Buying Your First Handgun? Think, Ask, Try….and Choose Carefully

Springfield Armory XD(m)

Tyler Kee for TTAG

By Jim Barrett

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that many first-time gun buyers end up selling the first handgun they buy within one year of purchasing it. Let me add a couple of caveats to that statement, though.

First of all, this assumes that our new pistol aficionado has access to an easy means of selling or trading in their pistol. Secondly, it also assumes that you don’t have a friend or two who owns pistols of various types which gives you the opportunity to extensively try different models before they buy that first one.

In my case, it’s all true. I didn’t have the opportunity to try out a number of pistols, which is why my first firearm, an initially beloved XD(M) went on the block.

First, a little background. Growing up, I knew I wanted a semi-automatic pistol. That was largely due to the original Lethal Weapon movie in which Mel Gibson had a Beretta 92 and he mocked his partner’s old fashioned “wheel gun.” The Beretta looked cool, Mel looked cool using it, so I wanted one.

GLOCK 17 G17 9mm

Ryan Finn for TTAG

Flash forward a few years until I was in college and got a chance to see a GLOCK for the first time. That was the end of the 1980s and GLOCK had come on the scene pretty hard. I remember shooting a friend’s GLOCK and thinking, “meh.” I wouldn’t actually get around to purchasing a gun of my own for more than two decades.

In those intervening years, I had the chance to shoot a few GLOCKs (as well as other guns from time to time) and thought that I was ready for a GLOCK of my own since they were everywhere and the universe of aftermarket GLOCK accessories was almost unlimited.

But all that ended in March of 2011 when I accompanied my 82-year-old father to a local Houston gun store so he could get himself his first semi-automatic new gun. He already owned a Smith & Wesson .357 and a 12 gauge, but wanted a semi too.

“Show us a GLOCK,” was what I confidently told the salesman. He said the GLOCK was indeed a very nice gun, but suggested before committing to buying one that we compare it side-by-side with a Springfield Armory XD. He brought up the issue of grip angle on the GLOCK and I noticed it myself, as did my father.

When we handled the Austrian pistol, we both discovered that the angle of the grip tends to initially point the gun too high to engage a target in front of you. Sure, if you use GLOCKs you quickly learn to compensate, but both my father and I preferred the grip angle of the XD and the accessory package included with it was a definite plus.

My father would have bought the XD that day except that he no longer had the hand strength to rack the slide. With this in mind, the salesman suggested he look at the Beretta 92A1. He could work the slide on that one and that’s the gun that he took home.

We both worked with it using dummy loads, practiced breaking it down, loading and unloading it, etc. It was a nice gun, but in my head, I was sold on what I thought was the superior XD.

When I returned home after my visit, I promptly went down to the local gun store and bought my first handgun, a Springfield XD(M) in .40 S&W. I was also sold on the “upgrades” of the XD(M) platform and the extras included with the gun (mag loader, mag carrier, holster) – I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

It wasn’t much more than the XD and I figured the extras were worth it for me. I went with that caliber because I felt that I wanted the extra stopping power of the more powerful .40 S&W round.

I soon learned that the difference in ammo prices made shooting the .40 a bit more expensive than I wanted over the long term, so my next purchase was an XD(M) in 9mm. I was happy as I knew nothing else. That happiness was about to change.

HK Heckler & Koch Mark 23 Mk23 review

Woody for TTAG

In one of the books I was reading at the time, the protagonists used the special forces H&K MK23 in .45. That looked like a very cool gun and I wanted to eventually get a .45 anyway.

At north of $2,000, though, the MK23 was bit out of my price range. Its smaller cousin, the USP Tactical .45, though, was a nice compromise as it, too had a threaded barrel so I could one day attach a silencer (if I ever decide to go that way). Even better, the local gun shop had a used one in stock at a relatively decent price.

I really liked the H&K. As a true DA/SA pistol with an external hammer, I discovered that I very much liked having a hammer to cock for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I had recently purchased a Laserlyte targeting system that projects a laser dot onto a laser-sensitive target when you pull the trigger. It was much easier to practice with the H&K than with the XD(M) as the XD(M) required me to rack the slide after each trigger pull whereas the H&K only needed the hammer cocked. Or I could simply pull the trigger in double action mode.

Secondly, and even more important, if I wanted to carry the gun with a round in the chamber, I had to carry the XD(M) “hot.” The striker was pulled back so all it required was a single action trigger pull to discharge the gun.

