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Old 01-12-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
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What is a good starter pistol?

A friend of mine is wanting to buy a pistol, but does not know what kind. What would be a good one to start with? He has very limited experience with firearms.

It should be for personal defense.
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:52 PM   #2
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357 magnun revolver---2-4 inch barrel S-W,Ruger,Rossi or Taurus/38's can be used for practice/becoming familiar with the piece and the mags for defense and possibly hunting
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:19 PM   #3
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I agree a good .357 is a nice place to start. He/she should have someone they trust teach them the basics, such as yourself if you feel competent to the task. Start them out with .38 spl's though until they get used to the recoil.

Also don't try to teach them in a one box of ammo setting.
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:55 AM   #4
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Here's a third vote for a .38/.357 revolver. 4" barrel and adjustable sights. For finish and maker, you can go with the best deal or personal preference as long as you stay with one of the major names--Smith, Colt, Ruger, or Taurus.

Now get some grips that fit the user's hand. If they look good, so much the better. Steer clear of the wide "target" trigger on older Smiths, as it inhibits double action work, but the smooth-faced "combat" Smith trigger is just fine. (Fine, hell--it's damn near perfect.)
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:26 AM   #5
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This question always comes up. After much thought and review of the literature, I'm leaning toward the Bersa .22 LR Automatic.

Now, before you go aghast and agape hear me out.

An introductory pistol should be inexpensive to buy and shoot. It should encourage the new shooter, to SHOOT alot.

There are no really good, inexpensive revolvers in .22 LR anymore. The S&Ws are over $600 list, Ruger isn't currently making one and the imports are of questionable quality.

At $200 the Bersa is relatively inexpensive, very reliable and compact. It is heavy enough for the caliber and is fun to shoot. The exposed hammer is, I believe, safer than a striker fired pistol like the Ruger Mk. III or Buckmark.

The popular alternative is the Walther P22, I own one, but it is complicated by a removeable barrel which must be kept tight and a non-hammer-drop safety on a DA/SA automatic, which I find uncomfortable.

Now, if a center fire caliber is desired, then the .357 Magnum or .38 Special revolver, in either a Ruger or S&W is viable and I own one of each.

Bersa Thunder 22: http://www.bersa-sa.com.ar/Products/Fic ... digo=THU22
S&W 317
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/ ... sFirearm=Y
Walther P22
Ruger Revolver GP-100
http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/ ... 5&return=Y
S&W Revolver Model 10 (The Classic)
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/ ... sFirearm=Y

The revolvers are three times more expensive than the Bersa.

Who has thought long and hard about it.
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Old 01-13-2007, 07:12 AM   #6
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Much as I love my .22 handguns--and I shoot them a LOT--I'm of the school that believes a .22 is not an ideal FIRST handgun for a couple of reasons.

First, If your goal is to master a proper self-defense handgun, these kick and bark and you might as well get used to it, at least on a small scale, right from the beginning. With the .22, you can get away with a sloppy or inconsistent grip or stance. Not so with a "real" handgun. .38 wadcutters in a medium-weight revolver are IMHO just about the perfect ammo to learn on.

Second, the .22's low ammo cost can actually work against it with the brand-new student. Misses don't cost much, so there's not much incentive to master the basics and HIT. If the student is paying 13-25 cents for each and every shot (as opposed to 2c for .22), it tends to concentrate his mind and get him to pay attention to what the instructor is trying to teach him.

Once the basics are mastered and the newbie can get consistent hits--let's say, just to throw out a standard for discussion, 4" groups at 50 feet--then the .22 makes a wonderful trainer for proficiency and skill-building. Even then, though, it's very desirable to put a few shots through a centerfire every range session or two just to remind yourself what you're really dealing with.

Just my opinion, and worth exactly what you paid for it.
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:26 AM   #7
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What the other's said

FWIW - Your friend already has an up on others, provided you're his lead, for proper terms of engagement

I like the .22 idea, however when he observes you shooting a larger bore . . . you know where I'm going. You also wanted to have the self defense role fulfilled ?

Do you have a nearby indoor range that rent's firearms ? Sounds like a good dose of intro /handling/exposure would be in order. .38 Special and 9mm Parabellum chamberings work well for this role.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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Once again, you guys are the best. Thank you for all of the great info.

My friend has never shot any thing in his life except for the 7.62X25 TT33 Tokarev that I own. He wants something for, mainly, home defence and I really didn't know what to tell him.

Thanks guys!

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Old 01-13-2007, 02:07 PM   #9
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A .22 handgun and a .38 Special/.357 Magnum or 9mm. If he is able to afford only one gun, then the bigger bore. Ruger GP or SP, Ruger KP95, Glock17/19, etc.- reliable, easy to use, and spare part/accessories(to the extent necessary) are readily available and not expensive. A good quality handgun also has better resale/trade-in value in case he wants something else down the road.
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:34 PM   #10
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Amen to resale value, timjo. For most people, a first handgun will be a sentimental favorite, or a weepy-eyed memory, but there is that rare instance in which you'll want to get rid of your first, and be glad to see it go.
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:28 PM   #11
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One more thing others haven't really touched on...some guys go for the big junk right off the bat, and develope a flinch thats hard to overcome. I did the same thing, like an idiot. Had to have a .45! I didn't get good with it till after I got a .380, and lost the flinch. I can shoot a revolver better than an auto, but autos are more fun to shoot. I would agree with the others about the .357mag revolver. .38specs are what, $7 a box from cabelas? You won't break the bank. Plus, .38spec +p can be had too. The GP100 is very comfortable, and would be my choice. and don't forget to practice ALOT.
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