Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearms Advice For Beginners

My brother asked for advice on a pistol, what is your take on the advice I gave

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[ . . .] As far as what she should get, that would depend on how she would use it and what she is willing to spend.   A gun is just a tool and there is a tool for every job.   The SIG P230 is a great concealed carry pistol.  Yes..a bit girly (great for small hands) ...but it is an extremely accurate and safe gun.  Cost is about $350 new.  The ammo is a bit underpowered (380 auto--aka 9mm short) and the mag only holds 7 rounds (8 rounds if one is chambered--the gun is safe to carry with one chambered), but these problems are made up by the fact that the gun weighs only 17 oz empty and is so accurate...each round will count (just shoot hollow tip rounds).  The pistol is double action which is much better.  When cocked, the gun has like a half pound trigger doesn't jerk the gun one bit.  The gun would be just fine for home defense.
If she wants just a general home defense pistol....and cost is an issue, I would recommend a .44 special 5 shot revolver.  Mine is an old Charter Arms Bulldog 44, but there are many possible makes and models.  You can get them for around $225 used if you look around.  They don't ever jam (very nice in an emergency) and they have more than enough power to take down an NFL linebacker charging at you in one shot.  This is almost the "Dirty Harry" round.  They are truly great in a panic situation (when you really need a gun to work) ...and it is a double action pistol with a next to nothing trigger pull when cocked.  The gun is pretty light and has some concealment possibilities with it, but has no safety.  Muzzle and trigger discipline are always critical.  The lack of more than 5 rounds would most likely only be a problem in a "Death Wish 3" scenario.  Not too likely.
If she wants just the best pistol...period.  I would go with the Glock 22 (40 cal) with 15 round mags.  The cost is around $450-$500 new.  They have near the stopping power of a 45, with near the recoil and mag capacity of a 9mm.  It would be even more "intimidating" to have one shooting at you.  The gun is a tank, and is very safe and accurate.  The safety is built into the trigger....with finger on the trigger..the safety is off...with finger off the trigger...the safety is on.  It has a drop safety (as does the SIG, Bulldog and Styer--don't buy a gun without one), preventing the gun from firing by accidentally dropping it.  It weighs 23oz empty which really is not bad at all (note: just 6 oz more than the "really light SIG").  There is a reason why more cops carry the Glock than any other.  The Glock 27 is the compact version of the Glock lighter, has a shorter barrel and smaller frame, but the mag holds just 9 rounds vrs 15 in the full sized.  It would also be excellent.
With kids in the home, she may want to seriously consider a Styer M9.  It comes in a 40 cal like the Glock, and it also has the build in trigger safety.  It is actually cheaper than the Glock, and some consider it more accurate (not me).  It is a very advanced pistol design.  It would be a great gun for people with kids because it has a built in "key lock system" whereby you can (-- using a special key) lock the gun so that it will not fire by pulling the trigger (even if loaded.)  Just be sure to hide or lock up the key.  In a panic situation, you will have to "unlock" the gun to shoot...but that is a small price to pay to keep you kids safe from a gun in the home.  I just takes a second to unlock it, but it would be impossible in the dark.  If kept locked, a small flashlight should be kept with the gun or the key.
Of course, any of the guns on this list could be made more kid safe with a "trigger lock" device.  That would be much recommended with kids in the home.
I have each of these guns so I am experienced in how each performs.  In my opinion, each is one worth owning.
An honorable mention might be the Baretta 92F/M9.  It is what the Army selected post Colt 1911.  Personally, I would not get it because the 9mm Luger round is inferior to the 40 cal., and the gun is too pricey.    The Colt 1911 however....
I hope this is helpful.   Sorry to hear about Dad.
Andrew W.

thats pretty long winded... ;D I usually recommend people to go to a gun range and rent different guns to try out first. Also ask your brother whats the most important thing about the decision;

Concealed Carry Gun?
Safety of gun?
Ability for anyone to use?
Knock Down Power?
Ammo Capacity?
Ammo Cost?
And list goes on....

I always recommend to anyone who is concerned about kids or someone stealing it to get one of the finger access gun safes. I have the Gunvault one linked here; Once bolted down allows very fast access with no risk of your kids or friends getting to it.

