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Old December 30, 2013, 11:32 PM   #1
oldcabin
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How do you compare guns when shopping?

This is a great place to learn, but one has to go to the range eventually. I was comparing several 9mm a couple months ago. Xdm, SR9, g26, g19, and so on. Point is after a bit I started not loving or disliking any. More of an eh...it's nice. This one is better here or that feels ok.. I had the plan to go in and do a mental checklist. I did, hoping certian points or one model would really stand up for me. Nope. I compared trigger feel and pull. Slide effort, grip shape, mag release, several things but since they are all in the same class of compact or sub compact, no real surprises.

On a previous trip with the same goal at a place with different models I found a model that was the most natural, hands down most accurate with zero practice, almost perfect ergonomics. Etc. Great right? Well, I thought as I go through models.I'll be able to sort them and the ones for me will stand out.. all scientific... no warm fuzzy feelings.. I wanted to back the decisions with some reasons.

So me question to you is what do you look for?? Do you have a checklist of points to compare that you have found to be the way to measure? What have you learned now that matters more compared to what you though was important then? Thanks
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Old December 31, 2013, 12:04 AM   #2
DannyB1954
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I found a model that was the most natural, hands down most accurate with zero practice

You found your gun. When are you going to get it?

Doesn't really matter what is important to others. Choosing a gun is a personal decision. I have a number of different guns, so I guess my decisions change on a regular basis. There isn't a feature on any gun that I can not learn to live with, or live without, so from all of them I do have my favorites, They are different in many ways. I guess I find that I shoot them well.

Last edited by DannyB1954; December 31, 2013 at 12:20 AM.
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Old December 31, 2013, 12:35 AM   #3
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Waaaay to much thinking.
I see It, I like It, I but It, I shoot It.
Makes life a lot easier that way. Poorer, but easier.

Some of my "scientific" reasons.
E. German Makarov, Star B, CZ 50, CZ 52, CZ 82, Manurhin-Walther PP, several TT33 variants, Beretta Model 34, Walther P1,and probably some I'm forgetting.
Reason. They were C&R, they were reasonably priced. No regrets on any of them

Beretta 92fs. Reason. I've got a couple 1912's, why not what the military uses now?

Glock 20. Reason. I didn't have a Glock, I didn't have a 10MM

Hi-Point C9. Reason. Can they actually be as bad as some say? (Note, NO! they are actually very reliable, and accurate).
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Old December 31, 2013, 12:46 AM   #4
Psychedelic Bang
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Quote:
I see It, I like It, I but It, I shoot It.
Pretty much the same, except I tend to research and make sure I am buying a good brand...

"Top brand," than.. see it, like it, buy it, shoot it.

Is my deal. :-)
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Old December 31, 2013, 01:56 AM   #5
boondocker385
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if it feels good.... I look for a gun that is a natural pointer and fits my hand. based upon past experience, I know that I generally am happier with thicker grip sizes.
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Old December 31, 2013, 03:03 AM   #6
Jim243
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Choosing a gun is a personal decision.
Very, very true. Most time I have researched the hell out of it before walking into a store. But then there's the one that once picked up you just know. Not often but once in a while it just happens.

1st how it fits and feels, second how it is constructed and points, then there is the trigger test and it must pass that.

Had to have this one after picking it up just once. I need another 9mm like a hole in the head, but I just had to have it.



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Old December 31, 2013, 03:14 AM   #7
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Well, I try to not look at guns I could never afford. If I see anything pricier than 1k, I try to avert my eyes. I know my likes and dislikes already, so there are some things that I tend to avoid like manual safeties and small grips, but this is entirely preference. After that, it is all about how it feels in my hands. That being said, I would never buy a handgun without shooting one first if it is at all possible to do so. Sometimes you'll find that the guns that feel good in your hand are really harsh on you with recoil or slide around in your hands after shooting a few rounds.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:22 AM   #8
volkstrm
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Nice pick on the CZ,P-01 Jim243. I did the same on a p-01 in O/D green(or army green). I already had a CZ,75 compact. But I am a big CZ fan.
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:39 AM   #9
lamarw
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Like most, I pick various firearms for different reasons and personal needs. I have rifles and shotguns for various types of hunting which I currently do not do anymore.

