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Looking to buy my first handgun and could use some advice

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posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 06:47 AM
a reply to: Allaroundyou

We've had some pretty good gun collection threads over the years. Not since politics came to dominate everyone's interest and hopefully it'll die down to a mild headache.

ATSers even posted some of their own inherited, or collected, weapons.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:09 AM
a reply to: Riffrafter
I have to agree with the M&P Shield 9mm for a beginner. If your looking for the most bang for you buck, no pun intended, the Shield is a good place to start. The ergonomics are nice and has has good reliability. I'm not a fan myself as I am a Glock guy thru and thru, but as most have already stated the Glock is what fits me personaly. My best groupings are with Glocks.

Don't purchase anything until you have shot a few different guns. I always wanted a Keltec P11 until I shot one and it was a HORRIBLE experience. I now have a Taurus TCP for carry. It was much better for me personally.
edit on 6 3 2018 by SgtHamsandwich because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:23 AM

originally posted by: Riffrafter
Hi Folks,

I'm looking to purchase my first handgun. I've been meaning to get one for a while and now with all the talk about potential gun control laws in the wake of the recent shootings, I figured I better get one while it's still possible to do it without a proctology examination.

I live in VA now by the way, which is a great state to buy a gun in. They do a quick & easy background check just to make sure you have no felony convictions, and you can usually buy it and be on your way in 20 minutes or less.

I'm interested in either a .45 or a 9mm. I've looked at various Glock's but they seem pretty pricey compared to some others. I've seen a few other makes/models but I don't know much about them.

Any opinions on lower cost 9mm or .45? Both feel comfortable in my hands...

Thanks in advance for your experienced opinions.

If you’re buying a handgun for self-defense, “pricey” shouldn’t weigh in. You want it to work WHEN you need it to work. That said, of my numerous handguns, my Performance Center Smith & Wesson Shield .45 is my favorite and my every day carry. Light, with a round that will stop a threat. Performance center because I prefer the mods they add.
edit on 3/6/2018 by Lab4Us because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:23 AM
As a firearms instructor, my first question to you would be, what are you looking to do with the pistol you are contemplating buying? Personal protection at home? Concealed carry? Sport shooting?

The second thing I would recommend is not buying anything until you have tried several different types in the niche you are looking to fill. Firearms are like shoes, one size doesn't fit all, and every firearm fits its user differently. I'd suggest going to a shooting range which rents pistols for use (there are many...usually most indoor ranges do).

To illustrate what I'm talking about in the points above, several posters here have made recommendations to you. Here would be some of my comments to those recommendations...

Beretta 92FS - Probably one of the best pistols ever designed (2nd only to the 1911A1). However, it is a very large pistol and probably one of the heaviest semi-auto's out there. A 92FS would not be suitable for concealed carry at all, and may even be too large for your hand (it is for many).

Glock (any) - Glock is also a fine pistol. However, Glock's have a very unusual grip angle. People either love them, or hate them. Glocks also have a unusual trigger safety system which some are not fond of (I happen to be one of them). That said, Glocks can be extremely accurate. My first real experience shooting a Glock was during a very intense Air Marshal test course (we had to switch to an unfamiliar pistol and continue). I shot it astonishingly well, considering the intense environment (but again, I'm an instructor so your mileage may vary). Some of the smaller Glocks (we call them "Baby Glocks") are some of the best concealed carry pistols out there.

S&W M&P/Shield - Another fine pistol. Depending on model, probably one of the best values out there. Reliable, accurate and well suited for concealed carry (again, depending on model).

Springfield XD - (hmmmmm, how to be nice) The Springfield name is known for making fantastic firearms. In my humble opinion, the XD is not one of them. I own several Springfield pistols and rifles, but not the XD. I'd still try one if I were you, but that's just my take. I could go into more detail on why I'm not fond of them, but it's probably more detail than required here.

Kahr CM9 - A brilliant pistol when it first came out, probably the best out there for truly concealed carry. Then they "fixed" it (meaning they screwed it up). They've realized the error of their ways and are 'un-fixing' it now, but it may take a couple models to work out the kinks. None of the issues Kahr experienced would affect a beginning shooter, but for the price (Kahr's aren't cheap) you can get more pistol.

