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Old December 1, 2013, 07:48 AM   #1
Bizzy
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Some thoughts for a first gun

Hi everyone - first time gun buyer here.

I've been discussing with some gun buddies of mine about getting a gun for self-protection and tried out three different guns - a .22 (LR) revolver, 45 caliber, and .357 magnum - basically, all ends of the spectrum. I know I want a handgun and not a rifle.

They're trying to steer me toward the .22 because their argument is that it's the safest gun and with handguns location matters much more than caliber, and it's cheap to train on. My favorite was the 45 because I had no issue with the recoil and it's a much more powerful gun (and actually was the most accurate with that than anything else). I'd be concerned with a .22 only being effective if you hit just the right spots, which in a high-pressure situation (I'm also having a security system installed Tuesday which will cause a bunch of noise too for when I'm home) may be more difficult than you'd want it to be. The .357 had a lot of recoil, which would be managed with enough practice, but for a first gun I've ruled it out.

In general, I've always seen that someone should go with the highest caliber gun you can easily manage, which for me would be a .45. But I'm also concerned the hefty ammo price tag would discourage regular practice. However, one thought I had as well is that I live within 150 feet of numerous houses, and if the worst case scenario happened and there was a firefight with a BG, a 45 would have the highest chance (compared with a .22) of going through a wall or window and into a neighbors house if I missed, and I obviously have no desire for that to happen.

At this point, I haven't decided on a revolver or pistol yet either - I like the revolver's simplicity and reliability, but reloading a revolver during a fight with a BG isn't really feasible. However, if you're in a FF and don't handle the job within 6 shots, you're likely dead anyway?

So I wanted to get people's thoughts given the situation I presented above whether a .22 or 45 makes sense, or if another gun entirely may make sense. I live in Vermont which as everyone knows is an open carry state but I don't really intend to carry it regularly. It'll mostly be kept in the safe when I'm not home and next to my bed when I am. I might bring it into my car if I'm driving through a shady neighborhood but it's mostly just for the home.
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Old December 1, 2013, 08:05 AM   #2
kmglock
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Don't bother with a .22 for self defense - not enough stopping power. Go with the 45 or a 9mm. 9mm is pretty effective with hollow points and is much cheaper to shoot. Just make sure you get a very reliable gun. I would recommend a Glock 19 or a Beretta 92FS.
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Old December 1, 2013, 08:26 AM   #3
mxsailor803
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You said that the .357 has too much recoil for you, did you try .38 specials in the same gun? Understand that the .38spl is a very capable personal defense round. In your mind, do you want a revolver or semi-auto? This also plays into what may be feasible. For example, if you are getting a revolver, you can find a friend, relative, or local shooter that is a reloader and then they can make extremely light practice rounds for you. I shoot a ton of .44mag and rarely ever come close to a full power load with it. With a semi-auto on the other hand, they have to have a certain amount of power (recoil) to be able to function. However, many semi-autos also have conversion kits to go from 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP to .22lr for practice purposes. The main autos I can think of off the top of my head is 1911's, Glocks, Sig's, and Beretta's. This is a very broad spectrum that normally can't be solved by just looking around on the internet. Find a local range that has rentals and give a few different weapons a chance.
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Old December 1, 2013, 08:41 AM   #4
Ozzieman
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How much shooting have you done?
I would suggest that you purchase a Ruger MK II or III or get the Ruger 22/45 which has the same grip angle as the 1911.
What 45 do you like, that would be also a help?
The 22 is not a good SD gun but everyone should own at least one to practice with. Let’s face it, if you can’t hit something with a light recoiling 22 you’re not going to be able to shoot much else.
Also from the guns you suggested what do you like more, revolver or semi auto?
The 45, don’t worry about going through multiple walls, load it with a good self defense round. The box o truth will explain about different rounds and there danger of over penetration.
If you want a good overall revolver get a Ruger 4 inch SP100 or 101 and get the one you feel most comfortable with. Get a 357 mag and as mxsailor803 suggested put a good 38's in it.
Cost is the one problem with higher caliber guns, but you have to weigh your safety against cost.
22 is not a good choice for SD.
http://www.ruger.com/products/sp101/index.html
http://www.ruger.com/products/sr1911/models.html
http://www.theboxotruth.com/

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Old December 1, 2013, 09:03 AM   #5
skoro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizzy
getting a gun for self-protection
Only you know what your personal situation is and what your likely self-defense needs are. That said, any 22 is a poor choice for this usage. If this will be a weapon that you intend to carry, then I'd recommend a lightweight 38 snubnose revolver. Fool proof, compact, easy to carry. And current 38spl loads are very effective.

