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Hallo guys.

I'm from Latvia and I got a permit to purchase a handgun for self defense purposes - after buying a handgun and registering it at police station I should get my CCW permit (it is possible that they only give me a permit for use only as a home defense weapon, although it is not that common).

I've been thinking about what handgun to buy as my first handgun. It will be used as a self defense weapon - will try to carry it 99% of the time. As the process of getting CCW here in Latvia is quite expensive and as I'm not sure I want to invest a lot of money into my first handgun (as I have no experience with guns), I was thinking of going for some kind of budget handgun.

Here in Latvia the laws are strict:

a) One needs to carry a handgun without a round in the chamber with enabled external safety (if gun has one) and with hammer at rest. This means that I'll need to rack the slide of the pistol to set it up for shooting if needed;
b) One needs to carry not more than two full magazines of ammo, that is, on in the handgun and another in the holster (also applies to revolvers and speedloaders);
c) One is allowed to use only FMJ rounds (no JPH - hallow points);
d) One carries only calibers not larger that 9mm in the diameter (basically options are limited to .380 ACP, 9x18 Makarov, 9x19 Parabellum, .38 Special and .357 Magnum);
e) One should not fire a handgun if one cannot guarantee the safety of those who are not intended to be shot.

As for carry environment:
*I work in office and usually wear tucked in long sleeve shirts (as the ones you wear with a suit - I dress something like this http://www.primermagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/TuckedShirt/Tucked_New.jpg) so it seems that I'll be trying to use an IWB holster which will allow tucking, or maybe some kind of holster shirt or something similar. Maybe I'll add a jacket or coat to my wardrobe and will use also a shoulder holster. Weather here in Latvia varies significantly: from -25 C (-13 F) in winter to +30 C (+86 F) in summer, so I will be wearing quite thick gloves in winter and thin gloves in autumn and spring. I'm 5'10" and 155lb. I had a blank pistol which was a H&K USP Compact copy (which is basically the same size as Glock 19) and I tried to put it in my pants like in a AIWB carry - it was a real problem - I couldn't sit without it poking in my stomach and tight - it was super uncomfortable. Also grip printed a bit in my shirt. Judging from this I don't think I'll be able to carry a Glock 19 comfortably, without worrying about printing constantly. Also I tried to carry it under a jacket in a horizontal position in should holster - the slide was printing on my back - so again, I'm not sure I'll be able to conceal Glock 19 comfortably.

For now my options for handgun selection seem to be:
*Pistols (list is prioritised from decisions made so far):
1) Makarov 9x18 - 115$ for East German in perfect condition with two magazines;
2) Glock 26 9x19 (Gen 3) - used 460$;
3) Glock 19 9x19 (Gen 2 IIRC) - used 460$ with two magazines;
4) SigSauer P230 9x17 - used for around 195-230$;
5) Beretta 84F 9x17 - used for around 345$;
6) Beretta 85F 9x17 - used, but as new for 460$;
7) Sig Sauer P232 9x17 - used for 345$;
8) Walther PK380 9x17 - used around 310$, new around 460$;
9) S&W MP9 Shield 9x19 - new for 750$;
10) Walther PPX 9x19 - new for 670$;
11) Walther CCP 9x19 - new for 710$
12) Glock 42 9x17 - new for 680$;
13) Glock 43 9x19 - new for 785$.

*Revolvers (I didn't think about them, but guys on another forum told me that it could be a good idea to carry a loaded and ready to shoot DA revolver):
1) Smith & Wesson 640 (not 100% sure that it's a 640, but it seems like that) - used for 400$;
2) Few Rossi and Taurus revolvers which I don't consider (as I would be better of with buying that S&W J-frame).

On the ammo:
*9x17, 9x18 and 9x19 costs pretty much the same - around 0,25-0,30$/pc. 38 Spl. costs around 0,40$/pc and .357 Magnum around 0,45$/pc.

On the ownership of a handgun:
*We need to do 3 ballistics shots in police every 5 years so they have bullets with rifling impression patterns from all handguns - this costs 90$ (every 5 years). So owning many handguns unfortunately mean a lot of money spent in these ballistics tests. I think I could consider two handguns though - the one I buy now and another after some time (if I'll buy a revolver I would buy another semi-auto pistol later).