Conceptually I know that striker-fired guns are safe. Many people tote XDs, GLOCKs, M&Ps and other striker-fired carry guns every day, but in the back of my mind, I still think that all of the built-in safeties are only mechanical and mechanical things can fail (yes, I know that I’m being a bit of a wuss here, but there it is).

If there was even a chance that the striker might go forward on its own volition, I simply wasn’t prepared assume that gun safety risk. That means I’d be consigned to carrying my XD(M) without a round in the chamber which, in turn, meant that I’d have to take an additional second or two to rack the slide in a self-defense situation. Not an ideal option either.

The DA/SA action of the H&K allowed me to load a round in the chamber and then use the de-cocking lever to safely drop the hammer. Now I could carry with a round in the chamber, but nothing was under tension waiting to release the hammer. I’d simply have to contend with the heavier initial trigger pull for the first round, but I could live with that.

The USP was nice, but let’s face it, even though it was smaller than the MK23, no one would ever call it a compact gun. It really wasn’t a good choice for concealed carry.

Beretta 92A1

Patrick Carrube for TTAG

For some reason, I got the Beretta back in my head again and a few weeks later, I became the proud owner of a 92A1, just like what my father had. As I used it, I became astounded at how good a handgun it was. I could shoot the Beretta very accurately and it had all of the features that I liked on my H&K.

Flash forward a few more months to when I took my first course at the SIG SAUER Academy in Epping, New Hampshire. I’m fortunate in that I live less than an hour away from that facility. The class gave me the opportunity to study the SIGs in more detail in the pro shop and it soon became clear that a SIG was in my future.

One SIG became two, then three and as of today, I have four SIGs in my stable; a P238 Equinox, a P226 Tactical Ops, a P229 Equinox, and a P239. While SIG offers different trigger options, all of my guns with the exception of the P238 are DA/SA.

SIG P226 TACOPS

SIG P226 TACOPS courtesy SIG SAUER

The SIGs shoot like a dream, are reliable and  ridiculously easy to take down for cleaning. Furthermore, I went on to take the SIG armorer class and now I’m qualified to work on my SIGs without voiding the warranties.

I’ve sold both of my XD(M) pistols. Now all of my guns are either be DA/SA or single action only in the case of my 1911 and P238.

The moral of my long story is that, had I known then what I know now, I would never have bought a striker-fired gun in the first place. I took a bit of a bath unloading the Springfields, but better that than have money tied up in guns I now know I will never use.

Yes, many people will swear by their GLOCKs or M&Ps or P320 or 509 or…(fill in the blank). Price-wise they’re certainly a bit better than the Beretta and a lot easier on the wallet than the SIGs. But for me, the peace of mind of the DA/SA manual of arms is worth any extra cost.

I caution new shooters or anyone who is about to take the plunge into gun ownership to consider carefully your needs and concerns carefully and pick the best gun for the job rather than simply buying whatever is hot today. Think about why you’re buying that pistol; home defense, concealed carry…whatever it may be.

Don’t buy the first gun you pick up. Don’t buy one just because it looked cool in a movie you saw. Don’t buy one just because the guy behind the counter recommends it. Don’t buy a gun because your friend in law enforcement carries one every day.

If you can, get to a gun range and rent a number of different guns. And ask the range owner to show you how to take the gun down for cleaning. Talk to other gun owners you know and ask they own what they do and why. Doing that before plunking down the plastic will increase your chances of buying the “right gun” and save you a lot of regret down the road.

comments

  1. avatar Madcapp says:

    rule #1…Any gun in .45 ACP will be a better gun in 9MM. Whining about the truth begins below ↓↓↓

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Not true for single stack. 9 makes more sense in something like a Glock, but there are also other calibers better then 9 that aren’t .45 as well. Limiting yourself to just 9 vs .45 is a sad way to live son.

    2. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      I like em both. That said the .45 ACP’s biggest benefit in my mind is my XD will convert to .460 Rowland and shoot .45 Super. Also, you can get more energy from one if you add enough +es and Ps to it like a 9mm. E.g. +P+++++++ or something.

      At some point one just has to be kind of honest though and get a 10mm or a magnum caliber revolver.

      1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        Also .45 ACP’s lower pressure stock tends to make it more tolerant of casting soft bullets for it which may or may not be beneficial depending on your circles.

      2. avatar Hank says:

        If you like the idea of hot loading 9s then you could always explore 9×21, 9×25, and .38 super. None of those rounds are common and could be extinct even, however. But if you’re experienced enough to roll your own you could probably convert other brass into the appropriate size. I don’t do that myself but I know people who do. It would be easier to just do a 10mm, if you plan to stick with a semi auto.

