Okay, help me start thinking ahead...
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Okay, help me start thinking ahead...

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Old 06-30-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
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Default Okay, help me start thinking ahead...

....I've already introduced myself on here, but I AM NEW, so for those on here who haven't heard from me yet, a little background. Never owned a handgun before, never shot one a couple days ago, and have only gone hunting with a 12 guage a few times several years ago. Just now decided to take this up as a hobby. I have a work buddy that runs the local shooting range/gunclub who is going to help me out with some tips/pointers/training.

My first gun will be a Ruger .22 slab side that he is going to teach me proper technique, mechanics, etc. I want to be sure that I have good habits down before I go any larger.....though I so badly want something bigger as soon as I know what I'm doing.

I am 40 years old, and a bigger guy (if that matters) and most definitely want to have a good weapon for self defense...but that will be my NEXT purchase, not the first one as mentioned above. Just the other day on here, I found out that there is a difference between what a person would get for target shooting, versus what somebody would get for self defense.

Over the next couple of months, I plan on hitting the gun stores/sporting good shops and checking out handguns just to get an idea of what I want to get next. Keep in mind, this will be for self defense, and I will be getting a conceal & carry permit for it here in my state of Iowa.

Any suggestions? What would YOU get as a first self defense weapon, or what would you recommend to a friend who asked?
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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The first handgun I ever got was a Ruger SR9c. I wanted to get a subcompact handgun, because I watch a lot of youtube videos from a guy named hickok45 who loves the subcompact handguns. I started with a subcompact mainly, because I figured if I can learn to shoot from one of the smallest handgun platforms the easier it will be for me to adapt to compact and subcompact handguns for carry/plinking. So far I've been right, but at first it does take a little bit to get use to a compact or subcompact grip. What I do is use two fingers to grip the firearm while my pinky is not contacting anything or a magazine if it uses a high capacity style magazine.

I recommend you go to some local gun shops and get a feel for the various firearms there are and see which one feels the best, I also strongly recommend that since this will be you first centerfire handgun and one you're going to use for defense and alike you get a 9mm or a .40 caliber to start with. With the caliber in mind while you look at various firearms, I would figure out if whether you think you could handle a compact or subcompact firearm. They're very easy to handle, especially in a 9mm or .40 caliber, and you get grips for your firearm to help you get a better firmness on it.

Here are some of the firearms I recommend for you; Glock 19, Glock 23, Glock 26, Glock 27, XDm, XDM 3.8 compact, SR9c, and SR40c.

Like I said before look for firearms that are either 9mm or .40 caliber, see which one has the best feel for you, which one you like the best, and what you think you can handle in terms of size.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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Read this thread...though the OP is a lady...most of the responses will apply to anyone.

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Old 06-30-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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The Ruger .22 slab side will be excellent for teaching you proper handgun technique, mechanics, safety habits and function, as you mentioned. It is important to have these habits down before going to a larger gun, IMHO.

Some of us do use the same handgun for target shooting and carry. How else does one become proficient with said carry gun? I would recommend a 9mm or .40, to start out with as stated above, although the .40 may be a little snappy, the 9mm may be a better choice. Try them both in what ever size and make that fits your hand and you the best. Others will come along and list makes such as Ruger, CZ, Beretta, H&K, Sig, Glock and 1911 styles and they are all great gun makes, but you need to find the right one to fit you. That means try out and pickup, grip, fondle, ergonomics and point of the gun. Mess with every make of 9mm and .40 handguns you can get your hands on, rent and shoot them as well, if possible to get a feel for the gun, the weight, balance and fit in your hand while shooting. Once you have found the perfect fit for you, take it with you and enroll in some beginning handgun shooting and safety classes at your friend's range and follow through with as much range time shooting, your budget will allow. After you feel comfortable and confidant with that caliber of handgun, move on to a bigger caliber handguns if you like.


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Old 06-30-2011, 05:25 PM   #5
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Looks like you're on the right track!

