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Hi, I've never owned a gun before (I don't think I've ever even held one), and to be honest, I've always been quite uncomfortable around guns. Basically, I've owned a paintball gun and some BB guns and that's about it.

However, recently I've become interested in handguns and am now considering maybe investing in a handgun. I don't live in an area where I really need one for protection, so my interest in guns is mainly as a hobby. But I figure, if I'm gonna invest in a gun, I might as well get one that would be useful for self-defense as well.

The thing is, I'm a pretty small guy and I don't want anything with too much kick. I want something that I could easily control and shoot accurately. So I was thinking maybe I could get a gun that fires a smaller round but at a higher velocity. So what would you guys recommend?

I've read a lot about the FN Five-seveN, and the fact that it's made from a lightweight polymer and has low recoil and a really high magazine capacity is really attractive (plus it looks super slick). Are there any other guns comparable to this? Would this be the best choice for balancing stopping power and controllability?
 

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There are dozens of handguns that are suitable for a 'first handgun,' and without more info to narrow it down, I would be at a loss to recommend one.

My favorite range pistol is a CZ-75B, in 9mm, that I have added a .22 LR conversion kit for. I can shoot cheap bulk-pack .22 ammo with it and get lots of quality practice, then convert it to 9mm in about 20 seconds, and get some practice with that, for not too much expense.

The CZ is an all steel pistol, so the recoil is neglible, and nearly any CZ pistol will shoot inside a 2" circle, at 25 yards, with standard ammo. You don't necessarily need high velocity to achieve exceptional accuracy, and there are a lot of pistols out there that will be gentler to shoot than the one you mentioned, without giving up that much in accuracy, at normal pistol range.
 

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high magazine capacity is really attractive (plus it looks super slick).
Since you live in CA the high mag capacity is a moot point (10 round limit).

How the gun feels in your hand is more important than how it looks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Since you live in CA the high mag capacity is a moot point (10 round limit).

How the gun feels in your hand is more important than how it looks.
Wow, that really sucks. But at least I can get a bigger clip if I ever move out of state.

And I understand that function is more important than looks, I just think the Five-seveN has a nice design is all.

Bisley:
I guess the biggest factor for me is ease of shooting and not having much recoil. But I don't want something that won't be effective as a self-defense weapon. I'll look into the CZ-75B.
 

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Ditto to Bisley's advice, CZs are very nice handguns to shoot.

Just a word of warning though, since you're new to firearms, pistols are harder to both master and handle safely. Be prepared for it to take a while to hit anything consistently, and make sure you're staying aware of where the muzzle is pointed (short barrels change direction fast).

KG
 

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+ Bisley and bruce 333

Good sound advise.

Go rent borrow and shoot as many guns as you can ... Take a good gun class that includes shooting at a range.

:smt1099
 

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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.
 

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My first gun was a S & W revolver, (.357 with a 4" barrel). Loaded with .38 ammo it was a cinch to shoot. It was always perfectly reliable. There were no safeties to worry about. If you never shot it single action you did not have to deal with lowering the hammer (but you should know how to do this anyhow).

.38 ammo was always very cheap. It got me used to the "bang" and using the sights and the long, heavy trigger pull. All these would be useful with a DAO semi-automatic if you choose to get one in the future.

I would not get a snubbie for the first weapon. This 4" barrel gun makes a great home defense weapon, and with a suitable holster it can be a CCW piece.
 

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. . . But I figure, if I'm gonna invest in a gun, I might as well get one that would be useful for self-defense as well . . .

. . . I've read a lot about the FN Five-seveN, and the fact that it's made from a lightweight polymer and has low recoil and a really high magazine capacity is really attractive (plus it looks super slick). Are there any other guns comparable to this? Would this be the best choice for balancing stopping power and controllability?
There's been some really good ideas stated above.

As always, your cheapest practice ammo is 9mm Parabellum (Luger) FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) for semi-autos.
And .38 Special lead nose "wad-cutters" for revolvers.

There has been an "eternal" argument about weight vs. velocity in terms of semi-automatic stopping power.

The "weight" guys are mostly the Colt/clones Model 1911 "classic" single action. (maybe .40 S&W fits here too).
Typical .45 ACP practice from Magtech is 230 grain FMJ bullet around 837 ft/sec with 356 ft-lbs. energy. $20.99/50 rounds.
.40 S&W (currently REALLY popular with the LEO police departments) about the same $/round.

The velocity guys are kinda scattered around for calibers.
Typical practice 9mm Luger 115 grain FMJ 1190 ft/sec with 362 ft-lbs energy.
This is the "classic" 9mm practice Winchester White Box. $13.99/50 rounds.
Other brands are a bit cheaper. The "classic really good price" is $10/50 rounds.

As you can see, things "get complicated" fast. Here is a link to Midway USA's ammo caliber page.
Ammunition - Shop Premium & Discount Ammunition at MidwayUSA

All that "way more than you need to know" stuff above is to set up discussing the FN 5.7 round.

And, now to the cool looking FN 5.7 (I agree with the cool part). I think (? ? ?) this was developed mostly to give
real full-auto sub-machine guns more ammo capacity than the standard 9mm subs.
Unless you REALLY WORK at IT, they are only for military and law enforcement (FBI, SS, etc.)