        1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

          Gotta say I wish that .38 Super would make a come back in the market or some other variant. The funny thing is that 9mm and .38 Super nearly have the same pressure rating the difference is the ability of the Super to take advantage of bulkier powders and possibly heavier bullets depending. Good luck finding a double stack high cap polymer pistol for one though. The only one I can recall is the EAA Witness had some that were made that way. Not a common gun to find either. The round is also semi rimmed which means that something like one of the 9Xwhatever variants are likely technologically superior although you can get brass that is rimless from companies like Starline.

          That said 5.8 of Blue Dot behind a 135gr LRN bullet seems to work pretty well.

    3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Actually, I just think it’s “better” not to be on the receiving end of any bullet. If I don’t give you cause to lift your gun out of the holster, it won’t matter if you’ve got a mouse round or a customized .4567 Super SOCOM Lapua +P in the chamber.

      I still like my Glock.

    4. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      quote———————rule #1…Any gun in .45 ACP will be a better gun in 9MM. Whining about the truth begins below ↓↓↓——————–quote

      It has been known as far back as 1945 when the U.S. military tested the .45 acp against the 9×19 that the .45 acp was a failure, it bounced off of a helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9×19 penetrated the same helmet at an astonishing 125 yards and might have done it even further away than that but no one could hit the helmet when it was placed even further away.

      Its interesting to note that something similar happened when the Germans tested the .32 acp against the .380 and when the .380 bounced off of their test helmet and the .32 acp penetrated it they adopted the .32 acp instead of the .380 yet know nothing gun writer prostitutes have been for decades bad mouthing the .32 acp over the .380 and the moronic gun writers can shove this down their throats.

      The .45 acp not only has less penetration but in most cases way less velocity which means the 9×19 has much more of a chance at violent bullet expansion which often creates secondary missals inside the body cavity. Never count on a .45 acp to do the same with is lower velocity.

      The 9×19 shoots much flatter so your chances of hitting something at longer ranges goes up dramatically.

      The 9×19 has less recoil and people are human beings not machines and when the recoil goes up the ability to shoot accurately goes down dramatically and that includes even people who practice regularly.

      The 9×19 has more firepower than the .45 acp and the worse thing that can happen to you is to run out of ammo and have to reload any handgun under stress. The ability to go on laying down a barrage of firepower has proven in combat to be a life saver even if you miss because the other guy is going to be ducking and hiding with all those bullets flying around his head or body. Standing there with an empty low capacity .45 acp is the same as committing suicide.

      Real life tests on animals proved the .45 acp does none of the mythical things that it is supposedly known for because such propaganda was dreamed up by gun writer prostitutes trying to sell 1911 handguns after the Philippine war of rape, pillage and conquest by the U.S. storm troopers in the years 1899 to 1912. There is nothing but nothing in U.S. Military records that claim or prove the larger caliber handguns used in the Philippine War of rape , pillage and conquest performed any better than the .38 caliber handguns that were also used in that conflict. In fact they all failed miserably proving as Jeff Cooper once said “using a pistol as an assault weapon is tantamount to committing suicide. I might add pistols used in offensive as well as defensive use are often known for spectacular failure to stop people.. I have shot live animals with various caliber handguns and none no matter how large produced dramatic stops unless the brain or spine was hit and hitting someone in the head or spine with a rock can produce the same outcome.

      As far back as 1900 with the big rush to use smokeless powder and smaller and smaller calibers compared to the monster black powder caliber rifles then in use it was found that bullet placement and penetration is what killed not the diameter of the projectile.

      The early 1900 tests by Col. Thompson with handgun calibers on live 1,200 lb steers at a Chicago stockyard proved exactly the same thing although Thompson lied between his teeth when he went before the Ordinance Board and recommended nothing less than a .45 cal. U.S. military pistol. It was the biggest lie that was ever pulled off successfully in regards to handgun killing power.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        Sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I’d like to see a modern test of all those calibers recorded on film and how they fare. I don’t see 9mm ball piercing a piss pot any farther then a .45 could. 7.62×25, maybe.

        1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          “”””””””””””””””””””Sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I’d like to see a modern test of all those calibers recorded on film and how they fare. I don’t see 9mm ball piercing a piss pot any farther then a .45 could. 7.62×25, maybe.””””””””””””””””””

          I quoted verifiable historic facts. Just because they do not fit your preconceived and erroneous notions does not mean they are bullshit except in your own uneducated mind that refuses to be educated.

