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-   -   Purchasing first civilian handgun advice (http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f14/purchasing-first-civilian-handgun-advice-43927/)

jcorbett14 06-16-2011 06:20 AM

Purchasing first civilian handgun advice
 
First and fore most I am no stranger to guns. I have served in the military for 4 years, 1999 -2003. My issue is I have only qualified with military weapons though; M16, Beretta M9, and MP5 trained as well.

I am not familiar with all the civilian options. I have not shot a weapon for about 6 years so I am well out of the loop. I could easily go out and purchase a Beretta M9 as I comfortable with it.

But I came here looking for some educated input from the fine folks here.

I'm looking to spend right around $500. I'd like a low recoil weapon so I can train my wife to use it. It will be used for home defense and protection. I will take it to the range for target shooting as well to get the rust off. I'd be happy to answer any more qualification questions anyone might have. I also have a facility nearby where I can try weapons before purchasing them.

Thank you in advance for any constructive input and direction

~ Jcorbett

Davo45 06-16-2011 06:54 AM

Hey J, I'd suggest trying several pistols at the range by you first. The choice of one's carry/defensive pistol is largely a matter of personal preference.

I personally like Glocks and have trusted my life and the lives of my family and the citizens I've worked for at various police agencies since 1990. I've shot my sister's S&W M&P and wouldn't feel bad if my chief decided to trade our issued Glock 23s in and issue the M&P. There are some features on it I really like, but not enough to make me trade all my Glocks for M&Ps. I've shot a FNP9 before and was impressed with it too. I've read and heard good things about the Ruger SP9. Any of these should fill your requirements and as an added bonus they're all lighter weight than the M9.

For low recoil you want the 9x19mm. I have to carry a Glock .40 cal on duty and carry one off duty as well, but bought a 9mm for my wife. She can shoot the .40 but can handle a 9mm better and is able to hit better with one. As the late Col. Jeff Cooper used to say, "A hit with a .22 is infinitely better than a miss with a .44 Magnum." If somebody can hit better with a 9mm than they can with a .40 or .45 then they'd be a fool to not get one.

Regardless of your choice, if you can, get a .22 conversion for your pistol. It's a whole lot cheaper to shoot, you'll need a good bit, but your wife will need more trigger time then you. For that matter, a CO2 Airsoft pistol is good for getting basic marksmanship down at close range, plus you can shoot it in your yard at any time of the day or night. If you can get both, a .22 conversion and a CO2 Airsoft pistol of the same type that would be great.

Last, but by no means least, get some good training, especially for your wife. I don't know how much training you got with the M9, but some good civilian training never hurts.

twobadazbrothers 06-16-2011 04:42 PM

Go down to your neighborhood gun range and rent the gun you think will work for you best and go from there.

canebrake 06-16-2011 04:56 PM

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trex1310 06-16-2011 09:08 PM

Take a look at the Glock 21 9mm. It is affordable, fairly accurate and
reliable or if you like you can step up to the 22 .40S&W.

utf59 06-16-2011 09:15 PM

I'm going to ditto the training for your wife. I'm a husband myself, and I know a husband wants to save money at every opportunity by doing it himself, but this probably isn't one of those occasions. She might even like it best if you aren't at the range at all when she takes her class. And if she's like my own dear wife, she might listen to a stranger better than she'll listen to her husband. :D There's also a possibility that there will be an introductory class for women only, and a further chance that whatever class she does take will offer her the chance to shoot several guns.

If you're both going to shoot the same gun and you want one in a defense caliber, I definitely recommend 9mm. It's cheap to shoot target ammo, low on recoil, and there are plenty of defensive ammo choices out there. The Smith & Wesson M&P and Springfield XDM models have changeable backstraps, which will help you both contour the gun more toward your respective hands when it's your turn to shoot. The Glock generation 4 models have that feature also, but there are people who have been reporting trouble with the Gen 4 models.

Getting away from the polymer models, an all-metal gun will have less felt recoil because of its weight, but it will also be heavier in the hand. Depending on her hand strength, the holding weight might be more of an issue than the recoil.

