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Thread: Where to start?

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Looking to pickup a EDC gun, trying to figure out some good semi-autos to try out. I come from my USFA Single action 4-3/4" Single action revolver in 45LC. I haven't had much opportunity to shoot semi auto's. I have tried out a 9mm once or twice, but notcied the recoil seemed quite hefty for such a small caliber, (it was the uber expensive, winchester white box) Compared to the .45LC in a SAR that i was used to. Is this more a charictaristic of Semi auto's in general? I'm not a small person by any means 6'2" 275 lbs. Is it just that i'm not used to HOW the Semi auto's recoil? I'm guessing that's the issue is the manner in which they recoil and just learing to adjust to it.
    I also like the slenderness of the 1911 style over a double stack. I don't have very many friends in the area as i just moved here, and i don't have an unlimited bank account so my options for getting a hold of some to try is extremley limited. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    First of all, welcome to OCDO, and congratulations on making the VERY important and serious decision to carry a firearm for self-defense. You're going to find that there are a LOT of very knowledgeable people on this forum, and you'll get a LOT of very good info here. We've got a great group on OCDO...

    If you are used to shooting .45LC, you will find that some of the "smaller caliber" semiautos like 9mm, .40S&W and even .380 Auto will seem to b=have a more "brisk" or "snappy" recoil than a .45LC SAR. (I had a polymer .380 auto, a Grendel P-12, that had more "kick" than my stainless steel Colt 1911 Delta Elite 10mm!) That is a perfectly normal perception. A lot of people find that to be the case with the smaller-diameter (but higher-pressure) calibers.

    The .45acp would be a good "transition gun" for you, considering your experience, and recoil perceptions. There are a BOATLOAD of good .45acps out there, ranging from very affordable to "if you've got to ask, you can't afford it!"

    For the 1911 style, look at Colt (of course!), Para Ordnance, Kimber, Rock Island Armory, and Springfield.

    For other .45acp pistol designs, look at Sig (pricey but built like a swiss watch) or Glock (ugly, VERY different from what you are used to , but they are the "pack mule" of the firearms world and will work no matter what you do to them). Springfield Armory makes an XD model in '45acp, and on the budget end of the polymer/non-1911 designs is the HiPoint.

    As I'm sure you know from your experience with SARs, you get what you pay for in firearms, and with semiautos that is no different. The pricey firearms tend to have more "sexy" fit and finish, spiffy grips, polished slides, etc. The cheaper guns might not be as "sparkley" but even the "budget" makes are pretty reliable these days.

    You're going to get as many opinions as there are members on a question like this, so be prepared for an avalanche of posts.

    My suggestion is to get to a shooting range that rents firearms, and just try a bunch of different makes and models out. We can't pick a gun for you--your hand, eyes, muscles, and aesthetics are all YOUR own personal, private specifications, and the only way to get a firearm that:

    1) fits your needs,
    2) fits your body, and
    3) you enjoy shooting,

    is to shoot a bunch of different makes and models until you find the one that "just fits"...

    Good luck, and keep us updated on your "quest".


    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Awesome reply and THANK YOU!! I know exactly what you mean by a gun picks their owner rather then the other way around. I went out to a gun shop a few months back, very interested in the Springfield XD and found it fit my hand horribly, i tried the S&W M&P series and it fit like a glove.
    I think it seems like my biggest hurdle to overcome is going to be that snappy recoil in the semi auto's. With the SAR's it sort of rolls backwards rather then snaps, mostly in part due to the grip. I knew they were a smaller diameter but it didn't click in my head that i forgot about the pressure thats inside the smaller cartridges. A Big fat and "slow" .45acp may work better you think? I see where that train of thought is and am very willing to give it a whirl. I'd really like to get my hands on a 1911 .45ACP as that was what i was interested in to start, but again, my bad experience with the 9mm semi autos led me to belive that a .45 would just be even worse.
    As far as bells and whistle's...They really ain't for me. the biggest extent i'd like to go to is a nice set of grips (purley comfort, could care less how shiny they are) i actually prefer a darker less conspicuous gun. And a set of night sights, most likey something of the fiber optic style.
    My price range would be between 700-900 most likely, in that i'm liking the Springfield Mil spec version, but i've read around that they're hard to come by. I'd also like to give that M&P .45 a shot.

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    There are many threads on different guns that you can read to help. Also check out the gun porn thread (one of my favorites) :-) I don't have any revolvers so can't compare. What Dreamer said is true with as many options as people recommending them.

