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Armory, Self Defense, And EDC => Firearms (Including Long Guns, Pistols) => Pistols and Handguns => Topic started by: Cordovil on November 18, 2015, 05:24:32 PM

Title: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on November 18, 2015, 05:24:32 PM
Hi All,

I currently live in the People's Republik of New Jersey, where I have to go through a time-consuming hassle to obtain a "handgun purchase permit"; I have to go through this process every single time I want to make a new handgun purchase.  But each time I go through the process I can request more than 1 handgun purchase permit (they expire, however, after a few months, so I can't just load up on them).

I own a shotgun, and now I'm ready to obtain and start training with a handgun, or more than one handgun.  So, I'm trying to decide which handguns to get.  But before I get into selecting the makes/models to get, I need to decide how many handgun permits to request.  So, my question really boils down to: what are the different categories of handguns (uses and styles) that I really should be looking at having at a minimum?

Here are my thoughts so far on the 3 (or maybe 4?) handguns that would be ideal to have at a minimum:

1. Something for inexpensive and easy practice/plinking: thinking a .22 pistol; not sure whether revolver or semiautomatic but leaning toward a .22 semiautomatic

2. Something for concealed carry (I can't carry concealed in NJ, but I'm thinking about something small to have on me at all times in my house and on my property, without drawing any attention to it, and maybe to carry have in a WROL situation, or to carry concealed when/if I relocate to a better state that allows concealed carry): thinking a Ruger LCR .38

3. A "regular" handgun that would be the handgun I would, if I had the option, reach for as the primary home-defense handgun.  Not sure if this would be a revolver or a semiautomatic, maybe it would be best to have one of each.  This gun (or these guns) would be the candidate to open-carry when/if I relocate to a better state that allows open carry.



So let's assume my list is these 4 types of handguns:

(1) .22 handgun (primary purpose: practice)
+
(2) something for concealed carry, probably a LCR .38 (primary purpose: concealed carry)
+
(3) maybe a 9mm or 1911 (primary purpose: the go-to handgun for home defense / open carry - not something I expect I will ever do with much frequency, however)
+
(4) a larger revolver (primary purpose: backup home defense / open carry; in a SHTF situation this might also be the handgun that my wife open-carries, or that I lend to an inexperienced family member in need . . . something simple, reliable, and not difficult to shoot)
 

What do you guys think?  Am I missing something, in terms of the types of guns and purposes I need to think about?  Like I said, right now I need to decide how many permits to ask for, so really that's the primary question (but I don't want ask for too many, since I don't want to look like I'm "crazy" or like I'm selling them or something).

Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Jack Crabb on November 18, 2015, 09:11:53 PM
Ruger 22/45
Glock 19
S&W 686 6" or 4", or 19, 66, or current incarnation
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Skunkeye on November 19, 2015, 12:21:08 AM
What is your experience with handguns at this point?  Which handguns have you used?  If you don't have much experience, it might be better to get one handgun first, and spend some time learning it, and you'll learn what you like and don't like, and that will inform your future decisions.  I'd probably start with a .22 plinker first (I can recommend the Ruger SR22 without reservation - great little gun, and with quality ammo could serve as a carry gun in a pinch), and then go for a full-size centerfire handgun.  Or get something like a CZ-75B with a Kadet conversion kit - 9mm and .22 from the same gun.  You can practice with .22 for cheap and then convert the gun back to 9mm for home defense duty.  The EAA Witness line also has caliber conversion kits, as do a few other brands.  That might be a way to fill two slots with one purchase permit.

Any ranges near you that rent guns?  That's an even better option to learn a bit better or what your preferences are.  In a free state, it wouldn't be a big deal - if you buy a gun and don't like it, you can easily sell it and buy another.  It sounds like purchasing a gun in NJ is kind of a pain in the ass, so you want to try to narrow your choices down as much as possible and get as close to the right gun(s) as you can the first time out.

You're on the right track, though - plinker/fun gun, carry gun, and full-size gun are pretty much the main categories I can think of.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: hackmeister on November 19, 2015, 07:53:53 AM
I'd recommend a Glock 17 or 19. You can get police trade ins for under $400. AimSurplus and Palmetto has them sporadically. M&P Shield in 9mm is a great choice and can be had for less than $400 new. Springfield XDs are a good choice as well. Many gun ranges let you rent different models.  Stay away from cheap crap. Save up and get a decent gun. Why be cheap if your life or family's lives depend on it?
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on November 19, 2015, 11:22:46 AM
Thanks, guys.  It sounds like I'm on the right track with my thinking as to the types/purposes of the handguns I should look at acquiring.

