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I’ve been asked this a lot in the last several weeks

Several of my non-gunny friends in the real world say to me “hey, Uncle, I need a handgun before they’re banned. What do you suggest?” I note that they don’t currently own guns yet have a fear they will be banned so they want one. Which is weird because the press tells me they only want to ban those evil assault rifles, whatever those are.

My answer is always the same. Either a Glock 26, Glock 19, Glock 17, S&W M&P 9, or S&W M&P 9C. All the guns are 9mm. 9mm is a perfectly adequate cartridge. It’s also easier to find and less expensive, in general . . . but not this week. Guns that shoot 9mm hold more rounds and the quickest way to double the effectiveness of your carry ammo is a follow up shot, which they have lots of, compared to 45s. And I just don’t dig the .40, especially for new shooters. The second issue is that of size. This combination runs the gamut from borderline pocket pistol up to full size duty gun. That’s just preference based on attire and method of carry and so forth. Or if they’re going to carry at all. For a nightstand gun, there’s no reason not to have full sized pistol, other than small hands. And, lastly, grip angle. Some people just don’t dig the Glock’s grip angle and some people love it.

Then, I tell them to go try them out and see which one works best.

YMMV.

Flame on.

Update: Also, all these pistols are striker fired. That’s merely for consistency of trigger pull. When you’re a newbie, consistency is likely a good thing. And no manual safeties. Is gun, is not safe. And better to let them learn good habits instead of relying on a a false sense of security.

111 Responses to “I’ve been asked this a lot in the last several weeks”

  1. Fiftycal Says:

    God, you’re smart. That is exactly what I would tell people. I would add to get a few hundred rounds of cheap(?) FMJ to practice with and make sure the gun feeds their carry ammo. Golden Saber, Critical defense or Ranger.

  2. TigerStripe Says:

    I own both Glock and S&W M&P, so that’s pretty much my advice as well. I would add Gold Dots and Federal HST as carry ammo.

    TS

  3. Cargosquid Says:

    But…but….Taurus Judge!

  4. Mike V Says:

    +1 for the M&P9 pistols. I own the compact and my next pistol purchase will be a full size.

  5. D2k Says:

    Within that same range are Walther P99 (and the S&W variant), PPS, PPX (potentially in a few months I think), and PPQ; Steyr L, M, C, and S; the various Springfield XDs (though personally I’ve never really liked the XD); and I’m sure I’m missing something decent.

  6. Drake Says:

    Finding ammo to practice with will be tough for a while.

  7. HardCorp Says:

    Most people are n00bs and can’t handle .45s anyway.

  8. Who Says:

    Get a 12ga pump shotty. EVERYONE knows you just got to pump it and the criminal will run away.

  9. DocMerlin Says:

    My first gun was a XDs in 45. Yes, it only holds 5+1, but much easier for me to conceal. In Texas, if you pattern through clothes, you just committed a crime.

  10. Ron Larimer Says:

    Depending on the size they are interested in I go with… LCP, M&P Shield, Glock 19, M&P9, M&P Pro. But any of the Glocks or M&P’s (in 9mm) are good. If the person wants a 40 it is M&P only.

  11. Guav Says:

    All they need is a double barreled shotgun.

  12. crastinator Says:

    Anybody who doesn’t own a gun by now, unless they just turned 21, doesn’t deserve a long, thoughtful, custom tailored recommendation.

    The guns you recommend are fine for anyone, pretty much. Assuming ten fingers, normal strength, etc.

    The other recommendation is a 357 or 38 cal revolver, just because it is so simple to operate – almost intuitive. Because with people like these, you know that the first time that they forget to take the safety off, they are going to be calling you, expecting you to fix everything over the phone.

    The last recommendation is “whatever you can find, at whatever price you have to pay, because you waited too long”. followed by “ha ha ha ha ha ha …..”

    I just don’t have the patience for idiots anymore.

  13. Jake Says:

    I have to disagree with “Anybody who doesnít own a gun by now, unless they just turned 21, doesnít deserve a long, thoughtful, custom tailored recommendation.”

    that’s what anyone who doesn’t own a gun deserves! We’re trying to boost our numbers and draw people to our cause, not that you were being totally serious crastinator. it’s sort of like taking delight in being the first to discover a cool band; i just think it doesn’t play here. we’re in a fight for our rights here…
    I try to get everyone I know into firearms, because i enjoy the sport and hobby and I feel many others would if they had the exposures I’ve been lucky enough to have. All I’ll give are long thoughtful recommendations… at least I like to think they’re thoughtful.
    I would actually like to lend my ideas to first time handguns. I agree LCP should be mentioned (for those wanting to carry..pretty reliable and quite reasonably compact. i generally think reliability is king, everything else (within reason) is just gravy. there’s a polish radom p64 which I can’t make fail if I try, which is more than I can say for some guns three or even five times the cost (i’m looking at you Kimber!). i generally think revolvers (especially in purses, or stuffed in the car) are fundementally more dangerous due to lack of a safety and lack of need for chambering, but as a home defense gun, they’ve got a lot of potential power. there are workarounds and positives to a revolver (am I getting off track), and good gun safety probably negates much of this, but I just don’t think it’s the best option.
    great pistols in order of what I’d recommend: sig sauer (probably any of their contemporary 9mm’s really, but I’ve only had experience with 250 and 226, both of which are totally awesome) > springfield XDM or HK > ruger SR9 or glock or S&W M&P.

  14. Ron Says:

    Nice picks. I would customize the recommendation based on the users’ size (it’s hard for someone with small hands to use a full size Glock comfortably.) If available I think the Walther PPQ is an excellent 9mm choice for people with smaller hands. For everyone, I would add either a conversion kit for .22LR (if available) or a dedicated .22 pistol for practice and versatility.

  15. Mike Says:

    Excellent suggestions.

  16. Jim Scrummy Says:

    All great ideas. Since ammo in the 9mm variety is hard to come by these days, I would add in the Walther P22 (or other 22lr plinkers), for general plinking practice(as some others previously suggested). I’ve been able to find 22lr ammo, whereas with other flavors, much is back ordered.

