How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out??

This is a discussion on How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out?? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; As others have said, try and get your hands on a Ruger LCR or SP101 at the gun show and see how they feel in ...

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Thread: How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out??

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array Alex_C's Avatar
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    As others have said, try and get your hands on a Ruger LCR or SP101 at the gun show and see how they feel in your hand. I have an LCR and it's light as a feather, yet absorbs recoil extremely well. It is also usually priced in the $400 range.

    I may get some flak for this, but maybe check out the myriad Taurus revolvers too. Some people don't like the company, but I rarely hear of issues with their revolvers. My father in law owns a 7-shot Taurus .357 and it works flawlessly. They are usually priced on the lower end of the scale too.

    While talking price, bear this in mind; this is a tool that you may rely on to save your life. I can understand wanting a less expensive gun if you're on a restricted budget, I sure was when I first got my licence, but if you do have the funds to stretch toward a more expensive firearm like the S&W revolvers then don't short yourself a quality gun. Paying for quality is never a bad thing when buying a tool to protect yourself and your loved ones. That said, my LCR is everything I could want from a snubbie revolver and it didn't break the bank.

    Good luck!

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  3. #17
    Member Array ArmyJake's Avatar
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    Hello and good luck with your selection, I would like to point out that all semi auto's are not difficult to tear down many you just clear lock to the rear, rotate the tear down arm, release the the slide lock with one hand while with the other hand controls the slide going forward and off, then the spring is removed and the barrel will fall out this is as far as you need to go. yes some springs are long and hard to control. But many weapons Like the Sigsauers have a spring that is made onto the guide rod and does not come off they are easy in and out along with the XD family. The Glock Family takes a little time but once you got it down it's not so bad either. And if you screw up there are 100 how to videos on you tube. well enough from me good luck and again Welcome

  4. #18
    Senior Member Array Alex_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyJake View Post
    The Glock Family takes a little time but once you got it down it's not so bad either.
    Glocks strip down in about 10 seconds. Same with M&P, XD, etc.

    Quick and easy.

  5. #19
    Member Array Ogre's Avatar
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    How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out??

    I would second Alex C's post and look at the Taurus line. If you want to cc it the have several excellent snubbies although the accuracy would be inherently less than the 4inch Rossi you used due to the shorter barrel. They also offer shrouded hammer versions or hammer less d/a only models which would lessen the chance of a snag while drawing as would their bobbed hammer versions. They do offer longer barrel versions as well.
    As far as issues with a used gun, buying a Taurus would somewhat alleviate that as their warranty is fully transferable and lifetime of the weapon.
    As far as safety in storing (should you have inquisitive children around or adults for that matter) they have a key lock safety which positively locks the weapon.


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  6. #20
    Senior Member Array KBSR's Avatar
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    First of all welcome to the forum from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We're glad you're here. Secondly, good luck on your journey, to find your first handgun. It can be an overwhelming experience, but if you take your time, and try to be patient, you'll have a lot of fun.

    You've had some great advice on here already, from some very knowledgeable people. I'd echo a couple of things said. By all means go to the gun show, and get your hands on some pistols. It's not as good as shooting them, but you'll enjoy the experience, and learn a whole lot in the process. Take notes. I know that sounds silly, but you'll handle probably 50 to a 100 guns (I usually do), and when you get home you won't remember which was which.

    Don't overlook the quality semi-auto's either. If you're already OK with the .357 Magnum recoil, you'd have no problem with a 9MM or .40S&W, and that greatly expands your search. Many of us like the pistols over the revolvers for capacity (magazine) and concealability. The field stripping process on some of these pistols is a snap, and you'd be doing it blindfolded quickly. It looks hard maybe, but it really isn't at all.

    If your gun shows are any like the ones I've attended, you'll have dealers selling new guns, and individuals selling used guns. Look at all of them. Many of the used guns are fine, if they aren't all loose and wobbly from being shot out. Check the action, see how tight the cylinder locks up on a revolver, and how the barrel looks. Avoiding any obvious abused-shot out pistols or revolvers is your main objective, and it's pretty easy to do, by paying real good attention. Might want to pick up a cheap bore light (5-10 bucks) at a table early, and then use it when you look at barrels. It will help you identify any pitting that you can't see without it.

