View Full Version : New member request your advice

September 10, 2002, 07:59 PM
I am a new member and would appreciate your advice. About a month ago a close freind of mine got into a situation where he needed some type of home/personal defense and did not have it. His situation really affected me and I realized that I needed better defense than I have. I have 12G and 20G shot guns and a 22 rifle (the 20G is a 5 shot pump). I have a .25 hand gun and realize this will not be effective. For the past 20 years these guns have been locked in a gun cabinet and have not been used, therefore I am rusty in using them. My children are now grown and out of the house. I am looking to buy a hand gun that I and my wife will be comfortable using. My wife has no experience with guns whatsoever, but is ready to learn I want a gun that is extremely reliable and accurate. I am leaning toward a 9MM. I have looked at Glock's, Beretta's, Sig's, Walthers's, and H&K's. We plan on taking every gun course that we can and doing a lot of time on a firing range. At this point, money is not going to be a factor in what I get, I just want the best. I am trying to do as much research as I can on the subject. Any books, magazines or web sites on the subject will be helpful. If you have any comments or suggestion, I would very much appreciate them. Thank you.

September 10, 2002, 08:03 PM
If the 20 G shotgun is reliable it is pretty much one of the best defense weapons you can get. Because it is 20G it will probably be easy for the wife to shoot as well.

Having said that, how much money are you looking to spend on the pistol? Does it need to be an auto or would you consider a revolver?

September 10, 2002, 08:10 PM
I prefer a pistol, but would consider a revolver. At this point I am looking to spend around $800, but if I have to spend more I will. I just want the absolute best.

September 10, 2002, 08:16 PM
Lots of used revolvers. Couple of years ago I bought a gorgeous Ruger "Police" Service Six for 2 bills. Gave it to LSFreeman. He shoots it every weekend with his wife at his club in Indy. Simple, built like a tank, and you can get .38s fairly inexpensively.

If you want "the best" you haven't narrowed it down (everyone's got the Magic Sword).:D All I can say is: buy what feels right, buy 3 more of them, get plenty of mags. Ammo, ammo, ammo.

You are on the right track with your educational goals. It's you, not the magic sword. Where to first? If you see a tall, lanky guy who talks like a squirrel, shakes from "hearing" the phone, and makes sarcastic remarks from time to time, say hello (and buy him coffee).

September 10, 2002, 08:20 PM
The phrase "I just want the best" will get you a lot of varied opinions around here. Get ready.

Probably the best advice I have seen here is to try out several different makes and models of guns until you find one that "fits".

For instance, I have a Ruger P94 and a Glock 35 (both are .40 cal by the way).

Both fit my hand well. Both are absolutely, utterly reliable (at least so far. I have put around 2000 rounds through the Ruger without a single problem and I have put around 500 rounds through the Glock with the same results). But, FOR ME, the Glock shoots much better and feels more natural. I do as well at 50 feet with the Glock as I do at 20 with the Ruger. The difference? Me. I have a friend who can fire the Ruger with amazine accuracy, but I just don't. The Glock was instant gratification for me.

Bottom line: Try before you buy. Rent some at a range, or better yet find some buddies who have a selection for you to and the wife to shoot.

Also, try a few different calibers: 9mm, .40, .45, etc. However, don't pay too much attention to the whole stopping power thing. Anything 9mm and above (.38 special in revolver) should be adequate if YOU ARE. Accuracy is 10 times more important than the round fired (if the round is above a certain minimum level).

I am sure that you will now get many suggestions from many shooters more knowledgable than I am. Read them all and have fun!

