How to Choose a Gun?

S

spook mma

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hi, i plan on purchasing a handarm sometime in the next year and was wondering if anyone had some advice to offer as to how i should ultimately decide on what handgun to get. does anyone have a website, book, etc. to recommend? also, does anyone know of any good safety training programs in IL? thanks in advance.
 
What do you want to use the gun for?

How much do you want to spend?

How big are you hands?

How strong are you hands?

How accurate do you want it to be?

How much stopping power do you want to fire down range?

Do you want to conceal it?

Do you want to hunt with it?

Is anyone else going to use it? If so, what are their abilities, characteristics, etc.

How much training have you had already?

LOTS of questions to be answered.

I'll give you a run down of my own as an example.

I want it primarily for self-defense in the home. I want to spend less than $400 (at the time). I want it to be accurate out to the length of the main hall of my house to within 3" (25' hall). I don't care to hunt with it. I don't care to conceal carry it. I have fairly large hands, but my wife should be able to use it as well and she's an average size female. I was a fairly accomplished pistol shot in the Army, but that was 10 years ago. I want a fair amount of stopping power but don't need to stop a bear hopped up on coke :).

I finally settled on a S&W revolver with a 1 7/8" barrel, it chambers 5 rounds of .357 mag or .38 spec +p. It is extremely reliable, accurate in the range I need it to be, concealable should I choose to do that, it fits my large hands and my wife's small hands equally well, and it was reasonably priced when I purchased it.

Now, someone with different needs and wants it would be totally the wrong weapon to choose.

As for good training programs, you can do no better than the NRA. Call them up and attend as many classes as you can. They have top flight instruction and you'll make a ton of good friends as well.
 
start by taking an accreditied class, probably an NRA course.
second; good luck. your city has some of the harshest gun control laws in the nation.
 
However there is a court case or two where people were given pistols specifically to challenge the unconstitutional laws of the Chicago NAZI, oops democratic party, elites.
 
http://www.gatguns.com

Click on Training

Gat has a Firearms instructor, Gerald Kau. (NRA-IPA-IA-ISV-IVA-Certified)

I have not TAKEN his course yet, but Me and some friends are planning to. They teach Saftey and targeting, and shooting for self defense. 2 hour class, 70 bucks.

The store is about 30 minutes outside Chicago in the NW burbs. I personally purchased 2 of my guns there, they arent the cheapest, but they have a good selection and a pretty knowlageable staff.

Damn I sound like a commercial for them.
 
FIRST THINGS FIRST!!!

DOES IT FIT YOUR HAND. That's the most important thing. You really don't have to be that strong to have a gun, even with a .500 S&W or .50 AE. A 100 pound girl can handle a .45 ACP effectively out of a government-sized 1911.

DOES IT FIT YOUR HAND, that should be the most important thing.

Second, then decide what you're going to use it for, determine what caliber is needed to fit that purpose. For self-defense or a beginner, a 9mm is the best choice. Recoil is very light and it's very easy to learn on, and ammo is cheap. If you get better and more experienced, you can dig in to the good stuff... Magnum calibers, .45 ACP, etc.

Try visiting some firearm forums. They can give you advice. I would suggest a Glock for a beginner because of its ease of use, but the Glock isn't the best choice for beginners... There is basically no internal safety and is very dangerous in the hands of a novice.

I would suggest a revolver, probably in .357 magnum or .45 ACP. 9mm revolvers are not too accurate as most 9mm revolvers are short-barreled ultra compacts. A revolver is much more reliable than a pistol due to simpler mechanisms and I have three revolvers, and nothing stops them from working. The only advantage that an autoloader has over a revolver is that depending on the magazine of the autoloader, you can have more ammo. You can also shoot a bit faster, it's easier to conceal, etc. An autoloader is more resistant to dirt and sand, while a revolver is 100% reliable in normal conditions (but not for military combat today due to dirt, sand, etc.).

Get a wheel gun. Smith and Wesson and Taurus make good revolvers.
 
If you are not familiar with handguns, get a revolver, either an older Colt or if you want a new wheelgun, get a Taurus - S&W design and liscense, but better metal and product engineering these days and a warranty you cannot beat.

