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Old April 8, 2014, 04:59 PM   #1
nidhoggr
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Beginners Gun Advice

Hello,

I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a first timer? I have very little experience with any type of firearms. I have smaller hands and I'm a medium build. I was looking at .38 revolvers or 9mm pistols with a price range up to $500. I would primarily being using it for self-defense purposes eventually aiming for a concealed carry for the firearm. Any recommendations or assistance would be appreciated.
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Old April 8, 2014, 05:11 PM   #2
Marty8613
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Welcome

Welcome! Boy are you asking for a confusing mess. Go to a gun show and/or a rental range. Put hands on lots, and reduce your list by what feels right. I would suggest something with adjustable sights, and if an automatic, something you can rack well. You don't need to go too small to conceal really. You can't really go too wrong with revolvers as an option. Revolvers make great 1st guns, but you might gain a disdain for autos if you start there and vice versa.

In that price range I would suggest a Witness Poly Carry. They can be had new less than $350. Someone will come along soon to suggest a S&W and someone else will come along and suggest things outside your price range.

If you are a lefty, I change my answer to Bersa Thunder UC Pro.
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Old April 8, 2014, 05:34 PM   #3
PetahW
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.

Welcome to the forum ! !

I would respectfully advise anyone, new to firearms, to delay chosing a particular gun until after they have some experience - because what's good for seasoned shooters may not be good for YOU.

There are a few options you can chose from to get some experience/trigger-time:

*Contact your state's Fish & Game Dept (or whatever it's called in your state), and enrol (free) in their Hunter Safety course, even if you don't intend to hunt.
The course will teach you about different type firearms, AND how to safely handle them, if not shoot with some, too.

*Contact a gun club in your area, or a gun club member - Most clubs will be happy to show someone the ropes.
(every state has a listing of gun clubs available - contact your state's Attorney's General for guidance)

*Talk to older gunsmiths and/or small gunshop owners about your intentions & choices - they afford an excellent opportunity for a hands-on show-'n-tell.

*Learn to walk, before attempting to run.


.

Last edited by PetahW; April 9, 2014 at 06:58 PM.
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Old April 8, 2014, 05:55 PM   #4
SIGSHR
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Yes, welcome to the Forum. In addition to what the others have said, I would recommend learning to shoot with a 22. The ammunition is cheap, the lack of recoil makes for comfortable shooting and that encourages practice. See if any of the gun shops/ranges or gun clubs in your area have any sort of beginner's programs, perhaps find an NRA Instructor. And yes, Try Before You Buy. Fit on a handgun is just as important as for a shotgun. Or a pair of shoes.
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Old April 8, 2014, 05:59 PM   #5
g.willikers
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Welcome.
Did you just ask what gun you should buy for dealing with potentially deadly encounters, with no training or experience for it?
Come on, now, be realistic.
Self defense, and carrying a gun for it, is serious business.
If that truly is your intention, put off buying anything until you've had at least a couple of levels of training on the subject.
Had you asked what gun to buy for plinking and target shooting, that would have been different.
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Old April 8, 2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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I'd give strong consideration to the polymer frame single-stack "wonder-nines"... S&W Shield if you want a lever safety, Walther PPS or Kahr CW9 if you don't... They're all reliable, nearly the same size/weight, relatively small and slim for a smallish hand, and conceal well... (but they're not TOO small).

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...+3.1%22+8%2B1+

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/49846

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...Frame+%26+Stai
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Old April 8, 2014, 07:28 PM   #7
Nathan
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Quote:
Hello,

I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a first timer? I have very little experience with any type of firearms. I have smaller hands and I'm a medium build. I was looking at .38 revolvers or 9mm pistols with a price range up to $500. I would primarily being using it for self-defense purposes eventually aiming for a concealed carry for the firearm. Any recommendations or assistance would be appreciated.
Welcome. Always good to have a new guy around. Search is your friend. The word beginner will get you pages of threads where we all have posted all of our knowledge and a few guesses.

Both are fine. My recommendation is that you will learn alot with your first choice, but in the end, it will likely be wrong for you in the long run.

