Brand new gun owner looking for help please?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by lithnights, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Hi all,
    New poster here hoping to get some advice if you don't mind. I will soon be a first time gun owner. I have done tons of research online (including these boards), spoken to a couple friends who own guns, and visited two gunshops.

    This gun will be for self defense to keep at home, shoot at the range, and carry occasionally (when I need to travel to less than desirable areas).

    I want to purchase a 9mm but it seems there are so many options so I am trying to narrow them down. Here are my criteria:

    - Reliable
    - Price. I don't want to (nor think I need to ) spend more than $600 or so. I don't mind paying more for quality, but I don't want to spend money I don't need to.
    - Something not too large. While I don't plan to carry this too often, I do want to have the option and I figure the smaller it is, the more likely I will actually carry.

    I have seen certain 9mm mentioned over and over for good conceal/carry. Some include..

    Glock 26 or Glock 19 (little larger than 26)
    S&W 3913 or 3914
    Sig P239
    Kahr MK9 PM9 CW9 or P9
    Kel tec pf-9 or p11
    S&W SD9

    I plan to make more visits to shops, hold more guns, and rent a bunch to shoot. But I'm trying to narrow it down a bit instead of spending hundreds of dollars renting a dozen or so guns. So here are my questions..

    1. Based on my criteria, what do you think of the guns I list? Do you have other suggestions?
    2. Should I buy used or new? I'm sure this is subjective.
    3. Is a manual safety a good idea or not? I've heard both sides of this argument.
    4. Are there any other things I should keep in mind as I decide on a gun?

    Looking forward to some good discussion!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    I've owned (or own) quite a few of them on your list. To be honest, the only way to find out what works for you is to shoot them. I've held guns that felt good but were difficult for me to shoot well. How much experience do you have with handguns? Do you already have your carry permit? Have you had any formal training?

    As far as polymer guns, I like the XDs most of all. For metal guns, I'm a Sig fan and I have 2 P239s. The S&W SD9 is brand new to the market so it's an unknown quantity. The S&W 3913 is a great gun and a really nice carry. The Kahr's you mention are very small and don't make good fun range guns - ditto with the Kel-Tecs. Glocks don't work for me so I can't help you there. Everything is subjective and what works for me may not work for you. Also, I have guns with safeties and those without - either is fine as long as you train with them...
     

  3. hogrider

    hogrider New Member

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    Shoot, shoot shoot. I went from a revolver to a pistol and I wish I had shot several brands before purchasing. So shoot all you can get your hands on before settling on THE one.
     
  4. DrJason

    DrJason New Member

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    I agree with the statements above......shoot everything you can (more than once if you can).....what fits in my hand and works for me might not work for you.

    I would not recommend the Keltec and Kahr on your list if you want to enjoy shooting it at the range they are a bit small and very "snappy".......great BUG or summer CC guns though (I have the PM9 as my summer carry)

    I would also suggest trying out the Beretta Px4 Storm and the S&W M&P (I own 2 of the M&P's one compact and one full size)
     
  5. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    NGIB, to answer some of your questions..I've shot a couple times with my brother who owns a Kahr P9. I've shot that along with a short barreled revolver (wasn't as crazy about..probably due to the bigger recoil) and something else. I forget the details of each gun except the P9. I am applying for a permit now. No formal training but I plan to take all the classes/training I can get. I'm not taking this lightly.

    I agree I need and want to shoot. But like I said I want to narrow down the list a bit, and add to it if need be, before going. The range near me charges $12 a gun to rent, so obviously I'd rather rent 5 or so rather than 15. So I'm trying to get a list of 5 or so.

    You say the Kahrs I mention are very small.. does that include the P9? I didn't think that was considered very small. Just want to verify.

    You're right, the SD9 is new and maybe that's not ideal. I hear it fits the void between P&W and Sigma?

    Thanks!
     
  6. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Larry and Drjason, thanks for the feedback. Like I said earlier, I want to shoot shoot and shoot. I just don't want to spend a small fortune renting tons of guns. ;)

    I simply want to narrow down my list, or add to it, before heading out.

    DrJason, like NGIB you mention the Kahrs may be small. As I asked him, does this include the P9? I thought this was slightly bigger than the other Kahrs but still small enough to carry if needed.

    I'll check out the Beretta Px4 Storm and the S&W M&P. I actually checked out the S&W M&P (when researching the SD9), but it seemed a bit pricier. I'll take another look.

    Thanks!
     
  7. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    The Kahr P9 or CW9 are the larger of the Kahr 9mm guns. Having said this, they aren't very big nor very heavy. Great carry guns though. (I saw MK9/PM9 on your list and they are small). For an all purpose gun, I'd go with something a bit larger and easier to handle especially since you have limited experience. A Sig 229 or 239 is a great choice for a good range/carry piece. Other than 1911s, most of the rest of mine are Sigs. High quality and great shooters...
     
