babagan00sh

Wife's looking to get a handgun. Some questions & looking for recommendations

30 posts in this topic

My wife and I trap shoot 12 gauge.  I've shot 22 cal rifles and a couple + decades ago some 38 special revolvers at Rays in North Plainfield.

She got a pistol permit and is looking to get a handgun. I really don't know much in that area.  We're planning on going to Easton, PA / Heritage guild for their try before you buy shooting.

Any suggestions on models, how to decide what to buy, where to buy it, etc?

She's got a medium build - not petite, not large - if that matters on the selection.

People are talking about 9mm guns. sound right? this is for home protection.

Can she buy at Cabela's or elsewhere in PA or out of state (maybe lower cost / bigger selection)? But there'd be a fee to transfer it to a gun store in NJ, right? So why not just buy in NJ, right? And to be sure to get the right size magazine for NJ.

THANKS!

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Suggest S&W model 15.  light revolver, easy to load, easy to empty.  adjustable rear sight.  It's a 38 special and ammo

not real expensive.  re-loads somewhat cheaper.  Good for target shooting or any bad ass..............  

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Is she recoil sensitive?  hand size? 

Unfortunately, you cannot buy pistols out of state.  They have to be shipped to a NJ FFL.

I've got several 9mm pistols, and have let plenty of people try them all.  The one that gets the most recognition by females is my S&W M&P 9L (long slide 5" barrel), but it has a trigger job done to it so the trigger's very light and crisp.

 

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Thank you guys!  We'll see about trying those at Heritage guild.

Krdshk - just to clarify - She COULD buy out of state, but not take it with her?  They'd send it to an FLL in NJ to take possession? Or the sale is done by an NJ FLL?  And either way, there'd be shipping costs and the NJ FLL understandably wants $$ for their time to be involved. Does it typically make sense to just do the entire transaction in NJ?

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Thank you guys!  We'll see about trying those at Heritage guild.
Krdshk - just to clarify - She COULD buy out of state, but not take it with her?  They'd send it to an FLL in NJ to take possession? Or the sale is done by an NJ FLL?  And either way, there'd be shipping costs and the NJ FLL understandably wants $$ for their time to be involved. Does it typically make sense to just do the entire transaction in NJ?


Yes. Pay the non-NJ person.
Yes. You'll need a Permit.
No. Only the BGC.
Yes. Transfer fee and NICS fee.
No. Save on sales tax.

BTW, FFL not FLL.

Sent from an undisclosed location via Tapatalk

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4 minutes ago, babagan00sh said:

Thank you guys!  We'll see about trying those at Heritage guild.

Krdshk - just to clarify - She COULD buy out of state, but not take it with her?  They'd send it to an FLL in NJ to take possession? Or the sale is done by an NJ FLL?  And either way, there'd be shipping costs and the NJ FLL understandably wants $$ for their time to be involved. Does it typically make sense to just do the entire transaction in NJ?

Not jumping on Krdshk's response but I would suggest looking at guns at Cabela's as they have a big selection but their prices suck AFAIC.  Find out what she likes and then see what a local FFL can do.  You can also order guns on line and have them shipped to a local FFL for transfer.  Don't know where you live but if you disclose that people here can suggest FFLs in your area to deal with.

As far as what type of gun I'd suggest a 4" 357 revolver.  GP100 or 686. Just about the best all around handgun made.  She can start shooting target wadcutters and work her way up to whatever power level she wants up to full magnums.  If she wants to go no higher in power wadcutters are not a bad SD round. The manual of arms is simpler with a revolver too.  People knock the capacity of a revolver but most gunfights are like 3-5 rounds and 95% of them are 7 yds or less. If she likes the idea of a revolver DON'T let her get a small, J frame revolver.  Much harder to shoot.  Maybe later down the line.

9mm is probably the best centerfire semiautomatic round to start with.  Ammo is cheap, recoil isn't bad.  The Glock 19 is the best all around 9mm IMO. Stay away from subcompact 9mms for the same reasons she needs to stay away from small revolvers.

In any case let her decide what she wants.

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If traveling out of state I would recommend visiting Tanners Sports Center in Jamison, PA. They have a pretty good selection of everything and run very good deals often. When you make a decision on what you think your wife may like. Find a range that has a rental for that model and take it for a test run. If the range does not have that particular pistol for rent, I'm sure members on this forum who do own it can let your wife try it out.

