View Full Version : Recommnedations for new gun buyer

03-25-2012, 06:59 PM
Wanted to see if I missed anything, as I'm sure I have. A friend is looking to make their first gun purchase. He's got some experience and is getting advice from multiple long time gun owners. I was on that list.

Anyway. He wasn't (for now) so interested in CCW or even home defense. Wanted his first purchase to be more 'range oriented' and once he's more comfortable will re-evaluate home defense and CCW. Out of the chute, he's not interested in Glock, doesn't like the grip/comfort. Can't disagree w/ him there, but I'm sure others will.

That being said. I pointed him a couple of directions.

1. Larger Kahr. T/TP/K/P. Simplicity in design and use. Reliable. Comfortable. Controllable. Easy transition to CCW if desired w/o additional expenditure.

2. Walther PPQ. Mostly because I want to shoot one before I buy :o and seems you can't go wrong w/ it anyway. It's a great gun, Glock-ish and ergonomic.

3. XD/XDm. While I don't care for them, he may, pretty ergonomic, great shooting gun.

4. Ruger SR9/9c. He actually got onto this one on his own, price and reviews. No experience w/ it myself, but I like my dad's P95 pretty well. Can't go wrong w/ Ruger usually.

5. 1911. Can't not consider this for the range. Who doesn't like to shoot a 1911. Can always become a CCW if he doesn't go for the 5"er.

Obviously there are a zillion that meet the need here, lots (too many) good guns to choose from. Smith M&P, Glock, Sig, Beretta. But anything that anybody thinks screams to be considered here?

It's hard when you feel like you've seen and read it all and some asks what to get. I usaully say one of each, then sell what you don't like. Most folks don't like that method.

03-25-2012, 07:54 PM
Is he completey against a .22lr? If not I'd throw in a Browning Buckmark or Ruger Mark III. Can't think of a much better range/plinking gun than a .22 and you can't beat the price of ammo.

03-25-2012, 08:01 PM
First purchase I generally suggest a 22lr in whatever flavor they prefer.

Ruger MK I, II, III, Browning Buckmark seem to be the choice for semi auto fans. There are others but those two are most often at the top of the list.

There are several revolvers out there and to be honest I haven't any experience with them in 22. Ruger SP101 and I believe they also have a 22 in the GP100 frame and S&W has a couple I would love to try out.

Generally the next handgun I would suggest would be a 357 revolver in 4" version. Something like the Ruger GP100/S&W 686.

I love my K9 but I dunno that I would suggest it to anyone for a range/plinking handgun.. size and sight radius make it difficult to shoot at anything beyond get off me distance. Not that it can not be done just that it is much more difficult tho once mastered...

Mostly your friend needs to put his hands on many handguns and then rent/try a few before he decides which one he wants to purchase.

03-25-2012, 08:29 PM
.22! .22! .22!

That was my first pistol, and quite possibly still the one I enjoy shooting the most. I have turned on many friends and family to buying a .22 as their first pistol and they are just as happy. You dont want him shooting something thats too big. Its hard to get mechanics down as a first time shooter and the nervousness of trying to hold on to a .45 might be a bit much and scare him off.

Here's the argument I make:

1. Best bang for the buck of any gun handsdown. And theres really no arguing that. $20 will get you 2 full days of plinking and FUN.

2. You learn how to shoot without that whole recoil thing I talked about before.

3. You can STILL use your .22 as a home defense and car gun. The great myth of the .22 being a "BB" gun is just hooey (this is where I explain bullet grain, FPS, and the .22 ricochet theory) and the best thing about guns is they hold more than one bullet.

4. The decision you make now will effect your next gun purchase. If he likes the look of a "real" gun, you have the the M&P22 which can can also be a smooth transition to be used to the feel on the M&P9 or 40. If he likes the look of da big bad 1911, go with the Ruger 22/45 because the grip feel will convert right on over just be a little fatter in the forty-five.

If he wants something that looks ******, show him the Ruger MKIII's. Especially the hunter edition....mmmm

I do try to steer people away from Walther P22. I know some of those mechanics went into the M&P22 but everything Ive seen out of the Walther is crap.

Its at least worth having a conversation about. That, is obviously my vote for a first pistol. If he needs visual inspiration here's a picture of my Rug 22/45 with the "Squirrel Assassin" red dot. She can earhole a squirrel from <40 yards. Could do better but Im no expert shooter.

You did bring up good points. Matter of fact Im already thinking about my next ones :)

03-25-2012, 09:03 PM
That's exactly what I've told him, get one of everything he can find in his hand...if possible shoot everything he's considering. That's tough in our area (the shooting part). Only 1 indoor range w/ only a few rentals. He knows quite a few people w/ stuff, and I've offered a range trip w/ my Kahrs, which he seems interested.

