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Old July 7, 2009, 01:06 AM   #1
ripcord22
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First Hand Gun

Hello All,
I'm in the market for a hand gun but have no idea what would be a good first. I need it to be show stopper if, god forbid, i needed it to be, so I'm not looking for something too small in caliber. Plus I would also like to feel several guns to know I'm not getting something I wont like. So if anyone has an idea that I could explore or knows of a place where there is a large selection to compare in the Seattle area it would be a great help. Thanks
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:32 AM   #2
Psychedelic Bang
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Get a revolver! Get a .357 magnum that will shoot 38 +p. I'm kinda partial to the six inch Smith.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...05&isFirearm=Y


If that doesn't float your fancy, try the Cz 75 b, or CZ 75 d PCR. http://cz-usa.com/

Must shoot .40 or .357 sig? Glock or Sig Sauer. http://www.glock.com/

If it comes down to these two weapons, imho...

Get a 226 and call it a day.

http://www.sigsauer.com/Products/Sho...x?categoryid=7



Last but not least. The pinnacle of class, function, and heritage: Colt! Its a mighty shame they don't have a new DA/SA revolver offering.

Go with the 1991, imho

http://www.coltsmfg.com/products-c5-...T_PISTOLS.aspx
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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Get a Glock or Sig Sauer and load them with +P / hollow point ammo for self defense and shoot regular full metal jackets for practice.

Those two are pretty reliable compared to some of the other semiautomatics.

Last edited by Hank15; July 7, 2009 at 03:02 AM.
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:57 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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A .357 is not a beginner's gun. If you do get one, shoot regular .38 specials until you get proficient, then try .357s. After that "learning experience" go back to .38 specials until you become proficient again.
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:58 AM   #5
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What kind of budget are you looking at?
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Old July 7, 2009, 02:38 AM   #6
Psychedelic Bang
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@ Bill DeShivs, A lot of people think a semi-automatic weapon is a bad choice for a first handgun. Anyways, OP was asking for ideas, and I may have been overzealous. Therefore, I have to agree with you that a .357 magnum is not a beginners round. My mistake...
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Old July 7, 2009, 05:56 AM   #7
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1st gun

Quote:
A .357 is not a beginner's gun.
Centerfire cartridges in general are not the best choices for beginners.
I have always disagreed with the idea of any centerfire cartridge as the load for a "first" gun.
If this really is a "first" gun, then the OP needs to practice and when he or she is done practicing, then he needs to practice some more. Even "cheap" CF ammo costs a lot compared to rimfire and there's a lot more going on when the gun goes bang. The opportunity to practice, to learn the basics, is much enhanced with a .22RF as opposed to anything heavier.
I know..... "show stopper", "not too small a caliber".
Learn to shoot first.
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Old July 7, 2009, 07:20 AM   #8
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ripcord22 - look in the phone book or ask at any local gun shop about ranges in your area with rental guns. Handling in the store is a good idea as you can rule out those that just fit your hand poorly. But far better is to go rent some that you are interested in and actualy shoot them.

Are you planning on carrying the weapon? That will have a big effect on your choice in terms of size and weight for concealed carry.

If it is strictly for range use and home defense, then size and weight become purely a matter of personal likes/dislikes and what feels good.

My HD guns tend to be large and heavy - FNP-45 and a 4" Ruger GP-100. A guns mass (IMO) has more to do with felt recoil then calibre. Even the harshest cartridges (the magnums - .357, .44, the venerable .45acp, ...) become easily manageable in a gun with some major weight to it (my FNP-45 weighs in at 42-43oz loaded, and the GP-100 is around 39-40oz loaded). Of course, the down side, for some people is that the gun is big and heavy.

Personally, even for carry, I still like some mass to my gun. I've shot S&W j-frames in .38spl and .357, as well as recently a Ruger LCR and I simply do not like those lightweight guns - my follow up shots are slower to get back on target and the light weight means they just jump around too much and are too hard to control. That's my take on them, but others love them and shoot them well, so you won't know what works for you until you try.

So I would suggest that you narrow down just what you want to do with the gun. Then you can go out to some stores and see what's there and handle them. From that, you could come up with a candidate list (definately try some different calibre guns) and find a range (or ranges) where you could rent and try.