Most of the discussion above is related to 9mm, but the above pistols (except for the Beretta and the Kahr) come in many other calibers besides 9mm (i.e. .380, .40, .45 and even 10mm).

Now to the .45's. The same notes above apply, but you also have some other options in .45.

If you're not necessarily looking for a concealed carry pistol (although some do carry them) probably the finest pistol ever developed is the John Moses Browning 1911A1 pistol. As pistols go, the 1911 has no rival. They are, hands down, the best firearm on the planet. There are too many derivatives of the 1911 to go into all of them here, but some superior manufacturers are Springfield, Colt, Wilson Combat among many others. There are also some crap 1911's out there, so know what you're doing before buying one.

There is a long list of other .45's out there, but unless you're laser focused on concealed carry the 1911 should fill the top 20 slots for candidates (that's how far superior the 1911 is to any other model).

Some other quick thoughts... Don't be afraid to take a look at some used pistols. If a pistol has been taken care of they will last for nearly a lifetime of most shooters. This is especially true for the 1911 because you can rebuild them. Have I ever worn out a pistol? Sure, but it takes hundreds of thousands of rounds to do (more than most people will shoot in 3 lifetimes). Many times you can get a better quality pistol in the used market than you can in the new market (for the same price).

Lastly, your priorities (in order) should be...

1. Safety
2. Safety
3. Safety
4. Reliability
5. Accuracy
6. Price that order. (remember, #1 though #5 = quality)

Hope this helps.

Oh, and if you have questions please feel free to post them, or you can PM me as well. Always glad to help a fellow shooter!

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:38 AM
One other note; there is a long standing debate over 9mm vs. .45 cal. I have intentionally avoided this discussion because it could take up 2,000 pages here and still not get resolved. Both cartridges have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are fine calibers.

If you were only going to buy one pistol in your life, I'd recommend going with any of the following cartridges...

.22 LR
.357/.38 Spl. (I didn't discuss wheel guns (revolvers) above, but they are also a fine choice).

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:40 AM
Glock's can be dangerous for first timers.

There is no real safety on a Glock and putting it in a holster wrong can cause a AD

Glock's contributed to more than 120 accidental discharges in the Washington Metropolitan Police Department from 1988 to 1998.
And these are trained police officers.
Get a 1911 type firearm with its grip safety and manual safety.
edit on 3-6-2018 by ANNED because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:47 AM
a reply to: Riffrafter

Four ways to wear a trench coat

There's such a wide range tho, it all comes down to personal preference.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:49 AM
a reply to: Riffrafter

Not sure if this is allowed but there is a site called

It is like a craigslist for guns. You can put in your city and everything that is posted near you will pop up.
edit on 3-6-2018 by Woodcarver because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 07:55 AM
I also wanted to add:

Guns require maintenance. Their biggest enemies are rust and politicians. You have to clean and oil your gun!

I recommend FP-10. There is no better handgun lube. If you choose to go with a S&W M&P or Shield, it is very important to keep them lubed. Even if you don't shoot it, check it and lube if needed every MONTH. If the Smith goes dry, it *will* jam.

Glocks on the other hand, don't care. They are dead reliable, and are the only gun I've never had a non-deliberately induced malfunction on. They can be limp-wristed into a FTF ( Failure to Feed )

Some impressions of guns I've concealed carried over the years:

- S&W Shield 9mm. Excellent carry gun, and my current main carry. Rides great in a Desantis pocket holster. Very accurate and easy to shoot at self-defense distances.

- Glock 27: A little snappy, too bulky for a pocket. Disappears with the right belt and IWB holster. Not a bad choice for some. Sometimes carry with a Clipdraw.

- Glock 26: See Glock 27

- SA XDS .45 - Carried fine with a IWB holster, ankle holster, or Clipdraw. The edges could occasionally dig into my side and be uncomfortable.

- Taurus PT145: Don't get this gun for self-defense. Not reliable.

- Ruger SP101: Excellent pocket revolver. Even better if you can find a spare hammer and have it bobbed. Only limiting factor is capacity and ease of reloading.

- Colt Gold Cup 1911: Excellent winter carry, but recommend a combat rear sight versus the target rear I have on there, it digs into your side when sitting.

- Coonan .357 Magnum: Can be winter carried, but it's really too much gun. Not recommended for concealed carry. Awesome gun though.

