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Old September 7, 2012, 11:37 AM   #1
raymond1
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.22 vs 9mm as first handgun need help deciding

Hi, I am looking to buy my first handgun. I am not that experienced with shooting but am looking to start because I am going into law enforcement. My question is this. I have heard that a .22 is a good caliber to start with because it helps with learning the fundamentals, no flinching, low recoil, cheaper ammunition etc.. I am wondering since it such a low recoil gun that when I decide to buy a bigger caliber will I just be learning all over again?
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:43 AM   #2
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Not really, at least not IMO.

22 is good for learning trigger control, sights, and other fundamentals, plus it's cheap ammo for lots of practice time.

Having said that, I started on a 9mm.

A 9mm platform with a conversion kit is always an idea if funds allow.
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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I agree. The .22 rimfire is an ideal learning tool that will serve you your entire lifetime even though you'll eventually own centerfire sidearms as well.
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:52 AM   #4
aarondhgraham
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Practice makes perfect,,,

Practice makes perfect,,,
And practicing has an economic factor to it.
Can you afford to practice very often at $12.95 per 50 rounds?

Quote:
...when I decide to buy a bigger caliber will I just be learning all over again?
In a way yes,,,
But in another way no.

What I mean is with a .22 you learn all the fundamentals,,,
Those fundamentals don't change much when you step up to a centerfire gun.

You can get so much more trigger time with ammo at $25.00 per 500 rounds
than you can with ammo that costs upwards of $129.50 per 500 rounds.

Trigger time is what is most important,,,
One can dry fire and do other shooting exercises,,,
But the one thing that can't be replaced is actual shooting & range time.

Once you learn the fundamentals with a .22,,,
Most of that transfers directly to a centerfire pistol.

Yes, you will definitely need to learn to handle the greater recoil,,,
But the fundamentals of shooting a handgun remain the same.

I consider myself to be a reasonably good shot,,,
I'm no Annie Oakley mind you but I do okay at the range,,,
I attribute that to thousands upon thousands of rounds sent downrange.

I simply couldn't have afforded that without .22 LR ammunition,,,
But if you can afford lots of centerfire ammunition,,,
You may decide to bypass the .22 pistol.

Just my not-so humble opinion.

Aarond

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Old September 7, 2012, 11:52 AM   #5
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I will say to go with the .22. It will help more than you can imagine, and no, you will not have to re-learn much when you go up in caliber, just how to handle the recoil (which is quite an easy learn if your other fundamentals are good).

Also, depending on where you end up working, 9mm might not be issued. If you learn on 9mm and develop poor fundamentals, then if you have to switch to .40 S&W (common LE round), it is going to be magnify all of the problems in your shooting by a good bit.
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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It takes a lot of rounds down range to become proficient with a handgun. With a .22 you can shoot about 250 for the same price as 50 9mm. Once you get proficient with the .22 go on to the large bore. Really good ear protection goes a long way even for the .22, for me the noise it worse than the recoil.
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond!
and every so often he makes a lot of good points
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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Thank you for your advice and quick response. This is exactly what I needed to push me over the edge and get a .22.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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It's only emasculating for the first thousand rounds or so - when you can cut a smiley face into a silhouette at 25 yards no one will dare make fun of you
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:13 PM   #10
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Now comes the hard part,,,

Quote:
This is exactly what I needed to push me over the edge and get a .22.
Now comes the hard part,,,
Deciding what brand and type of .22 pistol to buy,,,
A good .22 pistol will often cost as much or more than a centerfire.

What Stressfire said about using a .22 conversion kit has merit,,,
Here is a package deal that a friend of mine purchased,,,
It has been a very good pistol for him and his boys.

EAA Witness 9mm/22LR combo.

Anyways,,,
Have fun shopping.

Aarond

P.S. Stressfire forgot my disclaimer of (most of the time).

.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:24 PM   #11
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9mm.

9mm is a good choice for a first handgun. .22 is a good caliber if/when you really want to practice your shooting skills. Not everyone is all that into shooting when they purchase their first handgun. For self defense, you only need to be accurate out to about 30 feet max. You can easily accomplish this with a 9mm.

I didn't see the suggestion of the EAA 9mm w/ .22 conversion - good gun; good price; good idea.

Before anyone suggests a Ruger Mark III or II, I will be the first to advise against that gun for training purposes. I have one and it makes an excellent target pistol, but unless you plan on carrying a German Luger, the grip angle is all wrong.
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Old September 7, 2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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I never was all that keen on the .22 as a first gun - at least not for an adult.

Learning the basics has little if anything to do with the actual caliber.

Sure, the .22lr is cheap - but - does that really make it a better choice?
I don't believe it does.
If the ammunition is more expensive & there's less of it to shoot, that forces a person to really bear down and concentrate so each shot counts.
I'm a firm believer that shooting is mostly all mental, just like anything else.

"Practice makes perfect" is an incorrect statement.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

What's always overlooked in this type of discussion is a natural human tendancy to dismiss bad shots by thinking - well, it's only a cheap .22,,I've got plenty more to shoot...

Again - it goes back to perfect practice makes perfect.

Plus the 9mm has the distinct advantage of being a much better defensive choice.

