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Thread: Recommendations For First-Time Gun Buyer (Austin, TX)

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    Recommendations For First-Time Gun Buyer (Austin, TX)

    I've been lurking the forums for a long time and now that I'm getting my Texas ID (finally transferred it from Michigan) I'm beginning to think about getting a handgun for personal defense.

    I've never owned a firearm, and I've only ever fired a few a handful of times. So, I'm a little lost as to what a good "starter" handgun might be.

    Can I have some suggestions?

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    Regular Member Phoenix David's Avatar
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    Well me personally I would go to a gun store that rents guns and try out several of them and see which one fits my hand and which one I liked.

    Once you get to that point then you can figure out what caliber you want and what size. But get the one that fits your hand. If you go with a name brand you will be fine, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Glock, Colt, Smith & Wesson...
    Freedom is a bit like sex, when your getting it you take it for granted, when you're not you want it bad, other people get mad at you for having it and others want to take it away from you so only they have it.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Welcome to OCDO!!!! Stick around and you will learn a lot!!!!

    My first handgun was a Springfield XD45. Absolutely awesome gun, still one of my favorites 15 handguns later. Do you have any idea what you are looking for. Size? Caliber? Manufacturer? Give us a little something to go on and we can provide some more specific recommendations.
    Last edited by thebigsd; 09-18-2011 at 11:37 PM.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    As a first time buyer you can't go wrong with a glock. Caveman simplicity. Load it, shoot it. That's it. No stoning or fitting parts, none of that. No addons needed, the glock comes out of the box perfect
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selderane View Post

    Can I have some suggestions?
    Don't ask what kind of gun to buy on an internet forum.





    p.s Welcome aboard!
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 09-19-2011 at 12:02 AM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
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    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    A quality handgun from a reliable company. Stay away from Keltec, Hi Point, and the other really cheap ones. DO NOT buy a 1911 unless you desire to learn everything about your weapon and become your own armorer. (There are excellent examples out there, but it is not a beginner's best choice.). Anything with a manual/thumb safety will give you one more thing to worry about and forget to do when the pressure is on.

    HK is a little more expensive but excellent, and if you buy the LEM (called a "variant 2") it is a straightforward point and shoot. I prefer this style because the exposed hammer remains down until the trigger is pulled, letting me keep a thumb on it during holstering. the LEM trigger stays precocked (the 2-part hammer hides this.). I also prefer the ambidextrous mag release. The point of impact on HK sights is behind the front dot; all other manufacturers have the point of impact just at the top of the front sight.

    Sigs are good guns, but the grip is a bit big for my hand. I do not particularly like the placement of the controls. I have a P238 (.380 ACP) which I enjoy shooting and it conceals well.

    Walther P99 with an AS trigger is a good gun. Controls are similar to HK P2000 V2/LEM. I also shoot the PPS well. I have not messed with the more recent model. They are striker fired, which I don't like for carry (my preference, as I note above, is an uncocked hammer)

    The S&W M&P has high praise from many. It is striker fired, and I don't know about the mag release.

    Glock is popular because it's is inexpensive and reliable. I do not like the mag release. They are striker fired - as with all striker-fired pistols, if the trigger gets caught on a button or shirt tail or whatever when reholstering, it may discharge. YMMV.

    I did not care for the Ruger LCP .380, and cannot imagine what the 9mm version is like in such a tiny firm factor. The Keltec PF9 was almost a nightmare to shoot more than a few rounds (even just to break it in for carry.)

    Go with a 9mm or 380 ACP. While people frequently suggest 40 S&W or 45 ACP for "stopping power", the 9 mm ammo is significantly less expensive, which will help you practice more. THEN you might consider something with a bigger bullet. I am comfortable carrying 9 or 380 because shot placement and proficiency trump a miss with a big bullet.

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Stay away from Keltec, Hi Point,
    May I ask what is wrong with Hi Point?
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Since you have to CC I would think about how you want to carry it. Inside the waistband is popular but for me was uncomfortable. I pocket carry a Sig P220 compact. How you carry can affect what size model you want.

