Sounds like you have most of the basics covered for getting into your first handgun purchase. Keep asking questions.
I'm 23 years old, living near Dallas, Texas. I was raised around guns, so handling and safety I'm well aware of, and comfortable around all types of guns.
After the disaster on November 5th, I decided I needed to hurry up and get the money to buy a handgun before January 20th, so I've been doing extensive research on them.
After going to the gun shop I held guns that I have shot (that my dad owns) and compared them with several others that I have heard very good things about. The pistol I've shot the most is the Beretta 92FS and the Taurus knockoff. So comparing with the Beretta I found the Sig P226 to be a wonder to hold, which would only translate to easier and more comfortable shooting.
Others I took a peak at were the HK USP, HK .45, Colt 1911 (father owns as well), and the Sig P225.
The two Sigs were so much more comfortable for my hand that I've decided to buy the P226 if I can get the money before January 20th, and the P225 if I can't.
Now, what I want to know if it makes sense, is my decision on calibre.
I've decided to get the P226 in .40 S&W.
The reason I decided that is I want to be capable of shooting something larger than 9mm, but I don't have the money to buy multiple pistols.
I'm not sure if I want to use a .357 most of the time, or a .40 most of the time for defense, and won't be able to decide until I've fired both from the same pistol.
Also if I get the .40 the magazines work with the .357, but not vice-versa. (The 357 model comes with magazines with a certain bevel or something that prevents it from feeding .40 properly.) And there is also a kit that converts to 9mm when I need to save money at the range, which I will want to do.
As I'm not a very good shot with a pistol yet, I plan on getting the 9mm conversion kit and putting several thousand rounds through it in the first couple of weeks, to improve my over-all pistol performance, then putting 200-500 rounds of either .40 or .357 through it to get proficient in those calibres (whichever one I decide to use).
Does my reasoning make sense? I want to be able to shoot a 9mm to get good at shooting a pistol, but once I acquire the proficiency that I want using 9mm (easier to shoot and more affordable) I'll move to a larger round and practice with that to where I'm good with whichever self-defense round I decide on.
Any advice or pointing out any flaws in my reasoning that would be greatly appreciated.
Sounds like you have most of the basics covered for getting into your first handgun purchase. Keep asking questions.
Sure, it makes sense...granted I don't like .40 much, so I probably wouldn't own a handgun in that caliber. I also like to practice with something as close to the real thing (i.e. what I carry), so I wouldn't do any training with a 9mm barrel (or .22). Fun to plink with, though. Good for competition as well so you're not going broke.
All in all I would just grab the 9mm and call it a day. I find it to be sufficient. If I were to get the .40, though...I'd grab at least the 9mm barrel.
There are a lot of issues here. Make sure there is a 9mm conversion kit available for the gun you plan to buy. I have not seen one for the P226. There is a 22LR conversion kit that sells for $350. My guess is that a 9mm conversion would be equally as costly. If you're looking at a new Sig P226 or a nice used one, you'll be paying between $550 and $700. Include the conversion kit and you're around the $1000 mark. I don't see a reason for wanting to convert back and forth from .357 sig to .40 S&W as the ballistics are so similar.
Why not just but the P226 in 9mm? The 9mm. is fine for a defensive round, the 226 can handle +P ammo so I don't see the need for all of the converting. If you get a ways down the road with the 9mm and decide you need to move up to a .40, your original P226 will hold at least 80% of its purchased value as a trade in.
I'd just buy the 9mm. and stick with it for a year or two.
I believe you can get P226 9mm drop-in barrels for like 175 bucks. So I don't believe its a bad choice to get a P226 in .40/.357 sig, and then also get the 9mm barrel and mags. I think they are some decided advantages to a .357 sig, after all it was created to match ballistics of a .357 mag. I know people on these boards only recommend 9mm for new shooters and I’m not saying that’s a bad idea, but these setup will give you lots of options. If you really want to learn to shoot a pistol get a .22 and fire thousands of rounds for under $50 bucks.
You simply cannot change a barrel and mags from .40 cal to 9mm.
Either way... I'd recommend 9mm simply for the fact that you can afford more rounds to practice with... and practice is a goooooood thing.
If you use your plan... you will need:
1 Gun at around $800 (assume it's a 40 S&W)
1 357 Sig barrel (and ammo for that)
1 9mm Conversion barrel (and ammo for that)
2 or more 9mm mags
1 9mm conversion slide (for breech face/extractor match-up...
By the time you're done "testing", you'll have spent enough money to buy both a .40 AND a 9mm, in either the Glock, XD, or M&P platform, and an extra 1000 rounds of ammo for practice thrown in...
