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Best Handgun for Civilian Consumer?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by NCDuck, May 26, 2011.

  1. buick455

    buick455 se portland Member

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    My favorite carry peice is the HK p2000sk it is far an away the most accurite sub compact that I've ever shot it has good capacity easy to draw and because it has the new euro style mag release it dosen't pop the mag loose when you sit down.

    That said I still carry my keltec p11 more often because its lighter, has a good amount of ammo (10 rnds), its been reliable and I don't mind the trigger. That and the clip on holster I have is quick to throw on as I'm leaving the house.
     
  2. optiontrigger

    optiontrigger Snohomish County, WA Member

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    OP, you asked for opinions on the "best". I guess you've observed that there is no such thing, as it's all subjective to each individual and all you will get are opinions. If there was a "best" firearm, everyone would want one and few, if any of the other guns would sell. The variables are many:

    1. Your body shape - small, skinny, large body type defines the ability to carry a larger pistol comfortably. Some still can't carry IWB with a small frame gun and instead just go OWB holster.

    2. How you dress - If you dress with tailored clothing, your disadvantage is that whatever you carry may/will print. A mouse-gun in a pocket holster might work. You can still dress up with some minor variation and carry a medium size pistol without printing. In some cases you can even carry a full size.

    3. Holster availability - There are countless holster types to choose from for the popular Glocks, 1911s, Sigs, and M&Ps but there are limited choices for a lot of the H&Ks, FNH, Walthers, and others. I have a wide variety of pistol brands and models and my carry guns obviously have holsters that I can carry them comfortably in. And I do own Sigs, M&Ps, H&Ks, FNH, and Walthers.

    4. Caliber - You'll get the ones that swear by .45ACP, and those that downplay 9MM and .380ACP. Truth is, every caliber has its effectiveness, but that depends on shot placement and any barriers you might have to shoot through. In the winter, when everyone is bundled up, and you shoot a .380ACP, there's a good possibility that it may not adequately penetrate the outer clothing due to the velocity or the hollow point will clog up.

    5. Ammo type - All popular SD ammo is available in JHP. All ammo wthin a caliber is also not the same. 115 grain 9MM JHP from Speer, Federal, Magtech, etc. are not the same, as they have different bullet designs and velocity. I tend to carry a 9MM or .40S&W with Cor-Bon DPX.

    6. Grip angle - Glocks are good guns but the angle of the grip doesn't work for a lot of people, including me. That's why I went with the M&P, which has a more "conventional" grip angle and points naturally for me. Obviously other people find it the opposite, owing to the popularity of the Glock.

    7. Ergonomics - Single stack vs double stack magazines determine whether your hands can grip the pistol. Those with smaller hands may not be able to get a good grip on .45 ACP pistols. A lot of the newer polymer guns have replaceable grip panels to fit different size hands.

    8. Other aesthetics - I like CTC lasergrips that are part of the grip so that is part of my decision. Others may like the Picatinny rail for adding lights or laser add-ons. Some people are die-hard metal frame fans and others want the polymer frames for weight savings. Others yet want a revolver for reliability and the ability to shoot it while it's still in a coat pocket. There's also the SA vs DA/SA vs DAO trigger type debates that will never end, along with whether you want a safety.

    I'm sure there are other items that can be added but a lot of the members here have already chimed in with the best solution, which is to try out a lot of different guns and in different calibers. It wouldn't be right to tell you what my "best" gun is, because I've sold off the ones that other people have convinced me is the "best" gun since they were full of $&!@.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  3. jaredb909

    jaredb909 Camano Island, WA Member

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    My first carry gun was a glock 26 with a crossbread IWB holster. The gun is small but not small enough for me and im a pretty big guy. In my opinion the glocks are to thick. I recently bought a ruger LCP 380 and have been pocket carrying it ever since. Half the time i forget I even have it.
     
  4. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The 'best' gun is the one you are carrying when you need it. Practice, practice, practice is great advice.
     
  5. NCDuck

    NCDuck Portland, Oregon Member

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    Optiontrigger: All great points and food for my thought. Ergonomics seem to be the most important factor when deciding what's best for my own personal use. Hailing from PDX and being new to this responsibility/hobby, I am not aware of any places in the Portland/Metro area, where you can go try out guns (rent), to learn which is most custom to my use. Does anyone know of such a service?
     
