First Gun Decision

This is a discussion on First Gun Decision within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Let me first say that I am 30 and have never owned my own gun. While that is probably pretty humorous to some, I just ...

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Thread: First Gun Decision

  1. #1
    New Member Array snappca's Avatar
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    First Gun Decision

    Let me first say that I am 30 and have never owned my own gun. While that is probably pretty humorous to some, I just have never personally felt the need. But a desire to get back into backpacking/camping with my family has brought back a dormant desire to become comfortable handling a handgun. Some of the stuff that has happened recently on the Appalachian Trail is enough to make any parent nervous.

    Too be clear, I only intend to own ONE gun. I'll say that cost is not a factor as long as I find one that will last a good many years and that I can use for hobby shooting at the range with my wife.

    Because of my desire to also be able to hobby shoot I've been focused on 9mm due to the less expensive ammo. While I don't doubt other ammo may have more technical merits, I'm not intending to get into a war and I'd think getting hit with a 9mm round would turn anyone's day into a bad one.

    In addition to home defense, occasional concealed carry (mainly on travel), and hobby shooting at the range I very much would want something that is safe for rugged outdoor activity.

    In my searching I have read countless threads on the merits of DA/SA vs DAO vs SAO and while I appreciate the simplicity of DA/SA I still would be concerned that during my outdoor hiking I could put everyone in danger due to an accident similar to the oft-mentioned Plaxico Burress. I'm sure that sounds like straight ignorance (and it may very well be) but I'll say again that I'm going to be new to handling a tool specifically designed to destroy whatever it is pointed at.

    I've done a fair bit of arm-chair research in addition to handling some at the local gun shop and shooting my brother-in-law's Glock 23 and I've put my short list below:

    HK P30 - seems like it gets great reviews and I like the adjustable grips as well as the minimal recoil
    Springfield XD / XD sub-compact - I like the addition of a grip safety, but I'm not sure what it provides that the P30 does not when you figure that cost is not an issue
    Sig P250 - seems like people are concerned this is too new and has not had time to prove itself
    Glock 19 / 26 - I don't really like the safety being entirely within the trigger

    I had been focused on going with the HK P30, but I just read that they are looking to bring the P30s to the states and I was thinking that'd be the best of both worlds. DA/SA but able to also toss a safety on and later as I became more comfortable carrying I could decide whether I would want to carry "cocked and locked" or just rely on the double action.

    So on to the questions:

    * Does the P30 have a drop safety like the others? I guess what I'm trying to find out is, is there any way the hammer could be allowed to fall and discharge the weapon WITHOUT pulling the trigger. I would think ALL weapons would have a hammer block these days, but I wanted to make sure I understood ALL of the safeties that a P30 has and how the P30s would be different.

    * P30 LEM vs DA/SA? What is the advantage of the spurless hammer and how do you properly decock an LEM without a decocker?

    * I was intending to carry the weapon in a covered chest holster attached to my backpack's straps....but I'd definitely be open to suggestion since I'm new to this. Lord knows I don't want it snagging on anything, but I'd like it within easy access when carrying my backpack. For some reason the concept of carrying IWB seems foolish with a 30 pound backpack on my back and I'm not sure I like the idea of intimidating others enjoying a family hike by walking around with open carry. Normal use concealed carry holster recommendations would be welcome as well.

    * Lastly any suggestions on a gun safe would be fantastic. I'm not looking to own a rifle so I don't need any Fort Knox sized safe....just a small safe to be placed near my bed and that could be taken on travel for the gun and some valuables would be ideal. It's mainly to keep my 3 year old's hands off of it.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Glock 19 / 26 - I don't really like the safety being entirely within the trigger
    Popular misconception. 99% of the safety depends upon you...the other 1% depends on keeping your pistol well maintained. I'm not suggesting you go for the Glock, just merely pointing out the facts.
    Welcome to the forum BTW!

