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Thread: Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

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    Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    So I am buying a gun this week and I need some advice. I am using it mainly for home defense as my home was recently broken into while I sat on my couch! Luckily I was able to overpower the psycho! I will admit I am ignorant when it comes to caliber and all that. I am looking for something that both myself and my 125LB fiance can handle. I want to be sure it can take down a intruder as well. I am looking for something that will be good to open carry as I plan to carry openly daily until I get my CCW. Recommendations on LVL2 holsters would be good too. Where can I get the best deals? I was planning on going to Cabellas in Scarborough.. I am very excited to get my first firearm!! My fiance and our families always told me "You don't need a gun in Maine nothing happens here" they thought I was crazy for wanting on.. Now that my home was broken into while my newborn son was sleeping feet away from a intruder they have all changed their tune and can not come up with a logical reason as to why I should not get a gun..

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    Regular Member Sorcice's Avatar
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    Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    Depends on what you want to spend. A handgun and holster can range Anywhere from 4-1500. Your size doesn't really matter as long as you don't get a hand cannon like a desert eagle or a 44/357 magnum. Pretty much anyone can handle a 9, .40, or 45acp.
    A lot of people swear by certain calibers and gripe about others. Few key points:
    9mm:
    -cheapest of the big 3 defense calibers
    -almost always 1-3 more capacity than a 40 and twice that in a 45 mag.
    -less muzzle flip than a 40.

    .40:
    -a happy medium in size between 9 and 45.
    -decent capacity (more than 45 but less than 9mm)
    -I have found specialty defensive rounds like EFMJ(expanding full metal jackets) easier to get a hold of than 9 or 45
    -the only draw backs I know of are slightly more muzzle flip than a 9 and because its a high pressure round you tend to wear out slide springs a bit faster.

    45:
    - if you want a 1911 it's much easier to find it in 45 than any other caliber.
    -lowest of all capacity magazines.
    -love the recoil because it pushes back into your hand vs flipping up I've found.
    -makes a slightly larger hole than 9/40.
    -Costs the most per/round

    For your first gun especially self defense of suggest a glock 19. It's on the cheaper side with extremely good reliability. The model 19 is a 9mm so it has the best capacity/price and you can get a 33roumd mag as a spare. If it doesn't come with night sights its a good investment to get. With a holster and a new glock 19 with night sights your looking at 550(plus tax)+100 for nights + 35-50 for a holster. So figure 700 before tax.

    If you are paranoid about not having an external safety then don't get a glock. Honestly if you goto a local shooting range and shoot a few different models and calibers you will find what fits right.

    I personally own a sig 229 sas gen 2 in .40 as my main open carry wep and a "baby" glock 26 in 9mm as my backup. The sig 229 was 1200 and came with night sights. The glock was 499 and came with contrast sights.

    Hope this helps!

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    If you do not have a lot of experience with handguns a revolver is a good choice. For home defense actually a pump or auto shotgun is best, 20 gauge will do the job and be no problem for someone slight of frame. There are a lot of choices for semi auto handguns, some not so expensive, some very expensive. I believe SARCO may still have surplus Star modelo, around $200, you will have problems finding a holster with these guns they are slimmer than a colt 1911. SARCO also had Israeli Hi-Powers at one time, around $275, a very good choice for a first semi auto, no problems finding holsters.

    If I was doing it for the first time with a semi auto I would go for the Hi-Power.

    If you go with a Star I have one and I can use it to wet mold a leather holster for you. Also I have made PVC IWB holster for a PA-63, I can do it with any gun that I have on hand. I don't have a Hi-Power though. PVC which is what kydex is made of is inexpensive if you want to attempt it yourself. It is easy, and you can paint the holster any color you wish as long as you use proper prep.
    Last edited by WalkingWolf; 04-14-2013 at 01:47 PM.
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    Regular Member Haoleb's Avatar
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    I think everyone here has had good advice. From your original post you do not sound very experienced with firearms so before you think about buying a gun I might suggest taking at least one of the safety courses offered. You will need it to get your CWP anyway and it will also give you the opportunity to shoot and become familiar with different types of handguns to see which you are most comfortable with before you walk into a gun shop. Cabelas has a decent selection.. or did anyway last time I was there some 9 months ago... But also check out Kittery trading post, which I think has an even better selection and better prices to boot.

