What to Do? I Want One Hand Gun.
I shot lots of 22 rim fire, with my own rifle, as a kid. I qualified with a 1911 and M-14 many times in the service, though I never really carried one much. I would like to have one hand gun that can do all of the following:
Can be concealed carried (I am a chubby 6'2")
Would be effective for home defense. I know a shot gun or revolver is generally considered better for home defense.
Would be useful in an out of the house defense issue. Why I don't take the shotgun or revolver. I know that in a firefight lots of bullets in the magazine is useful.
Fun to go to range and put holes in paper with. Semiauto more fun at range than shotgun or revolver (Unless it's a Desert Eagle, which I can't afford to shoot)
I am thinking that a compact Glock or Springfield XD is where I wind up. 9mm or .40 cal.
While I was a better than average shot in the service, I think I should take a class. I would also like to find a place where I can shoot a variety of weapons and take a good hand gun class.
Anyone know a good place to try handguns and take a good class near Portland Oregon?
Wanting to "try before you buy" is a very good idea.
You may find that a compact pistol is very hard to shoot quickly, accurately, and well, and therefore may be a bad choice for self-defense.
I do not believe that one handgun would successfully fill all of your requirements. You will need to make several compromises.
• Although a full-size handgun will be somewhat difficult to conceal, if you are willing to compromise your pants and belt size, it can be done quite well.
• The most effective choice for home defense is probably a shotgun, but if you are willing to practice pistolcraft a lot, a full-size pistol will do quite well enough for this purpose.
• If you are indeed willing to practice your pistolcraft, to build and then maintain your skills, the "lots of bullets" issue isn't important. Accuracy trumps magazine capacity every time.
• If you also practice awareness and observation, and then avoidance, you may never be involved in a gunfight at all. That's a good thing.
• There is no need to choose among .38 Special, 9mm, .40, and .45: any one of them will do. Accuracy and bullet placement trumps ballistics every time.
• All guns are fun to shoot, if you set yourself reasonable, meaningful shooting tasks and useful goals. Every improvement and achievement increases your satisfaction and your fun.
Yes, by all means take a class. Take several classes. Never stop learning.
I do not think that one gun can fulfill all of your needs. My needs are varied. I have a 9 mm. Beretta PX4 and a Ruger SR22 for the range, a Glock 26 for a carry gun and two S&W revolvers for back country guns. If I were starting out today, I'd buy a .22 and go from there according to your needs.
Hello Smitty and welcome.
As has been stated there is no one gun that does everything however based on your criteria at least it can get narrowed down a bit.
First if you are considering a defensive type firearm that can be used outside the house then that eliminates a long gun. Yes long guns are great home defense guns but unless you are familiar with how to clear a house with a long gun a handgun makes it so much more simple.
I will echo a lot of what Steve said. Compact versions of handguns are easier to conceal but are more difficult to shoot. For a first time, one handgun situation, I would start with a mid to full size gun. They meet the criteria of "Big enough to fight with but small enough to conceal". Since you will have one gun for the time being you will want to have something that is accurate enough on the range, fits your hand, and is reliable. Generally the smaller compact guns have more problems with reliability than there full size brothers.
As Steve stated caliber does not matter at this point. A 9mm will do everything you wish it to do as long as you do your part and put the rounds where they need to go. It is cheaper to shoot than other calibers, less recoil, many choices in different handguns, and a high magazine capacity if that is important to you. I think you will find once you shoot, train and master shooting a 9mm you will be able to pick up whatever you want and shoot it well.
If you are going to carry after you take a class do not scrimp on a cheap holster or gunbelt it makes all the difference in the world. If the gun sits funny, is uncomfortable, does not conceal well you will simply not carry it but shop around for the right carry position for you and then the right holster.
As far as specific guns you named two good choices. I carry Glocks among others. The Glock 19 9mm fills the need for the things discussed. I would not go any smaller than a Model 19. I have never owned an XD so won't comment on those.
The newer Glocks have backstraps that can be changed out to adjust the size of the grip which is a good feature. I also recommend looking at the Smith and Wesson, M&P series of semi autos. They offer the different backstrap sizes, good triggers, they are accurate guns at a reasonable price. I own one of the full size .45's, a full size 9mm, the M&P .22 pistol and the Shield the smallest of the series.
Remember get the gun that fits you the one that you like. If the caliber is .40 instead of 9mm who cares if that is what you want and it feels best and shoots the best that is what you want. There are places that rent guns get online, ask more questions, look up the individual models you are interested in they go to the range and ask if they have those particular guns available for rent or whatever type gun you are looking for in a different caliber. Many models of guns are have the same frame size, sights, controls and so on but are just in a different caliber. An example would be Glock 19 9mm, Glock 23 .40 caliber. Same gun, same everything just a different caliber.
Good luck in your search. If you find something interesting ask about it, I am sure someone here has one or knows about them. Can't stress enough get what feels right to you.
