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First Handgun Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Bunny, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    So I've been doing a lot of research over the past few months and although I've gotten a better idea of what some of my personal preferences might be when considering my first handgun, I'm still having a hard time narrowing the search down without actually holding or firing what I'm interested in. I mean, I can only read so much before I need to experience something for myself. So I have a couple questions....

    Where are some reputable places in the Portland area (Preferably SW, though I don't mind driving for quality service) that would allow me to rent and fire a variety of pistols? Semi-auto, revolver, etc. Are their safety courses that would allow me to test fire different types?

    Where are some of your favorite local places to shop for guns? I'd like to check out some trustworthy and knowledgeable places that won't treat me like I'm crazy or wasting their time for wanting to handle a variety of pistols and get a feel for what I'm looking for. Or try to sell me something I really don't want or need just because I'm a girl.

    I know it's going to come down to what's comfortable for me, but I'd really like some educated, first-hand, opinions from people who have similar purposes and preferences for their pistols.... so I have a better idea of what I'd be interested in test firing first, and possibly owning. I never know what people mean by "I like this. It's a good gun." (especially when I'm stereotyped as your average woman) and I always think, "Awesome... good for who and what?" haha. With that said (no offense to anyone) I intend to really know my pistol and train with it, and not just let it gather dust in case of an emergency. It's a serious investment for me, a serious interest, and I want to find the best handgun for my needs.


    Purpose:


    - personal defense

    - target shooting

    - concealed carry (sometimes, probably not daily, but I'd still like to be able to without too much trouble. not my top priority though)


    Current preferences and considerations:


    - reliability (I want something that has stood the test of time, that I can count on, that will pretty much last forever with the proper care. I want something I don't plan on ever selling. preferably something preferred by military or law enforcement.)

    - durability (it's going to get used a lot), and something that won't corrode easily

    -
    9mm semi-automatic

    - mid to light weight (not too light or too small. I want something with a little weight to it but I don't want a brick in my hands.)

    - comfortable fit for smaller hands (I'm female)

    - slide that's isn't too hard (though I'm not completely weak. I've racked a desert eagle... but probably never again haha.)

    - right handed (ambidextrous is fine too)

    - manual safety

    - square trigger guard

    - decent night sight

    - option to attach a light

    - as little recoil as possible for what I'm looking for

    - general accuracy


    So what would you suggest I take a closer look at? If you have opinions or ideas contrary to what I'm already considering or something else to add to my search I'd love to hear them and why. The more info the better. Thanks everyone.
     
  2. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    If I were you I would look at the Glock 26. It's a sub-compact so it's pretty small. I had the Glock 27 which was the same thing only in .40cal. But now I'm looking for a 26. It's small enough to carry concealed. It's easy to shoot. and you can use the G19-17 mags in it as well. So you can have the capacity of a larger 9mm. It is very durable and you can count on it to go bang every time.
    Just remember the glock has no manual safety, and in order to take it apart you have to discharge the trigger. This has been the reason for sooooo many accidental discharges even by trained professionals. But it just goes back to the fundamentals of being a gun owner. Also clear the chamber. Rack that slide 3-4 times and make sure the chamber is clear before pulling that trigger....EVERYTIME.Don't ever get comfortable with firearms. And most important never point it at anything you don't want dead. That includes through windows and on the other side of walls.
    But even as with the glock, it's the same as any other pistol. It would be my choice.
     
  3. Pandaz3

    Pandaz3 Cornelius, Oregon NRA Lifetime Member Platinum Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I think you should look at a Generation 4, Glock Model 17. It has interchangeable back straps to allow a more custom fit. It is a reliable Polymer frame weapon. Very decent accuracy. It is the 4th evolution of a very popular make and model (my oldest has had a model 17 since '93 or so and still has it and is still happy with it)

    This one meets most of your points, but might not meet all. I don't own a Glock as I have been a little snooty about imported polymer pistols.

    Another great choice would be the Springfield XDm in 9MM. Still has a lot your attributes and I believe you can get one in polymer and Stainless Steel. They also have a compact model.

    My youngest has a version of EAA Witness, but not the EAA brand. he likes it better than his duty Sig. He has bigger hands though

    I don't think you can go wrong with a Glock or XD.

    I have heard of NW Armory in the Portland area, but haven't been there.
     
