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Old November 13, 2013, 11:23 AM   #1
bbdollsgrl
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Need Advice!

Hello! I will be purchasing my first hand gun soon! I am, of course doing my homework first - seeking advice from friends and family, will go the range to shoot different models and see what I like, etc. I wanted to however also seek some advice here as well on what type of guns you might suggest might be good for me to start. There are so many that it is overwhelming. I understand I want to explore several, but if a few suggestions could help me get started that would be great! I am not experienced at all with gunsw ( I plan fully on lots of lessons and practice of course ). I am purchasing the gun for in home protection. I don't plan on carrying it on me. I am female and small. I am only 5 ft with small hands. However, I am strong and can probably handle a lot more than you think. I know I don't want a revolver. Any suggestions on a few I can start with to try? Thanks for your help!
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Old November 13, 2013, 11:42 AM   #2
Chaz88
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My daughter is about your size and she shoots my 6" barreled .357's with .38 target loads very well. She likes to shoot larger caliber pistols with hot loads but is not as accurate with them, so I limit how much she shoots those. But if she needed to shoot a magnum load for self defense she would not have a problem with a .357 mag in one of my 4" or 6" pistols.

For what you said I would look at the larger framed revolvers in 4" to 6" barrels.

If you want specific model recommendations I and most everyone else is biased in some way. I would recommend good used Smith & Wesson pistols, K or N frame.

NOTE: Some may take exception with my calling revolvers pistols but that is what they were all called when I was growing up.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 13, 2013, 12:00 PM   #3
Andrewh
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so typically for hd, people recommend rifles.
easier to aim, easier to shoot in general.

if you are stuck on a pistol, again, most people recommend a revolver for starting shooters, as they do not require failure to fire drills.

since you have ruled those out, semi autos can be difficult to manipulate the slide on for a lot of people.
this will probably be your biggest issue.

there are many video's on line on various ways to overcome this on many different hand guns.

the other choice are guns with easier to manipulate slides.

the walther p380 is one of the easiest "full" size guns I have seen to pull the slide back on.
this is still in production and can be found most anywhere.
the draw back of course is that it is only 380.

tip up barrels also are a choice.
most are not in production anymore, but people like them just the same.
berretta 86 is one I own.
again, the issue is most are 22 to 380, nothing much larger than that.
recoil can be pretty stout since they are blow back operated.

glock or glock like guns, XD or other polymer striker fired guns are generally recommended as well, due to having no safety to remember to disengage.
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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Why do you say, " I know I don't want a revolver." ??

A good revolver is the best choice a new gun-owner could make. With a very minimum of care - it will always work when you need it. I have always told NRA basic pistol classes to consider a revolver for a first-purchase handgun to learn profficient shooting. No fancy safetys to worry about, no levers to operate, no committing operational procedure to memory, -when you need it, it will serve you well.
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:26 PM   #5
Chaz88
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Quote:
I know I don't want a revolver.
Wow! I normally have very good reading comprehension. But this is the second time in as many days that I totally did not correctly comprehend what I was reading.

Now my recommendation would be for something along the lines of a Beretta 92FS. My daughter also shoots it very well. It has a rather large grip but she has small hands and no problems shooting it accurately. I have found it very reliable, accurate, and much simpler to take down and clean than a lot of other autos. I also do not have a problem concealing it if I want to, but I am a lot bigger than you.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:45 PM   #6
MrBorland
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If you don't want a revolver, I suggest a full-sized polymer striker-fired 9mm, such as a Glock 17, S&W M&P9 or a Springfield XD: Very reliable, plenty of capacity, no external safeties you'd have to otherwise remember to deal with under stress, and unlike DA/SA pistols like the Beretta 92 just mentioned, the trigger pull is the same for every shot. Unless you're looking for a target pistol, or you're a steel-and-walnut purist, there's very little to not like about these pistols.
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:57 PM   #7
arizona98tj
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I've introduced several first time pistol shooters to the sport using one of the several Springfield Armory XD pistols I have in the safe. I'm not saying they are the best you can find, but they are reliable and have never failed me. When a fairly small 14 year old girl can rack and shoot one of my 9mm XD handguns, first time standing on the firing line, I'm thinking most anyone else can do so to.

Lots of brands to pick from and I'm sure you will find something once you try a few at the range....you could do far worse than one of the XD pistols. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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Old November 13, 2013, 01:21 PM   #8
cerberus65
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A .22 is always a great place to start learning to shoot. It has many advantages: lowest cost ammo, no recoil to disturb learning the fundamentals, no muzzle-blast to throw you off, less noise (although hearing protection still required), and probably more I'm not thinking of.

The only downside is that a .22 doesn't make a great HD gun so you'll need/want something bigger. But even then it's great to have something you can practice more frequently with without breaking the bank.