I select some firearms for possible collectible standpoint or at least attraction to me because of some story behind them.

Then there are some because of just enjoyable to shoot, and the ones I use to carry or use as home protection.

I bought an old Haskell for the same reason Cheap Shooter bought his Hi-Point. I ditto his findings; although there is very little in refinement to the ugly monster.
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Old December 31, 2013, 11:20 AM   #10
oldcabin
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Thanks for the replys, and yes all the points are right. You stop looking for your lost keys when you find them. And yes the $ 1,000 and up stuff has been passed up.
The issue is the process felt wrong. Did I really figure it out without all the hassle??
I guess I'm way over thinking this.
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Old December 31, 2013, 01:15 PM   #11
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No, I don't think - you are over thinking it....

I talk to guys at my local range - every week - that are unhappy with the gun they bought - mostly because they failed to think it thru / didn't bother to dry fire enough different guns / didn't bother to rent and fire a number of guns / didn't talk to enough people....


To me....

a. # 1 is trigger.....how it breaks and how it resets...and how it feels to me. Some wobble, some have long resets, some have creep, some have slack....

b. #2 is grip angle....does the gun come up right / or do I have to roll my wrist one way or the other to get the gun to level out for me as I come up and extend my arms toward target... Some guns have different back straps - so you can alter the grip angle....some you'll like, some you'll hate....

c. # 3 weight / width / feel in general....can you reach all the controls without moving your grip ( to mag release especially, or slide lock, decocker, etc...)..

d. ergonomics....look of the gun, sights, etc...
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Old December 31, 2013, 03:40 PM   #12
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cheapshooter:

Waaaay to much thinking.
I see It, I like It, I but It, I shoot It.

Used to be how I bought firearms, cars and motorcycles. Now I define my needs, narrow to my search to what most fulfills those needs, compare those options both by quality/cost and then test drive or at least handle the firearm to see how it fits me. If nothing jumps out at me, I realize I ain't made a clear choice yet and it's time to hold off.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:14 PM   #13
SHE3PDOG
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Reading through some of the other posts reminded me of something else. When I first started shooting, I didn't really know what I liked or didn't like. I just shot whatever my dad and brothers put in my hands. After shooting lots of different models, I started to develop preferences pertaining to grip size, trigger feel, sights, weight, and other aspects that are all highly personal for the most part.

The point is, if I hadn't already had the experience with other guns, I wouldn't have known what to look for when I bought my first handgun. I already knew what a naturally pointing gun felt like and all the other stuff that I liked. With that in mind, if whoever is buying the gun is a new shooter, I'd recommend that they go to some sort of basic handgun course where they let you use range guns so they can get a feel for what decent shooting is supposed to be, and start forming their preferences.

After they figure all that stuff out, they can just look for similar pistols, shoot them, then decide whether or not they like it. Obviously more experienced shooters can skip over the first part, but I still wouldn't buy a handgun without shooting it if it all possible.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:35 PM   #14
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I start out with asking what I want the gun for. Concealed carry? Home defense? A strictly range pistol? Etc. From that, I can decide what features are most important.

I first try to narrow my choices by looking at objective factors. For any kind of defense handgun, reliability is first. While you won't know if a particular pistol is reliable, some research into the company and make of handgun will be a strong indicator. Then, depending upon exact usage, I'll consider size, caliber, shot capacity (to some extent), type of action (double action, single action only, DA/SA), and type of safety (frame or slide mounted or no safety). These latter two items depend a lot on user preference but there's no use in looking a single action only if you don't like cocked and locked carry, for example.

