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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to start saving for my first pistol over the summer (I won't turn 21 until Nov, but I'm a poor college student at a not so cheap university ::) ) and I was wondering if any of you fine gents had any suggestions for a good first shootin' iron. As of right now I'm leaning towards a Browning/FN Hi Power MK III in 9mm. I figure about $500 will do it....
 
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Discussion Starter #2
For training purposes I would go with a quality 22 target pistol. I emphasise quality, because this could be a lifetime purchase. I have the High Standard Supermatic I bought 30 years ago and still use it frequently; It will definitely outlast me. I realize that a 22 doesn't have the appeal of a centerfire pistol, but it is the gun you will be able to shoot the most, and shooting is what its all about.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Good point, but I had the 9mm in mind b/c it's cheap and could (arguably) double as a home defense weapon. Waco has a crime rate higher than NYC these days....
 

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Wraith, I would suggest a quality .22 as well. You'd be surprised how much you will learn shooting a .22 over a 9mm. But even I have to admit my first handgun was a 9mm Ruger, not a .22. A 9mm Hi-Power wouldn't be a bad first choice.

The best suggestion I have is to go to a range that does rentals and rent a few guns and try out. Or find a friend with several different makes and models to try out.

If you don't mind waiting awhile, I'm planning on moving to Austin in a August. I'd be happy to meet you at a range and let you try out my range of pistols(which is arguably quite small). But this would give you an idea of what you might want in a weapon.

-Rob
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I own a Remington 597 (GREAT plinker!) and have fired a pretty deceant ammount of firearms (4 or 5 different pistols, various rifles, shotguns) through hunting and general plinking with friends, so I'm not completely new to shooting. I've handled a BHP or two at a few gunshows and absolutely love the feel. I guess renting at the range would be the best way to see what feels best. I really appreciate the advice, guys!
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Renting is the best way, but I think a quality .22 is the way to start. You can shoot one almost all day for the price of a box of 9mm. Not the greatest defense caliber but you will be able to put several shots on target rapidly and NOBODY likes being shot. Even with the lowly .22.
 

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Hi wraith,

Don't put off the inevitable! I would buy whatever handgun suits your needs and if it be the BHP 9mm--than go for it!

My first handgun was a S&W M-58 .41 magnum revolver! Not the best choice, but I soon traded for a Taurus PT-92, which at one time was a great "low end" priced hi-cap 9mm pistol. I have played with handguns for over 25 years and I regret not making my first choice, my last choice on many occasions.

Besides, there is plenty of time to aquire other handgun designs!

My retirement handgun will probably be a target grade .22 anyways! (So I can go shoot with the older guys at the range on Monday mornings!
).

Chris
 

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Buy that Hi-power and practice as much as possible until you are proficient!
Then practice more!

"Beware the man with only one handgun, he may know how to use it"
 
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Discussion Starter #9
EffEnn,
Haha I like that quote, man!

Chris & T LEE,
I appreciate the advice, gentlemen! I'll do some plinking w/ my buddies and hit a few gunshows over the summer before I make any real decisions. Heck, I may end up w/ a Hi-Power and a nice .22 target pistol if I can scrounge up the cash... ;) How are Ruger MK II's?
 

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The Browning Buckmark is a good gun from what I hear. I've got a couple of Rugers, a MK II, and a MK III, 22/45 and they're both good. I don't think you'd go wrong with either the Ruger or the Browning. Also Smith and Wesson has a model 22a (I'm pretty sure that's the designation) that really looks nice at a sub $200.00 price.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
I have one of the 22A-1 pistols with both 4" & 5.5" barrels. Sweet trigger, good sights and integral Weaver rail for optics. Also have 3 magazines, all this came in at a touch over $274.00.

I highly recommend this pistol, it is a great value and a sleeper on the market IMHO.
 

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Actually, maybe 2 - a good used .22 cal revolver to plink with and a 9mm for a more serious niche.

I might get flamed here, but I bet you couldn't go wrong with a Glock 19 9mm with a couple of 15 rd mags. Accurate, easy to carry, easy to clean and goes bang everytime! Seems in your price range too.
 

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A good .22 is never a bad choice. Even WinUSA white box 9s are 10x as expensive as .22s. That having been said, how about an HP clone and a .22 conversion unit? You should be able to do that for somewhere in the $500 range.
 

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A good .22 is never a bad choice. Even WinUSA white box 9s are 10x as expensive as .22s. That having been said, how about an HP clone and a .22 conversion unit? You should be able to do that for somewhere in the $500 range.
I was wondering when someone was going to suggest a conversion unit. Don't forget the CZ75/Kadet either.

Ed
 

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I'ld go with a Ruger MkII w 5-1/2" bull barrel. They fit the hand well, point well, are a blast to shoot, and readily available. Mine shoots Stingers well and I sure would not want to face a full magazine of Stingers.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
I guess it would depend on your level of proficiency with firearms and whether you've ever handled a handgun before?

If not, then a .22lr is an excellent choice as it provide you with the basics that you should learn first before you try mastering more powerful handguns. There is a .22lr kit for the BHP I believe?

If you've had some experience with a handgun I would suggest a S&W 640 for your first handgun. It's compact, DAO, there is little chance of jams, and it's rated for .357mag but I would carry .38spl +P JHP.

A novice should stay away from a single action handgun till they get a little more experience, but if you're set on the BHP, try and find a 22lr conversion for it for practice.
 

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Have you ever thought that your first shooting iron could be plastic? I know this is heresy but when most people ask me what they should start off with I point them in the direction of a used glock 19. It has the best of both worlds with regard to carry and punching paper. Lots of mods for kitchentable gunsmithing if you have the time, and lots of support groups online for it.

I have to mention that I own zero glocks and love the bhp, but I do not believe that it would be a best first pistol. The single actions are best regulated to shooters with more experience in the service calibers.

If you are hard up for cash -being a student, I was there also- you may want to take a look at the S&W sigma line. They are pretty much a clone to the glock 19 with the JM Browning grip angle for about $300 new which would allow you alot of $$$ for ammo or a used ruger mark 2 pistol or.....

But in the end the choice is up to you. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Since you haven't contradicted any of the previous posters, I'll assume that you are not an experienced shooter, in which case I also vote .22. IMHO if you are contemplating the necessity to use deadly force to protect yourself, you would be better off to get as proficient as possible, and that means practice and hopefully training, and you can get a lot of .22 practice for very little money.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
If you're new to gun ownership, I'd recommend taking a safety class first, preferably one that will let you try different guns during the practical portion of the class. If you're comfortable with a defense caliber right away, go ahead and buy one. If you're new to guns period, a revolver is a simple, user-friendly choice for a first gun. If you are comfortable with autos, enjoy them and don't mind practicing enough to stay proficient, don't assume you have to stick with a revolver.

Most people never take any training. But most people aren't too smart about it either. In addition to a safety course, a basic marksmanship course is a good way to see that you develop good habits right away. Practice in the basics is crucial. Defense caliber ammo is expensive. Because .22 is so inexpensive, you can practice a lot for just a little money.

You might also consider buying a (good) used gun from a reputable dealer, especially if you feel you need that defense gun right away.
 
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