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Old October 10, 2012, 10:51 AM   #36
Senior Member
Join Date: February 24, 2001
Location: San Joaquin Valley, CA
Posts: 1,071
For this situation I have a slightly different approach.

The guns I would recommend are:
Glock 17/22 [if you live in a 'free state'] or 19/23

You'll notice I left 9mm or .40S&W as options for the Glock.

Both are respectible guns and both can be found in your price point, used. You may find one or the other close to $500 new, but I'd be surprised if the 'out the door' cost was under $500 for either of these new.

The reason why I suggest either is your wife. You identified having one gun is one gun too much for her. This means one gun. But with either of the two I mentioned above you can purchase a .22lr conversion kit for that gun and be able to shoot .22lr ammo from the same 'gun': giving you a 'plinking' caliber for general fun and basic mechanics training and the more serious caliber for defense and big boom fun.

If you are new to handguns training is critical. That said, 9mm is cheaper to use and is less likely to cause you to develop a bad 'flinch' from the recoil. However, if you are not concerned about the recoil and your shot placement is equal in either caliber, a .40S&W is generally more powerful than a 9mm [same ammo maker and type compared, no Buffalo Bore +P comparisons to Winchester White Box ammo]. Shot placement is key. I personally don't care for the .40S&W and would recommend the 9mm.

If you will only be allowed to own one handgun, you can be 'tricky' and have a second slide for it that allows you to shoot .22lr.

IF you go with a .40S&W Glock you can buy a conversion barrel to shoot 9mm from it, and you can buy a .357Sig barrel to shoot that caliber, AND you can buy a .22lr conversion top end: giving you 4 calibers from one handgun.

If this intrigues you, keep in mind that you can buy a conversion barrel for a Glock 22 or 23 to shoot the 9mm and .357Sig, but you can't do that if you buy a Glock 17 or 19. If you get a Glock 17 or 19 you'll have to buy a new slide and barrel, which can run up to $400+. Versus a $150 Glock 9mm conversion barrel.

I don't like Glocks that much due to how they fit in my hand, but they are reliable enough that law enforcement loves them. And they are not incredibly expensive.

The 1911 does have a .22lr conversion kit available for it also. If you planned on the conversion top end for the 1911, then you'd be able to have the .45acp 1911 for defense and .22lr for every day fun. I like the .45 more than the 9mm in my hand, but I like the 9mm price of ammo better.

Just my $.02
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