Pistol for first time owner?

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by SuzukiGS750EZ, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. SuzukiGS750EZ


    Dec 30, 2008
    Hey guys. I'm going to my pistol permit class this coming friday to get my certificate and hopefully move on to getting my town and then state permit. My question is, what would you recommend for a first time pistol? I know i would like a polymer frame and semi automatic. No idea on caliber, brand, etc. Something that i can carry daily but won't break the bank as a first gun. Also, are used guns something that i should look into?
  2. powernoodle

    powernoodle Power Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    For first-timers, I recommend a small .38 5-shot revolver. A Smith & Wesson if you can afford it, or a Taurus or similar of you cannot. Buying used if fine as long as the gun is in good shape. The small .38 revolver is easy to handle, easy to carry, has no extraneous controls to deal with and is highly reliable. It won't hurt my feelings if you start with something else, but its not a bad option. My 79 year old mother scared off a burglar last year with 2 shots from a S&W 442. She said he ran "like a jackrabbit". My 442 is my go-to gun when I want to pocket carry. Its "used bar of soap" shape hides well in the pocket.

  3. SuzukiGS750EZ


    Dec 30, 2008
    I'll have to take a look at that. I figured a semi auto would be more comfortable to carry concealed with it not being such a wide gun. My buddy actually works at S&W so i will ask him what he's got there.
  4. Wood5045

    Wood5045 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 22, 2016
    You are likely to get a lot of different responses.

    Just like knives, what one person likes in a gun will be different from the next. Stick with the major manufacturers and you should be good. Look for what fits your hand. Also, try to find a range that rents guns (or a friend) and shoot as many as possible to get and idea what YOU like.

    9mm is a good starting point for caliber and is usually cheaper than .40/.45.

    To give you a starting point, you may want to look at the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield or Compact, Glock and Springfield XD series, etc...

    Good luck
  5. BrewCity59


    May 2, 2010
    Some excellent guidance!!
  6. Krav

    Krav Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 6, 2013
    Glock 26, 9 mil. It's a double stack so you can use other glock double stack mags. I shoot mine almost as good as my glock 17. Easy to field strip easy to do upgrades, only problem is it's a little thicker then single stacks if you conceal carry.
    Recoil isn't bad because the gun has some heft to it.
  7. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    I would recommend strongly against the lightweight, small-frame .38 Special. They are concealable and convenient carry guns, but feature stiff recoil and a short sight radius. They feature a simple manual of arms, and are easy to learn how to operate but difficult to learn to shoot well. They are not comfortable guns to shoot and almost inevitably find their way into a pile of guns labeled 'shoot little, carry much.' Which is an OK pile of guns to have, but if you only have one handgun, I would say that is not the droid you are looking for.

    In your category of polymer semiautaos, most of the common brands are more or less equal. If you're interested in maximum carryability, the S&W M&P Shield is an excellent choice, as are the Springfield Armory XDs, Kahr P9, Walther PPS, and Glock 43. If you want something with a little more capacity that is a little easier to shoot, step up to the M&P Compact, XD subcompact, Kahr K9, or Glock 26 or 19.

    I think the M&P Shield is a great compromise between shootability, concealability, and cost, but you can also get the Bersa BP9CC sometimes cheaper, and that is also a fantastic value.

    If you're interested in revolvers, I would recommend a six-shot, steel-frame .38 like a S&W K-frame revolver or Ruger GP100. It's likely you'll find these a bit heavy for carry, although it can be done with the right combination of holster, belt, clothing, and willingness.
  8. Boxer .45

    Boxer .45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 11, 2015
    S&W Shield, Glock, XDs 9mmwoul all be a great place to start and affordable. Go to the gun store and handle multiple and if there's a range rent them or go with a friend.

    I will tell you, when you ask an open question even with some perimeters you are going to get all kinds of responses and each one is not necessary wrong but what that person thinks is good ...."for them"(!), you need to find what's good for you!

    I know you're trying to save money, but you're putting your life and the life of your family on this gun, I'm not saying spend a fortune but don't cheap out! Some people want a $200 gun and aren't willing to pay a fair price for a good gun or give up any life frills for a few months to be able to afford what is a decent firearm.

