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Old December 26, 2008, 07:54 PM   #1
native57
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Safest Handgun?

First time poster and still very new to the "world of guns."

For Christmas my wife gave me the OK to get a handgun.

I'm thinking I want something around $400 in a 9mm semi-auto.

Being so inexperienced I want to know which guns have the most safety features, and what they are.

Thanks for the help.
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:00 PM   #2
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Perhaps a gun safety course would be appropriate, along with some gun rentals and instruction to determine that for yourself
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:15 PM   #3
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Welcome!

The most important safety feature on ALL guns is YOU, the shooter.

Modern revolvers and auto-loading pistols have these basic, simple safety, features;

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and it can't fire.
Drop it by accident, and it won't fire.
Pull the trigger, and it will fire.

Many shooters want no more than a gun that is 'drop-safe' and requires a deliberate squeeze of the trigger to fire.

Additional features such as levers and grips that must be actuated before the gun will fire are available if you want them, but it can be argued that they don't make the gun safer but make the shooter feel 'safer.'

I urge you to find and take an NRA First Steps Basic Pistol class near you.

http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/

After this class, see if you can find a range to rent a selection of guns, some with 'safeties' and some without, and see what lights your fire.

Talk to a lot of people, read the posts on this forum, and don't believe any one person.

Then, go buy your first gun...
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:18 PM   #4
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Welcome to TFL, native57!

In my view, there are no safe handguns, only safe gun owners. In other words, a handgun is a tool or machine, like a car -- as dangerous as the operator.

As others have stated, I'd also recommend, especially if you are new to guns, that you take part of the $400 and put it towards an NRA Basic Pistol course and a safety course or two. It'll be a service to yourself and those around you.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement once the gun bug bites you, but like driving car, you had to learn the rules of the road and how to operate it. Guns are no different, in that respect.

Welcome aboard again...you'll find most folks here are pretty darn helpful...
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:21 PM   #5
Huey Long
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The safest handgun would probably be a single action revolver with a transfer bar system. It would be pretty much impossible to accidentally shoot yourself or someone else with one of those unless you were a complete retard.
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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Spend the $400 on some really good instruction. Basic safety, carry course, and some sort of tactical training as well.

Then stick back enough money to afford a GOOD quality gun, not what $400 will buy you. Start at $500 (pickin's are slim) and keep a decent average at about $800... then you'll be getting quality. In the $600 range you begin seeing a ton of great options (Sig, XD, Glock, higher end CZ's, and more).
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:26 PM   #7
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Most all modern guns are "Safe" in the price range your talking about. The "danger" is in the user. The Guns is only as Safe as the user.
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:29 PM   #8
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XD 9mm.
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:43 PM   #9
David the Gnome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huey Long
The safest handgun would probably be a single action revolver with a transfer bar system. It would be pretty much impossible to accidentally shoot yourself or someone else with one of those unless you were a complete retard.
I lmao at that but it's true. You could do a lot worse than a Ruger Single-Six for a starter pistol and the misses could have fun with it too. I don't think much of it for home defense but as a range gun to learn on it's pretty good.
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Old December 26, 2008, 08:48 PM   #10
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This should be a sticky!!!
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
the most safety features
The more there are, the more that can get in the way or malfunction. The only "safety" is the handler. Keep your booger picker off the bang switch until needed, like they say.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:08 PM   #12
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1. Take a course or two and listen and learn. Don't get your education on firearms from the local gunshop and those that lope around there.
2. See if any places in your area rent firearms. if so try a number to see which you prefer. Stat small, especially if your very new to them. There's nothing wrong at al with starting with the .22lr and progressing as your experince allows. Better to learn the fundementals on a low recoiling, low report model than with something that will casue flinching. Learning on the larger chamberings will instinctively give negative results which once engrained into muscle memory or mental conditioning are REALLY difficult to change.