Here are some of my thoughs so far:
- If I do buy a revolver there will be problems finding gear for it and I will need to buy it online from around the world. Found Falco holsters @ Slovakia, seems that they offer them also for J-frames, so I think I would buy from them as the prices are 1/3 to 2/3 of a Crossbread qwikclip. Also I would need to order a speedloader online;
- From point (e) above it seems that over-penetration could be a serious concern - because of this I did little ballistics calculations provided in the book "Quantitative Ammunition Selection". My conclusions are: .380ACP and 9x18 in FMJ would be my best choice if over-penetration is a serious problem. My calculations show that .380ACP and 9x18 FMJ bullet would over-penetrate (in summer conditions with a slim T-shirt as an extra barrier) and would possibly fully penetrate the second body (thickness of bodies assumed - 7" - average 5'10" guy in Latvia) and in worst case would exit the second body with a velocity that would not be enough to penetrate another humans skin (in a winter environment it could be possible that the bullet would not exit the clothes of the attacker and thus would not over-penetrate). The .380ACP and 9x18 FMJ would produce 75% of the permanent wound cavity mass of 9x19 FMJ bullet (as I understand it basically would produce 75% of the damage that 9x19 bullet would do). Also, the .380ACP and 9x18 would only cause damage to the second body penetrated of the magnitude of 45% of what would be caused to the first body penetrated (the attacker) instead of 64-78% for 9x19, .38Spl and .357Mag. 9x19 FMJ and .38Spl FMJ available to me would have pretty much the same terminal ballistics performance, except that 9x19 FMJ round would have higher possibility to penetrate the skin of the 3rd body (it would only penetrate something like 2" - could do a lot of harm, though).

Here is my list of the pros for both pistols and revolver in general circumstances, that is, when both hand are available for operation of handgun:
Pistol pros:
1) Higher capacity than that of a snub nose revolver (which is what I would possibly carry if I'll go with a revolver) - minimum for pistols in my options list is 7 rounds;
2) Possibility of me reloading a semi-auto pistol in a middle of gunfight or any other attack is way higher that for a revolver + reloading a semi-auto pistol will generally be faster;
3) Comparing to a snub nose revolver (which is what I would possibly carry if I'll go with a revolver) I should be able to get off faster shots with more accuracy;
4) If I'll buy a pistol with external safety then I'll have to carry the gun with it enabled, which will serve me good if in any case my handgun is taken from me giving me few seconds to try and take it back (attacker possibly won't be able to disable the safety fast enough to use the gun against me);
5) If I'm sure that I'll lose my handgun in a hand-to-hand combat or whatever there is a possibility for me to quickly drop the magazine and maybe kick it away so that my attacker cannot shoot me;
6) Most of the typical malfunctions can be cleared relatively fast;
7) Ammo (either .380ACP, 9x18 or 9x19) costs only around 60-75% of what costs .38 Special which is what I would possibly carry if I'll go with a revolver);
8) As my budget for practicing with real ammo is quite limited for every month (from around 50 round of .38 Special to 95 of 9x18 or 9x19) I could possibly supplement my training with airgun training (would aid my skill development anyway).
Revolver pros:
1) It is ready to shoot as soon as I draw it (round is in chamber);
2) Possibly it would be easier to draw a revolver with a good grip from many awkward positions (like being on ground or any other awkward position);
3) I should be able to fire a revolver continuously in a situation where my revolver is in direct contact with attackers body (semi-auto pistol could jam after first shot);
4) Possibility of little malfunctions is probably smaller that for semi-auto pistols (like malfunction to feed, extract, etc).

Here is my list of the pros for both pistols and revolver in circumstances where only one hand for operation of handgun is available:
Pistol pros:
1) Possibility of me reloading a pistol with one hand in any situation is higher than that of reloading a revolver;
2) In general I should be able to make better one handed shots with a semi-auto pistols than a revolver;
3) If I would get a malfunction it would be more probable to sort it out with one hand only on a semi-auto pistol compared to a revolver.
Revolver pros:
1) Again, it is ready to shoot as soon as I draw it (instead a pistols would need to be racked which is extra difficult for one handed operation of a handgun);
2) In any case it should be easier to draw a revolver in any situation with one hand only compared to a pistol.

