Having trouble picking the right automatic.

Having trouble picking the right automatic.

This is a discussion on Having trouble picking the right automatic. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; All of my experience with firearms is with bolt-action rifles. Obviously they don’t fit inside my waistband. I need a gun that meets all of ...

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Thread: Having trouble picking the right automatic.

  1. #1
    Member Array Arktos's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Upper Midwest

    Having trouble picking the right automatic.

    All of my experience with firearms is with bolt-action rifles. Obviously they don’t fit inside my waistband.

    I need a gun that meets all of the following.

    1) Suitable for condition one. Traditional DA or SA, with a manual safety. I dry-fired a Glock 21 once, thinking “when does it end?”
    2) Controls I can reach. I have very small hands. Couldn’t even reach the magazine or slide release on the aforementioned Glock.
    3) .40 S&W.
    4) At least ten rounds, even if that means an extended magazine.
    5) Must be concealable inside a waistband.
    6) Costs less than $1,000 preferably less than $700.

    Right now I’m looking at the FN FNX, CZ P-07, CZ RAMI and I’m starting to consider a SIG. Advice on any other weapons would be appreciated. As long as it fits the above requirements, and is in good shape, I have no objection to an old weapon. A single action striker would not bother me.

    Here are my thoughts and concerns on the weapons I am currently considering.

    Got to test the grip on two at a gun show. The texture was not unpleasant, I guess it just looks deeper in pictures. The magazine release on the .40 S&W was out of reach, and the slide stop was a stretch. All controls where within reach on the .45, perhaps because of the backstraps. Unfortunately, I could not do a more thorough examination. Not sure if a pistol this size can be stashed in my waistband.

    CZ P-07:
    Cannot find one of these things in town. The slide looks small and hard to grab. Also worried about concealing it.

    CZ RAMI:
    Concealing aside, all of the issues with the P-07. If there are 10 round magazines available for the metal frame version, I cannot find them. Polymer frame is not out of the question, if I can find one.

    SIG P229:
    Just starting to look at these again. Not sure about the position of the safety, slide stop and take down lever. Afraid I might reach for the take down lever instead of the slide release if I start shooting other pistols.

    H&K USP Compact:
    The controls look like they’re within reach, but the price may be out. As with the FNX and CZ P-07, size may be an issue. Minor grievance, the cult around H&K reminds me to much of the cult around Apple and Steve Jobs.
    Last edited by Arktos; January 8th, 2013 at 09:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Member Array AK_Brian's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    I have no experience with three of those firearms, and I don't like to conjecture too much on what I don't own, but for what it's worth:

    Add a Walther PPQ or P99 to your list. Both are available in .40, and you'll never find a better factory trigger than on a PPQ. They are on par dimension wise with an FNX, and that's where I have direct comparison experience.

    The PPQ and P99 are both striker-fired, though they accomplish this in slightly different manners. The PPQ is always SA and has a short, crisp pull with an insanely short reset at .10 of an inch. The P99 is more commonly found in a DA/SA variant, though you can also find a QA (quick action) variant which is the predecessor to the PPQ's trigger. The P99 also has a visible striker, unlike the PPQ, and a decocker, based on the differences of the striker mechanism.

    They meet your 10+ round requirement at 12+1 in standard magazines. More importantly, my hands are not huge. For reference, they are 4 inches wide on palm, and from wrist to the tip of my middle finger, are about 7 1/2 inches, with my longest finger being only about 3 1/4 inches long.

    So that much said: Walthers are by far and away the most comfortable pistols I have ever handled. Period. The P99 turned me onto them in its first form years ago. The PPQ is an evolution and by far the best. Comes with three backstraps too if you need to slim it up even more, or bulk it out. The factory stippling on it are amazing and give it a fantastic grip feel as well. It fits comfortably IWB, the few times I do that, and points very quick and naturally.

    Price wise I got mine for 535 after shipping and FFL fees from budsgunshop.com. My buddy, who carried an XD45, ordered one 20 minutes after handling mine when it came in to replace his XD.

    Okay marketing plug done, on to the FXN.