And thanks for the recs on the Ruger 22, the Glock 17/19, and the SW 686.  I am going to take a closer look at all these models, especially since I (unfortunately) will have plenty of time on my hands as I wait for my application to be processed.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: ncjeeper on November 19, 2015, 11:32:49 AM
M&P Shield in 9mm is a great choice and can be had for less than $400 new.
Also very comfortable to conceal.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: bdhutier on November 19, 2015, 11:11:33 PM
I currently carry either a dept. issued Glock 22 (same as a G17, but .40cal instead of 9mm) and my personal S&W Shield in .40cal. 

Glock 17 Gen4, all the way.  Here's why.

1. Very simple to operate.  Point, pull, bang, repeat.
2. Very simple to take down.  Clear, pull trigger, ease slide back a bit, pull tabs down, slide comes off.  4 main parts.  Clean and reverse.
3. Very reliable.  On par with M&Ps, HK, CZ, etc.  All good platforms.  Last year, Gunny Ermey told me he's cleaned his main ranch Glock twice... EVER!
4. Very safe.  No trigger pull, no bang.  Period.

Why 9mm? 
1. Much easier to control recoil over .40 or .45.  Yes, it's easier.  No it doesn't make you a wuss to want easier recoil management in a gunfight. 
1. More rounds per magazine. 
3. It's cheaper to shoot. 
4. Less wear/tear on weapon parts (especially vs. .40cal). 
5. Smokes a fool at 0-7ft just as well as .40 or .45. 

In your current state, I'm guessing you're going to buy one handgun, then wait a while as you figure everything out.  It sounds like you haven't had a whole lot of time shooting them, and need to learn/practice.  Buy your defense gun now, become proficient with it, and then branch out as you see fit.  Appendix carry with a good purpose-built holster makes carrying a 17-round full-size as easy and comfortable as a tiny 6-round wonder. 

Just my opinion.  Let us know what you decide to do!   ;)
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: DDJ on November 20, 2015, 11:02:14 AM
Overall I would agree to start with the 22 and move on to center fire.  However in your original post you referenced both revolver and simi-autos.  As a new handgun shooter be as consistent as possible so you can learn.  So if you want to go revolver start there.  If Simi-Autos appeal to you start there.   A few of the posts above list conversion kits those work and allow you to have 1 set of controls to learn.  Other companies offer a 22 version of their center fire gun (Ruger has a 22 LCR as well as the .38version).  Use the Kiss principle.
My second recommendation is to shoot and or handle (dry fire if allowed) everything you can.  You need to find what fits your hand.  Earlier posters recommended different Glocks, there is lots of merits there, personally I do not like the feel (grip or the grip angle) of a Glock.  Use your time to decide what YOU like.
Something to consider as you make a purchase.  Look not only at the gun but the accessories.  I admit Glocks rule here.  What holsters are available what spares, and or accessories, are available.  What do they cost?  That is one of the issues I have with my Rugers is the magazines are expensive and "standard" holsters are hard to find. (That is holsters that are made for the specific firearm). 
Again as a starting shooter and I assume a prepper choosing a firearms in a single, or limited number of, chambering might be beneficial.  The more sizes you have the more you will be stocking.  I would recommend that you look at the shelves at the stores you shop and see what they carry.  Can you consistently buy .357Mag, 40S&W, 10mm, 9mm, .38Spcl, 45Colt or .380.  No one can keep .22LR on the shelf these days, but it is getting better.  When I have this conversation I pull up the 1983 movie "The Survivors" Robin Williams and Jerry Reed are shorting it out in the woods and Robin calls "time out" because he brought the wrong bullets.  He runs back to the cabin and goes through a dozen ammunition boxes to find the correct bullet.  Exaggerated YES, but it makes a point with this Manufacturing Engineer.  Not a movie that Preppers of today want to be associated with but I still like it.
Again if any one tells you this is the best and everything else is junk is not helping you.  I am not saying that there is Junk out there.  I am saying that the best for him may not be the best for you.  Find what you like the feel of.  Determine what you will shoot/carry.  If you find that what he recommends is right for you then great.  If you do not like it and find another quality name brand that fits you then that is right (perhaps best) for you.
There is a thread here on the worst handgun you have ever owned, you might want to read it.  Look at the reasons.  Look for specifics as to why it is "bad" in that reasons opinion.  Many of the posts give OBJECTIVE reasons.  Look at those reasons and use them while looking at a potential purchase.  Things like quality of machining (unrequired sharp edges, burrs) is one of the things I now look at after getting what I view as a lemon.
Overall the decision is yours.  Listen to what people have to say. Look for opinion vs fact, Guidance vs direction, and objective vs subjective.  Make up your mind with one key question on your mind of what will I practice with, carry and depend on.


