First handgun, not quite a noob

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by 3.8Mateo, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. 3.8Mateo

    3.8Mateo New Member

    I'm looking to purchase my first handgun early into the new year, and was looking for a bit of advice. From what I have read, it really comes down to what feels good, and what I can handle based on my experience. I guess a litte history would help.

    I'm 22 and have been handling guns for about the last 10 years. I'm right handed with an dominant right eye. The first gun I ever shot was a Single Action .22 revolver, and along with that I have shot numerous automatic .22s, .38 specials, and 9mm autos. As far as long rifles and Shotguns, I've shot everything from .22s to .338 and 45-70s. 12 and 20 guages, overunders, pumps, ect...

    This gun will serve as personal/home defense, CCW, and weekend range use. Price is not a huge deal, but for the sake of suggestion, I'd like to keep it under $1000-$1200. I want a gun thats good from the factory, as I do not plan to "mod" it too much. Ammo cost is not a big deal either. I know .22 are cheap to shoot, and great for maintaining skill, but my friend's have more than enough .22s to warm up on, and I'm already a decent shot.

    As for my experience, the gun that felt best in my hands of all that I have shot in the past was my friend's Springfield XD 9mm sub-compact. It dosn't have to be a sub-compact, but the more concealable, the better. I'm itching to get my hands on a .40 and .45 to try out (Hopefully halloween weekend) to see how I like them.

    I have had the chance to hold the almightly m1911, and I must say I like it a lot, but it may be a little bigger (size wise) than I'm looking for, but I always open to suggestions.

    Let this noob have it guys, I wanna learn! :D
  2. oldandslow

    oldandslow New Member

    mateo, 10/21/08

    You're in for a good time looking for your first pistol.

    First you have to decide which action type you like best (meaning how the trigger works). The Springfield XD (along with a lot of other quality pistols like Glock, SW M&P, Sig DAK, HK-LEM) generally is thought of as a double-action-only (DAO) gun. The trigger pull is fairly constant for the first and subsequent trigger pulls. This makes it much easier to learn. Other action types are single-action-only (SAO-like most 1911's) where the hammer is already cocked and the trigger pull is short and lighter than a DAO gun, and almost always has a manual safety to release before shooting. Then there is a combination called TDA or DA/SA (traditional double action or double-action/single-action) where the first shot involves a longer, heavier trigger pull like the DAO's, and the subsequent shots are all single action. You need to shoot the different action types and this will direct you towards a specific pistol. This means finding a range that rents guns or a friend who has different pistols for you to try out.

    If you are looking for a house/range gun then it doesn't need to be as small as one used for carry. I'd look for a gun with a barrel length of 4-4.5 inches. A 9mm pistol is a great first gun as it is easy to shoot and the ammo is reasonably priced so you can practice more. A 9mm with the proper bullet and velocity is fine for self defense.

    So if I was to make a list of quality pistols that you might look at it would be as follows:
    1. Beretta- I like the model-92 but they also have some new polymer offerings that are pretty good
    2. CZ- an excellent pistol, look for the CZ-75B or PCR.
    3. Sig- I like the 226 and 229(or a used 228)- all are quality pistols out of the box.
    4. SW- They have stopped making most of their quality 3rd generation pistols (ie- SW 5903 or 5906 would work for you) but they are available used for good prices. Their polymer M&P's get good reviews.
    5. HK- the USP full size or compacts can be had for good prices since they have introduced their new line of pistols, but parts availability and service have been issues.

    I have had problems with Taurus (poor customer service after internal parts breakage) and EAA (known for the worst customer service in the industry).