  17. Roger Says:

    Great picks Unk, I’da added a full or medium sized .38 / .357 revo to the list just to cover all bases. No snubbies, no compacts or ultra compacts, no big gore magnums. Well done sir.

  18. Sid Says:

    My response to that is always:
    12 gauge autoloader
    45 caliber long slide with laser sight
    phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range
    Uzi 9 milimeter

    I want to tell them to get a M40A1 Pulse Rifle if they can find it, but I am fairly certain that finding a good supply of 10 millimeter explosive tip caseless standard light armor piercing rounds is going to be a challenge.

  19. Marlin Says:

    I tell them G19, for the few simple reasons:
    1. Small enough to conceal.
    2. Big enough that it’s comfortable to shoot.
    3. Reliability
    4. Aftermarket

  20. Ohio shawn Says:

    While personally I don’t carry any of the mentioned guns, they are superb recommendations for the first time buyer and gun noob. I would avoid the XD only b/c the grip safeties can go tits up and then you have a noob with a broken gun.
    Hope no minds if I stick with my Sig 22x’s, I like a metal frame for when I’m empty and have to resort to throwing it. :)

  21. KCSteve Says:

    I sell guns for a living and that’s just about my recommendation. I include the Springfield XD along with the Glocks and the M&Ps. I explain that I personally carry the XD, my wife carries a Glock and one of my brothers likes the M&P. I put sample of each in their hands and help them figure out which one feels best to them.

    Depending on budget we may drop down to the mid-level guns and if we absolutely have to I’ll show them entry level guns – but explain their limitations.

    Of course, right now I just try to find them any gun that will work for them, what with the extremely limited supply and high demand.

  22. SteveA Says:

    @docmerlin, you are incorrect on the patterning law. please go here for a very good discussion and the relavent laws, http://www.texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=44320
    Granted, not all officer know the law, so try not to pattern too much.

  23. Mike Says:

    Yes.

    Anything more than a trigger and a slide release is too much. The more a defensive handgun approximates a Windex bottle, the better it is for the non gun-enthusiast.

  24. Gerry Says:

    I end up taking the Bag O Guns to the local range and after the basic safety brief letting them shoot them all.

    We discuss the positives and negatives of each then short list for a second go around.

    M&P9, Glock 19 and Commander length 1911 get the most votes.

  25. Uncle Kevvie Says:

    For a first timer, Buy a .38 or.357 revolver.
    **Vast variety of ammo types.
    **5/6 shots makes you more accurate.
    **One dead primer and your semi-auto-thingy is just a cute club.
    With a revolver you just pull the trigger again.

    **When you point a revolver at a baddie, ‘Him’ sees instantly you’re loaded for bear, or ‘Him’………

  26. aerodawg Says:

    I always recommend a 9mm. It’s an adequate round that gives you a fairly high capacity, which to me is important for out in public when you don’t have a rifle to retreat to.

  27. Bill Says:

    Anybody know of any 9mm ammo for sale? Anyone know of any .22LR for sale? I can’t find any of either in at least a 100 mile radius in Washington State, so recommending a 9mm is just not a reasonable option, just like recommending a .22 for practice isn’t reasonable either. Neither one has been available anywhere for at least the last month.

    A buddy made a trip to the nearest large city, just to check as many stores as possible.

    He found:

    All had .40 in multiple loadings and varying amounts.

    All had .380 (!) also in varying loads and amounts.

    All had 10mm in varying loads and ammounts.

    All had .41 magnum.

    All had big revolver calibers, .44 mag, .454 Casull, .460, and .500 S&W.

    Interestingly all of them also had .357, and .38 Special, although .38 Special was more limited.

    So…in todays market, 9mm, the good and old standby, isn’t so good!

    For a first time buyer, I would say to look at revolvers, and revolver cartridges, because all the rest seems a little crazy.

    A pistol with no ammo is as useless as no pistol.

  28. Ohio Shawn Says:

    Bill, the ammo shortage will end shortly, previous runs have shown this to be true. The pistol a noob purchases will be with them for years. A revolver requires a lot of training to avoid pulling off target due to the heavy trigger pull, I don’t think they make good guns for the first time gun user. I can find 9mm, its just mostly high cost self defense ammo. Luckygunner posts 9mm ammo to there site multiple times a week, just keep checking. FMJ is nowhere to be found in stores and 22LR only shows up as CCI 22lr Shotshells, which I will continue to ignore. Fortunately, I buy ammo year round when I’m grocery shopping and such, so this latest panic shelf clearing hasn’t kept me from going to the range every two weeks per my usual. Plus, if you are a gunny you should have a few boxes of 9mm or 22lr you could loan out to a friend who is a first time shooter without bankrupting your supply. Ammo will be back in stores as soon as everyone calms down.

  29. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Good Choices, Unc. But for the Elderly who might have some Rheumatism, I’d go with a .38 Revolver. Trying to jack a slide back can be hard for some of the old people. But if you’re young and healthy, your list is very nice.

  30. Bill Says:

    Ohio Shawn,

    I’ll agree that the run SHOULD end sometime soon, but all the people I’ve talked to in the industry tell me that it will be midsummer before we see significant easing of ammo supplies.

    That still doesn’t solve the problem of what to buy NOW, and having someone rely on maybe getting ammo from an online supplier is a crap shoot at best. Even reloading supplies are back ordered, or the suppliers are so far behind shipping that it will take months to catch up. I’ve got bullets ordered from 2 big suppliers, ordered 4 weeks ago, with best guess delivery in mid February, and thats with projectiles, that are IN STOCK! They simply can’t ship faster than they are.

    Most gunnies have some reserve, but most of us can’t afford to help too many people learn to shoot using our ammo unless we have some idea of restocking times.

    Even my local Steel Challenge director is starting to wonder how fast shooters will drop off if they can’t guarantee a new ammo supply.

    We should see easing in 9mm and .223 with the capacity created by ‘Stan and Iraq, and that should also help with AR mags, but so far no such luck.

    And as far as revolvers go, teaching good technique with a revolver isn’t THAT tough!

    No different than a double action semi-auto!

  31. schizuki Says:

    Autoloaders? Nope. Medium-frame .357. Shoot everything from mild .38s to full-house .357s. No magazine to be banned. Dead simple.

