bikesandbeers

Looking to Buy First Gun - Seeking Advice

47 posts in this topic

Hello!

 

I'm looking to buy a handgun for target practice and recreation. It's something I've always wanted to become proficient in, rather than simply "vaguely aware". I don't intend to use the weapon for home defense, I live in a neighborhood with no crime, and I don't have expensive things to steal anyway. 

 

I've started the process of applying for an FID and P2P in Hunterdon County, NJ, and am beginning to research what kind of gun I'd like to buy. I applied for two permits because the detective recommended it, and there's an off chance my great aunt will give me an old gun that belonged to my great uncle (she offered once, then decided she wasn't ready to part with it, and I didn't push the issue). I'm not counting on that, and am planning to buy one. 

 

I'm drawn to a .22 for a few reasons:

1. The gun I've used the most was a .22 and I liked it

2. I've heard it would be easier to learn than a larger caliber handgun with more kickback

3. The ammunition is inexpensive

 

My partner owns a S&W compact 9mm, which I think is a nice gun, but it's too small for me to use. On the plus side, we already have a gun safe so I don't need to buy one. I'm open to a 9mm as well.

 

I'm not sure about whether to look at a revolver or a semi-automatic, and I have no real brand preference. I'd prefer to buy from a company that manufactures in the United States. 

 

My current plan is to get some feedback first, make a short list, and rent a few contenders at the Heritage Guild in Easton, PA or Tactical Training Center in Flemington, NJ. 

 

Any advice would be welcome. 

Thanks!

 

 

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Renting a few guns to see what you like is certainly a good idea.   And I'm a big fan of starting with a .22--great training platform, loads of fun, highly accurate, and fairly inexpensive, especially since the great ammo scare of a year or two ago is fading from memory.

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Welcome. As mentioned you really need to know how things feel in your hand. I'd say that you can buy a .22 for real cheap, there was a 22/45 lite on sale here for like $200, and then you can get a 9mm. Once you know what gun or guns you want reach out on here and MeWe, someone may have a used one for sale.

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Since you're going to buy a .22 figure that out first.  There really aren't that many .22 hand guns and if you end up liking a revolver .22 then maybe consider a revolver .38 or .357. 

 

As far as recoil goes, I've shot pretty much everything and you can adapt to anything.  That said, some people don't like the muzzle flip of a .40, I count myself among them.    9mm is very tame and a .45 is more of a push.   9mm guns are also usually cheaper than a .45.

 

If you're only going to buy two guns, don't buy on the basis of price.  Buy the gun that feels the best in your hand.

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I own a Ruger GP100 22LR stainless steel revolver and love it.  (I also own a Glcok 19, 34, & 26; all 9mm.)     I also recommend you consider the new "Ruger Mark IV Hunter" and "S&W Victory"  22LR pistols.  

 

Check YouTube.  There are a gazillion gun review videos available.

 

Welcome to the community.  Be sure you know the transportation laws as they relate to handguns and hollow point bullets.  Plenty of threads on this forum.  Feel free to PM me and I will elaborate.

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I'm a huge SW die hard... But for the first pistol (and especially considering you can borrow the compact any time you want), I'd suggest a glock 9mm like the glock 17 or 19. You will like it and there are tons of after market and third party accessories that are both available and affordable.

 

Next, you'll want a 22 pistol because it is cheap. Then a 357 because it also shoots 38 and having the versatility seems must have. Then you'll want an AR because the next president could put an end to those. 5.56 is expensive so better pick up a 10/22 so you stay out at the range longer... And on and on it goes lol.

 

Don't overthink it. Rent guns, borrow guns, but definitely start with the glock.

 

Edit: if you really want to go American, give a long look to the new M&P 2.0. No more watching YouTube step by step videos by Apex.

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I'm a huge SW die hard... But for the first pistol (and especially considering you can borrow the compact any time you want), I'd suggest a glock 9mm like the glock 17 or 19. You will like it and there are tons of after market and third party accessories that are both available and affordable.