  8. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    Take a look at the Ruger SR9c just to keep it interesting.
     
  9. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Great, makes sense regarding the Kahrs. I have the SIG 239 on my list but I'll take a look at the 229. Any major differences between them?
     
  10. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Ironically this was one that I should have added. I've seen lots of suggestions for the Ruger SR9 (as well as SC9.. not sure of the difference).

    Thanks
     
  11. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    The 229 isn't much bigger but it is a double stack versus the 239's single stack. You're looking at roughly double the capacity in roughly the same size. I have and like multiples of both. Here's a 239 and a 228. (The 228 and 229 are identical in size)...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  12. utf59

    utf59 New Member

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    That's a big question you asked, but I know you want help making the answer small, so I'll try.

    First, you might want to look at the Ruger SR series or some CZ guns. I've read good things about them, though I haven't shot any personally, and they fit your budget requirement.

    Since you mention concealed carry as the last of your three priorities, I would recommend a full-size or mid-size gun. Bigger guns absorb more recoil, have longer grips (no pinky hanging off the bottom), and are easier to be accurate with (greater distance between the front and rear sight). For most people, full-size guns are more fun at the range than smaller guns. If you find yourself wanting to carry more often and are happy with the platform you have chosen for your full-size gun (i.e., Glock, Ruger SR, etc.), many of these offer compact and subcompact variants (e.g., Glock 17/19/26 or Ruger SR 9/SR 9C). So you can keep your home defense/range gun and pick up a carry gun that you are already familiar with.

    Depending on your size and how you dress (or are willing to dress) you could still conceal a full-size gun for "special occasions." You'll find that there are plenty of people who carry a full-size gun every day.

    Another consideration is the "operating system." How do you feel about single action only vs. double/single action vs. striker-fired? Do you want a thumb safety and/or a grip safety? Decocker?

    And do you want the slim frame afforded by single-stack magazines, or do you prefer the additional capacity of double-stack magazines even if that makes the frame wider?

    Here was my decision-making process. I offer it only to show how I thought through the options to arrive at what works for me, not as a set of reasons why you should choose the same thing.

    First, I picked up and shot as many guns as I could (as you are doing now) and arrived at a number that were suitable from the standpoint of handling, operating and firing.

    I don't like a gun that has a different trigger pull for some shots. I do own a revolver, but I always shoot it double action. So for auto pistols, this ruled out double/single action guns. I still like these as strictly range guns, but I don't want one for self-defense. So that narrowed my search to single-action only (think 1911) or striker-fired pistols (think Glock). I also didn't want an external safety. I would rather keep it simple and be able to pull the gun and pull the trigger. And since I planned to buy a good holster which would completely cover the trigger guard and retain the gun in the holster, I wasn't worried setting it off by mistake.

    Since I was looking for a gun to carry, this was higher on my list of priorities. I'm 6'2" and 225 pounds. I also get to dress casually every day. I started wearing button-down shirts untucked, with a T-shirt underneath. I found that a full-length barrel sometimes poked out from under the shirt (and I don't like to carry inside the waistband), so I wanted a mid-length barrel. The full-size grip didn't create easily identifiable bulges in my shirt, but that is a concern for many people. Also, with my size and the baggy clothes, a double-stack was still easy to conceal.

    I got to shoot a friend's Glock 30 at the range one day, and that made up my mind. It's surprisingly accurate for a small(ish) gun. It has reasonable capacity (though I do wish the grip were longer). And recoil with the .45 is strong, but more of a "push," so it's manageable. So that's what I bought.​

    Obviously some or all of these factors will be different for you, and your priorities are different than mine. But if you think through some of these factors, I think it will help you narrow down your list.

    Sorry the post is so long, but I hope it helps.

    Happy shopping and shooting, and let us know what you decide!
     
  13. rjgnwdc

    rjgnwdc New Member Supporter

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    little over your limit

    Kahr P9 is an excellent choice but unless you're buying used $600 won't quit get it, have you consider a FN 9 When high ammunition capacity and light recoil are the order of the day, look no further than the FNP-9. Perfect for concealed carry, personal protection, security and law enforcement roles, it offers a reversible magazine release and ambidextrous decocking/manual safety levers. The FNP-9 features an external hammer, 4" hammer-forged stainless steel barrel, stainless steel slide, full-length guide rod, three-dot fixed sights and a highly ergonomic, checkered polymer frame with interchangeable backstraps and integrated accessory rail. Every FNP-9 comes standard with three magazines, a locking device and a lockable fitted hard case. All for under $600
    I copied this description cause it was easier then trying to remember all these details. Check it out
     
  14. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    I'm in a similar boat. If you haven't already, take a look at the thread I started: http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f15/searching-good-all-around-9mm-33962/
    Worth looking into:
    CZ: CZ-USA -> Product Categories they have a loyal following and appear to be well made & accurate. Depending on where you shop, there should be a model that meets your criteria.
    FN: FNH USA - Handguns These are worth a look as well. Very good value.