    You'll also have individuals walking around the gun show with guns for sale, in holsters slung over their shoulders. These are some of the best buys I've made. They bring their guns there to sell. Many of the dealers offer them less than they're willing to take, and you can offer them a fair price and walk away with a bargain for both of you.

    I saw a billboard for a gunshow here the weekend of the 16-17th of this month. If ya'll want to fly over here, I'd be glad to go with you on your journey.. Good luck & let us know how you do.

    Be safe.
    " But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... Baa." Col. Dave Grossman on Sheep and Sheepdogs.

  7. #21
    Distinguished Member Array chuckusaret's Avatar
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    I am a great believer in that any gun is better than no gun. Try the on line gun auction sites, there are dozens of them. I attend the local auctions and have found some fairly good buys even though Obama drove the prices out of sight.

    In my area the auto loaders demand a higher price then do the wheel guns. I recently picked up a LNIB S&W Model 30-1 round butt with box, warranty card, manual and original sales receipt for $350.
    US Army 1953-1977

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  8. #22
    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    Welcome from So Cal!

    There are members here in your area, so you may be able to hook up with them and maybe even a day at the range.

    A gun show (now) will probably be crazy. One down here last month had a line of a few thousand people when it opened. Either get there really early, or go on the last day, but it will probably be cleaned out by then. It is tough, but if you have something to compare to (the gun you already shot) you can get an idea of what you want. I know nothing of Taurus, but know that Ruger makes great revolvers.

    Best of luck!
    BigJon


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  9. #23
    VIP Member Array TWO GUNS's Avatar
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    The Ruger LCR's are a great carry Revolver. If I was you I would get one in 38. The LCR's are very light and the recoil is not bad at all for a gun in it's size.
    Have Fun and Shoot Straight !!

  10. #24
    New Member Array Bindiboop's Avatar
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    Wow, so much great information!

    I took my class at a local indoor range. They were very limited in their selection of available guns for rent, and only had a couple revolvers and none were what I was looking for. I did get to hold a Charter Arms .38 sp+p pink lady. Today I found a shop that had one Taurus 605 .357mag 2". That was exciting because I was able to get a feel for how heavy it is, how it felt in my hand, etc. It was only a couple oz. lighter than my husbands Rossi .357mag 4" revolver. I am totally open to ordering my gun online (I order everything else online).

    I am probably completely wrong here....but I was leaning towards a .357mag because I figured the recoil with .38+p ammo would be less than a .38+p caliber revolver shooting the same ammo. Of course, there is the "perk" of being able to shoot 3 different caliber ammo with a .357mag. I printed the specs on the Taurus I looked at today and compared it to a few other makes. I would appreciate feedback on these:

    Taurus Model 605 .357 mag (Rossi has a very similar gun, same weight but their website doesn't give the other specs)
    Taurus Model 605PLY .357 mag (how bad is a "plastic gun")
    Ruger SP101 Model 5718 .357 mag
    Ruger SP101 Model 5720 .357 mag
    Ruger LCR Model 5450 .357 mag
    S&W Model 638 .38 sp+p (I really like this one, and the msrp is actually the lowest of all the guns listed)
    Ruger LCR Model 5401 or 5405 .38 sp+p ( I have no idea what the difference is between a XS® Standard Dot Tritium or a Replaceable, Pinned Ramp front site)

    My 2 main concerns are these: 1- will the recoil on a 2" be "painful" compared to the 4", which didn't bother me, or is it completely dependent on the gun? 2- Do I really "need" the double barrel action? I know in an emergency, I doubt I will be cocking that hammer before I pull the trigger, but who knows... The feedback I have read on the Ruger sp101 and LCR seem very positive, in that the trigger pull is very smooth, even in double action.