 

Next, you'll want a 22 pistol because it is cheap. Then a 357 because it also shoots 38 and having the versatility seems must have. Then you'll want an AR because the next president could put an end to those. 5.56 is expensive so better pick up a 10/22 so you stay out at the range longer... And on and on it goes lol.

 

Don't overthink it. Rent guns, borrow guns, but definitely start with the glock.

 

Edit: if you really want to go American, give a long look to the new M&P 2.0. No more watching YouTube step by step videos by Apex.

 

 

The OP said "I'd prefer to buy from a company that manufactures in the United States." so Glocks are out.  I also don't think a Glock is a great beginners gun for a couple reasons but that's a separate argument.

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.22 is a great starter gun.  The low recoil makes it easier to learn the fundamentals without being afraid of the gun.  The cost of Ammo means you can practice as much as you want without breaking the bank.  I own lots of guns in lots of different calibers and I still shoot .22 more often than anything else.   The only down side to .22 is that it's not a great defense round - if anyone ever did kick the door down in the middle of the night.  But you already said you aren't concerned about that.

 

If you do ever get bored with a .22, guns retain their value.  You can sell it for close to what you bought it for and buy something bigger.   There is no way you loose getting a .22.

 

My favorite .22 when considering accuracy, cost, and dependability is the Browning Buckmark.  Second would be a Ruger 22/45 or any of the Ruger Mark II, III guns.  But, there are a lot of other guns that are nice too.

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Hello! Thanks for all the replies and advice!

 

Heritage Guild in Easton offers an $80 package that includes 30 minutes of range time, rental of 4 guns, a $40 credit towards the purchase of a gun, and a salesman with you on the range. This seems like a good deal to me and I think I'll try it out.

 

I'm planning on going with the .22 and am considering these models:

 

S&W Model 63

S&W Model 617

S&W MP22

Ruger SR22

Ruger Mark II, III, or IV

Ruger SP101

Walther P22

Browning Buck Mark Contour URX

 

@WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot, I appreciate the suggestions, the Model 63 looks great, but the Model 41 is out of my price range. I'd love to try some at Easton F&G, hopefully we get some unseasonally warm weather this month!

 

I don't know much about guns and am unsure about buying used. I don't think I'd have the knowledge to discern a good deal from a piece of junk. Does it make sense to go for a used gun? Or shell out the extra money for a new one?

 

I've heard tons of great things about revolvers and semi-automatics, so I'll try a few of both and think about it. I'm hoping to make it out to the range sometime this week or next.

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New vs. Used?

 

I've bought several of both.  You rarely save much buying used - unless you're buying something that's showing it's age.

 

Good used guns in good shape cost very close to the new price.  Guns don't depreciate much. You really don't save much buying used.

 

I have bought $50 shotguns with broken parts knowing I was getting into a project but even project guns end up costing you much more by the time the project's done.

 

Go for new. 

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I have half of the 22's on your list and my favorite is the 617.Has 10 rds It feels like a real gun, lol the others are more like toys at least to me and loading a 22 revo is more satisfying than cramming tiny loads into a mag . The 63 is cute and like a mouse gun for me but my wife loves it. The mark III is a pia to take apart mostly because I rarely use it except for new shooters but is a good shooter. I also like the sr22 feels good but again like a toy and its the only other gun my wife will shoot. 22 ammo is fun and cheap but like someone else said can get boring. I suggest getting a gun that has an optional 22 conversion kit but your budget will help determine that.

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I have half of the 22's on your list and my favorite is the 617.Has 10 rds It feels like a real gun, lol the others are more like toys at least to me and loading a 22 revo is more satisfying than cramming tiny loads into a mag . The 63 is cute and like a mouse gun for me but my wife loves it. The mark III is a pia to take apart mostly because I rarely use it except for new shooters but is a good shooter. I also like the sr22 feels good but again like a toy and its the only other gun my wife will shoot. 22 ammo is fun and cheap but like someone else said can get boring. I suggest getting a gun that has an optional 22 conversion kit but your budget will help determine that.