          I might add years ago we had some empty 55 gal drums and I walked up to them at at a range of only a few feet and fired hard cast bullet loads out of both the .45 acp and the 9×19. The 9×19 WHICH WAS LOADED WAY DOWN WITH ONLY STARTING LOADS easily zipped right through both sides of the steel 55 gal drum while the .45 acp THAT WAS LOADED UP TO FULL POWER WITH 225 GRAIN ROUND NOSE BULLETS barely made it through just one side of the barrel and that was at only about 3 feet away from the steel drums.

        2. avatar B.D. says:

          Vlad… the goal of the .45 is not to make it THROUGH something… it’s to put a bigger hole in it. If you are seriously denying ballistic science in an attempt to prove your biased point in preferring a smaller caliber, then you have no grounds to stand on. Is it a huge difference? No, but it’s enough to make a difference. Same can be said as you increase size in ANY caliber, little by little. Stop over complicating things to prove you are a douche. We already know it.

        3. avatar Hank says:

          Well vlad I guess that’s bad news for gun control advocates like you, if mere 9mm will pierce armor from hundreds of yards away, imagine what all our 5.56 and .308s and 6.5 godmode will do to your puny Antifa punks and gun stealing storm troopers.

        4. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          “”””””””””””””””””””Vlad… the goal of the .45 is not to make it THROUGH something… it’s to put a bigger hole in it. If you are seriously denying ballistic science in an attempt to prove your biased point in preferring a smaller caliber, then you have no grounds to stand on. Is it a huge difference? No, but it’s enough to make a difference. Same can be said as you increase size in ANY caliber, little by little. Stop over complicating things to prove you are a douche. We already know it.”””””””””””””””””””””””””””

          P.O. Ackely once shot through 1/2 inch armored plate with the 55 grain soft point bullets in the .220 Swift proving smaller calibers traveling faster had better penetration. His tests were documented. Again the 1945 U.S. Military pistol caliber test that was before P.O. Ackley’s tests on small rifle calibers proved the same thing only in pistol calibers i.e. 9mm and .45 acp.

          I might Add P.O. Ackely tried to convince the Neanderthals in his home state that the .220 Swift was superior as a deer cartridge compared to a variety of larger rifle calibers that were then legal. He proved it with live ferule mine mule tests. These mules were specially bread mules that worked in the mines that had then gone wild and they were much larger than farm type mules. They dropped as if hit by lightening but when they shot the same breed of mules with the military calibers ranging from 7×57 to 8mm no such spectacular results were experienced. Expanding bullets were used and again proved smaller calibers traveling at higher velocities were superior to bigger slower moving calibers.

          I might add that in Massillon Ohio a number of years ago a shit head cop that got rough with a hot headed motorist got himself shot in the butt with a 7.62×25 pistol and the high velocity round glanced upward and tumbled after striking the cop in the butt making mince meat out of the cops internal organs. This would not have happened with the slow moving .45 acp. The cop died instantly. The point being that the high velocity pistol caliber as small as it was did a horrendous amount of damage again proving bigger is not always better. And I might add it proved fmj bullets do not always penetrate clear through especially when they hit bone.

          I might add the “infamous bridge incident” during Mao Zedong’s “long march” resulted in his men going hand over hand on bridge ropes with Mauser Broom handle pistols with which they completely wiped out Chiang Kai-shek’s machine gun nests on the other side of the bridge. Again it proves they did not need a large caliber pistol do do this with as the .30 caliber Mauser Pistols worked just fine and were very lethal even with military fmj ammo. I mention this because it totally refutes your idea that fmj bullets always completely penetrate, as they often do not because when they glance upwards or downwards after striking bone they do tremendous damage to internal organs and its often because of their higher velocity that bigger and often lower velocity pistol rounds cannot do very well if at all.

        5. avatar B.D. says:

          Vlad. Nobody is going to read that book you just wrote. All I did was scroll a bit and I already know it’s not worth it. I’d rather spend 3 minutes staring at the ceiling in my office.

        6. avatar frank speak says:

          the 1911 has proven itself in multiple wars…including against those muslim yo-yo’s in the Philippines…..

        7. avatar Ty says:

          Alaskan Master guide Phil Shoemaker choose to carry a 9mm (S&W 3954) and not a M1911A1 45 ACP as a sidearm for defense against Alaskan Brown Bears and actually used the 9mm to kill a bear that had attacked his fishing clients. If the 9mm can put lights out on an agitated 800 pound Alaskan Brown Bear then I think that it is more than adequate for anything that walks on two legs.