  32. Mike V Says:

    Les,

    My experience in teaching firearms has shown me if someone has grip issues that preclude a certain semi auto, it doesn’t necessarily preclude a different semi. Also if they have issues manipulating a slide, they tend to have issues with a double action trigger press.

  33. David Kahn Says:

    Curious why you wouldn’t recommend a Sig? My first pistol was a P229 in 9mm, and I think it’s a reliable, accurate, and easy to shoot handgun.

  34. lester Says:

    What is wrong with a Taurus Judge? Seems very simple to use and one does not have to be a crack shot.

    Lester

  35. Andy Frechtling Says:

    Agree with schizuki. Medium frame .357, and I like the Ruger GP100. As I recall, the late Dean Grennell once tested one off a Ransom rest and said it was the most accurate handgun he’d ever seen.

  36. jim Says:

    I’m a gun newbie much like those asking the original question. I guess I lean toward a 357 or 38 revolver because I intuitively understand how a revolver works vs the complexities of an automatic… if you see what I mean. Much better for a zombie apocalypse scenario that way.

  37. DH Says:

    So many options, but it comes down to what you’re comfortable shooting and how much time you can spend practicing.

    If you don’t have a lot of time to practice, a Smith & Wesson 686+ revolver is hard to beat. It holds 7 rounds of 38 special or 357 magnum and is a beautiful, easy-to-use gun.

    Glocks just don’t do it for me. For whatever reason, I’m just not very accurate with them. I prefer a 9mm or 45 Springfield XD.

    My wife prefers my 9mm carbine to a pistol. Such a long gun — which could instead be an AR-15, mini-14, or shotgun — is a fine home defense weapon if you plan to hunker down in your room while you wait for the cops after calling 911. (If you need to first go down the hall to retrieve the kids, a handgun is better. But you should NOT attempt to clear a house yourself unless you live in the middle of nowhere where no police are available.)

  38. richb Says:

    For a first gun for a male I would go with an H&K USP in any cartridge. The reasons are:
    1. Its a very high quality gun for a semi-auto. This breeds confidence in a new shooter as their only problem is likely to be limp wristing FTE.

    2. There are holster makers that make that big pistol disappear for conceal carriers. Raven Phantom is one of them. If you can wear the HK and it disappears for CCW, then what more pistol do you need?

    3. It shoots great with minimal flipping and can be shot very accurately.

    Basically my reasons boil down to the HK USP is practical, reliable, concealable and flexible to meet many requirements.

    I also strongly recommend Glocks, full size or sub-compact.

    For females, I say Ruger or S&W .38 +P special revolvers, especially the ones without the exposed hammer. Owning one of these means you also can fire the .357 magnum cartridge, giving a person essentially two guns in one. They can start with light load .38’s to learn the basics of shooting and ultimately graduate to the .357 with the stopping power of a .45, and of course a brutal recoil.

  39. Sigivald Says:

    David: Because it’s an extra $400+ for no real benefit to the new shooter? That would seem important.

    And secondarily, as Uncle said:

    Because hammer fired non-DAO adds a varying pull – though I think that one’s relatively minimal.

    And the ones he suggested have no separate, active safety mechanism to either over-rely on or forget about in a pinch.

    (There’s nothing wrong with a SIG P229, but those all make it less ideal for a brand-new shooter.)

  40. Hal Says:

    I’ve heard good things about the Taurus Judge as well. Of course I have a Ruger Security-Six, but I’m eyeing a Taurus for my 2nd.

  41. geekWithA.45 Says:

    I concur with the answers as it pertains to pistol, but really, first time buyers should be getting a military pattern auto loading rifle in either a pistol or medium rifle cartridge.

  42. Nessuno Says:

    The answer to this question might have to change drastically if Congress passes a “high capacity” magazine ban. If you can’t get a 9mm to hold over 10 rounds, the benefit of that round over a .40 or .45 basically goes out the window.

    Here in CA, that’s basically where we’re at since we have a 10 round maximum. People still buy 9s, but they probably shouldn’t. They’d be better of learning to handle a .40.

    BTW, most of the bad reputation of the .40 seems to come from people who learned to shoot before the .40 came to market. Newer shooters (myself included) who progressed from .22, then 9mm, then .40, then .45 seem to have a greater appreciation for .40 as a pretty natural compromise between the 9 and .45.

  43. David G Says:

    Perfect advice. All reliable standard guns. The second gun should be a Buckmark or Ruger 22LR pistol. The third gun should be shotgun or 22LR semiauto. Then they will be as opinionated as we are and won’t need or want anymore advice!

  44. Zhytamyr Says:

    The best gun is the one that you have! Pick a gun (any gun) learn it and it’s quirks, practice, practice, practice, and maintain it like a $500k sports car- it’s worth more because it will save your life.

  45. FredB Says:

    You can downsize from the 9mm to 380 Auto and get a nice selection of Sig P238 variants. These are clones of the old Colt Mustang and look well made. An interesting mod is that you can move the slide with the safety on, a break from 1911 pattern operation.

    Ammunition looks to be still available. A 100 count box of Winchester .380 is going for $35 in my neck of the woods.

  46. wg Says:

    IMHO, this is a panicked rush driven primarily by new buyers as well as speculators and they are buying semi-automatics because they think that they will be banned.

    Locally and online, I am finding 40 cal, 45 ACP, .357, and quite a bit of ammunition typically used by bolt action rifles. On the other hand, .223/5.56 NATO, 7.62×39, 9mm, .22 LR, and .308 supply seems to be very spotty online and in nonexistent in stores. .38 Special is mixed.

    At local gunshops, still seeing quite a few revolvers, some lever actions, and quite a bit of bolt actions and shotguns. Just bought a S&W pre Model 15 Combat Masterpiece with a rare 5 inch barrel for a little more than a used model S&W 10.

    Lever actions, revolvers, non tactical shotguns, and bolt actions, seem to be where you can still get a firearm at a fair price. Any of these would be suitable for beginners as well.

