Newbie with some questions

Newbie with some questions

This is a discussion on Newbie with some questions within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello, just registered in the hopes of getting some feedback from some experienced shooters. I'm wanting to purchase my first pistol and I've been doing ...

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Thread: Newbie with some questions

  1. #1
    Member Array ak74's Avatar
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    Newbie with some questions

    Hello, just registered in the hopes of getting some feedback from some experienced shooters. I'm wanting to purchase my first pistol and I've been doing research and thinking about it like crazy. I'm pretty sure I will go with a 9mm that I can keep by my bed and take to a range for fun. I guess my biggest question is when I'm looking for a pistol that fits my hands and just feels good, what else should I be looking for? What are the things that you guys look for when you first pick up a new pistol that tells you if its right for you or not? I have short and skinny fingers but I'm wanting to get a double stack if I find one that feels good. Anything else you guys got to add is appreciated, thanks.


  2. #2
    New Member Array NoSheepHere's Avatar
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    I'm actually a pretty new member of this particular forum, but I have been carrying for 5 years and can give you some input on what I look for.

    First thing I do before buying a gun is get online and do some research. No, a LOT of research. You know you want a 9 mm, and I think that great. The majority of the time I carry a Glock 26, it's cheap for range time, and JHP rounds are fairly affordable. Since you know you want a 9 mm, I would suggest looking through the forums and find a few of the more popular 9 mm handguns. You will probably see a ton of Glock, M&P, HK, Kahr, and Ruger. There are a lot of choices out there, but since this is going to be your first gun, I suggest you go with something tried and true--any of the above will do, and I'm sure you will get other ideas on here. Personally I can reccomend the stuff I have had experience with : Glock 26, Glock 19, M&P 9, and Springfield XD9sc. There are too many to choose from, and a lot of it is going to come down to what fits best in your hand. Go to the range and see if you can rent their guns. Go to the gunshop and price check. Research research research. Your gonna spend at least 350 for a good, reliable carry gun, so make sure your putting your money into something your going to like.

    When your looking at guns I would reccomend staying away from used guns for your first purchase. Reason being, it's more difficult to judge the value and condition of a used gun if you haven't spent much time around them. I have seen a lot of gunshops and gunshows with used Glock 26's for 400 bucks, and folks who dont know better buy them up. Not saying it is a terrible deal, but you can definately find better.

    That brings me to my second point. Make sure that you shop around. If you can get it cheaper by ordering it, go for it. It would probably be well worth the week extra wait time.

    If you decide to buy a new gun, make sure that you know what should come with it. I have seen some gunshops trying to sell Gen4 glocks with only 2 magazines. They should have 3 mags, but a lot of folks dont know any better. Make sure you know th ballpark price of what the gun goes for, and what all is included in the box when you purchase it. You can, but I wouldn't reccomend buying the display. If they try to sell you the display model, ask for one from their stock. I'm not saying that the display models are garbage, and if it is the last gun of what you want, you should buy it. I'm just saying if your going to buy a new gun, buy one that hasn't been handled by everyone and their dog.

    When you decide what you want to buy, make sure that you have enough money left over after purchasing to buy at least one holster, and plenty of ammo. This is what a lot of folks forget about. They spend so much on the gun itself, they settle for cheap holsters and ammo. While we are talking about it, make notes from the forums of what holsters folks are carrying a particular firearm in, and what ammo they are using. Again, I personally favor the hybrid holsters such as crossbreed (although I refuse to pay for crossbreed, I go to a private guy who makes the same holster for half the price.) Dont skimp on your carry ammo. A box of good, proven JHP defense rounds will typically run you 17-25 bucks for 25 rounds. Your life will depend on the ammo as much as the gun itself. Keep that in mind.

    Lastly, once you have your gun and ammo and holster, go to the range often. Practice practice practice. Dont forget to run maybe a minimum of 50 rounds of your carry ammo through your handgun to ensure it feeds properly, and so that you know how it shoots coming out of your gun. JHP rounds shoot a little differently than FMJ ammo, but not necessarily enough to make a difference for combat accuracy.
    MotorCityGun likes this.

  3. #3
    Member Array thedogfather's Avatar
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    Well, getting a pistol that fits and 'feels good' is half the battle, but you really want some idea of how it shoots and how you feel shooting it. Having access to a range where you can rent different pistols and really get "hands on" is invaluable. Some new pistols sold today offer a choice of grip adapters to help customize the fit to your hand ... Springfield and Smith & Wesson come to mind, both can be found in 9mm.

  4. #4
    New Member Array NoSheepHere's Avatar
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    Oh! I forgot to say one more thing in reguard to your desire to have this as your "bedside gun." If your wanting to put laser\flashlights, or that kinda stuff to your gun make sure the gun you buy has an accessory rail. Also, night sights will be your best friend in lowlight conditions with no flashlight or laser. Most guns dont come with them. Either buy them at the gunshop or have a gunsmith put them on. They are 70 bucks installed or so, invest in it.

