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First time Hand gun Purchase


LouWestin
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My wife finally got her foid too last week, so were looking at purchasing a handgun. Im stuck between either a 9mm or a 380. I like the Smith and Wesson so far.

 

Me and the wife want to get our CCL next so Im not sure if a 9mm would be too large?

 

Also looking at where to shop. Were in the southwest suburbs close to Tinley park. So far Point Blank Range seems to be positive on the reviews. Ammo wise, Im not sure though.

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Take the CCL class first. Find an instructor that will furnish the guns for class and introduce you to different platforms. If the instructor tells you that you need to furnish the firearm, pass them by and find a better instructor, they're out there. I start new shooters out slow. They learn live fire with 22s and work their way up to full size 9mm polymer Glocks and steel M9s. Next the WOW factor. I let them shoot a 380 polymer pocket pistol and 38 special Airweight for kicks.

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If it weren't current times, I would say go 9mm.

 

But, it is current times, and sadly, it is more than possible that you will be limited in what you can buy, due to limitations of what is available.

 

I will also say, try and take a basic firearms safety course.

 

THen I would also suggest going to a place that has a range, and allows you to rent handguns. That way, you can try a lot of different handguns, and find what feels good to both of you, fits your hands, that you can be more accurate with etc. Right now, that can get expensive, ammo wise, but it is the best way to find what YOU like.

 

So, IMHO, IF there was no supply issues

 

380 ACP - can be an effective self-defense round with the right load. Not, all loads (ammunition produced by makers) will penetrate far enough, or if it does (sometimes too far, as in simple full metal jacket, target rounds), doesn't expand enough. It is a relatively small projectile. Some would say, it is the smallest caliber to rely on for self-defense. I also think .32 acp IF, and only if it uses the Lehigh Extreme Defender bullet, can as well.

 

Again, just IMHO, go .380, only in something you wish to conceal in a pocket. It is a good choice for the tiny pocket size handgun.

A caveat about those pocket, or some call 'Mouse' guns, is in 380 ACP, they kick pretty hard in the hand.

 

TO mitigate that kick, is going to a Compact, or sub-compact size. But, IMHO, if you go that size, you might as well go 9mm.

 

"Im not sure if a 9mm would be too large?" Yes, no, maybe. It depends on the 9mm Handgun. Some people carry full-size 5" barrel 9mm. But, there are some very small 9mm, sub-compact single stack (single stack being the magazine has just a single stack of rounds in it, limits mag capacity to 6-8 rds usually.). And now there are super small sub compact hybrid, or dbl stack 9mm handguns (dbl stack i two, side, by side rows of rounds in the magazine. Hybrid is 2 rows that become one near top.) Sig's P365, Springfield's Hellcat, and now Smith and Wessons, soon out Shield Plus. Thee are SMALL, can even be pocket carried to a point.

 

But, depending on clothes, body size and build, larger can be carried as well.

 

IN a pre-covid world, when you could just get what you want, a Mouse gun for some summer time carry, paired with a 9mm for rest of year, and some summer carry would be a perfect choice.

 

However, you might not have a lot of choice. Finding something in stock that works for both of you, may be interesting.

 

Don't be afraid of buying used either. LOT of FFLs sell used as well.

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Congratulations Lou,

 

You're gonna find that ammo is really expensive and harder to find than the pistols you want. It's likely 9mm ammo is easier to find and a little less expensive. I have pistols in both calibers, and several others, that I enjoy for different reasons.

 

I like Point Blank, though I have never bought a gun from them. They have always been fairly friendly and helpful when I was browsing. It seems they have ammo available if you are using the range. I've been to their Hodgkins and Naperville ranges. Both are modern and comfortable.

 

Which Smith & Wesson pistol are you thinking of?

 

Check out the "Gear - For Sale or Trade" forum here. There's a Sig P-365 up right now from a great guy, and near you.

 

Me and the wife want to get our CCL next so I'm not sure if a 9mm would be too large?

