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Old January 20, 2018, 08:15 PM   #1
StainedClassKing
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First handgun recommendations for a college student living off campus?

I’m a soon to be 21 year old college junior living in an apartment near my university. As per usual for newbies, I’m looking for a multi purpose (CC, HD, range) first handgun. My experience with firearms is limited to firing a .22 rifle and .22 revolver. Even though I’m in a very gun friendly state (no license needed to carry concealed or open), I come from a family of Democrats, my grandfather being the only gun owner in the family.

Anyway, I’ll probably go to a range to try out a few, but I’ll assume most of you will mention Glocks or some kind of revolver. Despite my limited experience, I’ve done my homework online and know more than the typical newcomer about the mechanics and such.

Regardless, I have a couple of questions.

1.) it’s my understanding that revolvers can sustain neglect very well and fire regardless of how it was cared for. Though I plan on cleaning my gun whenever I’m done shooting it, how well does your typical modern day semi-auto deal with not being shot or cleaned regularly? Being a university student, I’m not exactly gonna be able to shoot every week. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to, but I want to rest assured that it’ll work when I need it to.

2.) I’m familiar with the whole concept of limp wristing. Don’t hold the pistol properly and it jams. But this raises a question. If you’re in a close up confrontation with someone and you’re under stress, adrenaline pumping with a possibly shaky hand, perhaps just barely able to draw, would there be any issues with firing, or are most modern autos immune to this issue?
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Old January 20, 2018, 08:22 PM   #2
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How much are you looking to spend?

I'm thinking a revolver is a good choice for you, but they can be expensive, a lot more so than a budget 9mm pistol.

Pistols don't need to be cleaned all that often, if they're good quality. Cheap ones like Kel Tec, Taurus... I think it's best to be safe and clean and lube them. I don't think I've cleaned my Ruger SR22 since I bought it an I've shot hundreds of rounds through it.

Don't worry about limp wristing. As long as you hold the pistol the way you're supposed to, you'll be fine.
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Old January 20, 2018, 08:27 PM   #3
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I’m thinking maybe $600 max. I’ve considered used revolvers too, perhaps an old police Model 10/64.
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Old January 20, 2018, 08:29 PM   #4
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A good revolver is my pick too. Easy to care for, simple to use, and they're not as expensive as you might expect. Check out the sticky on buying a used revolver. Or get a knowledgeable friend to look over some possibilities.

I like S&W's first and foremost, but Ruger makes a good SD, CC or range revolver as well. A .357 or .38 Special would serve your needs, (you can use light recoiling .38's for range fun and reserve the heavier +p .38's or .357's for defensive purposes.

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Old January 20, 2018, 08:31 PM   #5
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IMO a revolver is probably less likely to fire than a semi-auto after being dropped in a mud puddle and stepped on. But I still enjoy revolvers as well as autos.

Last edited by BBarn; January 20, 2018 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old January 20, 2018, 08:42 PM   #6
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Charter Arms is good for the money, but I think Ruger or S&W would be better for longevity and because they're heavier, there will be less recoil.

Do you prefer to buy a new one online or in a gun store? Be warned, gun stores usually charge more and there's also sales tax to consider.

Buying online is easy, you just have to find a gun store near to you that will do a transfer.

There are a lot of good used revolvers out there, especially on gunbroker, but I think it may be too much for you right off the bat. I didn't get into gunbroker until my 4th gun purchase online, my 6th or 7th gun purchase overall.
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Old January 20, 2018, 08:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBarn View Post
IMO a revolver is probably less likely to fire than a semi-auto after being dropped in a mud puddle and stepped on. But I still enjoy revolvers as well as autos.
I doubt this will happen to him if he chooses a proper holster.

It's a first gun for him, it will probably be his home defense gun for a bit and after he gets more confidence behind the trigger, he'll step up to something like a single stack 9 for concealed carry.
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Old January 20, 2018, 09:40 PM   #8
CDR_Glock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StainedClassKing View Post
I’m thinking maybe $600 max. I’ve considered used revolvers too, perhaps an old police Model 10/64.


For a first gun, a revolver in a single and double Action model such as a Ruger GP 100 is a solid choice. As you get more confidence with single action first for basic fundamentals it is important to work on shooting in Double action due to the heavier trigger.

