Thread: 1st handgun
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Old February 21, 2013, 12:51 PM   #11
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Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Arizona
Posts: 939
#1 action. I am going to buy a semi auto. That said da/sa /or striker fired? What are the pros/cons? I have heard that striker guns are less reliable than hammer actions and more likely to fail in the cold. Is this true? I live in MI and it gets cold here. I have also noticed that local pds tend to go for hammer guns.
This really is a matter of preference. I personally don't like DA/SA guns (like P226, 92FS, etc.), but a lot of people love them. I like SA guns (1911's and the like) for the range, but I'm not a fan of using an SA only gun for defensive purposes, because of the short, usually fairly light pull of most of those guns. But again, many people like them. I personally like Glock triggers, after I drop in a NY-1 trigger spring since it gives a more consistent pull, but I know I'm in the minority here. Best thing to do is try a bunch of different guns and see what you like. Be sure, when you're trying out a DA/SA gun to try the DA mode (don't just rack the slide and shoot, make sure you rack the slide, decock, then shoot) especially if this is going to be a defensive gun. You need to know whether you like both the DA and SA modes.

As far as hammer fired being more reliable than striker? I've never heard this before. The issued sidearm of the Alaska State Troopers is the Glock 22, a striker fired pistol. If there were issues with cold, and striker fired guns, they wouldn't issue that gun. Any quality, modern semi-auto is going to be very reliable, whether they're striker or hammer fired.

#2 caliber. My dad retired before the introduction of the 40 cal in le and has never shot one but all the guys I know on the pd love the 40 cal. My dad did have plenty of 9mm pistols and was happy with them but also liked the 1911 he was issued as an mp. The leos I have talked to all say the 9mm lacks stopping power, but the .45s just don't have the ammo cap I'm looking for. I am however worried my wife would not be able to control the recoil of a .40.
I'm not that recoil sensitive, and I don't feel that much difference between the popular calibers. Having said that, many people are. For a new shooter, I would get a 9mm. It's the least expensive round, which means more practice, and newer shooters are less likely to develop a flinch with it. As for a 9mm lacking stopping power, I would disagree. As long as you're using high quality, premium defensive ammo, a 9mm is fine. In other words, don't use FMJ target ammo for defensive uses...leave it at the range. Pick up a good jacketed hollowpoint in +P pressure for defense. Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Federal HST are just some options. There are more. Shoot 50-100 rounds of it through your gun to make sure it cycles fine and so you know how it feels.

#3 brand. My father has recommended sig, s&w, h&k, beretta, but some of the rugers have caught my eye along with the fn models.
Those are all good brands. You can't go wrong with guns from any of those companies.

#4 capacity. I'm not going to bet my life and or my wife's on less than 12 rounds.
Bigger round means less capacity. Looking at Glock, if you loo at their full size guns, the G17 (9mm) holds 17+1, the G22 (.40) holds 15+1, and the G21 (.45) holds 13+1. All of those examples meet your requirement.

Having said that, many trainers teach that most gun fights occur at less than 3 yards, are over in less than 3 seconds, and with 3 or fewer shots fired. Chances are you won't need more than 5 or 6 rounds, let alone the 12, so don't let a lower capacity worry you. For reference, I carry a Glock 19 (9mm - compact) that holds 15+1, so I like higher capacity over lower capacity.

#5 models. The sigs that have caught my eye are the p226 & p229. H&k p2000. S&w m&p. Beretta 92a1 & 96a1 & px4 though I have heard bad things about the px4. Ruger sr series. And the fnx 40 or 9.
Both Sigs you mentioned are great guns. I don't own any, but my father in law has a P229 in .40 and it's a great gun. M&Ps are good guns, but I don't like the triggers...they just feel squishy to me. I don't know H&K or Beretta that well, but from what I've heard, the p2000 is a great gun, and you can't go wrong with a Beretta 92fs. Any of the Ruger SR series are very good guns, and I don't know much about FN, but they do make good guns.

Best bet is to try as many guns out as possible, and have your wife try them also. Don't shoehorn your wife into a particular gun. If she likes something that you don't, it might be worthwhile for you each to get a gun. My wife hates my Glock, and I'm not a big fan of her Sig SP2022. If I made her use my Glock, she just wouldn't shoot at all. So, it's a good idea to keep that in mind.
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