I would recommend a Glock 19. It will be incredibly reliable. Most people like them. It is possible to CCW the gun comfortably for most people.

BUT, If you were a close friend, I would likely try to sway you toward an XDM 9. It is a similar size, but IMO, has a better trigger, is safer with the grip safety, and has better stock sights.

The 38 spec revolver is a nice gun. Something in a nice fixed sight 3" S&W K frame. . . .The problem is this would likely be a used gun.


My story: I studied for like a year and decided I need a Taurus PT-101. It was great, well sort of. . .Actually, I learned how meaningless fixed sights are on a combat auto. Also, the white dot was off center in the front sight. So much for Taurus quality. Then a while later, I found 1911's. . .After some pain, I realized I love the platform, but hate the low end crap guns. I also had to buy a Glock 21 and finally admit that in a good holster, they are not a bad gun. Can't forget the joy of owning some XD's and a S&W 19 as well as a few other fine pistols.
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Old April 8, 2014, 09:21 PM   #8
nidhoggr
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Thanks

I'll definitely look into training before acquiring anything. I should have also included I was also looking to train with the gun before hand as well. My apologies for not adequately giving all the information. I really appreciate the feedback and look forward to giving you all an update.
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Old April 8, 2014, 09:26 PM   #9
chris in va
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Quote:
I'll definitely look into training before acquiring anything
Good deal.

I remember learning on a Ruger 22. Not having any safety training yet, I scared my GF when I 'swept' her with it at home, despite it being unloaded. I took a training class soon afterward.
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Old April 9, 2014, 03:36 PM   #10
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because it's easy to confirm "unloaded"

A 38 Special S&W M10 6-shot revolver is a perfect place to start.
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Old April 9, 2014, 04:28 PM   #11
Colt46
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Rent before you buy

Also, the basics of safety and marksmanship are far easier to learn on a revolver.
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Old April 9, 2014, 10:02 PM   #12
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The best advice I can offer is to handle, and shoot (if possible at a rental range) as many as possible before making your decision, and after learning the basic rules of firearm safety and basic gun functions.

There are a myriad of things you can only learn from shooting them.
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Old April 9, 2014, 10:13 PM   #13
bn12gg
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nidhoggr -- fwiw from a 65+ y/o, many of us "old guys" started out with a single shot 22 cal rifle, Savage, Winchester, etc. When a dad or uncle came along with a new rifle with a 5 round mag we thought we'd died and gone to heaven --- coooool. Point being we learned about firearms (safety, accuracy, function) on 22's. Just me, but I'd recommend you pick up a Buck Mark, Ruger, etc in 22. Also, the 22 semi auto is fun to shoot ! Work yourself up to 9 mm, 45 acp etc.

.02

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Old April 10, 2014, 12:12 AM   #14
Brotherbadger
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Just me, but I'd recommend you pick up a Buck Mark, Ruger, etc in 22. Also, the 22 semi auto is fun to shoot ! Work yourself up to 9 mm, 45 acp etc.
Agreed. Get a 22LR and get to shooting. Take some classes to learn the basics and understand the weapon. From there, you will learn what you want to look for in a firearm. I like Ruger myself, but I've heard good things about the buckmark.
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Old April 10, 2014, 08:51 AM   #15
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I'm also going to advise finding a range with a rental case and trying a variety of different styles to get a hands on look at what grips and ergo styles you find comfortable.

If at all possible though, try and find a class and/or friend(s) to introduce you to basic fundamentals of stance, grip, and safe firearm handling first. It's hard to know what you shoot well if you don't have a feel for how to stand and hold the weapon properly.

As far as particular weapon recommendations, based on your $500 indicated budget, the M&P Shield by Smith & Wesson is the first that jumps to mind (currently $450 @ the LGS I work at). It is a bit on the small side for a new shooter, but its easy to control, reliable, and works very well for concealed carry.