Then you can always post back here and ask specifics about a given make or model.

My own guns include the FNP-45 (polymer frame) and an all stainless steel Taurus PT1911 (both .45acp), a CZ P-01 (9mm), a SIG P226 (Blackwater 9mm - both 9mm's are alloy frames) and a SIG P232 (all stainless .380acp), and a 6" blued and a 4" stainless Ruger GP-100 (.357 magnum). I would recommend any or all of them to anyone as I enjoy them all and have been very pleased with the quality and performance of all of them. But none of that helps you pick out a gun unless you are rich and really can just go out and buy one of everything
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Old July 7, 2009, 07:54 AM   #9
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I agree with Darkgael.

The advice I always give when somebody asks (it's been asked before, but it is a good question - check the search though for some other examples and advice), is always, always, always start with a .22 caliber pistol. I'll save you some more time and searching - you're either going to want the Ruger Mark III (Some folks prefer a Mark II, they're both fine) or a Browning Buckmark. This will allow you to SHOOT. It's shocking what centerfire ammo costs, and it takes a healthy amount of practice to get any good at it. While you're getting good with the .22 you'll have ample opportunity to make gun friends and try their stuff out before you decide what you actually like.

The really nice thing is that the .22 autos are about $100-$200 cheaper than any of your decent centerfire autos or revolvers (A new, midrange Ruger runs about $330 - under $300 is possible for both Buckmark and Ruger if you get the base model). You can use that savings to buy a Mossberg or Remington shotgun for HD needs ($150 used or so is pretty easy to find, sometimes cheaper if you're lucky). Shotgun is better for home defense in most cases anyway and it also opens up the delightful world of shooting clays (although this can get pretty pricey too, $10 a match give or take a couple bucks).

If you're absolutely deadset on getting a centerfire (such as if you're looking to concealed carry), there's lots and lots of good options if you're willing to spend $400-$600. CZ is my favorite, but Glock, S&W M&P, Ruger, Sig, Springfield, and probably a few I'm missing won't dissappoint.

I really can't stress how much better of a plan it is to get a .22 first (with a Shotgun if you're really worried about HD) if you're planning on becoming a shooter.

Last edited by 1-UP; July 7, 2009 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old July 7, 2009, 08:55 AM   #10
Mello2u
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Quote:
ripcord22

First Hand Gun
Hello All,
I'm in the market for a hand gun but have no idea what would be a good first. I need it to be show stopper if, god forbid, i needed it to be, so I'm not looking for something too small in caliber. Plus I would also like to feel several guns to know I'm not getting something I wont like.
You raise several issues:
First hand gun
choosing a cartridge of sufficient power
choosing a gun that you will like

First hand gun
As has been suggested, consider a .22 rimfire. This relatively inexpensive round can let you shoot more for each dollar spent. It has the additional advantage of low power and report. These two factors can let you practice with less recoil and noise, which should let you develop the proper shooting habits; rather than bad habits of flinch or gripping too hard. This is assuming that you have little or no training or experience shooting hand guns.

choosing a cartridge of sufficient power
Volumes have been written on this issue. Some believe a .25acp or .380acp is fine for them; others feel that the minimum they will be their life on is the .45acp. There are so many variables in shooting incidents it is hard to analyze them and draw conclusions. That is one reason for the wide variation in opinion about what is a good defense round.

If you concede that the primary mechanism by which a hand gun bullet (not a rifle bullet) causes incapacitation (not knock-down) is by loss of blood pressure then; you have to consider not only shot placement but penetration. The desire is to find a bullet that will shoot accurately and hit where you aim, then proceed into the target and destroy as much tissue as possible to cause as much bleeding as possible, which in turn leads to loss of blood pressure and loss of function. Some have a minimum standard which they set for starting caliber (say .35) and for penetration in ballistic gelatin (say 12 inches). Depending on bullet design it takes a certain amount of energy to drive that bullet 12" in ballistic gelatin. (On the issue of "over penetration" consider that most bullets fired in a deadly force shooting miss the target and the ones that actually penetrate the threat are going to have much less power remaining than the ones that missed and it becomes a low priority consideration relative to hitting your target.)