- Ruger GP100 6": I only carried this to see if it could be concealed under a jacket. Not recommended. Maybe a 4" or a Wiley Clapp edition would work though.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:24 AM
a reply to: ANNED

...trained police officers.

As much as I hate to say it, when it comes to firearms that's an oxymoron, sadly.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:25 AM
a reply to: Riffrafter

First gun I'd go 9mm and I love my glock 19 well worth the extra money.

If you like glock that is some people really hate them.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:33 AM
a reply to: Riffrafter

I have a slim frame (small) 9mm, and a 45 acp I carry daily, Glock and Taurus... apples and oranges.

Gonna carry daily? For the home? Large Cal.? Small Cal.?

It's a personal thing. Brands, size, calibers. Go to a range and try some. Everyone is different.
edit on 3-6-2018 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:40 AM

originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: ANNED

...trained police officers.

As much as I hate to say it, when it comes to firearms that's an oxymoron, sadly.

Indeed. The expense of properly training and keeping that training up is all too often overlooked at LE agencies. Everyone assumes that police is general are highly trained with firearms. The vast majority shoot 50 or 100 rounds per year during qualification. And the qualification in my area is 70 out of 100. Out of 50 rounds, 15 can completely miss the target.

Shooting is a perishable skill. It needs to be regularly practiced and practiced *correctly*. It's one of the reasons why if the OP can't take the time and spend the money to shoot *at least* a box of ammo a month, they don't need to carry a firearm.

I just shook my head when I heard that one of the local LE agencies in my area was switching from Glocks to Sigs for no other reason than the fact that the Sig has a decocker and a heavy DA first trigger pull. This is for "liability" reasons. So... without training... the officers at that agency will have even worse shooting scores...

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:47 AM
a reply to: cynicalheathen

The only part I'd disagree with somewhat is the PT-145. The old ones, yes, but the latest generation are pretty reliable if you use the proper ammo. Any polymer framed sub-compact pistol in .45 is going to be prone to FTE/FTF due to limp wristing on recoil. This is one of the reasons I'd probably recommend not going with .45 as a concealed carry for a relatively new shooter. We could easily slip into the 9mm vs. .45 debate here, so I'll leave it at that.

For the record, I carry both (depending on the situation...not at the same time though).

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:56 AM
a reply to: JDmOKI

And the 19 is a perfect example of why too. In fact, what I recommend to people is to go shoot a 19, and if they like it then they will like Glocks. If they don't, well, then they probably won't like Glocks in general.

They definitely get the 'ugly duckling' award, but Glocks are a shining example of how looks can be deceiving. They're as ugly as a Bryco (gak!), but they'll hang with a 1911 on the range (in the right hands). Not very many can make that claim! Not very many at all.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:59 AM
I know you said 9mm or .45. A couple people suggested .22lr. This is a great idea if you can afford a second gun. They are fun to shoot, inexpensive, and good practice aiming. You would need to be a really good shot to consider it as your primary gun.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 08:59 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

They may have cleaned up their act, but based on my experiences with Taurus ( I've owned a PT111 Pro and PT145 Pro ), I will never own or recommend their products again. I eventually got them to be ( mostly ) reliable, but for a self-defense gun, that's unacceptable.

For the record, two of the Springers I've owned had to go back for a recall. ( XDM3.8 9mm and XDS-45 ). I currently own no Springfield handguns.

As far as caliber goes, I always recommend whatever the shooter is comfortable with, so long as it's 9mm or .38 spl at a minimum.

I personally carry 9mm, .40, .38/.357, or .45 depending on time of the year or my clothing choices.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 09:02 AM
a reply to: cynicalheathen

Sig reliability has gone in the toilet too. They used to be at the top of the list for reliability, now they're way down (but the price sure isn't).

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 09:05 AM
I agree...Hickok45 is Da Man when it come to opinions on guns. He puts 'em to the test and gives you an honest assessment.

posted on Jun, 3 2018 @ 09:15 AM
a reply to: cynicalheathen

Yeah, this is one of the reasons I said what I did about the XD. Springfield 1911's are big bang for the buck though! Of course the 1911's along with the M1A's are their flagship products too, so I guess it stands to reason.

The XD is another example of a manufacturer "fixing" something, a solution in search of a problem.

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