    One of my good friends regularly carried an FXN in 40 until he switched to a Beretta Nano recently. I've been lucky enough to fire it several times back to back with mine at the range. While I haven't carried it, and probably have only put around 200 rounds through it, I much preferred my PPQ for two reasons:

    The mag release on the Walther, which is a trigger guard release, is much more inuitive for my fingers than a button release. My thumb is short, and it's actually a bit iffy cleanly hitting a button release, like on my 1911, without angling the gun slightly. I can, however, quickly and accurately toggle the Walther's release with my index or middle finger, and found it very natural after no more than a day of playing with it at home and an hour at the range.

    Second is the grip: The FXN's grip sits a bit more like a Glock's for me, which is to say: uncomfortable. While not as wide around (2x4 like) as the Glock's, the angle of the grip is similar or the same, and I had issues pointing it quickly and coming onto target. Note: I will freely admit that with enough time I'm sure I could reconcile the differences and get used to it.

    The reason I'm pitching the Walther PPQ is because of your capacity, and small hands comments. I'm not kidding, and not being hyperbolic when I say it's the most naturally comfortable handgun I've ever felt.

    Sorry to add to your mix, and be a bit Walther fanboyish, but they often go underrated, and they really shouldn't. My buddy's FX-N is a fantastic gun, but even he really liked the PPQ after shooting it and holding it, I think most people do.

    Good luck with your decision, and for those looking for a tl;dr version:

    Add Walther PPQ to your list:
    -Around 540 dollars
    -Super comfortable shooter for small hands
    -Amazing trigger from factory
    -Great grip
    -Swappable backstraps, trigger-guard mag release works better with my short fingers than a button release.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Bigpoppa48's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    Also add the S&WM&P. I wouldn't sell mine for twice what I paid about 3 years ago.
    zacii and Exacto like this.

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  5. #4
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    Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    If you're comfortable with a single action auto you might want to look into a Browning Hi-Power. Not sure which side of the state you're in there are plenty of gun shops in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Mitchell and Pierre that will have one. They're among the slimmest of the double stack 9mm pistols and even people with small hands will find them comfortable. They're dead reliable, battle proven and accurate. They're also among the more ergonomic pistols around. The HP also happens to be among the easiest of all full sized guns to conceal. The grip holds a double stack mag but the frame and slide is very slim. The stock mags hold 13 rounds, and you can get 15 rounders from Mec-Gar.

    The HP isn't cheap. Nowadays they go for around $900. But I don't think there's a pistol out there that's more likely to fill the bill.

    BTW, if you're not absolutely dead set on needing 10 rounds, the Bersa BP9CC might be a gun to consider. It comes with a pair of 8 round mags, and with one in the barrel you have 9. It's pretty small, and my sister found it very comfortable and she has pretty small hands. I haven't had mine long enough to verify long term reliability but that's probably not relevant- mine might run good and yours might not, and vice versa. Still, it's a possible option. The trigger pull is a bit long but a lot lighter than the Glock.


    Ooops...didn't read carefully enough. The Bersa is only available in 9mm right now. The Hi-Power is available in .40 S&W, and although it holds less rounds than the 9mm it still holds at least 10.

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Beretta PX4 compact 12 rounds or sub-compact 10 rounds. Changeable backstraps. DA/SA.

  7. #6
    Member Array DenverPilot's Avatar
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    Having trouble picking the right automatic.

    Hard set on 40 and ten rounds?

    If not, perhaps Springfield XD-S?

    I've had one less than three weeks, already put 200 rounds through it, and it's well on its way to "trusted" status.

    Just need to change out the sights. I like their little fiber optic front sight for the range but not a carry gun. Too fragile.

    I have a couple of the seven round mags with the grip extension for it but the jury is still out on those. I'm shooting more accurately with the five round mags.

    If hard set on the items on your list, disregard. But she's real sweet if you want a tiny gun in .45 ACP.

    If think you'd be able to operate it with very small hands. Recoil is completely manageable which is impressive on a gun this small.

