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Old June 2, 2013, 01:18 PM   #1
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Which Handgun

After many years of not having a handgun, I've decided on owning one again. I'm bewildered by all the different choices especially in the semi auto realm. If I go semi auto, I would be looking for a home defense gun. I would want as cheap as I could go without having a jamomatic.

If I went revolver, I'd like a compromise between home defense & a trail gun.

I'd appreciate any suggestions for either.
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Old June 2, 2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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With your criteria (inexpensive and not a jamming machine) I would suggest you check the feel and if you can shoot a Sig P250. The only possible hic-up is if you are OK with the DAO trigger with a long pull. You can get it in sub-compact, compact or full size. It comes in various calibers of your choice. I own them in both 9mm and .45 ACP.
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Old June 2, 2013, 01:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for asking our advice. Help us help you.

What do you shoot now and what handgun(s) did you have before? Did you like what you had before and why (or dislike and why)?

We would be shooting in the dark and just listing OUR favorites without knowing anything about you.

Picking a gun for someone else is like picking a spouse for them. Difficult even i you know the person well.

Thanks for asking our advice. Help us help you. Hand size would be a good start.

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Old June 2, 2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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Ruger makes some decent, shoots every time autos.

They also make some decent revolvers.

You can find them for less on the used market. Check pawn shops and your lgs for trade ins.

Personally I would go with the revolver. But I also have a Ruger P89 in 9mm that I enjoy. If you plan on having a sidearm for protection in the great outdoors the 357 mag is a better choice for penetration on scratchy bitey critters.
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Old June 2, 2013, 01:59 PM   #5
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My Handgun History

In the past I've owned both semi autos (all were single action (Browning HiPower , 1911 Colt) except one single & double action M39 S&W) & revolvers (mostly N frame S & W's). I have big hands. An N frame S & W feels really good.

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Old June 2, 2013, 02:22 PM   #6
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Cheap, good compromise between SD and trail??

I like the S&W 13, 19, 65, 66, 38/357mag in a 4" barrel

Or, Charter Arms 5 shot 2.5" barrel 44 special

Both would be my choices. I might have to restart my Charter Arms search!
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Old June 2, 2013, 05:00 PM   #7
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I'm bewildered by all the different choices especially in the semi auto realm. If I go semi auto, I would be looking for a home defense gun.
There are certainly a lot of choices. I would suggest a Glock semi-auto in either 9mm or 40 S&W. I prefer the middle sized Glocks such as the M23 in 40 S&W. Hi Points are probably the least expensive. I hear they are a good value and generally are reliable, but I have no actual experience with them. Any of the Rugers would be a good choice.

In a revolver, you will pretty much end up paying more for the good ones. My suggestion there would be a mid sized steel framed gun like the S&W Model 10 (38spl) which can be found used in very good shape. The Ruger GP-100 is an excellent choice as well in probably a 4".
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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I would suggest Glocks! Less expensive than that, Rugers. The Ruger p95 can be had in my area for 300$, 15 round 9mm mags, da/sa trigger and option for aftermarket sights. The GP100 or SA Blackhawk are great. But get a .40 cal Glock used for like 400-450$, spent 300$ on Lone Wolf barrels and extra mags and own the 3 caliber Glock. That's value.
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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Forgot to drop my $.02 about Hi-Points. Have owned a .380 &.45. Only problems were with the .45. Blowback operated is picky about pressure levels in reloads, most factory was fine. Then broke the firing pin. Keep it clean. More of a knock around gun, if I am using that term correctly, Would only trust my life to it if I had to, absolutely!
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Old June 3, 2013, 01:43 PM   #10
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The Beretta PX4 lineup is also a very good value in being a well-made pistol at a moderate price. You might add it to the fondle list if you don't mind the thumb safety.
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Old June 5, 2013, 02:18 PM   #11
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Stay with what you know ...and like..../ but in handguns these days, often you get what you pay for...there is a lot of "junk" out there, if you go cheap.

N frames.....model 27's or 28's in S&W in .357 mag ....and probably look at the L frame model 686's as well. To me, a 4" barrel in an L or N frame fits the bill for defense - and would be the compromise you're looking for / with a 6" being more of a trail gun in my view. Prices are all over the map on S&W revolvers....but there are still a lot of guns out there at a good just need to shop for older models.