          That said, when I visit Alaska I’ll be packing a Glock 20 while out in the field, not because I don’t think that a 9mm will work, but because I’m absolutely terrified of grizzly bears and a 10mm Auto slung across my chest will give me a much needed confidence boost as compared to a ‘wimpy’ 9mm.

          As for the Glock being a striker fired pistol, well let’s just say that if the Glock 20 is good enough for the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol stationed in Polar Bear country in the frozen wastes of Greenland then it is certainly good enough for me and a relatively short stay in Alaska during what will most certainly be the summertime.

          Sirius Dog Sled Patrol and their guns.
          https://laststandonzombieisland.com/2015/09/22/the-glocks-of-greenland/

        8. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          “ferule bread mules” is golden.

      2. avatar B.D. says:

        Cool. What website did you steal it from?

        1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          to VD I mean BD

          ”””””””””””””””””’Cool. What website did you steal it from?”””””””””””””””””””

          Its called being educated by reading books, something you out house denizens never experience.

        2. avatar B.D. says:

          I read books. Plenty of them. Tucker Max is my favorite. I like those Walking Dead books too. They have pictures.

          You should try reading things like the Bill of Rights.

        3. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          ””””””””””””””””””””I read books. Plenty of them. Tucker Max is my favorite. I like those Walking Dead books too. They have pictures.””””””””””””””’

          I do not even have to respond to that reply. Your own reply really proved my point. I am sure everyone got a good laugh at your response. Really, Tucker Max and the Walking Dead , I hope those books were not too much of a challenge for you, pictures and all.

      3. avatar Dani in WA says:

        It has been known as far back as 1945 that Vlad Tepes is a failure who is currently reposting the exact same drivel posted in a previous article, including follow-up commentary.

      4. avatar Joseph says:

        Vlad, life is hard. It’s even harder if you’re stupid.

    5. avatar frank speak says:

      you’re going to buy a gun based on what you saw in a movie?…makes sense only if you’re a collector…1st gun?…buy cheap to see if it really is right for you…you can always upgrade later….

  2. avatar Hank says:

    Good article. I was saying the same thing the other day. I don’t buy into the current striker fired 9 craze. I’ve also been into guns longer then the last 10 years but still, I encourage new shooters to try as many platforms as they can before they buy. Ask friends and family, or find a range or store you can rent guns from. Every striker fired I’ve shot or owned I eventually got rid of as well. Remember the militaries and LE agencies don’t adopt strikerfireds because the guns are superior, they adopt them because of logistics. Being a private individual you have the fantastic ability to choose the best firearm for your needs, not conform to a mandatory set of arbitrary rules.

  3. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Range rentals my friend. Range rentals.

    1. avatar Perry says:

      +1. Range rentals R Ur Frend.

  4. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    I love all my guns, semi auto and revolvers. I tend to carry either a P238 or a .40 P224.

    If my Five-seveN wasn’t so large, I’d carry that much more often.

  5. avatar Texican says:

    Just get a Glock 19 as a newbie. You’ll figure out the rest later.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      funny, but seriously annoying.

      If this guy knew anything… he would have just bought a Glock 19.

    2. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

      I didn’t know Caitlin Jenner was a bellybutton model for Glock.

    3. avatar JW says:

      Wow.

      I’ve heard that sticking a gun in your waistband is a good way to shoot thru one of your femoral arteries or your package, but this guy is going for the hat trick!

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        whatever dude. You have to pull the trigger to shoot it. Isn’t that what holsters are for?

    4. avatar 33Charlemagne says:

      A Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 9mm with the 4″ barrel has all the advantages of a Glock 19 as well as more metal parts, a longer warranty and a lower price. Also you can get one with a safety if you want it.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    I wish I had the $ to buy all those gats to “experiment” with. I had to settle for being competent with my lowly Tauruses. And now spending all my money on AR15 stuff😫

    1. avatar Perry says:

      Aye. I always recommend whatever puts the most grains of lead on target per second. Personally, I’m good with the G27 and (later) the G22.

      The 5.56 (and later, the 7.62×51) is another matter entirely. Whatever reload yields <1MOA – that's good enough.

  7. avatar Will Drider says:

    Most folks don’t marry for life on the first date. Relationships with women has a lot of parrelles to guns. If you don’t understand that you havent been around the Block or the Range much. Lol

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Pertaining to both guns and women:

      A good .44 is worth more than two .22s. 🙂

      1. avatar mrlyle says:

        When my wife turned 40, I traded her in for two 20s. Turns out I’m not wired for 220

    2. avatar Political gristle says:

      Relation ship with guns = relationship with women.
      Some times “Good enough” is good enough?

