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Old October 14, 2012, 10:28 PM   #1
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Noob looking for input

Hey all. 1st post.

Looking to join the ranks of our nation's firearms owners. I have a potential situation and want to be sure I'm prepared for the worst.

Anyway, I'm not a total gun novice. I used to teach rifle and shoot gun shooting in Boy Scouts and know basic firearms safety. However, I'm interested in handguns right now and aside from renting the .22 revolver at the local range (it's the cheapest to buy ammo for) occasionally at the local range, I don't know much about all the options.

In short, I want to get something for concealed carry, and also something extra to keep in my nightstand drawer. I'd prefer for both to keep the same caliber for simplicity's sake (with my luck I'd panic and try to slap the wrong clip/ammo type in if I didn't if a bad situation arose).

I'm right handed and have bum right wrist thanks to an old injury. Partially torn ligaments and it flares up occasionally. I've noticed even shooting that .22 revolver occasionally my wrist is aching afterwards from the recoil. Not all the time, but I want to be sure I can effectively get my 2nd/3rd shots on target even if the wrist is acting up.

I'm a bit budget constricted. Was wondering if anyone might have any good suggestions for handguns that are economical but will also be reliable. Trying to figure out what's best, while not having a budget to go test shoot everything I've looked at so far, and also trying to save enough cash after the purchase to also take a handgun's challenging!!

Thanks in advance for any responses!
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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I would recommend a medium frame 9mm handgun. As you might imagine there are a lot of options, but for cheap and reliable consider GLOCK, S&W, and Berretta as a start.

As for training be aware that some places will offer free training with the purchase of a new gun, so shop around a little bit.
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Old October 14, 2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Something generally considered suitable for concealed carry in the typically recommended self-defense cartridges is going to recoil enough to cause problems for anyone who sometimes experiences issues from firing a .22 revolver.

I agree with the recommendation for a medium to full-sized 9mm for home defense/nightstand gun. Recoil will be light and the controls should be easy to operate. Try before you buy to make sure that what you purchase is something you can operate easily and that won't cause you problems during practice.

Finding something that works for carry may be a little trickier given your requirements.
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Old October 14, 2012, 11:44 PM   #4
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There is a shooter here who is naturally lefthanded. An injury to his left elbow makes it painful for him to fire many rounds lefthanded. So he learned to shoot righthanded. Well enough to make it to IDPA Master class.
And when a match stage calls for "weak hand" shooting, he is really ready, because a dozen or so shots lefthanded is not very uncomfortable.

So it is possible to change sides.
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Old October 14, 2012, 11:50 PM   #5
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You may want to consider something in a 32 ACP for carry. Not the ideal SD round, but with a sensitivity towards recoil it may be the best choice. Possibly, if concealment is taken into consideration, a larger 380 ACP like a Bersa, which is very affordable, might be the answer, and provide a bit more punch.
As far as home defense, nothing outshines a decent 12 gauge pump shotgun. Or even a lighter, and easier shooting 20 gauge for that matter. There is no chance of getting your handgun, and shotgun ammo confused, and your wrist won't be taking the recoil much, but rather your shoulder.
In any event you must practice, and become proficient with your choice. That being said, recoil is probably going to be a major factor in your decision.
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Old October 15, 2012, 12:48 AM   #6
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Something full sized, and steel framed (Mr. Newton the Elder (not Charles) said that an object at rest will try to remain so, and the heavier, the moreso).... in 9mm ..... try shooting 115 gr standard loads for practice ...
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Old October 15, 2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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You may want to consider something in a 32 ACP for carry.
Is the .32 ACP offered in anything other than ultralight, crappytriggered pocket guns? Methinks the recoil on those is more disagreable than that of more poeerful rounds in full size guns.
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:22 AM   #8
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Used Colt 1903?

Walther PP or PPK?

Mauser HSc?

Those are old, and somewhat small, but hardly crappy.

Edit: Forgot the revolvers. Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal would also accept .32 H&R Magnum or .32 S&W.

Older S&W or Colt revolvers can also be had in .32 S&W.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:07 AM   #9
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For self defense, training is far more important than the choice of equipment.
As much for the gun handling as for survival.
With good training, you may be able to overcome your handicap, too.
There's much to learn for dealing with recoil control, rapid follow up shots and much more, that you will probably never know about without training.
The difference between plinking at targets on a range and surviving a deadly encounter is huge.
Get training and then pick your equipment.
You can say thanks later.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:21 AM   #10
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Just so you know, regardless of the equipment you select, you "will not be prepared" to handle a "potential situation" next week. Probably not next month or maybe even next year unless you spend a lot of time,effort, and money on practice.
Simply purchasing a firearm suggested by someone on the internet will not immediately bestow some sort of heavenly light of capability to defend yourself.
You would be best advised to start with some type of 22 and learn how to shoot before going bigger. A revolver is a good choice for a beginner but decent 22 revolvers are expensive. A semiauto will be cheaper but requires more diligence in handling. I've taught numerous noobies to shoot using a Ruger 22 semiauto w/o having anyone accidentally shot.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:25 AM   #11
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This is an interesting first time gun buyer post. It sounds like you have a 22 available if you want to do some 22 work to develop your shooting. So, I think you should look for a gun which is:
- cheap to shoot
- low recoil if you have to shoot right handed
- thin enough for CCW
- rail (IMO, a gun light is pretty important for HD)
- ambidextrous, so you can shoot right or left handed as your injury and training allows.
- heavy gun for caliber. Lots of us like light guns, but heavy soaks up recoil without hurting CCW too much.