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    Guns are really a personal choice that your just going to have to figure out for yourself. And it may take you years to figure out exactly what you like the best. I'm a Glock fan, so I would suggest the G19 since your fiance will also be using it, otherwise I would suggest the G21 just because the .45 is a beast. If you know absolutely nothing about guns and aren't going to try out a lot of different guns to see what you like, I would personally lean towards either a Glock, or a GOOD 1911, good as in not a super cheap off brand. The only reason I would lean towards these two is because they have a great proven track record of being extremely reliable. Again though it's personal preference so take my advice with a grain of salt. As for a level 2 holster, I've enjoyed my Blackhawk Serpa. Not super expensive, IMO they look good for a plastic holster, they come with a paddle and belt loop attachment, super comfortable, and the manual retention works great for me.

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    Thanks to everyone who replied.

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    Re: Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    For home defense actually a pump or auto shotgun is best, 20 gauge will do the job and be no problem for someone slight of frame.
    AR.

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    Regular Member Chap's Avatar
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    Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    You can check out all the guns on YouTube. People review each gun and show you how to disassemble them.

    I prefer and CC the Springfield Armory XDM - 45ACP. It has great safeties as well as a 13 round magazines which makes the pistol similar to the round count of the 9 & 40 cal pistols. Just wanted to point that out. Incase you thought .45ACP pistols were only in 1911 style pistols which have 7 round magazines.

    I agree take a safety class and shoot each style pistol from revolver to semi automatic. Feel the weight of the pistol on your hip, notice how it looks while carrying Canceled under a shirt. Check out the price of ammo. Buy what feels right. Enjoy your new gun and shoot often.
    Kimber Ultra Carry II .45 ACP, 3" barrel 1911 with a Mitch Rosen holster

    New additions to the family -
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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADobbs1989 View Post
    Guns are really a personal choice that your just going to have to figure out for yourself.
    A great deal of good advice from experienced weapon carriers. As ADobbs said, it's personal. Go to as many gun shops as you can and put the weapon in your hand. If it does not fit your hand, you will find it uncomfortable and you either will not carry it, or carry it badly.
    My EDC is a CZ82 in a fobus holster. Inexpensive, good fit in my hand, and ammo is cheap (for now). My Sweet Baboo carries an S&W revolver when she conceals, but carries a Ruger p85 to OC (big gun). Fit is everything.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    AR.
    My problem with a rifle for home defense is wall penetration, a rifle is good for out in the boonies, but in town with homes stacked withing a 100 feet, not for I. While defending oneself is good and honorable, going to prison for shooting the child a couple houses over not so much. I keep a shotgun loaded with birdshot. The shot holds together for 20 ft or more, and does extensive damage on the target, ensuring one shot stops.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.
    Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson
    What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.
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    Re: Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    VMax bullets or Hornady TAP.

    VMax will barely make it through 2 pieces of sheetrock due to fragmentation. The ammo available today greatly decreases the chance of over penetration.

    Rifle recoil is easier to handle shot after shot. Which may not be a big deal for the man of the house, but what if the Mrs or son/daughter needs to use the gun?

    Muzzle blast is much worse from a shotgun. Waking up in the middle of the night I'd rather go partially deaf and blind than completely.

    But i think I'm taking this off topic.

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    I'm going to make this short and sweet:

    A Glock 19 with a Blackhawk Serpa level 2 holster will do you just fine. Now in my opinion, paddle holsters are quick and convenient, but it kind of kills the point of it being a retention holster if they can theoretically just grab your holster out of your pants. I wear mine with the belt loop thingy, but to each his own.