    Kahr makes some great small/concealable guns like the PM9, MK40. They are a bit more expensive than some others but have good quality.

    So go to a few ranges and fire different models and calibers. You will quickly come to find which ones you like and don't like. Once that list is narrowed you can investigate prices and options (trigger, night sights, finish).

    I recommend people buy whatever they can shoot well. If that is a 22LR for you then great. Try different calibers and for self defense use the highest caliber you can shoot well and control.

    I like 45acp because its size (hollow point expansion) and lack of over penetration. Many people stay away from higher calibers thinking the recoil would be much worse than something like a 9mm. In actuality the recoil is "different" and I prefer a 45 recoil over a 9mm or 40s&w.

    Good luck and remember you don't have to buy just one. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    May I ask what is wrong with Hi Point?
    Because last time I picked one up, I strained my elbow. They are more like a hammer, or a boat anchor, than a concealed carry weapon.

    Just kidding. Sort of. And I've never shot one (and it is unlikely that, given the opportunity, I ever would.) I know there are those who like them, and those who buy them out if necessity. Far be it from me to tell people what they like.

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    Also, before settling in on my current HK preference, I shot a lot of rental guns. Find a range that rents a variety and get your hands on several brands and styles. You will not find any H&K's with the LEM trigger for rent, so I'll offer to meet up and shoot with you next time I'm in Austin. PM me if you are interested.

    I rushed the decision on my first new pistol in 20 years and got the Walther P99c AS. While I like it and shoot it very well, I do not like carrying the striker-fired pistol with no safety. (It's just my thing and most people don't share that view.). The controls on the Walther are almost identical to the H&K's, it is well made, and costs a lot less. That said, even with a few thousand rounds fewer thru it, I'm more accurate with the Walther.

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Stay away from Keltec, Hi Point
    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    May I ask what is wrong with Hi Point?
    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    I've never shot one (and it is unlikely that, given the opportunity, I ever would.)
    This may be the worst person to accept gun advice from....
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    First off, welcome aboard. We're happy to have you with us.

    Making recommendations to someone who is just entering the gun world is not an easy task for either the one making the recommendation or the recipient. The first thing I would suggest is to learn about guns as much as you can before just jumping in. This means magazines, perhaps a few books, and visits to shops and gun shows. Please be aware that just because someone works at a gun shop or has an FFL does NOT mean they are all knowing about firearms. Many times the opposite is the case. So learn how to separate fact from fiction and old wive's tales, and that includes gun enthusiast websites.

    Learn terminology and the various descriptions about action types, firing systems, and the terms of important components of firearms.

    As has been mentioned, try to visit a range where you can rent guns to use on the range. This will give you an opportunity to get the feel of specific guns, how they point, their sight alignment, and how they ride in your hand(s). Once again, do your homework because if you don't you are likely to wind up with a gun that does not serve your purposes as you had hoped.

    Take some training both in safe gun usage and the laws of your state. I cannot stress this enough.

    Buy the best quality you can afford. Do not trust your life to a SD gun that has a history of problems. The loudest sound in the world is a "click" when it should be a "bang".

    Learn, learn, learn. I know I already said this but it is worth repeating. Never assume you have learned all there is to know because if and when that time ever comes, you could find yourself open to all manner of evil.

    Finally though I should have said this first, determine whether your choice is going to be a revolver or a semi-auto pistol. Revolvers are easier to learn and use. Semi-autos offer greater firepower. There are some excellent choices out there, so do take your time and don't rush your decision... unless you are of a mind to start a collection.

    Good luck and keep us abreast of your progress.
    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.

    America First!

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    May I ask what is wrong with Hi Point?
    Following Schlitz's lead, may I ask what is wrong with Keltec?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Following Schlitz's lead, may I ask what is wrong with Keltec?
    I used to bad mouth high points too, until one day someone called me out about what was wrong with hi points. Well, the only bad stuff I could actually find was the trash talk on internet forums from people who have never shot them.