    I think your suggestions regarding modern semi’s such as Glocks or S&W is spot-on. I like classic Sigs and the DA/SA but it is harder for beginners to get the crunch n tick trigger action. I transitioned from revolvers to DA/SA so not that big a deal.

  47. PAUL F Says:

    Best bet for a new gun owner: .38/.357 revolver (hammerless, for preference). No magazine, no slide, no safety, no round in the chamber (or not). Basic, intuitive, easy to use under pressure. Keep loaded with semi-jacketed hollow points, practice with cheap reloads. They can always upgrade later. My usual carry gun is a 5 shot S&W 340PD and I’m perfectly comfortable with it, even though I have several autos around for other purposes.

  48. Mattsky Says:

    I’ve been considering purchasing my first firearm. With the limited research I’ve done I was considering buying a Springfield XD 9MM.

    I’ll look into the others mentioned in this post and would appreciate feed back on the Springfield.

  49. Woody Says:

    My wife and I shot a variety of guns before we settled on an M&P .45. Wouldn’t be good for carry though.

  50. SayUncle Says:

    You people inquiring about The Judge must be new to the internet.

  51. Bystander Says:

    Not knowing much about the hypothetical friends we are discussing I would recommend a revolver.

    I assume they are new to guns so there are two possibilities: they will take to guns or they won’t.

    If they don’t take to guns the revolver will be their only gun. Thus, it should be adequate and simple to use and resistant to neglect. If they are in need of a carry piece where concealment is important I would recommend a snubbie, despite its limitations because they must find it convenient to conceal or they won’t carry at all.

    If they do take to guns the revolver will be only their first and they can take their time settling on what else they want.

  52. Jay Behrens Says:

    I think we’ve had more first-time prospective gun owners in the store lately than ever before (no real surprise) with about a 60/40 female/male mix (mild surprise).

    Suggestion for First Firearm in the House: 12Ga pump gun. Ease of use and lack of complication. Even for the 60% of the askers that are female, the answer is the same. Yes. It kicks. No, he won’t keep coming at you after the first shot.

    Suggestion for First Handgun in the House: Mid-frame .357Mag/.38Spl such as the Ruger SP101. Very straight-forward and very few finicky parts to break. I suggest practicing mostly with .38s, but finishing up each practice with a cylinder’s worth of .357 to make sure you know what it feels like.

    Suggestion for Concealed Carry: The SA XDs (only available in .45ACP so far). Slim, light-ish, and easy to pocket carry if you want to. The recoil management is excellent. A good friend of the store’s is an ER physician. He pointedly observed that he has – and continues to see – handcuffed patients with multiple 9mm holes in them that are still pretty frisky. He says that patients – handcuffed or not – rarely arrive in the ER with more than one .45 caliber hole in them, and tend to not be frisky at all at that point.

  53. Tully Says:

    Those are all decent choices, but I still end up back at the basics for a n00b. It has to be something they can comfortably handle and are willing to practice with, because if they won’t practice the utility of it is extremely diminished.

    For many n00bs, especially small women, even a 9mm can be very intimidating. If getting used to it means starting with small caliber until they’re comfortable moving up, so be it. A .22 in the practiced hand is still 1000% better than a scary unpracticed 9mm in the closet.

    Some might be tempted to go .380 on the assumption they’re easier to handle, but in the real world most .380’s tend to be just as much a “kicky” pain or more so for a novice shooter than a decent 9mm. Especially in smaller-framed pistols.

  54. Bob Young Says:

    The most valuable gun is the one you have with you. That said, a J-frame Smith has to rank very high with most CCW holders. They’re light and fit in a pocket. They don’t require hand strength to manipulate the slide. They’re simple. They won’t be subject to magazine bans/restrictions.

    I’d recommend an airweight J-frame in .38 Special for carry with a second K-frame 4″ .357 for practice, training, and home defense. The .357 will be perfectly happy shooting .38 Spcl. loads. The L-frame .357 Smiths and Gp100s are too heavy; though Security Sixes are about perfect.

    I’ve got a few nines, including the G19. I’m pushing 70. Although I’m in good shape, slide manipulation is beginning to be a problem. It could be a show stopper for the elderly and women.

  55. George Says:

    #27 Bill wrote: “[The big city stores all] had .40 in multiple loadings and varying amounts…
    …SoÖin todays market, 9mm, the good and old standby, isnít so good!”

    My thoughts exactly. I noticed this in the last gun drought a few years back. That’s why I went with a .40. The Beretta Storm PX4 .40 is nice.

  56. Tim Says:

    What?! No Berettas?

  57. Bill Says:

    General consensus:

    In normal times, 9mm Semiauto, Glock/M&P/XD, or one of the Sigs/HK’s if money permits.

    These aren’t normal times, since no 9mm is available.

    Thus…..38/.357 revolver if you have ammo available in your area.

    Find ammo, then decide on firearm. Its backwards, but so are these times!

  58. eaglesoars Says:

    I am a very small woman who is not young. I got my first gun after the Virginia Tech shooting. I was 54. My NRA instructor and the wonderful people at the range let me try lots of handguns. The guiding principle was – and remains – being able to consistently hit your target. For me, at the time, it turned out to be an adorable S&W 38 revolver. It doesn’t help much if after an hour or so of practice your hands and wrists are sore enough that you don’t want to shoot anymore. And no weapon is of much use of you don’t train. So get something you WILL use with physical comfort. I’ve moved up in the world, so to speak – and will continue to do so – and now am quite comfortable w/my 12 ga. shotgun.

    I hope this helps any women out there who think that their age or physical profile precludes them from learning weaponry. It does not. If I can do it, anybody can.

    Besides, shooting is more fun than I ever imagined!

  59. Gun Trash Says:

    I’m for starting off newbies with a .22 LR or, as I have done a couple of times, take them shooting and let them use your handgun(s).

    I’ve a fairly large assortment so I take pistols and revolvers in the common calibers and let them shoot all of them. Then they have an idea of the difference between a 32 ACP out of a 1-1/2″ Kel-Tec bbl and a .44 Spl out of a Charter Bulldog with a 2-1/2″ bbl and most of the calibers in between.