Davo45 mentioned a .22 conversion kit. The .22 is a great training platform, both for initial learning and for maintaining skills. Ammo is very cheap, which means you get more trigger time (repetitions) for your budget. A conversion kit allows you to fire your cheap training rounds using the same trigger as your defense gun, and at pretty much the same weight. Personally, however, I bought a separate .22 pistol. The cost was about the same, and I preferred having another gun so my wife and I could shoot at the same time.

I spent all this time going on about what your wife might like/need because 1) you were in the military and have learned to be flexible and 2) you seem to be more dedicated to this and will be more likely to work with whatever you have.

If your wife enjoys shooting, don't be surprised when you have to pony up (nods to cane) for her to get her own gun in the near future. :)

Happy shooting!

orangello 06-16-2011 09:30 PM

Welcome!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davo45 (Post 523684)
Hey J, I'd suggest trying several pistols at the range by you first. The choice of one's carry/defensive pistol is largely a matter of personal preference.

^^^ Yup.

9mm's can be nice and soft if the gun is of decent size & heft. I have an all-metal CZ75b that i picked up used & am very fond of. If you don't mind used, you could save some cash, but there is a risk of getting a worn out pistol. There are some "trade-in" guns out there that fit your bill, CDNN has some S&W 5906 all-metal 9mm pistols for about $300 + transfer and shipping, i bleve.

You didn't mention revolvers; my 6" Ruger GP100 in .357mag/.38special shoots really soft at the range with .38specials but can also chamber some scary .357magnum rounds for defensive use. The long barrel really seems to cut down the recoil.

jcorbett14 06-17-2011 09:05 AM

Leaning this way
 
Wonderful advice. Thank you. I am am extremely dedicate to ensuring my family and home are protected to the best of my ability. I've decided to purchase to two hand guns to start.

I found a Beretta 92F compact 9mm that I looking to purchase.
The next one will be for my wife and something I've never shot before. She has agreed she would like to go shoot some different guns and she what see likes. I also heeded someone advice and enrolled her in a class for women. She has no problem taking instruction from me but I think she will learn more and retain more from a structured setting.

My question about the 92F is can I get a light rail and install it simple enough? I've been looking online but I'm not sure which sites are reputable and which are not. I trust the manufacture sites but it is the other ones that give me some reservations.

I'm not completely decided yet; but the process sure is fun! Can't wait to get my hunting rifle for deer season this year now!

Davo45 06-17-2011 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trex1310 (Post 524045)
Take a look at the Glock 21 9mm. It is affordable, fairly accurate and
reliable or if you like you can step up to the 22 .40S&W.

Uhh, the Glock 21 is a .45 ACP, the 17(&L),19,26 & 36 are 9mm.

Davo45 06-17-2011 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcorbett14 (Post 524414)
Wonderful advice. Thank you. I am am extremely dedicate to ensuring my family and home are protected to the best of my ability. I've decided to purchase to two hand guns to start.

I found a Beretta 92F compact 9mm that I looking to purchase.
The next one will be for my wife and something I've never shot before. She has agreed she would like to go shoot some different guns and she what see likes. I also heeded someone advice and enrolled her in a class for women. She has no problem taking instruction from me but I think she will learn more and retain more from a structured setting.

My question about the 92F is can I get a light rail and install it simple enough? I've been looking online but I'm not sure which sites are reputable and which are not. I trust the manufacture sites but it is the other ones that give me some reservations.

I'm not completely decided yet; but the process sure is fun! Can't wait to get my hunting rifle for deer season this year now!

I have no idea if you can get a light rail for the 92F Compact, but would advise you get another model with the rail. I am not much of a Beretta follower and am not sure if the model 92F is available with a rail frame or not. I know the Beretta Storm pistol has a rail. I try to stay away from after market rails as it is all but impossible to find a holster to fit the pistol so modified. You should be able to find a custom holster maker who'd make you one, but it would cost you a bundle.


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