This is a discussion on I'm new...help? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; How are all you doing? I'm looking to purchase a pistol for protection and one I could carry when I felt needed. I have to ...
July 23rd, 2008 10:18 PM
How are all you doing? I'm looking to purchase a pistol for protection and one I could carry when I felt needed. I have to admit I am no gun expert and have seek-ed advice from friends.
I have been told the Beretta PX4 SC, Glock 27, Springfield XD Compact, or XD SC would work the best for me.
Then I have some people tell me to get a .40 Cal, and some a 9mm. I have been told for protection the 9mm isn't enough, but the ammo is cheaper. That .45 Cal ammo is even cheaper then .40 Cal...
Also, do I need to carry a sub-compact or will a compact do? That would help a lot.
Can you please help me narrow my decision down, maybe what you carry? Looking to spend 500-600 bucks. Thanks.
Last edited by bphawk48; July 23rd, 2008 at 11:21 PM.
July 23rd, 2008 10:23 PM
Generally either a Glock, Smith and Wesson M&P, or Springfield XD, in 9mm, .40, or .45 is a good choice to start carrying. The best way to know which one is best for you is too shoot them and see what you are comfortable with. 9mm is acceptable for carry, especially with decent hollowpoints.
How much are you looking to spend on your endeavors? Make sure you add some training in there too.
And welcome aboard
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
July 23rd, 2008 10:23 PM
Hook up with a range that rents different handgun models if possible. Find a shooter to hang with and try out his guns. Lots of opinions out there and while you can use a little guidance you can form your own. Read and sift through the information here on the Forum. There's good stuff here. There's also opinionated ol' coots like me so watch out.
Thanks for joining and posting. Glad you're here.
July 23rd, 2008 10:39 PM
+1 on the renting/trying out lots of guns. At the very least go to a gun shop with a large selection and handle all of them. I'm no expert by any means, but I've found that one of the most important factors in a handgun is how it feels in your hand. I once bought a Glock 26 because it was a Glock and that's the right thing to do. It didn't feel great in my hand, but I convinced myself to get it anyway. I never could shoot that thing for any type of accuracy past about 5 yards. My younger sister, however, tried it and thought it fit her hand perfectly. She shot pretty much one ragged hole at 10 yards (only 2nd time shooting a handgun). Anyway, sorry to ramble on. Just try out several different kinds and you'll find some that seem to fit you perfectly. As far as what I carry...I now carry a Kahr CW9. With 7+1 rounds of Federal HST 124gr and another 7 in a backup mag, I don't feel undergunned at all.
By the way, before I get pummeled....I'm not bashing Glocks. They're great pistols and I would own one if they fit my hand better.
"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun."
- The Dalai Lama (May 15, 2001, The Seattle Times)
July 23rd, 2008 10:51 PM
I personally do not like Glocks, but that's just me. The advice about renting several guns before you decide on one, is spot on.
If I had to do it all over again, without the benefit of any practice, and in your price range, I would go with the XD 9mm or a S&W 642(.38). If your willing to splurge a little, a 1911 is an amazing carry/home defense gun.
9mm is more than enough if you do your job, and like you noticed, 9mm is significantly cheaper than just about any other type of ammo, which means more practice, which means better shot placement, which means much greater chance at stopping an aggressor.
If you do not have the money/luxury/conditions of shooting several different pistols before you purchase one, then I would suggest going with the one that feels the best in your hand. Which one do YOU think points better and feels better.
You being comfortable with your handgun is much more important than any advice we can give you. You do need to practice. A defensive handgun is not the type of thing that you can sit on the nightstand and hope it performs when/if needed. It's something you have to get comfortable with and something that you have to learn to depend on if needed.
If you can't go to ranges and rent several guns to try out, I would suggest getting together with a buddy in your area that has a selection, or at the very least, go to a well-stocked gun store or gun show to handle as many as you can.
When you pick up THE gun, it will feel right to you, and you'll know that it's the one you HAVE to take home. If you don't get that feeling, keep looking. There are so many options out there for just about any need, there is no reason to settle on something that does not fit you well.
I, personally, do not like the .40 caliber. I have never found one I like, and at best I find it a very weak compromise. You lack the size of the .45 and the capacity of the 9mm. Plus, I believe the recoil is worse in the .40 than either the 9mm or the .45. But like I said, what it really comes down to is what YOU are comfortable with.
Best of luck,
July 23rd, 2008 10:53 PM
I agree with everybody on trying a few different guns. I once had a.40 S&W that was a great little gun. I bought it on the recommendation of a policeman friend, he had one and loved it. I kept it for about a year and it always held up its end in everything. But it never really "fit" me, I always had to think about how the safety worked,second shots, etc. I picked up a compact 1911 that just melded to my hand and we've been a pair ever since.
July 23rd, 2008 11:31 PM
from Central Florida!