Sorry to be long winded, but I have seen too many people talked into buying something they hate and being stuck with it.  I actually saved $150 on my first centerfire pistol fore that reason.  A guy bought it and hated it.  He sold it to me for $150 off going rate and we both walked away thinking we stole from the other.  That is a win win.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Skunkeye on November 20, 2015, 12:12:04 PM
Long-winded, but well-stated, DDJ.    :)

The most important thing is to find a gun that fits you and your needs, not one that fits someone else's.  The ideal thing is to find a gun shop with a guy behind the counter who isn't an opinionated loudmouth (almost impossible, but still...), and try everything that's even remotely close to what you're looking for, before doing a bunch of internet research.  Like a blind taste test, just hold them, manipulate the controls, look at the overall quality of the parts.  Then go home and research the ones you liked.  Come back here and ask for other peoples' experiences.  Going in with as few preconceived notions as possible will help prevent you from buying something that isn't right for you, but that someone else told you you should get.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: iam4liberty on November 22, 2015, 03:58:32 PM
Am I missing something, in terms of the types of guns and purposes I need to think about? 

Here is one way to look at it.  It is aligned with your original thinking but provides some additional thoughts.

[li]Full size combat pistol. This is a firearm to act as a backup to your long arm.  This includes home defense and open carry.  It should be a common, major caliber (9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 10mm) with a capacity of 13+ rounds.  Holster system would be outside-of-waistband on strong side and 2 magazine carrier on weak side.  Useful options would be night sights and weapon mounted light.[/li]
[li]Compact/sub-compact pistol.[/b] This is a firearm to carry concealed when out and about and would also be the firearm you loan out (e.g. for spouse, compatriots) when situation dictates you switch to the above full size pistol.  It should be a common, major caliber (9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 10mm) with a capacity of 7+ rounds.  Ideally it would be same caliber of your full size pistol and even better if it can use the mags from your full size pistol.  Primary holster system would be inside-of-waistband on strong side and one or two mags on weak side or in pocket.  Secondary holster system would be same type as full size combat system.  Useful options would be night sights.  You may consider buying two of these so you always have one secured in your vehicle.[/li]
[li].22 pistol. This is for training, recreation, pest control, and times when sound discipline is needed.  It should be in .22 LR and have a magazine capacity of 10+ rounds.  Holster system would be outside-of-waistband on strong side and two mags on weak side.  Options include a threaded barrel to make it suppressor capable.[/li]
[li]Full size revolver. This is for hunting and further caliber diversification.  It should be in one of the common, large revolver calibers (357, 44 Magnum, 45LC).  This will allow it to use reduced load options for training purposes (e.g. 38 special for 357, 45 cowboy loads for 45LC).  Barrel length would be 4 to 6 inches.   Holster system would be outside-of-waistband or over the shoulder on strong side and one speed loader on strong or weak side.  This would also be the same caliber if you have a corresponding hunting long arm (e.g. a pistol caliber lever action).[/li]
[/list]

Obviously the first two on the list are the main ones for your purposes.  In fact, you can 90% of the utility of this list with just two 9mm pistols; one full-size and one compact/subcompact. With 9mm ammo down to around 20 cents a round and it being a relatively low recoil round it can serve the purpose of the .22.  You can even buy threaded barrel for suppressor capability too.

You mentioned the simplicity and ease of use of a revolver as potential advantage.  Truth be told, a revolver is no easier to use than a modern pistol design.  Example would the Glock and Walther P99as systems.  Also, since NJ doesn't allow handgun hunting, the revolver is not as versatile an option as it is in other states.

Net, a combo like a Glock 17/19 and Glock 26 or Walther P99 AS and Walther P99c AS would work well.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: bdhutier on November 24, 2015, 12:41:24 AM
Good synopsis by 1am4liberty.  I have a little different perspective on a couple things, but certainly not saying you're wrong, or anything.  A "YMMV" thing.

1. Full vs. Compact semi-auto.  I typically wear long pants, a t-shirt, and button down shirt.  I have my personal M&P Shield, personal Springfield 1911A2, and department issued Glock 22.  I LOVE the 1911 and always will, but it's outdated as a battle pistol (let the haters begin), that's just the facts.  The Shield is thin, light, reliable, and a glorious shooter.  The Glock is larger, thick, and comparatively heavier.  Estimated daily carry percentage per year:
1911: 1%
Shield: 15%
Glock: 84%
Why in God's name would I carry the Glock?  First: More bullets!  Second: It's what I carry on-duty.  Third: my next point...

2. Strong-side carry... Nothing wrong with it.  But.... I spent the last three years in a wrestling match with my small, but aggravating tactical muffin-top trying to find a comfortable way to long-period carry, IWB, concealed.  I've finally found it: (drum roll...) APPENDIX CARRY (A-C)!!  I know appendix carry isn't for everyone, but it solves a LOT of the problems I had with side carry, like:

a. It's just more comfortable for me.
b. Weapons retention advantage.
c. Easier weak-hand draw.
d. Draw is better/possible in vehicles.
e. FAR more concealable.
f. Most A-C manufacturers offer an integrated mag carrier in the holster, centering spare ammo retrieved easily by either hand.