Very few things go wrong with a revolver apart from ammo failures which can be catastrophic in any type of gun. A squib is one of the worst as it can lock the cylinder but it’s exceeding rare in factory ammo. Reloads is a different realm, and it has happened to me personally.

A semiautomatic such as a S&W M&P or Glock 19 is another pair of handguns that don’t require much in terms of upkeep or maintenance. They’re much easier to shoot.






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Old January 20, 2018, 10:51 PM   #9
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I think a polymer, decocker equipped, hammer fired, da/SA semi-automatic makes a great 1st. Polymer might be soulless, but it is forgiving when it comes to maintenance and lighter when it comes to carry. Consider a caliber that is inexpensive and readily available. 9mm is hard to beat.
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Old January 20, 2018, 11:07 PM   #10
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Go to a shop with a range with a selection of guns.
Try as many as you can then decide. You may Love one type and hate another.

Everyone on TFL is an expert gun picker (for themselves).
Only you can make the best decision for you.
Good luck.
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Old January 20, 2018, 11:15 PM   #11
TruthTellers
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Originally Posted by GarandTd View Post
I think a polymer, decocker equipped, hammer fired, da/SA semi-automatic makes a great 1st. Polymer might be soulless, but it is forgiving when it comes to maintenance and lighter when it comes to carry. Consider a caliber that is inexpensive and readily available. 9mm is hard to beat.
Yeah, for a new gun owner it really is hard to beat 9mm for a handgun, at least a handgun that has a true purpose for self defense.

What I hate tho is that because 9mm is mainly in pistols and there are some I feel would be better off with a revolver for the first gun.

Yeah, there are 9mm revolvers out there, but they're either single action Ruger Blackhawks, which I don't think are good for concealed carry, expensive S&W's which are too much for a first gun and are really competition oriented, the snub Ruger LCR which has issues with the crimp jump and also I don't like giving relatively new shooters a snub revolver for various reasons, the Charter 9mm is best as a backup gun because reloading is slow, and I've never liked the triggers on SP101's.

I wish that Ruger would hurry up and come out with the 3 inch LCRx in 9mm. It would be more hefty, so crimp jumping would not be as much an issue, the barrel longer for more velocity, adjustable sights to aid in accurate shooting out to longer distances, a fuller size grip, and the nice DA trigger of the LCR.
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Old January 20, 2018, 11:24 PM   #12
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I'm not sold on the "revolver is the best 1st gun" idea, but that's me. I know you are a revolver fan, TruthTellers, and that's ok. I'm not here to change your mind. I think the da/SA semi-automatic offers the best of both and allows it's user to narrow down what he/she likes and what works for them.
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Old January 20, 2018, 11:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GarandTd View Post
I'm not sold on the "revolver is the best 1st gun" idea, but that's me. I know you are a revolver fan, TruthTellers, and that's ok. I'm not here to change your mind. I think the da/SA semi-automatic offers the best of both and allows it's user to narrow down what he/she likes and what works for them.
I'm not saying that a revolver is everone's best first gun, but I think for the OP it is. He's not going to hit the range that much with the work he's gotta do in college and the tail he's gotta chase, which he better be because it only gets harder to find once college ends. He's not going to have to worry about jam clearing drills and such.

I am of the opinion that revolvers make the best home defense guns because you can keep them loaded for decades without issues and he can shoot an ammunition he's most comfortable with, even if it's a low power and lower recoil one that might not cycle a slide.

Somebody who was more familiar had more people around him with guns to give him during his teen years to practice with and be proficient, I would say semi auto pistol, but OP isn't that person and I'm giving my best advice.
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Old January 21, 2018, 12:42 AM   #14
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Can't go wrong with a used S&W Model 10 38spl. 3" or 4" barrel.

You can find one for $300.-$400. Easy to shoot and accurate. Ammunition is reasonable and easy to find.
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Old January 21, 2018, 06:46 AM   #15
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Go to every gunstore and try/look/handle every handgun they have.
Go to every gunshow and look/handle every handgun they have.
Go to every friend who will let you, and try/look/handle every handgun they have.

... then get the best of the gently-used S&W Model-19s you saw.
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Old January 21, 2018, 10:40 AM   #16
UncleEd
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BBarn,

(QUOTE) IMO a revolver is probably less likely to fire than a semi-auto after being dropped in a mud puddle and stepped on. (END QUOTE)

Statistically, in your lifetime how many autos have you dropped in
mud puddles and how many revolvers have you dropped in mud
puddles?