Just to add some additional info, I really think that the possibility of me actually needing a handgun for self defense here in Latvia is lower than that for you living in US. Also, I suspect that the most likely encounter in a self defense situation could be a 1 on 1 situation with an attacker somewhere on a street or something. Also we typically don't have terrorist attacks, mass shootings or home invasions for that matter (although later might happen occasionally). So in general I don't think that it is likely that I would ever encounter more than 3 attackers in any possible shooting situation.

The main questions in the end are:
a) What platform should I choose - revolver or a semi-auto pistol?
b) What handgun should I buy as my first? I would love to stay within a budget of 200-460$, but if there are really good reasons for me to invest more, I would see what I can do.

I think I've provided enough information in this post so everyone who wants can really tune in to my situation and provide good advice. I feel that the biggest problem for me is to choose the platform. If I would go with a semi-auto pistol I'm pretty sure I would choose either Makarov or a Glock 26 - this decision would not be as hard as that of a revolver vs. pistol.

Thanks! Hope you'll share some knowledge!
 

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If i were handcuffed by the criteria of the laws of your country i am not sure what i would do.

Not being able to carry a properly loaded semi auto would make me lean to a revolver.

Carefully researched purchases on the internet could get you all the acessores you need to properly carry a revolver.
 

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Dang! That's a lot of rules! It's hard for me to wrap my head around all that garbage and it makes me appreciate my gun-friendly state even more.

I agree with CIBMike and recommend going with the revolver - in the S&W flavor.

Oh - And Welcome to Defensive Carry!
 

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For the price the Makarov seems like the best deal (If in excellent condition). The Glock G19 with 2 magazines (of 15 rounds each ) gives that firearm a capacity advantage. I do not know much about the other firearms. I would though not consider the Walther CCP. (My neighbor has one and yes, it is very easy to rack the slide. However her husband complains about the way you have to break it apart to clean it (I think it requires a special tool) The Walther PPX seems to have a reliable reputation and also offers the larger capacity magazine.
I do think your amount of research is excellent. And your possible conclusion of a G26 or a Makarov, I think are maybe your best choices (From my point of view). I have a Ruger LCR in .38 I seem to be having accuracy issue only because i am not familiar with shooting it. I also have a Ruger LCP (.380) that I can shoot more accurately (7-15 yards or approx 6-14 meters). I am not a big fan of .380 (9x17) ammo or pistols. I have had a bad experience with the Glock G42 (Early production) and had to return to Glock factory in USA for upgrade of certain parts and still had to run about 200 rounds as a break in period (I'd not consider the G42, if I were you)

Between the semi autos and the revolvers. ( FOR ME i'd choose Semi any day)

Good luck and stay safe !
 

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It will be used as a self defense weapon - will try to carry it 99% of the time.

I'm 5'10" and 155lb. I had a blank pistol which was a H&K USP Compact copy (which is basically the same size as Glock 19) and I tried to put it in my pants like in a AIWB carry - it was a real problem - I couldn't sit without it poking in my stomach and tight - it was super uncomfortable.

For now my options for handgun selection seem to be:
*Pistols (list is prioritised from decisions made so far):
1) Makarov 9x18 - 115$ for East German in perfect condition with two magazines;
2) Glock 26 9x19 (Gen 3) - used 460$;
3) Glock 19 9x19 (Gen 2 IIRC) - used 460$ with two magazines;
4) SigSauer P230 9x17 - used for around 195-230$;
5) Beretta 84F 9x17 - used for around 345$;
6) Beretta 85F 9x17 - used, but as new for 460$;
7) Sig Sauer P232 9x17 - used for 345$;
8) Walther PK380 9x17 - used around 310$, new around 460$;
9) S&W MP9 Shield 9x19 - new for 750$;
10) Walther PPX 9x19 - new for 670$;
11) Walther CCP 9x19 - new for 710$
12) Glock 42 9x17 - new for 680$;
13) Glock 43 9x19 - new for 785$.
Hm.

Well, if the Glock 19 9mm is fairly uncomfortable, look at a couple things.