Get thee to a gun shop and hold the little fellas'...several will begin calling your name. When you begin to get chills over a couple of them, find a range where you can rent 2-3 of them.
As far as 9mm, .40, or .45 go, it's a toss up...I'd prefer .45 OMO (only my opinion), but 9mm would serve you well and be a bit cheaper in the ammo dept.
Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
July 23rd, 2008 11:38 PM
I feel that with the advances in ammo, any of those 3 calibers (9, .40, .45, .38) will serve you well for what you want. However, I agree with everyone saying to try before you buy. I have a Glock 27 (.40) that is a companion to my g19, g23, and g26, and I HATE it. I cannot shoot that thing to save my life (literally). I carry a G26 (which for me shoots great) or G19. I know very little about the Berretta, but will say you will not go wrong with any of the others. Look at your carry method, what it will be used for, and the fit. Like anything else, you need to make sure the gun fits you(and if you do not know what that means, you will once you handle a few of them). Though I will say that you should always carry, as if you knew you were going to need it you probably would not go to that place....
July 24th, 2008 12:03 AM
You came to the right place for advice; I'm in a similar situation as you (novice) and I'm looking for a CCW for personal protection. There are lots of considerations as I'm finding out and you will get all sorts of opinions - all of which should add to your cumulative knowledge that you can use when you actually go and "try out" some guns. I never touched a semi-automatic pistol until 2 weeks ago and it was eye-opening and made me realize that deciding on one to carry will not be easy. I figure the more I find out from knowledgeable folks like these in this forum the better off I will be when I get out and get my hands on more guns to practice with at the shooting range. Please post your progress and findings and I wish you the best in finding what best suits you.
July 24th, 2008 12:43 AM
I'd say, find a gun you like to shoot in a caliber you like. Rent them, borrow them, ask at the range to shoot everything that catches your eye and don't rule out revolvers either!
The most important thing you can do is practice practice practice, but you won't want to do that with a gun you don't like or a caliber you hate... and there's NOTHING wrong with 9mm! With the kind of SD ammo available there's no reason to believe "I have to have a .40 or a .45!" Shoot whatever YOU like based on what YOU like. If you want, I'll round up a dozen supporters for any caliber you choose!
Just take your time bro and enjoy the adventure.
ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!
"A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
July 24th, 2008 01:10 AM
Anyone who says the 9mm isn't enough for self defense, I simply say...
"Tell that to the 32 innocent victims who died from a crazed gunman at VA Tech with a Glock 19 and a Walther P22."
USMC rule # 23 of gunfighting: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
I am the God fearing, gun toting, flag waving conservative you were warned about!
July 24th, 2008 05:40 AM
Welcome to the group! I'm sure that as a new shooter, you'll pick up a lot of great tips. I know at least that I have. Don't hesitate to ask a question if you have one. This group is happy to help out. As far as your question, do as has already been mentioned. Find a place where you can rent a variety of guns to try. Also, try out the different calibers. When I bought my first gun a couple of years ago (at least my first in 30 years), I got a 9mm because I had shot a 357 before, and I found that after the first shot, which was perfect, I just couldn't control it adequately enough for self defense, unless I planned to burn them to death with the muzzle flash. After buying my third gun, I decided to rent a 45, and found that I had no problem controlling it. My main carry gun is now an XD 45, with my Glock 26 9mm for pocket carry. Just make sure that you shoot each caliber (9mm, 40, and 45), and then pick the one that you like, and can handle. Also, if there's someone else who may need to shoot it for self defense, to make sure that they can handle what you choose. My favorite is a 45, but with the +P loads out there now, in hollow point (which the military can't carry), or expanding point FMJ, etc, it is a capable defensive round. Yes, the 40 and 45 are better, but the 9mm hollow point in +P certainly a good round. Once again, welcome, and enjoy!
July 24th, 2008 06:48 AM
First, welcome aboard!
Yes, take into account the opinions you see here. Don't forget a .380. I'm a .45 personally, but went to a .380 for size.
Now that winter is coming again, I'm going back to .45 and even in a owb setup.
It's all personal choice. You'll see it time and time again, something is better than nothing.
Try out your choices and go with what you feel suits your needs.
Get advice, get training and respect the decision.
"I no longer list firearms I own as a signature. Why give them another list to use when they come to get them?"
July 24th, 2008 02:45 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far. It's a big help.
July 24th, 2008 03:41 PM
The shooting range I go to does not have a .380 to rent for me to try (I have read these have quite a strong recoil). I think the size of these is ideal for me to carry but I have no idea how it feels to use one (my hands are not large). I have only shot a Beretta 9mm (med-large semi) so I need lots more shooting practice. Do you have any suggestions on what I could start renting to compare different sizes of guns and ammo? Start large then move down? Try revolvers first? I am trying to get enough experience to decide on acquiring a quality & reliable ccw and also another one to keep in my home.