Then, FN made a pistol to use the round.
Midway lists only two types of ammo, both made by FN.
A 27 grain hollow point. 2050 fps, 255 ft-lbs. $24.99/50 rounds.
A Hornady V-Max 40 grain, 2034 fps, 256 ft-lbs. $20.49/50 rounds.
You can see its 260 ft-lbs of energy is way less than either 9mm or .45 ACP at about 360 ft-lbs.

What does all this mean to you.
I REALLY like FN. The do a FANTASTIC job supplying our military with small arms including machine guns.
The FN 5.7 is "trick", but WAY out of the mainstream at this point. And, probably forever.
With all its velocity, but a very small bullet, it can't match the energy of a .45 ACP or a 9mm Luger.
And just to prove that "nothing is simple", the Ft. Hood shooter used one to kill a LOT of soldiers.

Those 9mm and .45 ACP are about even for "energy". There are 9mm +P (+ Pressure) rounds with some more velocity.
You can't violate the laws of physics. Newton said,
Kinetic Energy (KE) = 1/2 Mass (grains) x Velocity (fps) x Velocity (fps) <----- as in Velocity Squared.
You have to supply the proper coeficients to get KE in ft-lbs.

And, now back to the eternal argument. Which provides more stopping power for the same KE ?
Heavy and slow. Or, Light and fast. Sheeezzzz. Newton is rolling pretty fast.
But, there really is more to "IT" than simple K.E.
The world is full of factors and data just begging to be evaluated. :mrgreen:

Enough pontificating. For you, I'd recommend one of the dozens and dozens of 9mm semi-autos.
In the "olden days" of only FMJ (and current military rounds), the 9mm was a bit of a wimpy "stopper".
Now there are many, many good defensive hollow-point designs in 9mm Luger (9 x 19mm).
At about $20-25 per 20 or 25 in a box.

As always, a really long post from me, and your mileage may vary. :smt1099
 

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I was in the same place as you about 3 months ago. From that perspective, I think the best advice has already been stated above which is to shoot as many different guns as you can before making a decision. Most ranges rent guns or if you are as lucky as I was -- maybe you have a friend who owns many guns and will take you out for a day at the range. You might also consider taking an NRA safety course (usually a 1 day class) -- you don't have to own a gun to take the course. This will be very educational.

Based on actual shooting experience and the class, you'll quickly develop preferences for either a revolver or a semi-automatic. Then there are options / formats within each each that you will also develop a preference for.

Then there's caliber which generally determines recoil, ammo cost (for practice), and stopping power as a defensive weapon. Most guns are available in different calibers.

And, lastly, there are lots of brands, models, reviews, prices, etc... which is where this forum will be extremely useful.


From a decision-making process, that's the path I went down and I think it served me well. As a result, I have 2 guns; 1 for defensive purposes and 1 for practice (very similar size and feel to my defensive gun, but shoots inexpensive .22LR ammo). I really enjoy shooting and frequent the range often. It's becoming a hobby for me.
 

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Welcome aboard.
I will admit that the FN Five Seven scores high on the cool factor. I would not recommend it as a first handgun unless I knew you had a pile of money for practice ammo. Also, as noted previously, there are better choices for actual anti-personnel use.
I second the suggestion of the CZ with the additional Kadet kit. 9mms are pretty mild recoiling unless you get a very small one. Recoil tolerance comes with experience. I have a CZ 75BD and just got the Kadet Kit last week. Best money I've spent in a while. With the money you will be saving, consider attending a handgun safety class.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

I think you'll like it here.

Here's the CZ 75B Compact that I carry daily.



Great shooting gun.

You'll need a good holster & belt - then you'll be fine.
 

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Since you claim to have no experience in firearms, I highly recommend that you take some NRA or other courses in safe firearm usage and to learn as much as you can about the sport.
Shooting firearms is not like learning how to bowl or to shoot pool. There are serious consequences for not following safe firearms practices (You or others could be seriously injured or killed).
Having said that, once you have achieved a level of competence in the care and feeding of your guns, you will have fun.
I would also recommend that for a first sidearm you choose a .22lr. A Browning Buck Mark or a Ruger .22 will allow you to develop your shooting skills.
To shoot properly you need to control your sight picture, your breathing, your stance and your grip.
For self defense you meed to know about the difference between cover and concealment and the differences between shooting at paper vs shooting at an intruder.
There are many other things you need to know. Many of us who have been into the sport for so long forget what we did not know initially.
I offer these comments because they were given to me at the time that I decided to get into the sport.
This forum is a great resource for you to learn how to enjoy the sport safely.
Enjoy and Best of luck.
Good luck and welcome to the forum.
 

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Browning Buckmark. It's a .22LR and not suitable for self defense except in dire emergencies when Harsh Language will no longer do, but it's a great hobby/learning gun. Inexpensive to shoot, easy to care for, and forgiving.

Me? I'd skip the Fiveseven. It's essentially a .22 Magnum +P, go to a conventional centerfire cartirdge like 9mm for a low recoil gun. In fact, you could get a GLOCK and a conversion kit for .22LR and have a gun you can shoot as cheaply as the Buckmark, PLUS a home defense gun.

Just thinkin' outloud...
Dan
 
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