If you're looking more at something to keep at home, then a 45 auto would be a good choice. They tend to be big and heavy though, making them less appropriate for carrying.
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Old December 1, 2013, 10:05 AM   #6
DaleA
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First time gun buyer?

You might want to check out this site:
http://www.corneredcat.com/contents/
and go to the section choosing firearms. There's lots of good information there and on the rest of the site too.

A nitpicky point I'd take issue with is the statement 'a .22 is the safest gun'. Think long and hard about it and it doesn't make much sense.

A .22 IMhO is practically a necessity. Get one for practice and fun and get a heavier caliber for defense. But it's MUCH easier to learn with the .22 and transfer those skills to other guns. My personal recommendation is the same as Ozzieman - a Ruger Mark 2 or 3 or Ruger 22/45. For the bigger gun try a few more and make a choice that YOU are comfortable shooting.
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Old December 1, 2013, 12:11 PM   #7
Bizzy
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Thanks everyone. I don't seem to have the quote button so I'll try this.

I hear everyone's point around the .22 - good training gun, but not for defense. I guess now I'm thinking maybe to get a used .22 for training that stays in the safe otherwise, and then a good 45 for self defense. A lot of folks here seem to be recommending Ruger, as did my gun buddies.

For the question if I prefer a revolver or semi-auto - I had more fun shooting the revolvers but I think semi-auto is more practical for self defense. I generally prefer taking that one good shot and manually setting up for the next one rather than shooting a bunch of bullets quickly and hoping I hit something - but the manual time can be too much if facing a BG.

One question though - I like the Baretta 92FS but my gun buddies hate 9mm and think they're useless - particularly anything in a Glock. Thoughts?
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Old December 1, 2013, 12:47 PM   #8
gotthegoods
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If your gun buddies feel 9mm is useless and are defined as Glock-haters, get some new gun-buddies.

Modern 9mm HP ammo is as effective as about any other caliber in a real SD situation.

Hate Glocks? Why? I don't hate 'em, I like CZ way better, just as someone else may like another brand or platform.
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Old December 1, 2013, 12:51 PM   #9
Ryu825
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So your friends think 22 is good but 9mm is useless for self defense? try a 9mm. Every time I take my 92fs to the range I remind myself of why I trust my life with it more than any other gun I own. As for revolvers get a ruger gp100 and put 38 +p in it if u don't like 357. Yet.
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Old December 1, 2013, 12:53 PM   #10
ClydeFrog
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Input....

The "what should I get first" questions come up often on gun & tactics forums.

I'd suggest a simple easy to carry/use .38spl +P or .357magnum DA only revolver like a Ruger LCR, S&W 442/642/649 J frame, a SP101(DA only), or a S&W 7rd 686+(converted to DA only). The slick stainless Charter Arms .44spl Bulldog DA only isn't bad either.
These snub revolvers are easy to conceal & offer good firepower for most CC related events. DA only systems are ideal because you won't have a hammer spur snag or jab your side. You can also avoid the false claims by homicide cops or prosecutors that you "cocked the hammer" or were reckless.

If you really want a .45acp semi auto pistol, Id check into a DA only type or striker fired design like these common models; HK45 Compact(LEM), Glock 30, Ruger SR45, M&P .45acp Compact, SIG P250 Compact, P220R Carry, Kahr .45acp.
Night sights would be a good add-on for a carry gun. I like the XS Big Dots & the Trijicon HDs.

Clyde
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Old December 1, 2013, 01:04 PM   #11
mxsailor803
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As far as the 9mm concern, nothing wrong with it. With todays modern ammo, they are very capable defense cartridge. I personally hate the 92. Doesn't fit me right. On the other hand, I shoot the 92 very well, just won't own one since its not comfortable to me. Have you considered the S&W M&P's or Shield? How about the Beretta PX series? In 9mm you have a BUNCH of options from manf. Charter Arms even has a revolver in 9mm. As for hating Glocks, I'm one of them. Just don't like them. They don't fit me and I've never really been impressed.
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Old December 1, 2013, 01:08 PM   #12
Mastrogiacomo
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A semi-auto is neither better or worse for self defense, it's a personal preference really. A Ruger SP101 3" is a good choice, (if not carrying) a S&W model 10 or 686/586 4" are all great guns. Remember the lighter the revolver, the more painful the recoil so weight is your friend. If you choose a SP101, you can shoot .38's. There's no rule that a .357 must shoot .357 ammo. Many people shoot .38s because the weight of the gun makes shooting a joy and it's fun to practice using. Remember also that the shorter the barrel, the harder the accuracy is to get. This is why most prefer 3" or 4" on their revolvers.

