Thread: 1st handgun
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:28 PM   #17
stephen426
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Join Date: March 11, 2005
Posts: 2,868
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#1 action. I am going to buy a semi auto. That said da/sa /or striker fired? What are the pros/cons? I have heard that striker guns are less reliable than hammer actions and more likely to fail in the cold. Is this true? I live in MI and it gets cold here. I have also noticed that local pds tend to go for hammer guns.
For a self defense gun, I like striker fired guns since the trigger pull is consistent shot to shot. The difference in trigger pull from DA to SA is significant and can result in slower and/or less accurate first shots. A miss can obviously cause collateral damage and a slower or missed shot could allow the bad guy to shoot you first. I do not like double action only as they tend to have long heavy trigger pulls. Not to sound sexist, but make sure your wife has the hand strength to pull the trigger in double action if you are considering a DA gun. I do not believe there is any proof that striker fired guns are any less reliable. Just don't use any lube that can freeze up and you'll be fine. Besides, most lubes won't freeze up unless it is VERY cold.

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#2 caliber. My dad retired before the introduction of the 40 cal in le and has never shot one but all the guys I know on the pd love the 40 cal. My dad did have plenty of 9mm pistols and was happy with them but also liked the 1911 he was issued as an mp. The leos I have talked to all say the 9mm lacks stopping power, but the .45s just don't have the ammo cap I'm looking for. I am however worried my wife would not be able to control the recoil of a .40.
I like .40 S&W but the recoil may be a bit snappy for your wife. In a larger handgun, it should not be an issue. The only way to tell is take her to the range and try it out. I believe that the .40 S&W is a great compromise in power and ammo capacity. For some strange reason, .40 S&W always seems to be available while 9mm and .45 is often sold out.

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#3 brand. My father has recommended sig, s&w, h&k, beretta, but some of the rugers have caught my eye along with the fn models.
All of the brands listed are reputable but I recommend you take your wife to handle them and make sure they fit your hands well. Since I mentioned I prefer striker fired pistols for defense, I would narrow down your choices to Glock, Springfield Armory (XD Line), and Smith & Wesson (M&P Line).

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#4 capacity. I'm not going to bet my life and or my wife's on less than 12 rounds.
If you want a minimum of 12 rounds, you will have to go with either full size or compact size. Most sub compacts hold 10 or less rounds. The only issue is that 12 rounds of .40 S&W means a double stacked magazine. I don't know how big your or your wife's hands are. You need to be sure that she can handle the gun comfortably.

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#5 models. The sigs that have caught my eye are the p226 & p229. H&k p2000. S&w m&p. Beretta 92a1 & 96a1 & px4 though I have heard bad things about the px4. Ruger sr series. And the fnx 40 or 9.
Out of the guns listed, only the S&W M&P is a striker fired gun. I strongly suggest you take your wife to the range and let her try a DA gun and a striker fired gun. I believe that striker fired guns are much easier for new shooters to shoot well. Most people will recommend against cocking the hammer back on a DA gun in a self defense situation. First of all, there may not be time to do it. Second, the single action trigger on most DA/SA guns are fairly light.
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