Another indication of effectiveness is how people train with certain cartridges. Many police departments train to shoot center of mass three time with a 9mm, but only twice with a .40 S&W or .45acp. Additionally, I'm unaware of any department which arms its patrol officers with any round less powerful than the 9mm (not that I would abdicate my decision making to the bureaucracy of a government).

There have been failures to stop threats with every cartridge from the .44 magnum on down, as there have been stops by the .22 rimfire on up. So it will take some research on your part to gain enough info to decide.

Choosing a gun you will like
I believe this is a matter of personal taste; and there is no accounting for taste. You should handle and shoot as many hand guns as you can to gain personal experience with them for only you can decide this issue.

All of this is a process which can be enjoyable by someone who has an intrest in these subjects. So enjoy the process and welcome to the hand gun shooting world.
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Old July 7, 2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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do you have an Academy Sports and Outdoors near you?
They have a sizeable gun case all with affordable guns. so you can hold them. Don't buy taurus though. They feature Sig, Glock, and Beretta as well as some S&W.

I reccomend the PX4 9mm. Its $519, its got good ergonomics, adjustable backstraps, accurate, low recoil, good looking. hammer, decocker, manual safety.

I recommend this as a first hand gun. the 9mm has almost no recoil. Its easy to shoot so its not a wrist snapper and its not loud. The hammer, safety and decocker are good things to have on a first time gun. 9mm is cheap and more available than other calibers depending on your location. That determines how often you shoot. If you get some other caliber that costs close to $1 a round, your not gonna shoot as much, and thus you wont be a good shot, since accuracy is largely determined by the user practicing on a regular basis.

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Old July 7, 2009, 11:28 AM   #12
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Buy a used Ruger Mk II or a used Browning Buckmark or a used Beretta Neo.
A .22lr pistol that'll let you learn the basics of shooting and safe gun handling.

Take classes starting with the NRA basic course and shoot your ,22 a lot.

At the same time go yo a shooting range that rents handguns and rent one of each. Revolvers from .22 up to .38 then skip to .45 and semis from .22 up to .45.
Go to lots of gun stores and handle as many different handguns as you can.

Take your time.
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Old July 7, 2009, 12:11 PM   #13
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While a lot of people recommend a 22 as a first handgun I honestly have to disagree. If a person isn't afraid of a little recoil (such as a 9MM) there's not too much of a reason to go with a 22 first, though it's a good gun to have around for practice. Being able to control recoil and stay on target doesn't really apply when firing a 22... which is why I tend to avoid them for practice.

You'll get 1000 different answers to the question of a first handgun. Here are the primary points to look at (in no particular order).

Ammo availability. This is a big one right now.. Don't get a caliber that's so obscure it's hard to find ammo for (as though it's not hard enough to find standard ammo!)

Your budget for ammo... Small calibers are not always cheaper. On average ammo for a 380 is more expensive than a 9MM (9x19). In the same way a 45ACP or 40 S&W is going to be more expensive to practice with than a 9MM. I think 9MM is a great caliber to start with.

Reliability, a big one. Don't sell yourself short and get a Saturday night special. While there are people out there who don't like poly frame guns, Glocks, XDs, Smith and Wesson M&Ps, etc, are quite reliable. Some people prefer a gun with an external hammer and that's fine too.. it's really personal preference.

Ergonomics for you. Pick it up, see how it feels, is it comfortable, etc. Are you able to reach the trigger well without it being too far or too close, is the frame too think or too thick.. etc etc etc.

Will it do what you need it to. If you're looking for something for self defense (which it sounds like) you probably don't want a 22LR or 22Mag.

Finally price doesn't always equal value. A Wilson 1911 for $2500 probably won't do anything the Glock won't do you're looking for.
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Old July 7, 2009, 12:19 PM   #14
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You are trying to run before you crawl

I really get ticked at these "first handgun" posts that immediately jump to wanting something in a suitable SD caliber.

That's not the way to do it.

You need to start out with a .22 SA revolver and learn the basics of handgunning first. After a couple thousand rounds of slow fire .22 at the range - preferrably with supervision - THEN you will be ready to move up to a self-defense handgun - MAYBE.

You have to crawl before you run - or even just walk.

