Advice on first ever gun for personal protection
Hello everyone. I am interested in a handgun for personal protection. That is my main goal here. I also want to enjoy shooting it but mainly want it for that moment you hope you never have to use it for. I am not concerned with name brand, or how pretty it is, or impressing anyone, etc. I want a simple tool that does a simple job....which is to save your life if you were force to do so as your only way out of a bad situation. Yes I do want to enjoy shooting it and practicing at the range, but no plans to enter a shooting competition or anything like that.
I realize that there are issues in owning and carrying a gun. One would be.....can I deal with the consequences if I ever did have to defend myself with it? I want a gun that I can hide on my person and carry concealed with normal everyday cloths such as jeans, polo shirts, t-shirts, Dickies work pants, etc. My cousin for example has this pocket holster for a Taurus 85 .38 pistol. Then there is the debate on which load to carry.....38, 9mm, .40, .45, .357, etc. My view (being a newbie) is that I want a round that will "do the job" without having to fire an entire clip to save your life. LOL Do I want semi-auto or revolver? I do not know. I like the simplicity of a revolver but the capacity of a semi-auto. I also want value for money, quality at a good price. It does not have to be the best. I am fine with the "underdog" of guns....if it is a good value. Why pay $1000 for a gun if a $250 will fit my needs? Thank you for the help and advice.
I haven't been a member too terribly long, however, I'd suggest you do an archive search concerning you're questions, it's all in here somewhere and has been posted upon in great detail. Great advice by the moderators and members with all you need to know.
Last edited by denner; 02-03-2012 at 11:03 PM.
The first thing to realize is that if you can't shoot well you probably can't defend yourself with a handgun. The second is that most shootings with handgun rounds don't kill so you may need a whole magazine to get the perp stopped. You'll need a gun that will stand up to the amount of shooting you'll need to do to become proficient enough to protect yourself and usually people that need to shoot someone in self defense or to protect someone else's life don't feel too bad about it afterwards. The Taurus handguns have a spotty reputation for quality. I've had some that were wonderful and some that were terrible. The Ruger SP-101 is a reliable weapon and from what I've seen will last indefinitely.
I have shot the SP101 and I liked it. I plan on taking classes provided by the local gun shot and get training and not go into this with no education.
I am not a big fan of revolvers for concealed carry because of their thickness and difficulty of carrying and loading ammo. You said "personal Protection" so I assume you will want to carry it. So, you should be looking for a compact semi-auto. I recommend under 6.5" long, under 25oz, and under 1.2" wide for IWB comfort and optimal concealment. I like 9mm because I can carry more rounds in the magazine and the ammo is at least 30% cheaper. And, if you plan to get good at shooting, you will need to practice a lot.
That still gives you a ton of options to consider. Then next thing to think about is operation of the gun:
1) DA/SA with safety or decocker or both,
2) Striker-fired with or without manual safety,
3) Grip safety or not?, Trigger Safety or not?
4) Type of trigger: Long, even DAO or SA-only with manual safety
I think operation comes down to three types:
DA/SA running decocked or manual safety;
Striker fired with grip and/or trigger safeties;
SA-only carrying cocked and locked.
The heaviness or lightness of the trigger and the feel of the trigger enters here...lots of difference...you want to find a good trigger you like.
Then comes how many rounds. I think the minimum is 7+1, but I prefer at least 10+1.
Then its a matter of which grip feels right to you and personal preference.
I would go to a gun range that rents and try out a bunch of guns to see what you like to hold and shot and pay attention to how you want to operate the gun: DA/SA, Striker, Cocked and Locked. Then, you will have a good idea of the models you should consider for purchase.
I think you will find the following models will be in your list:
Smith and Wesson M&P Compact;
Ruger LCP 9mm;
Cz 2075 RAMI;
SigSauer P250 or 2022;
Taurus Millenium Pro or 709B;
Bersa UC or BP CC 9;
Kahr PM9 or CW9 or CM9;
STI makes a couple of good guns, as well.