The objective criteria should narrow the field down some. I then look at factors such as grip size (I have small hands), trigger, and general ergonomics. Finally, I will consider things like the ability to accessorize, availability of repair services, etc. In other words, for a gun I'm going to shoot a lot, I want to know it can be repaired and maintained. I do have guns that are more collectible but don't shoot them nearly as much.
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Old December 31, 2013, 05:02 PM   #15
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An interesting post and I've enjoyed reading the answers.

This seems slanted towards semi-autos since that seems to be what most are referring to. For myself . . . I'm more of a "revolver" person. I've owned many over the last 50 years of a lot of different brands. I've come full circle back to S & W - I like vintage ones - just because they feel good in my hand. I especially like J and K frames. But, let's face it, most DA revolvers are pretty much the same so I think, at least for me, it's maybe easier to pick a revolver than it is a semi-auto.

I've owned maybe a half dozen semis - most were 22s. As far as a CCW piece though - I found it difficult and pretty much thought along the same lines as the OP. I had a 1911-A1 for a number of years and couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. While they are nice, it just wasn't me. When I started looking for a 9mm, I looked at a lot of 'em. The biggest concern I had was #1 - safety as far as a carry. After that, I was out in left field in terms of exposed hammer, DA SA, DA only, etc. I kept looking and the first time I had a chance to look at and handle a Ruger SR9, I just pretty much knew that I had found "the one". Is it "perfect"? Probably not but then no handgun is . . . there is always the "I wish it had" . . . but overall, I love it, it's reliable for me, it feels good and I'm accurate with it . . . so what more could I ask for?

The funny thing is, after I bought the SR9, I have purchased several more semis . . . just because they "caught my eye". But, I didn't keep them . . I kept going back to the SR9. As already mentioned, I think that selecting a handgun is more personal . . . you can do the research on reliability, function, etc. . . but, when it comes right down to it, most shooters will know what is the right one when they handle it.

A while back, I was taking an advanced shooting class for SD and there was a guy next to me that had a beautiful Kimber. At a break, he was sort of "showing off" and when he asked what I was shooting, I told him an SR9. He was a snob and made a few remarks . . . at which point, I asked him how many FTE and FTFs he'd had so far . . . I know he had at least four as I was shooting next to him. In reality, the Kimber was new to him and he hadn't even taken the time to famliarize himself with it (plus he was a poor shooter to begin with - he didn't even know how to correctly hold it to rack the first round in to it). The instructor, a former military special ops. and currently a SWAT member, was listening. He finally had enough of the guy and told him that perhaps he'd better learn his weapon first before he put anybody down. After the next relay he shot, the instructor pulled his target and mine and had him come over and look at them. Then, he told the guy that maybe he'd ought to go out and get himself an SR9 as I was having no problems hitting the target but he was with his expensive handgun.

The point I'm trying to make is that it really doesn't make a difference whose name is on the handgun - if it functions well, you are well versed on the operation of it and the features it has and you are accurate with it . . . then it's the "right one" for you. Choosing a handgun is all about the various features of it that you are comfortable with for the purpose for which you are purchasing it . . what's "right" for you may not be "right" for the next guy. And that pretty much goes for any firearm - pistol, rifle or shotgun.
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Old December 31, 2013, 05:16 PM   #16
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Used to be how I bought firearms, cars and motorcycles. Now I define my needs, narrow to my search to what most fulfills those needs,
I can certainly see that when need is involved. By this time in my shooting life, need is far from the prime reason I buy a gun.
Just the differant strokes thing. For some a gun is nothing more than a tool for a purpose. For others, like me they are also a hobby, and at times a passion!
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Old December 31, 2013, 06:18 PM   #17
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I like to pistol shop pretty much like Tuco in" the Good , the Bad, and the Ugly." Particularly when I'm on police trade-ins. I am so spoiled by the selection our LGS typically presents. It's fun!
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Old December 31, 2013, 10:57 PM   #18
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I agree with KyJim. I also think Cheap Shooter has a valid point from my perspective also.

I would not use the same rationale of buying an under one grand firearm as I would in buying my next seventy thousand dollar ride. (wish I could reconcile myself to a more expensive ride).