(besides, guns are like potato chips, you can never have just one . . . )

September 10, 2002, 08:23 PM
Besure it's fits her hand as well as yours. Also make sure she does not say it's to heavy or two big,when she firsts handles the firearm. You want both, of your impressions of the handgun to be positive ones,right away since you both have little experience. I recommend you look at Sig handguns in 9mm especially the small frame 239.it's extreamly safe/forgiving due to it's long smooth 10lb trigger in double action.It also has a decocking lever for safe hammer down carry or to keep in a safe place at home. I personally, own seven different Sig handguns, and they can not be beat when safety,accuracy and reliability are major concerns.http://www.sigarms.com

Ala Dan
September 10, 2002, 08:32 PM
Already some mighty good advice, but may I add the Sig
P228 9m/m to the mix? If you are dead set on a 9m/m
semi-automatic for HD, I can't think of a finer one than
this!:) :cool: :D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

September 10, 2002, 08:47 PM
(non-decock) CZ75

Glock M17 (shudder)

S&W 3913

Ruger P89

September 10, 2002, 08:57 PM
Take a fundamentals course then spend time and money with your wife shooting your way through a variety of different guns. Most ranges rent guns for a nominal fee.

After a period of time you will tend more toward a style and frame that leaves you and your wife comfortable. Then work on a purchase. You and your wife have the opportunity most people don't have: learn to do it right the first time.

Remember: it will be quite a while before you are more accurate than your handgun. Only when you approach the accuracy of your handgun should you look at the best.

A handgun that you can't shoot or don't like is a mighty expensive door-stop.

CZ Gunner
September 10, 2002, 09:09 PM
Lots of great information here and I wouldn't even attempt to tell you what the "best" handgun would be ... it's like a woman. To each their own.

I would strongly encourage you to consider the shotgun as an option as well. One of the best things going in home defense. (Check out the shotgun threads, if you haven't already.)

Good luck with the classes ... and, if your like most of us ... you won't stop at "just" one gun!


Stephen A. Camp
September 10, 2002, 09:27 PM
Hello, sir, and kudos on your choice to get a defensive handgun. I, too, prefer a shotgun or rifle if I have time to get to it.

Before I give my suggestions, and that's all they are as each of us are different and what's "right" for me might not be for you and yours, let me state where I'm coming from.

First, my personal opinion (just for me, although many others do agree strongly), is that the single-action automatic pistol is likely the most efficient defensive handgun around. However, before it can be such, the user must be very comfortable and competent with it; the thumb safety must be disengaged w/o thinking and the shorter trigger movement required to fire it is not forgiving at all.

At the same time, I do NOT think that the DA/SA autos are as "bad" as some prominent gun scribes have opined. My own personal "bedroom" pistol is a SIG-Sauer P220 .45 ACP. It is such because it operates precisely the same way as my wife's SIG-Sauer P225. I do not feel "handicapped," but had to make a slight compromise in that my wife is not a "shooter."

If at all possible, it would really be a grand thing if you and your wife could shoot some revolvers in various calibers as well as some automatics.

An automatic that is pricey and somewhat hard to find, but very nice for the situation you mention would be the HK P7 in 9mm. Operation's simple: Squeeze the cocking lever on the front grip strap and you have a pistol that both reliable, easy to fire accurately, and when done, simply releasing the cocker renders it safe. Just a thought.

As has been mentioned, there's nothing wrong at all with a quality revolver, new or used. Now that Thompkins is no longer pulling the strings at S&W, I don't mind purchasing them new or used, but that's just my own personal decision. They do make fine revolvers. A clean, used police .357 w/3 or 4" bbl would make an excellent home defense revolver allowing the use of everything from light, target wadcutter .38s right up to standard pressure and +P thirty-eight ammo, mid-range .357 Mag like their 125 gr Golden Saber on up to the full-house magnums.

I know this is not a specific "get this; you'll like it" type answer, but some thought and work now might save your buying the wrong pistol or revolver.

Best and good luck.

September 10, 2002, 09:49 PM
If the wife is going to use it, I would suggest a revolver, simple to use, I found myself in the same situation, I have several firearms and the one she is most comfortable with is my smith & wesson model 19. Nothing to confuse her, just point and pull the trigger. I taught her with 38's so that recoil and muzzle blast were not a factor.

Col. Mustard
September 10, 2002, 10:05 PM
You might want to consider buying different guns for yourself and your wife. At least, go into the search process with that mindset; perhaps you'll feel less inclined to compromise on a gun with which neither of you are completely happy. If you find one you both like, so much the better. (But there's still the issue of having one for each side of the bed.)

