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Buying First Handgun, Any Recomendations?

HyperbolaHyperbola Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
edited September 2008 in Ask the Experts
guys,

Just asking for some recomendations... I am a 22 year old College student who wants to buy his first gun for when I get my CHL. I am experienced with rifles but I am fairly inexperienced with handguns. Again I am a college student so I'm not loaded with cash but I have about $400 in my gun fund and I was wondering about a couple of things...

New? Used?
caliber? I was thinking 9mm just so I wouldn't be spening tons of money on ammo, but would something else be better?

any and all comments/recomendations appreciated!!!

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    iwannausernameiwannausername Member Posts: 7,131
    edited November -1
    If the primary purpose is as a conceal carry gun, its hard to go wrong with a small 38 or 357 revolver.

    Otherwise, I'd say get a good 22 auto and become comfortable with pistols, etc. and then look at a centerfire semi auto.

    But, with your budget, and apparent intended purpose, snubbie 38/357.
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    jthoresenjthoresen Member Posts: 445 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would normally recommend a revolver (38 or 357) as your first handgun. However, you really need to have a semi-auto to qualify with for your CHL in Texas. That way you can carry a semi-auto or revolver. I recently recommended a 9mm Taurus Millennium Pro to a first time buyer and he loves it.
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    nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 36,042 ******
    edited November -1
    Get a good quality .22. Learn to shoot really well by shooting literally thousands of rounds of .22 for the cost of a few hundred 9mms. Then get a centerfire and you won't have to burn very much ammo to get good with it, and you will still have the .22 to play with or teach someone else.
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    He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 51,155 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by nunn
    Get a good quality .22. Learn to shoot really well by shooting literally thousands of rounds of .22 for the cost of a few hundred 9mms. Then get a centerfire and you won't have to burn very much ammo to get good with it, and you will still have the .22 to play with or teach someone else.


    Perfect answer.
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    v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    22 Ruger MK1 or 2.
    You will learn to hit well with it at low cost and probably not want to resell it.
    Then move up to center fire and try to match what you know you can do with the 22.
    If you handload (recommended) then caliber doesn't matter.
    Large,heavy service size pistols handle and shoot very well and small, concealable guns are generally harder to shoot accurately. You should try a few if you can before plunking down your money.
    Some small, light pocket pistols and revolvers are very unpleasant to shoot They take more skill to shoot acceptably but you will be more likely to want to carry them.
    There is no optimum handgun for all occasions.
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    idahoduckeridahoducker Member Posts: 740 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I agree with iwannausername. In my personal experience, including myself and 3 or 4 others I know who carry, the smaller the better. Snub nose 38 or 357. All of us started with something bigger and ended up downsizing or at least getting one for the times when the bigger gun didn't work. The little revolvers fit in just about any pocket and can be very light. Whether it's shorts and a t-shirt or big winter coat it'll fit somewhere. Mine, a S&W 642, now gets 95% of the carry time because of it's size and weight.
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If its a gun you intend to carry, and you can only afford one, I strongly agree with the recommendation of a snubnose .38 caliber revolver.

    Preferably an alloy-frame one. They are lighter, and for a gun you carry a lot but shoot a little, those extra few ounces really add up over the course of a day. It especially makes a difference if you want to carry the gun in your pocket. An all-steel gun in your pocket can get kind of uncomfortable.

    Note that these are NOT easy guns to shoot well, especially for beginners. The short sight radius makes them hard to shoot accurately, and recoil is brisk. But they really shine in terms of reliability, simplicity, and power in a light package.

    I'd suggest either the Smith and Wesson 637 airweight or the hammerless 642. The shrouded hammer "bodyguard" version (I forget the model number) is ugly-looking but its also a great choice, giving you the "best of both worlds" ability to cock the hammer, but without snagging.

    Lightweight .357 guns cost a LOT more, but IMO aren't worth the extra cost, because the recoil, noise, and muzzle flash from these guns are punishing, and at the point-blank distance you are likely to use the gun, probably don't add much benefit.

    Don't forget a pocket holster if you want to carry in a pocket. A loose gun in your pocket is asking for trouble.

    With respect to a .22. . .absolutely get one. They are great for training, and plinking, and let you do it cheaply, but they aren't good for carry.

    Your budget of $400 probably isn't enough for both, but if you are very patient and look around, you can probably find a decent used .22 auto for around $200 and a used snubnose for around $300, or less if you can go for a used blued steel one.
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    ElMuertoMonkeyElMuertoMonkey Member Posts: 12,898
    edited November -1
    Another option if you can afford to spend more money over the long term:

    Go to your local range and rent. test out as many different ones as you can and see which one is the most comfortable to you. And once you've practiced enough and feel ready, then buy.

    Nothing beats a test drive before buying.[8D]
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    gotstolefromgotstolefrom Member Posts: 1,479 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    +10 on the 22.
    You Have Mail.
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    MichibayMichibay Member Posts: 816 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    $400 will buy a nice used S&W Model 39. A great gun that will gain in value. It's a 9mm.
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