IMO, you should be shooting 38 special or 9mm. 9mm($13/50) is better for cost to shoot, but 38 special($16/50) in a 3" or 4" gun is almost un-measurable. TIE

Glock 19 - Meets all above requirements and has an incredible reputation. Grip angle is the only possible issue. Try one on.

S&W Model 13/19/65/66 - 1's are blue or nickel, 6's are SS. Lower number is fixed sight. This is a DA 357 mag revolver. It can shoot 38's fine. 38's for now, but if you learn to shoot lefty, 125 or 158 gr 357's are great SD rounds. It is available in 2.5", 3", 4", and 6". There are hundreds of grip shapes and materials available. Likely, you could find one which fit your hands well enough to soften recoil.

This is debatable, but IME, porting directs recoil back at you instead of allowing the weight of the gun to absorb some recoil with muzzle flip.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:56 AM   #12
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The 9 mm is the easiest on the wallet among the major SD calibers, and is among the easiest in recoil, also.

A pistol that crossed my mind for your needs is the Beretta PX4, in 9 mm, either full sized or compact. It is very well made and reliable, and it has a rotating barrel that absorbs recoil. (Note that the subcompact PX4 does not have the rotating barrel.) I wonder if increased weight is really good for your bad wrist, and therefore wonder if this lighter pistol which tames recoil mechanically rather than by inertia might be preferable to you.

My daughter has the subcompact PX4 in 9 mm, which gives me the opportunity to shoot it side-by-side with my Beretta 92 FS (a very well thought of but noticeably heavier pistol). I actually feel less recoil with the PX4, and my daughter agrees. The PX4 is also quite accurate, and breaks down easily for routine cleaning. We got hers for a shade under $500 OTD, and I consider it an excellent value.

I would advise you to put the PX4 on your list of pistols to handle, and hopefully shoot, before making your purchase. If it doesn't float your boat, fine, but it is worth looking at.
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Old October 15, 2012, 06:43 PM   #13
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Wow. Lots of replies. Thanks!

I stopped by Bass Pro on the way home and talked to a guy at their gun desk. He apparently also teaches handgun safety and shooting classes, as well as handgun self defense at a range near here. $50 per 2 hours of private instruction.

I'm looking for a range that will let me pay one rental charge and shoot several different guns. I've found one about 25 minutes drive, so will probably be making a pit stop on the way home from work!

As for my wrist, 99% of the time, it's fine. The doc that evaluated it told me that he could do surgery to put everything back together right, but it still might have problems. The injury happened about 15 years ago and it aches sometimes, but actual impaired function is extremely rare, and short lived when it happens. I'm gonna start out trying 9mm, .40SW, and .45 ACP to start with in a few different sizes/models. If I need to switch to something lighter weight, then I'll try those.

From what I've read, I'm liking the idea of a 9mm. Seems with right ammo type it's good for self defense, and w/ a lighter kick would be easier on my wrist and also quicker for a non-military/LEO guy that isn't (yet) a trained shooter to control and keep on target for the 2nd/3rd/etc. shots.

I've also found out the local sheriff's department here quietly puts on free seminars regarding the state's concealed carry and use of force laws, and also they delve into basic gun handling, and a bit of self defense drawing and shooting, from what I understand. I figure I'll take that class, maybe pay the Bass Pro guy for a few lessons, try out some options at the range, pick out a gun that seems to work for me best, etc. Maybe not all in that exact order!

One more question or used? A few of the ranges/dealers I looked at online have used guns for what they say are lesser prices than new. I'm wondering if there are telltales while inspecting a used firearm that it's in good or bad condition?
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:12 PM   #14
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Model 10

You could do worse than picking up a used Smith and Wesson Model 10, maybe 4" heavy barrel. That's a 6 shot 38 spl, which has served it's intended purpose well for decades. I don't carry mine, I have others for that, but it would work for your nightstand gun. Good to learn trigger control, etc and the weight tames the recoil. Quite a variety of ammo available, and you can find them for 300 or less.
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Old October 16, 2012, 09:48 AM   #15
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For the weight. .32ACP in a CZ-83. Being an all steel pistol the recoil you feel will be minimal.