I will confess to being a SiG fan, and the P228 or P229 (the P228 has been discontinued because the P229 makes it redundant) would be a good choice. If your wife's hands are smaller, perhaps a P239 or a .380 P232 would work.

September 10, 2002, 10:25 PM
For $800 you can get "the best" you'll ever need with room to spare. After you've narrowed it down to the reliable makers, I think the most important thing is how the pistol works: DA/SA, etc.

Sigs are great guns, I'm sure, but I can't do the DA/SA thing. Besides the whole different-trigger-weight issue, the DA pull is just too long for my short fingers, and it might be the same for your wife. The good news is that there are plenty of single-action (or similar) pistols out there--some with safeties, some without, some optional.

You should also make sure that the grip isn't too big for your wife. Glocks are boring but reliable; I'd have one if their grips weren't too fat for me (Glock, where's your single-stack 9mm?).

If you insist on spending $800 instead of $400 for a rock-solid reliable CZ or $500 for a Glock, you can always get an HK USP and go SA, DA, whatever you like; they're modular that way.

Or save another $400 and get an HK P7M8, which is in a class by itself...

September 10, 2002, 10:51 PM
If you want easy mantainace and a simple manual of arms, I'd go for the Glock 19. It is 9mm (the caliber you mentioned), compact, and should fit you as well as your wife. If you can be sure that she will "learn" how to use it, it is a great gun. If you think that she might need a manual safety, then you should look else where. A new Glock 19 will run you about $500-$550. Given my choice in pistols, I'd take a Glock, any Glock, over any other pistol. That said, you shouldn't rule out SIG, Beretta, S&W, or the various other models out there, as they are great guns as well.

A shotgun would be a nice choice though, and you've already got one. With that, all you have to do is point it in the general direction of the criminal and pull the trigger. A handgun will, in my opinion, be harder to shoot under stress than a shotgun.

If you are going to buy a handgun that will be of service to you and your wife, take her to the gun shop with you, and let her handle anything that you are considering. If you can find a range that rents pistols, try to rent a few to let her as well as yourself see how the gun fits you. Remember, the gun must be comforatable for you and her to shoot, don't limit yourself to one particular brand, unless that type of pistol "fits" your needs.

Happy Hunting

September 10, 2002, 11:07 PM
Since you seem to have some experience with firearms, I'd suggest the 9mm semi-auto. More capacity than a revolver, and the 9mm is easier to shoot and ammo is cheaper and much more available than the other auto standards (.40 and .45). Any of the major manufacturer's top of the line combat 9mm's should serve you well, and should come in way under 800 bucks (in fact, closer to 500-600). Here's a few: HK USP, Beretta 92, Sig 225/228/229, Walther P99, and Glock 17/19. Make sure you have full capacity mags if they are available and legal in your area (one in the gun, 2 spares).

September 10, 2002, 11:21 PM
Welcome to TFL! :D

If you get the best gun(s) for your situation the first time out, you're going to be very unusual. Downright unique, in fact.

You're probably talking about two guns, at least. Chances of you and your wife liking the same gun are pretty slim.

You've got to really like the particular gun, make, model, action, feel, operation, etc.

You've got to get proficient with it.

You've got to trust it.

You've got to trust youself with it.

The only narrowing advice I have is to count on trying out several guns over several months to find out what really fits you and your wife.

You can take care of the immediate concerns quickly by just getting a .357 Magnum revolver. You can shoot milder .38 Special ammo during familiarization, and you may decide they're adequate.

The more you shoot and research, the more your preferences will come to the surface.

You'll also have time to study the various actions, safetys, decockers, laser powered cheese spreader attachments, etc., in the wide world of handguns.

September 10, 2002, 11:33 PM

September 10, 2002, 11:37 PM
Here's another vote for the S&W 3913/3914. Great little guns that fit just about anyone's hands, and stone-cold reliable.

Welcome to TFL!


September 11, 2002, 12:06 AM
Welcome to the forum,

As has been noted you've been given some good advice by knowledgeable people. I hope to contribute to that pool of information in helping you select a proper defensive firearm with my perspective.

