Buying my 1st firearm(female) help please?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by TheQueenie, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. TheQueenie

    TheQueenie New Member

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    I read through each one of the sticky posts and looked at all the comparison charts but I'm honestly so far out of my element... I'm still trying to learn all the lingo and such too.

    I'm looking to make my 1st firearm purchase and could really use some help/advice. I'm looking for a semi-auto handgun (assuming thats the one with the clip, not a revolver).

    I'm female, 5'6" and about 130 lbs so I'm not a big person. I was an athlete in college so I still do have SOME muscle but I feel like I would be 'recoil sensitive.' (I saw that specific phrase in one of the skicky's lol)

    This will be simply for personal (in home) protection (I'm a single female with no children). It might leave the house sometimes but just to go to the range so that I can learn how to shoot it, otherwise it'll be in a case.

    I don't care about color (although I do prefer the stainless steel/nickel but black would be fine) and I'm not a fan of pink. The idea of being able to get custom grips is cool and would be preferable if possible. I also have small hands and I think that's important to note.

    When looking at the charts and such they have breakdowns of compact vs pocket? It looks to me like the main difference is the barrel length (which of course affects the weight).

    This would be my DREAM gun just based on how it looks...

    http://www.imfdb.org/images/thumb/1...e.jpg/450px-ColtMkIVSilver_DeNiro_Machete.jpg

    It is my understanding that I could always get a gun custom engraved (any gun) and pearl colored grips can be added, which is why I said just based on how it looks, I don't have a preference for the make or model

    IDEALLY I would like something thats...
    1. Alittle lighter than standard size handguns (my dad has a 9mm Glock and it just seems too big and heavy for me)
    2. Has a smaller grip area for me to hold (small hands)
    3. As little recoil as possible?
    4. Ability to customize as desired (i.e. custom grips)


    Hope that wasn't too long winded (I wanted to make sure I gave as much info as possible lol) and hopefully I didn't leave anything out.

    Any help at all would be greatly appreciated :)
    Thank you! Wendy
     
  2. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Closest you are going to come to the 1911 platform in a smaller gun while maintaining at least 9mm is the Sig P938. They have several models from plain to fancy but are pricey. They are great to shoot. You should not have any problem with a regular 1911 platform. My wife was able to shoot mine when I had them including my 25 oz aluminum framed officers size and she is petite. Just be prepared for the weight. The steel frames are heavy but here are some aluminum frame 1911's out there. Springfield makes a slightly reduced size 1911 called the EMP in 9mm and 40 S&W but if you are worried about recoil stay with the 9mm.
    Note: it is a magazine not a clip.
    Here is a link to the EMP. http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=110
    Here is a link to Sig. http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductList/pistols-p938.aspx
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014

  3. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    Well nothing like picking out a serious recoiling gun. Seriously, I would probably recommend a Ruger Mark III 22/45. Basic model will cost right about $300. After learning on that platform something like a S&W9c, Glock 19 would make a good self defense gun and good for the range.

    Find a local range that rents pistols and go try a few. Maybe buy a few hours of instruction in the operation of firearms and basic pistol handling. Spending money on education and trial guns might save you in the longrun.
     
  4. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum and welcome to firearms. Buying your first gun is a very subjective and personal thing. You have given us some good info to work with on what you want out of the gun. Your location and timing as far as choices may be kind of limited. CA is not exactly super gun friendly. Some of the popular low recoil caliber ammo is also in short supply, Like .380 and .22.

    I don't recommend the .22 for a home defense gun if you can handle something larger, but it does make a good beginner caliber for getting shooting fundamentals mastered. My wife's preferred caliber is the .380, though she also handles a 9mm pretty well. Her chosen pistol is a Beretta 85, in .380. It is a good useable size for a .380, with a single stack mag that keeps the grip slim. It has good sights, is large enough to make recoil manageable. Bersa makes a similar sized .380 that costs less, and has a pretty good reputation.

    I'll make pretty general recommendations, because finding the gun that fits best and has the features you prefer is not likely to happen on an Internet forum. If you can find a range that rents guns, it can be a good idea to try several guns and calibers to see what you like, and what you can handle.

