Novice looking for CCW

This is a discussion on Novice looking for CCW within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I just took a firearms safety class in prep for looking for a handgun for personal protection that I can carry concealed if I need ...

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Thread: Novice looking for CCW

  1. #1
    Member Array bameroni's Avatar
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    Post Novice looking for CCW

    I just took a firearms safety class in prep for looking for a handgun for personal protection that I can carry concealed if I need to. I'm not that familiar with guns yet - learned a lot in the class (first time handling a semiautomatic - Beretta 9mm - quite a kick with each shot) and on this forum. I'm not a big guy - 6 feet, 165 pounds, with fairly small hands.
    The Beretta was a bit large for me to handle comfortably and I don't see how I could conceal a handgun that large on me.

    Do you have any advice on what types of guns I might rent to practice with at the shooting range to help me select one? From what I've been reading some people carry .38 revolvers and .380 autos that are not difficult for someone my size to conceal and use effectively.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    I good place to start is with The Beginner's Guide to Carry. http://media.concealedcarryforum.com/carryguide.pdf
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!!
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  4. #3
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    Welcome to the forum. Join right in.
    Get ready because you are probably going to get a lot of suggestions.
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  5. #4
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    Try a bunch. Narrow your choices , then come back and ask again. A lot will depend on what feels comfortable to you.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Another Welcome from Dallas!

    If your local range rents 1911's, any manufacturer would be a good place to start. Most 1911's, have slimmer grips, and are easier to conceal and to hold. I, also, like the feel of the XD9 or XD45, that is Springfield XD 9mm or XD 45.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with the Beretta 9mm, but if you are beginning to shoot for the first time, I will throw out my standard recommendation. If you are the type of guy who likes to learn for himself, I would recommend a semi-automatic in .22 caliber(I like the Beretta Neos), if you prefer great(but costly, and cheaper in the long run) education, I would recommend you make an appointment with somebody who gives lessons on pistol-craft.

    It's not always easy to learn a new skill, and you should not expect this to be something you can 'just pick up'. Quality instruction goes a long way, and will help you decide on the pistol that is right for you. With quality instruction, your options, as far as pistols, will also increase dramatically.

    Most problems with platforms, or recoil, or accuracy are related to the shooter, and not the gun. The ability of the shootist/concealer, greatly outweighs the attributes of the gun.

    I personally like the 1911 due to it's inherent point-ability, and I like the XD style pistol due to the 'relatively' cheap price, capacity, reliability, and the grip.

    With small hands, you should probably look at something that is single stack rather than double stack, but you would be surprised with what you can really do when you get good training to start out with.

    It takes a lifetime to 'unlearn' bad habits, but only an afternoon to learn the right ones to begin with(don't get me wrong, it sill takes practice..

    Good luck, and stay safe out there!
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  7. #6
    Member Array bameroni's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of your helpful suggestions; I'm making notes so I can further research and get more hands-on training as you suggest. Your forum here has so many knowledgeable and generous folks; I'm glad I came across it.

  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array jarhead79's Avatar
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    I wouldn't really worry too much about recoil and handling issues. Practice is essential and pretty much anything you get, you will get used to real quick.

    9mm is a good caliber, and there are many guns out there that are easy shooters in 9.

    If you really want to start with a .380, I suggest the Bersa .380. It's a straight shooter and real easy to handle. It conceals like a champ, too.
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  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bameroni View Post
    Thank you for all of your helpful suggestions; I'm making notes so I can further research and get more hands-on training as you suggest. Your forum here has so many knowledgeable and generous folks; I'm glad I came across it.
    We're glad you came across it, too. Who knows when the point or suggestion that you bring up, might help save one of our lives.

    Again, welcome aboard, and feel free to ask all of the questions you like. Post count or 'member status' mean absolutely nothing at this forum. Stick around a while, this forum is a wealth of information.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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  10. #9
    Member Array Divebum's Avatar
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    Find a range that rents guns. Try several in different calibers. All of the web sites have threads that talk about the various calibers and the discussions get pretty heated.