The Beretta NEOS and Ruger 22/45 both have grips that should fit smaller hands (but try for yourself). Both are well-regarded also.
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Old November 13, 2013, 01:27 PM   #9
Chaz88
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Quote:
no external safeties you'd have to otherwise remember to deal with under stress, and unlike DA/SA pistols like the Beretta 92 just mentioned, the trigger pull is the same for every shot.
Just my opinion but I think the external safety, de-cocking lever, and harder trigger pull on the DA first shot can a be a good thing for new and even experienced shooters. Makes it harder to have an accidental discharge. Ease of operation under stress can be a problem but that along with the other reasons are why I recommend revolvers for new shooters.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old November 13, 2013, 01:29 PM   #10
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You truly must try the pistols out. Look for proper trigger reach while maintaining proper grip.

1. I highly recommend a Kahr K9. It is a DAO single stack 9mm. Good trigger reach for small hands. Consistent and smooth trigger pull. Accurate. Reliable. Minimal external controls for simplicity.
2. I have met several women at the range who are very happy with their Ruger SR9c. Pistol seems OK but I have not played enough with it to have a strong opinion. The ones I have handled and shot seems good.
3. Stay away from S&W M&P because of terrible trigger.
4. SA Xdm might allow good fit.
5. Glock Gen 4 may also be a good choice.
===========
My GF who has small hands likes "her" Kahr K9 over our Xdm, M&P, and Glock.
===========
Also, you may want to think about how you will keep the pistol in your home. Loaded (one in the chamber), full mag empty chamber, etc? It may affect your pistol selection (SA, DAO, DA/SA, etc).
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Old November 13, 2013, 02:34 PM   #11
Tortuga12
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1.) Definitely go to a range, take a class, rent a bunch of different guns! Best way to find what you like, and what you shoot well (not always the same thing).

2.) For myself, it's hard to go wrong with a .22, esp. as a starting point. Best bets these days are the Browning Buckmark, Ruger MKIII or 22/45, or Ruger SR22. All are semi autos, all are quality products, all are 10+1 capacity, and all are very affordable. Ammo (even now) is relatively cheap, recoil and noise are low. So is power, so from a self defense standpoint, .22 is not ideal, BUT, with the low recoil, follow up shots are easy to make, and at 15 yards, I can confidently place 10 shots in the middle of a paper plate without much thought or effort (place said plate over your midsection or face to see what that means in "real life" accuracy). Buying good ammo is key to .22 reliability, so don't skimp. CCI mini-mags are the gold standard.

3.) If you want something bigger than a .22, your options expand considerably. Personally, I really like the Ruger SR9C in 9mm, buddy bought one recently and let me fire a couple of mags through it. VERY cofortable to hold, good sights and trigger, accurate, and soft recoiling. Also easy to take apart for cleaning. Really, any of the modern striker fired, polymer framed guns (Glock, XD, M&P, PPQ, SR9, etc) are probably going to be very similar in performance, just depends on which you shoot best. If you don't want a polymer frame, I'd recommend something like a CZ75 Compact or PCR.
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Old November 13, 2013, 02:47 PM   #12
kutz
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Revolver in .357/.38.
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Old November 13, 2013, 02:53 PM   #13
BigJimP
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You said you're going to range to try different guns - take some classes, etc.....all of that is great...../ couple of points to consider as you try and find the best handgun for your needs :


a. Stay with a 9mm.../ based solely on ammo cost ...it will cost way less to practice.

b. Evaluate the size of the grip -- when you properly grip the gun ...can you reach the mag release with out moving your hands on the grip / if you have to move your grip - to reach the mag safety, thumb safety, decocker, etc - then the gun is not the best option for you.

c. longer weapons overall...have a longer sight plane and are a little easier to shoot...

d. heavier guns - mean less recoil

e. evaluate the sights / dots, wedges, V's, etc...what works for you - that you can see easily when you bring the gun up...

f. evaluate the trigger - both how it breaks and how it resets for the next shot.....how much slack, or creep or wobble is there in it ....

g. get a small spiral notebook ...and make notes on each gun as you shoot it ..../ especially in a family of guns like Sig ...where you might fire a 226, then a 229, then a 239 ....note how each feels, how triggers feel, weight, grip angle, sights, etc.....

as you go back a 2nd time - then you have a basis to work from vs a memory ...because after you've fired 9 or 10 guns, recalling what you liked or didn't like, gets really fuzzy....

All of the big name mfg's are making decent guns...Sig, H&K, Sprinfield, S&W, Glock, etc....but each are a little different...
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Old November 13, 2013, 04:12 PM   #14
lcpiper
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So many excellent points here, another is caliber and some hit on it well some do not.

As you have seen cost is an issue for most people, some say start with a .22LR and work your way up, the .22 will always be useful, this isn't bad.