  5. #5
    Member Array SGFvr's Avatar
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    1 research, research, research
    2 hold many
    3 rent the two, three or four you narrowed down too
    4 buy, then practice, practice, practice

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    It is difficult to buy a poorly made handgun these days, but they are around. Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, Glock, SIG, Heckler & Koch, Beretta, Kahr, and several others all have outstanding reputations. Guns are like cars, in that each person has their preferences, and usually stick to them pretty tight. Each gun has pros and cons. How it fits and feels in your hand is critical. Gun manufacturers are starting to offer their wares with multiple, interchangeable backstraps, allowing the owner to set the gun up to the hand. When I get ready to pick up a new handgun I go to a dealer. They are usually happy to get one out and let you handle it so that you may see how it feels. When I have found two or three that interest me over the others, I make sure I get the models as well as the maker. Then I go home and research them. Extensively. Then I pick the one I want and go get it. I have heard tell of shooting ranges that have many guns for rent. I have never been to one. Should that option be available to you, by all means use it. When you are in the dealer's shop, be careful of heeding all that you hear. Most know what they speak of, but there are many that will push you into one gun or another. Some are clueless, and others may criticize your choice if they do not agree with it. Having already decided on a 9mm (an excellent choice), you have the battle won. Now you just have to pick out the brand and model you like. This will be your gun, you are paying for it, so pick the one you want. Picking out a new gun is a lot of fun. Best of luck and enjoy.

  7. #7
    Member Array Cattus Vir's Avatar
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    My list is not really long but here it is, in no particular order:

    fit: it has to fit my hand and be comfortable.
    reliability: after I find a few that feel good in my hand I research the reliability of each that I have chosen. By asking questions and now reading on the net.
    accuracy: Usually this involves using, renting, borrowing ect the guns I like to see how they fire with me pulling the trigger.
    caliber: no explanation needed here
    lingerie: what extras do I want on it, night sights, rail system for light, laser, ect
    finish: how durable is it going to be for the uses I plan to have for the weapon
    cost: is determined by my wife and how many extra chores I want to do later,lol jk, I usually have to save for new purchases so I can pay off the credit card when the bill comes

    I am sure there are many other things to consider but for me these are the most important

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array AKsrule's Avatar
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    Don't go cheap - Plan to spend $500 plus.

    Stick with the major mfgs. (S&W,Colt,Glock,Sig Sauer,Beretta )

    Get something in-between a "pocket auto" and a compensated competition gun
    -------
    -SIG , it's What's for Dinner-

    know your rights!
    http://www.handgunlaw.us

    "If I walk in the woods, I feel much more comfortable carrying a gun. What if you meet a bear in the woods that's going to attack you? You shoot it."
    {Bernhard Goetz}

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Bubbiesdad's Avatar
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    Go to a range and rent/shoot what interests you. Find out what works, and what doesn't. Go from there.
    Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
    Richard M Nixon
    Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.
    Jeff Cooper

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    Rather than offer my specific carry considerations, let me offer some philosophy for a first time buyer. Stick with a caliber that has proven performance: 9mm/38 special would be the minimum. They pass LE and FBI performance minimums. It just makes me ill when I'm at the gun shop and see salespeople pushing mouse guns, especially all the new .380s that every manufacturer has unleashed on a convenience oriented public. They sell "peace of mind" the same way a cemetery does, but if you're interested in saving your life sometime, buy an effective caliber. You see, any gun can kill somebody. I can kill someone with a sharp pointy stick, however, I carry a gun because I want to STOP someone from their attack NOW. Shoot someone in the belly with a small caliber, chances are they're still going to still be a threat until they bleed out. Shoot someone with a .357 or a .45, it probably won't matter where you hit them. You've just removed a fair portion of their beloved person, and probably have either incapacitated them permanently or removed their ability or their will to continue their attack.
    I'll second the advice above: research. The internet is great, but understand, you could be reading reviews of gold bricks, and still find some opinionated and prolific person who hates them. You kind of have to examine opinions with a grain of salt. Get some books on carry conceal. Mossad Ayoob is probably the best, if not the most well known, but there's others. Here's a website aimed at women, but lot's of great advice and guidance for anyone:
    Cornered Cat - Table of Contents
    The benefit to buying a well known brand name is several fold. Reliability, customer support, and resale value to name a few. Accept that fact that no one gun will be perfect in every aspect, and you'll probably own a few before you nail down your favorite weapon/holster combo. Having said all that: buy a Glock.



  11. #11
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    One thing you DON'T want to do is go to a gun shop and listen to some goofy salesman who has too many Taurus (or some other brand) pistols on hand and wants to give you a DEAL.
    Take someone you know, who may have a little knowledge about firearms, with you.
    Shop around, follow this forum, and handle a lot of different firearms.
    Eventually, one will start calling your name.