I am in 100% agreement with Col. Mustard that you should seriously consider buying a gun for you and your wife for these reasons:
1. As you can see by these responses there are many differing opinions as to what is the best gun to get. Just as members of this forum have different favorites, the likelihood of the two of you agreeing on what gun is best probably won't happen.
2. In the event that you should need to defend yourselves wouldn't it be advantageous to have the both of you armed rather than just one?
3. Even if you agree on the type of gun; operational mode, caliber etc. makes and models differ greatly in how they feel from one shooter to the next which translates into one person being able to shoot a particular weapon quite well while another can't at all.

In choosing a handgun for self defense a 9mm is an excellent option. Ammo is relatively cheap so you can afford to practice and there are many effective rounds to choose from for defensive purposes. Having said that I would also add that the 40S&W and the .45 ACP are also excellent choices in pistol calibers.

If you consider a revolver my recommendation would be to get one chambered in .357 which affords you the option of shooting .38 specials in it as well.

Now, what is the best gun you could possibly ever have?
That is a question that keeps forum members coming back night after night to discuss. After 20 years of shooting many many, and I do mean many, makes and models this is the conclusion I've come to:
1. Buy a quality firearm from a reputable manufacturer.
2. Try as many as you can before buying, what feels good to you at the display counter may feel quite differently on the range.
3. Research the gun by asking questions regarding reliabilty and potential problems on forums such as this one.
4. Take into account the gun's operating mode so that you are comfortable with it. For example: my feeling is that if I should need to employ a gun for home defense, it very likely may be at night when I've been woken from a sound sleep. My personal criteria for a home defense gun is one that all I have to do is pick it up and pull the trigger. I don't want to have to fiddle with safeties, decockers etc. since I don't imagine my motor skills will be their best at this time. That is why I chose a .357 for my home defense gun. Now there are plenty of people on this forum that wouldn't agree with my choice and that's fine. I'm also not trying to influence you as to which gun to get but my goal is to get you thinking about some of these things.
5. Buy what appeals to you, not what appeals to me, some gun writer or anyone else.

Gun makes that I am particularly fond of:
Pistols - Sig, Beretta and Glock
Revolvers - S&W and Ruger

Good luck in your search and may you never need your gun for its intended purpose. Mike

September 11, 2002, 02:06 AM
What sort of situation are you trying to cover?
If it's pretty straight-forward home-defense, I'm in the shotgun camp.
Easier to gain proficiency than a handgun, uses big muscles, not as refined movement under stress. (Which is NOT to say you don't have to aim the thing! You still must practice!)

Only reason I have a pistol is for outside the house.
Inside, I'm going for the 12 guage.
Another reason is the decreased penetration, which can be a serious consideration in apartments.

Unless you're going to be packin 24/7 inside your house, a shotgun is just as easy to get to as a handgun.
And man, will it stop a boogey-man.

As for pistols, I jumped on the 1911 wagon and haven't looked back. But beware, not all 1911-pattern guns are the same.
Most folks who own Colt/Kimber/Springfield are happy.

Other ones I'd have are the Glock, the H&K USP compact and three more 1911's (all in .45ACP) and a S&W model 29, nickel, in 45LC - yes! they exist, and I want one!!!

You'll find there seems to be two camps: the big-hole camp and the lgith-and-fast camp.
Not everyone belongs to the two, but of the first most have .45's and the latter carry 9mm.
A growing number split the difference with a .40 S&W.
Many feel the 9mm's lighter recoil and faster follow-up shots override the smaller hole.

So, good luck finding the best!
And may you never have to use it!


September 11, 2002, 07:19 AM
For $800 you could buy four or five good,used S&W m10s and scatter them around the house. One beside each exterior door, one in the kitchen, bedroom, etc. That, in essence, is what I did. YMMV.

September 11, 2002, 08:06 AM
Welcome to TFL! For 800 dollars you could get 2 to four good pistols/revolvers. 4 model 10's beat 1 HK anyday. One thing I suggest is maybe keeping in mind that in the future parts may be hard to come by if your handgun needs fixin' so if you stay with a domestic arm you've got a better chance of getting it working again if it goes down on you...And another thing...