    For the record, I HAVE shot a high point and it didn't jam/break/explode during my time with it. So since then I've learned to stomp gossip and stick with the facts when it comes to firearms.
    Last edited by Schlitz; 09-19-2011 at 04:21 PM.
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    .... stick with the facts when it comes to firearms.

    Al Gore did not invent the interwebs for "facts" Sir.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Regular Member Ma}{imus's Avatar
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    A couple of thoughts...

    @selderane

    You've asked a loaded question. One that gets discussed ad nauseum on any internet forum that has anything to do with firearms. Ask what handgun to purchase and you'll get 40 different answers from 20 different people. The internet is full of noise and hyperbole on the subject. If you want someone to tell you what brand or caliber to select you can stop reading now. So what should you do?

    1) Do some research on types of handguns. Do you want a revolver or a semiautomatic? Steel, alloy, polymer, etc.
    2) What is application/use going to be (self defense, target, night stand duty, concealed carry, open carry, etc.)? Weight, size, grip dimensions all need to be considered by the individual. What works for one may not be ideal for another.
    2) Find a local gun store (LGS) with a range and a wide variety of rentals. Shoot a wide range of brands and calibers and find what you are most comfortable with.
    3) What is your price range? I would recommend purchasing the highest quality firearm you can reasonably afford. That doesn't mean the most expensive either.
    4) You should also consider the cost of ammunition of your chosen caliber (which will directly impact your ability to practice if you're on a tight budget). Maybe you're considering reloading? All things you should consider.
    5) After weighing all of your options, I would select your top 2-4 choices and give each an extended session at the range.
    6) After all of that you should have a good idea of what works for you and be able to make a selection.

    Selecting a firearm, IMHO, is a highly personal process. There are features that may be essential to me that you couldn't care less about. Do let us know what you decide on and why. It's always interesting to hear (to me at least).
    Last edited by Ma}{imus; 09-19-2011 at 09:43 PM.
    "Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort."

    J.F.K.

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    There is a Gun Range in Austin Texas called "Reds". Im pretty sure they rent guns, so you might just want to go try some out and see what you like.
    Ask for Allen, he can also provide you with any additional help that you may need. http://www.redsguns.com/

    DO NOT allow yourself to find things out the hard way. You will find plenty of people willing to help you learn all you need to know, so just ask.
    Be safe, and welcome to the "sport".

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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    Well, as he is from Texas I can tell him what NOT to get-a 1911. Getting a 1911 for concealed carry would be ridiculous.

    What you need is something relatively small and light. Someone before mentioned the Walther P99AS and, as an owner and carrier of this weapon I would like to say that, unless you are a large framed person, make this the very largest and heaviest gun you would buy. So far I've only carried mine concealed in an IWB holster and if it were any heavier I probably wouldn't bother. I'm anxiously awaiting the funds to get an OC holster.

    Before any of us can make a suggestion as to what you should get we need more information like what is your caliber of choice, what have you handled before and what is too havy for you, is there any gun you've handled that you didn't like?

    Based on the fact that you're a new gun owner and in Texas (meaning you can't open carry), I would suggest you look at relatively easy to carry pistols such as:
    Walther P99AS
    Walther PPS
    Ruger SR9c
    Ruger LC9
    Glock 19 (or G26 if you want to go to the sub-compact route, or models 30, 36 or 38 if you want to step up to a .45 cal)
    Springfield XD (they have a number of models to look at, a compact and a sub-compact 9mm, a compact .45, and an XD(m) compact 9mm-if some of these have been dropped, or others added, someone correct me)

    Just a note: if you've tried one XD or Glock, you've pretty much tried them all. the only differences are in the length of slide or grip (and obviously weight is going to affect recoil). ergonomics are identical except that the XD(m) has a slightly different textured grip and the Glocks' texture changes over the generations.