    Ammo? I’ve been buying it mail-order and online about once a month since 1995 when I first got my C&R license. I’ve boatloads of it. Clinton scared me and I just never stopped buying on a regular basis until recently and that’s because it’s scarce and too pricey for the old Sarge.

    There’s a lesson there. When the price comes down (and it will, eventually) start a regular ammo buy schedule and stock up. Or learn to reload.

  60. ez Says:

    I discovered not too long ago that several members of my family didn’t have very good grip strength. Thats said they were unable to pull a typical double action trigger of more than say 8 pounds. I was real surprised by this and tested most of the females in my family and not many passed.

    The Semi autos are fine but they do require a tug on the slide to chamber a round and that takes some grip strength. The Ruger LCR revolver has a very nice easy trigger pull and more than enough power but is limited to 5 shots. For home defense I think it works for me since I think most of the shots will be well placed.

  61. SCSIwuzzy Says:

    I’d add, if they can swing the extra cash for the accessory pack, Springfield Arms XD(m) line. Multiple calibers available, easy to use and clean with an easy slide and trigger pull. Plus each comes with 3 back straps and 3 magazines, a holster and mag holder. Everything a first shooter needs, and he/she can pick the right ammo for their needs.

  62. cbpelto Says:

    TO: SayUncle, et al.
    RE: First Gun?

    If there’s going to be ANOTHER gun, for self-defense, a 9mm is okay. But pretty darned worthless for self-defense.

    Look at that lady a few weeks ago. Hiding in the attic with her two daughters from a home invader. She had a 6-shooter of the .38 spl persuasion. The guy sticks his head up through the access hatch. She fires ALL SIX ROUNDS. HITS HIM IN THE HEAD AND NECK WITH FIVE ROUNDS. He manages to get out of the house and drive away.

    What if there’d been more than one? Say, five, like that incident in Florida the other day?

    She and her daughters would have been hors de combat.

    As I said, if someone is getting more than one weapon, yeah the 9mm is okay.

    But if they can only afford ONE, get something like the Springfield Armory .45 cal XDm. And get a Crimson Trace laser sight for it.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [.45 cal ACP, because it’s just silly to have to shoot someone twice.]

  63. markm Says:

    If they want one just to have one…any of them will suffice.

    If they want to carry, ats a different deal. Then you have to look at open or concealed carry which breaks it down further.

    My state is concealed so I just picked up an S&W Airweight in a .38 (wanted the 357 for round versatility but they were unobtainium). It’s a ver simple/small/light weapon that is VERY easy to conceal without printing in a cheap pocket holster.

    Next on deck is the Springfield XDs….whenever they become available around here again.

    Ammo….good luck for anything. Everything is bought up as soon as it hits the shelf. 9mm, .38, .357, .44,.45…doesn’t matter, it’s hard to get.

  64. ryan Says:

    As a left-hander, ambi mag release is key. Happy with my HK p2000.

  65. DADvocate Says:

    I bought the S&W M&P 9C as my first pistol. It shoots well and the ammo’s cheap. My next gun will either be something easier to conceal or a .22LR for really cheap shooting. Although, I am getting tempted by those revolvers that can handle .357 rounds and 410 shells.

  66. W ZAPOSKI Says:

    I have nothing against Glocks or S&W. But, personally, I prefer XDs or XDMs. Also, a few hundred rounds just isn’t enough. A few thousand rounds should be more like it. And practice, practice, practice. Just saying.

  67. Carolyn Says:

    I’m a woman, and I love my Walther P99.

  68. William O. B'Livion Says:

    If someone is purchasing a firearm for personal defensive use almost any modern, major name handgun .380 or over will do the job.

    These folks aren’t looking to dive out of the back of a C130 over some ‘stan. They aren’t going to stack up and kick down the door of anything.

    They want something that will live on the nightstand, or AT THE MOST EXTREME on their belt for 99 percent of the time, and occasionally be fired for practice.

    The advice I give is to go down to a range (or multiple ranges if possible) and rent as many guns as it takes to find one you like and shoot well.

    Yes, a revolver requires a BIT more training to shoot straight than a pistol, but at the ranges that the sort of person who needs A gun for self defense usually shoots, well, they usually get the job done just fine across a bedroom.

    Yes, this or that gun has this or that advantage or weakness.

    But the most important thing above all others is that they can hit what they aim at, and they’re comfortable with the gun.

    I watched an allegedly expert shooter flinch so bad she hit the ground 7 yards in front of her–because her lard ass idiot husband INSISTED they use 10mm glock hand blasters. She probably would have been fine with a Glock 17 or a CZ75, but no, the 10mm Glock was the most powerful–and therefore the BEST handgun on the market and that was the one they were going to shoot.

    After they’ve shot a few pistols and made their choice have them come back to you and discuss it–just to make sure they’re not buying a used Tech-9 or a kel-tec (kel-tecs are often not quite right out of the box and have to make several trips back to the mother ship to be made right. This is a problem for a noob, especially one that needs a gun for self-defense).

    Tell not to listen to the guys behind the counter, every single one of them are ex-seals who join the local SWAT team and got injured, which is why they’re working a minimum wage job at a gun store/range where they’re going to try to sell them whatever is slowest moving, most profitable, or what their pea brain has determined is the best guy in the world this month.

  69. Rusty_S Says:

    “What is wrong with a Taurus Judge?”

    It’s a joke for anything other than snakes. It is an oversized, under-spun 45 Long Colt and it is a over-rifled joke of a short barreled shotgun whos full-size version is a squirrel gun at best. The Taurus Judge is a testament to PT Barnum.

    Glock 19 with a good, quality holster and an Advantage Arms 22lr conversion kit. Stay away form 1911’s as a first gun. It is like recommend a Jaguar as a first car. Too much upkeep for a noob.

  70. dwdude Says:

    ruger sr9c 9mm, 17 round mag forms full size grip, 10 rd for carry. accurate shooter excellent craftsmanship. just purchased a case of 1000 rounds fmc fmj brass case reloadable for terget, but i’m not saying where

  71. Jamie Says:

    Uncle,

    My father (73 years old) wanted 2 pistols for him and my mom (66) since “Obama wants to take them away!”. I rec’d a Glock 19. I took them out to shoot the Glock, XD, XDM, and M&P since I have friends who own them. They chose the Glock. I gave him mine and he bought one for Mom.

