Advice for this soon-to-be new handgun owner

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by new2ruger, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    Hey guys. I'm looking at buying a gun for personal protection that I will carry concealed (once I get the proper license, of course).

    I'm seriously looking at a Ruger LCP. I checked one out at a local store and the weight and grip were very comfortable in my hands. I'm told it's important to get a gun that "feels right" but I have no experience with handguns so I really don't know how to go about choosing a gun.

    So am I on the right track or is there something else I should do before purchasing this gun?

    I've only fired rifles so this will be my first handgun. I have already talked to a friend who is a retired LEO about gun training and going over applicable laws and such.

    Is there anything else I need to do? Also, anyone want to rec a good holster? I'm looking at the SmartCarry because undetected concealment is really important to me. I plan to carry this with me wherever legally possible and don't want to freak anyone out.

    Thanks
     
  2. Gatoragn

    Gatoragn Active Member

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    Try to find a range or gun store that rents handguns and shoot as many as you can. Maybe your retired LEO friend has some you can shoot. Ask any of your friends if they have handguns you could shoot.
     

  3. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    dont' base your decision on the first gun you pick up - that might feel right, but your experience doesnt give you much to compare it to.

    Follow Gatoragn's advice. Seek out a range to rent a gun, or some friends who already own them, offer to buy some ammo if your friend will let you test out his firearms (don't make the mistake of insinuating ammo is cheap...it'll lose you shooting buddies real quick) :D

    You'll do yourself many many favors if you take a few extra steps now to ensure you'll get a gun you're going to be happy with later.

    Don't do what my wife did, buy the first guy she set her eyes on because she liked the looks.

    Then, after she met me, fired some of my guns, wanted to trade it away immediately and get something better.
     
  4. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    My retired LEO friend is about the only person I can think of that would have any guns for me to try. I don't really have any friends or family that are into handguns (it's mostly deer hunting rifles and shotguns).

    There's not a gun range that's all that close to me (the closest is 40 miles) but I guess it would be worth it to really know for sure what gun will be best for me.
     
  5. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Less than an hour drive to make sure you don't blow money on a gun you will later regret doesn't seem like a bad trade to me =)

    I love all guns, but there are several I wouldn't spend my own money on. The more you own, I think, the more you'll agree w/ that :D
     
  6. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    I guess when you put it that way, it makes more sense. ^_^; I was just surprised that there's not one closer to where I live. And then I started wondering how a gun range business would do here around here...
     
  7. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

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    Call them and see if they have rentals.
     
  8. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

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    I would check out quite a few more guns before buying one. I would also suggest that you actually fire them as well. Holding a firearm and firing one both require your "feel" to be good with it. Decide how you plan to carry as well. Don't buy a pocket gun if you're going to conceal IWB and don't buy a compact gun if you want to carry In Your pocket!
     
  9. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    The town I live in is about 100,000 people.

    And we don't have a gun range.

    Central Illinois - full of gun owners - full of hunters. No gun range.

    Closest one is about 40 minutes away. So my friend and I built one of our own on some land given to us by his family :D

    Makes no sense to me either
     
  10. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    What exactly is the difference between a pocket and compact? Size? Caliber? Both? Geez am I coming off like a total newb here? ^_^;
     
  11. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Ther'es nothing wrong w/ being a newbie. Being a newbie does not = being an idiot. Being an idiot is being a newbie who thinks they know it all and never asks for help or advice :cool:

    I still consider myself a newbie - but i'll help out where I can :D

    Basically the way I understand it, a "pocket pistol" is a sub compact firearm

    So you're looking at compact vs sub compact.


    So this (sub compact)
    [​IMG]


    or this (compact)
    [​IMG]


    As far as I know the main differences will be rounds carried. I think either one could go up to something like a .40 S&W but I believe most sub compacts are 380

    Personally, I'd prefer something a little larger than a sub compact. But thats just my preference


    I'm sure there are much more knowledgeable members here who could elaborate further, or even show me where I'm wrong :D

    But thats my general understanding.
     
