Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

First handgun purchase... concealed choice of caliber?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by HappyValleyAP, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. HappyValleyAP

    HappyValleyAP Brush Prairie, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    I guess this is two questions actually... My wife wants her first carry handgun but doesn't want a bla polymer constructed one.. something easier on the eyes that has some style to it. Any good reccommendations that are on a sub $600 budget or so?

    Second question - I'm in the market for a 1911 most likely- but if I go with a shorter barrel it IS something that could be a carry gun correct? Other than Kimber, what other manufacturers do you reccommend in terms of appearance and quality?

    Lastly (crud there's three questions!) in terms of caliber - which should I avoid due to high ammo costs, and which are budget friendly for the range?
     
  2. gehrheart

    gehrheart fidalgo island Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    418
    9mm is going to be the cheapest.

    Of the standard auto cal. .45acp is going to run the highest in cost.

    1911 Springer (Springfield)!!

    And what cal. for her? New or used?

    PK .380 all metal and high style.
     
  3. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    35
    While this answer may not be helpful, with experience I've come to believe your first handgun shouldn't necessarily be optimized for carry.

    • Many carry guns are difficult to shoot.
    • Reduce sight radius (many pocket guns barely have any sights)
    • Recoil is a bigger factor with a smaller weight gun.

    They often aren't as enjoyable, thus you may not WANT to shoot them as often as a nice full size 1911, N frame or whatever.

    All of the above assumes your "concealed" carry gun is smaller form than a "service" weapon. If you and your wife are happy to pack 1911 Commanders, never mind :)
     
  4. Dell_dude

    Dell_dude Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    17
    Sig P239 9MM for the wife if she doesn't want polymer.

    For 1911, I'd recommend a Springfield Loaded Champion if you plan on carrying it.

    Budget wise, 9MM is relatively cheap, although you may want to pick up a cheap .22LR just for plinking. The bigger the round (the more metal content), the more expensive it will be.

    Obscurity will also contribute to higher cost, since not as many rounds will be made (supply/demand). Think .50 AE or .50 G.I.
     
  5. The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man rural Washington County, Oregon Active Member

    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    36
    Others have answered your other questions well, and more will follow.

    The barrel length of a 1911 for best/easiest concealment question is an easier one for me. I have found that the most difficult part of a 1911 (to conceal) is not the barrel but rather the grip. I carry either a full size (5") or Commander size (4 1/4") 1911 most of the time and find no difference in concealability. The compact and sub-compact personal defense guns are preferred by some due to their lighter weight and overall frame size. While they may be easier to tote, they are generally more difficult to shoot well. Some people report the compacts to be a little less dependable/more finicky with some ammunition due to reduced slide weight. I have no experience with the compact 1911's, so can't comment on that issue.

    Don't be overly concerned with the barrel length as far a concealing it goes, but do handle what's out there and get a feel for weight and size. Your circumstances, mode of dress, physical characteristics, and carry tolerance will help you make the choice as to what is best for you. The proper belt, holster, and clothing makes carrying a full size 1911 perfectly acceptable for many of us.
     
  6. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    294
    For the wife I would recomend a sig in 9mm. The p239s are nice.

    For a 1911, I used to carry one but switched over to a sig p220 carry. The size of the 1911 wasnt a problem. It was the weight. Carrying a full size all metal pistol everyday got old real quick. There are some alloy 1911s out there but I have no experience with them as I have never owned the. A friend does have a alloy kimber 1911 and he says its a great gun with zero problems.

    I have a springfield 1911 with a 3 inch barrel and I have to say, for the price, it is a POS. Dont know if their quality have changed much since I bought it but every springer I have come across has always dissapointed me.

    As for caliper.......theres only one..... 45acp :cool:
     
  7. jib

    jib Central OR Active Member

    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    21
    I would not own a 45 acp 1911 type handgun with a barrel length shorter than 4.25".
     
  8. atypicalparkie

    atypicalparkie sowfeast poetland, ohraygun Member

    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    One NWFA member & 'real life' pal carries a Commander-sized RIA 1911 as his cc piece... he's an active service firearm instructor, so I reckon it's a decent choice :D
     
  9. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    4,833
    Likes Received:
    1,742
    How about a nice PPK for the wife. They are definitely nice to look at and they are one of the most underrated guns in the world as far as carry goes. I find them to be excellent carry weapons. They have a versatile firing system, they are easy to conceal, and they are deadly accurate with minimal effort.

    PPKtulip-1.jpg

    As for a carry 1911, barrel length is less important that grip length when carrying. I would suggest a nice commander, but if you want smaller there are lots of nice options in officer's sized 1911's. My favorite is my Colt.

    ColtOfficers-1.jpg
     
  10. atypicalparkie

    atypicalparkie sowfeast poetland, ohraygun Member

    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    D'oh that Colt as officer sized is sweet, hence my signature line... I wish Colt made an officer size 1911 in 9mm (I don't think they do??), only 'cos I don't know if I'll get into reloading and I'm cheap and need as much practice as possible. I know there's the Springfield EMP 9mm but if given a choice...