The latest version of the ruger (mk IV) has push button take down, worth looking at. Love my 22/45 with the volquartsen trigger and the removable grips, but would definitely welcome the improvements in the latest version. The McPhadden "ultimate clip loader" makes reloads almost enjoyable, but you can burn through a brick in no time.

 

Im with you on suggesting a .22 conversion, specifically a 1911 or a SIG P226 with a .22 xchange kit. Only downside is the mags are usually expensive and/or the last round hold open may not work.

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One I notice missing from your list of .22s is the S&W Victory.  Worth a look.

 

Check out the Forum Marketplace when you decide. 

 

I'd like to try that one out, still looking for a range that offers one for rental! If I can find one, I'll try it out.

 

I have half of the 22's on your list and my favorite is the 617.Has 10 rds It feels like a real gun, lol the others are more like toys at least to me and loading a 22 revo is more satisfying than cramming tiny loads into a mag . The 63 is cute and like a mouse gun for me but my wife loves it. The mark III is a pia to take apart mostly because I rarely use it except for new shooters but is a good shooter. I also like the sr22 feels good but again like a toy and its the only other gun my wife will shoot. 22 ammo is fun and cheap but like someone else said can get boring. I suggest getting a gun that has an optional 22 conversion kit but your budget will help determine that.

 

Thanks, I'll take a closer look at the S&W Model 617, and perhaps back of the Model 63. I'm not looking for a "big gun", but I do wear an XL men's glove, and was wondering how some of the smaller guns would fit in my hands.

 

The latest version of the ruger (mk IV) has push button take down, worth looking at. Love my 22/45 with the volquartsen trigger and the removable grips, but would definitely welcome the improvements in the latest version. The McPhadden "ultimate clip loader" makes reloads almost enjoyable, but you can burn through a brick in no time.

 

Im with you on suggesting a .22 conversion, specifically a 1911 or a SIG P226 with a .22 xchange kit. Only downside is the mags are usually expensive and/or the last round hold open may not work.

 

Also a reply to siderman: I need to some research on the .22 conversions. Lots of people in this thread have suggested it, but I don't know anything about it. I'll do some reading and think on it.

 

Thanks all. 

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Since you have big hands avoid the Walther P22, as it is tiny. Stick with a new gun. .22lr pistols aren't expensive, and it eliminates the chance of someone tinkering with it.

 

If you go Ruger, get the Mark IV. The II and III are notorious for being difficult to disassemble. Check reviews about the IV on YouTube and every one should mention it.

 

Since you want an American gun I'd recommend the Mark IV or S&W Victory. See which one fits your hands better. I'm guessing it will be rhe Mark IV.

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I don't know if the S&W victory comes in a target grip model, like the 22A did. I will say the massive target grip on my 22A is great for my large hands, not so much for smaller shooters.

 

Someone here said they get bored with .22s, I am the opposite. I love being able to plink all day for a significantly lower cost than centerfire. Theres a reason 1/3 of my guns are .22s, and I plan to add more.

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If you go Ruger, get the Mark IV. The II and III are notorious for being difficult to disassemble. Check reviews about the IV on YouTube and every one should mention it.

 

.

I have a MK2, I flip one lever and the pistol falls apart. Where is the difficulty??

 

 

For a first gun, you could get a 1911 in 9mm and add a 22lr conversion slide

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The OP said "I'd prefer to buy from a company that manufactures in the United States." so Glocks are out.  I also don't think a Glock is a great beginners gun for a couple reasons but that's a separate argument.

 

 

That's funny, because my G19 was made in the USA. I'm sure dozens of others here have American made Glocks as well.

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I second getting the Sig 226 in 22 lr. That's what I did, got the 40 exchange kit for it. Then I picked up a 9mm barrel for it and a 357 sig one also.

Now I can shoot 4 calibers with the same gun.

This was what I did for my first gun but it's a P220 so I can swap from 22lr to 45 acp. The upper swaps out quick and toolless takedown for cleaning is nice and inexpensive 22lr practice while still having a capable caliber for home defense or competition is pretty cool.

