Recommendations for a first gun

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by songbird, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Hello all,

    I just joined because I am interested in purchasing a fire arm, but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone help me out with maybe a model or caliber that you would recommend to someone that has never even held a real gun? I have done some research into the steps I need to take to purchase a gun in California but would you also recommend a gun class or something? Anything is helpful.

    Thanks,
    Songbird
     
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    First, welcome to the FTF Community. Some of the members like to see new members stop by the Introduction section and tell us a little about yourself. That is your choice moving forward.

    Being as you are in Kalifornia, there is a specific list of weapons that are allowed in your home state.

    As you have "never even held a gun before" the first, and most important thing I can recommend is for you to visit an indoor shooting range near you and get a feel for the place. '

    If it doesn't creep you out and you feel "at ease" I would HIGHLY suggest signing up for Kalifornia's mandatory pistol class that precludes getting a carry permit. This class, last I looked, was availabe for a couple of (1) or (2) day weekend days and they spend time both in the classroom and on the range.

    With this training you will learn a lot about pistols, safety and also the law surrounding the choice to carry or own in your state.

    Outside of that, I do not think that I can safely recommend a pistol for you without first recommending some training and some instruction.

    The state that you live in is, uh, less than forgiving when it comes to citizens LEGALLY owning a firearm.

    Best of luck.

    JD
     

  3. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Thanks. Ill look into that. I was under the impression than unless you are in law enforcement you couldn't even get a cc permit in my state. So I take it one of these classes will provide me a gun to use during range instruction?
     
  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    You would have to check with the range in question. I was last in your State and looking into this around 2002 and the range just north of Redding had a twice monthly class.

    The class was (2) 8 hr days for two consecutive weekends and the range did supply range weapons for use if the shooter did not have a weapon.

    I do not know about the current state of the things there behind the Liberal curtain, but a simple trip to a local range/gunshop would be able to get you as much information as you can process.

    I would recommend a flip through the yellow pages and a car ride to see if the place "feels" right to you.

    JD
     
  5. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    Most ranges will also let you rent various guns. Going through the class will give you a much better understanding of what you'll want to look for. With that information in hand, you can start trying various models. That's the best process for figuring out what you want.
     
  6. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    With such a huge question like, "which firearm would be best for me," the range of possible answers is really wide. To answer you with a specific suggestion would be folly.

    -Do you want a first gun that would be comfortable (physically and financially) to fire thousands of rounds at a range to strengthen your skills?
    -Do you want a gun, instead, that would basically sit beside your bed and rarely be fired, existing mainly for peace of mind?
    -Since most of CA isn't too supportive of carrying, you probably won't be carrying it daily. However, does the size matter for you? If carrying isn't a concern would you feel more comfortable with a larger gun?

    Basically, there is a process:
    -What am I going to use the gun for? And that answer might help you determine which caliber to narrow the search to.
    -How large do I want the gun to be? And that answer might help narrow it down to a range of guns.
    -What is the price range? And that would narrow it even more.
     
  7. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Thanks guys I am looking into classes in the SF Bay Area. Anything I should watch out for as a general rule of thumb. I have heard things about the philipines and bad foreign ammo.

    By the way, I am an avid guitar player and am active on guitar forums. I get that I am a noob asking questions that really have no answers like whats best, whats bad, whats good. I won't take anything as bible truth, I am more looking to wet my whistle on all this gun jibber jabber.

    Thanks,
    Songbird
     
  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum.

    NRA has a listing of individuals who are certified by them as instructors. Contacting them to see if there is an instructor in your area may also be an option.
     
  9. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Cool, if you're willing to wade through jibber jabber then I'll jump in, too.

    I've heard that .22lr is a good place to start because you can practice for very little money (cuz the ammo is really cheap). But you'll still have range fees. And if a bad guy breaks in your house before you buy a more powerful gun, you'll just have pea-shooters.

    My suggestion is a full-size 9mm semi-automatic pistol. 9mm is a great self-defense round--there are others that are even better, but 9mm is SOLID. It is also one of the least expensive rounds in the class of "good SD calibers."

    You could go with a polymer pistol (some around here love 'em, some hate 'em). Glock 17 or 19, Springfield Armory XD9, are 2 good places to at least start looking.

    I would suggest a steel pistol. The Browning Hi-Power is a proven design by one of the most iconic firearm designers in history, John Moses Browning. This pistol was designed for the 9mm round and has an external safety. With steel, you barely even feel recoil. It isn't always considered "COOL" but it sure gets the job done and has for decades. The gun isn't old, just the design. You can still buy them new.

    You asked...and I feel like everyone has a right to my opinion.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Thanks guys,

    Just want to throw out there that I understand the importance of safety. I will not be making any purchases until I receive some training and feel comfortable handling a firearm safely. Here is what I am thinking for my first gun...
    1) Something I can afford to learn how to shoot, I want to become a good shot
    2) Something to defend against the bad guys (I pray I never need to, but just in case)
    3) Something I won't need to replace, but can still be a useful part of a collection down the road
    4) This may sound weird or at least people in Kalifornia (thats what you guys call it right?) think its weird. In case "the war every comes to america" I would like something that is still useful.

    Am I right in my understanding that anything smaller than a 9mm is not considered a self defense round? I have been doing some reading and while I like idea of larger rounds and how cool it feels to say "it's a 45" I think a 9mm might make sense for its afforability, and reduced recoil which is probably good for learning while still allowing me to defend my wife, myself and my home.