All that said, my suggestions, the Ruger Single Six or MKII or MKIII or a Browning Buckmark.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:10 PM   #13
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Keep in mind that sticking the gun in one's boxers and sweatpants a la Plax is totally unsafe.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:37 PM   #14
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Like s4s4u said, "The more there are, the more that can get in the way or malfunction." this is very true in not only in firearms but in every thing ealse. If somthing is 100% reliabel it is going to 0% safe and the other way around, because if somthing is 0% reliable it is going to 100% safe. I am also with Huey Long on the idea of single action revolver being a great first hand gun. A Ruger Blackhawk 45colt/45ACP was my first handgun, But I did not buy it for home defence but it is there if needed and i can also shoot 45Acp out of a single action which i thought was cool when i bought it.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:41 PM   #15
B.N.Real
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A double action 38 special/357 revolver three inch (at least,for a beginner) inch barrel.

You can readily see it's loaded.

It is easy to unload.

It is simple to operate.

Can be kept loaded almost indefinitely.

Is ready to shoot at a moments notice without any safeties to operate(if necessary,it can be stored in a small gun case-some are availible with simple to open keypad locks on them).

The double action mechanism is it's safety.

It is cheap to learn how to shoot with and is powerful enough to defend oneself and family with.

The barrel length should be three inches and up for a beginner.

It makes the gun easier to be accurate with.

And modern revolvers can come equipped with a lock inside the frame itself or stored with a cable lock to make them even safer.

Simple to use,easy to see if it's loaded and does not require a degree in gun function to keep working or to shoot it.

The Revolver wins everytime.

Last edited by B.N.Real; December 27, 2008 at 09:39 AM.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:52 PM   #16
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Native, the recommendation of the revolver by B.N. Real is spot-on! You might want a "glamour-gun," but if your real concern is safety, the revolver is the way to go.
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:56 PM   #17
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Everyone has their own opinion it seems, but here's my two cents worth.

The safest handgun is a gun that doesn't have any ammo in it!

The next level of safety is a semi-automatic that has ammo in the magazine but not one in the chamber. I carried a Glock 21 for a long time with a mag full and none in the chamber. It's one of the best for carry like this as it's really easy to rack the slide. You'll find other semi-autos have a smaller grip area on the slide or stronger springs and are harder to rack. I wouldn't recommend this setup for every handgun, you'll have to find one that's easy to rack. Keep in mind drawing and racking takes a second or two more than having one in the chamber, but for the ultimate in safety I'd recommend this level. A Glock in this mode could be stuck in your pants or thrown in your backpack for emergencies without ever having to worry about an accidental discharge. Plus if the gun gets in the hands of the very young they won't have the strength to rack the slide.

The next level I'd say is one in the chamber and a manual safety switched on. I've moved from my Glock 21 to a 1911 that has a manual thumb safety and a grip safety. You have to grip it in your hand and have the thumb safety off to shoot it. If for some reason the thumb safety is off and you drop it, and say for example a stick hits the trigger, it won't go off because the grip safety keeps it from firing. The 1911 is one of the safest handguns for having a round in the chamber, which keeps the gun in a ready to fire state, nice for a quick responce.

I'd say the least level of safety is having a handgun with a round in the chamber and no manual safety. Revolvers and semi-autos such as the Glock fall into this category. Simply put, if you pull the trigger it fires, no safety to switch off. Glocks are very common and have a bad name because they have a habit of going off when holstering or drawing the weapon, for example if some clothing gets in the way of the trigger when holstering it. For this reason I'd never carry a Glock with one in the chamber or would never buy a revolver. These take a lot of training to use properly and I'd suggest staying away from them for the new person just getting their first gun. When the military first changed from using a revolver to a 1911 (back in the year 1911) the first 1911s didn't have a safety and soldiers were scared of them, so the military mandated installation of a couple safeties. Many people say double actions are safer than single actions because it takes more trigger pressure to fire a double action, but in either case if you pull the trigger they go bang.

Like just about everyone else said above, your personal training is the best safety. Go to a class or get some online training, or both. This forum is a great source of info too!