You may be tempted by the smaller "pocket" 9mm available, however I would recommend avoiding them until you are a relatively experienced shooter. They are not at all friendly to new shooters: they are difficult to control, the recoil is brutal, and they are not the least bit enjoyable to practice with. Regular practice is critical, so you need a gun you will be able to enjoy taking to the range. For a first handgun, a 9mm compact is the way to go. A Glock 19 or 26, S&W SD9, M&P compact, and CZ 75 compact are some examples in or close to your price range.
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Old April 10, 2014, 09:37 AM   #16
biohazard313
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shield is a great first in your price range. its easy since its on the M&P platform. cleaning and taking apart is simple. price is good, can be had for $400-$475. lots of good accessories. for CC i use a alien gear IWB holster. they are great for $37.


def look into the shield 9mm. i have one in .40 and its amazing
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Old April 10, 2014, 09:42 AM   #17
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welcome to The Firing Line!

Welcome! In addition to what has already been said, I would recommend that before you go to buy anything, that you familiarize yourself with Federal, State, and local laws.

There are a great many things that can disqualify, restrict, or regulate your ownership. Especially ownership of a handgun.

Everyone lives under the Federal rules, but some states have extensive permit requirements (fingerprints, photos, character references, detailed background checks, etc.,) while others do not.

There is a lot to learn to be able to do what you want to do, and be able to enjoy it, BUT, you don't have to learn it all in one bite. What you do need to learn is both the basic safety rules for gunhandling, and the legal framework you are living in, before you go further.

For example, to meet the Fed requirement to buy a handgun, from a Federal Firearms Dealer (any shop/store that sells guns has a federal firearms license FFL), you need to be 21, and have a clean record.

If you meet that, then we can go further.

If you don't meet that, you may be a prohibited person, or you may be in a category where exceptions apply. Since we know nothing of your personal situation, other than you are new to the subject, I can't give any more specific advice.

Good Luck, and let us know how we may assist you further.
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Old April 10, 2014, 01:55 PM   #18
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Welcome to TFL, and welcome to an enjoyable hobby of shooting.

A .38 revolver or a 9 mm pistol is a good starting point. A lot of folks have recommended a .22LR, and while agree that it is a great way to learn, a first pistol is, at least for a while, the only pistol, and starting with a caliber that is more effective than .22 is wise.

Revolvers these days are a little more expensive than a pistol of similar quality, so with a budget of $500 you might be looking at the used rack for revolvers.

The first thing you should do is learn gun safety. The second thing is to go shooting with someone who will keep the safety rules in front of you - whether this is an instructor of a class or a friend who shoots a good bit is immaterial.

Rentals, classes, and generous friends (and most people who enjoy shooting are generous in talking with you about their guns and letting you handle and shoot them) will be a way to familiarize yourself with handguns enough for you to start to know what you want. Every handgun on the market has at least some buyers. Finding out our preferences won't help you nearly as much as understanding the reasons we have for our preferences. What you have to do is learn about the different features available, then start looking for handguns that have the combination of features that you favor.
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Old April 10, 2014, 02:49 PM   #19
BigJimP
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Welcome ...!

And you're smart to start looking at .38's and 9mm's.....but within those 2 calibers....there are so many derivations on size of grip, grip angle, width, weight, etc....to make a recommendation.

Go to a range that holds some intro classes....my range has an intro 4 hour class for $ 90 ...and they provide all the guns and ammo. Its a combination of classroom and range time...and its a good intro / a lot of us as experienced shooters...help out the instructors as extra eyes and assistance on the firing line.

Then go to a range ...maybe the same one ....that rents guns ...pay the fee to rent all 9mm's....and buy 3 or 4 boxes of ammo / and shoot literally every 9mm in the case. Dry fire each gun a little - and then put 5 or 6 rounds thru each gun ...and then make notes on it ...too heavy, too wide, bad sights, hated the trigger because it was a long pull...or whatever.....and out of that, a couple of mfg's will pop out ...and you'll figure out what you like / and probably figure out what you can afford.