    Gun fit and design can go a long way in managing recoil. A gun that doesn't have the barrel sitting really high above the hand, will feel like it has less recoil, because it doesn't flip up as much. This could allow you to feel more comfortable with a heavier caliber than you may have liked in another gun. The heavily engraved 1911 that you linked in your post has a low bore axis, but most come in .45 caliber, which can be heavy, and some people think it kicks hard, but it's weight, thin grip frame, low bore axis make it a fairly comfortable shooter in reality. They do make versions in 9mm as well.

    Engraving and shiny metal can be nice to look at but may interfere with shooting in bright sunlight.

    There are low priced guns out there, but they may not be true bargains.

    Continue to ask lots of questions once you narrow your choices down. People here are usually happy to share their thoughts and experiences with brands and models of guns. Ask before you buy, so folks can share any negative experiences, or quirks they may have encountered.
     
  5. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

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    Power to weight ratio is a very important consideration for a defensive firearm wielded by a recoil sensitive person.

    Most will tell you that "acceptable" stopping power in a semi auto pistol means one of 3 calibers. 45 ACP, .40 S&W, or 9mm.

    Of the 3, the 9mm will have the lightest recoil. Next is weight, the heavier the gun, the less felt recoil.

    Having shot and owned pretty much every gun on the market over the years, it is my opinion that NOTHING shoots as well or as easy as a model 1911 "like your picture".

    ...and they come in all 3 major calibers listed above, and a few others.

    The best advice you'll ever get on this topic is to go to a range that rents pistols and shoot everything that appeals to you. This is the only way to know if you'll be comfortable with a handgun before you buy it.

    Good luck and be safe.

    Tack
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  6. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    Hey, TheQueenie, welcome to the FTF, from Tampa Bay.


    I would seriously consider getting a Ruger MKIII- 22LR target pistol, or perhaps, an

    old Smith & Wesson 61 in Nickel Plate. Very solid, and well made. It's a pistol

    specifically designed for women, but I don't mind telling you I'm a big guy,

    and I carry one around the house, and I don't feel under-gunned, even

    though it's a 22LR.


    Right now, you really have no point of reference, as far as recoil, how you

    shoot, accuracy, or what caliber or type may be best. One caliber which has

    been getting overlooked since the .380 craze is the .32 caliber. The CZ83 in

    .32 ACP may be a good choice for you. A well made, yet inexpensive pistol, 12 -shot mag,(clip)

    and convenient size, as well as a decent sized medium grip, make it a fine candidate.


    California, (if that is where you are going to choose to live, long-term) has some very

    PC and restrictive gun laws. Get to know the laws in your area.

    Google HandgunlawUS.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  7. kryptar19

    kryptar19 New Member

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    Like Tack said, the best thing to do is go and rent some.


    A few suggestions that I have sold to the ladies. (with good results)
    S&W M&P 9mm compact
    Bersa Thunder .380
    Ruger SR9 compact
    CZ 75 compact.


    One thing to think about. If its not gonna be for carry use, think about getting a full size pistol. More weight=less recoil full frame=more capacity
     
  8. kryptar19

    kryptar19 New Member

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    Very solid advice.
     
  9. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The guns I gave her links to were based on her dream gun. She said she does not care but really wants shiny. 22lr are hard to come by right now and it is needed as a home defense weapon. The gun I would have liked to recommend is the Ruger SR9c if it is even available in the PRK. The SR9c is about $450 but really does not lend itself to enhancements. The M&P compact would be another option. She mentioned the grip on the Glock was too big for her but a gen 4 might be a possibility although it is pretty hard to dress up a Glock which she obviously wants to do. She should not have a problem with a 1911 in 9mm and the recoil is close to non existent. The grip on a 1911 is a lot smaller than a Glock. She could find a reasonably priced 1911 in 9mm without too much trouble.
     
  10. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    I too would recommend the M&P 9c.
    My wife had a snub nose revolver 38 special when she wanted her first auto or semi auto I should say and she loves it and I actually shoot it two and it's a sweet shooting gun.
    Not too big not too small seems to be just right for her
    . But hopefully you can find a indoor range I know they got em up there in Sacramento I'm down here im Modesto we have them to that will rent guns
     
  11. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    I have a very small woman friend who loves 1911A1,

    full size model. Carries it, shoots it very accurately.