 

 

I prefer steel frames (metal) to polymer frames. My favorite carry pistol is an Alloy Frame/Short Slide Browning High Power. She's sort of a hybrid I've cobbled together. I shoot my High powers better than anything else I own and figure should I ever need to shoot... might as well bring my best.

 

I also enjoy the Sig P-938 (9mm) and Sig P-238 (.380). They are both smaller and hold fewer rounds, but still metal frames. I shoot the .380 version better than the 9mm... less recoil. Both are nice.

 

Trying out different pistols is a really great idea.

Edited by soundguy
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My wife finally got her foid too last week, so were looking at purchasing a handgun. Im stuck between either a 9mm or a 380. I like the Smith and Wesson so far.

 

Me and the wife want to get our CCL next so Im not sure if a 9mm would be too large?

 

Also looking at where to shop. Were in the southwest suburbs close to Tinley park. So far Point Blank Range seems to be positive on the reviews. Ammo wise, Im not sure though.

I am a home-based FFL In Oak Lawn and have the Smith & Wesson MP380 EZ in-stock with the Thumb Safety. It is one of the most favorite firearms for women who want to shoot semi-automatic firearms. The slide is extremely easy to manipulate and even if you don't buy it from me, check this particular model out. Take a look at my website and maybe I might have a few firearms that you might be interested in.

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Welcome, LouW, c'mon in and have a seat.

As to your questions and concerns, everyone so far is correct. The only thing I might add is to remind you to look at the ability to control the firearm. That is where physical size of the shooter's hand and the grip come into play, along with the ability to control the recoil of round fired.

 

The only way to know this is to actually try shooting the firearm(s) you're looking at, and go from there.

 

So, yes, try going to a store that has gun rentals and a range, take a note book with a listing of what you're wanting to try and take notes on comfort, recoil, control placements, etc etc etc.

 

I mentioned comfort. For example, I love the reliability of a Glock, but the grip actually hurts my hand. I have a loose bone chip in there from a football injury, and after two shots, I'm in pain for a day. So, glocks are out, for me. If I can't practice with it, I don't want to carry it. Now, a full size Beretta 92 is like a pillow in my hand, but is a bit big for carrying. Here again, I'm considering comfort, size of the gun, size of the grip, etc etc etc before I even think about caliber. That's just an example, and not something carved in stone for everyone.

 

Then look at 'can I work the controls, open the cylinder easily, rack the slide, reach the mag release, yada yada yada?' All this goes in the notebook, so you can later make that decision.

 

So now you might see why I suggest firing the gun before buying it, or some other make/model/caliber/etc etc etc.

 

Sorry for the long winded (long typed?) paragraph, but well, take it for what it's worth.

Again, welcome to a very diverse pro-carry site, you'll find it enjoyable here, I believe.

Edited by Kaeghl
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9MM....

380 pocket guns...believe it or not....are for more experienced shooters. I would NEVER recommend a small 380 out the gate.

I dont want to sound 'mean'..but if you can't handle a 9mm(not withstanding physical limitations), then you either need to develop that ability, or do a few pushups.

 

A suggestion, if you dont want to go 9mm, would be a revolver. BUT...a 'normal' revolver. Not a 'lightweight'...

Something in 38 at least 23 ounces to mitigate the recoil.

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Note all 380s are not necessarily pocket guns e.g. Beretta 84/85, Shield EZ, etc. A larger frame potentially reducing ease of shooting.

 

Hold a few assuming you can find now, does it fit your hand, is the point of aim right for you. Rent at the range and see what works.

 

I agree take the CCL class first since you are going to do anyway. Many use NRA basic handgun as first 8 hours.

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Thanks everyone who has replied so far! Lots of good information. I got my FOID back in Sept, but it took the wife till Mar to get hers. Glad that's finally done!

I quickly figured we better start out with the class first and then do the CCL. I have a client who said she'll give me the number of the person who issued her and her husband.

I know a few ranges have safety/beginner classes. Point Blank is $65 + ammo cost for a 3 hour class/1 hour range time. Another range (I can't remember the name) was $75 including ammo for a 1 hour training/1 hour range time.

