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choosing a pistol

3936 Views 33 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  JansenK
I am new to owning a hand gun and looking for helpful hints for the best one to by. i know there are alot of people that are brand loyal, etc., and one needs to find one that fits their hand the best.
how do you do that? i can't go and buy a gun and if don't like it, keep buying them until one fits well, that will add up quickly.
i'm looking for something to use for recreation, pistol shooting, but when the time comes, use to protect me and my family.
any ideas? thanks in advance.
i am leaning towards the gloc because its easy.....
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Check your area for in door pistol ranges at gun shops. They will rent pistol for you to try and will be more than helpful in finding the right one for you.
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Do some reading before you shop the internet is a great place to start. Decide what you intend on doing with your handgun, protection, CCW, target shooting,hunting. This will narrow you selections a bit. Buy the best handgun you can afford and you will never be sorry.
I know that some will disagree, but I think that what you are describing pretty much sums up a double action .38 Special or .357 revolver. I'm not talking about a small 5-shot pocket gun, but a medium framed service revolver with a 4-inch barrel. They were the mainstay of American law enforcement for decades and will serve you equally well today. They are simple to operate and shoot and if properly cared for, it will last for generations. A high quality revolver can be had for the same money as an entry level automatic. Also, when it comes to fitting your hand, the medium framed revolver such as the Model 10 S&W has a wide array of replacement grips that will fit about anyone. One of the deadliest men that I know is a gentleman who has worked in law enforcement for over 25 years. He has been in gunfights in the past and won. The weapon that he carries to this day; a .38 revolver.
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for some helpful reviews of many popular pistols check out a gentleman by the name of nutnfancy on you tube. He has tons of good gun reviews. I dont agree with some poins he makes, but he knows his stuff.
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I'll second the nutnfancy.

For something for recreational shooting that can also be used for defense, I would recommend a 9mm. It has adaquate stopping power and is the cheapest of the true self-defense rounds.

How much are you looking at spending? That might narrow your search down.
I'm going to go with the Colt M1911. It is a good gun with a lot of stopping power. It has a little more kick then some guys but I'm 215 pounds, so it doesn't bother me.
i have done alot of research..... still don't know, i need to get a 'feel'. where i use to live, in NJ, you can rent guns at the range, where i live now, PA, there doesn't seem to be any place to rent 'firearms', so i don't want to buy a gun on a 'crapshoot'.
i don't think money is an issue, when it comes to guns/self denfense. i don't plan on buying a gun every month, so whatever i need to spend...
I agree with mbarry, for a handgun newbie I always recommend a .38 spl revolver (Ruger, S&W). Mild to shoot and can take care of business. Later add the semi auto pistol.
i have done alot of research..... still don't know, i need to get a 'feel'. where i use to live, in NJ, you can rent guns at the range, where i live now, PA, there doesn't seem to be any place to rent 'firearms', so i don't want to buy a gun on a 'crapshoot'.
Pennsylania is a big place. I'm sure there are ranges around that will rent, perhaps not close to where you live, but how far are you willing to travel to keep from buying the "wrong" gun.

Another, less desirable option, is to go to the gun shows and "fondle" lots of different guns in the category you're looking for. You should be able to find one that "fits". For target shooting AND self-defense at .38spl/.357Mag or a 9mm is probably your best bet. The ammo is on the cheaper end of the scale as compared to .380/.40S&W or .45acp. At the gunshops and gunshows you should be able to pick up and mess with a variety of handguns in these calibers. Once you've narrowed the choices down to 2 or 3, then start asking questions about those specific models. Folks in here and other gun friendly sites can give you the pros and cons of each. Ultimately you'll have to take that leap of faith and pick one... Hopefully it will be a good one (may not be the best, but at least it will be good.)

Good Luck,

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One thing about a revolver is that there is very few parts. Very reliable, you can drop them in water dirt mud and they still fire. I like medium to large frame S&W, currently have a 686 with Crimson laser grip. For practice 38 SPL is reasonable priced ammo.