I highly recommend the CZ SP 01 tactical in 9mm if you want a steel gun. If you want a polymer, have a look at the springfield XD.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:23 PM   #6
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Toy around with as many different guns as you can and avoid buying anything really compact that you haven't truly taken for a test drive first. The easiest learning platform in a defensive centerfire is probably a steel or alloy framed 9mm...something like CZ, BHP, Beretta, or Sig. But a polymer compact like a Glock 19 is probably one of the more versatile, do-it-all options.

Right now you're at ground level, heading up the trunk of the "I want a pistol" tree...it's going to branch out in a dozen different directions, and at the end of each is a potentially excellent firearm. Start thinking about the answers to questions such as these, and it'll refine your seach quickly:

Semi-auto or revolver?
Plastic or metal frame?
What size frame do you want?
What caliber(s) do you prefer?
How much would you like to spend?
What other attributes do you value? (manual safeties, hammer vs striker fired, capacity preference, etc)

I started two years ago (at age 34) and now have 5 pistols. And there are still three "must haves" that I've yet to acquire (Ruger/Browning rimfire, 1911, Ruger/SW 357 revolver). Welcome to the affliction.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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So, you are looking for a carry pistol to conceal on your person or a pistol to keep in your home for home defense?

If you are a bigger person, you might be able to conceal a non-tiny pistol.

I do not carry. I have a few pistols at home (and frequently in the car). I have had zero problems with my CZ75b or my XD45. Neither of those would be my first choice if i wanted to concealed carry all day, the cz is a little heavy (better for target practice) and the XD isn't very thin for concealing. I did have a Bersa Thunder that was very concealable and not too heavy, but my sister talked me out of it. The Bersas are inexpensive and well made (IMO); the one i had was a .380, like 9mm short.

In MS, i don't need a permit to carry in the car, so i'm not desperate for concealed carry at the moment. When i do go that way, it will most likely be a Bersa or maybe a Kahr CM9 (if i can afford it).

Maybe your buddy could help you find a good used pistol; i picked up my CZ75b used & have really enjoyed it.

Bud's Gun Shop is a good place to look at pictures and get GENERAL price ranges & info.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:56 AM   #8
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I didn't pick my first gun and it doesn't quite fit my hands, as a result I don't shoot it as often as I would like. So, when I bought my second gun I handled and shot as many as possible before I decided on one. Honestly I went back to the gun shop at least 4 times before I bought it. They're probably sick of me, but I love the gun I bought.

I got an SR9C, for me it works great. I'm small and I have really little hands and I suffer from the curse of curves, I've attempted to conceal my full size sig before and it just isn't happening, although you could probably conceal a bigger gun if you plan to carry. As far as home defense, I have a basic shotgun that sits next to my bed.


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Old 07-01-2011, 04:55 AM   #9
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I just recently picked up a CZ 75 Compact and I gotta say I am liking it more and more. Its an all steel compact version of the CZ 75 with 14 +1 capacity in 9mm. The controls are well placed and the setup is familiar to any 1911 user. DA trigger pull is a bit heavy but the versatilty of the DA is a big plus for those not 100% comfortable with condition 1 carry.

Gun is a bit heavier than many of the common polymer compacts offered by Glock, SA, Ruger and Kahr but that added weight helps tame the recoil and keeps the sights on target. Only downside I have encountered so far are the plastic grips and guide rod...easily fixed for $50.

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Old 07-01-2011, 04:57 AM   #10
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I'd say you're on the right track in getting information ahead of time. But you will answer some of your questions on your own after you have shot that .22 for a while.

I suggest you give some thought to what "operating system" you might prefer. By that, I mean, would you prefer a revolver? A DA/SA? Striker-fired? Single action? These platforms tend to have some common features, even when produced by different manufacturers. Take, for instance, striker-fired pistols. They all tend to have some variation on Glock's safe-action trigger, polymer frames and no thumb safeties. DA/SA guns tend to have thumb safeties combined with decockers, and they feature a long trigger pull on the first shot, followed by a short trigger pull on subsequent shots.

Some people wouldn't have anything but a DA/SA. They want thumb safeties, and they feel that the long trigger pull on the first shot increases safety. Other people want striker-fired pistols because they only want to learn one trigger pull. Still others want the crisp trigger of a single-action pistol without the long first-shot trigger pull.

I think if you get an idea of what kind of platform you like, you'll have an easier time making a choice.
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