Ammo wise, from the vendor list, I've seen the lowest prices (About 15 cents a round) sold out. Seems like the in-stock rate is about 90 cents or $40 for a box 50.

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With regard to post #3: .380 and 9mm are the same caliber. The 9mm has a longer casing and overall length, and more powder charge.

 

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Lou, I train NRA Instructors so my point of view is directed by that. Ask for NRA certified instructors for the best results and take one step at a time. It is much easier to teach good habits to new shooters than to over come bad habits by self taught shooters that started by renting or buying a gun and thought they could self teach.

 

Welcome to the club...........

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Asking what firearm to buy is like asking what car to buy. There are lots of manufacturers. There are lots of models. There are lots of religions.

 

My 2¢:

 

As others said, try rentals. Rentals tend to be much abused and poorly maintained. Try them, anyway.

 

As others said, 380s are not necessarily pocket guns. The Bersa Thunder 380 is probably the most common handgun in Latin America. (Several countries ban 9mm.) It's a metal-framed, hammer-fired compact. I'm not saying you should get one, but it's definitely larger and heftier than pocket-sized and plastic.

 

Given the reduced availability of everything everywhere, you shouldn't feel like you married whatever you could find to buy.

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With regard to post #3: .380 and 9mm are the same caliber. The 9mm has a longer casing and overall length, and more powder charge.

 

 

FWIW I never said they weren't. What I said was that 380 cartridges had smaller projectiles. And they are. Typical weight of the buttons (bullet, projectile) in .380 acp factory loads are 90-95 gr. 9MM, target loads typically have a 115 or 124 gr, with self defense loads at typically 124 and 147gr. Also, because if the smaller case of the 380, even with the smaller projectile, they are moving slower in factory loads (non +P). Typical 90-95 gr 380 standard pressure is somewhere in the 950ish fps, whereas a larger 124 gr 9mm will be up around 1100-1200.

 

Yes there are some +P, hotter factory loads for 380 ACP, but then so are there for 9mm. Even at the same velocity, the smaller projectile of the 380 has less energy.

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Lou, I train NRA Instructors so my point of view is directed by that. Ask for NRA certified instructors for the best results and take one step at a time. It is much easier to teach good habits to new shooters than to over come bad habits by self taught shooters that started by renting or buying a gun and thought they could self teach.

 

Welcome to the club...........

Oh really? I started that way and have no bad habits and also NRA certified so not one size fits all. But we all know there is only one opinion valid here and guess who’s it is?

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My wife finally got her foid too last week, so were looking at purchasing a handgun. Im stuck between either a 9mm or a 380. I like the Smith and Wesson so far.

 

Me and the wife want to get our CCL next so Im not sure if a 9mm would be too large?

 

Also looking at where to shop. Were in the southwest suburbs close to Tinley park. So far Point Blank Range seems to be positive on the reviews. Ammo wise, Im not sure though.

I would simply say go to the range with rentals, call around, and try handling a few without focusing on caliber, and see what fits best, you might find a 9mm that fits your hands well and is manageable. Then try out the rentals.

one note is that a normal carthart winter jacket will stop a .380, not a 9mm. I have had instructors point that out.

Then you can take the CCL and discuss what caliber or firearm would be best.

Just don’t buy before trying.

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In general terms - the 'least expensive' target shooting caliber which WILL ably teach safe handgun use, trigger control, sight picture etc is the .22LR. IMHO everyone should own at least one and plink with it regularly.

 

After that the 9mm is the most common centerfire caliber and therefore will be the 'least expensive' to use at the range and is still plenty powerful enough for self defense.

 

There really isn't "one" gun that fits all anymore than there is one make of gloves or shoes that fits all. Especially of late guns are quite pricey and even hard to find in stock so smart money says "Rent a bunch till you find one you REALLY like and shoot well". Then shop for that one and buy it. It may well NOT be the same choice for you and your partner, and that's fine too.

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