Assuming at age 23, you're not rolling in spare cash.... Just buy a 9mm and trade up later if you're not happy. I've been shooting a LOT in the last 3-4 years (100-500 rounds per week). I started with a 40, traded for a 9 and a 45, and will soon trade the 45 for another 9mm gun... They are more concealable, more accurate on follow-up shots, MUCH cheaper to feed, carry more rounds, and often hold better resale than other calibers... And they stop a BG just as fast with a COM hit...
And since you live in Texas, there is no federal ban that is going to affect your state at all......
Don't forget the states have the right to say "FU<# Y0U" to the federal government on anything they feel is unconstitutional...... so Obama is not going to ban anything in any red state.....
Take your time and get what you want.
Obama is going to change this country for the worse, but even he cannot ruin it the first day. Save your money and buy the gun you like best.
I agree with the others who have said just buy a 9mm. If you get a good quality gun, you can shoot +P self-defense loads that won't be improved very much on by having a .40. Personally, if I had a 9mm, and wanted something bigger, I'd skip .40 and go to .45. In most cases, a .45 is more pleasant to shoot, and your gun is not dealing with the high pressures that a .40 needs to compete with the .45 ACP.
Okay... that's exactly the type of response I was looking for. My flawed reasoning of wanting to save money by converting and having a platform I could shoot all those from, but actually converting to the three different calibres I could just buy a whole new gun or two.
Okay, so I just decided to go with the .40, and just get the .357 barrel when I want something else to play with for less than a whole new gun.
But I think this website may offer a 9mm barrel of the same outter dimensions as the .40, removing the need for a slide conversion kit...?
If it wouldn't just drop in they do offer a conversion kit to .22 for about $325 after shipping at this site:
If after I maths it all up it makes sense to convert to a cheaper calibre to practice with... I probably will just go with a .22 instead of a 9mm. Makes more sense economically if I can't just drop a 9mm barrel in for ~$150.
A .22 conversion kit cost is about the same as buying a whole new gun chambered for .22 but as whichever gun I buy would probably be my only pistol for a while I would prefer to buy the kit, and shoot .22 on the same platform as what I would be using for defense.
As for getting a P226 chambered in 9mm, I know that the 9mm round is a good, tried and proven round, and add hollowpoints to that and you have very little problem with cavitation and stopping power. (I'm not one who says I need to stop a BG in one shot. I figure I won't be rationing out my rounds if my life depends on it, and I will plan to always have an extra magazine or two near the pistol.)
Obviously a .45 has more stopping power, with less pressure, but the magazine capacity is low. I think the .40 and the .357 rounds offer a nice 'compromise' between stopping power and magazine capacity. This is just my opinion, everyone has their own on this particular subject, not trying to get into that debate as I am aware that my opinion is gleaned mainly from hearing other people, and not actual experience.
I'm not concerned with concealability. I can't afford my concealed carry permit yet anyway, and when I can I'll dress around the gun I want to carry, not the other way around. Besides, a P226 is the same concealability in whatever calibre you have it chambered for. =)
So without entering into the classic 9mm vs ______ calibre debate, I'm pretty dead-set on getting the P226 in .40... is it even economic to get a conversion kit to 9mm or .22 for practice? Obviously if I only plan on putting a few hundred rounds through it a month, then no. But when would it become worth the cost of a conversion kit? 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, or 2500 rounds a month?
Grr... this next question is so hard to word how I want it... so I'll say it several different ways.
In an experienced shooter's opinion, would it be beneficial (skill wise) to someone with my level of experience (Putting 200 rounds through a 92FS once or twice a year as a teenager.) to convert to a 9mm or .22, when ignoring the economic cost of firing a .40 (or .357).
Would the skill acquired firing a 9mm or a .22 conversion kit apply to firing a .40 or .357, or would just paying the higher cost for .40 or .357 ammo to practice with be more beneficial to raising my skill? I know there will be a point of diminishing returns when I need to use .40 or .357 rounds to get used to the increased recoil, but would you think that I (everyone's learning curve is different, I'm asking on average) would reach that point of diminishing returns before I even started seeing any type of economic benefit?
Sorry if you think some of these questions are dumb, or un-answerable (as everyone is different), but just looking for more experienced shooters' opinions on it.
Thank you to everyone for your input!
Damn... I just read my response and there are so many more reasons for getting it in 9mm... cheaper to practice with, don't have to worry if the practice from it will apply to a larger calibre... easier to talk my girlfriend into shooting... and when I like the skill level I'm at and only shoot two or three hundred rounds a week or month to maintain that level of skill I can just sell it or trade it in and buy a .40 if I don't have the money to buy it without trade.
I guess these are all reasons why so many people say that the 9mm is the best for beginners.
Again, thank you all for your input. I think for what I'm looking to do getting a 9mm to start would in fact be the most cost-effective and beneficial for me, and as there are very few if any reasons arguing in favor of the .40, other than I just would rather have it... and I can get it later when the other factors aren't so decidedly in favor of the 9mm, and I can probably trade in or sell and spend less than it would cost to get a 9mm conversion kit for the .40.