    I now officially have no 9mm pistol in my household. I am a fan of Glocks for their reliability and ease. I, personally, don’t own one. I am a .45 shooter and shoot competitively. I LOVE my 1911’s and big bore XDs. I would NEVER rec’d one for a new shooter though.

  72. Goatroper Says:

    Jake (#13): I can pretty much ditto everything you said, except for the revolver bit. That said, I’ve always preferred revolvers, and probably have more comfort level with those than most new shooters will acquire. OTOH, semi-autos (and I do know that modern semis are far more reliable than semis used to be) can have problems that can take considerably more training to deal with than modern revolvers.

    crastinator (#12): Idiots aside, you just don’t have enough patience. Friends who come late are still friends. I’ve been approached by several acquaintances lately who are new to shooting and want advice. Most of these work in professions that leave them little time to watch the news or read the blogs or have a life, not necessarily in that order. They are intelligent enough to read the signs they see in what little down-time they have, and they are serious about defending what they have. I’m honored they come to me, and always offer to take them shooting for a try before they buy. These folks — all of them, in my experience — are grateful and become at least part-time shooters and FULL-TIME 2A supporters. I’ve had good experiences with each and every one, and have earned better friends for my time.

    Sorry you’re missing out.

    Goatroper

  73. Gun Trash Says:

    The fill in the blank is a piece of sh*t! My fill in the blank had one and whenever he shot it it would fill in the blank and fill in the blank . I’d never have one of those.

    Don’t forget that old saw about running into trouble: “A .22 in the pocket beats the hell out of the .45 in the gun safe at home.”

    But then, there is this old joke: A lady asked the Texas Ranger why he carried that big ol’ .45 on his hip. The Ranger replied, “Because my 12 gauge won’t fit in the holster.”

    There’s a lesson there. :)

  74. Gun Trash Says:

    Hmmm, it appears html is not used here. :(

    That first para was for the fellow who poo-pooed the Judge

  75. jettee Says:

    How ’bout some love for the revolver? Simple, intuitive, a bit more reliable.

  76. Bill Says:

    @Bill re: Ammo.

    Check Luckygunner.com. They’ve been great. They had hollowpoints this morning. Their system only shows what’s in stock.

  77. markm Says:

    @ post #71

    “I LOVE my 1911′s and big bore XDs. I would NEVER recíd one for a new shooter though.”

    Sprinfield is about to or already has released the XDs in a 9mm. That’d make a fine weapon for a first timer though you can’t beat the simplicity of a revolver.

  78. Dizzy Says:

    I intended to get a Glock for my first handgun, but when I test fired it, I had several misfeeds and one casing stuck in the ejection port. It may have been my fault for limp-wristing, or it may have been the ammo, which wasn’t powerful enough for the Glock, or it may have been a dirty rental, but I decided I no matter the reason, the last thing I wanted was a weapon for home defense that wouldn’t go bang when I pulled the trigger. I’m very happy with my SIG Sauer.

  79. Jusuchin (Military Otaku) Says:

    What if, at commenter #12, I am living hand to mouth trying to work a dead end retail job and sending job applications to everyone and now finally, after years upon years of using up my ‘Jusu’s first gun fund’ for new tires or emergency funds, I can finally get one?

    That sort of attitude is what turns away new buyers, or people like me, who wanted to get a gun for the longest of times but never, ever, ever had a financial footing to do so.

  80. Synova Says:

    My first gun is a 9mm PPQ.

  81. Synova Says:

    I plan to take a friend who has never shot a gun in her life to the range and I’ll rent a .22 pistol with a nice comfortable grip, whatever that happens to be. I’m not going to put my 9mm in her hand until we’re done with the .22 and then only if she really wants to try it. I don’t want her to get in a cringy-flinchy habit before she even starts.

  82. Liberty Says:

    I am not crazy about the glock for a noobie conceal carry. I think its a good choice though for a nightstand or car console gun. The Glack has a nasty habit of the trigger getting hung up in clothing resulting in a nastycaase of Glockleg. Hammers and safety do make for a safer carry. A thumb on the hammer when holstering will assure the user that he isn’t cocking the gun while holstering. I like the Berretas such as the PX4 series or p92f. 9mm ammo is still available you just have to look for it. Test have proven Good 9mm defensive ammo is just as effective as 4o 0r 45.

  83. Whocares Says:

    Depends upon the sexes!
    For a women look to Kahr 9mm, P380 or 40 cal. These are high quality, small pistols that a creative women can conceal.

    For a dude, any high mag semi-auto from HK, Glock, Ruger, S&W, Springfeld or Sig will do. This ain’t rocket science folks!

  84. Linda Says:

    THIS, from ez in comment 60: “I discovered not too long ago that several members of my family didnít have very good grip strength. Thats said they were unable to pull a typical double action trigger of more than say 8 pounds. I was real surprised by this and tested most of the females in my family and not many passed.”

    This point is important. It must be a gun with a trigger you can pull when it’s not cocked.

    ALSO, please don’t look down on an old lady who is a gun newbie, uncomfortable with the explosion occuring in her hands. Anything larger than a .22 can be scary. The instructors at my basic safety class tried to talk us out of choosing a .22, because it might not put a criminal down.

    Yet, I’m pretty sure a .22 is better than what I had before: harsh language.

    Remember, we want folks to convert to gun advocacy. An important part of recruitment is making sure the new gun owner is comfortable firing his/her weapon.

    Cheers!
    Lin

  85. Mike G. Says:

    I’m not an expert by any means. But what I carry is a S&W Model 5906. It has been a very reliable gun for me. It carries 15+1 and yes, there is one in the chamber. Because a gun without a round in the chamber is just an ineffective hammer.

    My wife has a Taurus P111…my S&W is too big for her and it is a reliable gun as long as you use the right ammo in it…strong enough to work the slide during recoil. She had problems with mis-feeds at first because the ammo was too weak for the gun.

  86. Eugene Podrazik Says:

    At the rate we’re going any gun you can lay your hands on is a good choice.

