View Poll Results: Which of these handguns is the best home defense option for a beginner?
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In Need of Help Deciding on a Handgun
I need help deciding which will make the best handgun for my purposes. I was wondering if someone here would be good enough to lend me their perspective.
I come from a family that hunts, and I served in the US Marines, so I am not a complete novice with firearms. in fact, I have shot miniguns and Mk 19s, but my experience with handguns is almost none. So it's fair to consider me to be looking for a "beginner" sort of handgun.
I want a handgun primarily for home defense. So although, as a beginner, I don't want much recoil, I need something with ENOUGH stopping power. If I could find something that meets those conditions and has good concealed carry potential, it would be a huge bonus. Also, it occurs to me that the best home defense firearm would be one that, for example, a teenage daughter, your wife and/or mother-in-law can use effectively, when you are not around to help protect them, albeit I have yet to see that point come up in discussions elsewhere.
Now, here is the part that could make you slam your laptop shut and just walk away: I want all this for between about $250-$450!
These are the options I have found so far. Please feel free to put them in order for me or tell me which you think is best for me.
Sig P250 Subcompact in 9mm
S&W SD9VE (the one I've found in my price range is "low capacity")
Taurus Model 85 (a regular weight one, with a polymer grip)
Rossi Model 461 (This would only be used for .38 +P, not .357)
Taurus 738 TCP
My first choice would be the P250. Yet, I love the simplicity of revolvers; being able to grab something out of a sound sleep and not worry about it jamming or not working, has got to be a massive advantage in home defense situations. The lower capacity would seem not to be a significant factor, if it was just used for home defense purposes. However, the only revolver models I like in my price range are snub nose revolvers, which experience somewhat high recoil. So, although they may be intuitive enough for anyone to pick up and defend themselves with, even half-asleep, maybe they will kick too much for some users. Please correct me if I am wrong. One alternative I have found, although some may not agree, would be something in .380 like the Glock 42. Can a .380 be said to reliably incapacitate an attacker? My guess is that if loaded with jacketed hollow points, drunk or not, you wont want to find your self standing on the wrong end of one. And to prove my point, I don't even care to test out my theory. Still, I will admit, controversy surrounding .380 Auto as a defense caliber makes that caliber hard for me to have great confidence in.
Thanks in advance for your kindly consideration and advice.
Well thought out post...
For home defense and range fun i'd recommend a 9mm handgun. A full size one at that... the smaller .380's are adequate for CCW (close up type work), but you'll be better suited with a 9mm for home defense. 9mm is quite a bit less expensive than .380 and more plentiful too... as you should shoot often to keep your skill set sharp... shooting well is a perishable skill.
As a Marine myself, I wasen't as familiar with handguns as other firearms... at first. My first formal instruction was when i was in the Police Academy. I'd highly recommend some professional instruction to become familiar with your new handgun and work on the fundamentals of marksmanship. Handguns require more practice to become proficient than a rifle. Make sure your family knows how to use the handgun if your going allow them access to it... and make sure they practice too. Keep it stored safely when not in use, I recommend a biometric or button combination safe for security and quick access.
A full size handgun will be easier to hone the fundamentals of marksmanship with for the entire family. A larger frame 9mm will also have less recoil than a subcompact model and aid in follow-up shots. Smaller frame guns have more perceived recoil and take more skill to master... smaller does not equal easier in the handgun world. Larger handguns also have higher capacity which will be a benefit in a HD gun. Anyone who has ever been in a gun fight has never wished they had LESS rounds.
I really think you should bump your price range up a bit to get a wider range of firearms to choose from... you never regret buying a quality handgun. Buy once, cry once.
Of the ones you've listed, the Sig P250 is probably your best choice imo. Bumping your budget will really be advantageous to you. I'd recommend looking at the following:
Kahr full size 9mm
Beretta 92 series
Beretta PX4 Storm
These are just a few of the quality firearms that will function reliably, serve your purpouse and last a lifetime.
Stay away from Rossi and Taurus. Quality control is spotty and they don't hold their value. The most they'll ever be worth will be the exact moment you pay for them.
I have a SIG P250C in .40 cal. A very nice handgun and no safety to deal with. I think new it's right about $450.00 or so.
I like S&W revolvers, especially the older ones. You can't beat a model 66 with a 4" or 6" bbl. Nice that you can shoot both .38 Special and .357 mag. in them.
Anyways, there will be others along shortly to chime in with their opinions.
To TapnRack: Thank you so much!
I looked into every model you suggested. I had kind of assumed Springfield was far out of my range, maybe you did too, but it looks like I should be able to catch the XD Service Model in 9mm on sale now and then for somewhere around $425. I also just found a S&W M&P in my range, but it is the Shield 9, which is probably a bit too small.
I appreciate your help!
And same to you, Paratrooper! I have a lot more confidence in the 250, now.
