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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am looking to hopefully purchase my first handgun sometime in October (maybe sooner). I am curious as to what suggestions anyone may have based on my budget (<$600) and current preferences. I prefer new vs used. I like heavy, larger frame revolvers. Looks like I prefer smaller, heavier (i.e. PX4 Storm Compact) pistols. I am also located in Missouri, if that has any bearing on potential recommendations. Being able to conceal carry easily is preferred, but not an absolute must. While I would like to have this firearm on my person for defense, I will be primarily engaging in recreational shooting to improve my ability and confidence with firearms.

As of now, I am quite interested in the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact. I have yet to fire one, but the fit in my hand is like a glove and I am quite pleased with the design, craftsmanship, weight, etc. Are there any similar firearms that I should look into based on my interest in the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact? I am very much interested in DA/SA, preferably with a de-cocking safety. I am also looking at the Beretta BU9 Nano. Haven't been able to find one in stock to handle yet.

As far as what I have experience with: Smith and Wesson Model Governor (love it, .45LC), Smith and Wesson M&P Shield .40S&W (not my favorite as far as fitting my hand and awfully light), Smith and Wesson M&P .45ACP (feels a bit light, not the best hand fit), Smith and Wesson J-Frame .38/.357 (not a fan of the hand fit with the J-Frames). As far as accuracy, I was quite a bit better with the Governor. May have been a mentality thing (went in liking the Governor) and/or fit comfort. The .40S&W came in second, even though I wasn't particularly fond of the firearm's fit in my hand and light weight. I have also handled a Colt 1908 vest gun in .25ACP. Cleaned her up. I like the fit. Haven't had a chance to take it to the range yet.

If I could afford one, I would go out and buy a S&W Model Governor tomorrow. The PX4 Storm Compact is going for about $580 at my local, preferred shop/range.

I am not necessarily tied to any particular manufacturer, I just have only had the opportunity to shoot Smith and Wesson's so far. I do like them, generally, especially their revolvers.

I'm just looking for some suggestions so I can narrow down what I am looking at at the gunshop, as opposed to handling every gun in every counter (though I wouldn't be opposed to doing just that).

The gunshop in question is an authorized dealer for nearly every "major" manufacturer, as well as having an onsite gunsmith that is authorized by the same manufacturers, so I should be able to find and handle most any recommended firearm.
 

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My first purchase was a Ruger Mark II in .22lr many moons ago and I do not regret it. It let me practice the basics of hand gunning and it was cheap to operate. A couple of years ago I started buying high power handguns and I enjoy them all. Enjoy your choices too.
 

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You might want to look into the S&W 9mm Shield........ Works for concealment, comfortable recoil, accurate and nice trigger........ They come with a thumb safety or not.......

9mm Shield
 

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Find a range that rents guns to try out before you buy. Holding one is different from shooting one. I would also recommend finding a good instructor to make sure you start off learning to shoot handguns correctly, it is easier to learn the right way instead of learning to correct bad habits. Handguns are very personal to each person and what is good for me may not be good for you. Good luck with your search and welcome.
 

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If you like the Governor for use with .45 "Long" Colt, you are placing your bet on the wrong horse.
If you want to shoot .45 "Long" Colt, then buy a pistol that is chambered for that cartridge exactly, not a market-driven hybrid designed for ineffective .410 shotshells.

Buying a pistol is not a matter of emotions. It is a practical matter of intended use, and personal fit.
(See Tony's advice, in Post #4 of this thread.)
Step One: Figure out exactly what you want to use the pistol for, and then find pistols which are designed for that particular application.
Step Two: Actually handle, and try to find a way to actually fire, as many of those specific-application pistols as you can. Take notes.
Step Three: Review your notes, and, using them, make a carefully-reasoned choice.

Having done that, now find an instructor (or at least a class) in the use of the pistol.
Pistol shooting is not easy. Doing it with reasonable effectiveness requires some guidance and a lot of practice.
 

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I like Cait's suggestion of the M&P Shield 9mm quite a lot. It's one of my carry choices and I find it very accurate for me.

