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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm new to the shooting world and have become addicted to trap shooting not too long ago. I went out with my father the other day and shot some pistols. My favorite by far was a kimber 1911. what a sweet shot. anyway, i soon hope to obtain a conceal and carry permit and would like a gun that would provide me with fun at the range as well as a good conceal/carry gun. seeing as how i am completely new to handgun shooting and have small hands, what would you suggest?

(I'd like to keep the cost at 700ish or cheaper ;))
thanks for all the input!

-adam
 

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If you're willing to go with wheelguns instead of autoloaders, for $700, you can get two handguns, and have the best of both worlds...

A .38 or .357 Mag small-frame with a 2" barrel is ideal for Concealed Carry. Ruger, S&W, or Colt all have (or had) well-made revolvers to fit the bill. Something around $300-$350 should get an excellent used one (maybe new for a Ruger SP-101).

With what's left over, you could get a boomer, like a single-action .44 Mag, or something like one of those LONG barreled Taurus .17 HMR DA revolvers.
 

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There are a ridiculous variety of options at $700ish. Part of the fun is looking for one you like. What caliber are you looking for? The 1911 was .45 so if you want to stay with that I would say look at any 1911 (you get what you pay for), Glock, H&K, Springfield Armory (1911s or XD line), Smith and Wesson, and Ruger to name a few. Full sized Glocks are a bit large in .45 if you have small hands but the newer .45 GAP is smaller.

If you're not set on a .45 then also consider Sig. I've shot my cousin's 226 9mm and it was sweet! You can get those used for about $500. I also have small hands so I can relate. Personally I prefer revolvers but I'm looking for a nice 9mm or .40 semiautomatic. Welcome to the shooting sports and have fun looking for your first handgun! :D
 

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As stated above, for $700 you can, and should, get two guns. For your carry gun, a smallish revolver in 38 Special or .357 mag (you can shoot 38 Spls in a 357 mag but not the other way) would be a good choice as would a semi-auto in 9mm. Both rounds are plenty for personal protection and are quite inexpensive compared to other cartridges. For revolver brands I would stick with S&W, Ruger, and Colt (these last would have to be used). I prefer the medium sized, 6 shot guns with 4" barrel as they are pretty forgiving to the beginner but can be a bit big for some to carry. The snub nose revolvers are smaller but are more difficult to use well. For the 9mm I would go with S&W, Glock, Beretta, SIG, Ruger, Browning, Springfield, or any of the other bigger names. These can be found in the $450 range (or much less for the Ruger) especially if used.
The other gun I would suggest would be a .22 LR rimfire. These are fun guns and one can buy a brick of 500 rounds for slightly more than the price of 50 9mm/38 Spl. This is very conducive to learning to shoot well as one can shoot alot for little cash. Inexpensive, decent quality revolvers are tough to find in this cartridge but one can find them if they look. In the semi-auto things are much easier. Ruger, Browning, S&W, and others make very good quality handguns in the $250 range. theya re quite dependable and are very accurate. One can also get .22 LR conversions for many of the larger handguns like the 1911, Beretta, and other brands. These have the advantage of being able to practice with the same gun you will possibly be carrying and can be found for not much more than a .22 handgun.
I wouldn't get one of the big guns yet, they are much more in the cost and recoil department than you need, especially when trying to learn proper technique. The same goes for the super small guns and I would almost count the small snubnose revolvers in this catagory. The light weight and small size of these guns make it much more difficult for a beginner to learn with as improper technique is magnified. The real big and real small guns are not the best for beginners as good technique is critical for the best use with them. In any case, some instruction from a good instructor or coach will go much further in developing skill than the same amount of money going into ammo and range fees.
 

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uglydog said:
.....The other gun I would suggest would be a .22 LR rimfire.....
Somebody get a big stick and hit me several times..... like UD said, get a full-size .22 autoloader or a .22 revolver, In fact, that should be your FIRST handgun.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i shot a .357 revolver and didnt shoot it half as well as i shot the 1911 kimber. i think i am leaning towards a 9mm or .45. the downside of the 45 is the price to feed. i want something fun and cheap to shoot. so i am considering maybe buying a 9mm. i checked out hte XD and ran across this model XD9403HC. it says it shoots .357 SIG. does that mean it will be able to shoot .38 as well? or does that only pertain to revolvers? thanks!
 

