What to choose for first handgun ? Need input please.

This is a discussion on What to choose for first handgun ? Need input please. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm prior military so I have experience with firearms but only rifle, was never trained with a handgun. I will be purchasing my first handgun ...

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Thread: What to choose for first handgun ? Need input please.

  1. #1
    New Member Array Nexus's Avatar
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    What to choose for first handgun ? Need input please.

    I'm prior military so I have experience with firearms but only rifle, was never trained with a handgun. I will be purchasing my first handgun in a week or so and am still considering what to buy. I did spend one afternoon at a local Florida range that had handguns to rent and tried several.
    Beretta M9, Glock 19, Walther PPQ, Ruger LC9 ( just to try a small compact ) Springfield XDM (.45 ) and of course a S&W 1911. And I think I fired the S&W MP9 but I'm not sure, my GF was with me and she was getting bored ( the range I went to had a requirement for renters that said you must have a 2nd person present to prevent certain accidents - which I understand ). I liked the M9 but have heard mixed reviews, the Glock was ok, the LC9 was good but I did notice it tended to jump a bit more like almost everyone says and I understand why. Then the guy at the range that was helping me suggested I try the Walther PPQ and I did really like it, the styling, the mag release and it seemed pretty accurate for my limited experience.
    One of the guns I'm thinking of buying is the Sig P250 ( the 2 Sum version because I like the option to change it out to a compact to carry more concealed and still have the same trigger feel ). Yes I am going to take the C&C weapons course, already signed up. The range I went to did not have any Sigs to fire because the ones they did ave they'd sold to employees ( which in its own right says a lot I guess ).

    The reason I want a handgun is for home defense and something I can carry when travelling to places here in FL that I dont know. Cause some of the places I've been here I was sure wondering about my safety. In defense of that statement, not saying Florida is bad, but I am new to Florida and therefore IMO am more aware of my surroundings, watching people, what type of area I am in ect. Whereas where I lived b4 I was there most of my life and IMO had become somewhat de-sensitized to my surroundings.

    One other question I have is on a test that the range guy had me do. Take aim like normal, bring the gun back to your chest with both hands, close your eyes and re-aim. How close are you to your original target ? He said that test would show how well the grip fit my hand and how it would affect how I aim.
    Is this accurate ? It seems to make sense to me.

    Asking for input from people here on both subjects. I understand that everyones personal likes will be different but feedback from people that own these weapons will sure help.
    Thanks in advance

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  3. #2
    Member Array seapuppy's Avatar
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    well..being an ole guy that has been shooting most of my life...ex-AF..etc...I tend to shoot about anything that doesn't shoot me first...I do think you have to be comfortable with what your owning however the gun you choose is going to have to be comfortable to you...I can recommend a hundred guns for you but the ultimate decision is yours....with that said..the range guy gave you a good excersize...bring the weapon to the chest in the ready position is always good...but imho..muscle memory is what will employ a weapon time and time again...
    as for what type...wow...there are literaly thousands of handguns you could investigate but the ultimate decision is yours...I can only recommend a few...I personally carry the glock 23...2 mags at 13 each...if I can't hit something with that many rounds I might as well throw it at the bg's....I like glock cuz they break down easily for cleaning and are easy to employ...I'm not a fan of the sites but they are easy to shoot and I do like the trigger reset (half set) after the first rnd....makes double taps really easy...
    I'm also a fan of the 1911 in .45acp...but they are so heavy they have a tendancy to pull my pants down...however they can't be beat for accuracy and stopping power....personally I'm not a fan of 9mm....nothing wrong with it as they still give people the alergy to lead poisoning....but they just don't have the stopping power of a .45acp or .40 s/w rnd......
    so...I guess I'm not really recommending a particular weapon too you but hopefully you'll find a weapon you feel comfortable with....

