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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please forgive the naivete of one who is new to the forum and new to the current world of firearms. I'm sure it's a common question, but my interest or rather renewed and recent interest in firearms has been limited to revolvers, of which I own 3. Now for the question; for a first time purchase, what semiauto would those or you with experience suggest? Although I just received my CCW (Nevada) it is not necessarily for carry, rather personal protection in general. I'm old school, and tend to shy away from they synthetics, but perhaps that thinking is ill founded. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Welcome tmalone!

Suggest you just roam thru the Hi-Power, 1911, and SemiAuto forums for awhile and see what people say about various the various types of autoloaders. As for actual advice, as usual, "it depends" on what you want to do and what you like.

My acquisition logic for semi-autos went like this: I also learned and used revolvers first, so I chose a Glock 17 as my first semi-auto because it seemed the most "revolver-like." Aim and pull the trigger. Also I was impressed with its ruggedness and reliability.

However since then I have fallen for the Hi Power, because it fits my hand so well, has a long and interesting history (which appealed greatly to me), and is a very trim and elegant pistol (also appealing to me) that conceals well despite being full size (very appealing to me). I have three of them now -- but I will always keep that Glock 17 around.

Basically I suggest you read up and ask what others like about their favorites, see how that matches up to your druthers, and go get whatever scratches the most itches.

Happy hunting!

elb
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My 1st auto was a Makarov, I still have it, as I got more familiar with the autos, I proceeded to purchase a BHP, which has been my daily carry for quite some time, autos are just like revolvers and Lays chips, you can't stop with one.
A good starting point would be to find a range that rents pistols and try a few out to see what fits your needs best.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A good starting point would be to find a range that rents pistols and try a few out to see what fits your needs best.
That's a good idea, if you have ranges in your area that rents handguns to shoot. And shoot as many of your friends and relatives autos that you can, if they have any.

Beyond that, autopistol preferences are like preferences for blondes, brunettes and redheads. It's whatcha prefer and meets your perceived needs for personal defense.

And there's still plenty of honest-to-God all-metal handguns "out there" that you can be happy with.
 

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tmalone,

Welcome sir. I think you will find everyone here to have great information they share willingly with each other. I can only echo what has already been suggested to you by others.

If possible it is best to shoot any pistol you have an interest in. Some ranges will have range guns, but they may not have a particular one you are interested in. Again the key to me is what feels good in your hand and appeals to you.

When you hold the pistol, can you easily reach the trigger and operating controls. Do you like how it balances to you. Like you I really prefer an all steel pistol or revolver. They just feel "right" to me in my hand.

If you find one or two pistols you are interested in but can not shoot them, please don't be bashful about asking for thoughts on those pistols you are wondering about.

To me the "best" handgun for someone is what they feel comfortable with, regardless of brand or caliber. When I find one I want to carry for duty/self-defense, I decide on the ammunition I want to use, then shoot enough of that round through my weapon to make sure it will function reliably, and to allow me to shoot it well.

Handguns are mechanical devices. Just because a particular bullets shoot well in a weapon someone else owns, does not automatically mean it will function well in mine. Then I try to shoot my pistol and that round with some regularity to keep my proficiency high with them.

Again, welcome to this forum, I hope and think you will enjoy your time here sir. Please feel free to ask questions when you have them. Once you have made your purchase we would enjoy hearing what you got and your thoughts on it too.

twoguns
 

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Everybody that acquires handguns needs at least one 1911 .45acp. And that is a very good place to start. It's great for target shooting. And great for self defense, especially your home. Maybe a little hard to carry but if your waistline will handle it, plenty of good IWB holsters available to choose from.
As was said, study the forums here for comments on different brands and examine all the 1911's available at dealers. Plenty of stuff in gun magazines about 1911's also. Ammo is readily available.
Maybe I'm biased, but somewhere there is a thread if you could only have one pistol....I think a lot of folks answered...a 1911.
Good luck with your choice,.......and welcome to the H&A site.
og

Here's the thread I mentioned....
http://www.handgunsandammo.proboards36.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1153861611

while some anwered revolvers, you already have that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow! you all sure make a guy feel welcome! Thanks to all....that all sounds like good advice and confirms some of my preconcieved ideas. I do have a good range nearby and was considering checking out the news rack for a publication or two.