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    My vote would be to go for the Sig P250, Its an excellent platform, and Sig is not known for skimping on quality. Plus if you ever decide you need the ONE gun you own to be bigger, smaller or of a different caliber - you just need to get the new part, not a whole new gun. If you are going to be hiking alot I would look into a fanny pack "holster" they look like normal fanny packs that many people bring hiking anyways and fully conceal the weapon, added benefit is that when you take the pack off for a break you dont have to worry about losing control of your weapon. It is also something you can use, if you desire, when not camping for CCW.

    My two cents.

    And welcome to Defensive Carry! tons of great people here from all walks of life and experience.
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  5. #4
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    Welcome...

    from Central Florida!

    I'd go with the Glock-26...they only safety you need to practice into muscle memory is you finger.

    ret
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  6. #5
    Member Array billdeserthills's Avatar
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    You should not base your handgun pick on that of someone else. There are thousands of different guns available and for good reason. Every one is a little different. You should find a range that rents handguns, tell them you want to shoot 9mm and if they also sell guns, you should let them know you are looking for one you'd like to purchase, sometimes they'll give you a good deal on the rental.

  7. #6
    Member Array ibesarcasm's Avatar
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    First..... Welcome! Nice thoughtful first post!

    Ok..... One weapon, all-around, everything...... cant tell what fits your hand, or is comfortable for you, but based on the info in your post..... a few suggestions:

    Polymer- you want to carry it out while your hiking, weight will be a consideration.
    Larger Cal.- no less than 9mm, recommend a 357sig, 40 cal, or 45 cal. You want some stopping power for large animals.
    DBL action only- You seem concerned about the de-cockers and safety aspects. A DAO weapon will alleviate those concerns. no safety, no de-cocker, no mess......pull the trigger, and bang.
    For backpacking- get you a chest holster. It will give you great access, a more comfortable carry, and keep it out of your way.

    As for the weapon?? that is what YOU have to come up with..... if you follow my considerations & find a weapon that fits you and the above, I promise you'll have a great weapon that is safe for you to carry, comfortable, and will be a useful all around weapon.

    Good luck & we'll expect a full report on your choice!
    Sarcasm - Just one of the many services I provide!
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  8. #7
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    You're considering good guns; one worth looking at if your mind is still open to other choices is the S+W M+P 9c - about the same size as the XD compact and the G19. The trigger is also similar to both, but the feature you may like is that you can get this gun with a thumb safety. The M+P autos have proven to be very reliable.

    As far as carrying when you're hiking, I don't think a chest rig will be very comfortable if you're carrying a pack (but, that depends on the size and configuration of the pack). Assuming you can carry openly where you'll be, for this use I would suggest a cross-draw belt holster, carried weak side at 3:00 or 9:00 (+ or -). This puts the pistol grip forward toward your drawing hand, yet your drawing hand won't have to clear your pack frame or straps. If concealment is an issue for you, an untucked button-front shirt or jacket will keep the gun mostly hidden.

    A bit more "aggressive" would be a thigh/drop holster such as used by "tactical" guys - SWAT, military, etc. This puts the grip of the gun far enough below the beltline to clear packs and chest rigs, but not so low that it's out of reach. Obviously, the gun is more visible to onlookers this way - it's the complete opposite of concealment.

    For everyday concealed carry, a good IWB holster (I can already hear the masses chanting "Crossbreed Supertuck, Crossbreed Supertuck") such as the "Summer Special" by Milt Sparks (Bruce Nelson design, many copycats exist) is popular. I really dislike threading holsters onto belts, so I'm somewhat partial to paddle holsters. Do check the Holster Supplier sticky here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...d-updated.html to see what's out there. Just don't invest in a quality gun then go el-cheapo on your carry rig. Get a substantial pistol belt along with your holster. (For hiking, I suggest a Wilderness Instructor's belt.)

