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Thread: buying my first gun...

  1. #1
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    Red face buying my first gun...

    I am buying my first hand gun and I was told that the FNH9 was a really good first gun to have. I am still learning everything that I need to know so your opinion would really be appreciated.

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Check around. LOT's of options!

    I spent hours at two gun shows, picking up and handling probably 70 different makes and models, asking a lot of questions. Plus, I'd fired a dozen different models beforehand. As a result, I settled on the CZ 85 B, but everyone is different, so patience is the key.
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  3. #3
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Newbie opinion, here

    I, too and just getting into handguns, though I have shot in my youth. My feeling is that it depends on your intended use.

    Many people start out with a larger gun, a full size 1911 or similar and then over time gravitate to a smaller handgun because it affords easier and more transparent handling. i would -assume- that as you get better a slightly smaller gun will handle your needs and will be easier to manage in a variety of situations.

    So my recommendation is for something like a compact Kahr or even a Kel-Tech .380 for EDC and a couple other types (9mm, or larger) for target practice and other use and even consider a revolver (.357?).

    The important thing, and again, newbie opinion here, still evolving, is to analyze your intended use and get the one that 'fits'.

    HTH

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    I would recommend that you NOT get a compact size handgun like a .380 keltec/Kahr/etc or some lightweight combat Tupperware piece like a Glock or XD. I am definitely not saying these are horrible guns in anyway, but if you are new to handguns it is much easier to learn the basics of shooting if you avoid the features that modern handgun designs all seem to have(like super long double action trigger pulls without the option of single action). Another thing to consider that many seem to not is the smaller/lighter the gun the more pronounced the recoil will be...it is impossible to shoot semi-decently if you develop a flinch because your anticipating the recoil of a lightweight pistol.

    You might look at an all steel 1911, Hi-power or CZ75 (or any of their various clones), maybe an all steel SA/DA revolver if wheelguns are your flavor. Any of these would be a good choice for a new shooter to learn on, and once you have the basics down they will carryover down the road when you decide to get yourself a lightweight carry piece.

  5. #5
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    As several members have already mentioned, the first thing you want to do is to decide to what purpose is your purchase going to be put. If it is just for target shooting and other range pursuits, that will steer you in one direction. If you are looking for a quality defensive handgun, there are features and designs more attuned to that purpose.

    Next comes feel. How does the gun feel in your hand? When you pick it up, do the sights line up naturally or do you have to adjust your hold each time? Do the grips have a natural and comfortable feel in your hand? Is the size right for your hand, your needs, and what you perceive future uses to which you might wish to put the gun?

    Quality. If the gun is to be a defensive arm, this is most important. But I am not speaking entirely of manufacturing quality. I'm mean quality which assures that the gun will fire when called upon, each and every time. You will learn this from research. Don't necessarily depend upon or accept what others tell you. They can tell you everything from strong tainted biases to outright falsehoods. Do your homework.

    I am not familiar with the FNH 9, but it appears to be a nice double action pistol. If you are not sold on a double action pistol, consider single actions (such as the 1911 and Browning Hi-Power variants) or maybe double action only designs (such as Glocks, M&P Smith & Wesson, Springfield XD's, or Kahr's). Which does bring us to action types.

    A pistol's action is usually a very personal decision in that people have distinct and sometimes hard set opinions about this topic. This is one of the subject areas where strong biases enter the picture. It is my opinion that people should buy and use that which they are most comfortable with and which serves their purposes the best in their mind. I have to wonder where gun people get off by telling others that a single action 1911 is far superior to an M&P Smith & Wesson when all they really need say is that they prefer a 1911 over the M&P design. Others might find the M&P, or a Glock, fits their needs the best.... and so be it. I strongly advice you NOT to be swayed by such talk, but rather take it in for what it is and learn what you can about the different designs.

    In the final analysis, if it is a self defense handgun you are considering, these are the most important factors your selected gun must offer.

    1. Reliability. I must go bang every time it is suppose to. If it fails to do this, nothing else matters.
    2. Practical accuracy. The gun and you must be able to deliver rounds to target.
    3. Power. The caliber selected must be able to effectively stop the threat in the shortest time possible.


    As you can see, if number 1 fails, numbers 2 and 3 don't matter. And if number 2 fails, you won't even get to number 3. Good luck with your journey and do all the research you can before you take your final decision.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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  6. #6
    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    As several members have already mentioned, the first thing you want to do is to decide to what purpose is your purchase going to be put. If it is just for target shooting and other range pursuits, that will steer you in one direction. If you are looking for a quality defensive handgun, there are features and designs more attuned to that purpose.

    Next comes feel. How does the gun feel in your hand? When you pick it up, do the sights line up naturally or do you have to adjust your hold each time? Do the grips have a natural and comfortable feel in your hand? Is the size right for your hand, your needs, and what you perceive future uses to which you might wish to put the gun?