    If you're looking for something a little more oomfy when your booger flinger catches the bang switch, and you don't mind paying twice as much for ammo, I'd go with a Glock 21SF, and no I'm not joking.

    Glock 19 Pros
    - Easy enough to conceal, big enough to be considered a duty weapon
    - Accurate
    - Reliable
    - 15+1 capacity flush mag, 17+1 with a +2 extender or Glock 17 magazine, 19+1 with a Glock 17 magazine with +2 extender...extenders can be found for around 10 bucks, and will fit on your .40 and .357 SIG mags too
    - Very low felt recoil
    - Easy to field strip and clean
    - No extra switches, levers, or flux capacitors
    - Gen 3 and newer can mount lights

    Glock 19 Cons
    - None...at all...if you think there's anything wrong with this firearm you need to re-evaluate your life

    Glock 21SF Pros
    - Puts half inch holes in bad things
    - 13+1 capacity which is pretty damn good for a .45
    - Gen 3 and newer can mount lights (I think all SF's are at least Gen 3)
    - VERY low felt recoil...in my honest opinion it has lower felt recoil than a Glock 19 9mm with standard pressure loads. This opinion is also held by my buddy at St. Pete PD which just switched to them from Glock 22's, and my buddy who is at De Soto S.O. with a G21 duty weapon. It almost defies physics how soft it shoots...definitely 125 lbs fiancee material.
    - Accurate
    - Reliable...why am I even saying it's accurate and reliable its a frickin Glock
    - blah blah blah

    Glock 21SF Cons
    - Much bigger than a Glock 19...THAT being said... I have baby hands. I mean freakin tiny. It's sort of embarrassing when girls say "OH MY GOD YOUR HANDS ARE SO CUTE" and proceed to compare your hands to theirs. If you employ a proper grip, you and your fiancee will have no issues firing the 21SF. I've also fired a regular 21 with no issues.
    - Good luck concealing it unless you're wearing a dress and ratchet strap it to your inner thigh

    TL;DR version:

    If you are looking for a great home defense gun, you can afford to pay a little more for ammo, and open carry is legal where you live, buy a Glock 21SF bro. All day. I miss mine dearly. If you don't believe me about the felt recoil, ask anyone here, or better yet go rent one at a range. It's unbelievable.

    If you can't afford to practice with .45, or being able to easily conceal or not is a deal breaker, get the Glock 19. They're both great guns and you can't go wrong either way. Oh, also forgot to mention, a lot of people say you'll shoot yourself and you're an idiot if you use a Blackhawk Serpa...practice proper trigger discipline and keep your index finger along the receiver of the weapon and you won't have that problem. Everyone who says they shot themselves with a defective Serpa and it's dangerous is an idiot and shouldn't be trusted around firearms.
    Last edited by shastadude17; 04-15-2013 at 01:36 PM.

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazxrulz View Post
    So I am buying a gun this week and I need some advice. I am using it mainly for home defense as my home was recently broken into while I sat on my couch!
    Sorry that happened. But bear in mind you're jumping ahead of yourself.

    I would analyze why your home was broken into while you were there. Did you have a good door lock and was the door locked? Do you have motion sensor lighting? Do you have an alarm system? Do you have illegal substances in the house? Who attacked you? A burglar, a crack-head, a person known to you?

    I would fix the above before going out and spending money on a firearm that you do not know how to use.

    Good luck and sorry you were attacked.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick9 View Post
    Sorry that happened. But bear in mind you're jumping ahead of yourself.

    I would analyze why your home was broken into while you were there. Did you have a good door lock and was the door locked? Do you have motion sensor lighting? Do you have an alarm system? Do you have illegal substances in the house? Who attacked you? A burglar, a crack-head, a person known to you?

    I would fix the above before going out and spending money on a firearm that you do not know how to use.