Everyone already covered the main points and great advise.Something you also might do is hit some gun shows and go to several dealers.Hold and handle as many guns as you can and see what you feel fits your hand the way you like it.In 9mm and .40 you have many choices and you may not like what I like.As tacman said,many gun ranges rent guns to try.My local range has a deal where you pay $20 and can shoot as many of their guns as you like-and they have some nice guns.Its a bit expensive compared to some places that rent,but Ive actually ruled out a couple guns after renting and shooting them.And,honestly not trying to start a debate, I personally believe finding a gun you shoot and handle well is more important than what caliber you buy.Both the Glock and Springfield are both well proven and well loved by many,but there are many more choices.Try as many as you can.If you dont have the time at least pick up and handle your two choices. I personally have a Springfield XD 9mm service which served as my CC and home for a good while.
bassjam04. I did not even think of the gun show he could find quite a selection to fondle.
6' 2" and chubby (thats me) then get an M&P45c. You are going to practice enough that maximum capacity will not be necessary (8+1) . It will certainly perform Home Defense duty. I carry one 16 hours a day in a Galco Summer Comfort IWB and have for several years. It is fun to shoot holes in paper with especialy with SWC's. They make real big holes.
What's not to like.
PS: Galco doesn't list the 45c as fitting in their Summer Comfort but it does beautifuly. Get one for a full size 9/40.
Thanks for the feedback. I am surprised that everyone is "poopooing" magazine capacity. I am a retired naval officer and have always been interested in military history. Yes, shooting straight is critically important. But since the advent of cased ammunition, volume of fire to interfere with your opponents shooting has been critical. My understanding is that the military went from the 1911 to the 9mm Beretta as the standard side arm to give the troops more shots in the weapon before reloading. It's interesting that the modern hand gun community disagrees.
Well that is a whole different can of worms! I read this debate all the time and one thing that seems to come out of it-both sides think they are right. Haha.Many here are way more qualified than me to offer a educated opinion,but my take after 10 years or so of active shooting and training- If you plan on being active and shoot and train,Ill agree that a .45 ACP is a great choice.No denying its knock down power. If you plan on buying and sticking a gun in a closet and not shooting much(for whatever reason) I think higher capacity makes sense. Something to note-I am not military and am not law enforcement but have several friends in both(hopefully those guys can chime in) this subject comes up with us all the time. In the military I can see where a higher capacity makes perfect sense-possible multiple attackers. My friends in law enforcement have told me stories where in high stress situations even trained professionals have missed even at close range.(Again I have no first hand experience,but have heard this from trained law enforcement officers) I think perhaps it is alot to expect the average person with even decent training to be deadly accurate in a home invasion or high stress CC situation.For that reason I prefer the higher capacity.Secondly,I shoot my 9mm better and more accurately than any .45 Ive shot to date anyway.Im still hunting for the right .45 for me so that may change.But Im always trying to learn so Ill certainly listen to the pro's opinions in this.
Originally Posted by Smitty79
Just as a point of further information, I expect to shoot maybe 10 times a year. I will probably take multiple tactics classes. There is a local training program with several day long classes on weekends.
The disagreement is based upon the difference between dangers faced by the military, and dangers faced in civilian life.
Originally Posted by Smitty79
Civilians normally don't fight with squad-size or platoon-size groups of opponents.
Civilians are usually better trained in pistol marksmanship than are troops, so somewhat less ammunition is normally sufficient.
Civilians normally can't call for a chopper-full of ammunition for re-supply, so effective accuracy is a much greater issue than is volume of fire.
However, please feel free to disagree.
All of that makes sense. I went to the local gun shop this afternoon and learned a bit more (and held) some of the competing models. From the comments about accuracy, it seems that a carry gun should be the one with the the most features that allow accurate shooting (comfortable grip, long barrel, good sights, controllable recoil) that can be carried comfortably. In that I am a big guy, a 4 inch barrel is probably right for me. I suspect I am still in the 9mm .40 cal range. The decision on round would be based on what cuts the tightest groups, not which magazine has the most rounds. It would seem difficult to shoot a .45 well with a anything light enough to be a good carry gun.
Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1
At the store, I liked the feel of the XM D's extended grip magazine in a home defense role. But stock Glock felt better than the stock XD.
On a similar note, I am a long time bicyclist. I have found that I can get better deals on line, but if the local store has something, I get it there. It's worth it to keep them in business as a knowledge resource. Is this something that responsible members of the shooting community do?
• Any pistol made by a reputable manufacturer, that has not been abused by some previous owner, will be acceptably accurate for defensive carry. You have to do the rest.
• The smaller and lighter the gun, the more difficult it will be to shoot accurately and effectively.
• Bullet placement (that is, accurate shooting) trumps ballistics, every time. In those terms, there is no practical difference among all of the calibers suitable for defensive use.