    And as far as a semi-auto goes, I know that with practice I would eventually get comfortable with one. But, as someone who is a bit intimidated by a staple gun (don't laugh, I really am NOT a girlie girl, but loading staples kind of freaks me out), I don't want to start with something mechanical. I want a gun that, if need be, I can just pull out and fire. I don't doubt that I will get a semi at some point, I can already see this becoming somewhat of an addiction

  11. #25
    Member Array DaveInEdmonds's Avatar
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    This is where actually shooting them will make a huge difference. Taurus revolvers are essentially knock-offs of S&W products. Try shooting a Taurus 65 or 66 back to back with a S&W 686. They look virtually identical, but the difference in fit, finish and feel are astounding. "You get what you pay for" is very true in the gun world. The Ruger SP101 is a fine gun and I hope to own one eventually, but I wouldn't recommend a Taurus revolver based on my personal experience shooting them. The 638 is an excellent gun. HOWEVER, if you haven't shot a snubbie, try one out first. The little snubbies have quite a snappy kick, even shooting regular .38 ammo. Anything hotter can be kind of unpleasant to shoot.

  12. #26
    Member Array STLRampage's Avatar
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    Re: How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out??

    I bought both of my CCW handguns without ever laying a finger on them.

    I read a ton of reviews, watched YouTube comparisons, and read forums.

    Got a Walther PPS 9mm & a Ruger SR9C and couldn't be happier.

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    If you go Taurus and I switch between carrying two of the semi autos plus a SW40VE so Im not a Taurus basher at all, check the cylinder on any Taurus you buy used or new. Ive seen tons as solid as anything else you can buy for 100s more. Ive also seen a few new ones with cylinders so loose that when I pointed them out the dealer he took them off the shelf.
    LCR if you go that way go with the 357. Its normally costs the same as the 38 LCR. 38 LCR is +p rated but the 357 is a tad more hefty plus you can go 357 if you get comfortable with it. Either will recoil a bit 357 more but neither is unmanagable. Big difference in a 2 inch vs a four inch anything in a revolver as far as recoil.

    Double Action if this is a self defense gun is a must. Nuff said on that.

    I think having taught quite a few females to shoot and carry lately that the Ruger SR9c would suit you the best. Yeah its a semi auto, but it has a light recoil small enough to easily conceal comes with a 10 round or 17 round mag. Not hard to tear down and clean. Decent price. Easy to learn to shoot. Easier than say the 2 in snubbies that will bark and bite a lot more.

    But you say you dont want a semi soooooooooo my own personal advise here.

    Spring for the Sp101 in 3 or four inch barrel Id go with three inch. Thing is a tank. Lasts forever, resale is great. good trigger, shoot 38 38+p or 357 whichever you like best. Its the one revolver out of everything you listed that does everything you want it too and does it all extremely well. Plus it will be worth as much as you pay now for it five years from now. Tad heavy but still a good carry gun and soaks up recoil. JMO
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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bindiboop View Post
    How do you pick a gun when there are none available to test out??
    Basic options:

    • Rental range.
    • Gun stores.
    • Pawn shops.
    • Gun shows.
    • Or, buy sight-unseen based on whatever you know and have experienced, realizing you can always sell later and get something else. Possible sources include some of the popular online auction/classifieds sites, such as GunBroker, GunsAmerica.



    I took his .357 Rossi 4" revolver. I shot about 40 rounds of .38 and 20 rounds of .357. I could tell the difference, but neither was at all uncomfortable for me. I was pretty spot on with the target, hitting the same general area ...
    A decent revolver, then, might well suit you. There are some good ones out there, including some of the older/vintage (discontinued) models. S&W, Ruger, Taurus, Rossi.

    If you don't yet have a CHL but are intending to get it, consider that you're new to handguns and won't hardly know what'll work best for concealed carry until you've got a bit more experience under your belt. If you agree with that, then you might simply pull the trigger on a "starter" revolver and see where it goes. It'll get one into your hands soonest, and then you can flog it until you learn about handling, safety, accuracy, various drills (reloading, retention), keeping it clean, etc. As you gain experience and have more opportunity to handle/fire other handguns, you'll begin to refine the idea of what works and doesn't work for you.