I tend to always recommend a .38 or .357 double action revolver.  I do this because they are obscenely simple in their operation, remarkably accurate, and there are makes and models that are easily manageable for people with small hands, big hands, small stature, or great stature.  It is extraordinarily simple to teach the basic mechanics of shooting them.  Yes, there is the issue of limited ammo loaded in the gun and reloads take more time than with an autoloader, but unless you expect a home invasion by the Jung Horde or a shootout with a couple of terrorist cells at once, you are not likely to need the 30+ rounds offered by a charge and backup mag for your average 9mm.

On the safety issue, in double action mode, you have to mean to shoot a revolver, unlike a single action autoloader, the Glock line (even thought BATFE classifies them as DAO), or a revolver in single action mode.  If the hammer is down, a twitch of the finger is not going to fire the gun.  

I personally despise the Steyer, as well as a couple of other makes, specifically because of the integral key lock.  A stop-N-rob owner was killed because he bought a Taurus PT-140, loaded it, and put it under the counter without ever firing it or reading the instructions.  He was shot 5 times, fatally, by the robber while he pointed his handgun at his attacker but couldn't fire because he unknowingly had the interlock engaged.  you can train to shoot a gun without external safeties like revolvers and Glocks.  You can train to disengage the safety on handguns that have them like the 1911's.  There is no good way to train for grabbing the key, inserting it in the gun, and unlocking the interlock while under the duress of a life and death assault situation.

I recommend medium power revolvers to most people just starting down the defensive pistol road because it doesn't matter how big, fast or powerful your handgun is, nor how many bullets it holds.  If you can't hit with it or don't know how to deal with a failure in a split second, none of the other factors are going to be of much help.  The medium power revolvers generally have moderate recoil and very little that can go wrong with them.  A failure to fire just requires pulling the trigger again rather than clearing the weapon.

Incidentally, I have nothing against .44 Special.  I have shot a Charter Arms Bulldog and liked the gun.  That said, it is not a weapon that your average 50 rounds at the range twice a year shooter is going to be able to employ to dramatic effect in a SD situation.

Both the Glock 19 and Glock 22 are good defensive pistols.  I actually own the Glock 23.  It is .40 S&W, a bit more concealable than the 22 as a compact, and has 13 round mags available.  I also own a Glock 30 (.45ACP compact).  Having shot all of these weapons, I have to say that while the recoil of the .40 S&W round might be lighter than the .45 ACP and more than the 9mm, it is my opinion that the perceived recoil of the .40 is stronger than either the .45 or 9mm.  The best way I have ever heard the .40 recoil described is "zippy", whereas the 9mm is light and the .45 is heavy but "long and smooth."

For my money, I'll stick with the .45 ACP for my defensive pistol, but I'll keep on carrying my Model 60 S&W revolver in .38 S&W for my backup.


these are all great posts.
it could be all about ammo , who's got it ,where can they get more .
i like the 40,the  sherif carries ,highway patrol, the PD carries a 357 sig because of its kill raceo. (meat heads)
there are diffrent size ,and you can dile the round up or down some.
my 9 yo can fire it and the wife with bad wrists too.
The .40 makes sence to me for where i live.
get all you can though.and lots of ammo.


I second what the other old man said. A revolver has two things going for it: reliability and fit.

A revolver is all mechanical - it is not dependant on a cartridge to fire, magazines to function flawlessly, not accidentally hitting the thumb release and dropping the mag, etc. If it doesn't go bang, you pull the trigger again (in a serious situation ONLY, never in practice). If you don't neglect it or abuse it, a revolver is quite long lived - People are carrying and using medium framed Smith & Wessons that are 30, 40 or 50 years old, and they are just as functional as the day they came from the factory. As a home defense gun, a revolver comes out ahead because you can tell at a glance whether it is loaded, and if it is loaded, nothing is under tension, like a magazine spring.

How the gun fits you is a key part of hitting your target. In a defense situation, you will probably be using it at night and at short range. With a revolver, you can get any number of aftermarket grips or accessories that will increase its pointability and reduce the apparent recoil. .38 Special from a 4" barrel is plenty powerful for short range use - .357 Mag comes into its own in 6" or longer barrels.

My recommendation is a heavy barrel S&W Model 10. The design has been around for over 100 years because it works. It is also less expensive than an autoloader, and can be purchased used for around $300 or so.



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