A shotgun would be a nice choice though, and you've already got one. With that, all you have to do is point it in the general direction of the criminal and pull the trigger.

I'd take that with a grain of salt. Aim that SG and you'll have a better chance of coming out alive.;)

September 11, 2002, 08:36 AM
1) Shotguns are great weapons for home defense and you already have some. Find a range and start practicing with them until/as you find a handgun you like. However keep in mind that 00 buck will penetrate most walls, etc since each pellet is approximately equal in size to a .38 round. Birdshot might be better because it won't penetrate walls as well but still has more than enough stopping power.

2) Chances are you will want two guns, one for you and one for the wife. What fits her hands well and what she likes to shoot is unlikely to be what does it for you.

3) Go to a range rent lots of guns. Look at CZs and clones. Browing Hipowers and clones. Both have solid steel frames which could be good if your wife has trouble with 9mm recoil. Sigs, Glocks, and Rugers are all good. Try some .357 revolvers in .357 and .38sp.

September 11, 2002, 08:46 AM
Try to go to a range that you can rent guns and shoot the crap out of whatever ones feel right for you an your wife . What may be good for one may not be good for the other. Training and practice. Good Luck.


September 11, 2002, 08:49 AM
I agree with BlackHawk (big surprise ;) ) as well as many others here, that if you want a pistol, and have at least $800 to spend, do LOTS of research, and buy 2... One that's JUST yours, and one that's JUST hers. There are all sorts of excellent choices in both semi and revolver for $500 or less. If it's HERS, she may take more time to get to know it better, and it will be much easier to find a pistol to fit HER, and one to fit YOU, rather than both of you together.

At my house, it's HK USP40 on my side of the bed, Glock 19 on hers. Her hands and fingers are much slimmer than mine, but almost as long (Maleficent fingers) and she's very weak in the arms/shoulders (just my opinion, don't tell her that :eek: ) She also doesn't like the recoil of anything over 9mm, while I could care less if it's .40 or .45.

I also have a good 12 gauge within 10 steps of the bed, but the pistol is within reach while IN bed. If I have time to get the the SG, then great... if not, I'm going to be shooting at BG while heading in direction of SG :D .

You'll probably also want to get 2 good flashlights, one for each of you. Now if I could just get HER to stop using the Streamlight to pick out clothes in the morning... those batteries are EXPENSIVE!

Another thing to look into, even though the kids are gone, is a quick access handgun safe (or 2). www.handgunsafe.com
Either that, or lock them both up in the safe every time you leave the house. Don't want to arm the local teenagers with too much time on their hands if they "come to visit" while you're out.

Good luck

September 11, 2002, 09:47 AM
All thease sugestions are great, but there are times you are not at home you may need to protect yourself, so also get your CCW permit.
I did have such an ocasion that turned out fine, but it was a confidence builder to have my 45 available if the confrontation had elivated to violence. This was a instence of "Road Rage" that could have turned bad if I had shown any fear, and not kept my cool.

September 11, 2002, 09:51 AM
what I have done that's a little different is let my wife set the standard for what gun the both of us will use for SD. She handled and shot a bunch of different guns that met my standards for reputation of reliability and major caliber (and passed on my two top choices - Walther P99 and HK USP :( ) and chose a CZ75. It probably doesn't matter too much but I really felt it was important for us to have compatability between our SD handguns in case either has to use the other's gun or either needs an additional mag. I shoot enough and read these boards enough to be comfortable with nearly any reliable major caliber handgun and knew that it was much more important for my wife to be comfortable with the choice than me. I can easily adjust to her choice with additional range time.

September 11, 2002, 10:52 AM
Keifer, that sounds like a good plan provided the wife is gun minded, trained, and competent to choose.

By analogy, most women I know would not choose a ground floor window with a 5 foot from the floor sill as an escape route if they had to use their arms to lift themselves up and over because they KNOW they lack the upper body strength to do that. Telling them that adrenaline will cut in during an emergency and that every other obvious escape route might prove to be fatal doesn't help. About all that can be done is teaching them to overcome that MENTAL barrier by training them to actually prove to themselves that they can do it. Only then would they be competent to choose an escape route in the analogy.

