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Old February 21, 2013, 05:26 AM   #1
fragtagninja
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1st handgun

Hello everyone I am getting ready to purchase my first handgun and have been given a lot of info and could use some help sorting it all out.

#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.

#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.

#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.


#4 capacity. I'm not going to bet my life and or my wife's on less than 12 rounds.

#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.

So how to narrow this down when I like them all? The most important thing is it be reliable and accurate.

So advice? And please no caliber wars. I'm looking for info that comes from experience good or bad if possible factual evidence. Thanks in advance everyone.

Last edited by fragtagninja; February 21, 2013 at 05:54 AM.
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Old February 21, 2013, 05:52 AM   #2
steveNChunter
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For a first handgun, its best to stick with 9mm. Especially if you're wife will be shooting it .A .40 pretty much has the recoil of a .45. I recommend the Ruger SR9. Or if your'e on a tighter budget the P95 is also a good choice. I am admittedly partial to Rugers, sorry
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Old February 21, 2013, 06:02 AM   #3
fragtagninja
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I probably should have mentioned that I have spent some time shooting my dad's hand guns rifles and shotguns. Been a few years, but I used to be a pretty good marksman so I do have some experience, just not knowledge since I always just shout my dad's guns.
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:58 AM   #4
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You'll need to go to the gun store and handle some of these guns you're interested in. All of the ones you are considering from the major manufacturors would serve you well. You need to find one that feels good and has sights that you can work with easily. Go play with a few.
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Old February 21, 2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveNChunter
I recommend the Ruger SR9. Or if your'e on a tighter budget the P95 is also a good choice. I am admittedly partial to Rugers, sorry
I agree....love me some Rugers. I have the stainless version of the P95 and wouldn't trade it for anything. Not something I'd want to carry around all day, but makes an awesome home defense pistol. Built like a tank and shoots very well. Plus, the price point is awesome for these guns.

If you're looking for a CCW, the SR9 or SR9c is a good choice in the Ruger lineup. Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:03 AM   #6
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Kinda depends on what you are using it for. HD or range and you'll be fine with your options listed. For carry, a 15 round double stack 9mm may be too wide for you.

You mention the Sig P226. It was my first pistol as well. 15 round mags, double stack 9mm, DA/SA and incredibly reliable and accurate. Can't go wrong with a new P226 or certified pre-owned.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:26 AM   #7
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As I was in your shoes a few years back - been a while since shooting all my Dads stuff and he is a .45 guy. Didn't even have a 9mm except for an old Luger from my great uncle.

Anyway, fast forward. He now has a 9mm Kel Tek for carry, and I have a safe full of .22 and 9mm. No .40 and a few .45's.

All the guns mentioned are good - but you didn't mention price? I would go for a good d/a hammer for first. This allows (in my experience) better practice with dry firing, but that is just me compared to striker fired.

So my first gun was the Beretta PX4 Storm in 9mm. Came with a free holster that carried the extra 17rnd mag. So just stock has 34 rounds at my fingertips. That is a lot. Compare to my Dads 1911 and you get 14 or 16 at best and is heavier and bigger.
I love the Px4. Built well, solid for a polymer and ultra reliable. It shoots the rounds that have jammed in other guns (messing with reloading so not other guns fault) without fail. I would highly recommend for first gun. Plus it is not that expensive.

But there are plenty of guns out there. The Beretta 92, Sig (is on my list but a little $$$) and Rugers are good too.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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if you're on a budget the sr9 or sr9c is the way to go. if you have the budget for a sig p229, it's a no brainer. buy the p229. if you fall somewhere in between look at the cz 75b for hammer fired or walther ppq for striker.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:01 AM   #9
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A good first handgun is an older 3rd generation S&W double-stacked 9mm's, like the 5906. DA/SA; 15+ rounds; durable; easy to shoot; easy to maintain, priced below what they should be.
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Old February 21, 2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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If money is not your first concern then a P-226 Sig. A great place to start especially with your wife. Start with 9mm and upgrade later if necessary.
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Old February 21, 2013, 12:51 PM   #11
Gaerek
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Quote:
#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.
This really is a matter of preference. I personally don't like DA/SA guns (like P226, 92FS, etc.), but a lot of people love them. I like SA guns (1911's and the like) for the range, but I'm not a fan of using an SA only gun for defensive purposes, because of the short, usually fairly light pull of most of those guns. But again, many people like them. I personally like Glock triggers, after I drop in a NY-1 trigger spring since it gives a more consistent pull, but I know I'm in the minority here. Best thing to do is try a bunch of different guns and see what you like. Be sure, when you're trying out a DA/SA gun to try the DA mode (don't just rack the slide and shoot, make sure you rack the slide, decock, then shoot) especially if this is going to be a defensive gun. You need to know whether you like both the DA and SA modes.

As far as hammer fired being more reliable than striker? I've never heard this before. The issued sidearm of the Alaska State Troopers is the Glock 22, a striker fired pistol. If there were issues with cold, and striker fired guns, they wouldn't issue that gun. Any quality, modern semi-auto is going to be very reliable, whether they're striker or hammer fired.

