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In Need of Advice on Buying a Handgun

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posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 09:51 AM
First, I'd rather this not be a "my favorite handgun thread" as one already exists for that. I need advice on what would best suit my specific needs. I am planning on buying a handgun and would prefer an automatic, not a revolver. What would be my best bet as far as affordabitlity and effectiveness(stopping power, range, and accuracy)? Another thing I need to consider is the availability of ammunition with the recent surge of ammo sales. I just need something for protection, should I ever encounter an intruder. Your help will be appreciated!

[edit on 2/27/2009 by Tunatarian]

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:05 AM
reply to post by Tunatarian

There are as many differing opinions on this subject as there are guns available.
Some people believe that a revolver is the best choice for long-tern reliability, the "proven standard" so to speak.
Others like the semi-auto because of capacity, concealment, et cetera.
My opinion is that you should buy what you are most comfortble with, what feels good in your hand that you are able to hit that broad side of the barn with.

As far as caliber, again there are many different lines of thought. I think many people believe that 9mm will be available in bulk for quite some time because of it's common use among LEO and the military, others like the stopping power of the .45

If you buy a good .357, whether it's a revolver (MORE COMMON) OR A SEMI, you will, in essence have two guns since you can fire both .38 and .357 rounds out of the same weapon without modification. Both ofthosa calibers will also be available long after the others have began to dry up.

It's a tough call bro- Are you wanting one that will work great and carry well, or one that you will be able to load after most bullets have become scarce, or what?

My thought o the matte is that with these uncertain times, if it's a "survival" weapon, for use whe TSHTF, then I would go with a 9mm or a 357 mag.

If it's just for everyday protection, camping, et cetera, go with a .44 mag or a .45

There are many handguns available with multiple barrel configuratons, such as a .40 cal pistol that you can cnfigure to shoot 9mm or 22lr. You have to break it down and change parts however, and that may weaken the overall integrity over the long term.

Good luck, and let me know on which you decide.


posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:09 AM
reply to post by Tunatarian

SpringfieldXD series is all the rage. go 9mm or .45 depending on your desire for (less recoil/more bullets) vs (marginally larger stopping power).

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:33 AM
My choice was a 45 after much study. I was told a 9mm was like an ice pick hitting your shoulder and a 45 was like a sledge hammer. I am not a great shot, so I need to make the ones that hit count. make sure you buy quality. Cheap junk will jam about the time you need it most. I went H&K, but there are several good ones out there. Go to the gun shop and check them out. If you have a range, deffinately go and shoot several different ones. I am not sure where in NC you are, but in Fayetteville ,there is a shop called Jims pawn and gun. they have a range and you can rent whatever you want to try. I played with a 50cal desert eagle just to see. It's a hand howitzer. Way to much firepower. If you are looking for concealed cary, make sure it's compact and reliable. Know your weapon inside and out. you should be able to break it down and put it back togeather in less than two minutes. that way you will not have unfarmiliarity as one of your problems if you need to use it. you will have enough things to worry about should that day ever come. Good luck and always remember, never point your weapon at anything you don't intend to kill.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:40 AM
One thing I cannot stress enough is price, don't pick a gun just because its the cheapest in the counter. Research the options in your area and figure out whats the most reliable you can get then start working towards getting it. Reliability is one of the most things to look for; if it wont reliably fire time after time without fail then its not worth getting in my book.

As for caliber I suggest nothing less than 9mm, and if the gun will be carried for personal defense only stock it with quality ammunition. Case in point is my own personal carry piece which is a Walther P99 in .40 S&W, when its riding along with me its only loaded with Fedral Hydra-Shock hollow points and nothing else.

Also a word from a very wise gun shop owner: avoid Hi-Point handguns completely, there is a reason their MSRP is so low.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:45 AM
If your concern is home intruders youre better off with a shotgun.

If you must have a handgun then for home defense a revolver will be more reliable than a semi.

For ammo concerns a .357 will allow you to shoot .38 but if you've never shot before dont think that a .38 is some small feather cartridge. It'll snap hard and send fire out in all directions. It's pretty cool to watch.

Before you do anything at all find a friend or acquaintance who isnt a dumbass and is a gunowner to take you shooting. Find a class if you can but in states that mandate classes for permits you're going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on it. Funny, when government mandates a thing forcing people to do it that thing gets more expensive.

I'd suggest going to a shop that isnt staffed by dumbasses and talk to them but the chances you'll get talking to some idiot pushing a .44 on you on trying to explain how an AR-15 makes for a good bedside gun are frankly too high.

If you were in NH I'd just say U2U me and we can spend some quality time together.

