First gun recommendations?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by VXASUXV, May 4, 2011.


    VXASUXV New Member

    I'm looking to purchase my first handgun and I was hoping someone could give me some input.

    I'm looking for a basic, entry level handgun that is affordable (although cost isn't really an issue but I'd prefer not to spend an arm and a leg), reliable, and easy to maintain. In addition, I'd like to use a more affordable ammo but have some power behind it. Lastly, I plan to use the gun for recreational range shooting.

    My thoughts:
    I'm looking at some Springfield Armory XD-9mm or 40s. I'm leaning more towards the 9mm variant because, as I mentioned earlier, I'd like a little cheaper ammo. There isn't much of a price difference but I'd be saving a few dollars here and there with regards to ammo.

    The price tag is around $460-$520 and that seems reasonable to me. Everything I've read has mentioned it to be a reliable weapon despite some earlier models having some rust issues on the slides. I plan to take care of the gun so I don't foresee that as a major issue. It seems super easy to clean... all you really have to do is unlock the slide lock and clean the recoil spring, barrel, the slide, and a few other components then oil everything up. Again, more affordable ammo... 9mm is smaller than the 40 but it still has some power behind it.

    Most importantly, I like the safety features. I like the duck-tail/grip safety, 2nd trigger safety (the little trigger next to the trigger), and the ambidextrous slide release.

    Any thoughts, input, or recommendations would be highly appreciated. I'm new to the forum so take it easy on the newbie. Just point me in the right direction and I'll do my research.

  2. yellowhand

    yellowhand New Member

    1st handgun

    If you ask a hundred people about what handgun to buy first, I'm sure you will get 100 answers, all different.
    My recomendation for anyone buying their first handgun is to purchase a revolver in .38 special with a four inch barrel and adjustable sights.
    A Smith and Wesson would be a good choice.
    You can load it down or hot depending on what you're after, leather for carry is everywhere, speed loaders can be used,etc.
    Ammo is everywhere and cheap.
    A 1st handgun is like learning to drive a car.
    Learn on a stick shift and going on to an automatic is easy.
    Learn on an automatic, well, have you ever seen someone try and drive a stick shift that has never driven one, its a funny thing to watch.
    Master a .38 revolver, everything else comes easy after that.
    Enjoy whatever you decide to buy.

  3. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

    Welcome to the forum. Please stop by the introductions thread and tell us a little about yourself.

    The Springfield XD & XDm series are great guns. I have an XDm. 40 myself. I think you will find it to be an excellent choice. And 9mm will be the least expensive of the "major" rounds.
  4. Alchemist

    Alchemist New Member

    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  5. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

    I recommend a 22 of some sort. You can shoot all day long on 10 or so bucks. Also helps ya to not develop a flinch.
  6. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

    If I can start over and buy my first gun now...I will go with a 9mm CZ 75 all steel pistol (specifically CZ 75 SP01).

    Lightweight polymer guns are great for carry but for range and HD, I prefer heavy (less felt recoil) pistols. YMMV.

    VXASUXV New Member

    Interesting analogy. Myself, I learned how to drive a stick first so I can understand where you're coming from. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to look into the S&W .38 and see what it has to offer.

    I'm not a gun virgin. I have shot before, that being said, I would still consider myself a beginner. The tips are much appreciated.

    I will be sure to stop by the intro thread and introduce myself.
    My brother, a Marine, highly recommended anything from the XD series. He has a XD-.40 and an H&K .40. I vaguely remember shooting the SA XD and liking it but I didn't like the H&K .40.

    He's currently in San Diego and I'm about an hour north of Chicago so shooting his gun is a little tough. I think I'm going to see if I can find a range where I can rent one and test fire it. I think that would be the smartest thing.

    I'll look into the CZs. A .22 would be nice... as you stated you can shoot all day long with little cash.

  8. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    Don't be afraid to look at used guns.

    A vintage S&W wheel gun is hard to beat!

    Cane's M19-3/357 Mag

    VXASUXV New Member

    I wouldn't be opposed to a used gun if I knew that it was well taken care off.

    Oh, and I remembered something that I wanted to ask. What are your guys opinions of SA, SA/DA, or DAO? In general? For beginners?
  10. Glock23

    Glock23 New Member

    Springfield Armory makes a great and easy gun to maintain. You should also check out Glock they are very realible and also easy to maintain for a first time gun owner. I personally own both and love them!
  11. utf59

    utf59 Member


    I am personally a fan of either SAO or DAO/striker-fired. I just don't like to familiarize myself with two trigger pulls for the same gun.

    I don't own an XD, but I have shot several, and they are fine guns. You wouldn't go a bit wrong with one of those.