Link - Tanner's Sport Center FaceBook page

Regards,

TokenEntry

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The suggestion above is a great one!

She might also want to attend one of the many women's shooting chapters/groups in the state. Most will let you go as a guest for the first time, without making the decision to join. It's pretty low-cost typically - 10-25 bucks for the evening:   

  • There's 4 TWAW (The Well-Armed Woman) chapters in NJ - located throughout the state
  • Second Amendment Women (SAW) is a NJ-based org that meets at 2 diff ranges (Gun for Hire and one that's more south that I can't recall at the moment)
  • Tactical Training Center in Flemington has a ladies night 2nd wed of the month (me and @Mrs.Zeke go to that - she's welcome to meet us there!)
  • There's a small private range in Warren County that also has a monthly ladies' shoot too (open to public)

At any one of those events, I'm sure she'd find that the women would be VERY friendly and generous about loaning their guns. She could probably try 8-10 different firearms in one evening at a very low cost (as compared to rentals)... and then she would start to at least get a "sense" of what she prefers - revolver vs. semi-auto, striker vs. hammer, compact vs. fullsize, metal vs. polymer, etc. Honestly, there's soooo many variables and options --- it can be dizzying! So, why shouldn't she slow down, take her time, and figure out her preferences in a relaxed (and low-cost) way? She might even end up hooking up with a group that she enjoys shooting and training with... value add!

Where are you located? I can point you towards the nearest group that I know of if you share more info.

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From my personal experience I can say try several different guns. It has to feel comfortable and have malfunction free record history. I would suggest 9mm because of its most affordable ammo. The prices are cheaper out of state but then you have to pay Transfer fee + Nics + NJ compliance work if the magazines capacity larger than 10rd. I have small hands and out of several guns I have my favorite is Walther PPQ (Not mix with PPK) and CZ P07, I also recommend to look at Beretta PX4 storm as its barrel rotates thus reduces the recoil. There are many modifications of it are available. I have brand new that I can sell cheap DAO/LEO(Law Enforcement Only).  

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WOW!! Thank you so much everyone!  I posted this late last night to get it on the boards thinking it would take time to get replies!

This and the other questions I posted got loads of responses already.  Great community here!

Let me hit the different questions:

GRIZ - we're in Somerset county.  a revolver?! That's all I've shot and that was years ago.  Personally, the design seems much more mechanically reliable - less moving parts, etc. But 'everyone's using semi autos, so they can't be all that bad?  

Certainly want her to get a good feel for the different options so I'll mention your suggestion of a revolver.

Mrs. Peel: Thanks for the offer! Yes, I'd like to get her more 'into' this - no sense buying it and just sticking it in the nightstand. I'm looking forward to the Outdoors Expo... oh gosh, it's this weekend!  We've gone for a bunch of years now but this year she talked about talking to the different booths about training, etc.

We've been dragging our feet on this and her permit's expiring in a couple weeks.  Like you said - slow down...  She just emailed the police to ask about the 90 day extension and not rush into things.

Thanks for all the advice!

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Let me just say this about a revolver: First, GRIZ is 100% correct in his advice to stay away from buying a J-frame (small frame S&W) - a lot of gun store commandos are going to push you in that direction.

Second: If this is to be used as a home defense weapon, I'd stay away from revolvers all together. To those that know me or my postings, that may seem counter-intuitive. Here's my reasoning: The double action pull of a revolver is not only heavy, but long - and DA is how it should be used in a defensive situation. To use it in single action mode, in a defensive situation, is to invite a negligent discharge and the possible ensuing lawsuit. The adrenaline is running high in this situation and the SA PULL of a revolver is pretty light (if it isn't you've bought the wrong revolver - LOL), just too easy to apply more pressure than intended on the trigger.

As a range only gun, at least initially, the revolver is fine, and if you master using DA with the revolver (I'm still trying) just about everything else is easy to shoot. But to start off with one as a HD weapon is not a good idea in my opinion.

I think the people steering you toward a 9 mm semi-auto are on the right track, but that still leaves a myriad of choices to be made. Follow Mrs. Peel's advice and attend one of the get-togethers and you'll be able to try many different guns at minimal cost.

