Not another "What's the best first gun to buy?" Thread

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by Ranman, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. Ranman

    Ranman New Member

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    Well, maybe it is...

    Hi everyone. I am totally bummed in that I just spent an hour typing my first thread and I lost the content due to login/logout issues. I'm going to try again one more time.

    My bio information is in the intro section for reference. I am working to educate myself and ultimately decide on my first handgun purchase and I need some expert assistance. I've done a lot of reading and have determined that there is as much debate and opinion on what the "best" first gun is as there is on politics and religion. ;)

    So far, I have considered three different approaches to a first gun. First, I was considering a revolver. Easy to use, relaible, low maintenance, acceptable home defense, OK to carry. Specifically, I was considering a .357mag with a 3" to 4" barrel in a lightweight frame. This would allow me to practice with .38special cartriges and keep .357's in the nightstand. Short barrel and light frame means good for carry. OK for home defense situations of point and shoot (no aim) at 20 feet or less. Biggest downside is a sore/broken wrist from practice. ;)

    While not a bad concept, I moved away from that idea and thought I would get an "inexpensive" .22lr and learn how to use it. Cheap ammo means lots of practice and with practice comes ownership and handling comfort. Once proficient, I could move up to something bigger. Another similar idea was to get something like a Sig P226 .45ACP plus a .22lr conversion barrell. Start with .22lr and move back to the bigger caliber once up to speed. Both of these approaches are considerably more expensive (2 guns or 1 gun and 1 conversion kit) ways to start.

    Now I'm thinking that I can split the difference with a 9mm. A 9mm would be reasonable to practice on and learn, it should be acceptable for home defense and I could expect to carry it at some point. I think, for a first gun this is the "value point" that balances out what I'm looking to accomplish.

    Statement of Desired Use:
    So, in order of priority, I am looking for a gun that is reasonable to learn on that is high quality and has above average accuracy, is acceptable for home defense, and may be concealed and carried at some future point.

    Assuming that my thought process is sound, I have been looking into 9mm offerings. Money/budget is an issue, however, I should have the means to get something fairly nice. I've been looking at Sig Sauer and HK primarily. It's my understanding that these makers are above average in quality and craftsmanship and are the "German" powerhouses. My budget will allow for $700-$1000. I'm leaning towards something with a slightly longer barrel for range/target practice purposes. I know the drawback on the longer barrel is the conceal factor, but the counter guys at my friendly neighborhood gun dealer agreed that I could easily conceal a slightly larger gun do to my size (6'4" 260lbs). Adding to that, I did visit a gun shop and I was able to hold several models by Sig and HK. Both seemed to fit my bear claw of a hand quite well. I wasn't able to shoot any of them due to a time constraint, but I plan to test the Sig and HK (not sure which models exactly) in the next couple of days. Oh, also, I held a couple of the subcompacts from Sig and HK and they felt rather small in my hand so these will most likely be out as a first gun for now.

    Now, this is where my confusion starts and I'm hoping some of you can help. Can someone give me an idea on the differences between the Sig Sauer and HK's with respect to quality, options, accessories, etc? Maybe even some differences between the actual models? P250, P220, P226. P229, P30L, P2000, USP? There's so much to choose from and so many sub-models under each model I get lost. Expert, Tactical, Elite, Equinox. Then there's the other features like, DA, SA, DAK, SAO, adjustable sights, night sights, tritium, fiber optic, trigger pulls, grips, rails, etc, etc. Can someone help me with some of this and tell me what would be important to consider based on my defined uses and what may not be so critical? Any information in this area would be very helpful and will help me zero in on the model that will best suit my needs and wants. Lastly, is there any other makes and.or models I should take a good look at and try out?

    Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read what might qualify as the longest first thread I have ever posted. Hopefully, I have given enough detail on my demographics and where I am in the process that you can actually make some specific recommendations. Also, I hope the information provided is sufficient such that I don't get flamed for submitting another "what gun is best" thread. :D Thank you in advance for your replies.

    P.S. I am an avid boater which should help explain my avatar. I will update it to something more appropriateas soon as my cherry has been oficially popped. :D

    ~R
     
  2. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Are you an engineer?

    Someone will be along soon from Toys-R-Us to help you with your Commie and/or tupperware gun questions.

    My interest lies in antiques. Early 20th century steel auto loaders.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

  3. Flint Rock

    Flint Rock New Member

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    You are going to get so many different ideas on what is best, it might be better just to do this on your own! Guns are like pickup trucks, everybody has an opinion, but when you get down to it they will all pretty much do the same job.
    All that said, I would push you towards the Sig P226 9mm. I really like the 226 Elite, but it doesn't come cheap. The Elite is all steel and is a little heavier than the standard P226 (it has an aluminum frame). I would also go with light rail gun.
    You can get a factory certified used Sig, that would save you money but give you some comfort in a factory warranty (things happen/break).
    So there are my two cents worth. A Sig P226 9mm with light rail and step up to the Elite if your budget will handle it (your budget will allow a new Elite, but spending money gets harder as you get closer to the counter).
     
  4. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    This is the kind of info we look for when trying to recommend something for someone. Normally, people just make a thread asking which handgun is best and give no other information. You have given us pretty much everything.

    While I can't help with any specific handgun stuff, I can answer a few of your questions.

