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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently decided to purchase a handgun for defensive purposes. I've browsed a few forums like this one to get a bit more information, and realized that on my budget I can't really afford a really good handgun. I live in Nashville, and I know there's a gun show coming up. A buddy of mine told me I could definitely find a gun there for cheap (I'd hope to find an inexpensive one, not a cheap one).

Has anybody had any experience dealing with gun shows? Do you have any advice for me?
 

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You don't tend to find guns inexpensively at gun shows, unfortunately. What's your budget? I'm sure the guys on here could get you pointed towards something more your price range.

KG
 

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A "gently used" gun, purchased at a gunshop run by honest people, will deliver the best value for your money.
Try to get a return-unused guarantee, and take your "new" used gun to a good gunsmith for a complete evaluation. Or, pick out the gun of your choice, leave a holding deposit, and hire the gunsmith to come to the shop with you to evaluate the gun.
 

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You don't tend to find guns inexpensively at gun shows, unfortunately. What's your budget? I'm sure the guys on here could get you pointed towards something more your price range.
KG
Agreed. If you "can't afford" a handgun, going to a gun show won't solve that problem. I've often seen new guns at gun shows selling for MSRP! And unless you know your stuff, you might end up with a "problem child" and most gun show guys don't do refunds. Please don't waste your hard earned cash on an inferior firearm (most of us have at one time or another methinks, and regretted the loss). I've got a Charter Arms .44 spl. I bought cheap, and it has gotten very "loose" to the point where I would never trust my life to it. And that's a revolver! I would not in good conscience sell it to anyone without warning them about the defective cylinder and hit and miss trigger. Unfortunately, there are folks who would sell you this thing for $100 and you would never see them again. Like they say, "How much is your life worth!" You may have to save for awhile, or sell something else, but it is worth it in the long run to have a reliable and safe weapon.
Good luck,
Eli:smt1099
Ummmm...nah, you don't want a .44spl., the bullets are huge! :anim_lol:
 

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A good saying when it comes to buying a gun...

"Buy once, cry once. Buy cheap, cry twice."

Save up, buy a good gun and you may cry about how much you spent, but you won't be as upset as you would be if you went cheap and bought an inferior gun and then have to replace it later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
my budget. it's low.

Well, my budget is on the low side - $200, but I think I could stretch it to $300.

The problem I face with waiting and saving up, is that my house was broken into a couple months back while I was home, and I managed to scare the intruders off by yelling from another room. There have been 2 attempted break-ins since. I'd like to have protection now.
 

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All very good advice!!

MO:smt1099
 

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Well, my budget is on the low side - $200, but I think I could stretch it to $300.

The problem I face with waiting and saving up, is that my house was broken into a couple months back while I was home, and I managed to scare the intruders off by yelling from another room. There have been 2 attempted break-ins since. I'd like to have protection now.
If I were in your predicament I would get myself a decent 12 gauge shotgun and some 00 2 3/4" loads. I prefer a double barrel like the Stoeger Coachgun, but even a single shot 12 is better than nothing! Pumps need some practice, but are easier to learn adequately than a handgun is. You may not have the time or money to do a handgun right now. Be safe and good luck.
JMHO,
Eli
 

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+1 on the shotgun.

Even if you do find a great deal on a good handgun you'll need to spend a good bit on ammo to practice with. If this is your first handgun its not just as easy as line up the sites and yank the trigger. You'll also need to make sure the defensive rounds you choose will work in your handgun reliably and those are not cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I understand ammo would be expensive, and yes I would practice. This would be my first handgun purchase, but I have had experience with handguns in the past. I learned to shoot a handgun when I was twelve. I don't remember the manufacturer, but I learned on a .38 revolver; firing both .38 special and .357 magnum cartridges.
I'm not saying $300 is all I have, but considering ammo costs, range fees, and my bills, it's all I can really put towards an actual gun.
 

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At $400 you can get a new good quality pistol for defensive purposes. If you really want a pistol, I would look at a used one of those models at a local gun shop. If you are patient you might get lucky.
 

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Well, my budget is on the low side - $200, but I think I could stretch it to $300.

The problem I face with waiting and saving up, is that my house was broken into a couple months back while I was home, and I managed to scare the intruders off by yelling from another room. There have been 2 attempted break-ins since. I'd like to have protection now.
Most of us are "playing" with a handgun, or a bunch of handguns for possible CCW or home invasion defense usage.

I'm not trying to be an alarmist, BUT . . .