  87. PacRim Jim Says:

    To be safe against home invasion, move into the shed behind the house and mine the floors of the house.
    Or buy a pistol, if you prefer.

  88. DH Says:

    @Mattsky: I have a Springfield XD9 with 4-inch barrel and an XD45 with 5-inch barrel and I love them both. I find them reliable and accurate, and they just seem to fit my hands nicely.

  89. whosebone Says:

    I just bought a 1000 rounds of 9mm online, had no problem finding it available…..cost me $550

  90. Alphonse Says:

    Excellent choice synova! I love that gun.

  91. J. Knight Says:

    I like your picks very well. And I have some recent experience as I just bought my wife and daughter their first handguns. I bought my wife a Glock 19 and my daughter a Ruger SR-22. We haven’t been to the range yet as both the wife and daughter want to get comfortable loading and unloading the magazine, inserting and changing the magazine, pulling the slide back to charge the weapon, aligning the sight, and dryfiring. Our concealed carry class is Feb. 23, so we better get popping.

  92. wendy Says:

    LOVE my Glock 19. Bought it before the last “assault weapons” ban.

    Easy to use, accurate right out of the box, comfortable in my hand, lightweight. I’ve *never* had a jam.

    Hubby left his Sig P226 at home and used my Glock to go through the academy. He took top gun.

  93. Lanceman Says:

    Jesus Christ, WHEN are they gonna make a high-capacity .38 Super?

  94. Barley Mouse Says:

    I farm for a living, and I like the Judge for a couple of reasons:

    a) It’s a no-bullshit revolver and I don’t have to worry about leaving my brass behind.
    b) It’s a convenient carry gun on the farm, or in town, especially for Farmers’ Market where I end up with a fair bit of cash on board.
    c) On the farm it *is* a great snake gun. You load all .410 with #8
    d) In town I alternate .45 with .410 but the shotshell carries #4 buckshot. That gives me 8 slugs in the 6 mm range per shotshell. I could go up to 000 buck, which would give me three 9 mm in one pull of the trigger.
    e) At home it’s accompanied by “modified” 20 ga pump carrying #3 buck, which slings about 20 pellets in the .25 cal range.

    With the Judge go buckshot in the inguinal region (6″ above his junk) followed by .45 COM and the bad guy is probably not going to walk away. How often in real life are you going to have to deal with more than two?

    I hope I never have to deal with *any*, but my practice is most commonly two at 20 ft, while moving laterally.

  95. Kim du Toit Says:

    For a first-time shooter, the choices should be: 1) .22 pistol, 2) .22 pistol 3) .22 pistol. When they’ve mastered shooting it (i.e. after about 500 rounds), THEN graduate them to Uncle’s choices.

    Me personally, I’m glad the first-timers are gpoing with 9mm, because that means a better supply of .45 ACP, .357 and .38 for the rest of us.

    I should be perturbed about the shortage of 7.62×39, but I laid in a decent supply on National Ammo Day last year and the year before, so I’m set for a decade or so. (What: you forgot about Ammo Day? Silly rabbit.)

  96. Veritas Says:

    Your first gun should be one that you are comfortable with and can operate in times of stress easily. I recommend a reliable revolver like a Colt, S&W, Taurus or Cz.

    Almost foolproof and do not require jhours of practise. I’d suggest 38 at a minimum with six shots.

    But the best gun is the one you have. A gun is like a parachute, you don’t have to have one till you require one, and if it doesn’t work, you’ll never need one again.

  97. Mick Stockinger Says:

    As someone who bought their first pistol fairly recently, I actually gave this a lot of thought. I wound up buying a Glock 22 (.40 caliber).

    The choice of a Glock was a no-brainer. It has the best trigger feel short of of a 1911 and for that reason, shooting a .40 is not the horror show some people have been telling you it is. It’s extremely reliable and very simple to shoot–point it and pull the trigger.

    The choice of caliber isn’t simply a prejudice–law enforcement has standardized on the .40 after the FBI’s extensive testing showed it to be superior to the 9MM rounds they’d used previously. Shoot someone with a .40 and they go down and stay there.

    The ammunition is about 30-50% more expensive off the shelf, but you can get a Lee progressive loader for under 200 bucks and make rounds for about what you’d pay for 9MM.

    I’m about 6′ with smallish hands, I could shoot a reasonably tight group the first time I was at the range. The trick is to grip it tight–the rest is like shooting any other pistol.

  98. CBI Says:

    Went through this recently with my wife. She did almost *all* the research. We went to a number of shops where she could handle the various guns, and then rented some at a local range. She has very short fingers, and found the Springfield Armory XD-9 to be about the best for her. KCSteve (#21) really hit it on the head.

  99. Crystal Says:

    No words on here about Kimber? I’m a woman with a specific eminent threat from a very large strong crazy man. Buying a gun in my case was a matter of life or death, not merely an exercise in “maybe someday”. So my first gun was a Kimber Custom .45. I practiced constantly, as well as professional instruction. Once I obtained my CCW here in CA, I bought the Kimber Ultra Carry .45. When not practicing I keep my guns loaded with hollow points. It is extremely important to me to know that my target will be stopped as soon as possible, because if he gets his hands on me, I’m dead. There is no room for messing around. Is this gun “too big for me”? I couldn’t entertain that. I simply had to practice enough to where the issue became moot…which it did very quickly.