    The recoil isn't the worst by far, and they are a fine

    handgun. Additionally, if you like the 1911, there are

    about a quarter million brands and finishes, like stainless

    steel, chrome, nickel plate, and Parkerized, as well as a

    fantastic selection of grips.

    Great for the range, and home defense, it is also a passable carry

    pistol.
     
  12. Alpha1Victor

    Alpha1Victor New Member

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    The sig p238 and p938 are great quality guns.
     
  13. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Welcome Again!
    The Gun you Posted is very pretty. By no means should you not like it. That Gun is a collectors piece. Like many are telling you, You should Learn first on a 22LR Semi-Auto or Revolver, and Then Move up to a Larger Caliber for Personal Protection.
    (Shamless Self Plug forthcoming) We also Have a Great Podcast Here(www.firearmstalk.com/Podcast Or on the Blue Menu Tabs Click Podcast, Or on iTunes Keywords FIREARMS TALK) Hosted by VIKINGDAD and myself, and Vikingdad also Happens to Be a "Cali" born and Bred, and Might Be able to help you some. Don't hesitate to ask anyone questions, that's what this Site and forums are all about, helping folks out, no matter what the "Skill Level." ALSO, one of the Moderators here Is also a Lady Shooter,..Winds Of Change,..Message her. She was Once where you are now. Enjoy the site..

    Edit: Alpha, They Are Fantastic Guns,.,.but may not be best for a first Time Shooter of Either sex...

    (Dr. Bill) Dr. Football...




    Sent from my iPad using Firearms Talk
     
  14. Missouribound

    Missouribound Active Member

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    In my humble opinion, there is no better advice anyone can give you than Doc's:D
     
  15. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Welcome, Wendy! I also agree with Doc that it would be wise to find a good range that rents handguns and try out popular brands, models and calibers. Of course include the 1911 since you like the look. 9mm is a good choice if you want a self defense pistol since it has the lowest recoil of any caliber that can seriously be considered for SD. 9mm ammo is small so you get a few extra rounds in the magazine over larger calibers like 40 or 45. (Moot in CA though, I don't think you can't have more than 10 rounds.)

    Taking safety and new gun owner classes would be wise too. Keep soaking up information, buying a first gun is a serious change in your life, you want to get it right. Once you get comfortable handling and operating it you will be glad you made this lifestyle change!
     
  16. TheQueenie

    TheQueenie New Member

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    Oh my goodness this is so awesome, I really wasn't expecting so many of you to respond, let alone so quickly. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    I will deffinately head out to a gun range to rent a few guns. I had no idea you could rent guns from a range, athough it makes sense, I thought you had to bring your own.

    I'm already signed up to take gun safety courses next week and I have to get a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) in order to even purchase a gun in California, but I would have taken the classes either way to be honest.

    The picture of the gun I linked was just me doing some research and I saw that gun and went 'OOoooOoo That's pretty!' But I deffinately know and respect that a gun is not meant to be 'pretty' its a weapon and it's a very serious purchase, deffinately not to be taken lightly. IF one day I decided to upgrade the gun, to more custom grips or something, it would be nice to know that I could but it's by no means a requirement.

    I apologize for continuing to ask questions, you all have been so helpful so far but... I of course had more lol Just to make sure I'm understanding all the information I'm reading.

    I'm going to try to use analogies, the ones I'm thinking in my head, please let me know if I'm on point.

    When you gentlemen say the '1911' thats like saying 'get a sedan' vs SUV or truck? NOT based on size but its a TYPE. And like with sedans theres multiple companies that make sedans like Toyota, Honda, Cadillac, etc. In reference to guns theres S&W, Ruger, Beretta, Glock, CZ, etc etc. But they all have the 1911 model or almost all (like toyota and hondas both have sedans)?

    And accessories are fairly interchangable like grips and holsters (in comparison like tires, steering wheel covers, and floor mats).

