a bedstand for easy access? I was thinking the gun with the magazine not in it....Seems like the sound of pushing in a magazine, then sling-shotting the slide might be intimidating...

    Also, instruction and correction welcome!!!!

    Thanks. You guys are awesome!

  16. #16
    rgrundy's Avatar
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    On any pistol like the PX4 with a decocker/safety lever on the back of the slide "slingshotting the slide" may get you into trouble in a gunfight. You may push the lever down which decocks the pistol as the slide goes home and it won't go bang. The PX4 is a DA for the first shot so you just pull the trigger to fire the first shot if the chamber is loaded. The Glock is good and simple. It has lots of aftermarket goodies too like match barrels and triggers. It's not a bad place to start.

  17. #17
    2ndAmendMan is offline Junior Member
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    Smile

    "The PX4 is a DA for the first shot so you just pull the trigger to fire the first shot if the chamber is loaded."

    Ok, thanks. I shot a PX4 .40 today. 10 rounds and I was done. Didn't feel right at all. Too heavy, and the recoil was too much for me. The safety/decocking mechanism is too complicated. I actually got a round stuck in the chamber, and it took some time to free it. Also, I'm not into the hammer. It distracts me, as I tend to look at the firing pin to see if the damn safety is on. Blah....

    I switch to a CZ 75. WAY too heavy, and very clunky. Inelegant, in my opinion.

    Then I tried the Springfield XD 9mm, and I was sold! First the siting is awesome. Easy to place the red dotted front site on your target and squeeze... Smooth action, easy pull on the trigger, long enough barrel to forgive lousy aiming, and "hammerless". Average recoil, but I could squeeze the gun better to recover much faster for my next shot. Easy to operate, good balance, nice and light. Finger pad easily on the trigger even in DA mode. DA mode pull is smooth, SA smoother. I think that is the one. 15 ft, made consistent awesome groupings. 30 ft ehh, not so much. Better with the Glock 17 at that range, but it just may have been the day. I'll have to try again.

    I'm going to compare the Glock 17 with the Springfield XD to make my final choice.

    Next, I'll be shopping for a .22 pistol for range shooting as well. I've heard Browning is the way to go...

    Anyone own a Springfield XD? Assembly/Disassembly? Cleaning? Thanks for your input!

  18. #18
    tk421991 is offline Junior Member
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    Nagant M1895. They have 20lb pull weights. And a nice one is $150. But, I'm a sadist .

  19. #19
    JakeBenson is offline Junior Member
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    I am also in the market for my first hand gun. I have fired hand guns in the past but never owned one. My interest is home defense and shooting as a hobby. My wife is interested as well. I originally narrowed my search down to the Beretta px4 9mm, thinking of buying both the standard version and sub compact. The sub compact would be for concealed carry. My problem is that as the other post indicated, I have small hands. I have not fired the Beretta, but held it in the store. I was quite disappointed. The px4 standard size grip was too big around for my hand. I understand there is backstrap options for this gun. Would that make the grip narrower? Also, I could not reach the safety with my thumb or forefinger. To take the safety off, I had to hold the gun with one hand and release the safety with the other.

    I considered the Glock, but in holding it I found the same problem. Too thick for comfort. Also, I understand the Glock has no external safety. If the trigger is inadverately pulled, the guns shoots. I was thinking I wanted a gun with the external safety as my wife can be quite accident prone at times. Also, what is the difference in the different type Berettas? Type f, type this, type that. I know I am a raw rookie here with these questions. The guy in the gun store was about as helpful as a rock. What I am looking for is a quality 9mm that is tailored for small hands.

  20. #20
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    The Glock trigger is the safety. There's a tab on it that has to be depressed in order for the trigger to operate. There is also an internal safety dealing with the firing pin.

    Accident prone and guns generally don't mix. Not saying your wife shouldn't have a gun, just that when handling a gun, more attention to detail is required regardless of the safeties on the gun. You could have 5 safeties and if you're not paying attention to what you are doing you can have a negligent discharge. It's a focus thing, not an accident thing. I'm sure the importance can be conveyed to an individual who may seem accident prone. If it cannot, then they probably shouldn't have a gun. No offense intended.

    External safeties can be a comfort, but that's all they are. Follow the 4 rules of firearms handling and you won't have a problem.

    1. Always treat firearms as if they are loaded
    2. Never let the muzzle point at anything you do not want to destroy.
    3. Keep fingers off the trigger
    4. Be sure of your target and of what is beyond it

    Safeties are mechanical devices and they can fail, so don't count on them in lieu of the rules.

    As far as larger pistols, unless you have freakishly small hands, even the Glock can be managed with smaller hands. I don't have big bear paws by any means and can manage recoil of Glocks and HK's, which are just as large. It's all about technique. That being said, it is important to find a quality gun that "fits" you. Shooting a gun that doesn't fit you will mean you probably don't shoot it often enough to become proficient with it.

    Oh, and gun store employees are like hay in a needle stack. You'll get poked by a bunch of pricks a bunch to find one nice piece of hay.

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