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the 357 Sig and the 357 magnum are two totally different rounds and are not interchangeable in the least therefore you also cannot shoot 38 Spl rounds in it either. I find the 357 mag to be a bit of a handful when shooting double action and in a K-frame sized gun but it isn't nearly as bad in an L- or N- size and shooting single action. I would (and do) shoot mainly 38s in it as they are even easier on the hand and wrist plus much cheaper.
I still strongly push for the 9mm over the .45 ACP as it is much cheaper and easier to shoot. You can get 2 boxes of 9mm for the price of 1 .45 ACP. I have two of the XD guns and I think highly of them. The one is pretty new to me but the other is several months old and I have a couple thousand rounds through it now. Its grip shape is similar to the 1911 and I find it very comfortable to shoot, much more so than a Glock which has a different angle. There is nothing wrong with a Glock but it is not for me.
 

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I agree with Paul, a Springfield 1911 would be a great choice. You have value and quality in the same package and you can see what all the fuss is about and why it's such a fantastic weapon.
 

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Since you don't like revolvers as much I would say go for a 9mm. The price to feed is much more reasonable than a .45 and it is adequate for CCW. I'd say either go with a Sig, Springfield XD40, or a Glock. I want a 9mm because the price of ammo is less cost prohibitive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks for the input everybody. ive made up my mind to go with a 9mm. im going with either sig or springfield. i really do not like the way a glock feels in my hands, especially the double stack. i actually stumbled upon a (i believe it was a springfield) "1911 style" pistol that was in 9mm. that would be sweeeet. anyway, can anyone tell me any more about the XD? i really like the idea of it so far. whats a reasonable price for a new/used one? thanks!
 

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You can get plenty of info on the XD at www.XDtalk.com

Guns and Ammo TESTFIRE ran an XD through a 20,000 round torture test where they froze it, submerged it in water, caked it with mud, buried it in sand, stripped it of lube, dropped it, parked a car on it, and generally abused it. It never had a failure but the sand did slow the cycling a bit. I'm impressed with it and I suggest you get the magazine if you can. It says display until april 10, 2006 on the cover so it should be available for a while. Several guys here own one or more and should be able to give some feedback.
 

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I've got two in 40 cal, a 5" Tactical model and a 4" Duty both of which I really like. I fired the 9mm a bit before buying to get an idea of how it felt to me. It is a little thinner in the grip than I really like but a little tape did wonders. I have heard that the grip is supposed to be similar to the 1911's but I don't see it. I hear Hogue had a rubber wrap around grip for the XD but I haven't seen one yet. I'll have to try it if I get the chance. I have not fired the sub-compact version of the XD but am thinking of one some day. The Duty model is a little big for me to comfortably carry concealed in the waistband but it fits nicely in an outside holster. this size is my only real complaint about the gun, my old S&W Sigma was a bit smaller all the way around and also held 2 more rounds.
New Duty and Sub-Compact XDs sell in the mid $400s with used about $100 less. Tacticals go about $50 more.
Those 1911 pistols in 9mm have not been too popular, most of what I've heard has been they had numerous problems with feeding and ejecting which is one reason they did not leave much of a mark on the 1911 scene. The Browning Hi-Power is kind of a 1911 style and is a good gun. Some of these are going quite reasonable on the used rack. I picked one up for my dad and he says he likes it, at least as much as a die hard rifle shooter can like a runt gun. I like the SIGs from the little I've used them but have only owned a Browning marked 220 in 45 ACP. There are some good deals on the 9mm models as PDs have turned in their old guns and upgraded to the 40. I haven't looked close enough to remember the prices, just saw that it was low enough to get me thinking. You could check CDNN Investments as they clearance out a lot of handguns. You will have to ship it to an FFL holder but the prices seem low enough on some models to make that economically feasible. It is also the best place for inexpensive magazines.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks for all the info/help guys! whatever i get will be in 9mm. im leaning towards sig, an XD, or maybe a browning pro 9.

thanks!

any more input?
 

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I'll make a suggestion on a 22. Check out the Ruger 22/45. The grips are set up in the same angle as a 1911 and 500 rounds for about $10 is a real treat. Beats the heck out of feeding some of the centerfires.

Like other have said prior...buy 2. A 22 for cheap practice and another that has the same frame type for more serious stuff.


HWD
 

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I think the Sigs that were turned in by police after upgrading go for about $500. My cousin got his 226 from that offer and I seem to remember him saying it was around $500 but that was at least a year ago.

One thing I like about the Sig line over the XD, Browning Pro 9, and Glocks is that the Sigs have a hammer. If you have a need to strike the same primer twice you need to only pull the trigger twice. With a striker type firing pin you have to rack the slide to recock the firing pin. Correct me if I'm wrong but the other guns aren't true DAO guns.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i checked out the XD the other day at Bass Pro Shop. man that thing was sweet! it really felt great and fit my hand very well. i also was suprisingly impressed with that Magnum Research 9mm.

i'll look into some .22s for shits and giggles though - thanks
 

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If you do look into .22s I would recommend the Ruger MK II or III. They're tons of fun for a little gun! They look similar to a Luger.
 
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