    The world of 9mm handguns is diverse, nearly too much to choose from. I'm currently digging into CZ a bit deeper.
     
  15. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Is there a big difference between the P9 and CW9? I checked out a Kahr link that compares but besides the 1 mag vs. 2 mag, much of it is Greek to me.

    KAHR CW9093 / Detail images
     
  16. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

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    Lots of good points. Regarding SA, DA, DAO, I'm simply not sure. Having shot very limited guns, I don't know. I guess that is something I'll have to figure out once I am test shooting some.

    Same with single stack vs. double stack. I really am not sure. I guess that is something I'll know by feel of the gun? I imagine it would be nicer to fit more in the magazine but at the downfall of a bulkier grip I imagine?

    And regarding carrying and what clothing I'd be wearing, typically I would dress such that it would be concealed. e.g. I'd dress around the gun. If that means wearing a baggier than normal or untucked shirt, then so be it. I honestly don't see myself carrying too much, at first. Of course that may change once I get a gun, and perhaps I will end up getting a pure CCW in addition to the gun I am researching to buy now.
     
  17. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    The SR9 is full size, the SR9c is compact. Both models will take a 17 round magazine. However, the c model will use an adapter that makes the magazine blend with the grip.
    Here, a picture is worth a thousand words: Ruger® SR9c

    Here's a review and range report I did on my SR9c: [/I]http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f66/range-report-ruger-sr9c-32266/
     
  18. ajbeau

    ajbeau New Member

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    help ?

    Wow you are gonna get a lot of ideas and opinions on this one! I defer to the many older and wiser members here, but as a new(since August) gun owner with a carry permit I will share a few of my thoughts so far. When I decided to "carry" I decided to do so whenever legal 24/7. I wish I new when i need to carry, what is a bad area? what is a dangerous time? I also ride a motorcycle, I always wear a helmet, but if I knew when I was going to crash.........I would put on all my leather and other protective gear. I think you get what I mean.
    I do not have a lot of money , so I went with a keltek p11. It is a small 9mm and I love it. It shoots great no problems at all, I have over 500 rounds thru it.
    That said, even being a "compact gun" I sometimes found it awkward to carry without a lot of changes to my wardrobe and lifestyle. I then bought a ruger lcp. I KNOW it is not the most powerful etc..... but I know that I would not be very likely to carry a 5 pound very often. There are a million scenarios about getting into a confrontation that would require you to use a weapon. In most cases, at least in my life, these encounters are apt to be within 2 -15 ft. I think a few well placed hits from the 380 (that i always carry) will be of much more help than the 45 in my safe at home. I have also put over 500 rounds thru the Lcp with no problems. These are self defense weapons, and you need to be proficient with it, you will find a little discomfort after 50 or 100 rounds, but in the real world I hope 3 or 4 will seal the deal.
    Again, I love this site and appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experience
    of the many men and women that I find here.
     
  19. misterballistic

    misterballistic New Member

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    I think one of the most sage things I have heard anyone say about "which is the best gun" is that all of the major manufacturers make reliable, accurate guns (more accurate than the average shooter) with an occasional lemon off the assembly line -- no one is immune.

    After that, everything seems to be personal preference: polymer vs steel vs aluminum, styling, grip and feel, weight,...

    That said, I dislike Glocks but before I sound like some troll on the Glock hating bandwagon I'll say that I would love to buy a Glock if the grip wasn't so angular -- I have tried but can't get used to it. Wish Glock would make versions with a more 1911 angled grip.

    Otherwise, Glocks just make so much sense. Simple, reliable, lightweight, robust, no complications, not expensive to own, aftermarket support is plentiful,...

    Ditto with the many "Glock offs" like SR9, XD, M&P,...but there's just something special about the original polymer framed, Safe T triggered, block shaped pistol called Glock.

    My personal preference is the H&K P30(L/LS) series. But that's just me, and they're not small pistols which eliminate them from CCW.
     
  20. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    The CW is the economy model. Biggest difference is it does not have a dovetailed front sight and there is less "finish machining" on the slide. Kahr mags are also rather pricey so factor that in as well. Kahr does make a night sight kit for the CW series now and that used to be the biggest complaint regarding sight upgrades. These are still rather small to be an all around range and fun gun but there are great low capacity carry guns.

    As many have said, there a a lot of options out there and you have to find what suits you. Some guns look & feel good in the store but that may not translate to actually shooting them. I've owned nearly every type of 9mm handgun including Glock, H&K, XD, M&P, CZ, Kahr, FN, Browning, S&W (metal & plastic), Ruger, Walther and others. I always come back to Sigs (alloy frame DA/SA) as they are just right for me...
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010