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Old September 23, 2012, 03:39 PM   #1
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what would you get?

I'm just getting ready to buy my 1st two hand guns any suggestions? I want to use for target shooting, home defense, and hiking in the woods.
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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I'd suggest you get to a local gunshop, take a basic handgun class and find a 9mm pistol that fits your hand and shoots reliably and accurately.

Good luck.
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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A Colt 45 1911 and a Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag worked for me.
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:54 PM   #4
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Welcome to the asylum newshooter...

Man... that's an open ended question. Try to be more specific in the future will ya'... thanks.

We don't know anything about you... shooting skill level, mechanical aptitude (can you be trusted to clean a gun without wanking it up for example), where and how you live (house, apartment, kids? wife?), what you've tried and liked or didn't like.

The last is probably the most important. What have you tried, what did you like and why? If you've not, making a recommendation is kinda dumb.

Two guns huh? What does two mean? Like a .22 for inexpensive target shooting and a larger caliber (notice how I"m avoiding any preference here?) for self defense? Or... are we talking something else?

We'll get you sorted out, but we need more info to ensure some level of objectivity and truthy-ness. Back to you newshooter.

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Old September 23, 2012, 04:11 PM   #5
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I'm just getting ready to buy my 1st two hand guns any suggestions? I want to use for target shooting, home defense, and hiking in the woods.
A Colt 45 1911 and a Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag worked for me.

Kind of doubt that that is a good starting point for a brand new shooter!!!

Your choice of firearms is a very personal thing. You really need to try numerious types, and calibers to make a good decision. As mentioned, some training is the first, and most important step. then lots of practice.
As you mentioned, you want to buy two handguns so my advise, after you get some training and do a little comparison with rental guns at a range, would be pick a good 22 rimfire. Something like a Ruger MK series, or Browning Buckmark. That will allow you to do a lot of practicing, and learning with ammunition that isn't so high priced. Besides, 22's are a lot of fun to shoot.
If you just must have a centerfire, either a 9MM semi-auto or 357 Mag/38 special revolver would be a great start for a beginner. The 357 Magnum has the advantage of being able to shoot cheaper 38 Special ammunition for practice, and the more powerful 357 Magnium for HD/SD.
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Old September 23, 2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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Ruger MKIII and Ruger GP100 357.
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSEW and 45ACP XDM


Well, this is a small review of my recently purchased 1911 with genuine wooden grips. I bought the Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSEW on the 20th of this month for a grand total of $566.89, ordered it at This is my first 1911, in which I'm in love with now. First, this is a stripped down 1911, this doesn't have a match grade barrel, night sight's, scanduim or lightweight frame(px9149lp), even a match grade trigger, all of these component's add to the cost of a 1911 or any pistol. Now, fit and finish, are very well done, haven't found any bur's or dehorning that needs to be done, slide to frame fit, tight, well done, which, I was extremely happy with. Funcition, I mainly had 230gr ball on hand with wilson combact mag's (47D), zero FTF or FTE, also had a few 185gr JHP rounds, the weapon ran PERFECT. Handling, no problems, I have above average hands, it was a joy to shoot and the weight felt well balanced!!!! On the other hand, the parkerizing is flaking in a few spots, no big deal, keep a good coat of rem oil on the outside, you'll be fine, might cerakote later. All in all, Kahr Arms has really improved these 1911 since taking over between 1999 to late 2001, quality, reliability, and function. I give this a four out of five star's, only reason, the finish needs to be a little tuffer. I would recommand this to anyone entering the 1911 platform. I will be buying another very soon1111
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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You are in New Jersey. Are you allowed to have a gun? 2 guns?
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:42 PM   #9
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Get to a range where you can rent guns...and shoot as many as you can...

Figure out what fits your hands the best ( not what fits my hands..)..

Figure out the mfg that gives you the grip angle you like, the kind of trigger you like, the controls you like....what caliber you like ...
If I were to give you a decent short list of guns to at least consider:

a. A good 1911 4" and 5" in 9mm and .45 acp
b. A Sig 226 ...( in 9mm probably )...its a full sized double stack gun
c. At least one S&W revolver...K or L frame ( so model 19 or 66 - or in an L frame a 686 ) ...but you posted this in the semi-auto forum
d. Some rimfire guns in .22 least one model of the Browning Buckmark..

then come back and see us in the morning....
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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thanks for the advice I will hit my local range during the week and take a lesson and rent a couple of guns.
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:19 PM   #11
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Many years ago, more than I care to remember, I started of with a Colt 1911 .45 acp.
Worked out just fine. Never experienced any psychological damage from far as I know.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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Ruger SR9c is a very versatile value... Comes with 10 rd. AND 17 rd. mags...
Ballpark $435 after transfer:
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:09 PM   #13
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What about a 9mm that can be exchanged into a .22? I know the Sig sells a kit.