  6. Jmoney

    Jmoney Portland, OR Member

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    The place to shoot rents guns.
     
  7. optiontrigger

    optiontrigger Snohomish County, WA Member

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    NC, if you know others that shoot, I'm sure they will let you shoot some of their pistols. When I'm at the range, I usually end up talking with somebody who's shooting in a different bay and they usually ask to let them shoot what I've brought. I'm always obliging and I'm sure if you strike up casual conversations at the range you might also get the same response. I'm with the notion that the best thing someone can do to help another person out is to not force their opinions onto the other. I've been taught in boot camp that opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one and you don't need any more. I'm 200 miles north of PDX. If you were in my area I'd let you fondle and shoot my collection if that helps you out.

    While ergonomics are important, also look at the holster availability. My Sig P229 and H&K P30 are my top two in ergonomics. The problem is, there aren't that many holsters for the H&K and CTC doesn't make lasergrips for it. The Sig is heavy and has a CTC on it. I ended up keeping the Sig for a home defense gun and carrying an M&P9C in a Crossbreed, since that gun was next in ergo.

    Note also that the M&P9C and M&P40C are identical in size, but the ammo is heavier and you get slightly less rounds, so that's why I went 9MM. Others who are in better shape may carry the 40 or any of the full sized guns. Try them all out. That's where the fun part of this hobby is. Pistol prices are pretty low right now so it might even be a good time to take a chance, if you have the funds.
     
  8. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    For civilian use I would suggest getting a quality, double action .357 Mag revolver. I prefer Smith & Wessons myself but Ruger also makes a good product.
     
  9. Oohrah

    Oohrah NorthwestSouthern Oregon Coast Member

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    Being the owner of twenty three handguns, there is no best one. The most used and carried is either a Glock 27 or 22. It has less parts and out of five Glocks in the 40 SW caliber, none has failed to function.
    Two have been modified with a drop in Lone Wolf barrel that brings them up a notch in accuracy and being able to use lead bullets on occasion. Parts, magazines, and any custom work is cheaper than any other, and that adds to the value of never having to worry about function problems. Minimal maintenance and care.
     
  10. sheepman

    sheepman Las Vegas NV Member

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    I started shooting hand guns at age 11 or 12, at 65 and having shot and owned a lot of different handguns I still have not found THE BEST ONE. Only you can decide what is best for you good luck, I still have not found that one.
     
  11. Will

    Will Everett Active Member

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    If you want a light small pistol go with a S&W J frame air weight, if you need more rounds look at the S&W M&P. I live in WA and ten months of the year I CC a full size M&P 45 IWB, the other two months are spread over six months of better weather and causual carry (running to the store, taking the dog for a walk or the few days of shorts and tee shirts) then I put my S&W 642 in the pocket holster and head out. KISS is the tool that works. Find what works for you, I'm happy with mine might not fit you. Everyone wants a pistol light as a feather with 100 round capacity shooting rounds the size of golf balls that fits there hand but small enough they can pack it while wearing a speedo.
     
  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I think the best Handgun is the one in your wifes purse. What could be better then a backup you know is on your side? I carry a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug in .44spl 5rds with two spd loaders. She carries an Astra A-90 with 18rds in the mag and 2) 18rd backups (her purse weighs a metric ton) between us we can make a heck of a mess.
     
  13. Wenis

    Wenis Tri-Cities, WA Member

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    I can't say I agree with that Top Ten list. It sounds like you want a carry gun in a defensive caliber. Any popular caliber between 9mm to 44mag will do the job. Dead is dead. The larger the caliber, the less rounds the gun will hold. I stay away from certain gun manufacturers, but there is no such thing as a 'best' gun. With that said, here are some specific models I personally like for concealed carry:

    S&W M&P9c or M&P40c
    Glock 19/26 or 23/27 or 30/36
    Kimber/Springfield/Colt - Officer's 1911 (full grip, 4" barrel in 45acp)

    I personally keep my handguns in 9mm or 45acp (with a few exceptions) and try to use guns that share magazines. This saves a ton of money. I also like semi-autos over revolvers for concealed carry because the round capacity is higher in a semi-auto.