So say 9mm because it's one of the cheapest "service calibers", and it's not bad advice, but in the end, just keep the cost of ammo in mind cause you should do a lot of shooting for awhile and then slow down and just stay regular to keep your skills up to speed.

As you test fire these guns try to think of it like looking for a good pair of work shoes. If a gun gives you any problem just testing it out, imagine spending all day with it. If you have a problem with the controls other then just being unfamiliar with them then just move on to the next one.

If you can fire a .45 but can't shoot it quickly and accurately then a .45 is not for you. You want to look for the largest caliber that you can really dance with. You want to reliably be able to shoot very fast and with good accuracy so if you have to pause between shots because the gun jumps around too much then that gun is too much for you.

This is another one of those good arguments for a .22LR, because you can learn everything you need to learn with it, and it will be easy and you will learn just have fast you can shoot and be accurate. Then when you pick your serious defense gun you will have a good experience behind you to help with the selection.

Last, like was said, a long gun is the best for home defense, a shotgun or a rifle can't be beat. Ask most here and they will tell you their pistols are on the nightstand so they have a chance to get to their long gun. A Shotgun in .410GA or .20GA is more then enough for the job. An AR-15 / M-4 is also excellent, easy to shoot, accurate, large magazines, and very effective.

And there is nothing at all wrong with revolvers, and my daughter carries her pistol in a purse that has a special zippered compartment just for the job.

My wife uses a .380 caliber SIG P238 and thinks she is James Bond at the range, I can't load the magazines fast enough for her. You'll find what you like.
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Old November 14, 2013, 05:53 AM   #15
Waspinator
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I'd say something in 9mm on a full-sized or compact metal frame (depending on you hand size/preference). Since you won't carry, then weight is not a matter and you will actually want the extra weight. The 9mm,, well.. like was mentioned, it is inexpensive and effective. I would look into a SA/DA semi.

Maybe something along the lines of these (wide range of prices).

Sig Sauer P229
http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p229.aspx
Sig Sauer P239 (compact)
http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p239.aspx
Beretta 92 FS
http://www.berettausa.com/92fs/
Beretta 92 FS Inox (compact)
http://www.berettausa.com/products/b...nox-with-rail/
Stoeger Cougar
http://www.stoegerindustries.com/cougar-pistol
Stoeger Cougar Compact
http://www.stoegerindustries.com/cougar-pistol
Bersa Thunder Pro
http://www.bersa.com/bersa-firearms/...ro-series.html
Bersa UC Thunder Pro (compact)
http://www.bersa.com/bersa-firearms/...ro-series.html
CZ 75 BD
http://www.cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-75-bd/
CZ 75 D PCR (compact)
http://www.cz-usa.com/products/view/...d-pcr-compact/

There are some that might be worth a look to start with.
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:49 AM   #16
skoro
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Quote:
Any suggestions on a few I can start with to try?
I'd recommend a service size revolver with a 4" barrel in 38 special or 357 magnum. My favorites are the Smith and Wesson Model 10 or Model 64. Very easy to operate and to shoot accurately with an effective caliber for your purpose.

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Old November 14, 2013, 09:45 AM   #17
51.50
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CW40

I bought a Kahr CW40, found it to be too small for my hand. I gave it to my adult daughter. She is accurate with it and can disassemble/reassemble it on her own (for cleaning). It fits her hand perfectly. She is strong for a short girl too. If the CW40 has too much recoil, Kahr makes a CW9(mm) She went from a 22magnum to the 40 caliber. I doubt she will ever give it back.
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:58 AM   #18
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No matter what you buy, my suggestion is to start by buying a reloading press.

The only reason to make an exception to this 1st step would be if have decided to buy a 22 rim fire.

To start out you need only the press, a set of dies in the caliber of your choice and a powder scoop if your budget is tight. A powder measure and scale are nice if you want to buy them, or you can get an RCBS “Little Dandy” and skip the scale.

All center fire ammo is expensive these days and even the components can be hard to find now and then.
Being able to make your own ammo will allow you to shoot enough to become proficient with your new handgun, and being proficient is the largest concern.

No matter what you buy, the gun is not going to make your home safer. YOU are going to make yourself safer, and that will happen only when you can use the gun well.

Having said all that, I will echo the above advice. You are fat better off for home defense with a long arm than a handgun. A handgun is a tool for use when you have no time to prepair which means you are not on your own ground. In short, a handgun is for carring at all times. If you are not going to carry, and you have to go get your gun (which means you are at home in most cases) ALWAYS get a shot gun or a rifle.

Please note that EVERY military in the world issues rifles as a primary weapon to it’s troops.
Why?
Because they are better for offence and defense than other kinds of guns.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:14 AM   #19
Ruger45LC
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I'd say something like a Glock 26 would be perfect for you. It's small, holds 10+1rds of 9mm, plenty effective, and 9mm doesn't recoil hard. The pistol is easy to control and you can easily rack the slide on it.