It's hard to go wrong with a revolver. I like autos too but a good revolver in 357 is very reassuring. I prefer the ruger blackhawk in .357mag. I know a lot of people won't endorce it for self defense because it's single action. This doesn't bother me in the least and I draw and shoot it just as quick as anyone. Reloading however is much slower than a d/action. The .357 also enables you to shoot the cheaper .38spl which has less recoil.
I can also recommend the smith and wesson airweight revolver in 38spl+p. It only carries five shots but I really don't feel undergunned with it. It's very accurate, I've got no trouble keeping shooting 3inch groups at 25ft. It's very easy to carry concealed.
If you plan on mostly using it to plink at the range get a .22 revolver or semi. I highly recommend the ruger 22/45. It runs around $250 but quickly pays for itself with cheap ammo. By the way, I certaily wouldn't want to face someone who's got 10rds in a semiauto .22.
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i need something that has cheap ammo to practice with. and hold up nicely. a revolver, might be to slow to reload if the shtf.
thats why i was thinking semi....
i heard good things and bad about glocs, less moving parts, etc....
taurus look good, heard they jam though.
mbarry201 has the right idea.

A good service revolver will last forever and hardly ever break. You might want to consider purchasing a .22lr revolver first and use it to practice with. It is cheaper to shoot and just plain fun. Plus the wife and kids can learn from it as well.

I bought an N frame .22lr Smith and Wesson almost 20 years ago and have shot thousands of rounds through it without a single problem.
Alot of people suggesting a revolver ( which I am not saying is a bad suggestion) but don't rule out an auto-loader. Holds more rounds and generaling loads faster (although someone good with a speed-loader can reload very fast).

If you are looking for an auto-loader, Glock makes a good gun. People tend to either love them or hate them. Their trigger is a little heavier because it's a double-action only design (DAO). SIG also has an excellent reputation. The S&W M&P has gotten good reviews; my son has one in .40 S&W and it's a fine gun. Another thing to consider is if you want it for conceal carry. If so, you want to go with something light and compact. If it is not, you will probably give up on carrying it. Kahr makes some good compact designs as well as the Kel-Tec P-11 and PF-9 which are 9mm and the Kel-Tec P3AT in .380. Another maker to look at would be Taurus. I've looked at their new 800 series and I like them. I'm a lefty and they are fully ambidextrious. Haven't read any reviews on them yet or talk to anyone who owns one, but Taurus has a good reputation and covers their guns with a lifetime warranty.

Best thing you can probably do, is visit several guns shops and look and as many guns as you can. Check out how they feel and look. You find something you like, google it and read as many reviews on it as you can find. You may discover it is a great guns or that it is plagued with problems.

Good luck on your search. :thumb:
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A .22LR can be a great place to start, just realize that it is not much of a self-defense round. Is self-defense is a major factor, I'd recommend something else. If plinking and learning the basics of firearms and shooting is more of the priority at the moment, a .22LR would be an excellent first aquisition.
Take a look at the Springfield XD-9 or XD-40.

Great price, solid reviews, and adjustable grips.

Or ... if you really want to spend the $$, take a look at the Sig 250. Adjustable grips and the ability to change out calibers if you so choose. Use it with 9mm ammo for cheap target practice and keep it loaded with .40S&W or .45ACP for when the SHTF.

Both would make a great weapon system ... but as others have said, go out to a range and rent every gun they have ... twice.

Don't naysay revolvers, either ... when given a choice out backpacking, camping, or hunting ... when I need something that is ultra-reliable, has plenty of stopping power for anything short of grizzlies or polar bears, and is dead nuts on accurate ... I choose my S&W 686 .357MAG with a 4" barrel over my Sig and Glock.

My theory about when the SHTF is ... if you need more than 6 shots like RIGHT NOW ... you are in a world of hurt if all you have is a handgun. Either you can't shoot worth a crap, or you are in a world of hurt and you should have grabbed the AK instead.
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Take a look at the Springfield XD-9 or XD-40.
I agree I have a sub compact .40 and a service 9mm. These are really easy to use, very reliable, and readily available.
i thought all guns where " ambidexterous".... are you saying the taurus is just a little better for lefties? me being one of them...
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