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Considering buying a handgun - any advice?

Posted on 05/18/2011 1:23:42 PM PDT by jda

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To: Bidimus1

I have an as-new Beretta 87 with wood grips that I bought used to match its near-twin I have, Model 85....I absolutely love this gun! Solid as a rock and nice heavy barrel. I will tell you it’s damned expensive for a 22LR pistol, though. New it was $795 and I got it for $595 used ANIB.....

101 posted on 05/18/2011 3:19:23 PM PDT by Gaffer
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To: papertyger

Agree.....They don’t always wear tutus...

102 posted on 05/18/2011 3:21:13 PM PDT by Gaffer
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To: DTogo


103 posted on 05/18/2011 3:22:25 PM PDT by scott7278 ("...I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked..." - BHO)
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To: jda
I would echo the suggestion on a small frame 357 magnum revolver. I would suggest that it have a 2 to 4 inch barrel and nothing longer. It should be a double action revolver as a first handgun.

I would then practice, practice and practice some more with it using 38 Special ammo. Then I would get some “quality” hollow-point 357 magnum ammo and some quality hollow-point 38 special ammo for self defense.

Practice at least once a month and get use to shooting at distances to 25 yards in all kinds of light conditions.

Finally, and most importantly, learn the local laws in your state or community that relate to the carrying of a firearm and to the use of deadly force. Ignorance of the law is not excuse and carry & deadly force laws are sometimes the opposite of what “common sense” or TV westerns/TV cop shows might have taught you.

Good luck

104 posted on 05/18/2011 3:23:58 PM PDT by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!"
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To: jda

please post pictures.

I love gun porn.

105 posted on 05/18/2011 3:57:07 PM PDT by Dryman (Define Natural Born Citizen)
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To: tonysamm

Pick a caliber you are comfortable shooting. For me, the 40SandW is perfect.

If this is for car use only, that is, you are not going to carry it, I personally would not go below 380 caliber at the extreme bottom end. As you step up, recoil becomes an issue. The most important thing in self defense is being able to hit the target IMO. Don’t overlook if you fire a round inside your car, there is going to be a blast and at night a good deal of flash to deal with.

Once you are pretty certain as to the caliber, then go to a good sports store and hand hold as many firearms as you can. How they feel in YOUR hand is very subjective.

Lastly, when you finally get your firearm, don’t lock it in your car, take it with you when you are not in the car.

Good luck with your choice.

FWIW, I have a glock 23 and a Bersa Ultra Compact. I like the Bersa because of the exterior safety but I am more accurate with the Glock. In my mags, I have Winchester Lawman 135gr JHPs, both guns use this round flawlessly.

106 posted on 05/18/2011 4:04:25 PM PDT by Mouton (Voting is an opiate of the electorate. Nothing changes no matter who wins..)
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To: Thane_Banquo

The SP 101 is a superb out of the box handgun. Which is probably why there aren’t many of them on the used market.

107 posted on 05/18/2011 4:10:18 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: jda
Considering buying a handgun - any advice?

Uh...get two?

108 posted on 05/18/2011 4:12:56 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Yes it does.

Of course, I am living in a home paid for through the Smith and Wesson profit sharing program. So, I am a little biased.

109 posted on 05/18/2011 4:34:55 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (How long before the Mall becomes Tahifir Sq?)
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To: RC one
I really like that 686 in your picture.

I'd prefer that over a shotgun for home defense. Also makes for a great car gun.

110 posted on 05/18/2011 4:37:48 PM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: jda

A .45 semi-auto, IMO. It’s the best all around for temperate climates that I know of, where clothing isn’t commonly extremely thick (re. ballistics).

I prefer Ruger Blackhawk single-action with higher powered handloads and a little customization for accuracy, but I’m in the middle of cold, high wind, high country nowhere and have low costs and lots of time for plinking with the extra safety steps and lead recycling (lead catcher on range). ...wouldn’t recommend that for most people, as most have different circumstances including much less range time.

111 posted on 05/18/2011 4:46:08 PM PDT by familyop ("Dry land is not just our destination, it is our destiny!" --"Deacon," "Waterworld")
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To: ichabod1
Yeah, you can’t beat the Glock. I wish I had known before I bought my Ruger 9mm. It’s been a damn nice gun for me, but a bit underpowered

Whenever I read posts like yours, I just shake my head in amazement.