So, A-C has made carrying a full-size 2x4 shaped Glock (with a light, BTW) just as easy, concealable, and comfortable as my sexy little Shield.  And the icing is, I'd have to carry almost EIGHT Shield magazines to get the same firepower as the Glock and two mags.  It works for me and my end-state vision.  Again, YMMV!
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: jerseyboy on November 25, 2015, 03:48:43 PM
If you are deciding between the Glock 17 and 19, remember that new Jersey limits handgun magazines to 15 so the smaller 19 holds 15 rounds so the 17 only gets you a longer grip and barrel but no more rounds.

Jerseyboy
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Boozemaker on November 25, 2015, 04:55:32 PM
For home defense and EDC....Springfield XD Compact 45       I have large hands so anything smaller is an issue.

For a plinker / practice I have a Heritage Rough Rider .22 revolver.  Is this a precision firearm?  Not by a long shot but I have over 2500 rounds through it with zero issues.  Mine came with a .22 mag cylinder as well and cost apx $200 new in the box.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: iam4liberty on November 26, 2015, 10:37:49 AM
So, A-C has made carrying a full-size 2x4 shaped Glock (with a light, BTW) just as easy, concealable, and comfortable as my sexy little Shield.  And the icing is, I'd have to carry almost EIGHT Shield magazines to get the same firepower as the Glock and two mags.  It works for me and my end-state vision.  Again, YMMV!

Absolutely!  If one can comfortably carry a full size pistol it would be silly not to.  You gain higher capacity,  longer grip for better control,  longer sight radius in case more distant shots are needed.  Alas, it hasn't worked for me.  Appendix carry doesn't fit my body shape well.   On the prompting of a friend I also tried smartcarry unsuccessfully.  He actually smartcarries a Glock 17 with a melted slide hosting a trijicon red dot sight!  There is no way I could do that.


And the icing is, I'd have to carry almost EIGHT Shield magazines to get the same firepower as the Glock and two mags.

This brings up another point worth mentioning.   If one has to settle for a compact for carry there is still the option with some firearms to reliably use the full size magazines for reloads.  That helps with the capacity issue.   For example with a Walther P99c you can carry a ten rounder in the gun and one or two fifteen rounders for reloads.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: endurance on November 26, 2015, 11:44:15 AM
I currently carry either a dept. issued Glock 22 (same as a G17, but .40cal instead of 9mm) and my personal S&W Shield in .40cal. 

Glock 17 Gen4, all the way.  Here's why.

1. Very simple to operate.  Point, pull, bang, repeat.
2. Very simple to take down.  Clear, pull trigger, ease slide back a bit, pull tabs down, slide comes off.  4 main parts.  Clean and reverse.
3. Very reliable.  On par with M&Ps, HK, CZ, etc.  All good platforms.  Last year, Gunny Ermey told me he's cleaned his main ranch Glock twice... EVER!
4. Very safe.  No trigger pull, no bang.  Period.

Why 9mm? 
1. Much easier to control recoil over .40 or .45.  Yes, it's easier.  No it doesn't make you a wuss to want easier recoil management in a gunfight. 
1. More rounds per magazine. 
3. It's cheaper to shoot. 
4. Less wear/tear on weapon parts (especially vs. .40cal). 
5. Smokes a fool at 0-7ft just as well as .40 or .45. 

In your current state, I'm guessing you're going to buy one handgun, then wait a while as you figure everything out.  It sounds like you haven't had a whole lot of time shooting them, and need to learn/practice.  Buy your defense gun now, become proficient with it, and then branch out as you see fit.  Appendix carry with a good purpose-built holster makes carrying a 17-round full-size as easy and comfortable as a tiny 6-round wonder. 

Just my opinion.  Let us know what you decide to do!   ;)
+1.  I was going to post more or less the same thing. I'll just say, "what he said" instead.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on November 30, 2015, 02:53:55 PM
Thanks again, everyone -- I really appreciate your input.  I'm definitely adding the Glock 17 to the list of firearms I'm seriously considering.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Jack Crabb on November 30, 2015, 03:55:25 PM
With the hoop jumping required for your purchase permits, you may want to take a look at the SIG 250 and 320. The 250 is hammer fired. The 320 is striker fired. It comes in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP.

The unique feature here is that the fire control group, i.e., trigger mechanism, is the the "firearm" subject to FFL transfer, etc. The rest of the pistol is entirely modular. You buy different size grips, magazines, slides, and barrels depending upon the desire configuration, all using the same trigger group.

So, with the common trigger group (one purchase permit), you could set up a compact 9mm and then get separate parts to configure it as a full size .45 ACP.

Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Chemsoldier on November 30, 2015, 04:22:16 PM
Most has been said more eloquently than I.

.22lr - Ruger 22/45 or Browning Buckmark
centerfire- Glock 19
Other handguns- whatever you would like, but do consider a second copy of your centerfire pistol first
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: iam4liberty on November 30, 2015, 07:23:40 PM
I am glad this thread popped up again as I found another potential one.  I asked a friend who owns a gun shop what the hottest selling gun was for them.   She shocked me with the answer; the NAA mini revolver has been their best seller this year.   