Quote:
#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'm not that recoil sensitive, and I don't feel that much difference between the popular calibers. Having said that, many people are. For a new shooter, I would get a 9mm. It's the least expensive round, which means more practice, and newer shooters are less likely to develop a flinch with it. As for a 9mm lacking stopping power, I would disagree. As long as you're using high quality, premium defensive ammo, a 9mm is fine. In other words, don't use FMJ target ammo for defensive uses...leave it at the range. Pick up a good jacketed hollowpoint in +P pressure for defense. Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Federal HST are just some options. There are more. Shoot 50-100 rounds of it through your gun to make sure it cycles fine and so you know how it feels.

Quote:
#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.
Those are all good brands. You can't go wrong with guns from any of those companies.

Quote:
#4 capacity. I'm not going to bet my life and or my wife's on less than 12 rounds.
Bigger round means less capacity. Looking at Glock, if you loo at their full size guns, the G17 (9mm) holds 17+1, the G22 (.40) holds 15+1, and the G21 (.45) holds 13+1. All of those examples meet your requirement.

Having said that, many trainers teach that most gun fights occur at less than 3 yards, are over in less than 3 seconds, and with 3 or fewer shots fired. Chances are you won't need more than 5 or 6 rounds, let alone the 12, so don't let a lower capacity worry you. For reference, I carry a Glock 19 (9mm - compact) that holds 15+1, so I like higher capacity over lower capacity.

Quote:
#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.
Both Sigs you mentioned are great guns. I don't own any, but my father in law has a P229 in .40 and it's a great gun. M&Ps are good guns, but I don't like the triggers...they just feel squishy to me. I don't know H&K or Beretta that well, but from what I've heard, the p2000 is a great gun, and you can't go wrong with a Beretta 92fs. Any of the Ruger SR series are very good guns, and I don't know much about FN, but they do make good guns.

Best bet is to try as many guns out as possible, and have your wife try them also. Don't shoehorn your wife into a particular gun. If she likes something that you don't, it might be worthwhile for you each to get a gun. My wife hates my Glock, and I'm not a big fan of her Sig SP2022. If I made her use my Glock, she just wouldn't shoot at all. So, it's a good idea to keep that in mind.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:04 AM   #12
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The OP says accuracy and reliability are MOST IMPORTANT.

That's easy: Sig 226 or Sig 229. My 226 is as accurate as many 1911's and has never had any kind of malfunction on any kind of ammo including re-loads.
Cannot go wrong with either one. More money, worth it.
But be sure to handle and fire as many of the aforementioned guns as you can...there is no substitute for a little bit of familiarity with multiple brands/models when looking to buy.
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Old February 22, 2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
The OP says accuracy and reliability are MOST IMPORTANT.
With the guns he listed, he will not notice a difference in these areas. One or the other might be marginally better in each of these areas. P226/9's aren't more reliable and accurate to the point that even an expert shooter probably won't be able to tell the difference, especially at combat ranges (as far as accuracy). If they were, they would have a much bigger market share than they do.

Not saying they're bad guns, they certainly aren't, but any of the guns he has listed are very reliable and very accurate.
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Old February 22, 2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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The only problem with getting a Sig 226 for a first gun is there's not much to step up to, your starting near the top. That said, go for it.
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:39 PM   #15
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New to firearms...

I agree that a new or entry level gun owner buy a simple robust .357magnum or .38spl +P. A DA only SP101 or a Ruger LCR could do well. You can add a custom XS front sight & get a CT lasergrip; www.crimsontrace.com .
If you really want a pistol, get a hammer fired DA only model like the new Walther PPX, the HK P30 or P2000 LEM, the S&W SD9 or SD40, or the SIG Sauer P229R/P226R DAK in 9x19mm, .40s&w, .357sig.

A DA only model is safe & you can learn the basics.

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Old February 22, 2013, 07:06 PM   #16
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Sig Sauer

Sig Sauer P226
Sig Sauer P229

They have hammer's and are very good high end handguns. They come in many caliber's such as 9mm, and .40.

The Coast Guard uses the P229 and it is an excellent weapon, as is the P226.
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:28 PM   #17
stephen426
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Quote:
#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.

Quote:
#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.

Quote:
#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).

Quote:
#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.

Quote:
#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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Old February 23, 2013, 06:28 AM   #18
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Anybody that suggests that a Sig 229 or 226 isn't more accurate then a Ruger SR, or a S&W M&P, Or Beretta PX4, in my opinion should re-evaluate their statement, I don't care what distance you're shooting at or what level of shooter you are, you will see a difference.
Reliability can be argued all day, Sigs are among the best, and I don't think that can be disputed. Are they the MOST reliable? Of the guns you mentioned, YES, I think they are.
And of every gun you mentioned an interest in, the Sigs and probably the Beretta 92 are more accurate than the others.
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Old February 23, 2013, 11:14 PM   #19
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Tristar Viper,