And the next question is, why do you drop your guns in mud
puddles?

Now TruthTellers,

Regarding 9 mm in revolvers, that's a French idea and definitely
not part of our red, white and blue good old American values.
Real American men don't wear ruffles and eat truffles!

And Mehavey,

Let's not be encouraging new shooters to be gobbling up Model
19s, which is a tight market, and possibly deny us getting
that superb revolver.
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Old January 21, 2018, 11:18 AM   #17
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I don't know where you live. Try to find a rental range that might have an intro class that allows you fire a revolver and a semi and explains both.

Buying the gun is only part of it. Folks now will suggest everything and push the ones they own.

If you do want an HD, CC, range gun - the standard answer is a Glock 19 AND some instruction. Shooting at a square target at 7 yards without some instruction on proper grip, malfunction drills, aiming etc. - may suffice for some but it would not be due diligence to wander into the endless gun type posts without stressing the training aspect.
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Old January 21, 2018, 11:28 AM   #18
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If you want something that can be concealed and pull self defense duty, I think the Ruger SP-101 in 3" would be ideal. The Smith model 60 is up there, too.
The SP-101 is very reliable, as revolvers typically are. It weighs a bit, which makes firing .357 a little more manageable than comparable revolvers. And if .357 is too much, you can always shoot .38 Special in that same cylinder, which has considerably less recoil. A 3" barrel is a good compromise for concealability, sight radius, and ballistics.
As for semi autos: just go with a reputable brand. Glock, Smith M&P, Sig, Ruger... I don't think semi autos are any less reliable in a practical sense. Maybe they are in theory, but...
Choose your platform (revolver or semi auto), and your required research is cut in half.
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Old January 21, 2018, 11:36 AM   #19
Glenn E. Meyer
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I know we will have the list of guns, as I said before.

If you go this route - don't buy one of the cheap brands. Stay with the Rugers, Glocks, SW and the like.

Really, learn how to use it. Any modern revolver in 38 SPL or quality strike 9mm will work. The major variance is YOU, not the gun if you stay in the suggested domain.
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Old January 21, 2018, 11:58 AM   #20
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I don't think a revolver is a bad first choice, but I prefer a 9 mm for all three of your listed uses. I use a Ruger SR9c for concealed carry most of the time, and it is also my HD weapon. The equivalent Glock is the 26 and there are plenty of other choices made in that size range. Something in the Glock 19 range may be a little easier to shoot, but is not as easy to carry concealed in my experience.

I find that most people shoot a semi-automatic better than a revolver. A quality 9 mm is faster on target when fired quickly, faster to reload, cheaper to practice with, and when used with quality ammo as reliable as any revolver in my experience.

The choice of equipment is far less important than getting the proper training to use a firearm in a self-defense situation. This includes an understanding of the laws of your state regarding the use of lethal force. Regular practice is also essential to developing and maintaining the skills necessary to responsibly carry a gun in my opinion. Welcome to the community.
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Old January 21, 2018, 12:12 PM   #21
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Go to a local range...and shoot / rent as many guns as you can before you decide. Its about what fits your hands the best...not what fits mine.

In general, I think a good 4" revolver in .357 mag is a good choice ( you can shoot .38's in it as well ) / and I would stay with a steel frame vs alloy or scandium. I prefer S&W...if you shop used...model 66's or 19's are a good choice in a K ( medium sized frame ) ...686's in an L frame.../ Ruger would be my distant 2nd choice because of triggers in general vs S&W / and I would stay away from most everything else out there - because quality is often a problem on many of them.

I also think a semi-auto in a 9mm is a good choice / ammo is reasonable in price - and there are lots of options out there for you. I'm not a poly frame guy...but it doesn't mean they're bad guns. I've shot and evaluated guns like the XD's, Glocks, HK, M&P's, etc...for a grandson that was looking for my input / personally, I think the new Glock Gen 5 is a pretty good gun ...and some of the older versions are good value. ( personally, I am a 1911 guy in 9mm and .45 acp / but unless you have experience with them a 1911 is not a great first gun option ...unless you get your budget up around $ 1,000 - $ 1,500.