    FWIW, in my outdoor training courses I usually wear a Camelback "plus" (water bladder + some storage), and carry my pistol in a belt holster at about 3:30-4:00 position. Never had a problem getting a good drawing grip on the gun with that setup.
    Smitty
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  9. #8
    Member Array ibesarcasm's Avatar
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    Trust me smitty......... if your gonna hike in the mountains, or for day(s) long trecks, the less you have on your hips and legs, the better. I have lots of friends who climb and pack..... their ONLY choice is a chest holster. Of course you'll want other holsters as needed when you carry at diff. times.
    Course maybe your only talk a cpl hours......but if your talking LONG treks, trust me.....you'll get a chest holster.......

    I do know a cpl close to here that maks some great chest holsters, and they clip to your backpack sholder straps and to your belt.....becomes part of your pack........ but its a whole setup, has the regular straps with no backpack also.....say a light day hike......
    Sarcasm - Just one of the many services I provide!
    Ever wonder why massacres never happen at a gun range??
    You might find me dead in a ditch one day, but I'll be in a pile of brass. - Stolen from Zebra64

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array justherenow's Avatar
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    I will agree with the poster that said go and rent some and shoot them, see what you like. It will be much cheaper to do this, than buying something that you find you dont like, cant shoot well and so forth.

    Personally, I would say you can go with a Glock 32, then buy a 9mm barrel and mag, then you have a .357sig to carry, yet a 9mm to practice with.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Array cz75luver's Avatar
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    I think the P30 is a great idea and a great gun. I have yet to read a negative for it.

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    H&Ks a good choice.

    Since you mentioned an H&K pistol first, I would have to second your thought on that. Anything made by H&K would be excellent for your application. Their polymer pistols are lightweight but durable and reliable. If you want one that has lots of trigger and safety options, the USP might be the way to go. It allows DA/SA, SA cocked and locked, or DA/SA with manual safety on.

    I have the .40 caliber compact and the .45 caliber full size, but would recommend a 9mm compact for your requirement. Here is my .40 compact:

    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    9mm is not a bad calibre and ammo is reasonable and available,Plaxico was not carrying in a holster and that was a huge mistake,good gun+good holster+good gun handling=safety
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  14. #13
    Member Array pir8te's Avatar
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    would look at the other end of the 9 mm spectrum

    I have a collection of 9 mm and this would not be my choice if I still lived back east

    If I were in your shoes and was only getting 1 gun that I did not plan on concealed carry as a primary use "Travel only" ,,,,but wanted something that is fun to shot and could use on the range as well as trail (bears/boars and mnt lions)

    I would not make my choice a 9mm

    I would look at a revolver in 4-6 inch
    • 38 special/357 mag
    • 44 special/44 mag

    38 special/357 mag for fun shoot 38 and for stopping 357

    Pretty cheap to shoot 38 special and I have taken a fair bit of game with 357 mag
    Maybe a sentimental choice for me, as this was my 1st hand gun a python that I still have 35 yrs latter never felt undergunned


    44 combo little more expensive to shoot but better bear gun in a pinch

    Just a thought
    Steve

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    Member Array ibesarcasm's Avatar
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    LOVE the pythons and king cobras!! BUT, dang sure don't want to carry one around all day!! Not to mention a revolver is bulkier, and ammo reloads are bulkier.......not sure this would be a good all purpose carry gun for the OP......
    Sarcasm - Just one of the many services I provide!
    Ever wonder why massacres never happen at a gun range??
    You might find me dead in a ditch one day, but I'll be in a pile of brass. - Stolen from Zebra64

  16. #15
    Member Array pir8te's Avatar
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    I should agree but I carried one for so long that I felt out of balance when it wasn't there when I was younger


    key is a great holster and belt rig

    I also think for a beginner you can't go wrong with a DA SW/Colt/Ruger it would met all his criteria but I know I am old school on this


    I taught my wife and all 4 of my girls to shoot with that old wheel gun


    Steve

    Quote Originally Posted by ibesarcasm View Post
    LOVE the pythons and king cobras!! BUT, dang sure don't want to carry one around all day!! Not to mention a revolver is bulkier, and ammo reloads are bulkier.......not sure this would be a good all purpose carry gun for the OP......
    Steve

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