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Help choosing my first handgun

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:34 pm
by ChiroKai
I am a first time buyer interested in a handgun for the main purposes of home defense and recreational firing. I have narrowed it down to three choices: a beretta 92, HK USP and a Sig p226. The thing is I have only been able to test shoot the beretta. I like how it fires and feels fine in my hand but am curious about the HK and sig. The problem is my local range doesn't have those models available for firing and I hesitate at the thought of buying a gun I've never fired before regardless of reputation. The beretta is also somewhat less expensive than the others, another plus. Any suggestions or comments are welcome. Thanks!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:14 pm
Three good choices there. I'd like the Sig 226 myself since I like everything about them in a duty size sidearm.

The HK just didn't work for me. The Beretta 92 series is a classic and a great shooter.

If you consider anything you haven't fired... at least hold one at a dealer and see if you like the feel, grip, weight, balance, sights, trigger pull, ease of field stripping, etc.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:03 pm
by beltbuckle
I also like all three of your choices.

Just to for some variety I'll pick the USP as my recommendation. The only reason I'd choose it over the Sig is aesthetics.

Oh and in before someone says buy a glock!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:49 am
by Brad270
Another consideration is the type of ammo you want to use For home defense, You will want something that won't travel through your walls and cause collateral damage. That would involve choosing light loads or various bullet types that you should test to see that they will feed reliably in a semi auto. In my opinion, a pump shotgun is the best home defense weapon because the problem of penetrating outside the house is less, they are devastatingly effective without pinpoint accuracy, and the sound of a shell being racked into the chamber is enough to stop most opposition.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:33 pm
by ChiroKai

so I guess you suggest something in the 9mm range instead of the .40? I considered the shotgun and maybe in the future will go that route but for now it won't work for me in the other category of recreational firing that I'm also interested in aside from home defense. When the time comes though, any suggestions as to a good home shotgun? Most of what I've seen are either for hunting purposes or military grade (i.e. Benelli M1014)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:27 pm
by Brad270

What I am suggesting is that when you find the handgun you like, explore different ammo for home defense. Whatever caliber you get, low velocity rounds can be made or purchased for that caliber. The projectiles (bullets) can be frangible so that they break apart easily on impact so as not to penetrate as deeply. If you do get different ammo for home defense, it would be wise to make sure that the ammo feeds your gun reliably.

Regarding getting a shotgun, the most important factor is fit. Your shotgun should quickly mount to the pocket just inside your shoulder joint and align with your sight picture. A poor fit causes bruising and inaccuracy. If your shotgun doesn't fit then it won't be fun or effective.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:24 pm
by whitehood
Bad idea. The Judge won't generate the fps that a regular shotgun will and beyond 10 to 15 feet the pattern will not be effective.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:30 pm
by tigwelder56
I have to agree with WH. The Judge is a nice revolver, and alot of fun to shoot but the .410 shot shell for home defense leaves alot to be desired. If your plan was to use .45 LC loads designed for self defense, that would be a different story and the use of the new fancy slug loads in .410 I think are just gimmick rounds. The experience I have with the Judge tells me it would serve a far better vehicle gun utilizing the .410 shot shells. At 4 to 6 feet the shot pattern spreads effectively and would produce some serious damage to the face and neck at that range. There's alot of consideration when deciding to use this weapon for defense.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:36 am
by whitehood
If you're worried about overpenetration in an apartment, then a revolver with frangibles like Glaser's make a lot more sense. I think the shotshell thing is more of a gimmick than something of real use. I can see it is a rancher pistol, especially when you're working in snake/wetback country. As a self defense weapon the Judge leaves a lot to be desired.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:42 am
by Brad270
I agree that frangible ammo is a good option for home defense. Chirokai is looking at semi auto pistols and when he finds one he likes, he should test to make sure his new pistol will reliably feed the ammo. I have heard anecdotal reports that some autos don't like the Glazer rounds. I am a big believer in testing before the SHTF.