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The other day talking to my wife, I mentioned I'd like to buy a pistol to just plink around with, and instead of the "OH NO, what hobby is it this time", she said why not and said by the way I'd like to buy a Baretta PX4 Storm (9mm). After picking up my jaw, I said I was looking at Ruger Gp100 (357) or a redhawk (44). So I was wondering among the experts what everyones opinion is. My wife in a fit of permissiveness said why not buy both. So I have to strike while the iron is hot... So is this a sound plan or are there better choices?? BTW, I've never shot a pistol in my life, and have not touched a firearm in about 15 years. My wife did take a combat class about 15 years ago (for 115lb woman, she could put all kinds of holes in the sweet spot, using our neighbors Glock). Thanks for any help.
 

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If you've never shot a handgun before, it would be wise to start with a .22. Shooting a .357 or .44 without having previous experience will lead to a lot of flinching and bad habits.

If you're determined to get a big boomer, get the .44 magnum. Lots of fun.
 

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If it's the Browning .32 I'm thinking of, it'd be a decent fun gun but I suspect its utility would be limited to plinking. If you can and want to, by all means shoot it! But if you want to work on your accuracy, definitely get a good .22. The Smith & Wesson 22A is a popular gun with an attractive price tag, as is the Browning Buckmark. Ruger offers a full line of .22 automatics; the Mark III is pretty much the industry standard. If you find one, I recommend a SIG Trailside.

Also, try to shoot a good cross-section of guns; try some wheelguns, try a few different automatics, see what works for you. I recognize that this is something of a luxury, but take your Browning to the range and ask other shooters about their guns; most of them will probably be more than happy to discuss them.

Also, poke around for a place to rent. Great way to test-fire anything you're curious about.
 

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I agree with the others in that a .22 is the best way to start out. You can get a brick of ammo (500 rounds) for somewhere around $10, and shoot all day. And if you get a good .22 (Ruger, Browning, Smith & Wesson etc.) you will use it forever. You never "outgrow" a .22. I've been plinking with a .22 for the last 40+ years and you never get tired of them. Also great for small pests, cans, and golf balls.

When you are ready to get a centerfire gun, the GP100 you were looking at is a great gun. Built like a tank, and your grandchildren will thank you for it someday. It will need a trigger job to be really smooth, but well worth the money. A .357 is a great choice for starting out (and finishing for that matter) because you have 3 power loads to choose from. You can start out with .38 Specials, move on up to .38+P for a good defensive load, and then there is always the .357 mag. for the ultimate defensive cartridge (125-gr. JHP), and with 158 to 180-gr. loads, you can hunt deer with it. (The .44 mag is better for deer, but a gazillion deer have been taken with .357s and it will do the job.) The .38s are also good for small game (squirrel, rabbits, *****, et al.). Any of the medium/large frame Smith & Wesson revolvers (my favorites) will works just fine, too, but you will have to pay a wee bit more unless you find a good used one.

.44 mags are the most fun you can have behind a trigger (especially single actions), but this is NOT where you want to start. Just like you don't learn how to drive at a NASCAR race.

Back to .22s for a moment. Both Ruger and S&W make fine .22 revolvers as well as automatics. Automatics can be fickle about the kind of ammo they like. You can have two guns of the same make and model. One will like a certain type (brand) of ammo, and the other will jam all the time with it. Some folks have Ruger .22 autos that will shoot anything. Mine would only shoot CCI Blazers without jamming. My S&W 2206 semi-auto will shoot anything but Federal ammo. You're just gonna have to find which one they like. A revolver, however, will shoot anything you stick in there, any brand, shorts, longs, or long rifles. Even .22 shotshells. Sure, they are a tad slower to shoot, but what's your hurry? You're plinking to have fun!

OK, I'm sorry. I've rambled on enough. Let us know what you decide on. It's kinda hard to go wrong if you're havin' fun!
 
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