    *edit* oh yeah, the Colt Defender series 90 in 9mm would be that size, yeah?*
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  11. ron

    ron Vancouver, Washington Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    617
    Wife's gun. The PPK is an attractive firearm. My buddy bought one for his wife. It is difficult to shoot even by an expert. He sold it. That is why you see used PPKs for sale. I would strongly not recommend
    the PPK. I for many years have owned a Smith and Wesson 3913 lady smith or called a 'profiler' same gun it just doesn't say 'Lady Smith' on the side.
    It is a 9mm single stack alloy frame. It is very accurate and easy to shoot, will out shoot a Glock.

    1911 45? Springfield or Para if you can find one. I do not like the firing pin safety system of the new Kimbers.

    I reload both the 9mm and 45 acp. The 45 is very economical with lazer cast lead bullets. You get over 1500 rounds from 1 lb of powder. 40 S&W not a good reloader
     
  12. SnackCracker

    SnackCracker Lake oswego, OR Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    18
    Have you looked at the Sig P238 for your wife? Small, thin, 1911 controls, .380. SAO with a crisp trigger. I would think it might make a very good carry gun for a lady (I want one for my summer carry!). Also then if you get a 1911, you can both shoot the 1911 for practice at the range, and her everyday carry will have the same controls (SAO trigger and thumb safety).
    It also fits within your budget, has decent sights, and is a stylish gun. You can even get her the rainbow finish :D

    sig_p238_rainbow_01.jpg

    1233860318613_SHOT_05.jpg
     
  13. U201494

    U201494 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    812
    Likes Received:
    492
    +1 on the Smith & Wesson 3913. Light alloy frame, 9MM, great sights, not to big & not to small, and 3rd generation Smiths have a well deserved reputation for dependability. I carried a 4040 (the .40 version) for 2 years & it was a very good carry weapon.
     
  14. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    80
    Sorry 1911 crowd; the controls are way too complicated for the wife, or any novice.
    SA auto pistols are not simple enough, even if you think cocked and locked is good for concealed carry. Hand her a Sig P239 and she will thank you.
     
  15. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    4,833
    Likes Received:
    1,742
    Just curious...how could anyone find a PPK "difficult to shoot?" It is one of the easiest guns to operate.
     
  16. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    3,911
    Likes Received:
    2,323
    PPKs are over-rated, in my opinion.. why .380? why couldn't they make the thing just a tiny bit bigger and go up to 9mm? i'd love a PPK... but im not willing to dip below minimum penetration

    the .380 is better than "nothing"- but "nothing" is not the alternative, so "better than nothing" has zero application when we're talking about what to carry.

    9mm is the absolute lowest you can go for a people-gun. there are, fortunately a number of very concealable 9mm options.. kahrs, glock 26, SW 908 (wanna talk about an under-rated gun?), m&p compact, even the keltecs- which are NOT epitomes of durability, but are cheap enough that you can toss them and buy new ones every couple years.

    i got my wife a glock 26... we're still working on how she's going to carry it, but it looks like OWB hi-ride is gonna be the way to go- let it follow the long curve of her luscious voluptuous hips. i really think this is basically the only way for thin-waisted, wide-hipped women to carry. IWB of any kind is totally out of the question when your hips are the widest part of your body. it's gonna be totally different for women of differing body shapes- just like with men.
     
  17. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    35
    so many cliches in a single post. .380 comes in many different configs now. Some of the various JHP can end up better man stoppers than 9mm in FMJ.

    If the owner can successfully operate the gun, and get whatever it launches onto target, that's the best choice.
     
  18. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    3,911
    Likes Received:
    2,323
    then why don't you point them out for me?

    we're never talking about FMJ- we're talking about a 9emem JHP +P, preferably in the 124gr realm. and no .380 on earth can get there. 9mm is barely adequate, how's a weaker .380 gonna get any deeper than it ever has? if all i had available to me was .380, i suspect i'd be looking for the hottest FMJ i could find, as i'd rather put a little hole through a heart than have a larger hole stop short.

    so 99.97% of guns are the best choice?
     
  19. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    5,774
    Likes Received:
    4,952
    Well I go a different route my carry is a Charter Arms Bull DOg Pug REVOLVER in .44spl. A round capable of serious damage with limited recoil. Relying on the Huge slug slow moving leave all the energy behind in the chest cavity theory.

    It weighs a whopping 19oz empty holds 5 rounds can't jam jast a real nice grip with the rubberized Hoge style grip. And my son at age 5 was able to shoot it 5 times in a row. With no real problem. He even hit the paper plate target all 5 times. Should be no problem for even a small woman.

    Speedloaders are available and not much slower to load with then a magazine.

    carry something like a Winchester Silver tip and if it does come out the back side it will have left a baseball size exit wound.

    BUT I have learned over the years it's best to take the user with you and have them tell you what feels right what is comfortable etc.
     
  20. cyclesarge

    cyclesarge Eugene OR, DUH! We're ALL in the NORTHWEST Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,367
    Likes Received:
    77
    Not necessarily, .25, .32, .380 all cost more than 9mm. .45 can be had for less than .38 or .357. The 180 gr .40 I buy doesn't cost any more than the 165gr stuff.

    Another thing to consider is availability. While generally you can pretty much find FMJ for any caliber now (not so much for the last couple years) you can almost ALWAYS find any variation of 9mm ammo you may want while some of the other calibers will have limited selection.