    If you stick to a respected brand you won't go wrong but holding, firing, and breaking down the gun will give you a VERY good idea if you like it or not.

    I also like 45acp (hence my username) and there are many good ones out there. Check out H&K, Sig, S&W, Springfield, Para, Colt. Standard capacity for 45acp runs from 7-15 rounds in the magazine. Pick one that fits your hand and has the number of rounds you feel comfortable carrying.

    If you like thinner frames, Sig P220& 1911's may be better. If you have larger hands then the higher capacity guns work well: H&K, Para Big Hawg, FNH FNP-45, Glock, XDm. (many manufacturers have both thinner and wider product lines)

    Good luck in the search. That is half the fun. Remember you don't have to only buy one. :-)

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    What would be some other good non 1911 single stack .45's worth looking into?

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Maverick9110e wrote:
    What would be some other good non 1911 single stack .45's worth looking into?
    I think the best (my opinion) is the Sig P220 at 8+1 capacity. I love this gun and it comes in several varieties. The bad news is it usually runs between $850-1000 bucks depending which model you want. http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=175379620(edited to add: the picture at this auction is for a full size P220 and the auction is for the carry version, diff is 4.4 vs 3.9 inch barrel)

    I haven't done alot of research on thinner 45acp guns since I have been moving in the higher capacity lines.

    I know Kahr has some thinner guns that are good but also expensive. http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_45acp_tp.html

    You won't go wrong with a 1911 other than my biggest complaint of breaking it down and cleaning it is much more difficult than a Sig.

    I wouldn't choose soley on whether it is single stack though. There are many good guns out there that will feel great in your hand that may be double stack like this one. http://www.hk-usa.com/civilian_produ...45_general.asp

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Awesome, thank you very much for the suggestions!! Your right, that H&K looks very interesting, my guess is pricey though, lol. Still worth looking at as if its the right gun i'd be willing to pay a little more for it. The P220 carry elite in the dark edittion seemed intriguing as well.

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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Maverick9110e wrote:
    What would be some other good non 1911 single stack .45's worth looking into?
    If you want a gun you can conceal carry or open carry as you see fit, the sig, while awesome, is HUGE. so is the glock.

    for .45ACP, check out the Kahr TP45 It does kick pretty good. They also make a K9 and T9, that are all steel, single stack, concealable 9mm. they are heavy enough that the felt recoil is very low.

    1911s are great, and Taurus is another good manufacturer for them.

    If your only going to have ONE self defense firearm, I would pick something you can CC comfortably if you choose. OC is good, but options are great.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Exactly what i'm going for right now, something i can CC if i choose, but like i said, i'm a big guy so it won't be as hard for someone with a smaller frame. That's why i've been leaning a little towards the 1911 frame as it seems a bit more narrow then newer style polymers, and i am definitley Anit-glock. They're ugly as hell to me and i hate the way they feel.

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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Your going to find the weight of the 1911 difficult to carry comfortably all day. It's grip also prints badly. (you can mitigate a little by getting an aluminum bobtail frame, but those are expensive.) Also you'll need a really good holster to conceal a 1911 well.

    www.comp-tac.com

    check out the minitaur. I conceal a 1911 with it. (not every day)
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Nice! Thanks!! As far as concelead i meant more like under a long shirt or a winter jacket or something, i'm definitley not going IWB.

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Maverick9110e wrote:
    Nice! Thanks!! As far as concelead i meant more like under a long shirt or a winter jacket or something, i'm definitley not going IWB.
    Yes this is the way I CC full sized guns. My first pistol purchase was the P220 carry because I wanted one gun to do everything. Since then I realized that IWB doesn't work for me and if I am going to CC it I need a untucked shirt or coat.

    I carry a fullsize gun on my hip usually in a SERPA holster and for CC I use my Taurus PT145 Millenium Pro which fits in a Don Hume pocket holster. While the Taurus isn't as small as it could be it does fit inside jeans and khaki shorts front pockets. So with that gun being my CC gun 99% of the time I am free to OC fullsize guns on my hip.

    I understand that people want that one gun that will do everything but there is always a trade off. I like longer barrels (for accuracy) larger guns (for felt recoil) and higher capacity (because I may be a bad shot and need them during a high adreniline incident). :-) The larger guns provide most of that and the BUG CC gun is a backup. The taurus btw only costs between $350-$400. By my BUG having the same caliber as my primary, I can move ammo to the primary gun if time is available and only need to stock one caliber. I probably wouldn't move ammo during a gun fight but if one jams or has a failure I have the other with extra ammo.