    Quality. If the gun is to be a defensive arm, this is most important. But I am not speaking entirely of manufacturing quality. I'm mean quality which assures that the gun will fire when called upon, each and every time. You will learn this from research. Don't necessarily depend upon or accept what others tell you. They can tell you everything from strong tainted biases to outright falsehoods. Do your homework.

    I am not familiar with the FNH 9, but it appears to be a nice double action pistol. If you are not sold on a double action pistol, consider single actions (such as the 1911 and Browning Hi-Power variants) or maybe double action only designs (such as Glocks, M&P Smith & Wesson, Springfield XD's, or Kahr's). Which does bring us to action types.

    A pistol's action is usually a very personal decision in that people have distinct and sometimes hard set opinions about this topic. This is one of the subject areas where strong biases enter the picture. It is my opinion that people should buy and use that which they are most comfortable with and which serves their purposes the best in their mind. I have to wonder where gun people get off by telling others that a single action 1911 is far superior to an M&P Smith & Wesson when all they really need say is that they prefer a 1911 over the M&P design. Others might find the M&P, or a Glock, fits their needs the best.... and so be it. I strongly advice you NOT to be swayed by such talk, but rather take it in for what it is and learn what you can about the different designs.

    In the final analysis, if it is a self defense handgun you are considering, these are the most important factors your selected gun must offer.

    1. Reliability. I must go bang every time it is suppose to. If it fails to do this, nothing else matters.
    2. Practical accuracy. The gun and you must be able to deliver rounds to target.
    3. Power. The caliber selected must be able to effectively stop the threat in the shortest time possible.


    As you can see, if number 1 fails, numbers 2 and 3 don't matter. And if number 2 fails, you won't even get to number 3. Good luck with your journey and do all the research you can before you take your final decision.
    +1. This is good advice.
    The only thing I have to say is that I have noticed alot of misinformation floating around on pistols that are called DAO (double-action only) but actually are not DAO. It may not make a bit of difference to most people, but I like for people (especially those new to handguns)to be accurately informed.
    I can't speak for all of those mentioned, but I do know that the XD's and XDm's are not DAO. They are a striker-fired single-action. When the slide completes it's cycle the striker is 100% cocked. The action of the trigger serves to disengage the firing pin block before releasing the striker. I think that the Glocks are similar as well, but it has been a while since I have had one apart. Most true DAO pistols have much more trigger travel than a striker-fired single-action, or Glock's "safe action" pistols.
    Last edited by stickbow95; 01-19-2011 at 02:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickbow95 View Post
    +1. This is good advice.
    The only thing I have to say is that I have noticed alot of misinformation floating around on pistols that are called DAO (double-action only) but actually are not DAO. It may not make a bit of difference to most people, but I like for people (especially those new to handguns)to be accurately informed.
    I can't speak for all of those mentioned, but I do know that the XD's and XDm's are not DAO. They are a striker-fired single-action. When the slide completes it's cycle the striker is 100% cocked. The action of the trigger serves to disengage the firing pin block before releasing the striker. I think that the Glocks are similar as well, but it has been a while since I have had one apart. Most true DAO pistols have much more trigger travel than a striker-fired single-action, or Glock's "safe action" pistols.
    Oops, trust me.. I know better and you're correct about XD's and for that matter, M&P's. Both of these designs are SAO (Single Action Only) pistols since in both cases, the striker is held at full cock by the sear in preparation of release by the trigger. Thanks for correcting me and shame on me. I have written a number of times about this very topic and have mentioned both the XD and M&P as examples of SAO pistols.

    The Glock, however, is a DAO design in that the striker is not held at full cock and its cocking is completed by the trigger prior to its release. None of these three designs have second strike capability but that is not the definition of a DAO, or SAO, design. I have butted heads with the Glock DAO designition several times with other gun folks and haven taken the time to call the factory in Georgia to speak with a technical person there. He stated emphatically and without hesitation or reservation that the Glock pistol is a DAO design and is so classed by both Glock and the BATFE.

    As for trigger travel, the Glock has 1/2" travel. In comparison, Kahrs all have 3/8" trigger travel. Earlier Kahrs had 1/2" and only their "Elite" series offered a 3/8" travel. But that changed around ten years ago when Kahr adopted the Elite trigger for the entire line. I am not sure if this also includes their newest entry, the P380, but it does apply to the rest of the line.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 01-19-2011 at 04:01 PM.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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  8. #8
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    The HK law enforcement modification (LEM) trigger works like a pre-cocked hammer or striker trigger, but the trigger pull is long and light until building right before release. Follow up shots require a 1/4-1/2 reset, depending on model, and it has second strike capability.

    Because the hammer is fully forward until the trigger is pulled, it also allows me to keep my thumb on the hammer when holstering, to assure myself that the trigger hasn't fouled on a button or shirttail.