I say get the 9mm first and later on, get a .22 to refine and hone the skills.
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Old September 7, 2012, 01:42 PM   #13
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The .22 is a great starting point no matter what and it has several other advantages too. The most important thing with starting out (and even later) is lots of practice and the .22 not only makes that affordable but, affordable makes it fun. Larger calibers are fun too but if I go to the range and shoot 1500rds of 9mm, it was fun but afterwards I think man ... 3 boxes ... that's $40 (and the 9 is the cheapest of the center fires).

The other thing is the .22 can just be a lot of fun. If you like shooting, there are a lot of .22 leagues out there and they are fun to shoot on whether your new or experienced. I love shooting the .22 leagues. The larger calibers are fun but you never really outgrow the .22.

Last, Ruger, Beretta, ect are all good guns but if you want to practice for larger calibers there are some .22 based versions of the full size guns like the M&P that let you practice with a gun that has the same feel as the larger caliber would. I'd get the .22 first hands down.

Quote:
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond!
Yea, I love that signature too.
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
raymond1 Hi, I am looking to buy my first handgun. I am not that experienced with shooting but am looking to start because I am going into law enforcement.
You have hit the nail squarely on the head with your thinking about the 22. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run. Get a good 22 now and you will still be shooting it 40 years from now no matter how good you get with larger more powerful center fires. Those who would have you jump ahead straight to centerfire guns are wrong in their reasoning, what may work for them is not a good practice for most of us and never a good practice for a new shooter who wants to learn correctly.
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:55 PM   #15
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I recommend with a centerfire pistol with a conversion unit. A Ciener -if you can find one-goes very well with my Browning HP, even better is the CZ75 with their Kadet unit. The controls, the feel, the handling are the same. I know I did not become a truly good pistol shot till I practiced Bullseye with a 22.

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Old September 7, 2012, 03:02 PM   #16
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I'm gonna differ from some people here. I vote for a S&W .22 kit gun if you can find one. It's a revolver so you can concentrate on the fundamentals of proper shooting instead of worrying about operating the safety correctly. It's a .22 so its cheap to fire and its a S&W so it will be well made. After you have drilled into the proper shooting technique then you can try out all the various pistols out there. Buy the best handgun you can afford, some of the cheaper stuff won't serve you well, IMHO.
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Old September 7, 2012, 03:20 PM   #17
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I agree with those that say the .22 is the best option for your first pistol. Let's assume 9mm ammo cost the same as .22lr does. Would you get as much practice with a 9mm as you would with a .22 in a trip to the range? Wouldn't you get physically worn out more quickly firing the 9mm?
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Old September 7, 2012, 03:48 PM   #18
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I'm going to join in the "yes, get a .22" chorus. A very big factor in shooting well is muscle memory. You get that through practice. Practice costs $. Yes, there will be some adjustment when you move up to a centerfire, but most of the skills that you can develop by sending a few thousand .22 rounds downrange will transfer.

And they're fun to shoot! I'll wager that even after you move up to a centerfire, you'll keep a .22 around for plinking.
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:54 PM   #19
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since you're going into LE, get a holster, practice your draw, practice taking the safety off as you draw (depends if the gun has a safety), practice dropping the mag and reloading. practice your grip and stances.

practice dry firing (with snap caps), id the target, look at the front sight, pull the trigger, your front sight should not move at all when you pull the trigger.

when you get into a stressful situation, you're not going to be consciously thinking about all the basic fundamentals of gun control, its gotta be automatic. you're life and other people's lives are at stake.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:09 PM   #20
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I got a 9mm semi for my first handgun. I soon realized that the cost of learning to shoot it was more than I wanted to spend. I then bought a cheap Phoenix HP-22 for practice. It's cheap shooting, accurate and dependable. I could see no reason to buy an expensive gun to use as a learning tool.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:51 PM   #21
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I would go with the .22 for the first.

My tastes in handguns that I like have changed many times. If this is your first handgun you won't really know what you want from a center-fire handgun anyway. Get the .22 and then when you go shopping for the center-fire later on you will have a better idea about what to look for and what you do or don't want from a pistol.
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Old September 7, 2012, 10:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
I recommend with a centerfire pistol with a conversion unit. A Ciener -if you can find one-goes very well with my Browning HP, even better is the CZ75 with their Kadet unit. The controls, the feel, the handling are the same. I know I did not become a truly good pistol shot till I practiced Bullseye with a 22.
this is what I would do...
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Old September 8, 2012, 01:26 AM   #23
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I started with a 9mm because I wanted to have a gun that was feasible for self/home defense. A .22LR doesn't really cut it in that respect. I got a .22 pistol later, but I still would not have started out with a .22 for self/home defense.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:24 AM   #24
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As with some I started with 9mm.

If it were to be your sole handgun then I would say go with that.
However, by going into LE, you'll doubtless be issued one.

Also, I truly thought that my 9mm semi would be my only gun.
Oh how wrong I was...

A .22 semi was my 3rd firearm purchase and it was a great investment: I really love shooting .22LR. Probably my favourite calibre in terms of laughs. Also, as has been said, practicing is essential and you get more of that than any other calibre, and by quite a margin.

So, if it is to be your only gun, both for home and duty, get the 9, but for every other criterion you can think of, the .22 is the way to go....

They are so much fun and they make me feel like I can actually shoot well!!
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