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SYakoban

Purchasing my first handgun - Advice

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I have my permit and went to my 1st gun store to see some guns I had watched videos about. Most I asked about were small semi-automatic pistols which were called out as good for concealed carry. Since that's not possible in NJ, it was never a factor - they just seemed like good options.

When I went to the store and held some, they didn't feel right to me. I don't have big hands, but the grip didn't feel comfortable being short. I tried some full frame pistols and they felt right. One was all steel and I expected it to feel heavy, but it wasn't and with no clip, felt really balanced.

So I think I want a full framed semi-automatic 9mm. Not sure about all steel or not. As a new shooter, I think I prefer multiple safeties like a manual safety and a trigger safety. I'm trying to stay under $500, but can go a little higher. I would really prefer American made.

Can you guys give me some suggestions?

Also, I'm leery of a used gun that might need more maintenance, but might consider it. Any thoughts on a 1st time owner buying used?

Thank you!

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16 minutes ago, SYakoban said:

I have my permit and went to my 1st gun store to see some guns I had watched videos about. Most I asked about were small semi-automatic pistols which were called out as good for concealed carry. Since that's not possible in NJ, it was never a factor - they just seemed like good options.

When I went to the store and held some, they didn't feel right to me. I don't have big hands, but the grip didn't feel comfortable being short. I tried some full frame pistols and they felt right. One was all steel and I expected it to feel heavy, but it wasn't and with no clip, felt really balanced.

So I think I want a full framed semi-automatic 9mm. Not sure about all steel or not. As a new shooter, I think I prefer multiple safeties like a manual safety and a trigger safety. I'm trying to stay under $500, but can go a little higher. I would really prefer American made.

Can you guys give me some suggestions?

Also, I'm leery of a used gun that might need more maintenance, but might consider it. Any thoughts on a 1st time owner buying used?

Thank you!

I wouldn't be leery of a used gun, specially police trade-ins.   I think that at least half of what I own is pre-owned.  For $500 you're going to struggle a bit to find a new 9mm that is worth a damn.

One of the first guns I bought in NJ was going to be a Sig.  The guy at the shop suggested I try an H&K P30.   Once I did, I knew that was it.  The VP9 is a fantastic gun, essentially the same frame as a p30 and a bit cheaper.  Try one, get one used and it'll be around the ball park of what you want to spend.   Either one will run as hard as you can and never stop.

The Smith and Wesson M&P is another good one to look at. 

Sigs are great, you just won't find anything in your price range unless it's some kind of close out deal or a friend sells it to you.

I'm not a fan of Glocks, but to each his own, they are quite reliable.

Not sure if you're noticing a theme here, but stick with the main brands and you'll have a good experience.  When you start with the next tier down to save some bucks, you might find ammo becomes finicky or you get an occasional malf.

Good luck.

 

 

 

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One suggestion:  find a range that rents so you can try and shoot a few you are considering.   Call ahead to see what models they rent and if they’re on your list.  
 

note: Depending on the range you may need to bring a friend since some won’t rent if you’re by yourself (suicide risk).  

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1 hour ago, SYakoban said:

Can you guys give me some suggestions?

 

Is this a range toy or a primary SD weapon?

If the latter, I would suggest a semi-auto 9 mm striker fired without manual safety and the highest capacity mag (10rd in NJ). Personally, I prefer S&W M&P line, you might like the full size M&P9 M2.0  or the SD9 if on a budget. They've come out with a lot of different versions lately so it may be confusing at first. 

For a range toy get what you like and feel comfortable with.

 

 

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1 hour ago, SYakoban said:

I have my permit and went to my 1st gun store to see some guns I had watched videos about. Most I asked about were small semi-automatic pistols which were called out as good for concealed carry. Since that's not possible in NJ, it was never a factor - they just seemed like good options.

When I went to the store and held some, they didn't feel right to me. I don't have big hands, but the grip didn't feel comfortable being short. I tried some full frame pistols and they felt right. One was all steel and I expected it to feel heavy, but it wasn't and with no clip, felt really balanced.

So I think I want a full framed semi-automatic 9mm. Not sure about all steel or not. As a new shooter, I think I prefer multiple safeties like a manual safety and a trigger safety. I'm trying to stay under $500, but can go a little higher. I would really prefer American made.

Can you guys give me some suggestions?