 

However knowing what I know now, I think looking for a new gun would go something like try out a few types like you are, decide if you like semi-auto or revolver, (both have benefits and issues), decide a caliber you like (cost, recoil, size constraints, etc), and what you want to do with it (plinking, target shooting, IDPA, IPSC, home defense,etc). Once you know all that, it should narrow it down quickly for you.

 

If you are set on a 22lr, hard to go wrong with the S&W Victory or Ruger Mark IV. With the Mark IV though, try to get the one you want in hand. Weight may be an issue with the long barrel stainless models. My wife has the Mark III competition and it's a heavy gun for a day at the range for her (me too truth be told ;) ) After an hour she's pretty much done. Fortunately they make alloy barrel models that are lighter so we may look to either swap out her barrel or get her a lighter version of the Mark IV or a Victory.

 

I have a S&W 617 with a 6" barrel, that is also a pretty nose heavy gun for a day at the range. The 4" is a little better but maybe a hair less accurate at longer distances but 15 yards or less, probably not an issue. Revolvers take a bit more cleaning time then semi-auto so that may be a factor for you. Ballistol aresol is your friend on revolvers :)

 

Good luck with the search

-Jim

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Hello!

 

I'm looking to buy a handgun for target practice and recreation. It's something I've always wanted to become proficient in, rather than simply "vaguely aware". I don't intend to use the weapon for home defense, I live in a neighborhood with no crime, and I don't have expensive things to steal anyway. 

 

I've started the process of applying for an FID and P2P in Hunterdon County, NJ, and am beginning to research what kind of gun I'd like to buy. I applied for two permits because the detective recommended it, and there's an off chance my great aunt will give me an old gun that belonged to my great uncle (she offered once, then decided she wasn't ready to part with it, and I didn't push the issue). I'm not counting on that, and am planning to buy one. 

 

I'm drawn to a .22 for a few reasons:

1. The gun I've used the most was a .22 and I liked it

2. I've heard it would be easier to learn than a larger caliber handgun with more kickback

3. The ammunition is inexpensive

 

My partner owns a S&W compact 9mm, which I think is a nice gun, but it's too small for me to use. On the plus side, we already have a gun safe so I don't need to buy one. I'm open to a 9mm as well.

 

I'm not sure about whether to look at a revolver or a semi-automatic, and I have no real brand preference. I'd prefer to buy from a company that manufactures in the United States. 

 

My current plan is to get some feedback first, make a short list, and rent a few contenders at the Heritage Guild in Easton, PA or Tactical Training Center in Flemington, NJ. 

 

Any advice would be welcome. 

Thanks!

#'s 2 & 3 are false (BS).

 

You will be bored with shooting 22lr way before you are eligible to use your second handgun purchase permit. Go right for a 9mm and learn on that. As long as your not a snowflake, you wont have any problems with the 9mm. Go for a full size or compact 9mm like the Glock 17/19 or Beretta PX4 full/compact. Striker fired or DA/SA with or without a manual safety is for you to decide. 22lr conversion kits are available for most platforms out there and don't require a handgun purchase permit or 30 day waiting period. . Glock 17/19 conversion kits are made by advantage arms.

 

My recommendations for a new shooter and 2 permits:

 

1. Glock 17 Gen4 w/15rd mags  - 9mm

2. S&W 686+  3" or 4"                 - 357mag/38spec

3. 22lr Advantage Arms conversion kit for Glock 17 Gen4

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Good choice starting with the .22.

I would second the Model 41. It is one of those guns that you buy, and never feel the need to get another rimfire handgun, ever. There are not many 22's that are built as well, as accurate and IMHO as good looking as a 41.

Otherwise, get the Browning, although I would forego the full-length rail. Don't think I would ever need to use it.

Many of the other URX and UDX models look very nice and get fantastic reviews.

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I love my 4" 617.  So much so that I stole the red dot off another gun and slapped it on there to use it for static steel this fall.  

 

 As a matter of fact, that reminds me, I need to pack it to the range tomorrow.  

 

Good luck with your choice.  

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