    So try out the different offerings and then go shopping (you can usually pick up a good deal on new pistols through internet suppliers-ie Buds gun shop,, etc. Or used pistols at or

    best wishes- oldandslow

  3. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

    This is my Kimber Compact II:



    I really like the size of it. It conceals easily but isn't so small that you're afraid that you're going to lose it. On my 17" LCD, the pistols is almost the same size in real life as it is in the pictures.
  4. 3.8Mateo

    3.8Mateo New Member

    When I am down in Tucson over Halloween weekend, I'm going to try to stop by the local indoor range. I believe that they rent guns there. And I just came onto a little bit of money from selling my guitar to my father. So I think that will be a good opportunity. Plus, I'll probably see my buddy (who has the XD9) and his dad who has a stock of weapons. His dad is actually the reason I got to hold a m1911, beretta .40, and HK USP .45.
  5. Defender

    Defender New Member

    With a budget of up to $1200, I assure you that you'll come away with a VERY NICE handgun. Maybe even two! ;)

    Since concealability is important to you, and you like your friend's XD subcompact, it should definitely be near the top of your list. You won't go wrong with an XD.

    If the 1911 you handled seemed too big, I'm betting it was a full-sized steel model with 5" barrel. However, several manufacturers make compact and subcompact models with 4" and 3" barrels, with lightweight aluminum frames and shortened grip frames. You won't find them too large at all.

    Some pistols you should definitely check out:

    Kimber Pro CDP II (1911, .45 ACP)

    Kimber Compact CDP II (1911, .45 ACP)

    Kimber Ultra CDP II (1911, .45 ACP)

    Springfield XD Compact (.45 ACP)
  6. Defender

    Defender New Member

    The OP stated he had a budget of up to 1200.00. All the guns I mentioned fall within that parameter.

    The OP also stated that he wanted a gun that he wouldn't have to "mod" much. Since the Kimber CDP is a semi-custom pistol that already has numerous custom features included right out of the box, it would never have to be modified at all.

    Also, the Springfield XD Compact I listed is quite affordable, with a street price of only about $550.
  7. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

    3.8Mateo with a budget like that you could go with one or even two very nice weapons and have more choices than you have fingers and toes .

    Here is a Springfield Loaded Champion "a 1911 with a 4 inch barrel"

    That would make an ideal gun for your needs

    Sig's are often available on a factory recondition program that come with warranty's , Police trade in Smith & Wesson's are all over as are Glocks these days .

    Since you're in a rather warmer part of the country you will want to think small for a CCW piece as you don't get a whole lot of "Jacket weather" down there .

    Kahr makes some very nice Pieces for CCW that have excellent reputations .

    I would suggest avoiding the 40 S&W round in such a small package though as I have run into more than one local copper trading in their 40 for a 9mm Kahr due to the snappy recoil .

    As you can see they can be had new for under $400 leaving you enough for a larger more comfortable to shoot range-home gun like a 1911 .

    You could pick up that Kahr and this or this

    and have enough left over to even consider looking into a starter Reloading setup out of your $1,200 .

    With the exception of a Truly Custom 1911 like a Wilson or a NightHawk and others your choices really are mind boggling .
  8. 3.8Mateo

    3.8Mateo New Member

    Awesome feedback guys, thanks so much.

    I've been all over the internet today looking at all the different makes and models you all have suggested. My head is spinning at all the choices!
  9. Mark F

    Mark F Active Member Supporter

    I said IF NEEDED... It certainly doesn't hurt to look at all options.
  10. Mark F

    Mark F Active Member Supporter

    The bottom line is, it's YOUR choice.
  11. Franciscomv

    Franciscomv New Member

    I'm thrilled with my CZ75 BD, I think one of the CZ75 models could work for you. I'm a fairly big guy so I don't mind the weight when I carry it and it certainly helps with shooting accuracy.

    The model with the decocker lever works as a DA/SA, the CZ75 B model can be carried cocked and locked (like a 1911).
  12. Mark F

    Mark F Active Member Supporter

    My CZ75B is a magnificent pistol. I'll put it up against any autoloader for accuracy & speed. It will eat all ammo without any problems and even +P+ ammo has no more felt recoil than target loads, thanks to the CZ's weight.