The VT massacre was perpetrated with a 9mm.
112 posted on 05/18/2011 4:46:53 PM PDT by Red in Blue PA (Let's apply the "reasonable man" standard to gun laws. How many would stand?)
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To: RC one
Ya think?


113 posted on 05/18/2011 5:22:55 PM PDT by Osage Orange (The MSM is an enemy of the United States of America)
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To: jda; papertyger; EdReform; scott7278
Quite a bargain considering all the goodies that come with your new XDM:

114 posted on 05/18/2011 5:53:13 PM PDT by DTogo (High time to bring back the Sons of Liberty !!)
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To: grumpa

First gun was a semi auto beretta.Didnt screw that up. ;D

115 posted on 05/18/2011 6:34:15 PM PDT by Redcitizen (In case of economic breakdown, make sure you have a case of Snickers candy bars.)
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To: jda

Since you have to ask...revolver...38 special...3” barrel...use “FBI load” ammunition (just say that at the gun shop, they’ll know what you mean)...practice practice practice.

116 posted on 05/18/2011 11:49:08 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: jda


117 posted on 05/18/2011 11:56:00 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: FlashBack

I’ve got a Blackhawk, Redhawk and a P97. They always hit where they’re supposed to, shoot and work everytime. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

118 posted on 05/19/2011 6:04:42 AM PDT by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: RC one
I am not a die-hard fan of semiautos and see the advantages of a revolver. My decision on getting one or another would be based on the balance of factors, which skew, IMO, towards a semi. In a perfect world, I would carry a semi AND a light snubby as a backup. But, I would steer clear from magnums: they don't provide much of an advantage over 38+P from 2” barrel to compensate for a vicious recoil, strain on the gun and added weight and bulk of a magnum setup.
119 posted on 05/19/2011 6:07:32 AM PDT by Samogon (Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. - Plato)
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To: jda

I have a holster between my seat and console. I leave my Rock Island Armory Tactical .45ACP in it all the time. I went with the RIA because it costs about half what a Colt or Kimber, it reliably does the same job and I won’t anguish over it if it gets stolen. It is also safer (IMO) to pull out of the tight space with one in the pipe than a Glock.

A .357 Magnum revolver is a good choice for this use, as is a .38 Special Hammerless revolver.

120 posted on 05/19/2011 6:14:10 AM PDT by IamConservative (I'll walk a mile in your shoes. Then I will be a mile away from you and have a new pair of shoes.)
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To: papertyger

How are they supposed to tell the difference between a limp-wristed shooter and a lousy pistol?

If you want to improve your marksmanship, get same snap caps and practice dry firing. Watch the muzzle closely and find your optimum hand position on the weapon.

There is also a laser snap cap, but they are expensive.

121 posted on 05/19/2011 6:49:16 AM PDT by chainsaw (I'd hate to be a democrat running against Sarah Palin.)
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To: chainsaw

An economy alternative to the laser snap cap is to put a dot of red paint on a full length mirror and hold the muzzle on that and dry fire. You’ll be able to watch for motion.

For double action shooting, this was reccomended by Ed McGivern, who knew a thing or two about it.

122 posted on 05/19/2011 6:52:55 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: OB1kNOb

I find 9mm ammo to be more available and less expensive to acquire than other calibers. If you carry for protection, load with jacketed hollow-points.

Practice with 9MM, and carry (9mm +p) or (9mm +P+), but make sure the weapon will take the more powerful ammo.

123 posted on 05/19/2011 7:00:08 AM PDT by chainsaw (I'd hate to be a democrat running against Sarah Palin.)
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To: jda
I'm considering buying a handgun for personal safety, particularly when driving around (I live in a right-to-carry state and have hunting guns for protection at home) and am looking for any advice the FReeper nation may have. Thanks.

If you have no previous experience with handguns, consider it a matter of prudence to spend at least as much money on ammunition as you do on the weapon. That's how you get good with it, not all at once, but about 3 boxes worth/ 150 rounds per session. I'd suggest that you choose the caliber of the weapon you intend to have with you first, then decide which particular design or model of weapon best suits your particular circumstances, including the size of your hands, how well your eyes work with the pistol sights, and your general body size/frame.