    Good luck and sorry you were attacked.
    Are you honestly trying to blame the victim?
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.
    Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson
    What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.
    President Donald Trump

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick9 View Post
    ...I would analyze why your home was broken into while you were there. Did you have a good door lock and was the door locked? Do you have motion sensor lighting? Do you have an alarm system? Do you have illegal substances in the house? Who attacked you? A burglar, a crack-head, a person known to you?....
    Good questions. Active defense should only be necessary after passive defenses have failed or are unavailable. And passive defenses involve a lot less paperwork and cleanup.

    OP: But good for you for realizing that after a breach of passive defenses, a firearm is the most effective tool you can have for an active defense. Waiting for police to arrive is NOT an active defense. For many people, it is a death sentence.

    The advice to get something that FITS you is important. Shootability and controllability are more important than "stopping power."
    Last edited by MAC702; 04-16-2013 at 11:16 PM.
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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    I'd get a revolver.....

    .38 special, well get a .357 and then when your fiance carries you can remove the .357 rounds and load it with .38 special if she's recoil sensitive (to be honest that's a crock anyway, women can learn how to shoot a magnum caliber just as well as men)

    if you're looking for concealed carry a ruger LCP357 or Taurus 85 will be good, also there's lots of used .38 special model 36 S&Ws out there.

    if you intend to mostly OC/carry at home, Ruger SP-101 or a used Ruger Service Six (or Security Six) are affordable and can be had cheaply.

    revolvers have many advantages, is ease of use and the way you can effectively handle more powerful ammo. also used ones can be cheaper. yes you are limited to 5 or 6 shots.... but still they're a viable option.

    also for home defense, while not ideal you can cheaply buy a semi auto .22 rifle like a Ruger 10/22 with a 25 round mag, CCI Mini-Mag hollowpoints and mounting a simple optic, can probably get you an effective HD rifle in less then 500 dollars.
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    Regular Member skeith5's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    Forget what everyone has said, especially emn.. (a 10/22 for home defense?? Really??)

    Find a range that rents guns or someone in your area that has a wide selection and shoot them all. Don't listen to any of the fan boys who only tell you one brand. Get what you enjoy shooting and can shoot well. Take a safety class or two. I have a 12 gauge setup for home defense. It has a recoil absorbing stock (knoxx) and I use low recoil buck shot. My wife shoots it with no problems. I do like revolvers but they have some drawbacks, mainly limited ammo capacity. Try different calibers as well. A nice 45 has plenty of stopping power and much nicer recoil than a .40.
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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeith5 View Post
    Forget what everyone has said, especially emn.. (a 10/22 for home defense?? Really??)

    Find a range that rents guns or someone in your area that has a wide selection and shoot them all. Don't listen to any of the fan boys who only tell you one brand. Get what you enjoy shooting and can shoot well. Take a safety class or two. I have a 12 gauge setup for home defense. It has a recoil absorbing stock (knoxx) and I use low recoil buck shot. My wife shoots it with no problems. I do like revolvers but they have some drawbacks, mainly limited ammo capacity. Try different calibers as well. A nice 45 has plenty of stopping power and much nicer recoil than a .40.

    Yes 10/22 is great for home defense if you're on a budget. Find me someone willing to get popped with 25 mini mags in a row, exactly.....
    Last edited by EMNofSeattle; 04-15-2013 at 11:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    .40 does not have lighter recoil then .45 auto, anyone whose fired both knows that, the .40 fires at much higher pressure then .45 auto. Even a quick forum search on multiple gun forums shows most people perceive greater recoil from .40
    Isn't that what he said?

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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADobbs1989 View Post
    Isn't that what he said?
    Well actually it is, serves me right for posting past my bed time
    they love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living, when they're running down my country man they're walkin' on the fightin side of me

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    First you need to decide on what type of gun you want to use and where you plan to keep it. For example, you had someone break in while you were on the couch, so you might want a weapon that is easier to store in a drawer so that you can move it from a coffee table to a night stand when you go to bed. A rifle or shotgun isn't going to lend itself to being stored out in the living room area and it's reasonable to assume that should another break-in happen that you're not likely to have the time to retrieve such a weapon from the bedroom. Not to mention that a rifle/shotgun are going to be harder to get on target should the target close on you (which is likely if you are running to another room to retrieve the weapon).