An interesting article for those who are recoil conscious.
CZ82, S&W Mod. 65 .357, Marlin 22mn (22WMR), Mossberg 500.
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:52 AM   #16
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Haven't shot it personally but i have heard the Walther ppq is one of the softest shooting 9mm out there and is super ergonomic
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:18 PM   #17
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One more question or used?
It is possible to save some money on used handguns if you know what you are looking at. If you don't, either ask a knowledgeable friend to go with you or buy new. Most used guns are OK, but if you get one that was owned by someone who tinkered it into unreliability, setting things right can be frustrating and sometimes more expensive than the discount you got for buying used.
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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The wrist

Something to consider: you may want to check if your wrist hurts from the recoil or from a hefty trigger pull. You said it hurts from shooting a .22 revolver. A .22 revolver would have very little recoil but often times a >10 lb trigger pull. It could be that the act of flexing your hand muscles (and trigger finger) is putting stress on your tendons and ligaments that pass through parts of your wrist. Unless you have arthritis all over the wrist from the injury in addition.

If the aching is from a hard trigger pull, I also suggest a semi auto as most have lighter single actions. If recoil is the issue (or you are not trying to conceal this firearm) heavier is less recoil.
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Old October 17, 2012, 01:54 PM   #19
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I have hand and wrist issues too my dominant hand....and maybe like yours, lots of old injuries have added up over the years...( broke a few fingers, ligamints get sprained repeatedly, stupid youth tricks...) a little arthritis and swelling..comes and goes....

I like the input on looking at a 9mm or a .38 spl ...and stay with the heaviest gun you can easily handle - to reduce recoil ( weight of the gun makes a huge difference ) ..and picking the right 9mm for example something in 115 gr or 124 gr vs 147gr will make a big difference.

Grip angle / and whether you can easily reach all the controls ( on bad days) when your hand and wrist hurt a very big deal. You may also find that some grip angles - even on good days - really hurt. Just a few degrees of change in the grip angle - may make a huge difference.

Don't overlook guns with slimmer grips ( single stack guns ) like a Sig 239 or a 1911 ....even a 1911 in 9mm vs the traditional .45acp.

Consider reloading your practice ammo you can tailor it to what you want in terms of grain of the bullet and velocity. As an example on bad days...I sure don't want to shoot a full power .357 mag ( 158 gr ) a 2 1/2" barreled gun ...but I may be fine shooting it in a 6" gun..../ but using a .357 mag for defense, might be just fine.

You kind of have to find what works for you the best / shoot a lot of guns /talk to a lot of guys at the range - maybe with similar hand issues...and see what they think /maybe they'll let you put some rounds thru their guns ( guns you might not be able to rent ).
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:49 PM   #20
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If you have wrist might be possible, that you could "limp wrist" a semi auto pistol; and jam {malfunction} it up; like a stovepipe jam.

My suggestion ... is that you go with a 38 Special, preferably a Smith & Wesson revolver. The 38 Special, is a preferred bedroom cartridge, by some people in the know, because it will usually not make your ears bleed when you fire it in a confined space; such as in a bedroom.

Last edited by Erno86; October 17, 2012 at 04:55 PM.
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Old October 20, 2012, 03:46 PM   #21
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I may be going against the grain, but I would recommend a medium- to full-size .22lr pistol as a first gun.....either a revolver (S&W 617, Ruger SP-101) or a semi-auto (Browning Buckmark, Ruger Mk III or SR-22). Easy and cheap for practice and, with a good load like Velocitors, adequate for self-defense uses. Once you get used to that, look into the medium-frame .38SPL revolvers or 9mm pistols...if your wrists can handle the extra recoil. If not, .22Mag pistols like the Taurus 941 or Kel-Tec PMR are another good step-up in power with minimal recoil.
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Old October 21, 2012, 02:56 AM   #22
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If you have issues with your right wrist, and the recoil from even a .22 bothers you, I'd encourage you to consider learning to shoot with your left hand. It's not that hard... just aiming and pulling a trigger... It's not like writing your name in cursive or anything. You have a perfectly good hand that you can teach to shoot, so I'd commence in that fashion in your place.

If you feel like you can shoot left handed, the Ruger LCP is an inexpensive, reliable, highly concealable little gun. I've had it without the Laser, but the built-in sights on mine are not very accurate and they are tough to see. I prefer it with the laser. There are plenty of great options in 9mm too if you want something with a little more power and a little bigger.
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Old October 21, 2012, 05:55 AM   #23
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You asked about what to look for in a used handgun. Drop down to the revolver forum and you will find a comprehensive checklist by Jim March to help you determine the condition of a revolver.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:10 AM   #24
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A few years back had carple tunnel & triger finger surgery done in both hands with in a 3 wk time span. I found out REVOLVERS worked best for me .Now I an down to one auto in my arsenal .
No Gun Big Or Small Does It All
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Old October 27, 2012, 12:08 PM   #25
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You would be best advised to start with some type of 22 and learn how to shoot before going bigger.
I agree with this completely. i learned to shoot a handgun with a 1911-22. That would not be my suggestion for someone relatively new to handguns however as the one i had did have issues alot and i have heard of others having the same even with different makes/models. i am growing quite fond of the kel tec pmr 30 which is a 22 magnum semi automatic handgun with a msrp of $415.00. that might be something to consider

heres a link:
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