Good luck.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

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Not everyone can actually rack the slide of many semi autos, ESPECIALLY those with arthritis! Yes, there are many DAO semis so that wouldn't be an issue, but clearing a FTE, FTF, etc.... will now leave them with nothing to use.

Revolvers are simple, leave it in DA so there is a nice long trigger throw, no oooooops...........

My bedroom gun is a simple 4" J-Frame, I have a small house, no need for anything INSIDE the house. Now outside, that's another story, and have plenty of things to chose from if I need too.

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1 hour ago, Pizza Bob said:

Let me just say this about a revolver: First, GRIZ is 100% correct in his advice to stay away from buying a J-frame (small frame S&W) - a lot of gun store commandos are going to push you in that direction.

Second: If this is to be used as a home defense weapon, I'd stay away from revolvers all together. To those that know me or my postings, that may seem counter-intuitive. Here's my reasoning: The double action pull of a revolver is not only heavy, but long - and DA is how it should be used in a defensive situation. To use it in single action mode, in a defensive situation, is to invite a negligent discharge and the possible ensuing lawsuit. The adrenaline is running high in this situation and the SA PULL of a revolver is pretty light (if it isn't you've bought the wrong revolver - LOL), just too easy to apply more pressure than intended on the trigger.

As a range only gun, at least initially, the revolver is fine, and if you master using DA with the revolver (I'm still trying) just about everything else is easy to shoot. But to start off with one as a HD weapon is not a good idea in my opinion.

I think the people steering you toward a 9 mm semi-auto are on the right track, but that still leaves a myriad of choices to be made. Follow Mrs. Peel's advice and attend one of the get-togethers and you'll be able to try many different guns at minimal cost.

Good luck.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

@Pizza Bob one of the few times we disagree on an issue.

The DA pull on a revolver is longer and heavier than most semiautos.  DA revolvers have fallen out of favor with many new shooters for two reasons IMO.

First, they hold fewer rounds.  Not much you can do about that.

Second, DA revolvers do have a longer and heavier trigger.  Many new shooters want instant gratification and go for an easier to learn semiauto.

Mastery of anything takes time and practice.  However back in the 70s (yes the olden days) when I went through the police academy people who never fired a gun were able to qualify after a week on the range.  They hadn't achieved mastery but could shoot well enough with a revolver to shoot 70% on a PPC course.  They were not masters but shot adequately.  That includes DA shooting from 25 yds and SA shooting from 50 yds.  I'd say many dedicated shooters on this forum can't do that even with a semiauto.

You don't need an 4 lb DA action job and lighter springs to shoot a revolver well DA.  Smooth is much more important than light in a DA revolver trigger. You need to develop the muscles in your hands and fingers.  It doesn't take a long time.  You can do it with one of those hand exercisers.  Leave it in the car and pump out reps while commuting or at home watching TV. Don't worry about being able to crank cylinder and cylinder of ammo out of the revolver.  When you start go slow and take a break when you need one.  Mechanics usually have strong hand and finger muscles from gripping tools all day.  So do old time roofers who used hammers instead of nail guns. Most people don't have their hand and finger strength fully developed.  One wouldn't think of competing in any sport without developing the right muscles.  Shooting is no different.

I usually start new shooters on a revolver.  Rare are the times they were unable to shoot a 3" group @ 7yds DA after an hour of instruction.  Not fast but speed requires practice.

JMO

 

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My 9mm handgun that people seem to most enjoy shooting is a Glock 34.  It's the same size frame as a Glock 17, but with a longer slide.  It's a pleasure to shoot, and the long slide makes it easy to be accurate. 

For carry, I'm looking forward to getting my wife a SCCY in 9mm when we get out of NJ. 

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2 hours ago, babagan00sh said:

Mrs. Peel: Thanks for the offer! Yes, I'd like to get her more 'into' this - no sense buying it and just sticking it in the nightstand. I'm looking forward to the Outdoors Expo... oh gosh, it's this weekend!  We've gone for a bunch of years now but this year she talked about talking to the different booths about training, etc.

We've been dragging our feet on this and her permit's expiring in a couple weeks.  Like you said - slow down...  She just emailed the police to ask about the 90 day extension and not rush into things.