In semi-autos ...Colt is making 1911's again and doing a nice job and they're affordable / or even on the lower end of many of the 1911's out there. You can get 1911's in most any caliber you want these days ....but 9mm and .45 acp are probably the most popular.

Some other semi-autos you should probably shoot - to see if you like the grip angle and the controls and the triggers....are a variety of the Sig Sauers....( 226's are their full sized model ) - Sigs are built solid, but have features that you may not realize like decockers, DA-SA triggers, spend some time looking at them / but I'd also suggest you at least shoot the Springfield XDM's - grip angles are real similar to the 1911.

For affordable ammo in a semi-auto stay with a 9mm. Caliber is often debated on this and other forums ...but its about shot placement / not caliber.
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Old June 5, 2013, 11:19 PM   #12
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If this is for a home defense weapon, I would probably lean towards a revolver in either .357 or 44 Mag, 3"-4" barrel. Personally, I chose to get a 357, so that I can take it to the range and practice/plink with .38 specials. Besides, from the tone of your post, you do seem to have a soft spot for a good wheel gun. A used S&W N frame or even possibly a used Ruger 6 series might be about right for you.
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Old June 6, 2013, 07:04 AM   #13
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Trail gun? I'd go with a GP 101 in .357 magnum.
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Old June 6, 2013, 07:25 AM   #14
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m-14 Buy the high point in 45acp if dollars are tight. A basic model can be bought for 170 bucks and they are +P rated. There not pretty but work well. Use a +p heavy bullet for trail defense and a federal guard dog ammo for home defense. The guard dog ammo looks like a flat nosed fmj and feeds well but is a hp soft point design made to expand very well . Because of its design it does not pass thru but a couple layers of sheet rock too. Light bullet at high velocity. Then pick up a good Dt , BB or corbon load for the tail. Its all you need till you can come up with enough funds for something both lighter and higher capacity.

A 357 is a great cartridge but not the best choice as a indoor home defense cartridge lots of flash and LOADEST cartridge you can pick!!?? Reload with 38 sp for home?? OK It will indoors with a 357 load screw up what hearing you have quicker than any other cartridge except for a 30carbine or the new 22 tcm load. The 44mag is a great hunting cartridge but not a friendly to carry in a normally heavy revolver or friendly to shot in the light weight revolvers and both well cost you more to get in to. Not Needed unless you have attacking moosies and grizzlies or plan on hunting too.
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Old June 6, 2013, 07:46 AM   #15
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For relatively inexperienced handgun owners, I usually recommend a revolver. While they can malfunction, they do so at a lower rate than semi-automatics. They are more tolerant of indifferent maintenance. They are also simple to operate during times of stress.

I would recommend a revolver that can handle .38 special +P loads. About all modern .38 spl revolvers can do so. With the right type of round, they are effective in home defense. Yet, they do not present real problems with recoil or muzzle flash.

You mention use as a trail gun. For anything but defense in a bear attack, a .38 spl +P load is also fine.

For cost savings, I would recommend a police trade-in revolver. There are some available at Bud's Gunshop for $279. You may find something similar at a local store or other on-line dealer. Police trade-ins tend to have exterior wear and maybe some scratches. However, they are almost always in good shape mechanically. A lot of officers are not "gun guys" and only shoot enough to qualify. I have purchased a police trade-in from Bud's from an earlier lot and have been pleased. By no means limit yourself to those from Bud's, however. I bought a Model 65 (a .357 magnum) that was a trade-in from another store and it is my home defense gun (and I have a number to choose from). BTW, I load that magnum with .38 spl +P loads.
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Old June 6, 2013, 02:11 PM   #16
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Get a Glock

Depending on your hand size you may need a single stack

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Old June 6, 2013, 02:41 PM   #17
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Like KyJim, I also recommend the S&W Model 10 that Bud's has listed. I bought one a couple of years ago and you can't go wrong with the gun or the price. I'm very happy with mine.
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Old June 6, 2013, 08:27 PM   #18
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What JimmyR said.'ll never be a jamomatic
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