posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 10:15 PM
When choosing a handgun, the first and most important thing is to make sure it fits your hand. There is no one size fits all in handgun grips, and
there is no one size of hand - that's why newer guns are being designed with adjustable backstraps, especially HK and SiG. Then go to pointability,
pick a spot on the wall of the gunstore, adopt a shooting stance, close your eyes and bring the gun up to where you think the sights will align with
the target - then see how you did. Try it with different guns, you'll see a difference.
Next is ease of use - for you. Some favor a revolver because it's simple to use, most go for a semi auto which are generally more complex in
operation, although only minimally for some (e.g. Glock). Then you need to find a trigger action that you like, there are a myriad to choose from,
single action, traditional double action, double action only, safe action (Glock), quick action (Walther), safety fast system (FN), law enforcement
module (H&K), DAK (SiG).
Only then can you begin to think about caliber, because if you can't hold the gun properly, it doesn't point naturally for you, or you just don't
like that trigger action - then caliber won't save you. I'll focus on semi auto calibers (many of which can also be used in revolvers and vice
.22LR - it's for plinking forget it
.25AP - the gentlemans pocket pistol caliber, essentially similar to .22 ballistically - i.e. avoid it.
.32ACP - John Browning's favorite caliber, useful in a pocket gun only
.380ACP - considered by many to be the absolute minimum for self defence, commonly found in blowback pistols that generate a "higher than normal for
caliber" recoil as a result.
9mm (AKA - 9mm Luger, 9x19, 9mm Parabellum etc) - still the most popular police and personal defence caliber in the US for semi autos, but not by
much. An excellent choice especially for newbies. Cheap to shoot ($12 for 100 rounds at Walmart), moderate recoil, readily available, excellent
terminal ballistics for hollowpoints (of which more later).
.40S&W - almost #1 in police holsters in terms of number, a good choice but with higher recoil. A round that some find hard to shoot well.
.357SiG - A .40 case necked down to accept a 9mm bullet. Gaining popularity with police forces because of its barrier penetration capabilities.
Heavy on muzzle blast.
.45ACP - the classic old war horse - heavy recoil but with a slow impulse (more of a push than a snap because of the lower operating pressure). Puts
people down with as much authority as any handgun round can reasonably expect to.
Bullet design - this one causes arguments too, the following is my PERSONAL opinion - many would disagree.
Use FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) in lesser calibers, you need penetration not expansion - these consist of .25, .32 and .380 out of pocket guns (not larger
Use JHP (Jacketed Hollowpoint) in larger calibers - .380 (out of larger guns), 9mm, .40, .357, .45.
Hollowpoints feature a cavity in the tip that causes the bullet to expand or "mushroom" when it hits fluid at speed.
There are other lesser factors, do you want a rail to fit lights or lasers, which day sights or night sights work best etc, but essentially that's
Remember that we are fortunate enough to live in a nation that affords us the right to use a firearm for our personal safety while many in other
nations can only live in fear of a violent attack because their respective governments prefer them to be disarmed and defenceless.
Exercise your rights.