    Thanks again guys,
    Songbird
     
  11. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    One more thing, on a single action pistol, If I were to fire a round do I have to manually pull the hammer back before firing again?
     
  12. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    Once the first round is fired the automatic movement (recoil) of the slide cocks the hammer for each subsequent shot. The pistol, once cocked, can be fired by pulling the trigger once for each shot until the magazine is empty. The Browning Hi-Point, M1911, Smith & Wesson M&P, and the Springfield XD are single-action pistols that function in this manner. Single action revolvers require the hammer to be cocked by hand every time the weapon is fired.

    A single action trigger performs the single action of releasing the hammer or striker to discharge the firearm each time the trigger is pulled. Single-action semi-automatic pistols require that the hammer be cocked before the first round can be fired, although most designs cock the hammer as part of the loading process, inserting the magazine and racking the slide to chamber the first round also cocks the hammer or striker into the ready-to-fire position.
     
  13. sweeper22

    sweeper22 New Member

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    9mm is an ideal launching point for all the reasons listed. The one caveat being that one of 9mm's selling points is capacity (generally 14-20rds in a full framed gun), and California has a 10rd max I believe...which means some of these firearms are off limits to you, but most are available with Cali-legal 10rd mags.

    Nothing wrong with a 45acp. It's as easy to handle as 9mm given the right platform, it's just more expensive to feed.

    If cost is an issue, browse around in the $300-600 price range, as it seems to be where you get the most bang for your buck.

    If I was to recommend something that would fit me if I was in your shoes, I'd look at something like this. But if you can afford it, another option might be a Sig P220 w/ 22lr kit. I believe it's Cali legal, a fine gun, and will shoot both 22lr and 45acp...but will require an investment of about $900.
     
  14. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    A couple other things to keep in mind...

    Although the .22lr is not designed as a self-defense round, and I would not carry or keep one for those purposes; you can likely get more hits on target faster with a .22 that any other round because of its ease of control. So it's not a pea-shooter.

    If shooting is something you want to do more than just buying a gun and throwing in a nightstand, I can pretty well guarantee you that one of your first two guns will be a .22. Gun enthusiasts will argue till doomsday about the merits of individual rounds. But if there is one thing everyone agrees on, it's everybody needs at least one .22.
     
  15. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Everyone needs one because they are cheap to feed and easy to control?
     
  16. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    As has been stated previously, take a class or two and get to where you are competant in handling firearms.
    The question I have is: do you think that firearms will become a hobby for you? There are hobbiest/enthusiasts (i.e. this forum) and there is the more "casual" gun owner. For the more casual type who is interested in a gun as simply a tool and nothing more, I would concur with the recommendation of the .357 revolver. Fewer things to learn/forget. No magazines to fail, fewer external moving parts. No levers to overlook, no takedown procedures for normal use, limp-wristing doesn't doesn't cause feed problems. If someone has experience with firearms and/or wishes to feed the new addiction, them the Semi-auto will be fine. But for a Non-hobbyist, the revolver is is a better starting point IMHO.
     
  17. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    And because they are just a lot of fun.
     
  18. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    This statement is basically true when one is considering semi-automatic pistols. Mant consider the .38special the "minimum" caliber for SD purposes, but that round is only fired out of revolvers.

    And the difference between pistol and revolver is a pretty big one. There are lots of threads here considering the differences between revolvers and pistols. Just like one "should" have a .22 in their mix, one should probably have both a revolver and a pistol in their collection.

    I purchased a 9mm pistol first, personally. And a revolver is my next purchase. Actually, a 12gauge shotgun was my first firearm, but that's a different question that you didn't ask.
     
  19. songbird

    songbird New Member

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    Thanks everyone,

    I located some classes in my area and an indoor range that will allow me to try out some different guns.

    Can someone explain to me the advantage or disadvantage of single action and double action. I understand that the functionality but just wondering why someone would prefer one over the other.
     
  20. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    The term applies to revolvers and pistols a little differently.

    Revolvers:

    Single action: Pulling the trigger ONLY releases the hammer. After each shot, you have to cock the hammer back. Since the trigger doesn't travel (it "breaks" when you squeeze hard enough), it is somewhat more accurate, making a single-action revolver good for hunting or target-shooting. Example: Ruger Vaquero

    Double action: Pulling the trigger begins by BOTH turning the cylinder one round and cocking the hammer, then the final movement backward releases the hammer. During the trigger pull, it is a bit more difficult maintaining correct aim, especially with long ad heavy triggers. Example: S&W Model 60

    NOTE: Many revolvers are in the middle (DA/SA) and allow you to manually cock the hammer and fire in single-action, but still act in double action if you don't cock the hammer. Double-action only (DAO) revolvers don't allow you to manually cock the hammer. Example: Ruger LCR

    Pistols:

    Single action: Same as a revolver in that the trigger ONLY releases the hammer. The force of the cartridge firing, though, forces the slide backward which cocks the hammer back AND loads the next round as it comes back forward. For this reason, it is also somewhat more accurate for aiming because the trigger doesn't travel before it breaks. The shooter doesn't usually have to ever cock the hammer since loading the first round cocks the hammer and each round recocks the hammer. Example: Colt M1911A1

    Double action: Most (but not all) double action pistols don't actually have external hammers, they have internal hammers. The trigger pull both cocks the internal hammer and releases the firing pin. Some designs require the shooter to completely release the trigger to reset and some allow the shooter to only slightly release the trigger to reset (which allows for faster shooting). Example: Glock 17