    Steve

  4. #3
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    There are many good guns out there to chose from. I personally am not a Glock fan. Nothing wrong with them, just not my thing, I prefer metal guns. For someone just getting started into handguns, I would not recommed a sub-compact gun. Any mistake you make is magnified and also the smaller and lighter can be hard to handle. A good quality 1911 is a joy to shoot, but again, not something I recommend for a new shooter. They can be finicky. I cut my semi auto teeth on the M9 in the AF. To be honest, I was not impressed with the gun. The S&W M&P seem to be well made and fighly regarded by those who have experience with the, sane with the SA XD series guns. Another you haven't mentioned is the CZ line of guns. Give a look at the CZ75 Compact, the CZ75 P-01 and the CZ75 PCR.
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    Ex Member Array tooldawg99's Avatar
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    A 1911 of any make is best reserved for experienced gunners, and even some of us are not comfortable carrying a single-action weapon, much less one with a cocked hammer and a safety.

    I would suggest keeping it as simple as possible: a quality 4-inch revolver is the perfect gun for new carriers and shooters. There are no disassembly issues for cleaning, there are no safety levers, decocking levers, etc. and it won't get any more simple than put the bullets into the cylinder, pull the trigger and go boom. No, it is not new technology, and maybe not so sexy, but it is dependable and you are guaranteed NEVER to have a round fail to feed, jam, or fail to eject.

    If revolvers are not your thing, the next best thing is a DAO autoloader, with no safety or decocking levers: my personal preference is the GLock. You can go 19 if you want 15 rounds of 9mm and a full grip, or you can choose the 26 if you want something a little more concealable with 10+1 rounds at the ready. If you like single-stack that gives you a full grip and a little less thickness for concealed carry, the Bersa BP9CC is one I just selected. Shares a lot with the GLock in that the trigger is the same pull for every shot, no levers or safeties, just load the magazine, rack the slide and you have an auto-loading revolver!

    There may be a time when you want to move up to some more glamorous autoloaders, with levers and switches and bells, but for the novice and entry level shooter, a good six-shooter cannot be beat, and if you dont go that way, a DAO autoloader is the next best thing. Some of us long-time shooters still carry revolvers, even though we have "fancier" autoloaders available to us. In stressful situations, and in learning a new skill, the more simple the weapon is, the easier it is to shoot.

    Good luck with your search!

  6. #5
    sgb
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    VIP Member Array sgb's Avatar
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    Guns like clothing must fit properly to work as intended. Proper fit requires the center of the firearms linear axis set in the center of the webbing between your thumb and trigger finger. Then you must be able to place the center of your trigger fingers first pad squarely on the trigger while leaving a small gap between your trigger finger and the frame of the firearm.

    The three obvious (most popular) choices are the Glock, S&W M&P and the Springfield XD/XDM. Based on your post I'd say the compact versions would best fit your requirements.

    My personal pick for you would be the M&P 9c

    JoeK likes this.
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    Member Array Backfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexus View Post
    I'm prior military so I have experience with firearms but only rifle, was never trained with a handgun. I will be purchasing my first handgun in a week or so and am still considering what to buy. I did spend one afternoon at a local Florida range that had handguns to rent and tried several.
    Beretta M9, Glock 19, Walther PPQ, Ruger LC9 ( just to try a small compact ) Springfield XDM (.45 ) and of course a S&W 1911. And I think I fired the S&W MP9 but I'm not sure, my GF was with me and she was getting bored ( the range I went to had a requirement for renters that said you must have a 2nd person present to prevent certain accidents - which I understand ). I liked the M9 but have heard mixed reviews, the Glock was ok, the LC9 was good but I did notice it tended to jump a bit more like almost everyone says and I understand why. Then the guy at the range that was helping me suggested I try the Walther PPQ and I did really like it, the styling, the mag release and it seemed pretty accurate for my limited experience.
    One of the guns I'm thinking of buying is the Sig P250 ( the 2 Sum version because I like the option to change it out to a compact to carry more concealed and still have the same trigger feel ). Yes I am going to take the C&C weapons course, already signed up. The range I went to did not have any Sigs to fire because the ones they did ave they'd sold to employees ( which in its own right says a lot I guess ).