That said, if I were wanting just one first gun to learn with and defend myself with, my choice would be the Walther PPQ M2. It's about the size of a PX4 but fits a lot of people more comfortably. Some say it has the sweetest feel in the business and the sweetest trigger in the business. I concur. One thing though. It's a striker fired pistol, so no thumb safety and no hammer. But, this means the first pull and subsequent pulls are all the same. No first hard long pull, then followup easy pulls to train yourself in like DA/SA pistols. For a defensive firearm I might need in a hurry and under stressful situations, I don't want to have to consider a thumb safety or DA/SA changes in trigger pull. I need it to be available quickly and the same way every time. The PPQ gives me this but includes three built in automatic safeties and that first and every pull is not only exactly the same, but many consider the best. That's not only it's reputation, but I completely agree.

When I decided to upgrade my home defense gun, I wrote down the above characteristics, then a short list of various models which fit. I then went to the range and rented the six which met that list. I did it on more than one occasion usually. I worked it down to two pistols, dropping the Glock 19 from consideration. Those two were the Walther PPQ M2 and the Sig Sauer P320. The Walther edged out the Sig after a 3rd range test and I bought it. I've not been disappointed in the least. It's everything it's been trumped up to be. Hence, my recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, excellent input everyone. I very much appreciate the advice and welcomes. Plenty to think over and take into consideration.

Financially, my ability to do extensive, multi-firearm rentals/tests is limited, but I plan on being able to get in at least my top 3 after handling/inspecting them. As of now, it's looking like those will be the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact 9mm, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 9mm, and Walther PPQ M2 9mm. After making my first purchase, this shop/range has a membership program (1 year free with purchase of firearm) that gives a 50% discount on range time, 10% discount on ammo bought at the range, and some additional bonuses that I seem to be forgetting at the moment. They also offer various on-site training courses (CC, first-time shooters, advanced training, etc.) that I will be taking advantage of as finances allow. I have no intentions of becoming "that guy" when it comes to firearm use and safety, unless "that guy" takes on the persona of competent and safe firearm owner/user.

Thank you everyone for your input. I'll update as I progress through the "shopping" process, on the off-chance that my experiences and discoveries are helpful to others.
 

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Hi Jesse,

My wife just went through getting a new pistol. We have many pistols in our collection, large and small, both revolvers and semi-autos from .45 down to .22 caliber. Our personal favorites have changed over time but our NEW favorite is the one below. If you shop around you can find them in the low $500s. I think I paid $545 for mine at Academy. What surprised me about this pistol, is how accurate it is. Typically, small lightweight 9mm pistols tend to be a little harder to shoot accurately compared to larger pistols and this one really surprised us. It has a really nice trigger, night sights, and is easy to rack (a big plus for my wife) and it is also much easier to conceal than a larger pistol. If you get a chance, try one.

As others have said, and I agree, it would be best if you could handle and shoot all under consideration before making your final decision.

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/719014556/Sig+Sauer+938-9-DB-AMBI+P938+Semi

Good luck with your quest.
 

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Hi Jesse,

My wife just went through getting a new pistol. We have many pistols in our collection, large and small, both revolvers and semi-autos from .45 down to .22 caliber. Our personal favorites have changed over time but our NEW favorite is the one below. If you shop around you can find them in the low $500s. I think I paid $545 for mine at Academy. What surprised me about this pistol, is how accurate it is. Typically, small lightweight 9mm pistols tend to be a little harder to shoot accurately compared to larger pistols and this one really surprised us. It has a really nice trigger, night sights, and is easy to rack (a big plus for my wife) and it is also much easier to conceal than a larger pistol. If you get a chance, try one.

As others have said, and I agree, it would be best if you could handle and shoot all under consideration before making your final decision.

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/719014556/Sig+Sauer+938-9-DB-AMBI+P938+Semi

Good luck with your quest.
Yep, Sig P938 9mm.
Don't own one but have fired a friends P938 several times. Full size sights (night sights), surprisingly accurate, easy to hit with and mild recoiling. All in a small package.
Sig quality and LIFETIME PROFESSIONAL customer support. You owe it to yourself to try one before you buy anything else.