Baby steps. It's not just important for your safety but also for your ability, knowledge and shooting enjoyment. Too often somebody gets talked into going big/flashy/pointless and quickly gives up shooting because they're uncomfortable or missing everything then somebody like me gets a used gun pretty cheap. Dont be the guy I get a cheap used gun from because you didnt shop smart.

Dont get me wrong, big/flashy/pointless definitely have their place but generally not anywhere near purpose and function.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:47 AM
Glock 19 - 9mm Semi


posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:50 AM
I don't want to sound preachy but do you think its appropriate to be discussing which is the best gun to buy when this is a public webiste that minors have access to? I actually find this quite offensive. No wonder the USA has the problems it has. And if you can't see the reasoning in this you guys have even bigger problems than I thought.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:54 AM
Ditto on the Springfield XD series. There are many configurations available including the new M series XD. My choice is the standard 9mm.

My friends in law enforcement prefer the good old Sig Sauer p226 which is available in 3 calibers and multiple configurations. These are slighlty more complex to operate than the XD or a Glock. The XD and Glocks have no manual safeties or decocking levers.

It has been stated many times that ammo is a personal preference. I like 9mm because of my ability to control its recoil and to deliver a rapid succession of accurate shots to center mass. Ammo is relatively cheap. Simple FMJ is what I have stocked up on for "bulk" use. Hydra Shock for personal carry and general home defense. Remington 870 loaded with 00 buck for back up.

Find a good range near you that also rents a variety of different handguns in different calibers. Try them on for size.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 11:45 AM
Ok. I need to make one thing clear.
A .44Mag is NOT a good defense weapon. Thats way too much for home defense, too big, too powerful, too loud to shoot inside without plugs (risking permanent drum damage) not to mention flash blinding your retinas completely if you fire in the dark.
The rest of these comments were good but when someone unexpierenced asks for advice it's our responsibility to provide accurate information, and the above is an example that is completely the opposite.

You need to "try on" several different models, get what's most comfortable to you. Any automatic in 9mm/40/45 would be a good start. User friendly is another plus. Dropping 1000+ on a Kimber 1911 45 is going to be a waste of money for you. Glock, XD's, Sig etc.. are all good choices.
40 tends to be my favorite round for your defense purpose. I don't own one longer but as far as joules on impact and capacity/weight it's about the best. 9mm is a little small for me and has a bigger risk of overpenetration. 45 is my current choice but it's limited by capacity.

For revolvers, 38 or MAYBE 357. Taurus, Smith, good choices. A small J frame that can handle +P is a good choice. 357 is a serious round.. and shooting out of a small Jframe revolver will turn you off real quick. In a nutshell, it hurts. If you want a 357 youll need a get a larger frame like a K frame.

In the end you need to go for comfort. It doesnt matter what caliber of the above if you can be effective and accurate with it.

Feel free to u2u me if you'd like more help/advice etc..

[edit on 27-2-2009 by n1zzzn]

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 12:02 PM
all great advice. i'm a gun nut and personally i love my 457 s&w- my little companion i carry everywhere. i have a 357 for hunting- colt trooper mark 4 with an 8 1/2" barrel.stay away from high point- i have one and i hate it. for some reason the magazine release button is EXACTLY where you put your thumb to shoot and causes an accidental drop out at times.
my gf has been shopping for a gun because she wants one and a permit to carry. if you dont know about guns i told her the best is a revolver in 357 because you can shoot 38 out of it also. don't knock a 38- what police used for years. plus a revolver is very simple to clean and reliable. you MUST keep an auto clean or it WILL jam. plus you have to be sure it will eat the ammo you put in it. the most important thing is how comfortable it is to you and -i can not stress this enough- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!! and never consider the 25acp you are better off with a 22lr

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 12:23 PM
I would go to a range that offers gun rentals and try out a bunch of stuff. Get whatever feels the best to you, and you're most accurate with since it's mostly personal preference once you get into high quality stuff.

I wouldn't cheap out since a gun will last forever if you take care of that few extra dollars for something top of the line now will seem like nothing in 10 or 20 years.