    For those that may not know: CZ invented the "double stack" magazine, that all other gunmakers use today.
  13. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

    3.8Mateo :
    James Yeager, on his DVD, says he has taught lots of classes and dislikes 1911s . Yeager said the only 1911 he'd trust his life to is a Kimber and only in full size . And he adds that not all of them are reliable .
    Yeager likes Glock 9mm models .
    My Kimber Custom TLE II fails to feed every once in awhile . I'm no gunsmith and can't figure it out ( I grip it properly ). I bought a .22 Kimber for practice and hated it ; feather weight aluminum and jammed a few times, could not shoot it accurately .
    The late Jim Cirillo liked the Glock 21 , now available as the easier to grip 21SF, in .45 ACP. There is the compact G30
    I favor .45 ... if you are willing to practice enough to overcome flinch and shoot it fast and accurately. Of course the 9mm is more compact , easier to get used to and most people shoot better with it . If you have a woman or child who may need to use the gun, the 9mm may be easier for them too .
    The Glock is ugly and has a spongy trigger. The polygonal rifling affects accuracy. The grip angle causes you to come in muzzle high . But know what ? It is probably the best one to have in a gun fight because it is police and military proven, corrosion-resistant, blessed with a high rate of fire, dampens recoil with its plastic frame, has few parts and feeds empty cases , has good sights, has no safety catch to fumble or forget,
    and never wears out ( see Chuck Taylor's test ) .
    A lot of guys tout this gun or that because they never had trouble with their own example of it but YMMV .
    The army tested the Beretta M-9 enough to prove it won't jam . How many of us can afford to run thousands of rounds through one of our pistols to see if they are reliable .
    Glock has had some " upgrades " along the way so I would lean toward a brand new one to be sure it is as reliable as possible .
    Especially with Glocks, you must observe Rule #3 !. Buy a good secure holster and keep the gun in it . The plastic Glock Brand holster is junk. Look at Blackhawk's SERPA level 1 or the Galco Concealable and others .
  14. vanguard

    vanguard Member

    start out with a sigma 9mm by s&w about $320.00 17 round cap. easy to take down and clean. no need to pay so much for a first gun. everyone thinks a big name gun make you a big time shooter, it does not.:)
  15. Jay

    Jay New Member

    Not knocking any suggestions..........

    I think that's the best place for you to start. Get your hands on as many handguns as you can. When you get to the one that feels "just right" you'll know it. Most manufacturers make multiple calibers on the same, or similar frame. Just like shoes, try 'em on first........

    You can learn to shoot almost any handgun, but you can't always make any handgun feel good in your hands. If it doesn't feel good in your hands, you'll never shoot it enough to become proficient with it....... in which case, you may as well carry a ball bat. ;)
  16. Fayettedave

    Fayettedave New Member

    3.8, I've come on this thread a bit late and I think you've received some really good responses, so I don't have much to add with the possible exception exception of final price of your selection(s).

    Specifically, if you are seriously thinking of making a web purchase, and if you haven't arlready done so, I highly recommend you look at before you make a final decision. I have no interest in them other than my own experience and bottom line, which has been that after exhaustive searches at countless other sites I have found Bud's to have the best prices and customer service out there. Shipping is free on all weapons and, again in my experience, thay have the most in-stock inventory I've found.

    Just something to consider.
  17. hongsx

    hongsx New Member

    i'd say get a glock, but then again, that's just me lol

    good 9mils: G17 and G19: capacity's good, not much recoil

    good .40 SW: G22 and G23: decent capacity (13-15), not much recoil

    now if u want the baby sized glocks, G26 (9mm) and G27 (.40 SW)
  18. Bighead

    Bighead New Member

    Some other options that might be considered: Kahr PM40 & Walther PPS.

    Recently shot the PPS, and was amazed with how easy this slim little package was to shoot It is not much bigger than a PPK.


    Both of the above choices are gears more towards CCW. If don't mind a larger firearm then I would highly recommend the Springfield Armory XD(m) 40.


    Spend the extra money on a quality holster and ammo.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008