  4. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  5. Pandaz3

    Pandaz3 Cornelius, Oregon NRA Lifetime Member Platinum Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The 92 is a good pistol, but It doesn't have a light rail, the newer 90Two does not have one that I can see either, but the PX4 does. and the PX4 can work with smaller hands.
     
  6. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    The 90 two if you read the specs has a rail cover on it that is removable for using a light or laser.If you look closely at the pic you can see the screws on the underside. It also has interchangable grips for smaller hands. The PX4 is .380 only.
     
  7. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    The Clackamas Co Public Safety Training Center is a public range owned by Clackamas Co. They are located on the S end of 82nd Ave. They have alot of guns that you can rent and try out. Also great classes! Here's the catch - you need to own a handgun in order to use the range or rent a gun. If you know someone who has a gun and wants to go out shooting, I'm pretty sure you could get in (someone correct me if wrong).
    I started out with a 22 revolver - I knew zip about guns. It was a good way to learn fundamentals, but the revolver was very pricey.If interested in the revolver route, my favorite today is the Ruger SP101, either 2" barrel or 3" barrel. It is very concealable, accurate, and because it is stainless steel, it absorbs recoil. 38 spl are a breeze, .357 magnum not a problem. Still, only 5 shots.
    The suggestion of a Glock 26 is also good - that's what I carry usually.
    The Glock 19 is one step up, smaller than a full-sized 17, but still not so easy to conceal, IMO. However, there is a 22lr conversion kit available for the G19, this allows you to replace the whole slide/barrel with one that shoots 22. A very good way to begin learning, although not essential.
    I like the Glocks because they do not have external safeties - it is hard for me to use an external safety under stress. It is easy to train yourself to keep finger off trigger until you have made a conscious decision to fire. There is a way to do this so that you will not forget. The Glocks do have an internal safety system that allows the gun to be dropped on the ground without going off. However, if you pull the trigger it will fire.
     
  8. jib

    jib Central OR Active Member

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  9. xjjeeper223

    xjjeeper223 Medford Active Member

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    H&K P30s in 9mm
     
  10. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure your not going to find a gun range that you can rent a gun, without bringing one. Two many tards that like to use ranges for a place to commit suicide. In my opinion, it's better than them killing others, be smart just kill yourself.

    Either way the best thing to do is go to a few gun shop or gun show if you can and put some cold steel in your hand. It's the only way to get a good feel. Just remember that gun salesman are still salesman. Don't take anything they say to the bank. And if your looking for something to conceal, get a firearm smaller than you think you'll be able to conceal. I've purchased a couple handguns I thought I could conceal and use all around, but found out it wasn't very comfortable or too big to hide.
     
  11. buick455

    buick455 se portland Member

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    I have the same problem with small hands so my whole collection of hand guns was purchased aroung that idea. Here is what I have or have had:

    glock 19- sold it didn't fit my hands (BTW; glock slides are not easy, no maual saftey)

    springer xd9 tactical - fits small hands well , slide is easier than some 9mms
    can be had with a saftey, light recoil

    s&w 5903- fits small hands okay, has safety, slide is not too hard

    cz75- fits small hands very well, has saftey, slide is a pain because it has small serrations, mild recoil.

    Sig p228/p226- fits small hands okay, no manual saftey, slide not too hard, mild recoil

    Sig p225/p6- fits small hands very well, no manual saftey, slide not too hard, mild recoil

    FNP9- fits small hands okay, can have manual saftey, slide very easy , mild recoil.

    but if I needed to pick one gun that fit your criteria the best I would pick the HK P30s it will fit any hand well you can't break them or wear them out it has a rail and night sights that are bright ( glow sights not tridium), has a manual saftey, light weight but not too light, can be had in DA/SA or LEM trigger, has one of the easyest slides to rack,mostly ambidextrous, has the softest recoil of any 9mm I've tried except 9mm 1911 springfeild (heavy slide) and VERY accurate.

    If I could ony have one 9mm range gun ( not for carry) hk p30 would be it.

    BTW: all of the guns on this list are reliable and most can have a rail and night sites
     
  12. ApronAmy

    ApronAmy Beaverton, OR Member

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    I have a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Compact. It seems like it meets most, if not all, of your requirements and I absolutely love it now as much as the first time I picked one up at the gun store.