    If you do get a revolver, I recommend getting it in .357 magnum. You can still shoot .38 special out of it for cheaper practice. You might also decide that .38 special is plenty good for a defense round. Or you might like .38 special +p, or .357 magnum. The fact that there are so many loads available between .38 special and .357 magnum means that one revolver can give you a great deal of versatility. And you can move up from lighter ammunition to heavier ammunition without having to buy another gun.

    If you have the budget and are planning to shoot regularly, I strongly recommend buying a .22, either before moving on to a "defense" caliber gun or at the same time. A .22 isn't a "newbie" gun, though it is an optimal learner's platform. It's great for practicing everything but recoil control, it's cheap to shoot, and it's fun!
  12. sweeper22

    sweeper22 New Member

    First off, you're on the right track. A Springfield XD9 fits the bill for a simple, reliable, low maintenance gun that's great for beginners. Most polymer options in the $400-600 range (Glock, S&W M&P, etc) would be equally fitting. XD has plenty of fans and you can count me among them. If you like the feel, the XD will keep you plenty happy.

    The other two options (for centerfires, as you mention something with a little "power") are steel/metal framed semi-autos and revolvers. Here's some beginner recommendations in those categories that won't break the bank:

    Steel SA: CZ 75b 9mm ($550 new). A nicer shooter IMO than any polymer. Heavier and slighly higher maintenance than poly, but not complicated. Thumb safety or decocker.

    Aluminum Alloy SA: Sig P226, 228, 229 9mm ($500-700, excellent/used). Great guns, very simply to operate and break down...takedown nearly identical to XD. Decocker, no safety.

    Revolver: Ruger GP100 3-4" 357m/38sp (under $600 new). Great simple revolver, built like a tank, quite heavy.

    But as mentioned, if polymer is your primary interest, you're already on the right track.
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  13. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

    My first was an XD-9 and I still have it. It is a fine gun and I have put countless rounds through it without a hiccup.

    These days I usually tell people to check out the Glock 19 for a first handgun. Everything about it is great for a first gun in my opinion. You can use the larger capacity magazines from the other models, there are a ton of accessories for it and every other Glock, and you can do some mods such as aftermarket triggers yourself easily.
  14. SK2344

    SK2344 New Member

    I have always and continue to recommend a Revolver for a first gun. Once you learn to handle the Revolver Basics then the transition to the Semi Autos will become much easier. Start with the Revolver and you will never regret it.
  15. russ

    russ New Member

    Yup, 100 different answers. So I'll say this: try as many different pistols as you can. See which ones fit you to narrow the search. For me, the XD didn't fit my hand as well as the M&P. You might find something that fits better than the XD, or you might not.
  16. Jay

    Jay New Member

    As always, my take is this.......

    This is strictly my opinion, and has worked in many years of firearms training, and for men and ladies alike. Buy a handgun just like you would buy a pair of shoes. If Ol' Joe over here says he likes Charlie China tennis shoes, and you're looking for a new pair of shoes, do you run out and buy Joe's pick, just because HE likes 'em? Probably not. If a new shooter is asking what to buy for a carry gun, it doesn't matter what works for me, or anyone else. I suggest telling that new shooter to go to many gun shops, and/or gun shows, and handle all the guns they can get hold of. Just like they would try on shoes. Before long they'll be able to make a list of guns that feel ok, pretty good, real good, and "that really feels great in my hands". The last two are the ones to pursue, and here's why I say that....
    If a given handgun doesn't feel "right" in your hands, you'll not shoot it enough to become proficient with it, because it's not comfortable, and you won't like shooting it. Just like you rarely wear shoes that are UNcomfortable. If you're not gonna become proficient with it, save your money, and buy a ball bat to carry. With proper fundamentals, he/she can learn to shoot almost any handgun, or any caliber. Very few folks can re-train their hands to make just any handgun feel comfortable. The last suggestion.........proper shooting techinques, practiced slowly, but proficiently, will breed speed. Do it slowly, and do it the right way, every time.......If you practice speed first, and introduce less efficient techniques into your training, you'll have to do it all over again to get it right.

    By the way..... anyone who introduces a new shooter to our pastime by having them start with a large-caliber handgun, makes a very poor decision. Yes, some folks do ok starting out with large calibers, but the vast majority will not continue to shoot if their very 1st experience is with .50 S&W. Start with a .22 caliber something, and as your technique/accuracy improves, work up from there.

    Again, just my ramblings.... but they work for me...

    Having said all that, you're only about 2.5 hours north of me. If you should be interested in shooting a variety of handguns, and perhaps finding one you really like. Just let me know. All it would cost you is time, and gas.
  17. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

    Quoted for Truth!