    First you need to shoot and shoot a lot. Shot placement is the most important aspect of the business. Take a couple of classes.

    Second, find a gun that fits your hand and you can comfortably conceal. Concealment is as much about the right holster, the right belt, and proper clothes as it is the gun size. If you are serious about carrying then suck it up and buy a quality holster and belt.

    Shoot different calibers. A lot of new shooters are intimidated by the .45, but in reality it is not any "harder" on you than 9mm. My Taurus PT-145 has a more controllable recoil that my Keltec P3AT. Recoil is as much about weapon weight and barrel length as it is about caliber.

    Whatever gun you decide on you will find people on these sites that hate it and love it. Ultimately you need to decide if you are confident and comfortable enough to carry it every day.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    There are lots of good guns to choose from.

    I would recommend going to a gun show (I know twist your arm ) and test feel which guns feel right in your hand to create a short list. With the short list see if friends, family or forum members are willing to try the guns or go rent them if they are available.

    Here are my personal recommendations.
    1. Kel-tecs P3AT or PF9 or P11 guns are perfect sized guns but will never be range guns that you shoot all day. They are light, more challenging to shoot well and in 380 or 9mm versions for good fire power. Price below $300.
    2. Bersa Thunder 380 and CC version. Good single stack heavier all metal gun with a good price (below $300). Everyone who has tried mine has liked them.
    3. M&P 9 or 40 Compact double stack gun. With the replaceable back straps, most people can find a good grip that works for them. Another gun that everyone who has tried mine has loved shooting it. Larger than the two above but it is surprisingly easy to carry, shoot well and very reliable.
    4. J-frame sized revolvers. In 357 version, I would recommend an all steel version like a S&W Model 60 or 640 or Taurus 605. The Taurus is cheaper than the Smith but is a very good gun. You can get grips (finding the right grip can cost some $$s) that change the feel of the gun.

    So, hopefully this helps and please make sure the gun feels right for you and points well for you. If you can meet these two requirements you have found the gun for you. Generally you do not have to worry about reliability and you can go used if you find one of these.

    Let us know what your get or if you boil it down to a couple of choices because we are not opinionated at all
    MNBurl

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  12. #11
    Member Array bameroni's Avatar
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    I will definitely report back my experience and what I have narrowed down my choices to. I will look into every model mentioned in this thread and hopefully get to experience each - it just so happens there are gun shows regularly here in Marietta (I have never been to one, as I have just recently acted on my interest in learning about CCWs for personal defense) but you can bet I'll be at the next one. I appreciate all of the opinions and feel like I'll be better "armed" with some of your invaluable collective wisdom in learning more about and acquiring a CCW. My sincere thanks to all.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    MY $.02:

    Decide how much time you can/will spend at the range. The less time you can/will spend, the simpler the gun you carry should be.
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    Member Array onetuza's Avatar
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    M&P 45?

    Quote Originally Posted by HowardCohodas View Post
    I good place to start is with The Beginner's Guide to Carry. http://media.concealedcarryforum.com/carryguide.pdf
    I'm very curious. I've seen a lot of people say on forums, that they carry a full sized weapon like an M&P in a Smart Carry. I just bought one and I can't see for the life of me, how you are keeping the butt from sticking out like you've been fantasizing about a case of whipped cream and the Deal or No Deal case holders! Tried it with my M&P 9mm. What am I doing wrong? (My Kel-tec PF-9 hides reasonably well with business casual pants.)

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Glock 19 9mm. Easy to conceal, accurate, easy to find parts/accessories for, good capacity, etc. And, Glock 9mm's are arguably the most reliable pistols on the market.
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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    For ease of carry, numerous accessories available and/or parts available, and ease of operation (point and shoot) capabilities, I would go with a Glock or a J Frame Revolver. J frame the obvious caliber would be a .38 special. In the Glock 9mm would get the call for me. The above suggestion of a Glock 19 is a very good one. BTW...spend the little extra and get night sights. Its worth it.
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