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First Gun Show


New member
Feb 25, 2007
, ,
imported post

There is a gun show coming to town this saturday. Seeing that I can now legally attend I'm really looking forward to it. I've set my budget at $300 tops (not too much money left). What im looking for is a 1911/1911 compact or possibly a kel-tec p11 or p3at but im open to suggestions. The reason I'm asking is im getting my permit this summer when I move to indiana, but im gonna need a pistol that will be comfortable for CC regularly. I have heard good things about Rock Island 1911's and had a friend that owned one. Do y'all have any suggestions of what I ought to get for my first sidearm?


Regular Member
May 9, 2006
Berryville-ish, VA
imported post

Hmmmmm, 300 bucks..... might be a little difficult. Inexpensive and easier to conceal. Bersa, Taurus MillenniumPro. Inexpensive not as easy to conceal, Rock Island, Ruger.

Might be able to find something decent used too. Or a .Taurus 38 special revolver.


State Researcher
Feb 20, 2007
Invisible Mode
imported post

$300 might be too low for a decent 1911.

If you haven't done so already, try a local gun forum site. Like:


Check the Firearms For Sale Or Trade subforum and see what is available from private sellers who are willing to do legal FTF sales. You can at least get some info on market prices before you go to the show.

Also, you could post a "Want To Buy" ad and you mightfind someone who is trying to get out of a gun.

Good luck.


Founder's Club Member - Moderator
May 14, 2006
Virginia, USA
imported post

If you are lucky you might be able to find an old Systema Colt 1911 from Argentina, the seem to well regarded for the money. If not a P11 or P3AT are good choices, and I'd lean toward the P11.


Founder's Club Member
Nov 15, 2006
Fairfax Co., VA
imported post

JBTennessee wrote:
Seeing that I can now legally attend I'm really looking forward to it. I've set my budget at $300 tops (not too much money left). ....first sidearm.

Unless there is a right-now need, I'd do a lot of shopping and research first. Resist the impulse to buy right away.If the budget is tight, its even more important to get itfairly right the first time.Youprobably won't be able to geta refund. Ask the reverse question. If I don't like this gun after I've had it for a while, how long will it take to save up enough to buy what I want,factoring in that I might lose some on the first gun when I re-sell it? If you need to, spend a few bucks ona basic defensive handgun book that includes a chapter onwhat to consider whenselecting a handgun, or ask here on OCDO. Some self-defense websites might have the info right on one of their webpages. My first defensive handgun turned out to be a really bad choice. Decent gun, but not suited to my hand, too large for CC when I decided to start CC-ing, smaller caliber than I should have gotten.

After deciding what characteristics you want in a gun, I'd suggest researching in the direction of compiling a list of candidate guns that have those characteristics. You can start your research with manufacturers' websites, usingMSRP to gauge gunshow prices. Then go to gun stores and gun shows and try each candidate for how well it fits your hand. Dry firethem a few times to see if you like the way the trigger feels,etc.Your priorities about characteristics will probably shift around a bit as you weigh them against price. Eventually you'll narrow the list to one or two choices.If ashooting range rents your final candidate, rentit and put 50 rounds through it before you buy your own copy.

Buying a used gun brings another dimension--is the gun in good condition? You'll want to research what to look for in the way of wear,tear, and damage. It can be a little likebuying a used car.

You'll also want to check the internet forums for known problems with a particular model gun. You can even ask here on OCDO if anybody knows anything negative about a particular candidate gun.

Realize that a $300 gun willturn into a $400 gun or moreby the time you are done. You'll need that firstfew boxes of ammo, a cleaning kit, maybe a holster, maybe some magazines or speedloaders, maybe somepouches for the latter.However,a lot of these "accessory" purchases can come later.

After my research, I ended up with agun that fit my budget, fits my hand great, and is an excellent defensive caliber. It was my first alternate, not mypreferred--the preferred was over the budget just enough to be unwise. However, now I have a gun Ilike while I save up for my preference. Even if itstwo or three years before I buy it, I'mhappy with the one I've got in the meantime.In fact,I'll be keeping it even after I get my preference.