I would reccomend a Ruger Single Six .22LR with an extra .22WMR cylinder. Master that first and then worry about something with more ooomph.
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Old July 7, 2009, 12:23 PM   #15
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I agree with riggings. Managing recoil is a big fundamental to shooting. I have airsoft pistols. I can hit bulls-eyes all day long, but when it comes to a real gun, your accuracy is quite different.

one thing everyone agrees on is, the more you shoot, the better you become and the more comfortable you are. Yes, firing off exotic loads is expensive, so you wouldnt be able to do it as much, compared to common cheaper calibers

so again, i recommend 9mm. since you can learn to shoot on that since it has realistic recoil, and you can get +p hollow points to use as SD. and target loads are available and the least expensive of non .22 rounds
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:37 PM   #16
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+1 to riggins and greyson.

following the ".22 before a centerfire" logic, wouldn't it be better to start on airsoft or a pellet gun?

I also agree not to start with a .44 Mag snub either. I have no problem introducing people to pistols with a .9mm. First pistol I ever shot was a M9 in the Army and it surprised me how easy it was.

Some people can't afford 2 pistols.
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Old July 7, 2009, 06:34 PM   #17
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I too disagree with the idea that one needs to start with a .22 or even that this is a preferable way to go.

I learned to shoot first with a .38spl, and I know plenty of ex-servicemen who first learned to shoot with 1911's or Beretta 9mm (and a few of my Canadian friends with Browning 9mm).

Sure a .22 pistol or revolver is a lot of fun and may well be something that a shooter wants in their collection. But as some sort of initial learning tool for handgun shooting, I just do not think that is necessary, or even necessarily the best way to go. Plus, for someone with limited funds, it may mean buying a gun that they know is decidedly inferior for personal protection, so that they just have to end up buying two guns when they really only ever wanted one.

Starting off with a .357 revolver sounds like a great idea to me, if that is the one gun you plan to buy anyway. Start shooting it with soft .38spl loads, and work through .38spl+p and onto full .357 magnum loads. Or a full size 9mm like a P226, Glock 17, CZ 75B or some such - recoil is very manageable in such a pistol and should not be a detraction from learning good habits and skills.
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Old July 7, 2009, 07:17 PM   #18
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My first handgun was a Smith and Wesson Model 10 in .38 caliber, my next handgun was a Springfield Loaded in .45 ACP and the next was a 9mm Ruger P-89. My fourth handgun was my first .22 and for the life of me I can't think of the manufacturer but it looks like a Colt single action army.

Do I agree that for many learning with a .22 is a good idea? Yes I do, my girl friend is a great example. She has a Neos and shoots very well with it. Her next favorite is my .45. She actually prefers it over the 9 mm and is a decent shot with it too.

I go along with the recommendation to try as many handguns as you can if you have your heart set on something other than a .22. Although the advice seen here often is hits with a .22 are more effective than misses with a .44 magnum. I have to believe that if you are proficient enough with a .22 to put 2 or more shots into an assailant's head they will most likely stop coming. I would guess that most guys would stop with 6 or 10 rounds of 22 center mass.
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Old July 7, 2009, 10:14 PM   #19
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Best of both worlds get a 1911 and a 22 conversion kit for it
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Old July 8, 2009, 12:37 AM   #20
ripcord22
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I'm sorry I should have clarified a bit more. I have been out in the hills with a few of my friends and I have shot a Glock 9 and a Sig .22LR. Both of which felt light when fired, almost like I was firing carelessly because there was no kick.

Yes I am looking for a personal carry and home protection, but would like to get away for under 500 if possible.

And to add how do you feel about used guns, should I be worried about wear.

I also don't plan on this being my only gun, just my only gun for right now.

Thanks again
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Old July 8, 2009, 12:43 AM   #21
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I learned to shoot with a 9mm ( M-9). I really like springfield's new XDm 9mm. That thing feels awesome and points like a 1911. So there you go.
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Old July 8, 2009, 02:18 AM   #22
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Before the guntwo suggestions.

Shooting glasses. Polycarbonate lenses or anything capable of taking a hit from ricocheting rocks or lead spit out from the side of someone else's revolver. Yes, I have been hit with little pieces of stuff and it has broken skin.