  12. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    So the Ruger I'm looking at would be considered a pocket gun then? That would make sense. I'm looking for something that I can easily conceal that will still have decent stopping power. My uncle has a few handguns that I've tried and one was a little derringer, and though its VERY easily concealed, I didn't feel like it would really do me much good =\ I know I could get something with a bit more punch than the .380 but I do want to try and stay in the pocket or compact range. I'm going to call that gun range tomorrow and see what they have that I can try.
     
  13. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    I carried an LCP for a long time. I shot it at least once a week at the range. I found it to be dependable, fairly accurate and easy to carry. I traded a couple of months ago because I just hated it. I moved to a larger gun, SA/DA and IWB carry. I am much more comfortable and very happy with the change.
     
  14. KJG67

    KJG67 New Member

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    As everyone mentioned, find a store you can at least handle and dry fire several models. Trigger actions are something you need to feel. Some people love SA, others DAO, DA/SA, Striker...you need to feel it and also what gun fits best in your hand.

    Take your time. You're investing a lot of money into this - gun, ammo (if you can find it and expensive right now), range time if you can find a place to practice, eventually holster, light, other toys. Dropping $300-$1000 is not a purchase you want to regret.

    There's a lot of posts here of people looking for new handguns. Search through them, check the advice, and there are some good reviews (and poor ones) on YouTube and written reviews via Google to get you started. People here will be happy to guide you as you go along.
     
  15. KJG67

    KJG67 New Member

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    And you asked about caliber. One word - accuracy. <edit: caliber has relevance but shot placement is key regardless of what you choose. If you don't hit the BG in the critical areas, it won't matter if you're Dirty Harry or not.>

    .22 is a great cal to start with to learn. You could put someone down with good shot placement, but not ideal. 9 mm is most popular for a reason. It's a good balance between cost and effectiveness. .40 in my opinion is the perfect balance of stopping power, kinetic energy, number of rounds you can get in a magazine, but is more expensive and is known to be a snappy round which is a bit harder to control when you're new. .45 should stop anything if accurately shot, but guns hold less rounds. I'm sure others will chime in but start yourself with .22 or 9 mm and learn good habits and marksmanship.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  16. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    Dry fire? As in cock and fire and empty gun? That's what I did with that Ruger, checked the trigger action, made sure cocking the slide was easy enough, etc.
     
  17. new2ruger

    new2ruger New Member

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    Grr I was going to edit that post more since I verified that I did know what dry fire meant.

    KJG it sounds like your recommending whatever round I can best shoot accurately. Am I right?

    Gr8oldguy, why did you hate your LCP? I've read a lot of people's posts who say they love the gun.
     
  18. KJG67

    KJG67 New Member

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    Yep. Aim it in a safe direction (don't sweep anyone). Watch the sites when you pull the trigger and see how we'll you can keep it on target. Do it several times. It's not ideal and will give you no idea about actual recoil, but I personally have found when looking for a new pistol that the triggers/sights I keep more steady at dry fire are the ones i tend to shoot better with. That may just be me, but it you can't rent it it's about as close as you'll get.

    Search the web for dry fire and you'll see it's a great training tool. Always buy some snap caps though. And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS triple check the gun isn't loaded and all ammo and magazines are in another room when you are practicing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  19. KJG67

    KJG67 New Member

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    If you're new, stick with .22 or 9 mm. If this is for CC or home defense and you're on a limited budget, opt for the 9 mm. Take a pistol class if you haven't already as well. Consider it insurance in safe operation instruction.
     
  20. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    I carried a very similar gun to the LCP in my pocket for two years, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. It is very easy to carry in the pocket, and I have no problem trusting a 380.

    That said, I just moved up to a Kahr PM9 (9mm) that I have been carrying in my pocket for 2 weeks now. It is a slightly larger form factor, but still conceals and carries very well in a pocket holster. As I said, I have no problem carrying a 380; but if you can carry a 9 instead, why not?

    FYI, there are no standards for what manufacturers call compact, or sub-compact, or micro-compact, or where-the-heck-did-that-thing-go-compact.