(http://northamericanarms.com/slider_images/CoverContest.jpg)

Seems that since the church shooting has been in the news a lot of churchgoers want a small gun to take with them which has little chance of being seen even by fellow gun owners.   Which brings up the topic of ultraconcealable/holdout guns.   Little guns like the naa mini can be carried in areas where it is legal but could be socially verboten or disruptive to carry.   They also can be used as a backup gun carried in a pocket or ankle holster.  She also said a lot of younger guys were buying them to carry around in their jeans watch pocket.   
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Smurf Hunter on December 01, 2015, 03:30:14 PM
A few years ago, a pistol or revolver in .22lr was a given.  Today, with very uncertain inventory and elevated prices, my recommendation is not as strong.

If you happen to get into handloading, you may find that some of the cheapest and fun shooting is low powered cast lead shot from a revolver, or perhaps a 1911 if that's to your taste.

I have found that I can get new shooters shooting well with a full sized handgun loaded with "cowboy" loads ever better compared to rimfire.

Rather than give you models (I really enjoy carrying my LCR, but it's far from a recreational favorite) here are your categories:

1) a full size duty gun with the full capacity magazine for "bump in the night" duty.  Weight and size are not factors for home defense and most folks shoot a full size gun better than a pocket size.  The extra ammo capacity helps too.

2) a versatile AND fun recreational gun.  Personally this is a revolver for me, but I think a 1911 in .45ACP is a close second place.  A revolver is nice because of the wide range of ammo it tolerates.  No feeding issues, and no action to cycle.  If I had to, I could hunt rabbits with down loaded .38spl, or shoot full house .357 magnums that rattle your teeth.

3) a carry gun - many experienced CCW folks end up carrying something smaller with fewer rounds than they might admit.  That's ok, because it's better to have "some" gun rather than "no" gun.  Your can either get the biggest gun you can comfortably carry, or the smallest gun you can still shoot well.  With a lot of testing you'll discover the happy equilibrium of these extremes.

Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Mastoo on December 02, 2015, 06:01:52 AM
With the hoop jumping required for your purchase permits, you may want to take a look at the SIG 250 and 320. The 250 is hammer fired. The 320 is striker fired. It comes in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP.
...

They put their caliber conversion kits on sale a couple times a year. I have my 250 in a compact 9 some of the time, and turn it into a subcompact 40 for carry. I'm waiting to see if they do a threaded .22 conversion.

Also I've had a few warranty repairs over the years and came to appreciate companies like Sig, versus other companies that treat warranty work like an annoyance.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on January 27, 2016, 05:02:52 PM
I figured I'd just tack this post onto this thread I started rather than make a new thread . . .

I picked up my first handgun last week: a Ruger LCR 38.  The LCR serves the purpose of a "in-home/on-my-property daily carry" gun for me (I can't carry elsewhere in NJ).

Next, I would like to pick up a .22 handgun.  The primary purpose will be for inexpensive practice at the range; I would love to be able to do some plinking and maybe varmit control with this one someday too, so I might pick up a suppressor eventually.  I have pretty much decided, thanks in part to your suggestions and further research, on a Ruger 22/45. 

I'm just trying to decide between one with the rails:

http://www.ruger.com/products/2245ThreadedBarrel/specSheets/10149.html

or one without the rails:

http://www.ruger.com/products/2245ThreadedBarrel/specSheets/10150.html

Both have a threaded barrel for a suppressor.

The way I see it, the advantage of the railed version is (1) it's easier to add a sight that works well even when/if I add a suppressor and (2)  it's easier to add a laser/light if I want to.

The only reason I hesitate is because I'm wondering whether having the non-railed version with the regular sites might be "more realistic" practice for me that will help me become a better shot with the other firearms.  That would be the LCR (standard sights, no laser) and eventually something like a Glock 19 (for a semi-automatic) and a Ruger GP-100 (for a full-sized revolver). 

As I type this question out, I'm leaning toward getting the version of the Ruger 22/45 WITH the rails, but what do you guys think -- am I missing something in my analysis of the pros/cons?
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Steve Cover on January 28, 2016, 01:19:23 PM
I've been following this thread for a while.

You have been given some totally outstanding advice so far.

I'm a bit older (70) and have been carrying a gun since I returned from Vietnam in 1968.

The recommendations so far have been right on spot, so, I wont bother to give my personal favorites list.

However, I do have some thoughts on the features that might enhance the effectiveness of your chosen battery.

My opinion is that a 22LR adapter for your go-to gun is a best practice choice.
I have an original Colt Ace kit for my 1911 and love it.

Casual practice with the same mechanical controls reinforces muscle memory.
In a true fight or flight situation, you will automatically do what you have practiced.
If most of your shooting has been with a firearm that has different controls (safety location, trigger pull weight... etc.) you may fumble around for that minili-second that may cost you your life.