I would consider Sig, H&K, Glock, Springfield, FN, Kahr, Beretta, CZ etc

If you want it for defense and plan to carry it concealed I'd look into something like a Sig P239 SAS in .40 or .357 sig for an auto, and S&W airweight if you're considering a revolver.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 12:31 PM
that is a great piece of advice. unfortunately where i live in in pa (poconos) no gun stores offer a range to try before you buy. i think all should- just like test driving a car.
when i lived in alaska the one store had a test range- they had 1000's of guns- all you had to do was pay for the ammo and you get to shoot. if you decided you liked it and bought it then the ammo was free.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 01:11 PM
reply to post by Tunatarian

I was at the range the other day and they were selling .40 smith & wesson automatics for around 340 dollars ... I am a .45 man myself but there is a lot of people moving over to the .40 caliber and I wouldn't mind being one of them. I would personally buy one because a good .45 is about 750+ and I couldn't see myself with a 9mm... I probably won't get another hand gun in the future because I just bought a new GSG-5 which is a MP5 clone that shoots .22LR ... I am actually thinking about using it for home defense because You can unload a full clip in a few seconds and every shot will be center mass at a pretty good distance ... I know its not a hand gun but its a VERY light carbine which is very accurate and deadly at maximum hand gun ranges .... You have to remember .22 bullets kill more people per year just because they bounce around in the body ... So just imagine what 10 rounds would do at center mass...

I would get a .40 for the cost though and a .45 if You just want a bigger bullet .... I wouldn't go with a .44 or a .357 because those would go straigh through Your walls and possibly hurt an innocent...

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 01:11 PM
Best choice of hand gun really depends on what your intending to do with it and your level of gun knowledge. For beginners and those with little gun knowledge and for personal defense a good ole revolver is what I would recommend. It doesn't have to be sexy it just has to do the job. And a revolver will work right the first time, everytime. Recommended calibers .38, .357, or .45. Personally i would go with a .45 regardless of revolver or acp. Nothing says back off more then looking down the barrel of a cannon. Also personally i would rather put some one on their butt no matter where I hit them then have my bullet go thru them like a hot knife thru butter. Its all about stopping power when its your life or theirs in my book.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 01:40 PM

Originally posted by bigfoot1212
that is a great piece of advice. unfortunately where i live in in pa (poconos) no gun stores offer a range to try before you buy. i think all should- just like test driving a car.

I just did a quick search and found this place in the poconos that offers rentals

Says they have 65 rentals and here's the list

For the orginal poster here are few places I quickly found in NC that have
rentals available

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 02:07 PM
I'll throw another nod to the .38 snub revolver! Hands down the most reliable, easy to shoot handgun ever! Also, even the tiniest of ladies can handle this weapon. They tend to lean on the small models like, .22 or .25, for their easy to handle factor. Problem is shooting an intruder with a .25 anywhere other than the pupil, will likely just irritate the SOB! The .38 is small, easy to handle and conceal, while still providing enough aim forgiving punch.

That said, close range protection for a man, it's tough to beat a .45 Glock 30 sub compact! 11 shots and heavy enough for a serious pistol whippin! Great piece for the money. If you want absolute beauty and perfection, I'd say a Kimber or Walther? All three are top notch, in my opinion!

I forgot the to mention the #1 urban assault weapon period! Trusty old Remington 870 12g Shotgun. Pistol grip, sling, shorter barrel, extended 8 shell receiver tube and mounted LED flashlight. Hands down the most effective weapon to protect your home and family!

[edit on 2/27/2009 by Zerbst]

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 02:40 PM
XD 40 service (4") buy the additional 9mm 4" service barrel and 9mm mags, it takes about 10 seconds or less to swap the barrel and drop in the 9mm mag, no other changes needed. Completely 100% service field reliable in the swap the .40 chassis was designed specifically the same as the 9mm except in the barrel size, although the reverse is not true.

You can not take the XD 9 service and swap a .40 barrel.

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 06:36 PM
yes i live 15 minutes from sunset hill range. i usedto shoot trap there- they have rentals at the range but do not sell guns- more of a tourist thing so anyone can shoot an uzi,44mag, ak47 etc. and they usually only have about 10 different guns to play with which are not for sale. the range itself is free if you bring your own gun tho

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:58 PM
link should ask yourself "what is my life worth" The reason I say this is because people are often concerned with price of a pistol, but if the weapon must one day protect your life, then it should be viewed in the same manner as you would if you were putting a price tag on your life. With that said, buy the best quality weapon you can afford. Find what feels comfortable and natural to hold and shoot, and test out (via renting at a range) as many models and calibers you can until you find what suits you the best. In my CPL class, they had plaster molds of the damage different calibers caused to ballistic jelly, and the 3 biggest wound channels where .45 .40 .38 (no joke). Any caliber can kill, you must remember the weapon is just a tool...find the tool that works best for you. I currently own a Glock Model 23 (.40) because after much rental and range time, that is what felt the best to me. I plan to get a .38 as well because revolvers are the most reliable, the .38 is small yet very lethal, and makes a great backup/concealed carry. There are many great, high quality guns out there, just as there is a lot of junk as some research and some range time, and remember that it is better to spend $500-$1000 to have a reliable, well built weapon that could save your life versus spending $100-$300 and experiencing failure when your life is on the line.

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