YOU are NOT playing. It's happening. Your place is being identified as a target.
You can not afford to be "at the mercy" of people willing to break the law.
Especially unpredictibles like meth-heads or other druggies needing a fix.

FOLLOW the shotgun advice. It's good. You don't have time to "practice and get proficient" with a handgun.
If you want to do that later and have the money, fine. But it isn't your highest priority.

I have a Mossberg 500 20 inch barrel eight-shot "security" shotgun. Loaded with 2 3/4 in. 00 buckshot.
It has an easy to use safety on top of the handgrip. It's not pretty. All black, with plastic stocks.

I got mine at our local Big Five Sports franchise. They are now on sale often. $275 plus tax.
00 buck is often in a box of five. Get two boxes. Check Wal-Mart for the gun/ammo.
Or a gunshop. Usually these "defenders" are pretty reasonable. Learn to load/unload the gun safely.

If you have any place to shoot, get a cheap box of 25 "practice birdshot loads". Should be about $7.
Try some on big cardboard boxes. Stack a couple to "chest height".
Start at your "room length" distance and then a couple each at 10 and 15 yards.
Then back to your room length, finishing with a couple of the actual 00 loads.
You will now know that a "scattergun" has little to no "scatter" at these distances,
even with a "cylinder" (no choke) security shotgun barrel.
Just look down the barrel and hit what you're looking at.

Load it up with your 00 buck.
Keep the gun upright and with in reach in whatever room you are occupying.
I am assuming no children in your house. If so, the above has to be GREATLY modified, of course.

Good Luck ! :smt1099
 

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The only advantage to gun shows, unless you find a bargain outside, from an individual, is variety. You may be able to view and compare guns that your local gun sellers don't stock.

You won't find a lot of bargains, but you may find something you want, at a price that is not terribly inflated. I have found more decent deals on new guns at gun shows than on used ones. It varies from one table to the next.

As for what to buy, I agree with Dan P that you need something now. A shotgun is the most effective, in 20 gauge or above, and everybody can shoot a long gun more accurately than a handgun...just remember that you still have to aim it, especially at in-the-house type distances.
 

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I was just at a gun show on Sunday. I didn't see any decent prices on new(er) handguns. They all seemed more expensive than my local shop, which are usually more expensive than the local Cabela's when they have a good sale. I'm sure you could haggle with some of the gun show guys, but that's just not my thing. I'd rather check out used gun cases at stores and wait for a deal. Gun shows seem like a good place to get unusual surplus items and parts more suited to collectors than modern defensive or competetive shooters.

But given the semi-urgent nature of your situation, go with the shotgun advice first. Hell, if I was breaking into someone's house, and I heard a pump action shotgun being cocked I would wet my pants and run like hell!
 

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Not trying to pile on the dollars here, but if you've been broken into once, please make sure you have a way to secure any gun that you get. You cannot be home all the time and if they break in when you are not there, you might just arm another criminal. The responsibility of gun ownership doesn't start or end at the end of the barrel and I'm assuming most people know that, but this is an open forum.

Oh, and another thing to consider, if you do buy one... the less people that know about it, the better.
 

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Brother, you are not allocating the resources to be a handgun owner, let alone proficient with one. I have seen fewer more salient, on the money replies than the one urging you to pick a shotgun instead. That was phenominal advice, and he didn't even ask for a commission.

Do it. You can get an 870 or a Mossie for that money, and enough buckshot to defend your house from a zombie horde (a small one). This is great advice. Pick up the handgun when you can afford one and can afford the ammo and training!

Cudos for you decision to protect yourself, Sir!

Dan
 

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Keep an eye out, it's seems as though everyone and their cat is selling Home defense shotguns. Big 5 always seems to have something. My LGS had some sort of package deal a while back, $259 (IIRC) for a Pump shotgun and some ammo.
I find Gun Shows frustrating. Even when I (rarely) find exactly what I'm looking for, it's no cheaper than anywhere else. But if you need cheap Chinese knives...
 

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Not trying to pile on the dollars here, but if you've been broken into once, please make sure you have a way to secure any gun that you get. You cannot be home all the time and if they break in when you are not there, you might just arm another criminal. The responsibility of gun ownership doesn't start or end at the end of the barrel and I'm assuming most people know that, but this is an open forum.

Oh, and another thing to consider, if you do buy one... the less people that know about it, the better. [emphasis added]
This, I think, is the most important piece of advice in this thread.
When you're not home, your gun should be locked up in such a way as to render it inoperable if the locking device is forced open.
When you are home, it should be unlocked and handy.
 
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