    I recommend against buying cheap or going with anything requiring high maintenance for a first gun or anything used for personal defense.

    I personally do not like the way Glocks fit my hand or point, but my reason for not setting one is the issue I mention above about fouling the trigger on striker-fired guns.

  9. #9
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    First handgun, Charter Arms .38 revolver. Low maintenance, simple, goes bang EVERY TIME. Preety good accuracy, I can shoot a 1 1/2 inch group at 20 yards with it. Also relatively low cost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnett3006 View Post
    I would recommend that you NOT get a compact size handgun like a .380 keltec/Kahr/etc or some lightweight combat Tupperware piece like a Glock or XD.
    X2. What makes a good (conceal) carry weapon often makes for a horrible shooter and what makes a good shooter makes for a horrible (conceal) carry weapon. However, since you're on an OC website, I can only fathom that you may be using this as an OC weapon in which case, you're likely to get the best of both worlds; a good carry weapon and a good shooter

    Once you've decided on the intended purpose, handle and shoot as many pistols you can that fit your needs. It might be a bit before your first purchase, but the time invested in finding the right firearm will be well spent once you find the right one. If there is one thing that turns people away faster, it's thinking that a recommendation from someone else will fit you only to find out that the opposite winds up being the case.

  11. #11
    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    Solution: 4" 1911 .45 ACP.

    Actually that is just a lighthearted opinion, since I am a 1911 .45 nut.

    I mention it because it is a very versatile pistol, OC's well, shoots great, and you'd be surprised how easy a 4" 1911 is to conceal, if that needs to be an option.

    So try as many designs as you can before deciding, but make sure you at least try a 1911. It may not be for everyone, but there is good reason the design is still around- it's an outstanding platform.
    I also have a "tupperware" pistol that I really like, but I always seem to end up carrying my 1911 more often.

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    I recommend the XDs - affordable, high-quality, good consistent triggers (lighter and crisper compared to Glocks or M&Ps IMHO). I appreciate the combo trigger and grip safeties as they function well and are unobtrusive.

    Also, the Sig p229 is a high-quality sidearm that works well for CC or OC.

    At any rate, beg, borrow, steal, whatever, to get gun that is Right, don't settle for a cheap gun.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Find yourself a range that rents pistols, shoot the ones that look like they might be what you are looking for, then shoot the others before you purchase!
    Last edited by dedeye; 01-19-2011 at 08:33 PM. Reason: bad spelling!

  14. #14
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Good advice in the above posts.

    My comment is don't try to buy your first gun to do everything. Due to cost people tend to want the "one" gun that does it all.

    My recommendation for your first gun is a full size (whatever make you like) to take to the range and practice and use for home defense. After you are comfortable (and accurate) shooting it you can reconsider to see if a second gun would meet needs the first doesn't.

    I started with a P220 Carry then went smaller for CC, then went larger for OC.

    Everyone's preference is subjective so take the following with a grain of salt. For me the perfect all around gun is the H&K USP 45acp. Big bullet, high capacity, large grip, controllable recoil, easy to maintain, fun to shoot. A close (very close) runner up is the Sig P220 also 45acp.

    There are more models available in 9mm and 40S&W for some manufacturers but the vast majority of 1911's are 45acp.

    As an above poster said, rent some and shoot them before buying if at all possible. Better to spend $25 renting a gun than $500 on a gun you won't shoot. One last rambling thought is that guns do retain their value pretty well so if you do jump in head first and wind up with a gun you regret a few months down the road you should be able to sell it used and recoup most of your money.

    Shopping for guns is almost as much fun as shooting them! Enjoy!

    ETA: I have a FNH FNP-45 and like it alot. My only complaint is that Blackhawk doesn't have a SERPA holster for it yet!
    Last edited by 45acpForMe; 01-19-2011 at 09:18 PM.

  15. #15
    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    Enjoy the process

    Do your research. Define the purpose for the firearm (home defense, concealed carry, target range). If you have budget for only a single firearm, you need to determine the priority of the purposes. Then wrap your hand around as many grips as you can. My wife and I haunted several gunshows to find what felt good in our hands. Be sure to point your favorites and see if they seem to aim true for your grip. About this time you will have decided: Pistol or Revolver? "Feel" is a very important part of this decision. Once you have choices that feel good, decide the caliber for your handgun, most manufacturers have several models wih similar feel in your caliber choice. Apply your priorities to your choice: How does it line up? Find a range or a friend that has one and shoot it. There is nothing worse on a tight budget than a handgun you hate but cannot afford to replace. If you have to sell your first one to finace your second one, expect to lose 40% of your investment. An investment in range time avoids many bad purchases. Most every manufacturer has an online community or forum associated with their product. Learn about your choice before buying. Someone else's experience might help you a great deal. Time to buy it! Enjoy feeding it! Happy shooting!

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