No problem. PM me if she wants to meet at TTC in Flemington for Ladies NIght - we'll make arrangements. Also, I think I saw on another thread you're looking at ranges in the Somerset area, correct? I'm a member at SCFGPA - in Bridgewater, right off Route 22. They are accepting new members at this time. PM me if you and your wife would like a quick tour --- I'm kinda new there myself, but we could meet at a mutually convenient time and I could guest you in and show you around if you want to check it out.

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OP,

FWIW, both my wife and my daughter don't do well with pistols, slides, etc. Both are comfortable with J frames. They believe, as do I, that almost any negative encounter will require no more than one or two rounds to end. Do they carry in contravention of NJs unconstitutional laws? Who knows? Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6 or raped by whomever.

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2 hours ago, GRIZ said:

@Pizza Bob one of the few times we disagree on an issue.

GRIZ - I think we agree on things far more than disagree. My thoughts were based on the OP's declaration that this was to be a HD gun. I envision that as someone who has never had a gun before, going out and buying what the counter guy is pushing that day, firing maybe a box of shells through it and then it goes in a drawer, never to see the light of day again.

The OP at least is soliciting opinions and actually setting themselves up to be an informed consumer and make a wise purchase. I pointed out that a revolver would be a great range gun and by that I meant should be used only for that purpose until reasonable competence is obtained and then maybe be pressed into service as a HD weapon. Few people are willing to put in the time, nor are there many competent revolver instructors about, so recommending a bottom-feeder just makes more sense.

I hope that the OP sticks around and keeps us filled in on both his and his wife's progress in this regard. They need to know that there is no right or wrong answer - it is only what works for them - and they seem to be working toward that.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

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My wife has issues racking the slides, forget trying to clear any jam that may have been caused by limp wristing under stress. I got her a Ruger LCR in 9mm for her pocketbook, with the optional larger grip. Very smooth trigger for dao with its cam system.  Lots of choices for 9mm rounds, I didn’t need to stock another caliber, and I can load it with rounds from any of my other magazines if needed (it runs fine without moon clips). 

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52 minutes ago, SW9racer said:

My wife has issues racking the slides, forget trying to clear any jam that may have been caused by limp wristing under stress. I got her a Ruger LCR in 9mm for her pocketbook, with the optional larger grip. Very smooth trigger for dao with its cam system.  Lots of choices for 9mm rounds, I didn’t need to stock another caliber, and I can load it with rounds from any of my other magazines if needed (it runs fine without moon clips). 

EASY SLIDES = S&W M&P380EZ, Walther CCP, or Remington R51

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The biggest mistake I have made is picking out a gun for my wife.... soooo, don’t do that.

Also, cute and tiny is not a ladies thing, it’s a ccw thing. I’d recommend full size whatever she likes. Try as much as you can.

All of the new women shooters we’ve brought to the Range love the sr22. But that’s not a good choice for HD, an excellent choice for beginners though. They always hate my j frame. 

 

Oh Op, if your experience is anything like mine, you’re screwed dude!

@Old Glock guy, mrs has a 17 lower she’s starting to build. She likes the full size more than her 19. Funny you say that

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Had an ex who loved my Sig 1911 TTT in .45, but racking the slides on anything other than my .22 pistols was difficult most of the time for her, including that 1911.  Another ex shot my P226 9mm and had some issues racking the slide.  Both took more than one attempt to rack a slide more than once.  It is possible that a slightly lighter spring (which will increase wear and tear) might alleviate some of this issue for some people, but reliability would need to be tested.

Not knowing her age, hand size, strength, arthritis/etc, I won't really be of much help suggesting anything specific.  What I will say is have her handle a lot of models.  Nothing beats getting a real feel for the pistol and knowing how it fits - or does not fit.  Having her use the important controls may rule out some pistols.  Having her hold the pistol out in a shooting position may rule out others due to weight.  Having her rack the slide on a semi auto may lead her to rule out semis completely.  It needs to be something she can work, and will want to shoot, for it to be worth anything as a home defense gun.  I'd rather she get a .22 magnum that she can safely and comfortably operate than a 9mm she never wants to practice with because (reasons).