I carry a Kahr PM9 and a Cz 2075 RAMI. But I am getting ready to switch almost entirely to the RAMI because of the long trigger pull on the Kahr...I suck when I shoot it fast.
You may want a full-sized gun as well...plenty of options there too. I think you can't go wrong with S&W, Cz, Glock, or XD. Sigs are good to but notoriously heavy and thick and harder to carry.
I realize that this is similar to the Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge debates. Here is what I know, my gunsmith cousin is a huge fan of the 1911. His brand of choice is Springfield Armory. Now I love his 1911 to shoot, but that is about it. It only holds 7 rounds and it is fullsize so way to big to carry concealed and be comfy. I love the feel of it, the short trigger pull, and how it looks. I also shot his 4 inch barrel XD in .45acp. I liked it but again to big to carry and it was very heavy with the 10 round clip in it. My cousin is the "bigger is better" guy. He is the .45acp guy....he believes in the "knock down power" and "one shot one kill" way of thinking. There my gun knowledge is coming from him and is one sided in a way.
I spoke with a local cop in Walmart while picking up RX meds and our local cops are carrying either S&W or Glock in .40 The cop told me that he preferred Glock to S&W....he said it was because how the Glock felt in his hand compared to the S&W. I want a gun that no one knows I have. I want it to not be seen. My cousin on the other hand has the permit but he carries in the open a lot. I do not want to make a person uncomfy by seeing a sidearm on my hip while pumping gas or buying a soda. I do not want the "bad guy" to know I have it on my person. If I buy something I plan to take classes and do things correctly and legal and safely. I am the type of guy who will believe facts, science, and balistics over a man telling me that a direct hit from a .45acp will knock a man down.
Now my step dad is ex-Navy and was part of Vietnam and was a diver back then. Now we do not talk much and I know from the past that he does not maintain his guns well and they few of his that I have tried have all failed in some way. Jams and simply failing to fire are the most common of his guns that I have shot, so I do not want his advice. One was a Larson (I think that is how it is spelt) .380. That guns was a pure POS. The other was a Walther PPK....and it would jam or go "click" and fail to fire.
I have a gunshop close by....it is called A&P Arms (Lynnhaven Shooting Range). That is where my cousin bought his fullsize XD. That is the only place in my area that I have been in. There are others around but have never been there. My goal with this gun is self defense, to practice with, and have fun. My cousin's views are that most attacks will happen within the 7 yard range, so therefor he says I should master the gun at that level at first and then expand to a greater distance. He says that if an attacker is more than 7 yards away....the attacker is not really a threat to harm you unless he has a firearm. Thank you guys for all the help.
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.
Hello again everyone. I am planning on going shooting with my cousin in a few days. He will be off from work for 4 days so we are gonna do something then. Now he is telling me to take a serious look at a Bersa Thunder .380. He says he really likes it for what it is. It is not the best gun in the world but it is cheap and will do the job. I am planning on looking and shooting in a few days....make a day of it. I have never heard of Bersa and because of that I am not sure if it is a quality gun.
I suggest you also try the Ruger SR9c. The recoil is very soft for a 9mm subcompact thanks to the dual recoil spring design. It's very accurate and with the 10rd mag, it's very easy to cc.
this is a good gun and one that i was going to suggest or one with the similar feature of different sized magazines with the sr9c you get a 10rd and a 17rd magazine. this is like 2 guns in 1. i think there is an xd like this too. I like carrying my full-sized 1911 but i must admit the ruger is more comfortable.
Originally Posted by Leo
good luck with your search
Nothing wrong with the Bersa pistols. I have two of them and they have ran well for me. I have a Thunder "Plus" and a standard Thunder .380. I have ran about 600 rounds thru the Plus with no issues, and around 250 thru the Thunder .380 without any issues.