    Btw, there is no one end all be all firearm, that's why most people own more than one. You will get another one eventually to fit you better or for a specific purpose.

    Try to enjoy the whole process. Stressful, yup, fun, yup, confidence inspiring because you know you are taking your own security and that of your family, absolutely.
  9. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    I'm going to have to go against that recommendation. A snub nose revolver isn't a good gun to start out with, for someone without a significant amount of experience in running a gun. Sights are poor, recoil is stout, reloading isn't much of an option since the ejector rod can't eject the spent casing completely, etc. It's not a good platform to start out with, because all the factors that make it convenient for carry make it unpleasant to learn on. my LCP is good for carry, but I absolutely hate to shoot it. My official impression after running just one magazine through it's frame was **** that ****!

    With little doubt, the most common recommendation is going to be one of the Glock models by most people here. The 26 has the advantage of being able to use double stack magazines from its bigger brothers the 17 and 19, and there are a lot more parts available for it, but at the cost of being bulky. The 43 has the advantage of being slimmer, making it more concealable, but at the cost of proprietary magazines that hold six or seven rounds.

    EDIT: It looks like everyone else offered up the same advice I was going to while I was actually typing my message...
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  10. on_the_edge

    on_the_edge Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2006
    You know, at a lot of indoor ranges, you can rent handguns to shoot there. What you like/dislike will be highly personal and you may choose something that the guy standing next to you would not choose in 100 years. Try different guns on the range (not just in your hand) and eventually you will start to get a better sense of what's best for you.
  11. Boxer .45

    Boxer .45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 11, 2015
    Hey Madcap, Wasp here, (PDF) :)

    I don't agree that the .38 J Frame should be out. Recoil is not bad with the right grips and the right load. They aren't inaccurate or hard to learn to shoot with practice at reasonable ranges of 10-15 yards to which most people can hit a paper plate which is easy COM. It does require some practice but no more than anything else.

    I've shot J Frame before but this is my recently acquired S&W 442 at ten yards.


    First five a 10yds

    Second cylinder from 10 yards.

    It's usually between the two as far as groups, but the license plate is a great size reference and I could cover them all with my fist except the flyer which I pulled.
  12. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    I have nothing more to add to this.
    Go do some test driving.

    Sent via telegraph by the same fingers I use to sip whiskey
  13. bdmicarta


    Feb 16, 2012
    Glock 19, or maybe the similar-sized Springfield XD. The Glock is small enough to conceal but large enough to be easy to shoot.
  14. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    Yeah a 19 or 26. 9mm range ammo is cheap. Even with NATO or +p the recoil is minimal. No stupid external safety.
  15. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    This. We'll recommend a bunch of stuff...whether it works for you is completely up in the air.

    Find a good range, rent some guns, shoot them. Then decide.
  16. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    Nor Hillary hole.
  17. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    Yeah if it must be a revolver for I'd go with ruger
  18. cchu518

    cchu518 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Ruger 22 and a Springfield xD 9mm any Glock gen 3 that suits you.
  19. jaseman

    jaseman Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 28, 2016
    Let be be another to chime in with - go test drive some if you can. What fits my hand, may not fit yours, even if we want the exact same thing out of a firearm.

    The big three polymer's right now are Glock, Smith &a Wesson M&Ps, and the various Springfield XD series guns. There are lots of other, in all price ranges, but these are the most popular at the moment. I would start there, as you can find them all under $500 new, in one flavor or another, and almost every shop will have e few in the case.

    As a new shooter, I would recommend starting off with a .22 for plinking and practicing skills cheaply, but it's not something you're gonna wanna carry for self defense. So I would say look for a good 9mm. Of all the "acceptable" self defense calibers, it will be both the easiest to shoot, and the cheapest ammo to buy - both big factors if your gonna practice and get comfortable with your firearm (which you should).

    New or used is up to you. New will cost a bit more, but you know that no one has played garage-gunsmith with it. Used can be a great value, but try to have someone you trust give a good look at whatever you may consider - think of it like buying a car.

    Most importantly, don't overthink it. Chances are, it won't be your last gun. Get something you can afford, that feels right in your hand. None of the major manufacturers make a bad gun these days. They just may not make the right gun for you.
  20. whp


    Apr 26, 2009

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