Last edited by cchardwick; December 26, 2008 at 10:14 PM.
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Old December 26, 2008, 10:13 PM   #18
jcjr3020
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Quote:
Many people say double actions are safer than single actions because it takes more trigger pressure to fire a double action, but in either case if you pull the trigger they go bang.
It would seem to me that it would take less work or movement to switch a manual safety to fire than it would take to pull back the hammer on a single action.
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Old December 26, 2008, 10:25 PM   #19
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hello native57,
Welcome to the forum. I agree with some of the other members that a safety course would be a good idea followed by some gun rentals at your local gun shop/range. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) your question is about safety features on a handgun. As far a semi auto pistols you can get them without external safety which means when a rounds is chambered and the trigger is pulled the gun fires (glocks and Kahrs etc), or with an external safety, which means when a round is chambered and the external safety is engaged the gun will not fire until the external safety is disengaged(this is a very broad explanation).On some guns this external safety will also safely decock the firearm. I would say after taking the course first decide which type of hand gun you want to purchase (Revolver or a Semi Auto pistol) and then decide if you want to buy one with an external safety or not. Some good brands in your price range would be Ruger, Taurus, CZ. YMMV
Good luck
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Old December 26, 2008, 11:11 PM   #20
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The XD-9mm fits the bill for you. As mentioned you have a grip safety and the split trigger. It can be kept with a full mag and small kids are not strong enough to rack the slide (also the grip safety has to be depressed so very small hands are not able to function the slide) 9mm is easy to come by and about as cheap as you will find in a self defense cal. The newer XDM's have a thumb safety also I believe-over kill IMO.
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Old December 26, 2008, 11:12 PM   #21
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Old December 26, 2008, 11:48 PM   #22
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Interesting question. Sorta like: "What's the safest car?", I suppose. I'm guessing that's what you had in mind when you asked the question.

The difference is that guns aren't like cars. Even the best driver in the world may be involved in an unavoidable accident resulting from the action of others, so it makes sense to look at cars from a safety standpoint. Which car will protect me best if I get in an accident.

Modern guns are designed so that they will not fire if you do not pull the trigger. So if you have an "accident" with your gun, it's your fault (barring VERY unusual circumstances involving broken/defective internal safety components).

The bottom line is that a gun of modern design is as safe as you are. If you follow the rules of gun safety, it is virtually impossible for you to accidentally be injured by or accidentally injure someone with a firearm. If you don't follow the rules of gun safety, you will very likely have some sort of an "accident" regardless of the safety features of the firearm.
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Old December 27, 2008, 12:08 AM   #23
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Then stick back enough money to afford a GOOD quality gun, not what $400 will buy you. Start at $500 (pickin's are slim) and keep a decent average at about $800... then you'll be getting quality. In the $600 range you begin seeing a ton of great options (Sig, XD, Glock, higher end CZ's, and more).


Maybe the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on a gun forum.

Number one, even though this is the Semiauto Forum, the OP didn't specify a semi; he specified safest handgun.

There are many high quality handguns, pistols and especially revolvers, available on the used market in the $400 range. I paid $481.50 out the door for these two fine specimens of S&W M&P class. I'll match reliability, safety, and quality of workmanship with any of the bottom feeders you have listed.


This particular example right here is called a Combat Masterpiece. The name just exudes quality and workmanship. I have about $250 in this one.


I could go on and on with examples of high quality revolvers available for $400 or less. Your preference might be for semis, and mine is definitely for revolvers. But to say that one can't buy a high quality first handgun for less than $600-$800 is just ridiculous.
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Old December 27, 2008, 12:14 AM   #24
Huey Long
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But to say that one can't buy a high quality first handgun for less than $600-$800 is just ridiculous.
True. I just recently bought a used Speed Six in pristine condition for $500, and have seen them go for even less.
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Old December 27, 2008, 12:33 AM   #25
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Training is paramount

But in my opinion the HK P7 series is the "safest" gun to carry.

Probably not going to get one for 400 but 500 to 600 used is not unheard of.

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