    When you gentlemen say '.380, .32, 22LR, 45 ACP and .40' etc etc... Thats the size of the bullet? Of course if you get a 9mm gun it will only use 9mm bullets (like tires, you wouldnt use the same tires on a sedan that you would use on a truck).
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  17. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Wendy,

    Welcome to the forum! We look forward to having you here and participating in the discussions. We'll do all we can to answer whatever questions you may have. :). When you get a chance, please stop by the Introductions thread and tell us a bit about yourself.

    There are a few things you need to take into consideration when choosing a firearm, especially he first time. One of the biggest is that perceived recoil is subjective. The way I feel recoil is not the same way Axxe or Doc feels recoil is not the same way you would feel recoil. Therefore, it is extremely important that you try as many calibers in as many types of guns that you can. Friends or ranges that rent guns are the two best ways to gain experience in a short time. If you use a range, ask if any of your range/gun rental fees can be applied to your purchase - it's a good way to save a few bucks!

    It's great that you realize you have smaller hands and that the grip will be a deciding factor. There are firearms made with multiple grip panels and back straps that allow you to customize the grip size somewhat. This might be a feature to look for when shopping. Also realize that the design of the gun and the materials it is made out of will affect how it shoots, how it balances in your hand and how easy it is to carry. A polymer-framed gun is very lightweight and easier to carry, but a bit snappier when it comes to recoil than its steel-framed counterpart.

    When it comes to guns, size matters. Try shooting full-sized guns as well as heir compact and sub-compact counterparts. The difference between various sizes of the same model of gun can be striking. Full-size are fun to fire, but the weight that helps them be easy to fire can be difficult to carry. Subcompacts are the reverse - easy to carry but can have a lot of felt recoil.

    Finally, do NOT fall into the black hole of caliber debate! Ask five gun people which caliber is best and you'll get seven opinions. :rolleyes: ANY caliber can be used for defense, even the .22LR. The commonly held belief is that .38 Special/9mm is the smallest caliber to use, but there is a more important aspect to consider: the caliber won't work if you can't hit what you're shooting at! :eek: Pick a caliber that feels good to you, that you will practice with monthly, and that you are accurate with. As you get comfortable with shooting in general, you may change your mind, but for now you want it to be easy to shoot and easy to hit your target. The rest will come with practice!

    The best advice is HAVE FUN!!! :D don't let anyone discourage you and just keep practicing and enjoying yourself. Almost everything else can be overcome. :cool:
     
  18. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    See Wendy, your getting all kinds of FREE advice that some Folks pay a trainer or Consultant for!! The Other thing you don't want to loose sight of( And Greg made a good point) is you have to TRY them out ( yes, many Ranges but not all, will rent you different handguns to try out). A choice of Firearm is a very personal thing. In the Army I carried my Guns every day. Don't close yourself off of Choices. Like Greg said, try out, but have fun doing it !!


    Sent from my iPhone using Firearms Talk
     
  19. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Smith&Wesson, Ruger, Glock are all manufacturers, similar to Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda.
    1911, Mustang and Python are examples of models, such as Impala, Civic and Corolla.
    SUV or sedan is akin to a class of firearm, such as revolver, rifle or semiautomatic.

    There are accessories that are somewhat standardized! as the ones that can fit onto a weapon equipped with a Picatinny Rail, but most must be purchased for the exact make and model of the weapon you own. Most local gun stores (LGS) will help you to find the correct accessories.

    Yes, this is called the "caliber." It is the diameter of the ammunition that fits in the chamber of the gun. Any caliber that starts with a point (.) is generally measured in inches, such as .38 inches, but is stated as "38 caliber." Anything with "mm" is a metric measurement in millimeters, generally from European-designed ammunition, and is pronounced "9 millimeter." If the ammunition has a further designation as a suffix, it replaces the words caliber or millimeter, such as "38 Special" or "45 Long Colt." It is important to know the EXACT ammunition you use, as the wording can vary slightly between similar calibers.
     
  20. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    "Self-Defense Consultant." I like that, Doc! Yup, big time pay coming my way now! :D. Do you think they'll start beating down my door soon?