    ... after enjoying the revolver so much, I decided my first gun will be a revolver.
    There are two pretty good threads in the "sticky" section of the Defensive Carry Guns forum that would be worth reading:

    • Selecting a Handgun for Defense: Part 1, Semi-Automatics
    • Selecting a Handgun for Defense: Part 2, Revolvers



    I have been researching different revolvers for hours, but get so much conflicting opinions.
    "Hours" isn't very long, given the hundreds of products over decades that exists out there. Yes, you'll get varying opinions on things. At many of the large (big-box) type sporting goods shops (ie, Bass Pro, Dick's, etc), you can often find a couple decent books on popular/current firearms. Such as:




    I know the best thing to do is to try out different guns and see what I like. That would be the best thing to do, in a world where gun shops actually had guns available (like this time LAST year, for instance). I can't even find a gun to hold much less one to try shooting.
    If you've got a few active gun ranges in your region, it might be worthwhile putting the word out that you'd like to see/handle (possibly test-drive) a number of various handguns. People often love to discuss their guns, and many often enjoy turning on a newbie to shooting and the various types of guns out there. (I've done this myself, at the range, helping some newbies get a feel for what's available.)

    Of course, it's only opinions, but such people can be golden with respect to their basic understanding of what they have in their own inventory. Not exactly a gun shop experience, no, but in many ways it can be even better. Cover the cost of any ammo you fire, offer to clean any of the guns you fire, treat the person to a lunch afterwards ... I'm sure you'll get some takers.


    My goal is to get CCW. From what I have learned, in the county I live it is pretty easy to get a CCP.
    Congratulations, on that! BTDT, myself, in a fairly gun-friendly county in California. Makes the whole process much simpler, when you know your own county sheriff is behind you 100% without having a boot on your neck (regarding CHL).

    Check out Calguns.net for some good county-specific information. Can help with the process of going after your CHL.

    If you are in a gun-friendly county, one path might be to hit up some of the sheriff's deputies on their knowledge, particularly if you can hang out at the gun range where they do their quals/practice. Some might be willing. The Sheriff's department might well put on introductory sessions for newbies. Couldn't hurt to ask, even if you don't find a class but instead have to hunt around for a willing deputy/officer who's also a gun "nut" who'd be willing.

    Being in California, you should consider picking up a copy of this book: How to Own a Gun and Stay Out of Jail (2012, California), by John Machtinger. It can help you navigate the pros/cons of the statutes related to the use of force and concealed-carry. Very useful book that helps explain the CA CHL statutes.


    The other option is a gun show. We are having one in a couple weeks and I plan on going. I have never been to one before and I have no idea what to expect. I assume I will be able to hold different guns, but my husband is very weary of buying a used gun. It is all so overwhelming and confusing.
    Well, as you've said, about the best option is to handle, dissemble/reassemble/clean, and shoot a variety, as many as you can stomach and find. Can't help you with the availability, short of going after willing volunteers at regional gun ranges who might be willing to take an excited newbie through the paces.


    All I do know is I want a revolver I can pass the CC test with, either a .38 or a .357, I prefer a double action and I don't want to pay a fortune for it (i.e. no S&W).
    Taurus, Rossi, pre-owned models, vintage/discontinued models, pawn shops. Likely, these will be your least-costly options. But given California's demand that you have a CHL with the specific serial-numbers on it, you'll need to have a good one in-hand that you'll likely be keeping for awhile (to avoid going through the process of zapping an old one and adding a new one).

    BTW, what county would your CHL be in?
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  15. #29
    Ex Member Array Snatale42's Avatar
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    Try out guns at a range, decide what you want and buy it from anybody that has it. Don't forget you can buy from anywhere you want, other states, online etc. As long as the gun is CA compliant they can ship to a CA FFL for xfer to you.

  16. #30
    Member Array zxd9's Avatar
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    I have never shot any of the guns I purchased. Two I never even held in my hand prior to ordering. I guess I've been lucky in that I have no complaints about my choices so far. That being said I do A LOT of internet research before each purchase. I usually have very specific requirements that I'm looking for in each gun purchase and I narrow it down to 2-3 that meet those criteria. Then it may come down to vendor reliability, warranty or availability.
    Member: GeorgiaCarry.Org

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