  • Your particular choice in pants. Not all pants are cut sufficiently well to allow for the space and movement requirements of a holstered gun.
  • Your choice in where along your belt line you carry the thing. Not all spots are equally comfortable as compared to someone else at that same spot, nor are all spots equally capable of discreet carry at that spot. AIWB might well be uncomfortable, but IWB or OWB at the 4:00 o'clock position might be wonderful. Everyone's different. As is every holster.
  • Your holster selection. Some holsters spread the load better than others. Such as the Milt Sparks VersaMax-II holster, which is fairly thick, fairly wide, and most folks find very comfortable. Can be quite a different experience than a much-simpler single-clip holster that isn't designed as well.
  • Your choice in size and shape of gun, particularly in terms of how "flat" it rides against your hip. A thinner, curvier gun might sit flatter and more comfortably than a relatively "blocky" sidearm.
With options for guns, I might suggest one of the following as a suitable, more-comfortable alternative to the mid-sized Glock 19:

  • Bersa Thunder UC Pro 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller and somewhat curvier
  • Bersa BPCC 9mm -- thinner and smaller than the G19
  • Kahr K9 9mm -- thinner and smaller than the G19
  • H&K P30SK 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller
  • Glock 26 9mm -- same as the G19, but smaller
  • CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller
  • S&W M&P Shield 9mm -- noticeably smaller and thinner than the G19
  • S&W Model 3913 9mm (or one of its variants) -- though no longer manufactured, they are excellent firearms -- a relatively good-sized pistol, but it feels thinner than it really is. Rides well and comfortably, for being as large as it is.
  • S&W 940 9mm revolver -- discontinued, but excellent
  • S&W Model 60 .357/.38 revolver
  • S&W Model 640 revolver
  • Ruger SP-101 .357/.38 revolver -- somewhat larger than the average J-frame, but not by much. Very well built.

My conclusions are: .380ACP and 9x18 in FMJ would be my best choice if over-penetration is a serious problem. My calculations show that .380ACP and 9x18 FMJ bullet would over-penetrate (in summer conditions with a slim T-shirt as an extra barrier) and would possibly fully penetrate the second body (thickness of bodies assumed - 7" - average 5'10" guy in Latvia) and in worst case would exit the second body with a velocity that would not be enough to penetrate another humans skin (in a winter environment it could be possible that the bullet would not exit the clothes of the attacker and thus would not over-penetrate).
Only you can judge whether it's better to under-penetrate, or to over-penetrate and have the slight risk of injuring someone beyond the perpetrator you're targeting.

My own choice: I never, ever want to under-penetrate. Thus, my preference for 9mm tends to be in the upper end of the JHP performance spectrum, with +P or +P+ pressure cartridges. Something like the DoubleTap 9mm JHP 124gr +P or the Federal 9mm JHP 124gr +P+ HydraShok Tactical. (I understand you're restricted to FMJ and disallowed JHP.)


Pistol pros:
1) Higher capacity than that of a snub nose revolver (which is what I would possibly carry if I'll go with a revolver) - minimum for pistols in my options list is 7 rounds;
2) Possibility of me reloading a semi-auto pistol in a middle of gunfight or any other attack is way higher that for a revolver + reloading a semi-auto pistol will generally be faster;
That's a serious factor, right there. Be certain you can competently reload and operate the thing, whichever platform you decide to get.


I really think that the possibility of me actually needing a handgun for self defense here in Latvia is lower than that for you living in US.
Though, IF you are violently attacked, it's equally likely to be as violent and you're equally likely to want to end it as effectively and rapidly as you're capable of doing. In that sense, it's not that much different. A violent assault by a predator can be deadly ... no matter where one lives. And if it does occur, you don't want to be fooling around with a wimpy response that's incapable of halting the violence.


The main questions in the end are:
a) What platform should I choose - revolver or a semi-auto pistol?
b) What handgun should I buy as my first? I would love to stay within a budget of 200-460$, but if there are really good reasons for me to invest more, I would see what I can do.
Only you can decide.


Very well-considered post, by the way. Excellent information about what you're faced with, the criteria you have, what considerations you're evaluating.

Given what you have said, if I were making the same choices today then I would probably go with this:

  • A semi-auto pistol of suitable size where a 9mm or 9mm +P cartridge could deliver the terminal ballistics sufficient for the situations I imagined ... winter clothing, people of a certain size, desired depth of penetration.