For any Defensive or Carry gun....yes, maintenance is important. Keeping a dirty gun for Defense makes no sense to me. Learn to strip a gun down properly ...clean and lube properly...and if its a quality firearm, it will give you thousands of rounds of service and reliability.

Good luck ...and don't forget to have fun with the process !
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Old January 21, 2018, 01:00 PM   #22
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$600 is going to allow a variety of combinations. A nice new gun made by a reputable company (Glock, S&W, FN, etc) but little to no money left for ammo, mags, or whatever else you may want. Being new buying a used gun can be intimidating. You might not know what to look for, or if it is a good deal, or if it is even a good gun. But you can always ask somebody you know and trust their opinion. Or post it here. I'm sure we all would be willing to give our opinions on a deal. Don't always trust the seller. Keep in mind they WANT to sell it. Yes, most gun shops, at least around here, aee honest and will tell you the truth. However, there are some that will lie just to get a sale. Get a feel for the shop, listen to the salesman talk. Does it seem like his answers are genuine? Or does it seem like he is telling you what you want to hear? Try to narrow your choices down, and reseaech them. Reviews, problems, and I also suggest un boxing videos so you know what comes with the gun. After you do that go to a shop and actually handle them. You may like the looks, reviews, and price of a gun, but when you handle it the gun doesn't feel natural to your hand. If you can try to rent one and shoot it. Make sure you can shoot it well, but also keep in mind that the one you are renting is a range gun. They may not take care of it, and it could be junk due to extensive use and lack of care. Make sure you have a small safe to keep it in. Most burglars won't bother targeting college area apartments for large burglaries. They are typically in and out jobs. Less than 5 minutes. College kids typically don't have very many valuables, so this is why the burglaries are typically quick, as the burglar won't expect to gain a whole lot. Now for a few recommendations..

Glock 17
Glock 19
S&W M&P 9
S&W M&P 9c
Ruger SR9
Ruger SR9c
Ruger Security-9 (wait for it to be tested)
Ruger 9E
FNH9
FNP9
Canik TP9
Walther 9mms

You could also look into used Sigs such as the P226. It is a metal frame, so it is heavier, but also lowers the felt recoil of the gun due to added weight.

Also consider that you might not find a gun that fits all of your needs perfectly. That is okay. Start off with a gun you are comfortable with, which will most likely be a full to mid size gun. Such as the Glock 17 or 19. As time goes by you will aquire more guns. Better ones for CCW, or better for HD, or better for range.
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Old January 21, 2018, 01:02 PM   #23
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"...As per usual for..." You have no money? Decide on a budget first. Do not discount buying used either. It takes a lot of abuse to damage a modern handgun. A used Glock 19 runs a bit over $500 on Gunbroker. A Smith M10 or 60 (.38 Special) can be as low as $300 there. Where you are matters as prices vary from place to place. Best to pop into your local gun shop and shop. You have to try 'em on for size anyway.
"...gun friendly state..." That really doesn't matter as most universities don't permit CCW on campus. So you either leave the thing at home or have a secure place to lock it up elsewhere. And no licence to buy doesn't mean you can carry it without a permit or training.
"...deal with not being shot or cleaned regularly..." They lay wherever you left 'em, collect dust and pout. snicker. By far most CCW, military and police handguns do just that. They're carried a lot but fired little or not at all. SS will help defer that.
"...immune to this issue..." Limp wristing is operator failure that has nothing whatever to do with the firearm.
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Old January 21, 2018, 08:23 PM   #24
jstert
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First handgun recommendations for a college student living off campus?

ruger sr22 is handy, reliable, fun and cheap to feed, and a soft enough shooter that most girls would enjoy it on a unique date to a pistol range. if you find a young lady who enjoys shooting dates together you may have a keeper. when you graduate and can afford more guns you will still always have a need for this rimfire plinker.


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Old January 21, 2018, 08:54 PM   #25
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An important notice for the college-aged group, possession of a firearm is usually legal. Possession of marijuana or other illegal substances in recreational quantities is often a minor criminal violation similar to a traffic ticket these days. Possession of both at the same time (and possession can be broadly defined as simply having access or control) is a much more serious crime.

I see a few people in their 20s getting hung up and having some serious consequences as a result of not understanding how twothings that aren't serious separately suddenly become serious.
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