Hearing protection. You don't notice that after the whistling goes away, your hearing returns, but never as sensitive as it was before. All hearing loss that stays after 24 to 48 hours stays forever. And it is cumulative.

I like revolvers because I reload. I don't like to go chasing brass all over the place. I like 22s for reasons already stated by other advisers, but I will repeat

A 22 is affordable and REALLY affordable to shoot, which is important because, to get proficient with a handgun requires A LOT of practice. 22s cost pennies a shot. the cheapest centerfire ammunition is about 8 times as expensive. You can shoot 400 rounds of 22 for the same price as one box of 38 special. Don't take my word for it. Go to a store and look at their prices.

Besides, if you want to trade in your 22 (you won't, but if you do) they hold their value well. You won't take a huge loss. A Ruger 22 Single Six is cheap and fun. A Ruger Mark II used or Mark III used or new is a great gun. Taurus has a nice 22 9-shot double action revolver as well.

Having a 22 will get you onto the gun range where you will be able to see any number of other guns (and meet their owners) and learn about them. Maybe even shoot a few.

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Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post. Maybe especially this post.

Do your own independent, confirming research when ANYONE gives you new facts on the web.

Also remember, even the idiotic stuff might have a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere.

Lost Sheep

Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post.

Do your own independent, confirming research when ANYONE gives you new facts on the web.
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Old July 8, 2009, 02:41 AM   #23
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Sorry, I agree that the .22 Lr is great to practice and learn finesse on, but the first caliber I ever shot was 9mm, and it was nothing. I would say start with something like a 9mm or .38 spl and if that's too much, then work down from there. If it's ok, then perfect it and then work on doing more caliber-wise.
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Old July 8, 2009, 07:21 AM   #24
gwnorth
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Quote:
Yes I am looking for a personal carry and home protection, but would like to get away for under 500 if possible.

And to add how do you feel about used guns, should I be worried about wear.

I also don't plan on this being my only gun, just my only gun for right now.

Thanks again
A used gun can often be a great deal - often letting you buy a much better gun then you could buy new with the same funds (although even used asking prices are a bit wacky these days). I live in Virginia, where face-to-face personal sales are perfectly legal, so I have only ever bought used guns that I have seen and held prior to agreeing to the sale. In other words, I've never bought sight unseen on a forum - although there are folks here and at some of the other gun forums I am a member of that I would trust to be true to their word on the condition of an item they are selling (they have long standing, excellent reputations as both forum members and as past sellers).

And buying a trade in or a consignment piece from a store is often a good deal. The gun stores I frequent check such items themselves (they all have a gunsmith on staff) and of course you can thoroughly check the gun out at the store prior to purchase. I always field strip anything I am seriously considering in the store before I buy, even factory new, or at least ask the staff to field strip it so I can see, as sometimes they may not want a customer doing that to an item they have not actually purchased yet.

Again, that's why finding a range and renting things makes a lot of sense. You may find you really like something that is out side your budget new, but you now know what to look for used and can check online forums, local stores, or post a WTB (want-to-buy) add in the forum classifieds and see what comes up.
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Old July 8, 2009, 11:43 AM   #25
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Quote:
I'm in the market for a hand gun but have no idea what would be a good first. I need it to be show stopper if, god forbid, i needed it to be, so I'm not looking for something too small in caliber.
I was in the same position as you. While I waited for my state pistol permit to finally arrive, I did lots of research and narrowed my choices down to four: Springfield Armory XD-9; FNP-9; Beretta PX4; and S&W M&P. Then I went out and handled and dry fired those models. If you can rent and shoot a few, all the better, but do not buy a gun before at least handling it. Ergonomics and grip comfort are very important. Decide how much you are willing to spend and go from there. I settled on a 9mm as a good compromise first handgun. The Beretta PX4 is an excellent weapon and it was on my short list, but I went with an FN Herstal FNP-9 and I could not be happier. It has great ergonomics, low recoil, is superbly made and I got one for $497.00 + tax. FN Herstal makes excellent quality pistols, although they are not as well known in the U.S. as Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, Glock or Beretta. (BTW, the PX4 Storm will probably be my second 9mm eventually.) Here are some photos of the FNP-9 in Dual tone or Black Matte:



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