With regards to semi autos, a 9mm is really the only caliber you need. A Glock 19 or Beretta FS are great choices, but if carrying, the Glock 19 or Baby Glock 26 are the better carrying guns. Don't listen to what others say about your guns, listen to your gut. You're carrying and using the gun, it should be comfortable and easy for you to use.

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Last edited by Mastrogiacomo; December 1, 2013 at 01:26 PM.
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Old December 1, 2013, 01:38 PM   #13
Garycw
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Some thoughts for a first gun

For a first gun in a rifle would be a 22 bolt action or semi auto like a marlin 60. For first pistol a 1911/22 cal would be a good choice IMO. Those are two guns that everyone should have or end up with eventually anyway. Just like most everyone has at least one shotgun.
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Old December 1, 2013, 02:00 PM   #14
Colt46
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Try this

Go to your local range and rent two or three handguns for at least an hour. Do this several times and get as much experience with both types and as many calibers as you can. I'd recommend 9MM, .38 spl, .357 mag, .40 and .45 to strive for. Do this several times until you begin to have a favorite.

I really do like the suggestions to get a .22 lr to learn basics of technique and marksmanship before you graduate to a self defense caliber.
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Old December 1, 2013, 02:28 PM   #15
Psychedelic Bang
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Just buy what you want and be done with it. Don't listen to all of this, "you need to shoot a 22 first, and then you can step up to a revolver, and then when you are good enough, you can possibly be worthy of shooting a Glock."

Nobody does this.. Most people go out, buy what appeals to them, end of story.

Just, "be careful, take lessons, join a group of folk who shoot, and be safe."

Now I'm going to suggest an offering from this group of pistols because I think they are slicing and dicing Glock right now - http://the-m-factor.com/html/home.html -- Features, features, features... (might be a little more expensive than Glock)
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Old December 1, 2013, 02:39 PM   #16
perpster
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Yes, and

I agree with what's already been posted. My 2 cents:

You stated you only plan to carry selectively. Unless you have a crystal ball, you never know when trouble will find you, such as a crystal meth head who wants what you've got. Consider your position if you are on the road and your car breaks down. Much better to have a gun on you than back at home when shtf. Just displaying a gun might deter an aggressor without a shot having to be fired. A light and/or small enough to always-take-with-you when you go out gun, rather than a gun that you will think "Nah, too heavy to carry this time" or "Eh, too big to conceal with what I'm wearing now" is usually a good idea. Consider a S&W J-frame or equivalent, or small semi-auto such as Glock or Springfield Armory XDS. Of course a carry gun can also serve as a home defense gun.

Calibers: .22 handgun for defense is a non-starter. Good for practice, yes. Good for self-defense, not so much. If that's all you've got, it's better than nothing, but that's not your situation. 9mm with hollow points is effective, as is .38 Special +P, .357 magnum, and the .44 and .45 calibers. Don't get .380. Bear in mind that you can eventually look for a carbine that will shoot the pistol caliber you decide on. Ammo commonality is a good thing logistically. Generally you should use the biggest caliber you shoot well. Since you said you shoot .45 ACP well I would lean toward that caliber.

A big plus for .357 magnum and .44 magnum is the ability to also fire .38 special and .44 special, respectively. That gives you a lot of options.

Re Glock comments: No reason to hate Glocks in your situation. They work as reliably as any other major manufacturer's semi-autos, are lightweight, durable and have a simple manual of arms. They are a close cousin to double-action revolvers.

Revolver/Semi-Auto: Both are good. Revolvers usually don't malfunction as much as semi-autos. But, when revolvers do malfunction they usually render the gun inoperable. When semi-autos malfunction they often (but not always) can be rendered workable in a few seconds. Any of the above calibers can be had in either platform, though 9mm and .45 ACP revolvers are hard to find and often relatively expensive. With practice, you can reload a revolver with speedloaders in the same time you can reload a semi-auto with a new magazine. Keep in mind that statistically, most gun fights are over before you fire a 4th shot.