    3. avatar Someone says:

      There are some subtle differences between guns and women.
      Your gun will not mind if you bring home another gun. Or three.
      When you compliment your friend’s gun, he will let you have a go with it.
      Your gun will stay with you, even if you run out of ammo.

  8. avatar strych9 says:

    Agreed. Define your parameters and try before you buy if at all possible.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      the difference is you get to keep that 1st gun while shopping around for another one….

  9. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    well, you sort of need one of each anyhow, so…

  10. avatar B.D. says:

    Start small. Or… start medium I should say. Some people – *cough* myself – started full size because they wanted a full grip, and more muzzle velocity. I don’t regret starting full size, but I think a lot of people forget about concealment. I OWB’d for a long time, when it came time to conceal, I swapped over to the g43 and while I did love it, it was just too hard for me to shoot comfortably. Tons of factors, from reloads, to recoil, to grip etc etc… I still absolutely love it and conceal it all the time, but beyond 10m I am far from confident with it. So I got a double stack mid size, and love it. A bit harder to conceal, but you can always dress accordingly. That is what I get the sense that a lot of people are not willing to change. “Why should I have to buy new shirts, or wear an overshirt?” etc etc… well, because you just added a good 3 inches of awkward to your waistline. And yes, I agree 9mm is the perfect starting point as well. I personally enjoy the .40 and have made it my EDC for both personal and ballistic reasons, but for the average person, 9mm is cheaper and less recoil. So you can train more. As others have stated on here: Range rentals are your best option. Spend a couple months trying different ones. When you find one you like, try it again every weekend for another month. Then make your purchase.

  11. avatar Nate in CA says:

    My first handgun purchase was on my 21st birthday, I was dead-set on a S&W 696… I have no idea why. The gun clerk and I talked for an hour, he tried steering me into a .45 something-or-other, or a full-sized 7-shot .357, but I wanted something small enough to carry anywhere but potent enough to take down a bear (yeah, I had no clue).
    Ended up with a S&W 3” model 60 that I only kept for a year, because I had no idea how to shoot it and I insisted I shoot .357’s constantly (did I mention I had no clue?)
    Probably should have listened to the dealers advice, he was a smart guy, and he did end up selling/consigning more than a few guns to me. Now I’ve got a lot more experience, and even own a Glock – sure wish I had a pre-lock 696 though!

  12. avatar Specialist38 says:

    So…dont do as I did, do as I say.

    Never…going..to…happen.

    People are people.

    They are going to buy something that ….
    Catches their attention.
    They saw in a movie/magazine/video game.
    Their friend/relative has.

    Then they are going to figure out (just as the author did) that there may be something more suited to them.

    And the race is on….stymied only by lack of money and time.

    Because guns are fun. I still have my first gun….from when i was 10…..lol.

  13. avatar Ing says:

    Secondly, and even more important, if I wanted to carry the gun with a round in the chamber, I had to carry the XD(M) “hot.”

    Not true. The Springfield XD and XDm have a grip safety.

    Otherwise, spot on.

    I didn’t shoot a lot, but I did shoot several different handguns a little before I chose one, and I made a much better choice because of it. I might’ve started with a compact .40 otherwise, that that wouldn’t have done at all. I still carry my first and only handgun purchase — a Springfield XDm compact in 9mm. Not because it’s the be-all/end-all, but because it still works well for me. Since then I’ve run into a couple others I’d consider buying (if I had the $…which I don’t…), but nothing (yet) that makes me want to replace the Springfield. Although I did shoot a relative’s Ruger SR9 even better than my own gun when I tried it…

  14. avatar Newshawk says:

    My advice–buy a Hi Point first. It’ll make you appreciate your next gun so much more…

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      The 2nd will be a Yeet Canon.

  15. avatar billy-bob says:

    Get the lightest revolver in .357 magnum you can find, you know, for concealment, and practice shooting one handed. It’ll make a great video for the innerwebz. /s

    1. avatar jakee308 says:

      Heh

  16. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    As far as buying a hand gun for defense. Buy one that is safe to handle and carry which completely rules out the unsafe Glock that has no manual safety and is an accident waiting to happen as far as its unsafe take down system is concerned.