Talk to as many shooters as you can ....find out ...what they bought, why, would they buy it again, and why..../ maybe put a few rounds thru their guns if they have something that is not in the rental gun case. If you're pleasant and curious on the range ...talk to guys ..
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Old April 10, 2014, 03:17 PM   #20
lee n. field
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Quote:
was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a first timer? I have very little experience with any type of firearms. I have smaller hands and I'm a medium build. I was looking at .38 revolvers or 9mm pistols with a price range up to $500. I would primarily being using it for self-defense purposes eventually aiming for a concealed carry for the firearm. Any recommendations or assistance would be appreciated.
"Buy a Glock and be done with it"
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Old April 10, 2014, 06:20 PM   #21
tomrkba
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The default answer I use is a used Glock 19 Gen4 with Trijicon or Warren Tactical night sights. The G19 is extremely popular and you can always sell it if you decide you want something else.

However, it is best to learn to shoot prior to purchase. Take several lessons, including NRA Basic Pistol. A two to four day defensive gun course will teach you what you need and want in a pistol. A gun that seems great in the store may not be so great on the range after you have spent some time with it. It may have some attributes that you did not realize would bother you.

Most service grade designs over two years old are just fine. However, I do recommend staying with known manufacturers: Beretta, HK, SIG, Glock, Springfield Armory, Colt, S&W, CZ, Browning, etc.

A learning gun may be different from a concealed carry gun. The gun should fill your hand and support your palm. The barrel should be between four and five inches long. This will give sufficient sight radius for more accurate shooting.

I do not recommend revolvers because of the long heavy trigger. While shooting, loading and unloading the gun in a basic way is easy (with single action), doing so at speed is much more difficult than with a semi-auto. However, revolvers are worth investing the extra time to master because they'll make you a better shooter overall. If you have no intention of shooting the thousands of rounds necessary to master it, then prefer a quality semi-auto.

Furthermore, I do not recommend the 1911 pistol. You need to know what you are doing with them. They require a certain maintenance schedule and may require tuning to achieve reliable function. Read these articles to educate yourself if you are interested in the 1911. An unreliable pistol can be very frustrating to those who are learning to shoot.

http://www.10-8performance.com/pages/Articles.html

Start with the "1911 User's Guide".

Last edited by tomrkba; April 10, 2014 at 06:41 PM.
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Old April 10, 2014, 11:46 PM   #22
DannyB1954
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Guns are kinda like girls. The ones I might like, you might not. There is lots of debate on what is the best caliber and manufacturer. Some are fan boys of a single brand, I am more of a whore. If I like the gun, I could care less who makes it. I have a dozen guns including Ruger, S&W, Taurus,Diamondback,and Walther. I also have a number of different calibers, 9mm, 38Spl, 40 S&W, 357 Mag, 44Mag, 22lr, and if you were here I would let you give all of them a try. That is really the best thing for you to do is try as many as you can. A lot of gun ranges rent them pretty reasonable. A lot of people at a range will let you fire a round or two in their gun if you are polite and ask them what they like and dislike about what they chose.

The recommendation that I have since you are interested in CCW is look at the guns that fit in that size category. For me this means not too large, thick or heavy. I have one pocket sized 9mm for when I can't wear a shirt to cover an OWB carry, (Diamondback DB9). The rest are I guess you could say medium sized. My two favorite ccw carry guns are the Ruger SR9c and the Ruger SP101. These are my favorites, but like I said, they may not be your picks.

Last edited by DannyB1954; April 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM.
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Old April 11, 2014, 12:18 AM   #23
Sabrewolfe
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Curses, I forgot all about the Ruger SR9 compact. Ditto on it being a good choice and add it to the list of examples in your price range I mentioned above.
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Old April 11, 2014, 12:47 AM   #24
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As a first handgun I would say you can't go wrong with a .38 special revolver. A S&W or Ruger would be my choice. The newer .38 special ammo evens up the odds somewhat as far as some of the larger calibers. I am a .45 ACP man myself but I started out with a .38 special revolver and it served me well.
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Old April 11, 2014, 09:35 AM   #25
tomrkba
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Again, just trying multiple guns without knowledge and skill merely results in a decision based upon superficial attributes. The OP should attend training first. Start with either coached range time and/or NRA Basic Pistol. After that, try a few guns to gain some experience. These guns should not be the final list. Attend a two day defensive handgun course from a local trainer or a guest instructor at a local range. Use one of the instructor's guns or get a list from him or her and borrow one from a friend. The OP will discover what he or she needs in a handgun.
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