    As far as the DA/SA,DAO and SAO. Here is what they stand for:

    SAO (Single Action Only)-SAO guns typically have a short light trigger pull, as all the trigger is doing is dropping the hammer. They however have to be manually "cocked" in one way or another before they can be fired.

    DAO (Double Action Only)-DAO guns will typically have a longer, heavier trigger pull than SAO because essentially, as you pull the trigger, it cocks the hammer, or striker depending on the gun, then drops it as well. DA doesn't require the gun to be manually "cocked" before it can be fired.

    DA/SA (Double Action/Single Action)-DA/SA gun are a mix of the two. On these guns, typically, the trigger pull will be the longer heavier, DA pull, then all after that will be SA, making them lighter than the first pull.

    Night sights, such as the tritrium or fiber optic, just make the sights easier to see at night. Some people like them, some don't care for them. It really comes down to personal preference.

    Rails are nice is you plan to add a flashlight to the handgun. Something like this.

    Being as you said you have large hands, getting a handgun that has interchangeable grips may be a good idea. Hogue makes some nice rubber grips that many people like, but once again, it all comes down to preference.

    I don't know too much about specific handguns, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to help you with that. Hope this all helps.

    -Fred
     
  5. Motodeficient

    Motodeficient New Member

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    Sounds like an XDm 9mm would work well for you. 4.5" bull barrel is a nice feature. Or you could get the .40 and get a 9mm barrel for it as well. Even with the extra barrel it would still fall at the lower end of your price range. I think the XDs have a pretty nice trigger, and while they function as a DA, internally as I understand it they are basically a SA, and my XDs trigger feels more like a SA IMO. I got a chance to shoot a 9mm sig SA/DA today and I liked my XDs trigger a lot better. Much crisper. The sig's trigger seemed to be a little mushier and and had more slack. Not sure which model sig it was, but it was a pretty high end one.

    I agree though, 9mm is a good all around caliber if you are going to target shoot a lot. That why I chose 9mm for my first handgun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  6. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Seems like you have taken the time to assess your needs, budget, limitations, etc. Now you need to take the next step and go out and shoot a few makes and models as well as calibers. Don't dismiss a 40S&W or 45ACP because of ammo prices, they may actually supply more bang for the buck (pun intended). Don't assume anything, or quite frankly, rely on anything anyone here tells you. It's not that their intentions aren't sincere or they don't have the knowledge, quite the contrary, it's simply that every gun purchase is necessarily a personal decision. What works for me or someone else may not work for you and ultimately it's your life or your family that you may be defending.

    The gun you choose has to be one that YOU are comfortable handling, and more importantly, shooting accurately and confidently.

    As for SIG and HK, they are both extremely reliable handguns. The price point is on the high side compared to an XD, Glock or Beretta (not a CCW choice by any means). But again, that's a decision you need to make. In most popular semi-auto calibers, 9mm, 40S&W, .45ACP, you have many, many choices available at many price levels. Also, don't shy away from a 1911 (throwing a bone to Cane), they have deservedly earned a reputation for reliabilty and accuracy and come in many variations suitable for concealment and their stopping power is indisputable.

    Best of luck...
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  7. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    PS

    It is rather ironic that you are a boater since everyone here seems to have lost all of their weapons in unfortunate boating accidents or sold them to someone named Greg/Gary?
     
  8. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    I've owned both Sigs and H&Ks, and they are both fine guns, but I've gone all-American and will stay that way. The Springfield Armory XD recommended by the poster above might be a good choice for you....but it IS a polymer frame.....just don't tell Cane.
     
  9. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    It's Greg.
     
  10. Motodeficient

    Motodeficient New Member

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    I love how the OD/stainless XDMs look!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    Ranman,

    As you are beginning to see...one gun doesn't do it all.
    Seems like you're looking for a general purpose handgun.
    I would agree that 9mm is a cheap round to practice with.
    It's also a proven round, although I don't rely on 9mm for self defense.

    I usually recommend a revolver (.38spl or.357Mag) for somone's first firearm.
    But, if you're interested in a pistol style handgun and not a revolver,
    I would have to recommend the Smith&Wesson M&P series. Great dependable, accurate pistol w/easy field stripping maintenance for a beginner.
     
  12. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    But the XD is made in Croatia.
     
  13. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    SA is an American company, though.
     
  14. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    .....and technically I didn't say I have one.....although I do. ;)
     
  15. Ranman

    Ranman New Member

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    Thanks for the replies everybody. It looks like the next step is going to be to try out a few models at the range. I will certainly give the XD's a try in addition to the HK and Sigs. Maybe throuw a S&W in thesre too. Also, I'll give a few different calibers a shot as time permits. It sounds like my thought process is osund and that to some degree I may be splitting hars with the different manufacturers as they are all good quality. I'll report back once I have some more info and "seat time" (sorry, "hand time" just didnt sound right). :p
     
  16. Westy

    Westy New Member

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    I think these are uglier than a mud fence ! (Just my .02.......)
     
  17. Motodeficient

    Motodeficient New Member

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    whats a mud fence? that seems pretty low-tech
     
  18. Westy

    Westy New Member

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    Just an expression. I just think some of the newer guns (like that one) look more like a phaser out of Star Wars. Opinions vary. I hope no one takes it personal. ;)
     
  19. DrJason

    DrJason New Member

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    +1, I'm very new to handguns and shot very well with the M&P and found it very easy to field strip......Definitely worth a try
     
  20. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    trigger time ?:D