If you are going to get a small one (pocketor belly gun sized) do not bother with .357 - get yourself a nice little .38 Special, airweight or steel frame, and load it with wadcutter ammo - short barrels are very inefficient at getting up to velocities where hollowpoints will expand effectively in soft tissue (bad people), round nose bullets lead or copper will leave quick closing holes and will not do as much damage as we would like, whereas a wadcutter is a flat bullet punching nice round clean holes thru soft tissue that will not close up around themselves as easily.

If you want to punch paper at the local range and worry about the piece for home use, a 4-6 inch barrel is a good bet, adjustable sights are not what you need starting out, at 7 yards you just need to point at the middle of the target anyway. Keep in mind that the air marshall folks are just pointing and shooting down the aisle of a plane in training under induced stress - same thing you will be doing.

Autos are really nice and I usually prefer them but they do not work real well when jammed up against a target - it takes the gun's mechanicals out of required alignment (lock-up) for proper functioning.

I would love to find an older 50's-70's Airweight Colt Detective Special (aluminum frame) which is a 6-shot revolver, .38 special and weighs next to nothing, with a grip big enough to fill a large hand and they almost universally have perfect mechanicals.

One other option - if you want a smaller hole but faster bullets that can bounce around inside tissue like a pinball, S&W makes a little .22 revolver, model 317 I think, which is a titanium frame and an 8- or 10-shot revolver and rubber grip, very ideal for those social occassions when it may be wiser to extricate yourself from a situation than to see how it furthre develops. 22's are really small, but lots of critters, from squirrel size to people size have been killed by .22 bullets. They are fast penetrate lots of things well. Long ago in my parents basement I used a .22 to zap a phone book - it went thru to page 1170 or so, which was about three inches in. Phone books are much tougher to penetrate than anything on the human anatomy.

None of what I say here is real politically correct. It is not intended to be so. If you want to punch paper, good for you, I do it on occassion myself when time allows and it is fine recreation. On the other hand, the main reason I own a few handguns is that there are just situations posible when hands, feet, Mad Dog Knives or my Pathfinder are not fiting right and working my way out peaceably is not a viable solution. If you need to shoot someone to save your own butt or someone else's, I guess my point is that you need a system that is realy simple, and few things are simpler than a wheelgun - it is like a Polaroid, just point and shoot.

If you need to point and shoot, go for center mass, or if at contact distance, whatever you can conveniently and quickly contact. Keep your fingers out of the trigger guard unless you mean to kil whatever is in front of the muzzle (front end) and remember that where your hand points so does your muzzle. I have never been to a gun range that did not have all sorts of holes in the partitions between the shooters - I guess not everyone follows these simple rules.

Above all, do not give your weapon to an idiot. Unless proven otherwise, anyone besides yourself is an idiot with your weapon.
 
Since your new with guns I have two recomendations for you. Get a beretta 92fs 9mm. That is one of the finest handguns in the world you can get for your money, and a great first time handgun because of all its awsome safety features. For home defence get a 12gauge shotgun with buck shot. Nothing beats a 12 gauge for home defence. I belive a 12 gauge is a must in every home.
 
Originally posted by MartialArtist
FIRST THINGS FIRST!!!

Try visiting some firearm forums. They can give you advice. I would suggest a Glock for a beginner because of its ease of use, but the Glock isn't the best choice for beginners... There is basically no internal safety and is very dangerous in the hands of a novice.
a couple of comments here. Glocks have 3 safeties that work in succession, if the first one (located on the trigger, External) is not depressed the other two (internal) will not engage. The firing pin is not able to come into contact with the primer of the round. If you keep your finger of the trigger until you have made the decision to fire and you don't point the muzzle at anything you don't want to destroy, you will be O.K.

Originally posted by MartialArtist I would suggest a revolver, probably in .357 magnum or .45 ACP. 9mm revolvers are not too accurate as most 9mm revolvers are short-barreled ultra compacts. A revolver is much more reliable than a pistol due to simpler mechanisms and I have three revolvers, and nothing stops them from working. The only advantage that an autoloader has over a revolver is that depending on the magazine of the autoloader, you can have more ammo. You can also shoot a bit faster, it's easier to conceal, etc. An autoloader is more resistant to dirt and sand, while a revolver is 100% reliable in normal conditions (but not for military combat today due to dirt, sand, etc.).