    So if you're looking for only one weapon I would say a handgun has the most flexibility in regards to where you store it and home-defense situations. From there you have to figure out just which gun to get. This will require you and your partner to both try out the guns in order to know what she is also comfortable with. Would suck to get a gun that she can't handle or that feels too small in your hands. I know that my wife likes our .380 TCP that we have, while I can't stand the gun due to how small it is and that repeated firing hurts my trigger finger for some reason, but yet she doesn't like all the recoil of my XDm40 while I have no problems with it.

    Since you're new to guns I would say look at either a 9mm or .40cal. I personally am not a fan of going smaller than 9mm, and going larger than a .40cal could be an issue for your fiancee. Though feel free to try out any gun and remember that even a .22LR is better than no gun (I just wouldn't want to trust my life on it stopping a criminal) and your fiancee might be able to handle a larger gun than most women her size who are new to guns.

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    Regular Member skeith5's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first handgun seeking advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Yes 10/22 is great for home defense if you're on a budget. Find me someone willing to get popped with 25 mini mags in a row, exactly.....
    I'd rather get a shotgun... nobody would be willing to get popped with 25 mini mags, but a tweaker would probably stop quicker getting hit by buckshot than .22lr...
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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeith5 View Post
    I'd rather get a shotgun... nobody would be willing to get popped with 25 mini mags, but a tweaker would probably stop quicker getting hit by buckshot than .22lr...
    Well I guess we can agree to disagree on that one.... I don't think a 10/22 is the IDEAL weapon for home defense, i think it's a viable option if you're on a budget and it needs to be shared between new/recoil sensitive shooters.

    my other comments on revolvers were directed based on my personal experience taking friends to the range, that first time shooters (especially women) prefer revolvers over auto-loaders. not saying this is universal, just among the 10 or so people i've introduced to the shooting world.....
    they love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living, when they're running down my country man they're walkin' on the fightin side of me

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  24. #24
    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Well I guess we can agree to disagree on that one.... I don't think a 10/22 is the IDEAL weapon for home defense, i think it's a viable option if you're on a budget and it needs to be shared between new/recoil sensitive shooters.

    my other comments on revolvers were directed based on my personal experience taking friends to the range, that first time shooters (especially women) prefer revolvers over auto-loaders. not saying this is universal, just among the 10 or so people i've introduced to the shooting world.....
    I was at a public range a couple months ago, about 2 out of 10 semi auto shooters users were experiencing problems. I was stunned because I never have problems with mine. I suspect that they were using reloads, the range sold reloads. I would never buy another person's reloads but I know ammo is scarce. 22LR does solve the reload problems. And a lot of people have been stopped by 22 LR, I believe the Mossad uses 22 handguns. Someone using a 10/22 should buy a larger magazine though, while they are still legal. I owned a 10/22 when they first came out, to be honest I didn't care for it. But I glued two 10 round magazines together bottom to bottom for quick changes. 10 rounds were all that was available then.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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  25. #25
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    My advice:

    • Get a 1911. Rock Island Armory is good on a budget, Springfield Armory is good if you're feeling spendy, Wilson Combat if money is no object.


    Try a Glock and a Springfield Armory XD if you're not feeling the 1911.

    • Don't concealed carry. Open carry deters crime, and advances the RKBA.

    All you get for concealed carry is an imaginary "element of surprise".


    • .45 > .40 > 9mm.

    .45 is the best combination of power and controllability. .40 is a close second (but I find it too "flippy"), and wins in the energy department. 9mm is my least favorite, but it's an easy to shoot caliber, it's inexpensive, and it's immensely popular.
    Last edited by marshaul; 04-16-2013 at 08:27 PM.

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