  • A semi-auto pistol, given speed of reloads over that of a revolver. But, that's me. I suck at doing revolver reloads, by comparison. You might be very competent with reloading a revolver, which might negate much of this concern.

  • A relatively smaller, relatively thinner and curvier sidearm, as compared to the Glock 19. But the G19 is fairly thin already, so there aren't many sidearms that would fit as comfortably or as well, unless you go sub-compact.
Given the relatively low incidence of multiple-predator home invasions and the like, I'd feel fairly comfortable with a single-stack semi-auto sidearm that was reliable and of the size to be more comfortable than a G19. Say, the CZ 2075 RAMI, H&K P30SK, Bersa BPCC or Kahr K9.
 

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You should make a pros and cons list for yourself of every factor you can think of, then pay very close attention yo the cons. Those are the things that will bug you the most when you start carrying 99% of the time.
For example: comfort. If you're not comfortable, you're less likely to carry, so factor in weight, how the holster fits, the new belt you may need, larger pants for IWB carry, etc.
Another example is your concern of close contact firing and a semi auto failing to fire. That concern may always be inyour head if you buy one. You can train aroundit, but may not be able to forget it.

The financial concern is relevant, because you should practice with live round when possible. Airguns and dummy fire are good, but live fire is a totally different animal.

Given the length of your post, you've obviously put a lot of thought into this, and will likely make a good decision.
But do this: make the decision, then wait two days and revisit. If it still feels right, go for it!
 

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"9) S&W MP9 Shield 9x19 - new for 750$;"

WOW- wanna buy a couple of used Shields? Now I just got to figure out the laws shipping to Latvia. . .

But on a serious note, one piece of this caught my eye:
"a) One needs to carry a handgun without a round in the chamber with enabled external safety (if gun has one) and with hammer at rest. This means that I'll need to rack the slide of the pistol to set it up for shooting if needed;"

Maybe I missed it, but with a revolver are you allowed to carry fully loaded or does the first chamber need to be empty? Either way within those constraints, you best bet might be revolver. Having to rack the slide on a semi auto before firing is just not going to happen. 95% of the time you won't have time, and with "danger close", one more thing to remember and mess up. With a revolver, even if you have to carry the first chamber empty, all you have to do is pull the trigger twice . . .
 

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Wow an east German Makarov for only $115? You'd be lucky to touch one of those here in the states for $500.
 

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I would lean toward a .357 revolver with at least a 3" to 4" barrel given your laws. I'm not a snub nose fan myself. You can shoot 38 sp out of a magnum if you want. Are you allowed to shoot soft point bullets?

As far as your concern for speed when reloading a revolver, you would be surprised just how quickly you can reload using a speed loader.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Best I can give you is MOVE out of Latvia! :tongue:
I'm planning on doing that - me and my wife want to move to US. We're now having our first baby and then we'll start to do everything necessary to find a job and try to move to US.

Hm.

Well, if the Glock 19 9mm is fairly uncomfortable, look at a couple things.

  • Your particular choice in pants. Not all pants are cut sufficiently well to allow for the space and movement requirements of a holstered gun.
  • Your choice in where along your belt line you carry the thing. Not all spots are equally comfortable as compared to someone else at that same spot, nor are all spots equally capable of discreet carry at that spot. AIWB might well be uncomfortable, but IWB or OWB at the 4:00 o'clock position might be wonderful. Everyone's different. As is every holster.
  • Your holster selection. Some holsters spread the load better than others. Such as the Milt Sparks VersaMax-II holster, which is fairly thick, fairly wide, and most folks find very comfortable. Can be quite a different experience than a much-simpler single-clip holster that isn't designed as well.
  • Your choice in size and shape of gun, particularly in terms of how "flat" it rides against your hip. A thinner, curvier gun might sit flatter and more comfortably than a relatively "blocky" sidearm.
With options for guns, I might suggest one of the following as a suitable, more-comfortable alternative to the mid-sized Glock 19:

  • Bersa Thunder UC Pro 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller and somewhat curvier
  • Bersa BPCC 9mm -- thinner and smaller than the G19
  • Kahr K9 9mm -- thinner and smaller than the G19
  • H&K P30SK 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller
  • Glock 26 9mm -- same as the G19, but smaller
  • CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm -- thicker than the G19, but smaller
  • S&W M&P Shield 9mm -- noticeably smaller and thinner than the G19
  • S&W Model 3913 9mm (or one of its variants) -- though no longer manufactured, they are excellent firearms -- a relatively good-sized pistol, but it feels thinner than it really is. Rides well and comfortably, for being as large as it is.
  • S&W 940 9mm revolver -- discontinued, but excellent
  • S&W Model 60 .357/.38 revolver
  • S&W Model 640 revolver
  • Ruger SP-101 .357/.38 revolver -- somewhat larger than the average J-frame, but not by much. Very well built.



Only you can judge whether it's better to under-penetrate, or to over-penetrate and have the slight risk of injuring someone beyond the perpetrator you're targeting.

My own choice: I never, ever want to under-penetrate. Thus, my preference for 9mm tends to be in the upper end of the JHP performance spectrum, with +P or +P+ pressure cartridges. Something like the DoubleTap 9mm JHP 124gr +P or the Federal 9mm JHP 124gr +P+ HydraShok Tactical. (I understand you're restricted to FMJ and disallowed JHP.)




That's a serious factor, right there. Be certain you can competently reload and operate the thing, whichever platform you decide to get.




Though, IF you are violently attacked, it's equally likely to be as violent and you're equally likely to want to end it as effectively and rapidly as you're capable of doing. In that sense, it's not that much different. A violent assault by a predator can be deadly ... no matter where one lives. And if it does occur, you don't want to be fooling around with a wimpy response that's incapable of halting the violence.




Only you can decide.


Very well-considered post, by the way. Excellent information about what you're faced with, the criteria you have, what considerations you're evaluating.

Given what you have said, if I were making the same choices today then I would probably go with this:

  • A semi-auto pistol of suitable size where a 9mm or 9mm +P cartridge could deliver the terminal ballistics sufficient for the situations I imagined ... winter clothing, people of a certain size, desired depth of penetration.

  • A semi-auto pistol, given speed of reloads over that of a revolver. But, that's me. I suck at doing revolver reloads, by comparison. You might be very competent with reloading a revolver, which might negate much of this concern.

  • A relatively smaller, relatively thinner and curvier sidearm, as compared to the Glock 19. But the G19 is fairly thin already, so there aren't many sidearms that would fit as comfortably or as well, unless you go sub-compact.
Given the relatively low incidence of multiple-predator home invasions and the like, I'd feel fairly comfortable with a single-stack semi-auto sidearm that was reliable and of the size to be more comfortable than a G19. Say, the CZ 2075 RAMI, H&K P30SK, Bersa BPCC or Kahr K9.
If AIWB wont work for me as I thought it would I will change to 4:00 carry (I think that should be good enough). Anyhow I don't think I'll be comfortable with G19 on me from the aspect of printing, because here in Latvia there are not many people carrying handguns so many really don't understand that, that's why I would rather want a smaller gun which wouldn't print and I could be comfortable with it at my workplace etc.

From my calculations i don't see how any of FMJ bullets in calibers mentioned would under-penetrate, so from this aspect the safest caliber for anyone around a shootout would be .380ACP or 9x18. I would have no problems carrying any of those. Although I've now come to a conclusion that, as you may see from my post, I got many other more important aspects to worry about, so the under/over penetration issue really doesn't bother me that much anymore.

You should make a pros and cons list for yourself of every factor you can think of, then pay very close attention yo the cons. Those are the things that will bug you the most when you start carrying 99% of the time.
For example: comfort. If you're not comfortable, you're less likely to carry, so factor in weight, how the holster fits, the new belt you may need, larger pants for IWB carry, etc.
Another example is your concern of close contact firing and a semi auto failing to fire. That concern may always be inyour head if you buy one. You can train aroundit, but may not be able to forget it.

The financial concern is relevant, because you should practice with live round when possible. Airguns and dummy fire are good, but live fire is a totally different animal.

Given the length of your post, you've obviously put a lot of thought into this, and will likely make a good decision.
But do this: make the decision, then wait two days and revisit. If it still feels right, go for it!
My biggest concerns are: printing and needing to chamber a round in a one handed operation situation, which could be a real problem with a semi-auto pistol. That is the main problem with deciding on revolver vs. semi-auto, because semi-auto's in my opinion have more advantages and I want to be certain that the advantage of being ready to fire without need of racking the slide (choosing a revolver) is important enough to give away all the other benefits of semi-auto pistols.