    I'm sure someone will chime in and tell you you need a steel framed pistol, to which I say have fun trying to hide one comfortably under your t-shirt.
    "Anyone worth shooting once is worth shooting twice." -Zeus

    "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!" - Malcolm Reynolds

    EDC = Walther PPQ 9mm

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignAxe View Post
    SNIP Getting a 1911 for concealed carry would be ridiculous.
    In what way? I can think of a couple ways to conceal a 1911 comfortably.
    Last edited by thebigsd; 09-19-2011 at 06:59 PM.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    In what way? I can think of a couple ways to conceal a 1911 comfortably.
    A full size model? None of these Defender or Commander sizes? And without an oversized t-shirt? I'd like to hear about them...and how much you weigh.
    "Anyone worth shooting once is worth shooting twice." -Zeus

    "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!" - Malcolm Reynolds

    EDC = Walther PPQ 9mm

  21. #21
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignAxe View Post
    A full size model? None of these Defender or Commander sizes? And without an oversized t-shirt? I'd like to hear about them...and how much you weigh.
    Yes, a full size model. In a decent IWB holster. Or a slim pancake holster. I am 6' 4" and weigh about 190. I am skinny as a rail. Is it my first choice for concealment? No. Is it ridiculous to conceal a 1911? No. I guess it would depend on the individual person and their comfort level. Just trying not to discourage the guy from trying out a 1911. I think we can all agree that the 1911 is one of the greatest pistols ever made, right?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  22. #22
    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Yes, a full size model. In a decent IWB holster. Or a slim pancake holster. I am 6' 4" and weigh about 190. I am skinny as a rail. Is it my first choice for concealment? No. Is it ridiculous to conceal a 1911? No. I guess it would depend on the individual person and their comfort level. Just trying not to discourage the guy from trying out a 1911. I think we can all agree that the 1911 is one of the greatest pistols ever made, right?
    Yes, it is. But I'm 5'9" 160lbs, so yeah, the P99 is plenty heavy for me IWB. A 1911 weighs nearly twice as much as my P99. I'm sure you COULD conceal one if you HAD to. But like you said, it wouldn't be your first choice, so why would you expect it to be his?

    It's a great gun, and I'd love to have one and would probably OC one on certain days if I did, but on days and events that I knew I was going to conceal, the 1911 would be staying at home.
    "Anyone worth shooting once is worth shooting twice." -Zeus

    "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!" - Malcolm Reynolds

    EDC = Walther PPQ 9mm

  23. #23
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    i never understood comparing weights of handguns for carry. they're hand guns, they're all relatively small
    (hence the name handgun.) okay a 1911 is HEAVIER than a glock.... but its still a handgun, most wouldn't consider it to be a heavy object. like do you guys get tired out from walking down the street if you have a 1911 on your hip as opposed to a LCP?

    you guys do wear belts...right?

    edit: i've CC'd a government size 1911 plenty.... its just another handgun
    Last edited by Schlitz; 09-19-2011 at 09:24 PM.
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

  24. #24
    Regular Member Ma}{imus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    i never understood comparing weights of handguns for carry. they're hand guns, they're all relatively small
    (hence the name handgun.) okay a 1911 is HEAVIER than a glock.... but its still a handgun, most wouldn't consider it to be a heavy object. like do you guys get tired out from walking down the street if you have a 1911 on your hip as opposed to a LCP?

    you guys do wear belts...right?

    edit: i've CC'd a government size 1911 plenty.... its just another handgun
    IMHO for someone unaccustomed to carrying a handgun for prolonged period of time, size and weight do matter.

    Swyped from my LS670 using Tapatalk
    "Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort."

    J.F.K.

  25. #25
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma}{imus View Post
    IMHO for someone unaccustomed to carrying a handgun for prolonged period of time, size and weight do matter.

    Swyped from my LS670 using Tapatalk
    Maybe I just don't know my own strength!

    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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