Beginner Handgunner Questions

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Hawk, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Hawk

    Hawk Elite Refuge Member

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    I figure I will just bite the bullet and show my inexperience and maybe learn somethings in the process. I have searched and read until my eyes hurt and maybe you all can help me narrow some things down.

    Background: I'm looking to purchase my first handgun. A recent crime scare in the area has got me looking real hard at a handgun. Having kids, leaving a shot gun out in the open in my bedroom just isn't an option but I know it's easy to store a handgun safely on the nightstand in a gun safe. My father does own a Glock in .40 and a few other handguns so I do have some pistol experience but not a lot. I do have a concealed carry permit so while I am looking for a home defense weapon first I would like the option to have something that can be carried when I want to.

    I plan on holding many types and even trying to shoot some at an indoor range. Based on my budget and reviews I'm pretty much looking at the XD, Glock, S&W M&P. Not a deal breaker but I would prefer not to have to disengage a thumb safety although I understand with lots of practice it wouldn't be a problem.

    Sorry for the long post, but now the questions:
    What should I be looking for other than feel in hand?
    Are the compact and shorter barrel guns less accurate than longer barrels?
    Does it need to be a compact to be easily concealed?
    Is there that much of a weight difference between compact and full size when being carried?
    Is recoil and muzzle rise a problem with compact versus full size?

    I also still need to decide if I want the 9mm, .40, or the .45. From reading, it seems to come down to personal preference and budget for shells. Really been leaning towards the .40 or .45 though. I'm sure I have more questions but I've taken enough of people's time and I appreciate any answers I get. I'm just looking to have a little background info before walking into the gun shop clueless.
     
  2. ALMODUX

    ALMODUX Elite Refuge Member

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    There's a lot of room for trying to answer you, but feel/fit is important. However, whatever feels good/points well also needs to have a trigger you can (with practice) shoot well. Handgun accuracy is extremely trigger intensive for new shooters, and takes some time to learn the 'press' needed so you actually hit where you're holding the sights. Secondly, this is more important than many give credit for in self defense situations, low light, stress, speed, etc...think about not seeing, forgetting about, or not having time for sights. Can you still hit at room/contact distances with your choice?

    You really need to visit some ranges on Saturdays, with a box of whatever caliber(s) you're considering, and watch and see if you can't shoot a bunch of different guns that show up. Most range gunners are glad to let you run a toy of theirs, especially if you're polite enough to foot the ammo. Think point, trigger, and how well does it shoot for me?

    Size is relative for CCW. Smaller guns are easier to carry. Full size are easier to shoot well....generally. You can conceal some full sized guns well, and some small guns can be shot well...mid sizers fall in between, but some like the commander sized 1911s, 229 sigs, 19/23series glocks, and ful size CZ or hi power styles go both directions pretty well. Single stack mags tend to carry better for me on mid size guns.

    9mm and 45 are probably both easier for most handgunners to shoot than most 40s. Any of the three can do good work, but 9mm is still cheaper to practice with.
    There are a bunch more choices, but maybe I've got you thinking. :)
     
  3. JohnBZ

    JohnBZ Elite Refuge Member

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    its all largely a matter of personal preference. at self defense ranges accuracy is good enough on nearly any production gun if you practice. the gun needs to be small enough to be easy to carry all the time. that will come down to your personal threshhold. you can count on a subcompact being snappier and less pleasant to shoot than a full frame but its nothing unmanagable.
     
  4. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator

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    Caliber choice is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO personal. Bottom line, any of the above will do the job. WHERE the bullet hits is MUCH more important than how big or fast it is going.

    If I had 6 rounds to carry, regardless of the gun type, they would be .45. If I had a choice between 6 or 10 rounds, I would choose 10. If I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with those 10, but was in the bull with the 6, I would pick the 6.

    I laugh at the LONG threads about bullet choice. My father was a Capt on our Dept, and he was the FIRST to carry a .45. He carried it for a year before it was even authorized, cocked and locked, just to prove it was a safe weapon in that mode. That was back in the 70's, and most of the Dept was still carrying revolvers. So, he believed in the .45. But, Vegas is hot, and shorts are the norm. 90% of the time he carried one of those little .22 mini revolvers. Just dropped it in his pocket.

    Now, I am not advocating that choice. What is important is, if you want to carry, then carry. Get something that you can ALWAYS carry. Trust me, if a car jacker, or mugger, sees the barrel come up in his face, he isn't going to keep coming because it is a 9mm. The BLAST will stop him 90% of the time. Same thing for a home intrusion. Once the first round goes off, he is looking for a way out. What is important is, he is taking some lead with him.

    Not to bring up a volatile subject, but Trevon was stopped with one round to center mass with a 9mm.
     
  5. Hawk

    Hawk Elite Refuge Member

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    Thank you for the responses so far, they have definitely given me things to think about. I know a lot of it will be based on the feel of the gun in my hand, but it never hurts to have more to think about. Knowing I have the budget to get one handgun and not multiple ones I have read everything I can about the different calibers. I guess I just need to test some. Please keep any advice coming though. I am enjoying all the info in this thread and the research I have done.
     
  6. Mrs.10GAGENUT

    Mrs.10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor

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    A lot of it personal preference...
    Here's what I tell anyone who has asked over the years about what type of pistol to buy for your type of situation.
    If your looking for a just a home defense pistol get something that you don't need to think about shooting to shoot. In the middle of the night or in a high stress situation, especially if your new to handguns...do you really need to be worrying about if theirs a round in the chamber, did I take the safety off or did I put a full magazine in the gun. These are things that guys who have been shooting for years have programmed in their minds before using a handgun...but do you? Most people who get into a life threating scenario may not think of these things and may wind off worse than not having a handgun at all.
    Buy a revolver and learn how to shoot it if your new to handguns, their goof proof. Don't let anybody tell you a .38 special is not enough for a home defense round, it's more than enough. I'm fortunate enough to have a choice of many weapons for home defense, and I've been shooting for over 30 years.
    My go to gun is S&W Combat Magnum in .357 magnum, like I said it's goof proof.
     
  7. joe117

    joe117 RIP Joe

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    "a handgun safely on the nightstand in a gun safe".

    Are you expecting someone to break in at night while you are sleeping?
    I'm sure that if you tried, you could make that almost impossible.

    My advice would be to skip the handgun and buy an O/U or SXS with a proper lock. With that lock the gun is going to be child proof.

    Quick to unlock and to load, probably easier to hit your target, various loads available.
     
  8. wildfowl4444

    wildfowl4444 Elite Refuge Member

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    On the subject of "Fit" keep in mind that the Smith and Wesson M&P have interchangable back straps that change the fit of the gun. That was a selling point for me. The one on the shelf did not feel right, but with quick change from the 2 others in the box, it was then right.
     
  9. tornadochaser

    tornadochaser Elite Refuge Member

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    what are you more likely to remember in the middle of the night; a 3-7 digit code to drop the door on a pistol safe, or where you left the key for your trigger lock for your shotgun?
     
  10. quackadikt

    quackadikt Elite Refuge Member

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    As do the Springfield XDms and Glock Gen 4s.
     

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