    The model I got doesn't have any safeties or night sights but it can be ordered with either or both. I'm pretty sure it also has a rail to which a light can be attached.

    It has interchangeable backstraps to fit a variety of hand sizes, including my small palms and very long fingers. The slide is easy enough to open, once I learned the right technique. I carry it concealed and feel like it is a well-tested, reliable brand with a lot of good history.

    If you are interested in trying it out, let me know and maybe we can arrange to meet at a range sometime. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

    Amy
     
  13. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    You might want to contact Portland Firearms Training Team about their Basic Pistol Course. As I recall, you don't have to have your own handgun, but will get the opportunity to shoot what they have available. (Can't remember for sure since we brought our own, but I think that is how it worked.)

    :: Portland Firearms Training Team ::
     
  14. wolfwistle

    wolfwistle lebanon Member

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    The PX4 comes in 9 ,40 ,45 and in subcompact .
     
  15. The Cheese

    The Cheese somewhere special Member

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    To the OP, if you can take the weight, the Sig 229 is a pretty decent gun. I had a glock 23 in 40 and it was ok. It pointed really well for me, but took me about 1000's rounds before I was satisfied with how I could shoot the gun for Concealed carry. I sold it and got the 229 and haven't looked back. I am way more accurate out of the box with it, recoil isn't bad maybe a bit lighter than the glock. Most important to me for Carry is that it has a double action trigger. Nice safety feature. I always was uncomfortable carrying a glock due to the lact of a safety and the striker design.

    As mentioned a sig 228 would work too. Its just about the same thing as a 229 only the slide is stamped instead of machined like on the 229. This makes it a little lighter. Either would be a good gun. Some don't like the reach when on the dual action, but once its in single action its not bad. Plus they now offer their E2 conversion to make the grip a lot slimmer and put a shorter trigger in it so they small hands can be happy.

    Outside of that, if you don't want to carry it, a 1911 is my top most favortest pistol ever made. They are big, heavy, look cool and are dead easy to shoot. My wife has one and absolutely loves the thing. Recoil is mild. Not very sharp more like getting pushed. Plus it puts bigger holes in things. Always a plus. But if you are limiting it to 9mm that pulls that one out of the running, unless you want to get a 9mm 1911.

    There is also the new 92A1. Has a rail and is on my short list. There was also the 92G Vertec which was a decocker only version of the 92. It also had the strait grip and a short pull trigger (I have one and its not bad). The PX4 comes in 9 and 40 and I think they have a 45 too now. I don't think they have a 380 in the PX4 line. There are fullsize PX4's and Subcompacts, and They just released or are in the process of releasing the PX-4 in a compact size frame in 9 and 40
     
  16. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    My bad,I was thinking about the Cheetah on the .380.
     
  17. BlackGunsRFun

    BlackGunsRFun PDXish Member

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    PM sent.
     
  18. rsmccsman

    rsmccsman Hillsboro Go Blazers!

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    It's a serious investment for me, a serious interest, and I want to find the best handgun for my needs.

    [/FONT]
    Purpose:


    - personal defense :thumbup:

    - target shooting :thumbup:

    - concealed carry (sometimes, probably not daily, but I'd still like to be able to without too much trouble. not my top priority though) :thumbup:


    Current preferences and considerations:


    - reliability (I want something that has stood the test of time, that I can count on, that will pretty much last forever with the proper care. I want something I don't plan on ever selling. preferably something preferred by military or law enforcement.) :thumbup:

    - durability (it's going to get used a lot), and something that won't corrode easily :thumbup:

    -
    9mm semi-automatic :thumbup:

    - mid to light weight (not too light or too small. I want something with a little weight to it but I don't want a brick in my hands.) :thumbup:

    - comfortable fit for smaller hands (I'm female) :huh: maybe better check for yourself.

    - slide that's isn't too hard (though I'm not completely weak. I've racked a desert eagle... but probably never again haha.) You can either work out and strengthen your hands or try a revolver:(

    - right handed (ambidextrous is fine too):thumbup:

    - manual safety :( Personally it is just one more thing to have to remember in an emergency you want to pull the trigger and have it go bang. I prefer to not have them on any of my guns except 1911 style.

    - square trigger guard:thumbup:

    - decent night sight:thumbup:

    - option to attach a light:thumbup: 3rd or 4th gen

    - as little recoil as possible for what I'm looking for:thumbup: 9mm can't go much lighter.