    The H&K hk45 will run about the same as the SIG P220. Another thing to think of is quality of the gun you are relying your life on. I like the taurus but trust my SIG's and H&K's much more. If you can afford them you won't be disappointed.

    If you are thinking of H&K, try the USP. It is an older (proven) design and has 12+1 as opposed to the 10+1 of the hk45. The hk45 has standard mag release and picatinny rails but I like my USP and since the hk45 became available the USP's have been cheaper.


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    When I was shopping for my first pistol one of the local shop/ranges had a $50 class that would let you shoot any or all rental guns with an instructor... then you just buy ammo.

    So I got to shoot everything from a .38 special revolver to .45ACP in a couple of hours.

    Originally I settled on a .40 in a steel 1911 frame. It had the best/median recoil and muzzle flip, with ballistics that bettered the 9mm and almost matched the .45

    My current favorite is an XD-45, full size. It is my first polymer frame gun ever... and I happen to like it. I don't know that there are more positive or negative things about polymer vs. steel... I still like both and don't notice much carry difference.

    I went with the .45 for odd reasons. I still think I prefer the .40 as a handgun caliber, but I like putting a slightly bigger hole in the things I shoot.

    Like was said above... take all the advice you can get and then go lay your hands on everything you can. If it feels good, shoot it. If it shoots good, put it on the maybe list.

    You will probably find that you will narrow down your maybes to just a small handful of guns... deciding from there should be a matter of feel, price and reputation.

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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Again, thanks all for the great suggestions, and i fully agree with trying to find a place, and i do belive i have just found one. $75 for a custom tailored class per person, includes range time and firearm rental and instruction/saftey class. all you buy beyond that is the ammo. Seems like a good place too:

    http://www.pdhsc.com/

    Espescially since they actually do IDPA and ISPC shooting there as well and thats something i would like to get into, rather then just standing down range and shooting at some blank cardboard squares. I'd like to actually do some quality tactical self defense training rather then just an idiot with a handgun who thinks he can hold his own.

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    If you are going to compete in shooting, take ammo cost into consideration when you start looking. You will get much farther with $50 in 9mm than you will in .45ACP or 10mm, for example.

    That is assuming you are not independently wealthy and don't care about the cost of ammunition.



    Upgrades and customization may be on the list of requirements for your next baby... speak with a gunsmith about what they charge to do certain types of work on different models.



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    Regular Member Maverick9110e's Avatar
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    Well that's just it. I'm not looking to compete to win. I'm looking more at competing against myself to hone my own skills at something other then a regular stand in a box and shoot a cardboard target range practice. And if I do compete I’d like to enter in the “stock” gun class where only VERY minor modification is allowed.

    I guess my point is, I want some involved training on a regular basis with a firearm that is going to be exactly as I would carry it.

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    gotcha... well in that case it may not be as big an issue.

    If you plan on shooting 200 rounds per week through it to stay "in shape" that is a bit different than say 600+ rounds per week practicing for a shoot.

    The cost difference per box is notable... over a year it adds up quickly.

    Lately the availability of PDA in .45ACP has changed my range habits.

    I used to buy two to four boxes of "plinkers" and two boxes of PDA each time I went. I would shoot 100 - 200 rounds of practice ammo, then empty the PDA I carried in (typically 2 or 3 mags). I would use the new boxes I bought to reload my carry magazines... keep the good stuff fresh, right?

    Now I save my PDA rounds. I still shoot about 100 or so rounds of the cheap ($24/50) stuff. But I only send a few PDA rounds down range now... just to remind myself how different it feels and make sure I am still shooting a tight group. But also because it costs $35/20 and is very difficult to lay hands on... compared to how it used to be.

    One of these days I'll get smart and start reloading...



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    Campaign Veteran Cavalryman's Avatar
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    If you're coming from a .45 LC SAR, you might consider a large-bore double-action revolver. Good options would include the S&W M25 in .45 LC or in .45 ACP (it can be had both ways) or any of the good .44 magnums (which also chamber .44 special). The .44 special can be had in a variety of good self-defense loads and you always have the option to jump to the magnum loads for hunting or bear protection. Also, the .41 magnum is (IMO) an under-rated cartridge for self-defense, especially if you can load your own. Revolvers have the advantage of being able to function with a wide variety of loads, whereas semi-autos are more particular.

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