Once she has narrowed things down, either rent those models, and/or post up on the forums looking for someone who has one if they would mind letting you run a box or two of ammo through it.  Keeping in mind many range rentals are gonna be dirty and gritty, so basing trigger pull off one may not be ideal, but it'll give her an idea how it shoots, and she shoots with it, plus things like slide manipulation and use of controls.

Once she has decided on the one, you can have a local FFL order one (if they don't already have what you want), or if it is a harder to find model, use a place like gunbroker to buy it, and find a local FFL willing to accept it and transfer it to you - which will usually cost between $30-50.  Keep in mind that if the model ships with >10rd mags, they will either need to be modified by the receiving FFL (discuss the fees and if they are able to do this at all) or not transferred to you.  Some sellers won't ship stuff to NJ (including NJ legal items, sadly) or will not include "high capacity" mags with the purchase, so read fine print.

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6 hours ago, Pizza Bob said:

GRIZ - I think we agree on things far more than disagree. My thoughts were based on the OP's declaration that this was to be a HD gun. I envision that as someone who has never had a gun before, going out and buying what the counter guy is pushing that day, firing maybe a box of shells through it and then it goes in a drawer, never to see the light of day again.

The OP at least is soliciting opinions and actually setting themselves up to be an informed consumer and make a wise purchase. I pointed out that a revolver would be a great range gun and by that I meant should be used only for that purpose until reasonable competence is obtained and then maybe be pressed into service as a HD weapon. Few people are willing to put in the time, nor are there many competent revolver instructors about, so recommending a bottom-feeder just makes more sense.

I hope that the OP sticks around and keeps us filled in on both his and his wife's progress in this regard. They need to know that there is no right or wrong answer - it is only what works for them - and they seem to be working toward that.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

I think a revolver only takes a little more effort to learn than a semiauto.  JMO.

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As far as what to get.  What does she say?  Does she think.she would prefer a revolver over a semi-automatic or other way around?  

Some things to consider.

Revolvers - simple to use and simple to understand.  No safety.  Point it and pull trigger.  Doesn't go bang, pull trigger again.  Reloading.is relatively easy and straight forward.  Open it, put in bullets, close it, aim and pull trigger.  And as mentioned before, you can run a wide variety of ammo through a 357 revolver.  Everything from very mild 38 wad cutters to very powerful 357.  Yes you are limited on ammo capacity a bit  but as others mentioned, most gun rights don't go more than a few rounds.  Still worried about capacity but like simplicity of a revolver, buy two of them (Russian Reload - throw empty down, pick up 2nd loaded one).  As others said, look at full size models.

Semi-auto - not really much higher capacity unless 10 round mag capacity is overturned here in NJ.  You can buy 7 and even 8 shot 38/357 revolvers.  That is pretty close to 10.  How familiar or comfortable is your wife with operating a semi?  If  she's never fired one show her some videos on how they operate.  Will she be comfortable or remember to turn the safety off if it has one? Can she rack the slide to chamber a round if necessary? Would she be comfortable with clearing a stuck shell that hadn't ejected correctly?  Can she eject and reload a magazine? None of the above is difficult at all.  But It's not intuitive either.  You can find plenty of semi-autos that don't have a safety (If you don't want one).  If you don't have kids you can leave it loaded with a round in chamber and it's ready to go and simple.  There a plenty of very reliable, easy to use semis.  Some are specifically designed or geared toward women.  Many have easily changeable palm swells to make grip fit better.

I  would talk to your wife first.  See what she is thinking.  Start doing some research on You Tube.  Hickock45 explains and shows things very well.  There are probably some women reviewers on You Tube who have videos for first time female buyers as well.

As you narrow down decision, try a few out.  Go to range and rent or arrange s meet up with a forum member at a range.  Gun people are some of the friendliest people you'll meet.  Many LOVE introducing newbies to firearms and don't mind slowing you to try theirs.  Just bring a few boxes of ammo with you.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, gleninjersey said:

FYI You can have pistol permits extended.  I foget how much more time but it is at leadt an additional month.  Just go to PD and request it.  If they ask why tell them younare.still researching and haven't made a.decision yet.

This is at the discretion of your CLEO. If they will extend them, it is for an additional 90 days - actually 180 days from date of issue.

Good luck.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

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