I feel the same way about Speer Plastic or just wax bullet practice with a revolver.
Back in the early 1970s, when I worked for the Skagit County Sheriff's office, I carried a Smith & Wesson M-19.
I fired several thousand Speer & Wax bullets practicing in my garage with the M-19.

This was when I also owned several other recreational firearms.
For serious self defense practice I used the 1911 adapter (My personal carry) or wax bullets in the M-19 followed up by at least a box of full power loads when possible.

Another inexpensive alternative is the primer powered 22 cal pellet shooting adapters.
Personally, I own four of them.
These consist of turned brass full contoured dummy bullets that connect to a rifled brass barrel insert.
Naturally there isn't enough power to cycle a semiautomatic so it has to be cycled by hand.
For use in my revolvers, this isn't a problem.

(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t175/SteveCover/Shooting/Chamber%20Insert%20Tests/Convert-A-Pell9MMLuger01.jpg)

(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t175/SteveCover/Shooting/Chamber%20Insert%20Tests/Convert-A-Pell9MMLuger03A.jpg)
9MM Convert-A-Pell kit.... Barrels available in several different lengths so you can expand the usefulness for other guns by just getting another length barrel.

(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t175/SteveCover/Shooting/Chamber%20Insert%20Tests/Convert-A-Pell44Mag01.jpg)
44 Magnum kit.

You may want to explore these options for your chosen gun battery.

Whatever battery you finally decide on.... PRACTICE...PRACTICE...PRACTICE.
Also, if possible, get some formal training.
You don't need to train to Navy Seal standards, but a basic course that can correct any bad habits you may have developed, and teach the "when it appropriate to shoot" would be money well spent.

My 2 Obama Bucks,

Steve
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Newtopian on January 28, 2016, 02:20:34 PM
Ruger 22/45
Glock 19
S&W 686 6" or 4", or 19, 66, or current incarnation

I don't have any experience with the first one, but I carry a Glock 19 every single day, all day long. I carry it appendix with a Raven Concealment Eidolon, and in a office environment with tucked in polos, khakis, dress shirts, and all that, nobody can tell. NOBODY has made me, and I havent printed once. I'm thin, but still, the point is that the G19 is "the working man's gun". It's the one I'd have if I could have only 1.
But I have 3.
And one of them is a Ruger SP101, a small 38/357 revolver. It's probably similar to the S&W 686 in build, but the barrel is 2". This one used to be my daily carry until I got the G19. She stays in the safe in my nightstand now, next to my Glock 21. I prefer my G21 as my home defense gun because it's got 13+1 rounds of .45 cal and a tac light hanging on it.

But I agree with the above post on the second 2 choices. Glock 19 is a must for me. Or the Sig equivalent, or any other 9mm compact that reliably goes bang. You can find G19s as LE trade-ins for a few hundred bucks, and they usually have night sights on them.
And the small revolver. S&W and Ruger make excellent revolvers.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on January 28, 2016, 02:27:20 PM
I am glad this thread popped up again as I found another potential one.  I asked a friend who owns a gun shop what the hottest selling gun was for them.   She shocked me with the answer; the NAA mini revolver has been their best seller this year.   

(http://northamericanarms.com/slider_images/CoverContest.jpg)

This little thing is pretty cool!  Now you've gone and added another niche to fill: deep, deep concealment.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on January 28, 2016, 02:31:32 PM
Update . . .

I decided to go with the Ruger 22/45 with the rails (model 10149) and will add a scope and maybe a light/laser and a suppressor down the road. 

What made the decision for me is that I figure one day this might be a useful varmint/pest-control pistol (especially with the suppressor) and so having the easy ability to add a light/laser was what sold me on the rails.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: machinisttx on February 11, 2016, 10:34:34 PM
I will offer my standard response to this question first----Go out and handle some guns, preferably lots of them, and decide what feels best in your hand. What works for others may or may not work for you. Lots of people like glocks, I do not. The previous description of a 2x4 is exactly how I'd describe them, though I'd add "slightly rounded". After you've handled some guns, preferably lots of them, and decided on what you liked best then it's time to try shooting them if possible. Some ranges offer firearm rentals. A few bucks for a rental is a lot cheaper than getting home with a new gun and finding out it ain't quite what you wanted after all.