There are different criteria for different enjoyments and requirements in life.
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Old December 31, 2013, 11:14 PM   #19
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I get it clear in my mind what I am looking for and put these guidelines down on paper. Caliber is my usual starting point. Then, make, model, capacity, barrel length, sights, safeties, ergonomics, overall size, and accessory capabilities, not in any particular order. I will then shop around on the various online gun shops and dealers websites to find what most closely resembles my guidelines and the weapons general appearance. After which I spend a lot of time on the internet (mostly forums and you tube) doing research on what others have experienced with the chosen firearms. I will use a piece of paper for each weapon with two columns "Pros" and "Cons" and eventually I will have it narrowed down to a couple of choices. I then head out to look around at my LGS to touch, feel and hopefully shoot the chosen weapons. This will usually narrow it down one sometimes two. Then I will do more research on the internet to find the best all around deal on said weapon or weapons. Price, shipping and warranty are paramount. This can take a considerable amount of time. Usually at least a few months but I enjoy the hunt almost as much as the purchase and I am retired so I have the time to do it.
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:12 AM   #20
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I may be different, but I research the heck out of MOST firearms I buy before hand. I more or less define what I want and then try to find the best that meets my wants, and needs, that I can afford. Take my 1911 for example, I did a lot of reading and asked all kinds of questions online and of people I knew and I ended up with a pringfield 1911A-1 Loaded.

BUT, then there is the uncontrollable urge, I gotta have it factor! You know that feeling, you pick up a gun, it feels like and extension of you and you simply can't put it back.
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:57 AM   #21
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I have a 'list' of guns or types i wanted. When something i happened across for a deal or i felt the itch I'd get it. These were the basics of my collection production guns. Helped keep me focused when i got to the shop to have an objective in mind.

Then i have a second list of unicorns which is much more extensive. These are guns that i don't actively pursue due to rarity or asking price. An example would be like a colt python. Sure I could get one anyday for 2k. But i'd rather wait and stumble across the 800 dollar old duty gun an retired cop is selling @ a gun show. or something. More history more interesting. I take my time with these I enjoy the hunt.

I am now at the point where I dont really shop for anything. I kind of just hope to find something special. Most gun shops dont carry much that interests me. I usually have to order it special. To be honest its nice not wanting everything in the case like when i started getting things. Since little of it interests me I can make better choices.
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Old January 1, 2014, 01:16 AM   #22
Nathan
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Frankly, I don't think you are being critical enough. This is your hard earned money...make a gun work for it.

#1 grab the gun...how did it grab off the table. Easy, or did you reposition like 5 times.

#2 fit to hand....close your eyes and feel every finger plus the heel of your hand. Is it fitting like it was made for you, or are things a bit off.

#3 point it.....that is fake draw it onto a target point. How did the sights come up to your eyes? Is it ready to fire? Is it pointing slightly up or down?

#4 shoot it....what 2 handed group sized. Now low ready to 2 shots COM. Easy, hard, time?

#5 holding a suspect...easy? Safe? Ready?

#6 after....how easy to reholster? #of stems.
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Old January 1, 2014, 10:22 AM   #23
oldcabin
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Happytrails had a good point. Its the hunt.. thats part of what i enjoy. I missed out a bit on the hunt and felt robbed.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:51 AM   #24
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I first decide exactly what I want the gun to do, it's main purpose. Then I break it down to how much I'm able to spend, which brands I know and trust, and what caliber and style gun I'm going to want. Then it's research, research, research, learning all I can about guns that would fall into these categories. Once I have my list of interest narrowed down, I'll start visiting the gun shops to get hands on with each gun, looking for what feels good in the hands, handles well, functions well, meets all my important to me qualities. And when possible, shooting a rental of the ones I'm interested in. After that, making a choice is easy, usually.
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:20 AM   #25
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So Strafer Gott, you like to take them all apart and cherry pick the best components and reassemble?
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