Whatever you get, practice, practice, practice. Consider a laser, if for nothing else than practicing your gun control when dry firing. Some folks think snapcaps should be used for dry firing, others think they are not needed. Except for rimfires, which should NOT be dry-fired on an empty chamber, it's up to you on this point.

Since you live in a free state, getting solely a .22 for self-defense is not defensible in your situation.
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Old December 1, 2013, 02:49 PM   #17
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In my humble opinion a .22 is not necessary if you go .38 ( revolver) or 9mm (auto). You can usually find good deals on target ammo and practice well enough at defense range distances with minimal blast and recoil. Then you don't have to upgrade to a larger caliber gun for defense since .38 and 9mm are up to the task when you switch to more premium defense rounds. I cut my teeth on handgun shooting using a 6" gp100 shooting .38 target loads. For home defense a medium frame size service weapon is superior. For carry you will have to go smaller and compact but also practice even harder.
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Old December 1, 2013, 02:53 PM   #18
jackpine
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get a 1911 in 45 and a 22 conversion kit or and armscor 45/22 package deal and you'll have both and then later pick up a small frame 357 as a back up
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Old December 1, 2013, 04:34 PM   #19
Pezo
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^^^. I'm so sorry but do not get a 1911 for a first handgun. For defense. Get a platform in double action, da/sa or dao. I either revolver or semi. Don't get anything in single action. Just my opinion.
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Old December 1, 2013, 05:46 PM   #20
Garycw
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Some thoughts for a first gun

Going back and re-reading OP that you'd be using for defense in 45 ACP. The Taurus 745 is one of the smaller and easiest DAO pistols in the $350 range. . In the same price range. Bersa .45ACP mini Thunder DA/SA.
Both good first guns in 45acp. Get a Sig later
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Old December 1, 2013, 06:39 PM   #21
JWT
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Guns, like cars, are quite a bit about personal preferrence. There's lots of good ones available and what 'works' for one is not necessarily best for someone else.

I agree a .22 is a fine first gun, but also agree it is not a good choice for self defense. My favorites are the 1911 .45ACP but I don't consider it a great selection for a first gun.

I'd go for a 9mm for several reasons. Ammo is less expensive. Recoil is not an issue. Many very fine guns to select from. I like the CZ offerings in 9mm because most of them are steel rather than polymer and I prefer a metal gun.

Best bet is to go to a range where you can rent and shoot various models and calibers. Then make up your mind.
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Old December 1, 2013, 06:40 PM   #22
kmglock
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Quote:
They're trying to steer me toward the .22 because their argument is that it's the safest gun and with handguns location matters much more than caliber, and it's cheap to train on.
Quote:
I like the Baretta 92FS but my gun buddies hate 9mm and think they're useless - particularly anything in a Glock. Thoughts?
These statements make no sense. I don't think you should take advice from your "gun buddies".

Forget 22 for self defense. If you like 45, go with that. Just pick a gun from any major manufacturer that fits your budget and size requirements. If possible, rent one and shoot it before you buy.
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Old December 1, 2013, 07:47 PM   #23
SteelChickenShooter
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My idea of a good choice for a first gun would be a S&W model 10 in 38spc +P.
Then if the size is not to your liking, try a snubbie in 38spc +P.
By all means locate and visit the best supplied gun stores you can find and handle a good variety. You get what makes you feel best and don't concern yourself too much with buddies giving you what might be some bum scoop. You just might like a 9mm Glock. But you asked for input. I just think a 38+p model 10 would make a very good "first gun".
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Old December 2, 2013, 10:03 AM   #24
ClydeFrog
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Yeah, don't listen to anyone! .....

Yeah, don't listen to anyone about what to get.
What would target/match shooters, hunters, military veterans, sworn or retired LE officers, certified instructors or training cadre, FFL holders, CC license holders, or armed professionals know about firearms.

I'd add that the posts about not using the .22LR for protection have merit.
I follow the "use enough gun" plan. Some gun/tactics members stress shot placement & marksmanship as the most important points but I think having a round or caliber that can work correctly in a critical incident is worth considering too.

CF
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Old December 2, 2013, 10:35 AM   #25
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizzy
my gun buddies hate 9mm and think they're useless
It appears your gun buddies don't know much about guns. I would find some new gun buddies if I were you.

I see this kind of thing all the time: These guys have a few guns and they know a few gun facts and a whole lot of gun myths. And their new-shooter friends don't realize this and take everything they say and do as fact. And so they pass on their rumors, myths, and terrible gun handling skills to the new shooters.
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