    Buy a handgun that is small enough and light enough to comfortably carry which means that big bore blaster will do you no good under the seat of your car or left sitting at home on a hot summer day because you could not conceal it or it was just to heavy and uncomfortable to carry all day long. As much as I loath and hate plasticky pistols I carry one because of its light weight due to its junk plasticky frame and plastic does not rust when you touch it with sweaty hands. Generally plastic pistols cost less as well and if you lose it to the cops its really no big tragedy as the gun companies vomit out this stuff every day by the thousands. They are not a valuable collector item today and they never will be. They are a crudely made low cost tool like a Walmart drill motor and they point about as well to boot. (sarcasm)

    1. avatar Hank says:

      You don’t have to go with plastic. Aluminum frame is strong and lightweight.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        quote—————You don’t have to go with plastic. Aluminum frame is strong and lightweight.————–quote

        Yes very true I just picked up a super rare Beretta Roma M90 in .32 acp with an aluminum frame and it weighs next to nothing but unfortunately aluminum pits severely when you get sweat on on it. I have Beretta .25 acp made back in the 60’s that has horrible pitting on the front of both sides of the aluminum frame. I bought it that way second hand because it still works and the price was next to nothing and its reliable and yes its light because of its aluminum frame.

        Generally speaking an aluminum framed handgun does not survive a fall onto concrete either. Plastic tends to flex and even though it too can crack it seems to survive a fall better. Not that I love plastic, I still like the looks of a metal handgun even one with an aluminum frame.

    2. avatar B.D. says:

      Yawn. Another biased post. If someone wants to buy a Glock, good for them. Nobody cares what you consider safe. Tons of us consider Glocks safer, simply due to the lack of all the safety mechanisms allowing us to utilize their functions quicker. So your definition of “safe”, is not the same as everyone’s. Get over it. Keep your manual safety fetish to yourself.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        to V.D. I meant B.D.

        quote————————–Yawn. Another biased post. If someone wants to buy a Glock, good for them. Nobody cares what you consider safe. Tons of us consider Glocks safer, simply due to the lack of all the safety mechanisms allowing us to utilize their functions quicker. So your definition of “safe”, is not the same as everyone’s. Get over it. Keep your manual safety fetish to yourself.————————-quote

        The out house gang, which you belong to, has an aversion to reading or forking over a few cents and subscribing to news papers or periodicals and that is what keeps you so ignorant about the world of gun design. Gun Week news paper decades ago warned of the unsafe Glock and published down through the years many real life tragedies with the unsafe Glock that would not have happened with safer designed pistols and they went to great length to explain it in detail as compared to the various other alternate pistol designs which were and are much safer to handle, carry and operate. Like most Right Wingers your not open to anything that is in contrast to your ignorant preconceived notions which makes you reject every bit of knowledge thrown at you. Dead people are proof enough but like most of the Right Wingers you will reject it or call it fake news. I will go with documented facts while you will go with myth and fairy tails that reinforce your ignorance on the subject. Your happier that way. Education is too much of a challenge.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Oy vey there’s a lot of Vlad/Pg2 comments on here tonight. He must have the day off from his job at Chuck E. Cheese.

        2. avatar frank speak says:

          don’t forget FBI break dancers!….if you must have a glock at least invest a little more for a SAFE-T- BLOCK….

      2. avatar Perry says:

        There are those that require safety mechanisms. Then there are those that trust their brain to be their safety mechanism. These People are self-selecting.

        In the great Circle of Life, those that require an extra half-second to overcome their own mind will be relegated to the great Trash Heap of History. The cutlass, the saber, and the mere Roman sword had no “safety.”

        1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          ””””””””””’quote”””””””””””There are those that require safety mechanisms. Then there are those that trust their brain to be their safety mechanism. These People are self-selecting.========================

          Anyone like yourself that professes to the world that he is infallible should not be permitted to even own a deadly weapon because with that attitude your not only a danger to yourself but innocent bystanders as well.

          We did not get safety glass in automobiles or anti-lock brakes or back up safeties on lawn mowers because it was a left wing conspiracy rather it was done because too many people ended up dead or maimed for life because they were not infallible. Its the same with guns. There are those guns that are much safer than other designs and those like the Glock that should never have been allowed on the market. History is now full of tragedies that prove it beyond all doubt. History does not lie and one thing history teaches everyone who is sane is that no one is infallible.

    3. avatar Dani in WA says:

      Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good BlasTech DL-44 at your side.

  17. avatar JPJ says:

    Good commentary on a “first pistol” purchase. As usual many comment on caliber, safe trigger, & so on. I like that in America we can have a choice, we have the freedom. I have several different pistols, and am thankful that I can put rounds downrange.

  18. avatar Jerry says:

    My son who is an E8 master sargeant in the Army bought me my 1st semi auto a glock 21 6 years ago would not trade it for anything

  19. avatar Charlie says:

    Nice journey!