Get a wheel gun. Smith and Wesson and Taurus make good revolvers. [/B]
Second comment, in the first part of your post you say glock aren't the best choice because of "no internal safety" but you mention revolvers in the second part, none of which have safeties, internal or external. Not that there is anything wrong with a good .357 revolver. It still goes back to you keep your finger of the trigger until you have made the decision to fire and you don't point the muzzle at anything you don't want to destroy.
Stay safe
Marvin
 
Depending on why you want it, you can't beat a .22. Cheap, easy to fire, fun. If you're just looking to shoot cans you can't beat it, you'll save a lot of money on ammo. It's also a great calibre for beginners. If you're looking for home defense, go with a 12 gauge shotgun. As for a Glock, it's one of the safest guns, and most reliable, out there. I shot on a Glock team for a few years and I love their products.
 
I have been shopping for a hand gun for about 8 months now. I am not in a hurry to won one, obviously but I thought I would share my experience. The best thing to do is fire evrey gun you can get your hands on. Most shooting ranges will let you rent guns from them so long as you bring someone with you to the range or you bring your own gun, which I assume you don't have. This is for suicide prevention. Anyway, so far I have shot a glock 9mm semiauto, a colt 40 semiauto, two different Kimber 45 semiautos, 38 revolver, smith and wesson 357 magnum. So far I am the most accurate with the Kimber semiautos. Of caorse they happen to be the most expensive of the hand guns that I have fired as of yet. I know that I want a 45 calibure semiauto hand gun at this point. I just seem to be more accurate with them for some reason when firing round af ter round quickly. I am leaning towards the Kimber Ultra ten. It holds the most rounds in a a 45 calibure handgun that I have come accross thus far. I still want to shoot the Heckler and Kock as well a Sig Sauer 45 calibure weapons before I make a purchase. It is my opinion that reliability and accuracy are the most important qualities to look for. Unfortunately, this may put you in the higher price brackets but if you are purchasing the gun for self defense price should not be the most important factor anyway. If you just want something that is fun to shoot at the range then economy can play a greator role in your decision.

have fun shopping,

Mike Miller UKF
 
In my oppinion the best round for self-defense in an urban situation (or anywhere else for that matter) is the .45 acp. It has the advantage over the 9mm due to greater stopping-power. Many people dismiss the .45 because of it's relatively low velocity (800 fps. +/-). however, in an urban situation this is an advantage because the chance of secondary penetration is reduced. As far as the specific type of weapon, I prefer the Colt 1911 or variations of that design; however Glock, Sig, H&K, Ruger, S&W and Taurus are also excellent choices. It can also be had in a revolver configuration from either Taurus, Ruger, or Smith & Wesson. Many people also whine about the recoil but my 6 year-old brother has shot my government model and he enjoyed it (I had to practically pry it out of his hands...lol)
If you don't want a .45 my second choice would be either a .357 loaded with .38 sp. +p or a .40 S&W.
My favorite load for defense or duty carry is the Federal Hydra-shok which can be found for practically all of the main calibers.
 
How do you guys feel about Springfield Armoury's XD?
 
I haven't had the chance to handle or fire an XD yet but since it's made by Springfield Armory I would assume it relfects the same high standard they meet with their other weapons. The only thing I don't like about it from reading the reviews and seeing the specs. is that the fact that the grip safety must be depressed for any manipulation of the slide or magazine...in other words, unless I'm mistaken, you have to be holding the weapon as if you were going to fire it before you can **** the slide or drop the mag. I may be wrong but if not I wouldn't want one for that reason. However, that is a personal preference issue, someone else probably has an oppinion that is the exact opposite of mine.
 
you can **** the slide

okay, obviously the censoring thing doesn't allow for the context in which the word is used. Let's go with pull the slide rearward..lol
 
You have gotten some pretty good advice from the posts before me. This article may help you some more http://www.helium.com/tm/297937. I personally think that in the end it comes down to personal taste. Some people hate glocks while others swear by them. I'm beginning to like polymer framed pistols because they absorb some of the sharpness out of the recoil. Also they are ligher and less susceptible to corrosion. But you may want to check out a wide variety of guns and shoot them at the range. Sometimes even the best gun makers make a lemon now and again.
 

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