In the case at hand, some women I know chose Ruger MK IIs as their "at home" SD guns. Why? They can rack the slide is the bottom line! Mental barriers include not wanting a chambered round, shooting comfort, etc.

I'm not saying choose for them. I'm saying training first to achieve competence and confidence. Then her choice will be informed instead of contaminated by prejudices.

Sounds to me like your wife is already there, and you're a very lucky man! :D

September 11, 2002, 11:09 AM
We started with one wheel gun - a GP100 with .38 specials in it. We were both very comfortable with it and it was a great place to start for both of us (actually, it is a great place to end up too! but that is another story)

Anyhow, as I became more familiar with autos and trusted myself to be able to shoot one reliably and accurately, I transitioned to a Ruger P94. At that point, I had the auto and the wife had the revolver.

After more experience, I moved to a Glock 35. The wife is still using the revolver.

The wife is now shooting with her Browning Hi-power. She still keeps the revolver loaded for home defense work, but she is working to where she feels comfortable with the Browning. Once the gun has proven itself (and my wife too for that matter), then she will transition to the Browning completely.

Bottom line? We had a good defensive gun we were both comfortable with so that we could get a good start. As we got better, both of us went our separate ways in what we chose for house defense. Now we both have guns we are comfy with.

Also, a BG would be facing TWO determined and armed people instead of one.

(and before anyone points it out, we ended up with 4 handguns. I can neither confirm nor deny that that was at all in the original plan :D )

September 11, 2002, 11:32 AM
Blackhawk - yeah, what you said is true. Mostly I just followed the advise I found on this board and started with an open minded prospective wife!

I knew that with my knowledge base and the guns I had at the time (all 45ACP) I would never be able to train her as well as someone who knew what they were doing and I didn't want to risk turning her off guns entirely so I got her competent training from a female NRA instructor (I lucked out that she (the instructor) was a lefty like my wife - that wronghanded stuff confuses the he!! outa me :confused: ) . It was the NRA basic pistol course and she got to shoot several different revolvers and autos over the course of the six hour (two evening) course.

After that we spent a lot of gunshop/range time finding what SHE liked. We got the CZs and the next step is a 2 or 4 day course for the both of us at a bigname school and range time at least once a month (for her -way more for me :D)

And yes - I'm a VERY luck man!!!

September 11, 2002, 12:48 PM
Well, if you want "the best", I recommend a Freedom Arms Premier Grade Stainless Steel .454 Casull in either a 6" or 10" barrel. That would be my choice. Or if you want a semi-automatic, then go with a Wilson Super Grade in a .45. Either one would cost about $800 and some change....

Bonus of the Freedom Arms in a .454 Casull, you can fire .45 long colt!

September 11, 2002, 04:42 PM
Onslaught,I agree with BlackHawk (big surprise ;) ) I don't remember you being wrong so often that you'd be surprised at being right.

What are some examples of your being wrong...? :D

September 11, 2002, 06:02 PM
There has been a great deal of sound advice here. The most important consideration is getting a gun that fits you and feels great. A good gun is one that you want to keep picking up because it feels so good in your hands. If your wife has a different opinion as to what feels best, get BOTH of them. This way, everybody is happy and most comfortable with what they can call their own.

One thing I might add is to get night sights and maybe a light to go on your gun. Over 85% of all self defense shootings occur in low light, and therefore the little colored dots are quite reassuring. Having a light on your gun will allow you to identify who or what you are shooting at if that moment comes (heaven forbid).

You have the right attitude about getting professional training and practicing. I practice 2X per month and I am still amazed that I can lose my edge quickly after only a week or two. Practice often, and things will become mechanical and rehearsed in a SD situation. You will act from muscle memory and instinct, as opposed to thinking "how do I operate this thing."

Of the gun manufacturers out there, all of the aforementioned suggestions are excellent. (HK, SIG, Glock, S&W, Walther, Steyr, etc...)

Be thankful that your wife recognizes her mortality and wants to learn how to shoot. I would even give up my beloved HK P7M8 if I could only convince my wife that it is a good thing to learn... :(