  100. Jake Says:

    thanks goatroper! if that is your real name :) …and to everyone, I have enjoyed the many fine points made on here…
    thinking about many of the thoughtful comments in this posting, I have to say I’ve changed my mind a little; a revolver probably is a fine choice for a first time gun. long story short, there’s someone I know (tangentially) who discharged her revolver at her workplace rooting around in her purse looking for something and (i would presume) not looking. at what level this was stupid or poor gun safety practice or a new owner or a freak occurence or some combination of these, I’m not really sure. all i could say is that I could see it happening. she lost her job and someone was injured (only slightly thankfully). i suppose this is where my initial negative opinion as a revolver as a first time gun came from, imagining somone putting it in there purse and forgetting about it. when I heard this story, I had a flashback to watching gun counter guys (not to sound apocryphal, but more than one) stearing first time female buyers towards revolvers. there are some solid points to made for them, especially the absence of a FTF or FTE jam.

    at the risk of being possibly hypocritical, my first purchased (hand)gun was a revolver (jframe S&W), and it was a good gun to start off with, i still have it, i don’t carry it though, opting instead for my workhorse LCP usually. did i say in my post “pretty reliable”? i would say very reliable, though it was not without a failure or two here and there when first owning it. it fires flawlessly these days. i attribute this to proper form when firing and choice of ammo, and potentially some break in period.

    all this to say, i find I tend to like semi-auto, but i see this would likely be a more personal choice. i wonder if once operational concerns are out of the way, semi autos would be a more appealing option to a first time buyer. They do have lower recoil, high functionality and capacity, and are just plain fun to shoot. plus semis look really cool. mostly fun to shoot I should say. I wouldn’t want to spend the whole afternoon shooting the LCP for fun, and the polish p64 I mentioned hurts like a bitch in the web of my hand every time i fire it, but with no-holds-barred-hulkomania reliability and being so small and compact, it gets a pass.

    I like the sig sauer’s for a first time gun because they are very easy to rack the slide, severe and unapologetic reliability, and easy to aim and shoot accurately with a little practice… plus they look super super cool. I was thinking (later of course, and only after someone else made the point) the ding against them is their cost, which would be a hindrance to a first time buyer. so many great guns out there… i like the idea of giving people a run through of different options and letting them choose.
    thanks everyone!

  101. cbpelto Says:

    TO: All
    RE: The Increased ‘Threat’

    Recent reports over the last week indicate that home-invaders are trending towards groups of 3-5.

    A revolver, especially less calibers are not going to effectively cope with that situation.

    Hand guns with large calibers and large magazines are going to be necessary. That and a good AR with large capacity magazines.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [When going to a gun fight, bring a gun. Preferably bring two guns.]

  102. Pat Cannon Says:

    CZ-75 compact. Best 9mm service pistol ever, relatively inexpensive, in a concealable size.

  103. Mr. Prepper Says:

    I AGREE 9MM IS A VERY PRACTICAL AND CHEAP TO SHOOT OPTION. SMALL HANDS? I RECOMMEND A 380. GREAT INFO FOR NEWBIES.

  104. cbpelto Says:

    TO: Mr. Prepper, et al.
    RE: Small Hands

    The distaff stands 5’2″. She has dainty hands and feet.

    The Springfield Armory .45 cal XDm fits well in her hands.

    I suspect their newer XDs would even fit better.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Never go into a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber is less than .4.]

  105. Joseph McNulty Says:

    Just a note. Be careful choosing a “home defense” shotgun, The concept is appealing: a shotgun is the most devastating weapon AT CLOSE RANGE. But there is reason for caution. I had a Mossberg pump 12-guage as a “home defense” weapon. I became concerned with its power in such close quarters that I built a typical interior house wall — sheet rock and 2 x 4’s. I was worried that a blast at an intruder would penetrate and kill my sleeping kids in the next room. I tested the shotgun. From 20 feet, it blasted a hole in the wall the size of a basketball! I knew that any firing of the shotgun in the house would be likely to penetrate the interior walls and hit my sleeping kids. I abandoned the shotgun and went to a CZ-75 nine with Glazer Safety Slugs that would break up when they struck any solid object– like an interior wall. The downside is that if it hit an intruder who was wearing a leather jacket, the bullets might break up and not penetrate. When you gain something (safety for my little kids) you give up something (penetration and stopping power). Maybe the “BANG!” would scare off any intruder.

  106. cbpelto Says:

    TO: All
    RE: DHS’s Answer….

    ….to home invasions is….GET THIS….

    …..Scissors

    Well…they ARE less expensive. And don’t require much in the way of ammo.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The only thing worse than a knife to take to a gunfight is scissors.]

    P.S. Thank you DHS….

    ….we are ALL defenseless now…..

  107. cbpelto Says:

    P.P.S. It is my considered opinion that government organizations such as DHS or my own state legislature,i.e., groups dominated by Democrats/Liberals/Progressives (DLP), don’t want people to defend themselves.

    They deliberately disarm people because they want to protect the more violent, lawless DLPs that make up the criminal element in our country.

    After all, who want people to be able defend themselves against their own kind?

  108. Alpheus Says:

    I’m still a bit of a nOOb when it comes to different gun types, so obviously my recommendations need to be taken with a grain of salt, but here they are:

    First, I’d recommend getting some sort of 1911, but make sure it’s reliable with hollow-points. As a traditionalist, I like .45ACP, but I’m sure 9mm versions would be just fine too. I don’t know why, though: these guns can be a bit expensive, and require a bit of training, but they also have a certain…charm…to them.

    Or better yet, a Desert Eagle, .50ACE. Now *that’s* a pistol!

    Even Better yet, I’d recommend an AR-15 pistol, with a bayonet. And optical night-sights. Strapped to your leg with a thigh holster. But be sure to conceal it, darnit, because we don’t want the shoppers to be scared of you, or the gangs to know who you are!

    And now that I’ve made the last two recommendations, I feel a strong urge to find a mall and apply for security there…and I can’t even imagine why…

  109. systems sue Says:

    I am a women 5’3 and older. I am looking at H&K USB Compact. I have been told that the slide will get smoother with practice. Is the extra safety a truly helpful feature? We sometimes get big animals in our yard–really big, really wild. I think the .40 caliber will help me deter is surprised in the garden! What are your thoughts? DH has a .22 pistol and I can see that it is worthless in terms of power, and even in terms of speed.

  110. SayUncle Says:

    .40 is a fine caliber, just too snappy for a lot of new shooters. The slide will get a bit easier but, mostly, you’ll just get more hand strength to manage it.

  111. cbpelto Says:

    TO: systems sue
    RE: Caliber & Such

    Get the Springfield Armory XDs .45 or .40 if available.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [.45 cal, because it’s not just silly, but STUPID, to have to shoot someone twice.]

    P.S. It doesn’t have that much ‘kick’ to it. But it DOES put them ‘down’ and they STAY ‘down’.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills


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