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New guy looking for advice on a couple good pistols.

7543 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Destro
Hi guys, I'm looking for a couple good pistols, one in .22 and the other in either .40 S&W or .45 acp. The .22 will be for practicing and working on my form (I'm a shotgun guy and have fired a revolver once). I held a Walther P22 and liked the balance, but not the short barrel. I also tried a Ruger (nice, but much more expensive) and Beretta (in general bad taste). I also liked the Walther P99 in .40 and a Springfield GI stainless in .45. Both had good balance but the SA felt like it weighed twice as much. I held the Glock (don't remember the model) and just didn't like the balance or noise it made. The larger caliber gun will be a home protection piece until I can move to a better part of town; as such it will be the first line of defense for the three people in my household. Reliability trumps all other factors in this matter. What would you suggest I get? I would like the keep the price of .22 < $300 and larger gun <$750. Thanks a bunch and I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings about a particular gun brand.
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Ruger revolvers are good guns, the Security Six is similar to the mid-size K frame S&Ws while the GP100 is closer to the N frame. The mid-size frames from any manufacturer can loosen up with a farly steady diet of hot .357 loads while the large frames were made for the heaviest .357 rounds. I am not an authority on Rugers but have been around them a bit. I thought the Security series triggers were capable of being fairly easily worked on but the GPs were much more difficult. Used S&Ws and Security Sixes will run about the same and are probably the best buy around. I wouldn't look at any other comparably priced brand as I think one can not do better. Both S&W K frames and Ruger Security Sixes can be found rather inexpensively for under $300. The GP 100s are a bit more and I think $300-$350 would be a fair price.

As for your original question, for a .22 I like the Browning Buckmark and to a lesser extent the S&W 22A. They are both a pain to take down to clean but fortunately they are pretty rugged and can go a long time between cleanings. the Ruger .22/45 is another good pistol with a more "conventional" grip angle.
If I were starting from scratch, I would look at a centerfire pistol model that has a .22 LR conversion unit for it. I like a .22 for training and practice as $10 buys you 500-550 rounds of ammo to shoot vs $18-$20 for 50. The minimal recoil, muzzle flash, and noise of a .22 LR makes learning the basics and developing proper form much, much easier and quicker. Learning all this on the same frame, action, control placement, and with the same trigger as your protection gun is hard to beat. Just make sure you also run a box or two of centerfire ammo through it regularly too.
In the centerfires you mention, I like both the Walther P99 and SA 1911. I bought 3 S&W 99s (the Walther with S&W badging) in .40 S&W from a police trade in and they were good guns. They were more than adequate for a HD role and are actually rather accurate. The SA 1911s are the best buy in a single action Colt style auto. I personally would spend a little more and go with the Loaded series as I feel there are some features that make for a better shooting gun but there is nothing wrong with a Mil-spec or GI.
The cost of .45 ACP and .40 S&W have really narrowed recently and it is tough to say which one is cheaper; $2 per hundred at Wal-Mart seems to be the norm. Choosing between the two becomes more a matter of gun fit, the 40 is a little shorter providing for a slightly smaller grip while the .45 is a little longer and maybe fatter. The most economical centerfire is a 9mm and it is an acceptable defensive arm. Surplus ammo is down right cheap and with good expanding bullets it gives up little for protection. Considering the lesser recoil and noise compared to the .40 and .45 ACP, it may be a better choice if you are going to be able to practice only a time or two a month.
In any event, a gun should not be your first line of defense. Adequate outside lighting, elimination of hiding spots near the house, not leaving items like bikes, lawn mowers, trimmers, etc laying around in the yard, good locks on doors and windows, and actually USING them will go much further than a gun. A yappy dog is also a good deterent regardless of size as noise is the enemy of any intruder.
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Those prices seem kind of high but I am not familiar with the gun prices in your area plus I'm a scrounger and am willing to wait until I find what I want for the price I want. I'd look at other sources such as pawn shops, bulletin boards at the range, the classified ads, and other retailers. I have no qualms against getting a used gun and is often what I recommend. On the used market, I would expect to save about $150-200 on the GP 100 and find a K-frame Smith or Ruger Security Six in the $250-$300 range. The Ruger Single Six is a single action gun which means you have to pull the hammer back before shooting it unlike double action revolvers which will fire by just pulling back on the trigger. A double action can usually be fired in single action but not the other way around. the Rugers you looked at are heavy as they are large framed guns, much like the Smith & Wesson N-frames and to a lesser extent the L-frame. This was a common complaint which is why these frames were lightened. The K- and Security sized guns are much lighter and convienient to carry. The Scandium guns are very light weight for ease of carry but can be a handful to shoot. As you have no plans to carry at this time I would save a couple hundred dollars and not get it. As for Taurus, I do not care for them and will not buy them any more. I've had some bad experiences with them though others swear by them. Older stock had some quality control issues which are claimed to be taken care of. There are too many other reliable guns out there for me to spend time figuring out when a non-collectable gun was made, I have better uses for that time.
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you might want to pick up a .22 from them as price differences in these don't seem as extreme. The price variation seems to be about $30 from top to bottom for the same model and features. That is not too much to give to support a business you like. A hundred plus for a centerfire pistol is a bit more than I would give though.
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