If your insistent on two guns maybe pick a platform with a matching .22. Examples Sig 226, S&W M&P, CZ 75
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:11 PM   #14
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I would get a Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt and a Ruger GP100 .357
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Old September 24, 2012, 12:11 AM   #15
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Ruger SR9c is a very versatile value... Comes with 10 rd. AND 17 rd. mags...
Yes, the Ruger SR9c is an excellent choice.

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Old September 24, 2012, 09:00 AM   #16
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A 1911 and a 44 Mag Redhawk may seem like an absurd suggestion for the first two guns you own, but to clarify where my mind was when I wrote that, consider this.

First gun is going to be primarily a learning tool. It should be comfortable to shoot and easy to operate. A big pistol rather than a smaller one fills this requirement nicely. A full sized 1911 (my first pistol) is like the Big Wheel of handguns. Plenty of grip to hold onto, largish operation controls like the safety, Mag release, and slide stop. 45 ACP does not recoil very much even if it's in its warmer loadings. Put it in a teeny gun like a 3.5" Officers model and then the recoil gets noticed.

A 44 Mag is much the same for revolvers. Big grip, sights, and enough weight to dampen the recoil enough to learn to shoot. Shoot 44 Specials in it until you become accustomed to the recoil and move up when you're ready to. You would never "outgrow" either of these two handguns. In fact, the opposite will be true. You will grow into it and wont have to add more guns later to fill the niche that these two guns cover.

Having a compact gun seems like a good idea because it will be easy to carry. But you need to learn to shoot more than learn how to carry. You need to shoot it, and shoot it a lot. Either of these guns are comfortable to shoot a lot, and will be more comfortable to shoot for longer periods of time than a small gun in any caliber.

So it's not like I was suggesting that you go get a 44 Mag and shoot heavy loads through it like Buffalo Bore's. That's no way to learn how to shoot. The suggestion was more about the size and weight of the guns making it easier on you.
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Old September 24, 2012, 11:39 AM   #17
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Conversion kits ..are a good point ...they have some issues / and are not perfect...but many guns have conversion kits where you can convert a 9mm or a .45 acp to a .22 handgun....basically you remove the slide from the gun ..and replace it with the slide ( the kit ) for .22...and then the mag they supply for the kit fits into the frame.

Most kits are around $ 350 ....most of them are very finnicky on ammo / they all run best on relatively expensive CCI Mini Mag ammo that retails around here for $ 10- $ 12 for a box of 100. None of the kits I know of - lock back whe the mag is empty. Some of the mags sold with the kits are junk ..and you'll need to upgrade the mags ( $35 each or so ) to make it run better. Some are more accurate than others. Most of the slides on the kits are way lighter than the slides on the original gun they feel different. Good side're getting trigger time on the original gun ..but no recoil.

Sig sells a conversion kit for their 226 model a .22 ...

Kimber sells a conversion kit for its 5" 1911's in .45 acp...( but the mag they supply will not fit into a gun that has a mag well - not even their own guns).

Other 1911 mfg's - or most -- should fit a kit from Marvel on most any 5" gun chambered in .45acp..../ companies like Wilson Combat have kits made for them by Marvel.

Glock makes some conversion kits for their full sized guns - mod 17 I think..??( I'm not a Glock fan, so not sure of the model ).
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Old September 24, 2012, 12:47 PM   #18
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I use the Sr9C for CC. Great fit for my hand and I shoot it well. Have no problem with concealing it.
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Old September 24, 2012, 01:16 PM   #19
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I'm just getting ready to buy my 1st two hand guns any suggestions? I want to use for target shooting, home defense, and hiking in the woods.
Target shooting --> Ruger Mark I,II or III, or 22/45. Long barrel with target sites. Buy a few bricks of .22 and some extra magazines. Have a good time.

Home defense --> almost doesn't matter. There's a zillion decent options. Get a Glock 19 or a decent .357 revolver.

Hiking in the weeds --> what is the exact need for a gun visualized here? Bear or mountain lion country? Plinking? Something else?
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Old September 24, 2012, 01:52 PM   #20
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I'm a returning shooter and my first gun I'm looking at is a .357 revolver, Perhaps the Ruger LCR. No second gun yet but perhaps a semi-auto. Maybe a Glock, but I would love a 1911.

Thanks for the interesting thread.
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Old September 24, 2012, 02:17 PM   #21
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newshooter, welcome to'll find there are a ton of smart people on here who have a world of experience you can learn from...and be prepared for plenty of opinions and preferences

choosing a handgun is a very personal thing...everyone has their preferences...but, there are some very popular guns out there (Glock, S&W, Ruger, etc, etc)...if you can, make sure you at least get to hold a CZ...I have the CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical and it's the best feeling gun in my opinion...reliable, low recoil...and, it's also one of the most accurate on the market

in my opinion, shooting a 22 is great for about 10 minutes but then gets boring...I prefer to shoot what I would use in a real-world situation since the recoil on a .22 differs considerably from a .40 or 9mm...for a first gun, I lean towards 9mm

good luck
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Old September 24, 2012, 02:44 PM   #22
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I did a lot of research and narrowed it down to a CZ 75B and a Sig Sauer P226. I decided to get the Sig P226 Elite Stainless, but it is quite pricey. Good luck!
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Old September 25, 2012, 12:10 AM   #23
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Since you posted this in the Semi-Auto Forum, I assume you don't want a revolver, or didn't think of them.