I'm not sure who was arguing about the accuracy of Sig's. I can tell you that in the hands of a new shooter, a striker fired gun will be much more accurate than the double action trigger pull of a Sig. This is coming from someone who owns a Sig P229 and owned a P228 and P245. Are Sig's fired in SA very accurate? Absolutely. Is it significantly more accurate than the other brands listed? I'm not so sure. Does the difference in accuracy mean anything at typical self defense distances? Probably not. As for reliability, I'd find it hard to say any of the mentioned handguns, properly broken in with good ammo, is more or less reliable than the others.
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Old February 24, 2013, 07:56 PM   #20
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My best advice,

Talk is cheap,


Go shoot them!
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Old February 26, 2013, 10:00 PM   #21
fragtagninja
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Thanks for the input gentlemen. It seems I am pre destined to be a sig owner since that seems to be the only thing Available in my area right now. Everything else is on backorder. At least the sig dealers are not trying to price gouge me.
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Old February 26, 2013, 10:27 PM   #22
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SIG Sauer...

The SIG Sauer "Classic" line seems to get the most + reviews. The P220/P224/P229/P226/P227.
The polymer frame P290RS 9x19mm is highly rated but that's a rare exception for most SIG Sauer models. Many like or use the 2202 SIG models but I never shot any or used them on duty so I couldn't say.

A SIG Sauer P229R with a .22LR kit add-on is smart. You can shoot both .22LR & a 9x19mm/.40S&W/.357sig.

Glock has a kit too for the model 22 & 23 pistols.

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Old February 26, 2013, 10:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
The only problem with getting a Sig 226 for a first gun is there's not much to step up to, your starting near the top. That said, go for it.
There is at least one other for the OP. A small handed woman can have a difficult time with the BIG 226. Would not be my choice for my wife, my daughter...or me, for that matter.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:44 AM   #24
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Since you basically misquoted me, let me elaborate here.

Quote:
Anybody that suggests that a Sig 229 or 226 isn't more accurate then a Ruger SR, or a S&W M&P, Or Beretta PX4, in my opinion should re-evaluate their statement, I don't care what distance you're shooting at or what level of shooter you are, you will see a difference.
I never said it wasn't more accurate. I said that the differences will be negligible to a newer shooter. Every M&P I've seen shoots very accurately. Sig makes good guns, don't get defensive about it. My point was that at combat ranges, and in a combat situation, that tiny bit of better accuracy is going to make a difference...hint...it won't!

Quote:
Reliability can be argued all day, Sigs are among the best, and I don't think that can be disputed. Are they the MOST reliable? Of the guns you mentioned, YES,
I'd argue that the S&W and Ruger are just as reliable as a Sig. Sigs are great, but you make it sound like they are the best guns ever made and anyone who doesn't think that doesn't know what they're talking about. Yet, Sig's make up a fairly small market share when compared to Ruger, S&W and Glock. This, of course, could have something to do with price, as you will pay a premium for a Sig over those particular brands.

Quote:
I think they are.
And there's the crux. It's your opinion. Let me guess, the majority of guns you own are Sigs? Of course you think they're the best...you need to justify your purchases, right? Actually, wrong, you don't need to justify them. Sigs are good guns, and most people know that. But, in context of what the OP wants, what he wants the gun for, and his experience, if anything, a Sig is marginally better than the other brands. And is that possible marginal difference worth the $200-$300 premium over an M&P or SR series? I honestly don't think so (yes, before you call me out, this is my opinion). However, I wouldn't fault the OP for getting a Sig, they are good guns. I just think you're over hyping them a bit.

Quote:
And of every gun you mentioned an interest in, the Sigs and probably the Beretta 92 are more accurate than the others.
Got any evidence of this? Or just more opinion? Here's some facts. Granted, it's a fairly small sample, but it's a sample of some of the better shooters in the country, and what they shoot in IDPA for practical competition. If Sig were this amazing gun that, in your opinion, is far and away more reliable and accurate than other guns, you'd expect them to have a huge share. Yet, their share is so small that it's not listed, and instead, covered under "Other." And keep in mind, we're talking IDPA where only very minimal mods are allowed, so we're not talking about Glock or M&P raceguns.

http://www.idpa.com/blog/post/2012/1...The-Range.aspx

To conclude, Sigs are great guns. But there is nothing about them that make them far and away better than any other leading brand. They aren't noticably more accurate or reliable than other brands, and certainly, just for the possible increase in reliability and accuracy aren't worth the 30% premium in price. In the end, get what you want, and what shoots good for you. If it's a Sig, great, if it's an SR9, awesome. You won't go wrong with any of the guns you mentioned.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:00 PM   #25
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Rent the range

Definitely try to get to a range and rent out as many different models as possible. That is a MUST before you buy, unless you plan on buying again soon. If you fail to do this you will find out what you like later and it likely won't be what you bought.
There's nothing wrong with .40 but it is snappy and is a good bit more expensive than 9mm and doesn't really offer too much more power. I'd stick with 9mm.
Our opinions don't matter nearly as much as YOUR HANDS do. Remember that. All of the brands you listed would serve you very well. I've owned them all and would put my endorsement on any of them.
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