Also, I'm leery of a used gun that might need more maintenance, but might consider it. Any thoughts on a 1st time owner buying used?

Thank you!

Buy a 357 magnum smith revolver

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Where are you located?  Some of us here may be able to demonstrate a few different guns for you to try.  Next week there's the 2nd is for Everyone Diversity Shoot at Recoil range in Monroe - you could probably try out several guns there.  I will most likely be there with a few different 9mm's.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-2nd-is-for-everyone-diversity-shoot-tickets-369437606827

 

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SYankoban

Welcome to the group.

I sell guns for a living, so I get asked this question often. If you are ever down in LEHT, come see me at Shooters Sporting Center.

$500 for a new gun is going to be tough if you want to stay with the top name-brand guns.

For new, full-sized, American guns with a manual safety?..... Ruger American, Ruger Security 9 are about the only options I can think of that are decent.

S&W M&P can be had with a manual safety, but you are pushing $600.

HK are generally more expensive guns, starting around $750 or so.

Other guns with manual safeties... Beretta PX4, Beretta 92 series, Sig p320 M18 & M17, CZ75 series, HK P30 series, 1911 series.

Most gun makers have moved to away from manual safeties.

I would also not write off used guns. Most of my guns are bought used. Generally speaking, a used gun doesn't really hide any secrets...if it is beat up, it was used hard. If it looks like new, it was used very little. In my experience, the great majority of gun makers will fix busted guns, often at no charge to the consumer...even used guns. It costs them less to fix a gun to make it 100% than it would cost in fighting a lawsuit.

 

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1 hour ago, dajonga said:

I would also not write off used guns. Most of my guns are bought used. Generally speaking, a used gun doesn't really hide any secrets...if it is beat up, it was used hard. If it looks like new, it was used very little. In my experience, the great majority of gun makers will fix busted guns, often at no charge to the consumer...even used guns. It costs them less to fix a gun to make it 100% than it would cost in fighting a lawsuit.

 

Many manufacturers (Ruger, Henry, etc.) have "lifetime warranty" or otherwise excellent customer service regardless of how used the gun is. If guns are taken care of well, they can last several lifetimes.

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Wow - great responses - thanks guys!

I should have mentioned that the intent is SD, but I've learned that I need to and think I will have interest in visiting a range at least quarterly (maybe more!!!) because the full frame guns felt good in my hands. :)

 I have ZERO people I can bring with me to a range for a rental. I wanted to do that, but saw that every place required two or more renters. Not sure how that stops a suicide, but whatever.

@Krdshrk   That's real interesting. I'm only about 35 minutes away, so I probably will attend. What do I need to bring?
 

@dajonga - Interesting feedback. LEHT is a trip, but for good reason, I can still afford gas.
 

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My suggestion is a general one. If you're going to use it for SD I'd rethink the manual safety requirement. I'm not opposed to one (see 1911), but if that's what you get, you really need to train often to make sure that under pressure (like 'I'm being assaulted' pressure) your thumb clicks that safety off without thinking about it. (See 'muscle memory'.)

From just a safety point of view (as in 'no accidental discharges'), all modern semi-autos will have at least two or three 'automatic' safeties. That is they're always in play and 'turn off' exactly when necessary. For example Glocks have  trigger, firing pin and drop safeties. See here for an explanation of what that means.

So if you practice safe handling and trigger discipline from the get-go, that should be all the safety you need. And there would be no extra step required to bring the pistol into action.

And of course practice drawing from a holster, both open and concealed. Very important.

For an example of muscle memory, when I go to pick up a pistol my right hand fully extends the trigger finger; I never put the finger in the trigger guard. Ever. And having done that from the beginning I don't have to think about it any more. It happens automatically. (After many years of this I would have to consciously decide for some reason to stick my trigger finger in the guard while picking it up).

Once the pistol is in hand and I've confirmed it's clear, I proceed accordingly. Dry fire the pistol if that's what I'm up to, or load and shoot the pistol if at the range.

Just something to think about.

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2 hours ago, SYakoban said:

@Krdshrk   That's real interesting. I'm only about 35 minutes away, so I probably will attend. What do I need to bring?
 

Get the ticket, bring yourself.  If you have it, Eye and Ear pro.  Cash for raffle if you so choose.... and an open mind.

I should be there but may be rolling in late.

 

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