    - general accuracy:thumbup: shoots as good as you are able.


    So what would you suggest I take a closer look at? If you have opinions or ideas contrary to what I'm already considering or something else to add to my search I'd love to hear them and why. The more info the better. Thanks everyone.
    [/QUOTE]

    Hi Bunny, welcome, it is awesome that you are being so thoughtful about your decision. I wish more women would carry. There would be a lot less violence against women.

    I would suggest something like a Glock 19 9mm (but hold one first some people think Glocks don't fit their hands well and this is subjective.) Glock is very simply to operate and in a stressful situation like self defense the KISS principle is best. The Glock 17 is really big and not the best for Concealed carry, the G26 is really small fantastic for concealment but may not the best for shooting. (think of those tiny little screw drivers they market to women that are harder to use than the ones with the big handle on them and you get the picture.) The G19 is a compromise good between the two needs. It doesn't have a manual safety but neither does a revolver and as long as you keep your finger out of the trigger guard and get proper training you will be fine. Don't bother with this idea unless you also get the proper training. Col Cooper once said a man with a gun is no more armed without training, than a man with a piano is a musician.

    Another really good choice would be an XD 9 Sub compact about the same size as a G19 and many of the same qualities, but many people who find the Glock uncomfortable prefer the Grip of the XD (might work better for smaller hands.) They have a grip safety not featured on the Glock but no thumb safety, although you can sometimes find some of the larger XD models with available with a thumb safety, but expect to pay more as a special order item. (not recommended.) They also have an Ambidextrous Magazine release which is pretty nifty. Very similar to the Glock in simple operation but it ads features that many Glock users complained their guns didn't have. You can visually and by touch in the dark feel the chamber loaded indicator and visually tell if it is cocked. It has enough heft to it that you can manage recoil but light enough that carrying is not overly burdensome.

    If that was still to large for your hands you could either go with a revolver and then buy grips to fit your hand or try one of the many single stack designs out there.

    If Concealed carry was a primary consideration there is KelTec, Great gun at an affordable price available in P11 double stack and P7 single stack. Not quite the best choice for putting 1000s of rounds down range but a solid self defense choice if budget, weight and concealment are issues.

    If concealment were the primary consideration great carry choices are the smaller .380s Like Keltec3AT, Taurus TCP, Ruger LCP. Not the best range guns but they don't get left at home either like the bigger heavier guns do. Rule number one in a gun fight is have a gun. They often weigh in at less than 10 ounces. These are best for very close range self defense situations as the sights are small. Best to use surprise as your tactical advantage with them. Remember these can save your life but probably require more training because of the small grip (These are like the women's screwdrivers I mentioned earlier.) and small sights with short radius.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  19. SAR1846

    SAR1846 Oregon Member

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    I second PSTC... but go there with a friend. (see prior post)

    I like Gun Broker in Tigard, near H-Mart. Small shop & nice folks. Their store in Clackamas is good as well.


    You've already mentioned the best suggestion which is to "Test drive them". If you have friends who belong to TCGC or shoot at PSTC, let them know what you're trying to do, and offer to buy their ammo if you can give their pistols a test drive.

    IMHO:
    Stick with the name brands and you'll do fine. Hit up your friends, and go shoot! By trying them all (or as many as you can), you will find out what works for you -- fit, function, etc. Be diverse in your "test drive", and don't limit yourself to 9mm only...

    If you're serious, you may want to look at a 22lr caliber pistol -- Browning Buckmark/S&W 22A/etc... for inexpensive practice. A brick of 22's cost $15... and will help you with your basics without breaking the bank.
     
  20. hariph creek

    hariph creek vancouver, wa. Active Member

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    You can't go wrong with a Glock, simple, reliable and they soak up recoil. Many "agencies" issue them. I've had all three sizes in .40 at one point or another. The mid-size 9mm is the model 19 and is a good all around gun. My wife had a 19, she is 4'-11" and had no problem with any of the criteria you mentioned.
    All that having been said I would really recommend a Sig Sauer. They have several configurations in 9mm. They are really nice to shoot and carry.
    Whatever you do, DO NOT go to The Gun Room!!!
    There are buisness reviews here on one of the forums, they can be helpful.