I agree that one of your two pistols should be a .22lr handgun. Whether it is a conversion kit or a dedicated .22lr handgun is up to you and your budget. Glock and 1911 are the two most commonly found .22lr conversion kit bases, but there are kits for CZs, for Sigs and for EAA Witness handguns. There are even a kit or two out there for the Beretta and the Browning Hi Power.

The advantage of a conversion kit is that you will be using the exact same grip angle and trigger as your 'normal' higher powered handgun. This can lead to better muscle memory for the trigger 'break' when shooting the other caliber. Also, it only counts as 1 handgun for the federal government, as the frame is the handgun [usually]. The disadvantage is that it costs the same [or more] as a dedicated .22lr handgun. I have a .22 revolver, a Ruger 22/45 handgun and a conversion kit for my Hi Power. IF I could only have one .22lr device from this list I'd probably keep the 22/45 and sell the other two.

The advantage of a basic Ruger Mark II or Mark III [or Buckmark, or S&W 21, or....] is that they are frequently less ammo sensitive than conversion kits. And .22lr is CHEAP to shoot: $21 for 500 rounds on the average, vs $20 for 100 rounds of 9mm or $25 for 100 of .40 or $30+ for 100 rounds of .45acp. That makes a LOT of inexpensive fun range time. I shoot my .22lr more than all my other calibers combined.

As for the defense/range/woods gun [and keeping in mind this is your first handgun purchase] I'd recommend either a 9mm [work on shot placement and cheaper to fire] or a .45acp. I find the .40S&W handgun to have the best blend of power for defense, but the worst blend of recoil characteristics. When I bought my first handgun it was a .40S&W and it took me 5 years to unlearn all the bad flinch characteristics I picked up with it.

Which 9mm or .45acp handgun depends on your desires and feel. Go to a gunshop to lift a few and dry fire them [if allowed by LGS] to see which feel 'right'. Keep in mind a bigger frame is harder to conceal [you're in Jersey, so I don't know if you can conceal it legally there. Almost as bad as California, where I live] BUT it also frequently absorbs some of the recoil forces, so they are more manageable than many smaller-framed handguns.

As you decide caliber, do a lot of reading of old posts to determine whether you like the idea of a striker-fired handgun, a DA/SA handgun, a DAO handgun, or a SA handgun. If you don't know what those mean [no insult intended: you said you wanted advice on your first handguns], do some reading. Keep in mind that you will probably need to carry one in the chamber for true self-defense [home or woods]. Which design do you feel most comfortable carrying with one in the chamber? That should color your decision.

There are dozens to hundreds of guns to pick from. I like most of them and have a few. I won't recommend any right now as you haven't identified enough to fine-tune my response to your needs.

HOWEVER, I do want to speak up for the idea of a revolver for one of your handguns, even though you posted this in the Semi-Auto forum.

I'd recommend a good 4" barreled .357magnum revolver as a great all-around handgun for a beginner. You can shoot .38Special loads through it for range fun. You can use .38special +P for home defense if .357Mag concerns you due to potential to cause hearing issues inside a house, or potential overpenetration [especially a concern in an apartment]. Or, you can run full-house .357mag ammo for home defense.

You can also load 'bear load' .357mag rounds that come close to entry level .44mag rounds when carrying in the woods: IF you are running a Ruger GP100 or a few other .357Mag revolvers. Not EVERY .357Mag revolver can handle repeatedly firing the most powerful rounds, according to the people who make those rounds.

The drawback is that .38special ammo is more expensive than 9mm, and usually around the same as .40S&W ammo [in my neck of the woods], while .357mag ammo is similar in price to .45ACP ammo. So a 9mm will be cheaper to shoot more often than about any other centerfire cartidge. It is just that a .357Mag would be a better cougar stopper [or jersey devil, if it attacks you out there in the piney barrens] than about any 9mm/.40S&W/.45acp round. A .44mag is more powerful, but costs more to shoot and has a LOT of kick. You can shoot .44special loads through it, or .44mag 'cowboy loads' through it, but they all cost more than .357mag on the average.

Time to do some research and hit some LGS's to compare how the handguns feel in YOUR hand. No matter how great a handgun may be, there is someone it just doesn't 'feel right' to. That is why it is so important to get a sense for yourself.

Of course, this is all assuming you are 21 or older also, which you are, right?
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:50 AM   #24
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A 6" model 19 for the purposes you mentioned. ( I know it isn't an auto).
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