Sig is a great gun, S+W is also great. For home defense I'd go with a 9mm semi vs a revolver because you can get so much more firepower with the semi. I've got a S+W SD9VE and I really like the gun. The trigger is not the softest but it shoots straight and has been 100% reliable though probably 500 rounds, and you can pack 16+1 into them. I also have a Ruger P95 and really like that one also. Built like a tank, never had a problem with it, 15 or 16 round capacity and I've put probably 1500 rounds through mine without a hiccup. Price wise you can get them new for $365 or so and up. Used ones are also around and I wouldn't be afraid of one either. I don't like Taurus or Rossi either. They are less expensive but built as such, and getting them fixed if there is a problem is sometimes difficult. Taurus won't sell "restricted" parts such as firing pins, barrels, etc so if you are a semi do it yourselfer, or have a favorite gunsmith, he may have trouble getting parts to repair one. They want you to send it back, but that gets into shipping and turnaround time. I've not had great experience with them and probably won't buy another. I've been trying to buy a Sig 9mm for about 6 mos now but I just can't find one I really want that my wallet can handle. For home defense, I wouldn't opt for a 380. Just not enough capacity or firepower but I do carry one on a regular basis because of the way I have to dress for work. I pocket carry one because it fits well and is relatively concealed. The limitations of it are only 6+1 and only 380 firepower. Rather have a 9mm or larger if I had to get into a real battle. The LCP is well built and I have carried one but if you want to go to the range, forget it. Too hard to hang on to and keep sighted. The grip is only a two finger grip, and it's difficult for me with larger hands to keep it steady in my grip with firing off 3 or 4 rounds in succession. Just too small to be the best for home defense, but clearly better than nothing. As mentioned, I have one, and do carry it occasionally, but I seldom take it to the range other than to see that it still cycles correctly because it's not fun to shoot a box of ammo through it. Too much work.
Yeah. I have read basically everywhere about Taurus/Rossi being not always so great, to put it politely. Still at $250, I found that .380 model hard to exclude. I also thought their revolvers might be safer buys. Glad I checked here first.
9mm appears to be the favorite.
Almost forgot about CZ...
The CZ P-09 or P-07 are great choices under $450 if you have gun stores that carry them. Very accurate and durable... like the others I mentioned earlier.
Any other questions, just ask.
Many consider the .380 a marginal caliber, unless you are very good with a handgun. I have some .380's, but I feel more comfortable with a 9mm and up.
I assume the rest of your family has limited if any handgun experience as well. If you are going to all learn together(i.e handgun defensive course, handgun class(es), learning the safe operation of the firearm, range time, etc...) and are willing to put some time in I'd go with the the 9mm Semi-auto.
Originally Posted by Shiells
If you need something immediate for the entire family, with limited knowledge, a S&W or Ruger revolver(3 inch or longer preferred) in 38 +P . In my experience even the most non handgun familiar can figure out a revolver relatively quick, even under stress. Just my thought.
Last edited by denner; 02-10-2015 at 11:05 PM.
I agree with some of the others: avoid the 380, it's not much better than a sharp stick in the eye.
I'd pass on the Rossi too. The Rossi products I've looked at I'd not want to stake my life on.
I've owned a Taurus 85 and 605 (357) and I thought they were pretty good. I'd go with the 357 as 38spl is weaker than 9mm.
I have, among a dozen other short guns, a CZ P07 in 9mm and it's pretty good.
Another sleeper in the market is a Stoeger Cougar (aka Berreta Cougar). It was my carry gun for 2 years. It was 100% reliable and soft shooting. You should be able to find a good one for well under $400 or new for $450.
So I'd go with a 9mm and keep it loaded and ready to go. There is also the advantage that 9mm ammo is damn cheap.
But none of this means a damn thing if you don't develop a defense plan then PRACTICE & PRACTICE SOME MORE. Decide on a light (many bad guys pull your electrical box) and walk through your house looking for sight lines and blind spots. Decide if you're going to try and clear your house or do a 'fortress bedroom' while the cops come. There's a lot of forethought to be done.
In the Head to head reviews, P-09 beats the Sig.
Originally Posted by TAPnRACK
You think a .357 is a good one to start with, but then again you could work your way up, so perhaps not a bad idea? You start a new shooter with a .357 they may never want to shoot again.
Originally Posted by Spike12
He could buy a .357 and shoot .38 in it.
About the only time I'd buy a dedicated 5-shot .38 revolver would be for concealment.
Yes, but unless he buys pre-owned, a new S&W or even a Ruger in .357 will probably take him out of his price range. I would not suggest to the OP a Rossi in .357 for example.
Originally Posted by paratrooper
Originally Posted by denner
Yeah, I was suggesting a used handgun, but I didn't make that clear enough.
Consider an EAA imported CZ CLONE. You can get one for as cheap as $250 and most people think they are worth at least double that. They also have steal frame 45s for around $400. Out of your choices I'd go with the P250 or the SD9VE. The Sig is cool because it's modular, so if you want to switch calibers or size you have that option in a gun you're comfortable. The S&W feels like an awesome gun for the money too, and I haven't really talked to anyone that has been dissatisfied with it.
What a nice community of people, here! Really classy people.
Thank you all so much!
Originally Posted by Shiells
At first, I was somewhat confused in regards to whom you were talking about.
Then it dawned on me. It was us.
By the way, while I was initially thinking about the Sig Sauer P250, right now I'm thinking I will stretch the budget a little bit if need be, as was suggested I probably should, and so I will probably go with an XD, or maybe even an M&P.
I especially want to thank the police officers who gave advice here. There was at least one. I don't think anyone could give better advice on handguns than a cop. But thanks to everyone who replied!
Originally Posted by paratrooper
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