    (Sooner or later you will discover that you like the Glock 19 or the Glock-26...a dependable firearm, right out of the box...I'm just sayin'...)
    Rotorblade likes this.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Bubbiesdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yankeejib View Post
    Rather than offer my specific carry considerations, let me offer some philosophy for a first time buyer. Stick with a caliber that has proven performance: 9mm/38 special would be the minimum. They pass LE and FBI performance minimums. It just makes me ill when I'm at the gun shop and see salespeople pushing mouse guns, especially all the new .380s that every manufacturer has unleashed on a convenience oriented public. They sell "peace of mind" the same way a cemetery does, but if you're interested in saving your life sometime, buy an effective caliber. You see, any gun can kill somebody. I can kill someone with a sharp pointy stick, however, I carry a gun because I want to STOP someone from their attack NOW. Shoot someone in the belly with a small caliber, chances are they're still going to still be a threat until they bleed out. Shoot someone with a .357 or a .45, it probably won't matter where you hit them. You've just removed a fair portion of their beloved person, and probably have either incapacitated them permanently or removed their ability or their will to continue their attack.
    I'll second the advice above: research. The internet is great, but understand, you could be reading reviews of gold bricks, and still find some opinionated and prolific person who hates them. You kind of have to examine opinions with a grain of salt. Get some books on carry conceal. Mossad Ayoob is probably the best, if not the most well known, but there's others. Here's a website aimed at women, but lot's of great advice and guidance for anyone:
    Cornered Cat - Table of Contents
    The benefit to buying a well known brand name is several fold. Reliability, customer support, and resale value to name a few. Accept that fact that no one gun will be perfect in every aspect, and you'll probably own a few before you nail down your favorite weapon/holster combo. Having said all that: buy a Glock.


    A fine selection of weaponry.

    A POINTY STICK?





    Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
    Richard M Nixon
    Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.
    Jeff Cooper

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array mwhartman's Avatar
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    OP, I was in the same position not long ago. I researched and researched. I visited my local gun shop, spoke with my local sheriff. I live in Central PA and there are no ranges that rent. Fortunately, during a family visit, I found a range in NC that rented. I narrowed my list down to three and last month purchased a Gen 4 Glock 19. It has been an excellent gun.

    I'm not saying you should purchase a Glock. As my local sheriff said to me "we need to get you the gun that you shoot best"

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    Mike
    Praise the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle --- Psalm 144

    Ruger owners check our sister forum http://rugerpistolforums.com a great site to share and learn about your Ruger pistols.

  14. #14
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    Heres the skinny; buy a reputable, popular pistol. Some of the brand names have already been listed, and thats a good place to start. DO NOT buy a sub compact pistol as your first gun. Thats a bad mistake. You should be shooting this gun a lot, and it makes the learning curve a lot longer and steeper with a small gun. Something midsize would be OK, such as a Glock 19 or Sig 228/9, but full size would be better.

    Find a range and take a couple of hour basic handgun class. This will teach you a lot you will need to know to make a educated choice. They'll teach how to grip the gun (sound trivial, but its very important) and how to align sights etc. That stuff is critical in making a good choice for you.

    Also look at factory support and parts/ accessory availability. Noobs will almost always pay attention to the wrong thing ( how it feels in their hands ) over this important factor. If you cant get parts or have to order anything you want for it off the internet, it was a poor choice in my opinion. Check out local shops inventories. Do they have magazines on the shelf? Holsters? Sights? Do they have any parts on hand? How expensive are those parts to get? For example, HK, Beretta and Springfield (to a lesser degree) are notoriously bad about letting parts out on the market. HK and Beretta's customer service is horrible to deal with. But, they do build quality stuff. Glock by far is the best choice if your considering this factor alone.

    Third is, how natural does the gun point for you? Pick a spot about 7 yards or so away from you on a wall. If you can bring the gun up and that front sight is resting near that point with out any adjustment from you, you are light years ahead in your training already. Some guns will come up low, others high... its a lot easier to start with a natural pointing gun. Most new shooters like the M&P series for this.

    Once those factors are considered, only then worry about the trivial stuff. I know I'll catch some heat from the "how it feels in your hand" comment, but thats such crappy answer in a can. You're not buying a recliner, you're buying a weapon. You're not buying something you will be walking around with in your hands all day long. Buy a pistol a tool that fits your needs, worry about the aesthetics later.
    Doodle likes this.
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  15. #15
    Member Array macdefense's Avatar
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    Just a couple things to add to the good advice you've already gotten. If you read gun magazines, take their reviews with a grain of salt. They make their living off advertising from gun manufacturers and it shows in their reviews.
    Also, don't listen to friends or advisers who say you have to buy their brand or have to avoid a brand they don't like. Any of the brands recommended above are good choices. Finding a firearm that carries and shoots well for you is a matter of personal fit and preference. Buy what works for you, not what your buddies think is cool.
    Doodle likes this.

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