You'll likely find that concealed carry may require different holsters depending on the season and outer jacket you're wearing. Carriers for extra magazines [or spare rounds, should you choose a revolver, still not at all a bad pick, if a less-likely one]are a consideration as well.

My own choice, after having been trained by the U.S. Army in its use, and in the aftermath of two lethal encounters in which I was equipped with a handgun and came out of it okay? Mr. John Browning's M1911A1 .45 automatic pistol in .45 caliber, now a 100-year-old design- proven! It works.

124 posted on 05/19/2011 11:38:32 AM PDT by archy (I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous!)
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To: jda

Ignore or take with a block of salt anyone who writes that you should use a specific firearm.

Embrace those responses that ask you a long list of questions to help YOU establish what is right for you.

I would suggest to you to take the NRA Basic Pistol Course which does cover this.

There is a huge variety of firearms. While many may be fit for your use, someone stating so on some forum is not the way to select one.

125 posted on 05/19/2011 11:41:42 AM PDT by School of Rational Thought (Get the BO out of the Executive Mansion.)
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To: School of Rational Thought

I appreciate that. There are so many choices that, if I choose based on what works for someone else, I’ll probably be wrong. But, I have gotten a lot of good advice on how to choose.

126 posted on 05/19/2011 11:50:08 AM PDT by jda ("Righteousness exalts a nation . . .")
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To: Red in Blue PA

I did not know that, but have no reason to doubt. The Ruger has been great for me, and it was necessary for me to brandish in order to chase some intruders out of my house a month ago. Cocked and locked, safety off, finger on trigger, barrel raised, just like all the times I’ve practiced. If they hadn’t turned tail and dove out the window faster than I would have believed possible, if they had scared me in any way, I would have shot them.

Anyway, the gun is like an extension of my hand, it operates like a dream, and it has NEVER, EVER even CONSIDERED jamming, so your compliments are graciously accepted.

127 posted on 05/19/2011 5:37:07 PM PDT by ichabod1 (Nuts.)
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To: jda
It is a great gun. Very accurate and reliable.
Click here for more info
128 posted on 05/20/2011 10:20:43 PM PDT by An American! (Proud To Be An American!)
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To: jda

I would recommend buying several handguns, let’s say 2.

Why? Because gives you more options, more roles.

One could be worn on your hip, the other put between seats or under a leg while driving for better access. A roving backup gun, which will be small frame, very concealable, lightweight, simple to use. A snubby fits that role well.

How fast will you be able to access the firearm in close-quarters situation exiting your car? A MAC10 from Masterpiece Arms (affordable by the way) in lap top bag, carried to the car for instance, or a simple j frame revolver in a pocket?

So there you could have a high capacity piece large frame, or machine pistol zippered up for SHTF situations in your car, and a regular carry on your person.

Things can come up on you very quickly. A simple walk to empty the trash in the alley, or your apt parking lot, and a car/person can roll by in seconds. Things to think about. How fast can you access your piece? Will you carry a round in chamber or use both hands to work slide?

I have a friend who came back from work 2am, exited his car in front of house and punk emerged out of nowhere in his face demanding a ride. My friend’s Glock 17 with extra mags? In his backpack. A grenade launcher, you’d be in the same situation. Slow to the draw.

So my recommendation is several handguns, at least a revolver for simple ready use and a high capacity pistol with extra mags, 30 or more round capacity happy sticks if possible. Some people that might sound excessive but in this day and age, I want more at my disposal than any law enforcement officer. Odds will be you face more than one perp and one shot stops are rare.

Taurus, Charter Arms revolvers are inexpensive but decent reliable options to more expensive S&W, and a used high capacity semi-auto should go for around $400. High capacity happy sticks best for Glock, also available for Beretta, Ruger models. So $700-800 for 2 guns.

129 posted on 05/22/2011 4:38:38 PM PDT by TheBigJ
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To: Samogon
I prefer a hammerless snub nosed revolver and let me tell you why, you can easily carry it and conceal it in the front jacket pocket of most any casual jacket.

