Ok so two of the places I check out first are J&G Sales and Aim Surplus. Both of these sell a pretty wide selection of weapons from surplus,
used, and police trade in guns, to brand new guns from a massive variety of very reputable companies.
Now if I was going to buy a brand new pistol right now... Grand Power P1 Mk 7 Compact
I'd buy this pistol at TWICE this price and be HAPPY to pay that! This brand is up and coming, and to give you an idea, once this batch at these
prices are gone the next distributor will be DOUBLING IF NOT TRIPLING THE PRICE! And the reality is they are worth it.
Ok now here's my caveat though... Pistols are crap for home defense. My second Caveat is if you have the budget for it buy TWO of whatever pistol
you settle on. Here's why...
1. If at all possible get a CCW: Guns can only save your life if they are loaded, on your person, and legally possessed. Having a CCW makes this
more likely to be your situation.
2. You are in more danger from your own pistol than the bad guy if you aren't comfortable and competent with it: Now this being said, there's only
one way to get competent with a firearm. PRACTICE! Especially if you're a relatively new shooter you should not be buying ammunition in under 500
round lots. This is also why I am advocating the grand power. In theory you can afford two of them for less than the price of one pistol from a more
well known brand... (Honestly under a thousand dollars you aren't finding anything that comes close to equaling grand powers in my personal
3. All this practice will eventually take it's toll on your practice gun: One of the first rules of CCW is buy something that goes bang every time NO
MATTER WHAT! Ideally this means you more or less put not many more than the recommended break in rounds through the designated carry gun while
letting the other copy take the load of your training regimen. (IN addition once you figure out which actual self defense ammunition the practice gun
likes you should run several magazines of this ammunition through your actual carry gun including some hard rapid fire drills, because occasionally
different guns of the same make and model will not be as happy with the same ammunition.) On this note also you really do want to take your carry gun
magazines to the range once or twice just to get the springs broken in properly reducing the chance of odd misfeeds.
Now here's my final reason for recommending the grand power compact and in 9mm. I'm thinking by some of your questions you are a relatively new
shooter. If that is the case a compact pistol is all the smaller I'd go even if it does limit your carry position options because as a new shooter
the compact pistols will be easier for you to manage recoil AND shoot with acceptable levels of accuracy in a high stress situation! Also 9x19
ammunition in standard 115 grain Full Metal Jacket is about the cheapest handgun ammo available currently. That's a good thing considering you're
going to want to budget for like 1500 rounds of 115 grain FMJ of which you should shoot 80% of it before you start hunting for your designated
defensive load. This will give you a level of comfort with your pistol that many shooters sadly do not have.
Many people will try to tell you that 9mm is not enough knockdown power or etc. Truthfully though, the difference in total energy between ANY of the
major rounds is pretty negligeble. On top of that though test after test that have been done scientifically say that shot placement counts for more
than ANY OTHER FACTOR out of pistol caliber weapons! In addition though 9mm being on the milder end of the recoil spectrum gives you a much greater
chance at snapping off a second third and fourth shot much quicker and in a MUCH MORE CONTROLLED FASHION than other options. This counts for a huge
amount considering the likelihood of you hitting and disabling an opponent on the first shot is basically zero!
Ok Now onto ordering firearms online. Like the guy at the shop said you can in fact do so and have the resulting purchase shipped to the dealer at
which point he'll do the transfer paperwork and background check for you for a fee between 15 and 50 dollars per transfer or firearm depending on the
dealer. (If it's more than this you should find another transfer option which can easily be done by going to gunbroker.com and using their FFL finder
link which will give you a list of FFL's in your local area that covers their hours, fee schedule, and other relevant details including what they
stock and any things they will or will not do.)
There are several sites that collect and list active promotions in a blog style format that will help you find the best deals on a gun once you have
narrowed down what you want. In addition there are quite a few sites that collate the best deals on popular makes and models which I do not know off
hand. However a good start is to peruse the links section on the side of the main page at The Firearm Blog
However if you are feeling overwhelmed and kind of want some help narrowing some stuff down, feel free to write a post sort of telling us sages of the
semiautomatic that hang out here in this subforum what your wants, needs, and etc are and I'm sure one of us will have some advice that at least gets
you headed in the right direction.