Thanks for all the helpful advice in such a short amount of time
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ditto on renting a gun at a range.
They all look great in the case at the store, but triggertime tells all.
Don't be afraid to color outside th lines, ( Glock, S&W MP, XD etc) there is a reason they are around, they work.
If I was starting over and wanted to possibly CCW I would look at the S&W third gen automatic, ( heavy but really underrated in my mind) and a BHP or a CZ 75.
Good luck and good shooting.
John
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For someone new to automatics I would suggest a more modern pistol than the 1911 or High-Power. While both of them are great guns, many times you will have to make minor alterations to them to make them 100% reliable with defense ammo. Even the highest quality 1911's require 400-500 rounds full of failures to feed, extract, and eject before they're considered "broken in" and reliable. A new gun jamming a couple times per magazine can really take the wind out of your sails if you're new to autos. Also, while some people say otherwise, single-action automatics are more dangerous in the hands of a newcomer than double action automatics. To skirt these issues I would recommend any of the offerings from Sig Sauer or H&K. If you want a steel pistol Sig's are the best in the world. If you want a polymer framed gun H&K's are the best. Both will eat any ammunition that you can throw at them. Both are modern, easy to field-strip, easy to use pistols. Sig's have a decocker instead of a safety, so they're one of the fastest auto's to deploy. Just point and shoot. H&K's have a safety, but can be safely carried with the safety off and are very light-weight. For all of this quality you are going to pay, but your great-grand-kids are going to inherit one of the finest pistols ever made if you buy from Sig or H&K. (This post has not been endorsed by Sig Sauer or Heckler & Koch. The 1911 and Browning High-Power are excellent automatics. Poster does not accept liability for any hurt feelings, but will accept a commision from Sig Sauer or Heckler & Koch. The "Bag of Cash" is a trademark for Give Me Money Inc. Many bullets were hurt in the making of this post. All stunts were performed by trained unprofessionals. Please attempt them at home.)
 

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For someone new to automatics I would suggest a more modern pistol than the 1911 or High-Power. While both of them are great guns, many times you will have to make minor alterations to them to make them 100% reliable with defense ammo. Even the highest quality 1911's require 400-500 rounds full of failures to feed, extract, and eject before they're considered "broken in"
While that may be true in some cases I wouldn't say it is the norm, especially with "the highest quality 1911's."

That said, I wouldn't trust a revolver for carry until I put a few hundred rounds through it to ensure reliability. Especially with my intended carry ammo.
 

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Hello, tmalone. Good to have you aboard.
This question conjures up a lot of personal preferences. Mine is for the 1911 or the BHP, but the issue is what you're comfortable shooting, SA or DA, caliber, and so forth. I second the suggestion to shoot rental guns, borrow guns from friends, etc., and see what you like. I agree with Pistolero---and former and current LEO's of my acquaintance say the same---that Sigs wear like iron. And there's a reason so many PD's issue Glocks: they're pretty much idiot-proof, and extremely reliable, if not esthetically, um.... (Because the other thing you're going to hear a lot of is that it's not IF an autoloader will fail you, but WHEN.) Shoot as many guns as you can get your hands on, steel, alloy, polymer, bamboo or tofu, and settle on one that fits your needs. But be warned. It's like eating peanuts. You'll buy a .45, then you'll want a nine, somebody'll talk you into a .40 Smith, and so on. There should be a branch of AA for those of us who haunt gun shows.
All the best, David
 

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A lot of very useful suggestions and thoughts. The problem with buying a new pistol is it can be alot like buying a new vehicle. There are so many makes, models, and colors it can be really difficult to choose one. Since you already own 3 revolvers, you understand handguns can be a mite addictive too.