    Not that they're not well-built guns, but I don't like the double to single action triggers on Sigs or Berettas. And because the decocker is where the slide release should be, the slide tends to close on the last round if my thumb is over it. Which means when I'm doing a quick magazine change, I have to rack the slide instead of hitting the slide release. I've seen it hundreds of times.
     
  14. Rapid1

    Rapid1 Eugene Member

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    the Kahr pictured would be a fine choice. I carry the P9, which only differs in having a polymer frame. it is thin, light and easy to conceal. It handles 9mm well, is simple to operate and has been 100%. the PM/MK series is smaller yet and could work as a pocket gun, at least I hear many do. the 9mm is a step up from the .380 and much less expensive to shoot which should translate into some extra trigger time. there have been many good suggestions here. I was lucky that I have a range nearby that had all of my choices available for range time when I was trying to find that perfect ccw for me. good luck on your quest and stay safe.

    GetDynamicImage.aspx?dir=itemImages&path=K9-Black-w-Night-Sights1692.jpg
     
  15. ORHunter79

    ORHunter79 ... Active Member

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    Man, you opened a can of worms with this one.

    I've owned/carried a lot of handguns, 9mm, 40 SW, 357 Sig, 45 ACP. Settled on the Glock 26. Small enough to conceal, but you will NOT forget it's there, but I really don't want to. It's shoots great and hasn't failed me yet.

    To me a self defense firearm has to about one thing: RELIABILITY. Will it go bang when I pull the trigger?

    Whatever you get, practice till your trigger finger hurts. Then and only then, will you react correctly when under pressure. (9mm is cheap to practice with) For carry, pick a good quality hollow point i.e. PDX1, gold dot, HST and make sure it function just as well in your handgun as your practice ammo. Good luck.
     
  16. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    Based on OrHunter and from what I have learned from LEO - For the average civilian - a good quality Revolver- It is reliable
    I have a S&W Model 36 in 38 special I carry at times. BUt it is a little small in my hands

    The next thing I rememer is - if you go with a Semi Auto - Shoot it enough to make sure it is reliable. There recommendation was - until you have 200 rounds down it - They would not want to rely on it until then

    For dress clothing - I use a S&W Bodyguard .380 - Nice an small

    For more casual or if in an area of more concern - 40 Cal S&W - XD40SC



     
  17. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    The best gun is the one you have in your hand when you really need it, if you know how to use it. All guns are just machines that need a good operator for it to perform. Some machines work better than others and some operators run machines real well.

    If you want to know what works best look to what the winners use.

    jj
     
  18. bshnt2015

    bshnt2015 CA & WA Member

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    fnp45tactical002.jpg

    kel-tec4-1.jpg

    If HD pistol, consider the need for a weapon with a mounted lighting system including a RDS with a proven caliber such as the 45. You can go the 9mm with the same setup. A compact SG will work as well. For EDC, a simple proven platform such as a Glock 19 or Sig 228 will do the job. Why a 9mm? Cost of ammo and training rds, there are very good 9mm +P ammo out there that can do the job for personal defense. Nothing against the 40 or 45 ( I use them at work ) a compact EDC is to protect & to get your @ss out of harms way. Good luck with with your selection.

    fnp45tactical002.jpg

    kel-tec4-1.jpg
     
  19. j.barnum

    j.barnum Oregon Member

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    NC I know I am late replying
    however, I will not post a full story about my Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm. Let say this in closing,
    I bought the pistol for $376 then bought a $7.00 air pistol holster from WalMart added a $20 shoulder holster contacted Littlebearholsters and had them make me a $95 dark brown sharkskin 1.5" belt and finally had Littlebearholsters custom make me a IWB/OWB leather holster trimmed with dark brown shark skin belt loops and re-enforcement and I made it tuckable as well for $100.
    I gave you this outline to provide you with a quality of a complete package for under $600.00. Yes I spent a lot for a holster but it will last for years years and the same for the belt. My Cougar has over 2700 rounds without any issues Period.
     
  20. Rammit

    Rammit Bothel Member

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    Glock 29+ 10 rounds double tap or silvertips for carry. Keep a few g20 mags around and your packing 40 round of some potent bad guy medicine