After all too many years of carrying and shooting a pocket-size .45 ACP semi-auto, advancing arthritis has required me to switch to carrying a medium-size .380 ACP semi-auto. I find that this is not an issue because I am still capable of making quick, accurate hits—even head shots—at any practical defensive distance. All it takes is continual practice.
Were it my call, I would buy a new pistol at a gun shop, establishing a personal relationship with its owner in the process. I would also establish a personal relationship with a good gunsmith.
However, I buy used and antique pistols on-line, for instance at GunBroker.com. If my C&R FFL doesn't cover the gun because it's too new, my local dealer handles the transfer for me.
First Jake my apologies I read to quick and did not see the full statement on felt recoil.
Everyone needs a base of operations. Buying from a local shop and building a relationship is important. Like Steve I buy several guns online and have them shipped to my dealer. You can save money online but by the time you pay shipping and transfer fees it comes out about the same. Many times when I go to pick up the gun, especially when my wife goes to pick it up, they do not even charge me the transfer fee anymore. When home if they have a gun in stock that I want I will buy it from them so it all works out for both of us.
I am not against more ammo capacity, if you have it and don't need it great. As has been stated accuracy is king, caliber and capacity is secondary to me anyway. The trend nowadays has been to stuff the largest caliber in the smallest gun possible and label it as the "ultimate concealment gun". That is not always the best thing.
Big calibers in small guns, generally speaking, are harder to shoot and not as accurate. Does a smaller gun conceal better? Sure. It the more powerful round a better option? Could be but you have to be able to train with it and be able to hit your intended target. In LE many large caliber concealment guns were/are called "Raid, Party and BBQ" guns. They were meant to be carried a lot and shot a little. A 2 3/4 inch barrel .44 mag was a "compact" powerful carry gun that concealed well and had all the stopping power you would ever need or imagine you would need but when you touched off a full house magnum round you began to question why you bought it in the first place. That led to not shooting it as much and carrying reduced power loads to control recoil so in the end you would be just as well served with a smaller caliber.
You are on the right track. Fondle, testfire if available and get what you like.
Re: What to Do? I Want One Hand Gun.
45mm...handgun? Let us know when you find the right one!
Originally Posted by bassjam04
.45 ACP, a bit easier.
Re: What to Do? I Want One Hand Gun.
For the OP,
Since Steve and others have covered a lot of info, i will give a suggestion. Please underatand the model uses in this suggeation is just one of many that such would work for...
Often the grip is the hardest part to conceal, so assuming a semi-auto (i find revolver gripa conceal well), a compact model (see statements about can be harx to shoot) with full size magazines and grip extensions is an option! I do thia qith my M&P9c. Carry with the pinky grips, but compete MOSTLY with full size mags and x-grips.
I know a number of ither brands can do the same.
Now, that said, i find the 4" (or there about) barrels easier to carry, because thw way i carry, the 3.5s hit a nerve ending and after a month or so, i CAN NOT carry them anymore for a bit (at least IWB)
Enjoy the search.
So I have been doing more on line research. Below is the list if weapons I have come up with. I eliminated several for being more than $600. There were several that were hundreds more in MSRP than these. Next step is a trip to the local gun store to touch each of these and discuss features with the people there. I hope to eliminate about half from there. For example, I don't think I am going to like a DA/SA or DAO unless it's a striker model. I don't think that I am going to train enough to be certain to cock before firing a first shot. I also don't think I am going to like a 10 lb first shot trigger pull.
CZ CZ 75 Compact P06
Glock 19 or 23
Ruger SR9, SR40
Smith & Wesson SD9, SD40, M&P .40 or 9
Springfield Armory XD or XD (M)
On thing I would like all of your feedback on is sights. I did some competitive small bore shooting as a kid. I even have adjustable sights on my favorite bow for archery. Are adjustable sights good or bad. At defensive shooting distances, I can't imagine that drop is something that I need to compensate for. Left right is more interesting. On the other hand, adjustable sights add complexity. Complexity is bad for combat. Am I better with fixed sights to have a more "soldier proof" handgun?
I will probably one be able to rent and shoot the weapons I am interested in at a nice well lighted range, so I am also interested in night sight/contrast issues. When I was shooting .45 1911 service pistols, The sights were the same matte finish as the rest of the slide. I was looking at a Glock at the shop yesterday and it had white dots on front and back sites that seemed like they would be very easy to acquire in a rapid shooting environment. I am even wondering if a "silver" slide would give me something pointed in the right direction when the sights are hard to see. Just lining up the slide should get hits from across the room.
Originally Posted by tacman605
Im heading out to the one in downtown Ft Worth now-I need to fondle a few things myself!
Oops-I got to typing too fast and missed the "." I assumed since we are in a "Handgun Forum" and comparing different calibers,for "Handguns",it was implied it was .45 ACP-for a handgun-I was talking about.My bad!!
Originally Posted by niadhf
I have fired a 40mm. The USMC M203 was my favorite. Never seen a 45mm.
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