We briefly talked .22 and I recommended the Ruger SR22 due to the mechanics. I don't think he wants a true 'target pistol' like the bull barrel mentioned. I also told him to avoid the Walter P22, and I have one. I bought it w/ a specific purpose (PPQ trainer) and was fully aware of the possibility of it coming apart...but I would not recommend one these days w/ the Ruger out there now. I will say I love shooting my P22, just don't think it's the best made .22 out there.

But I get the feeling he doesn't plan on making this a $ spending hobby anytime soon at least. If I had to guess, he's probably not interested in a .22...but I'll mention it again.

He's gun familiar, has shot before, just not recently. From our discussions, he seems to be focused (not in a bad way) on something 9mm because it's relatively cheap to shoot and would/could serve dual or triple purpose if he keeps the size down and capacity up. I don't think a Kahr is going to be the right answer, but he was already interested b/c of the size, so that's why I threw it in the mix and the 9mm focus is where I came up w/ the list above. He mentioned the desire to have a 1911, but I wouldn't make that my only firearm for a number of reasons. I doubt he'll go that route b/c of ammo expense.

While it's always fun to shop and spend for someone else, I'm trying to just let him look and buy on his own...he's probably getting it from every angle and I don't want to be the one that steers him wrong. Everybody is different in what their expectations are and what they ultimately like. Just trying to toss out as many 'good' options as possible and let him pick from there.

Longitude Zero
03-25-2012, 09:07 PM
The smartest advice, bar none is for your friend to go to a gun range that rents many tyupes of weapons and let him/her shoot several. Until then any suggestions you get are just opinions.

03-26-2012, 12:04 AM
Well I wouldnt worry, it sounds like youve done a good job helping him explore his options. Id be happy to have you as a resource in my first buy.

Just like to put it out there :) I cant say anything bad about 9mm tho. Thats the caliber I like to keep in my pistols for the reasons you mentioned above. Coming from Kahr quality you wont let him make a misinformed decision. Good luck to him.

03-26-2012, 08:51 AM
Yep, I'm of the mind if you can't afford to shoot it or don't have the time to invest in practice and range time, you shouldn't buy it. That's just asking for an nasty accident.

And thanks for the compliment. Not sure I agree. I typically start a gun conversation w/o a bias and slowly (and unintentionally) ease into my own personal preferences. It's tough to stay objective. I've pretty much dumped everything to re-buy Kahr...so the longer I go down that path, the less I really know about other options. Yea, a gun is a gun, but brands, calibers, poly vs metal, etc...are religion to some folks.

I'll pass on all of these thoughts.

If anybody has any 9mm recommendations to add to the mix, keep 'em coming.

03-26-2012, 11:36 AM
my range buddy just decided about 30 minutes ago he is dumping his only pistol for an over/under. wants to get more into clay sporting.

So he has for sale a F.N. Herstal FNP-9. All black, bone stock with all accessories and MAYBE 100 rounds thru it. Probably less. Hasnt come up with a price yet but its going to be pretty reasonable compared to NIB, i think he got it from Bud's-- lemme know if interested

03-26-2012, 05:20 PM
Is he completey against a .22lr? If not I'd throw in a Browning Buckmark or Ruger Mark III. Can't think of a much better range/plinking gun than a .22 and you can't beat the price of ammo.

I'll throw in a similar endorsement, with partiality to the BuckMark.

Besides the obvious argument about ammo price, a .22 minimizes the recoil and noise issues too. It would be unfortunate to give a new gun owner a bad experience by having them start out with "too much gun."

Perhaps I'm a wimp, but even now when I want to go out and just have carefree fun shooting, I almost always reach for one of my .22s. Of them, my BuckMark is the easiest gun to clean of any that I own, it's very accurate, it takes about 1/5 the effort to rack the slide compared to my Kahr, and I could pull the SA trigger all day long with no fatigue.

03-26-2012, 05:42 PM
Not certain if your friend is wanting a centerfire or rimfire pistol for this purchase.

If he wants a rimfire, the GSG 1911 is a great little .22. I've been very happy with mine and it's even customizable with "real" 1911 parts. I put VZ grips and a Wilson Combat ambi safety on mine.

For a centerfire pistol, depending on what he wants to spend, some of the Sig line might be of interest to him, along with what others have recommended.

And of course, the best thing that your friend could do is shoot anything that he's thinking of purchasing. We all have our opinions about what feels best and shoots best, but only your buddy can truly determine what works best for him.