Imagine the typical scenario in which you will need to use this weapon. You will be outside, you won't probably see the assailant coming which means he will have the drop on you when it happens. That means you will not be able to draw your semi-auto out of your holster without risking getting shot first. You just aren't that fast. Very few people are.

So, imagine this: you're walking to your car in a dark parking lot after seeing a late movie. You casually have both of your hands in your jacket pockets. You look vulnerable because your hands are confined. The perpetrator pops out and points a weapon at you and your wife and demands that you hand over your wallet and cars keys. He has the drop on you but what he doesn't realize is that your right hand isn't empty inside that jacket pocket, it's wrapped around a hammerless, snub nosed, .357 magnum.

The hammerless feature means you can fire the gun's five rounds from your pocket without fear of jamming and without fear of him shooting you before you clear a holster. You have the element of surprise now as well as justification. That's a big effin deal.

And I totally disagree about the .38 +P versus the .357 magnum. I have ran the numbers many times, there's a big difference in energy. at 10-15 feet, that .357 is much more potent than any .38 (roughly twice as potent)and you can always load .38s in it for practice if the recoil bothers you. That gives you increased option flexibility and increased option flexibility is ALWAYS an advantage. When the SHTF, you won't notice the recoil anyways btw, but the person on the receiving end of those 125 grain hollow points surely will.

And let's be real here, this isn't the kind of gun you take t othe range to shoot all day long and, what's more, at the ranges that most gunfights take place, you shouldn't have to worry about missing; however, if you remain concerned, crimson trace makes a lovely little laser site that will have you hitting center mass out to 15 yards while under duress with little to no difficulty.

To put a finer point on that, if you shoot the perp beyond more than a few yards away, you're probably committing murder technically. I can hit a man at 50 yards with my Glock 21 .45 ACP but that means nothing in any firefight I am likely to find myself in.

I was in a situation that required my S&W .357 snubby a couple of years ago actually. There were two of them. Neither of them was more than 5 yards away. It was at a very secluded gas station out in the New Mexico desert. I had one hand wrapped around a loaded .357 magnum and the other wrapped around a gas pump nozzle. I saw them coming and had time to think and prepare. I held my .357 behind my back and continued pumping gas as they approached. I told my GF to lock her door. She knew what was going on too and didn't need the warning. One went on her side, the other came on my side. I eyeballed the dirtbag on my side of the truck as he approached and inspected the gas station for witnesses. there were none. It was just us. There was third subject, a female, standing in the road about 40 yards away to our 12 o'clock posted as a lookout. The second they made their move, I was going to hit the dude with a facefull of gasoline and then light him up with the .357's muzzle blast. he saw the gun in my hand, the resolve in my eyes, and, I suspect, the plan in my head. He looked at his partner, shook his no, and they all quickly departed. My GF and I still talk about it. just a little experience that I like to share occasionally fwiw.

130 posted on 05/23/2011 9:31:48 PM PDT by RC one (DO NOT RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT!)
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To: jda

Glock 26. I have 43 guns andalways come back to that.

131 posted on 05/23/2011 9:35:13 PM PDT by GlockThe Vote (F U B O ! ! !)
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To: RC one
Very convincing story, thank you.
I am lucky enough to not been in such situations, thank God, but drawing a gun in a close encounter with adversary already pointing his/her at you always being a weak point in my mental simulations. When the weather is too hot for a jacket I am carrying my 1911 Officers in a paddle under a Hawaiian shirt or in a pocket holster in my shorts. Either way prevents firing without drawing first. I can't imagine that a snubby will be of any advantage. Fanny pack - possible, but people started noticing them as a carry piece lately, so I am trying to avoid them.
132 posted on 05/24/2011 6:16:06 AM PDT by Samogon (Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. - Plato)
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To: Samogon
it sounds like you have it figured out. "Amat victoria curam"- victory loves the well prepared.

"to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues"

sun tzu

133 posted on 05/24/2011 1:12:43 PM PDT by RC one (DO NOT RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT!)
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To: jda

So, have you made any purchase decisions yet?

134 posted on 06/03/2011 8:55:10 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (Let this chant follow BHO everywhere he goes: "You lie. You lie. You lie.")
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