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looking to buy a handgun (my first) ..need help!

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Old 06-15-2009, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default looking to buy a handgun (my first) ..need help!

Hi guys! I was wondering if I could get some advice on what type of hand gun / revolver would be good fo me. They just passed a new open carry law in my state (Wisconsin) so I would like something not to big but big enough to protect me (and easy to shoot). Im learning as I go but any info at all would be much appreciated!
( Please forgive me if Im in the wrong forum as this is my very first time)
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:06 PM   #2
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Default I'm not sure everybody is on board with that open carry law just yet. You might want to make some calls to local authority types before you stride through the local Walmart with a revolver on your hip, no offense.

As to the first handgun, go to a range & try a few different ones before you decide, if possible. Try some different sized revolvers & some different sized semi-auto pistols and see what you like best and what fits your hand best. I have a relatively new springfield XD45 that i love, but it is a bit large for some people with smaller hands (carnies). Think of it as test driving a car before you buy it; some ranges have rental guns you can try. If you don't have access to that kind of range (i don't), try some gun-laden friends for some hands-on experience. Just my opinion.

Welcome to the forum! Some smart people should be along shortly.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:18 PM   #3
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I could make some suggestions but it would help out if we got a little more information about you and your shooting experience.

If you are just learning you might want to go to a range where you can rent some various models, in different calibers and help you decide. Also, find someone to teach you proper handling and safety. Do you have any friends/relatives that are into shooting?

As a first hand gun that you could use for self/home defense I would take a look at 38 Special, legth could be up to you but I would suggest 3-4". Snub noses are great but are harder to shoot accurately. A 38 is mild recoil wise and has enough power to defend yourself with. This is the smallest round I would concider for self defense, but that's just my opinion. My personal choice is a 357 Magnum because it is able to shoot both 38 Specials and 357 mag rounds and the 357 is well known as a man stopper. I must warn you, there is a BIG difference in a 38 and 357 out of the same gun. A tame 38 can become a bit of a handful with a 357 and I WOULD NOT recommend a 357 for a new shooter. I only mention this because it gives you options.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:26 AM   #4
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There are so many choices that you could make. If you have a range in your area that rents pistols, I would suggest that you try a few to pick the one that "fits" you best.

I believe I would look into the new Ruger LCR. I am kind of interested in it myself, but I hope that the price will come down a little so I am waiting a while before I seriously look at one.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:59 AM   #5
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Buy the first thing you can get your hands on, that way you have one when you can't buy a handgun any longer. Then, after securing the quick pick, hunt for a pistol that fits in your pocket and in your budget. They have alot of nice small frames out in different calibres, although the prices may be a bit high. Hit the range and shred some paper. Try out a few different models and see what fits.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:32 AM   #6
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I took my first steps into the handgun world just a year ago, and at first I was baffled by the huge number of options and opinions on everything, from caliber to frame materials.

There are lots of good guns out there, one of the most important thing is to find what you like. Revolvers, semiautos (polymer ones like Glocks, all steel single actions like the 1911's, etc) there are lots of good ones. A great weapon is worthless if you don't like it, I bought a Ruger MKIII because of its reputation, and although it runs flawlessly I decided to sell it because I prefer shooting my S&W 617 (a .22 revolver).

So, +1 to the advice you already received about going to a range that rents guns and trying out a few.

I think a decent .22 is a basic, must have, part of any gun collection. They are great for cheap practice, and the low recoil makes them excellent learning platforms. They aren't a good choice for self defense, though. If you're not in a hurry to get a defensive weapon, I'd start with a nice .22 pistol or revolver.

For a defensive firearm, my first choice would be a .357 revolver with a 4" barrel. A S&W 686 or a Ruger GP 100. No need to fiddle with safeties, easy to clean and very accurate. You can use them with .38s until you feel comfortable enough to shoot magnum cartridges. If semiautos are your thing, a good 9mm might be a good place to start. Something like a CZ 75, for instance, or a Browning HP35. Recoil is mild, the weapons have high capacity magazines and there are good defensive bullets that make it a good option.

I'm going to save Cane and JD some time and also recommend that you try out a 1911 platform if you can. It's a fantastic design, the single stack 1911's are quite flat and carry nicely, and the single action trigger helps accuracy a lot. They are chambered in a variety of calibers, .45 being my favourite. I wouldn't recommend one as a first gun, but if you get a .22 first, go through some courses and hit the range often, you're skill will increase quickly. Don't let the big bullets scare you, .45s are very pleasant to shoot. You just need some practice.
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