I guess I'll try to answer one part of that novel. Personally, I wouldn't purchase any conversion kits, especially to a 22lr. That conversion kit costs $100 more than I paid for my Ruger Mark II. Having said that, it can be argued that there is a benefit to having the conversion kit for the same gun you would plan on using in a self-defense situation. The benefit is that you have much more trigger time on that particular gun, and trigger control is extremely important.
Just out of curiosity, how could you afford all of these conversion kits (and ammo!), but not afford your concealed handgun permit?
A concealed carry permit is ~500 all told I think. Not entirely sure, I figure I need to have a gun before I start pricing that. =)
And yeah, sorry about the long posts. =P
I need to find out, definitively, how much it would cost to convert from .40 to 9mm in a P226. If it's less than $200 I think I'd rather do that than buy a 9mm. I'll post a new topic to ask this very specific question though.
The portion of the breech will be too big to work with the 9mm case heads. That's why the slide needs to be replaced if you go from 40/357 to 9mm.
I'd really say go with the 9mm, shooting isn't going to get any cheaper for the foreseeable future.
I think I'm going to have to trust this reputed website until someone can tell me that dropping a 9mm *conversion* barrel into a .40 S&W caused a problem, but all I'm getting is affirmatives that these conversion barrels do work, or people that just blanket say that it's impossible without a slide kit, but no one saying that these barrels don't work because they've tried them.Bar-Sto FAQ states:
For Sig firearms the 229,226. You only need to change the barrel and use 9mm magazines. On the 239 you only change the barrel and can use the 40 but not the 357 sig mags. On all these you can get factory 9mm mags for those.
No spring changes needed. The breech face is fine and the extractor on these type of firearms springs over far enough to catch the case head and extract reliably.
Try taking a 40 or 357Sig (which use the same breech face) to using a 9mm bullet. And when the weapon won't cycle with repeatability, or blows up in your face.. you can tell me, if you can still speak.
The .40 and .357Sig use the same width breech face whereas the 9mm uses a smaller breech face. If you don't believe me... here's the proof.
9mm bullets use the same "metric" measurement of .357 inches as the 9mm. The only problem arises in the fact that .357 Sig bullets are a NECKED DOWN casing of the .40mm casing. That means that the base of the .40 and the .357 Sig cartridge are .40mm across at their base. The necked down part comes into play with the bullet diameter, not the BASE diameter.
9mm = .375 inches. Please tell me I'm incorrect before you waste your money.
Try it for yourself here http://www.metric-conversions.org/le...-to-inches.htm
.38 and .357 are the same caliber, as is 9mm.... don't believe me? Then why can you shoot .38's out of a .357 Magnum revolver? It's a designation issue, not a precision measurement issue.
Trust me when I tell you that it all adds up. I've been shooting calibers from .17 to 50 cal for the better part of 27 years. Take what you will from a person trying to sell you something... I don't want to profit from your experience, just help you. Either way, I'd suggest you wear a helmet and eye protection if you think that you can simply drop a 9mm barrel into a .40cal or .357Sig slide and not come out the worse for wear.
If I'm wrong, Ill swallow a dollar bill sideways on film for it.
Last edited by zhurdan; 11-15-2008 at 05:00 AM. Reason: changed a typo of .375 to .357
While I don't yet have the P226 .40S&W, I will be getting one in the very near future. I just picked up a .357 SIG barrel for $75 and will pick buy a 9mm Bar-Sto conversion barrel afterwards.
Summit Guns has the P226 .40S&W for $525. Add my .357 SIG barrel and I'm now at $600...buying the Bar-Sto 9mm barrel adds another $175-200 -- total expense for having three calibers is $800.
I have five SIG P229 .40S&W (two P229R, P229GOTM, P229R Equinox, P229TT) and two .357 SIG barrels to swap out. I also have a P229 Bar-Sto 9mm conversion barrel. I can tell you with first-hand experience that I have never experienced any problems with FTF or FTE issues. I also used both the P228 9mm mags and also the P229 .40S&W magazines while using the 9mm conversion barrel with no issues.
Btw, I do admit that I did have to 'smith the Bar-Sto barrel to properly fit the P229. But once this was done, the barrel fit in all of my P229s.
I have a P226R Blackwater 9mm that I'd like to compare with the P226 Bar-Sto barrel...hence the reason I'm buying the .40S&W version. And yes, I am a SIG gun-whore.
If you've been wanting an AR, then you'll probably want to get on the current bandwagon and get yourself some AR lowers. The prices on all lowers went up on average, about $50-75 within a week after Obama was elected. Look around the boards and online sites and you'll clearly see, just about everyone is out them.
And btw, the .357 SIG is a marvelous round...clearly my favorite to shoot, though a bit expensive.