A few suggestions to take a close look at, but again these are just my personal opinions. If the idea of carrying a 1911 or BHP type SA action concerns you for your first pistol, there are others to start off with. I think both types are very hard to beat, and are certainly time tested and proven designs.

Yes they might require a bit of break in and tweaking to be 100% reliable. But the same can be said of most semi out and about there today too. Personally, I never carry any handgun until I have fired at least 800 rounds down range in it. I shoot with either my intended duty round or my reload that very closely approximates it in performance. That may not be a cheap practice to some folks, but I think I am worth the expense (although two ex-wives sure might argue that one too, lol.).

I do have to admit I am a major fan of Sig Sauer pistols. I own and carry a P226 in stainless (on a steel frame) in 357 Sig, with swap out barrels in 40S&W and a 9mm down conversion barrel. This combo gives me basically 3 pistols in one platform. (Please note, you can move down with a 40 buying other barrels. But you can not change a 9 up to a larger caliber. A 9 will be a 9 period. Just a comment for you to consider.)

Over the years I have owned and carried 5 P226s in various calibers as duty weapons. I moved to Sigs when my agency killed SA pistols for duty use. Prior to that I carried 1911s and BHPs.

I also own a P229 on the alloy frame (because they did not offer a steel option when I bought it, and may still not, not sure) with both the 357 Sig and 40S&W barrels. Soon I will be adding a 9mm down conversion barrel to it as well.

There is a lot to be said for Sig pistols. An added plus is with mine, I can use one magazine with all 3 calibers, and receive 100% functioning. But I certainly would not suggest this to anyone without firing a lot of rounds downrange to insure it would work in yours first. But the mags for the 357Sig/40S&W are marked that way - one mag for both. But as has been noted, they are not cheap pistols.

I have no serious exposure to the H&K pistols. I have shot a few in recertification courses as a police firearms instructor. When my agency allowed certain brands of personally owned pistols, during this training we would shoot all pistols allowed. No offense intended, but the few I have fired have always felt a bit blocky in my smaller hands. So they are simply not my cup of tea, because they just feel too large in my hands.

That is another reason many have suggested shoot if possible, but certain pick up and handle anything you have an interest in. If you can't shoot it, at least see how it feels to you in your hands, but shooting is always the best way for you to judge a pistol. Have you ever bought a vehicle without test driving it first? It is really the same with any pistol to me.

More recently I have added a CZ75B in 40 (which will live mostly with a 357 Sig conversion barrel installed, when I buy one). I am currently in the process of acquiring an SP-01 in 9mm as well. I have a gunsmith working his magic on both, and he will insure I can easily swap out the slide units on both frames to change from 40/357Sig and 9 at will.

Both pistols are on steel frames, and while they do allow first shot DA capability, they also allow SA carry via cocked and locked modes, like the 1911 and HP pistols. So to me they are sort of the best of both worlds, at a reduced price than a Sig Sauer. CZ also offers other models, in steel and alloy frames, full size or compact, with DA/SA or decocker versions.

But once again, the best advice I can offer anyone, while we all have our personal favorites, what is BEST to you is what feels and shoots BEST to you. Just like picking a new vehicle, I really do think it is simply comes down to - what do you like the best. Just my thoughts for what they are worth.

Please let us know what you end up buying, and your thoughts and range sessions comments with your first semiauto. Good luck. Sorry all of this can seem a bit confusing, but just remind yourself of what car lots look like too.

twoguns
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Once again, thanks for all the suggestions and generousity of time taken to explain to a novice the wealth of options out there. There is a lot to absorb here, some of which I hadn't even considered, certainly more than anticipated. I'm sure I wll be going back over the various points of view, tidbits of information and terminology as I work through the selection process.

The "power of numbers" is certainly evident in the collective wisdom, knowledge and experience of the forum. Thank you one and all and I will be happy to report back on my own experience.

Take care
 
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