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n
My uncle has a Bersa CC 380 and I am going to see if I can use it and try it when I go shooting with my cousin. My cousin and Uncle like it. I am also looking at the S&W Bodyguard 380. From Cheaperthandirt you are talking $50 or so in price difference from the Bersa to the S&W. Not knowing much about guns....other than reading and research....I feel that the S&W would be a better quality firearm. Would this be correct? I also must admit that I like the idea of buying a Made In USA firearm.....not sure why, I just like the idea.
I carry the Bodyguard, with a later serial #.....so far, so good.............the Ruger can be purchased for less, but I like the trigger on the Bodyguard better......I am a shirt tucker, and I really do not like holsters unless necessary, so this fit my habits better....carrying in the front pocket, with a Desantis holster....it definitely is not my first choice, nor my last, I may change the way I carry in the future....I looked into a Walther, but it was too heavy for front pocket carry....I also have a Beretta 84fs, and I love that gun, but too fat for carry, unless it was under a jacket.......I do like the round though, with the 84fs, super accurate...with the smaller guns like the Bodyguards and Rugers, not as accurate, of course......practice is needed, but these guns aren't used to shoot thousands of rounds through...take a bit of getting used to......if I had really large hands, I think I would probably go a different route...I don't know much about Bersa or Kahr, but it looks like a lot of people own them, and that Kahr looks like it might fit in a front pocket...may check them out in the future.....
P.S........Don't skimp when it comes to personal protection......
When I wear gloves I am a cross between a medium and large in size. Medium can be tight but large causes me to have loose finger tips. Does that help any as far as my hand/grip size?
Sounds like about my hand size.......the Bodyguard is a little small for me, but with the mag ext. it works....the Ruger too, for that matter...my 84fs fits my hand better than anything I have ever held or shot, and if I could carry it without someone noticing, I would in a minute...but you won't find one for a couple hundred anyway.....
1. Be concerned about name brand. Some manufacturers are known for having guns that have problems. While others are known for being very reliable, and in the case the gun does screw up for some reason a good named company will likely have a very good customer service. All about trust.
2. You get what you pay. Not saying every $250 gun is good and I am also not saying every $1000 gun is good. Do some research. While a $250 gun might be ok you need to see what other people have to say about what they experienced with it. if I can spend $250 more and get a better more reliable gun I will. My life and my family's life is worth it.
3. The odds of you ever having to reload is going to be very slim. If you want a revolver get a revolver. Alot of people carry a revolver for self defense. A typical self defense shooting won't be a gun fight. There are alot of stories where people have just pulled their shirt up or jacket back and the attacker saw the gun and just ran off.
I would check guns out from Glock, Ruger, S&W, and Springfield for great guns at a decent price. or you can spend alittle more and go with the Sig and Beretta. Personally, just from my experience I would tend to stay away from Taurus, Kahr, Bersa, Kel-tec, Hi-point.
Fair enuff and some good advice in the rest of his post. But in my concealed carry class the two 30-year police officers who taught our course both said don't dismiss a revolver as your concealed carry weapon. The Ruger LCR, for instance, weighs only 13 ounces. It shoots five .38 caliber bullets. That's only 4 oz. heavier than Ruger's smallest CCW semi-auto, the LCP, which shoots the auto's equivalent of .38 caliber. It holds 6 cartridges plus one in the chamber (i.e.) 7 compared to 5. But revolvers are much simpler to use. No manual safeties to override (esp. if you do want to keep one round chambered). No need to rack the weapon to load the chamber if not chambered. Revolvers cannot jam.
Originally Posted by cclaxton
This is purely my own, admittedly newbie opinion, but a CCW should be simple to operate, light in weight and unobtrusive. You're not going to be in an action movie-length fire fight. Nor do you need the knock down power of a hand cannon. A single well placed .38 will convince most perps that there are easier pickings elsewhere. In truth, you're more likely to use it against an attacking dog. In either case, quick access and response is more important, IMHO, than a belt of ammo.
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