Edit:
Forgot to mention. You should try the P938 with the Sig brand extended magazine with the pinky finger rest.
The extension allows for a full purchase similar to that of a much larger pistol.

Sam
 

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The Beretta PX4 compact is a very good hammer-fired, DA/SA pistol. I have three Beretta Cougar pistols which were the all-metal precursors to the polymer-framed PX4 and share the same rotary barrel lock-up system. Cougars and PX4s seem to shoot very softly in any caliber.

If a DA/SA pistol is what you would feel more comfortable with, that is what I would buy. Striker-fired pistols are generally easier to learn on because there is no long DA trigger pull, or DA/SA transition to master. But if you are committed to practice, learning how to shoot a DA/SA pistol is not all that difficult, IMO.

I do have an M&P Shield 9mm and frankly I am not crazy about it. I like its compact size, but it does not fit my hand well either. The trigger is quite mediocre (I hear the 2.0 version is quite a bit better), the recoil spring is quite stiff, and the function of the slide stop lever is very awkward.

A pistol you might consider if the Walther P99 AS. This is a polymer-frame pistol with a feel similar (but not identical) to the PPQ. Like the PPQ, it is striker-fired but it has a DA/SA action with a decocker.
 

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Remember: First, figure out what you want the pistol to do for you. Self-protection? Hunting? Target shooting? Plinking?

Once having done that, the recommendations other people make will be a better guide to you.
 

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First carry piece, I always recommend DA/SA format. Unless it's a revolver. Highly recommend revolvers.

First gun, Safety first.

Forget about the bad guy , first focus on the safe carrying of your gun.

learn the different formats .

That should be your initial training , Safety first.
 

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...And I'm the opposite.
I believe, through experience, that a beginner will better learn to shoot a pistol well if every trigger press is the same.
DAO? SA? It doesn't matter, as long as every shot is sent off with the same trigger press.
 

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Ok, we're doing opposite, opposite Tuesday,,lol. :goofy::goofy:
still think learning the guns functionality first creates a safer experience , sometimes a longer life ,lol.
There are different mechanical formats, each should have it's own type of training .

There are more negligent discharges in the DAO format, the hammer is cocked, a round in the chamber . We are recommending this advice to someone who's never owned or carried a gun.
 

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...And I'm the opposite.
I believe, through experience, that a beginner will better learn to shoot a pistol well if every trigger press is the same.
DAO? SA? It doesn't matter, as long as every shot is sent off with the same trigger press.
Steve, my belief is that everyone should first learn DA/SA.. The simple reasoning behind this is once you learn the DA/SA trigger press everything else is an easier transition. Those who claim a DA/SA trigger is so foreign or hard to learn should have started with a DA/SA from the start in my opinion. Likewise , you handicap yourself not knowing the DA/SA pull in instances where a revolver or a DA/SA is all you may have. I taught my nephew to first shoot DA/SA, now he can shoot anything very well and naturally.

Remember, all one needs to learn in a DA/SA pistol is practically the first trigger press, the transition to SA and all the rest in SA. Granted, I agree with what you state by saying that a SA or DOA pistol may be at first easier to learn, but look at the long run. Generally, especially for a newbie and even experienced alike a DA/SA pistol for carry is much more forgiving than a <6 pound striker or single action pistol. :numbchuck:

I can assure you when you hear of ND's while carrying it's not gonna be a DA/SA gun 95% of the time.
 

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IMO the only drawback to the DA/SA is that it's kinda like the new shooter has to learn two guns at the same time.
A new shooter has enough to learn already. Keep it as simple as possible... > (K.I.S.S.)


Sam
 

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Gentlemen back to my first post on this thread about finding a good instructor. We often use terms a first time buyer very well may not understand. let us not confuse with to much remote information we can not show.
 

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IMO the only drawback to the DA/SA is that it's kinda like the new shooter has to learn two guns at the same time.
A new shooter has enough to learn already. Keep it as simple as possible... > (K.I.S.S.)

Sam
That hard? They will think it's natural because they know nothing else in my experience.
 
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