Those NAA minirevolvers are, IMO, a very poor choice for a carry gun. I don't have especially large hands and mine(22 mag/.22 LR convertible with 1.625" barrel) is simply too small for comfortable, fast, and safe manipulation. Reloading it under stress, nope, not happening. .22 mag doesn't give me much confidence either. Notice that I haven't said anything at all about accuracy. It's quite difficult to shoot one with any degree of precision just for fun....they're plenty accurate though, given lots of time to line things up. Mine hasn't been out of the safe for several years and I haven't missed it one bit. The P3AT that replaced it is substantially easier to use and not that much larger. Frankly, I think anyone is far better served with a good knife than the NAA. If you absolutely must buy an NAA, then you should also buy and install the folding grip for it.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on April 01, 2016, 10:21:35 AM
Adding another update to this thread for anyone who comes along and reads it later:

The third handgun I purchased was a Ruger GP100, 4-inch barrel (or 4.2 inch, whatever).  I like the Ruger LCR for at-home carry, but the GP100 is going to primarily serve as my bedside something-goes-bump-in-the-night firearm.  It's also more fun to shoot at the range than the LCR, and can shoot 357 as well as 38 special. 

Next it's time to consider a defense-minded semiautomatic pistol (I have a Ruger 22LR, but that's just for target, plinking, etc.).  Still haven't made up my mind but looking closely at the Glock 17/19.

 
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Carl on April 01, 2016, 12:18:37 PM
The NAA minim gun is close to useless,unless you are in a movie..it is a gun that I carried with a cleaning brush in the muzzle ,on a chain around my neck...it works as a signal gun but is so limited and hard to shoot well , it is more gun jewelry.

I also do not like the current trend for plastic and aluminum...a mans gun is made of steel and wood with the Glock as an exception.
I carry a ruger sp101 in 357 Mag in my pocket,a 1911 Colt Double Eagle in a holster (or a glock 45/40/357 sig/9 MM and am well armed with any ...I also carry a Walther PP in 32 ACP or 380 or a P22 with supressor.. Find what suits you and what you shoot well...You are well armed with a revolver or auto ...no matter the capacity (Make your shots COUNT) don't spray and hope to hit a target.

My primary gun is a leaver action Rossi with 15 inch Stainless and a well used and smooth action ...either 357 or 44 Mag caliber...and always ,there is a 12 gauge pump behind the door....several doors as I share home with a dog who respects what guns are for and leaves them alone.Go to a range and beg ,borrow,rent some guns to narrow your scope and don't just listen to some cowboy

I have been in 4 armed confrontation with shots fired and NEVER needed more than TWO SHOTS (there were three of them) to end hostilities...I have been shot,stabbed,slashed and punched but that chapter of my life seems to be behind me...I win now by avoiding trouble where too often a CCW causes on to rush in to fights not their own..go with common sense.

Mostly my opinion,for what it is worth. I have shot and trained with some of the best shooters in the world...even walked the streets of downtown Shreveport with Elmer Keith..I would not change a thing,

Guess I tend to ramble..
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: machinisttx on April 01, 2016, 05:00:18 PM
Just for you Carl.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b20/imakechips/smith%20and%20wesson/100_1581.jpg)

Gun was fresh from the range when I took that pic. It's not a safe queen.  :)
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Carl on April 01, 2016, 05:01:44 PM
Beauty....and well used...
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: FrugalFannie on April 05, 2016, 09:49:11 PM
I would say GET MORE TRAINING and buy 1 gun. If you cannot conceal carry then I would suggest the largest one you are comfortable with. GET TRAINED by an instructor who will help you select a firearm for your situation and that you shoot well. Then buy the gun and GET MORE TRAINING. Instead of buying 3 guns you can save a lot of money by buying 1 gun and then use that money for training and ammo.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on April 21, 2016, 10:34:45 AM
I would say GET MORE TRAINING and buy 1 gun. If you cannot conceal carry then I would suggest the largest one you are comfortable with. GET TRAINED by an instructor who will help you select a firearm for your situation and that you shoot well. Then buy the gun and GET MORE TRAINING. Instead of buying 3 guns you can save a lot of money by buying 1 gun and then use that money for training and ammo.

Normally, I would agree with you.  But while I'm here in the People's Republik of NJ, I am forced to deal with very onerous (and IMO unconstitutional) gun laws that require me to apply for a special permit just to PURCHASE a handgun, and said permits expire after a maximum of 180 days.  The worst part is that part of the permit process is that I have to identify two non-family references and the NJ State Police call / write these references EVERY TIME I try to obtain a permit, requiring them to respond.  And I hate that for many reasons, not least of which it is unnerving and an inconvenience for those friends that have been decent enough to agree to serve as references for me (and this, in a very gun-non-friendly area).  And since I can obtain multiple handgun permits at a time (with only the need for the police to bother my references that one time) I made the decision to get all the handguns for the various purposes I will need all at once, and then of course practice with all of them later.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: BLACK SHIRT on April 21, 2016, 06:57:32 PM
Normally, I would agree with you.  But while I'm here in the People's Republik of NJ, I am forced to deal with very onerous (and IMO unconstitutional) gun laws that require me to apply for a special permit just to PURCHASE a handgun, and said permits expire after a maximum of 180 days.  The worst part is that part of the permit process is that I have to identify two non-family references and the NJ State Police call / write these references EVERY TIME I try to obtain a permit, requiring them to respond.  And I hate that for many reasons, not least of which it is unnerving and an inconvenience for those friends that have been decent enough to agree to serve as references for me (and this, in a very gun-non-friendly area).  And since I can obtain multiple handgun permits at a time (with only the need for the police to bother my references that one time) I made the decision to get all the handguns for the various purposes I will need all at once, and then of course practice with all of them later.
[/quote