Also I'm quite certain that Makarov, G26 or S&W 640 would be small enough that I could carry them without big worries about printing, so these are the options I'm really making a choice from at this moment (firstly revolver vs. semi-auto pistols and only then if I'll chose semi-auto pistols I'll be choosing between Makarov and G26).

I really like advice of making a decision and confirming it after day or two - I'll do it.

"9) S&W MP9 Shield 9x19 - new for 750$;"

WOW- wanna buy a couple of used Shields? Now I just got to figure out the laws shipping to Latvia. . .

But on a serious note, one piece of this caught my eye:
"a) One needs to carry a handgun without a round in the chamber with enabled external safety (if gun has one) and with hammer at rest. This means that I'll need to rack the slide of the pistol to set it up for shooting if needed;"

Maybe I missed it, but with a revolver are you allowed to carry fully loaded or does the first chamber need to be empty? Either way within those constraints, you best bet might be revolver. Having to rack the slide on a semi auto before firing is just not going to happen. 95% of the time you won't have time, and with "danger close", one more thing to remember and mess up. With a revolver, even if you have to carry the first chamber empty, all you have to do is pull the trigger twice . . .
We are allowed to carry a revolver with all chambers loaded - so yes, double standards. This is actually surprising - because of this revolvers should be popular around here but their not...
 

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Given your list, the G19 would be the easiest to learn with due to its size. It takes most people a longer time to become accurate and comfortable with smaller guns. The G26 would be good if you must go smaller. The Makarov would probably be your best choice overall due to size, power for size, holster availability, parts availability (if needed), and cost. Plus all the ones I've seen, handled, and shot seem to be well built. Given that you can only carry FMJ's I can understand your over penetration concerns.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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I was going to say move out of California, then I looked again and you said you are in Latvia.
 

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In a life threatening situation, e.g., while actively being attacked, robbed, held at gun or knife point, or in a physical fight similar to Zimmerman, where a threat appears suddenly and unsuspectingly, you just aren't going to have time to rack the slide and get a "good" shot off where you're reasonably sure no bystanders will be hit. Trained L.E. with a round in the chambered have been kill by knife carrying criminals who were yards away.

I know many here love their semi-autos Glocks and the like because of the capacity, trigger, ect, so they'll suggested it and normally I'd agree with them. In the OP's situation and being that I assume that criminals do not have access to and use firearms with the same frequency as they do in the U.S., I'd have to suggest that the OP best choice would be to carry a revolver. No slides to rack, no F2F, F2E, riding the slide while under stress, stove pipes, etc. Just point , aim, and pull.
 

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Congratulations on the amount of in depth research and critical thinking you have done. My feeling is go for a revolver for the "what if one hand only is available" reason. I carried a revolver for a year or two before I ever bought my first semi automatic. They are a little "fatter" because of the cylinder in the middle, but I did not find concealing one to be a problem - and it was a larger frame than a j frame. Tuckable concealed IWB holsters for revolvers are harder to find than ones for semi autos, but I'm sure you will do that research also before making a final decision.
 

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I'm planning on doing that - me and my wife want to move to US. We're now having our first baby and then we'll start to do everything necessary to find a job and try to move to US.
Many of the states in the USA have fairly sane arms laws for citizens. Though, every single one of them has a goodly-sized pile of infringements to navigate.

For fairly tolerable arms laws, check out: most anywhere in the southern U.S. (the "South"), Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Montana.

Congratulations on the little one who's coming, by the way. Nice. :eek:k:
 

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We are allowed to carry a revolver with all chambers loaded - so yes, double standards. This is actually surprising - because of this revolvers should be popular around here but their not...
Of all the limitations the government puts on you and the cost difference of ammo, I think the biggest deciding factor for me would be the chambered round being allowed with revolvers but not semis.

The revolver seems like the best option in being able to get off the first shot without having to rack the slide. The big ammo price difference is a concern, but for speed of first shot, I think it wins. Also with how you dress, pocket carry might be an option with a good holster.
 
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