  8. #7
    Member Array RandyatOBX's Avatar
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    I went through the process several years ago when my friends chastised me about getting out of the stone age with my Smith .38 revolver I carried for years. The .40 S&W was my caliber choice also. I spent a good year previewing many polymer framed guns. I eventually settled on the Glock 27 and the S&W M&P40c. Of the two, after carrying and firing both for about a month each I chose the Smith M&P, and sold the Glock 27. I will have to say either of these are super concealed carry guns and I have no qualms concerning reliability, accuracy, comfortable conceal ability with a IWB holster. You will be surprised to discover how controllable with quick follow up shots both these are also, due to the low bore axis. I would suggest if you go with the Glock to purchase a set of Talon rubber grips.

  9. #8
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    Array Paladin3840's Avatar
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    Meeting all your criteria in one pistol may prove elusive. If round count is negotiable, the Kahr TP40 is 7 +1 and the DA trigger pull feels revolver-like rather than GLOCK-like. Double stack high capacity magazine pistols will mean a some compromise on concealability.

  10. #9
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    Also look at the CZ P-06.
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  11. #10
    Array rwponline's Avatar
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    I've had two Rami's, and I would stay away from the polymer frame version. It doesn't have adequete traction, isn't much (any?) lighter than the alloy, and mine had to be replaced due to a polymer frame issue common on Rami's from around 2009. I would also stick with 9mm in the Rami, as many people have documented issues with the .40.

    Concerning the difficulty gripping the 'small' p-07 slide (or any of the slide inside frame CZ pistols), I've never had a problem with it. I cup the top of the slide with my weak hand and push the gun away with my strong hand as soon as the new mag is in. This seems more likely to work in a high stress situation than using fine motor skills to pinch the back of the slide with the thumb and forefinger. I've found it also works better for smaller or weaker shooters who have difficulty racking a slide.

    Any reason you are stuck on .40? There are far more options fitting your criteria in 9mm...

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array sixgun's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Bigpoppa48;2533386]Also add the S&WM&P. I wouldn't sell mine for twice what I paid about 3 years ago.[/QUOTE
    +1 here to. Ive got the m&p9c but it also comes in a 40. Small light weight and concealable. Not sure how many rounds the 40 holds but my 9 holds 12 and can use 17 round full size mags also. Great guns but the trigger does take a bit to get used to at least it did me. But I hear the new production models have a better trigger.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array ksholder's Avatar
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    If you are not aware, the Glock 21 with the full-size frame (not the G21SF) is not the same size as most Glocks. The G21 & G30 in .45ACP and G20 & 29 in 10mm are significantly larger than the rest of the Glock line. I am not a Glock fan boy, but if you are discounting the whole line solely because the G21 did not fit, you may be doing yourself a disservice. If you can find one, try holding a G23. If that does not fit, then Glock is not for you. If it fits, you just might like shooting it.

    FWIW, I have the G21 & G30. They fit me like a glove. I also have a G22 which, to me, feels like grabbing a toothpick.
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  14. #13
    Member Array Arktos's Avatar
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    Wow, I did not expect to get this many responses so quickly.

    Anyway, I guess I did not make it clear that I intend to carry in condition one, so a manual safety is a must.

    Ksholder, I was not considering a Glock due to their trigger mechanism. But the depth of the grip raised questions about .45 ACP pistols in general.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I've got small hands, too. When I wanted a new .45, I looked at some of the same pistols that you mentioned.

    I ended up with an M&P and have never regretted it.

    One thing on the Sigs, and DA/SA in particular, that first DA trigger pull can be quite difficult to get off very well if you're hands are too small. I've got a Sig 229 in 9mm, it's got the reduced reach grip, to make it easier to manipulate with small hands.

    If it I was going to get another pistol in .40, I would check this out first. They can be had with a manual safety, if you're dead set on one.
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  16. #15
    Member Array Arktos's Avatar
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    I’ll be carrying condition one, so the DA trigger pull is unlikely to be an used.

    Dropping the SIG Sauer from the list. Misunderstood the decocker. Cannot edit my first post for some reason.
    Last edited by Arktos; January 9th, 2013 at 11:26 AM.

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