    The reason I want a handgun is for home defense and something I can carry when travelling to places here in FL that I dont know. Cause some of the places I've been here I was sure wondering about my safety. In defense of that statement, not saying Florida is bad, but I am new to Florida and therefore IMO am more aware of my surroundings, watching people, what type of area I am in ect. Whereas where I lived b4 I was there most of my life and IMO had become somewhat de-sensitized to my surroundings.

    One other question I have is on a test that the range guy had me do. Take aim like normal, bring the gun back to your chest with both hands, close your eyes and re-aim. How close are you to your original target ? He said that test would show how well the grip fit my hand and how it would affect how I aim.
    Is this accurate ? It seems to make sense to me.

    Asking for input from people here on both subjects. I understand that everyones personal likes will be different but feedback from people that own these weapons will sure help.
    Thanks in advance
    Glock 23 .40. Ballistics are great with that gun - and it holds 13 in a magazine. Get some Gold Dot 165 gr @ 1150 ft/sec muzzle velocity and you are armed with what the good guys use every night to stay alive.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    Ok............this is my suggestion for a first gun and I wouldn't trade mine for all my auto's I own.....the gun I carried for 20+ yrs that save my arse twice and most reliable....my S&W Model 36......without a doubt.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Mattmann's Avatar
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    I love the s&w m&p line

    Sent from my DROID RAZR

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    PI9
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    M&P9c is my every day carry gun and has been for some time now. There are a lot of guns out there and it can get confusing with most manufactures making almost identical stuff these days (size and feature wise). I also like the Springfield compact but I could never part with my 9c.

    HOWEVER, if you like the LC9 but not the jump you may want to look at the new M&P Shield, amazing gun and it doesn't seem to flip as much as my LC9. I bought one last week and cant wait to get my holster so I can start carrying it.

    Tim

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Mattmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PI9 View Post
    M&P9c is my every day carry gun and has been for some time now. There are a lot of guns out there and it can get confusing with most manufactures making almost identical stuff these days (size and feature wise). I also like the Springfield compact but I could never part with my 9c.

    HOWEVER, if you like the LC9 but not the jump you may want to look at the new M&P Shield, amazing gun and it doesn't seem to flip as much as my LC9. I bought one last week and cant wait to get my holster so I can start carrying it.

    Tim
    I hate you tim! Lol! I want a shield so bad:D

    Sent from my DROID RAZR

  12. #11
    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Nexus, what part of Fl are you in? If it's anywhere close you are welcome to shoot what I have, nothing special but maybe something different than what you have tried. Plus there is an indoor range close by that has a pretty good selection of pistols to rent.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array mwhartman's Avatar
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    I was in the same situation last April. I rented several different guns and went with a Gen 4 G 19. Partially because of Glock's reputation and partly because I was able to purchase from a company who only sells to LEO/Military.

    Recently, I added a G 36 (45 ACP) no regrets on either purchase.
    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. #13
    Member Array stancehold's Avatar
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    I'd suggest trying a Ruger SR9c or the Springfield XD9sc. Have fired both and love them!

  15. #14
    Ex Member Array Doodle's Avatar
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    Notice the trend here, glocks are good but some don't care for them. XD's are not bad but some don't like them. It is very hard to find a bad review of the m&p here (they exist but not many) I personally think the m&p9c is the best all around carry gun. I have carried the XD but they are very heavy and your gonna feel that weight after a while. I am openly not a fan of the 1911 for carry. They are beautiful but with so many makers with different quality control, to paraphrase JD (probably the most knowledgeable on the 1911 around here) "it's easier to get a turd than a gem" or something like that.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    Choose the hand gun that feels right in your hands.

    Of the ones you listed, the M&P compact would be (and is my choice) recommendation. 3 different back straps (medium is my choice), very reliable, good capacity and fits most people's hands. I have 4k trouble free rounds through mine.
    Doodle likes this.
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