Wow, Thats terrible!!! I feel sorry for anyone in New Jersey.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Davew223 on April 21, 2016, 08:36:23 PM
Machinisttx has brought up the most important issue and here is why.  He said to go try a bunch before you buy.  The reason this is so important is because the handgun needs to fit you.  Notice that I did not say fit your hand.  Different manufactures use different grip angles and the gun should fit your wrist angle when they are cammed  down to tendon lockout. This will give you a good site picture every time because you have a hard reference point. It will also give you faster split times between shots by mitigating the dip after recoil. This is not to say you can't learn a different grip angle, it's just better to have it fit.  If a glock works for you,  I would get the 34 over the 17. It is basically a 17 with a little longer barrel and longer site radius.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on May 24, 2016, 04:22:00 PM
So, to wrap up this thread, here are the 5 handguns that I ended up purchasing with my 5 permits (yeah, I guess I have a thing for Rugers):

- Ruger LCR; 38 special.  Purpose: at-home carry; maybe would be a warm weather concealed carry option when/if I move to a state that respects the 2nd Amendment.

- Ruger GP100; 357/38 special.  Purpose: nightstand, bump-in-the-night gun -- I wanted a revolver because I had concerns about my ability to operate a semi-automatic pistol if woken up from a deep sleep at 3 a.m. needing to defense my family; also would be the gun I hand to a novice family member or trusted friend I needed to arm in a SHTF situation.

- Ruger GP100; 22LR.  Purpose: this was an unexpected purchase, but I enjoyed shooting the revolvers so much that I decided to pick up a 22LR revolver for training / target shooting; also, eventually this will be the gun that I use to teach my wife how to shoot, and it *may* end up being her go-to home defense gun (yes, it's not ideal, but if she's not comfortable with a larger caliber, it's better than a knife).

- Glock 19 Gen4; 9mm.  Purpose: this gun is going to mainly be used only at the range for now; I suspect that this will become my primary carry firearm once that right is available to me.

- Ruger 22/45 Mark III.  Purpose: this was just a "fun" purchase for the most part, that in retrospect I don't really "need"; I picked this up before I decided to get the GP100 22LR, thinking it would be my only 22LR; I will use it for target practice at the range, and in the back of my head I have dreams of one day tricking it out with a suppressor and using it to dispatch varmints on my little plot o'land out in the country.   ;D



So . . . good, bad, or ugly, that's where I ended up.  Thanks to everyone who offered their opinions and advice - I really appreciated it! 

Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Cordovil on March 28, 2017, 05:05:23 PM
Update: Roughly a year later, I can say that I am happy with the handguns that I purchased, with one exception: my 22LR semi-automatic pistol (which happens to be a Ruger 22/45 Mark III).

There's nothing wrong with it and this isn't a knock against the Ruger 22/45 Mark III, but I found that I simply did not need a "22LR practice revolver" AND a "22LR practice semiautomatic pistol."  Between the two, I prefer my Ruger GP 100 22LR when I want to shoot 22LRs, and so I find that I have barely used my 22LR semiautomatic pistol.

Usually, when I'm at the range shooting handguns, I'll shoot (1) Glock 19, (2) GP 100 loaded with 38 special, (3) GP 100 22LR, and then (4) a small amount with my Ruger LCR in 38 special.

I've just found that I don't need a 22LR semiautomatic pistol for training purposes (tbh, I don't even really need the GP 100 22LR revolver, but having and shooting a 22LR is fun, and this is the first handgun that I'm going to have my wife shoot when she's ready to learn). 

So, that's my postmortem report.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Smurf Hunter on March 29, 2017, 01:37:24 PM
It depends why you practice I suppose.  Folks who do a lot of self defense training like .22lr conversions of the same pattern pistol for ergonomics.  They can practice racking slides, same point of aim from holster draw etc

If you are more interested in recreational target shooting, I see your point.
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: JollyGreen on March 29, 2017, 06:36:49 PM
Update: ......
So, that's my postmortem report.

Kick ass.  Congratulations.  Send that Mark III down the road and don't look back.  Sell it for ammo and get some good training. 

Cheers,
David
Title: Re: New to handguns - how many, what general categories should I think about?
Post by: Carl on March 29, 2017, 08:09:11 PM
Kick ass.  Congratulations.  Send that Mark III down the road and don't look back.  Sell it for ammo and get some good training. 

Cheers,
David

I use a Ruger Mark 1 or a Browning Buckmark...each with red dot scope,and fair well with squirrels and bunnies ,as a GRUB GETTER,it is hard to beat when I don't carry one of my 22 rifles.