I think you'll love the size and controlability of it. It's simple to take apart and clean, a blind monkey could do it. It's as reliable as you'll ever get for a handgun. Trust me, you should try a Glock 26, or the next size up, the Glock 19, also 9mm.

I've read many threads where a guys wife will "take" his G26 as hers, they really are perfect and ladies seem to love them as well. Afterwards take a pistol class or two so you can get very thoroughly acquainted with it, you'll love a Glock.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:15 AM   #20
wayneinFL
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Quote:
I know I don't want a revolver.
It's kinda funny how everyone missed this, and 90% of the recommendations are for revolvers.

My advice is to take an NRA Basic Pistol or First Steps class, then go to the range and see what fits your hand. Then rent a few guns. And don't buy something cheap. Go with S&W, Ruger, Beretta, Glock, etc.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:36 AM   #21
Cheapshooter
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Quote:
Quote:
Why do you say, " I know I don't want a revolver." ??


Where did that come from? Nothing even remotely related to that statement in the OP!

A 4" barreled 357 Magnum revolver would be a good choice because of the ease of operation. A revolver is less prone to any kind of operational problems that could occur with a semi-auto. Although today's semi-auto handguns are very reliable.

One thought though if the gun is to be strictly for home defense, and not personal carry or recreation. Have you given any thought to a home defense style shotgun. Some very reliable pump action shotguns with short 18" barrels, and extended 6 round capacity magazines are available for less than a good quality revolver. Also, shotgun ammunition, especially in the larger shot sizes common for home defense hasn't been nearly as hard to find as good self defense handgun ammo.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:54 AM   #22
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I was wondering why so many want to talk her into a revolver when she clearly indicated she didn't want one.

bbdollsgrl, I've read through all this well-meaning advice and there doesn't seem to be a trend that would be much help to you other than try some things out before you decide.

I suggest you go here:

http://www.corneredcat.com/

You really need to find a way to try some different firearms before you make any expensive decisions.

Best of luck,

And, oh yes, I recommend you look at corneredcat.com

Best,

Will
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Old November 14, 2013, 11:33 AM   #23
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My advice is to consider features first, then find a pistol that fits your needs.

Perhaps the first feature to consider is caliber. While .22LR makes it very easy to learn to shoot well, I would not recommend it for your first pistol, simply because you state that you want your first pistol to be for home defense and .22LR is not a great choice for that. 9 mm is a fine choice, being the least expensive of the major calibers and the equivalent or near-equivalent in stopping ability to the other larger, more expensive, and sometimes more difficult to shoot calibers.

Consider the positive and negative features of different trigger systems, and the presence or absence of a thumb safety, and other features that matter to you. Handle the pistols that have the features that you decide on and see what feels good in your hand. Then, if at all possible, shoot the last two or three finalists and see if they still feel good.

I can tell you what my daughter, similar in size to you, picked (Beretta PX4 Compact 9 mm) but that was her choice. If you want a double action trigger that transitions to single action after the first choice, and you want a thumb safety, it is worth considering. You are allowed to have different needs and wants, though, and those are what you need to consider as you make YOUR choice.

Corneredcat.com - bookmark it.

My final bit of advice is to read the well-meaning recommendations you will get here to find WHY a particular choice was made rather than WHAT was chosen. Understanding the reasoning behind choices will help you make your own decision. Every pistol has had someone who thought it was what they needed or they wouldn't have bought it; your job is to find what fits you.
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Old November 14, 2013, 01:30 PM   #24
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TailGator has a very good suggestion, get to a female-oriented site. Male-dominated sites tend to dispense wisdom rather than finding truth.

A woman at my range plays with a .50 Desert Eagle, and quite well too. My wife, the same size, favors a small .38.

Find a rental range which have women on staff. No, this does NOT mean you will be told to purchase a pink LCP, it DOES mean that women view guns very differently from men.

In general, starting out, IMHO only, just about any polymer 9mm will be a good choice. Find one that fits and enjoy. You can slip into a very good 9 for $500.

Feel free to explore the used market. There are a lot of good guns, with little wear, and steeply discounted from their new equivalents.

Shoot and have fun. Listen to much advice, act on that advice that makes sense to you. Feel free to disregard all advice and find your own way.

Shoot and have fun, mostly have fun. If you have fun, everything else about guns will come together.
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Old November 14, 2013, 02:53 PM   #25
Chaz88
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Quote:
Where did that come from? Nothing even remotely related to that statement in the OP!
Yes, she clearly said she did not want a revolver in the OP. I unfortunately read it to say she knew she wanted a revolver and thought "great idea to start out with one". Then had to explain myself for recommending one.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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