    In my world you don’t actually know anything until you use the product. I was a revolver guy until 1984 when I ordered a newly released Glock 17 and a Sig P226. The Sig went home with me, and the Glock stayed in the store. Eventually someone bought it.

    I still have the revolvers (S&W M-27 and M-66), but the DA/SA de-cocker system is hard to beat. Particularly for us old revolver types.

    Charlie

  20. avatar jakee308 says:

    I figure I’m adaptable and I’ve had to use firearms that weren’t real comfortable to use but were quite usable so I bought my first 2 handguns due to price compared to what I got.

    1st was a Canik TPSA 9mm. Which I bought due to price and what was offered for that price in the package. 2 magazines, magazine loader, cleaning tools, a sherpa like holster, two grip adapters and a case. All for under $400 and with large cap in the mags.
    Worked fine out of the box.
    2nd was a Hi point .45. I bought that so I could have a .45 pistol cheap. Worked fine out of the box. Fit my hand as I have big hands.
    Got shoulder holsters for both as I am big and belt or wb carry just doesn’t work for me. But my arms are big so I can tuck a pistol holster in my armpit and it can’t be seen.
    I’m not a collector so I haven’t bought any more pistols but I’m thinking about it. What I have is sufficient for the duty I have in mind for them to fill.

  21. avatar IT Shabake says:

    that was so useful…thanks!
    تلفن گویا

    1. avatar Dani in WA says:

      ^^^ Random advertisement for networking hardware. ^^^

  22. avatar Phil Wilson says:

    In case this wasn’t said clearly anywhere above: Unless you intend to stick it in your nightstand and never touch it again unless you need it (in which case you probably want a double-action revolver in .38 special), don’t spend a bunch on your first gun, even if you think you’ve found “the one.” Because it probably isn’t.

  23. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbYCUbwajWA

    Posted comments mentioned the 7.62x25mm caliber commonly chambered in the Soviet TT-30 and TT-30 Tokarev semi-automatic pistol. This was a Colt/Browning design. I understand this pistol lacked a slide safety. Anyway there is a 2001 foreign movie which depicts Russian P.O.W.s shipped by train to a Soviet Gulag after World War II ended in 1945. An escaped Germany P.O.W’s somehow liberated a 7.62x25mm Tokarev pistol off a Soviet NKVD thug and beat a hasty retreat into the vast Siberian wilderness. Near starvation he utilized same handgun to kill (for fresh meat) a fur seal, and was thus able to survive and sustain himself. This is actually based on a true story. I have posted link above for those interested.

  24. avatar Elliott Salazar says:

    I purchased my first at the age of 21 . Owned 5 by the age of 24 . Sold ALL except my .357 revolver . (Hunting pistol) . Competition shooting , IPSC , changed EVERYTHING . I never purchased or wanted a handgun for self defense , I just enjoy shooting .
    One for competition and one for hunting . Though I LOVED and miss my Browning Hi power , and will probably purchase one again . Also want upgrade from the Taurus .357 to a S&W .44 revolver .

  25. avatar grumpster says:

    My first auto loading pistol was a Gen 2 Glock 19 I bought new. I have bought more pistols over the years but my Glock 19 would be the last one I ever let go if for some reason it came to that. Of course there not much other options for poly frame striker fired pistols at that time anyhow LOL.

    I would add that those looking for their first handgun should also get some quality one on one instruction in shooting a pistol before they purchase one. Know basics of proper grip, trigger control, and sight acquisition can go a long way to choosing the right pistol. I am also sick of reading about “pick the one that feels best in your hand” as IMO that is almost useless information. I have purchased more than a few pistols that did not necessarily feel “best in my hand” but are excellent shooters for me including my Gen 2 Glock 19 with that dreaded “2×4 grip”.

  26. avatar Someone says:

    First handgun should emanate machismo and coolness. It needs to have enough stopping power. The lowly 9mm will get only laughs and pitty from girls. You surely don’t want to be considered a wuss, right? That’s why I suggest a revolver in .44 magnum at very least Even better is .454 cassul, but optimally. 500 s&w.
    Don’t forget to post video of your first range trip!

  27. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    I like guns.

    I like calibers.

    If you have a gun you don’t like or a gun in a caliber you don’t like send it to me and I will give it a good home.

    To the author, you had to go through the process to get where you are today. You would not have arrived at the conclusions you did and ended up with the guns you have if you hadn’t tried the the guns you got rid of first.

    Also, selling a gun is always a mistake 😉

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