General Question

Randy's avatar

Any advice on choosing a handgun?

Asked by Randy (11199points) February 28th, 2010

I’m going to buy a handgun soon. I’ve owned my share of firearms but never a handgun. I don’t want anything too small, such as a .22 pistol, but I don’t want a gun that’s going to have ammunition that’s so expensive that I can’t afford to shoot it. At the moment, I’m leaning toward a Glock 31 which is a .357.

I guess what I’m looking for is input on the Glock 31 or any other suggestions for someone buying their first handgun. I’d like to stay under $1,000 also.

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59 Answers

mrrich724's avatar

I got a Springfield XD 40, which uses S&W 40 cal ammo. The ammo is affordable to shoot at a range, the gun was $550 (in California, so that’s actually a high price), and I love it.

When I take it to the range, guys always approach me to use it. A guy let me shoot his glock 40, and we both agreed that mine just feels and shoots a little better (mine is stock, he upgraded the grips on his)

Also, my brother-in-law has the Springfield XD45, and he love his too.

Ammo on mine goes from $15 to $25 a box (50 rounds) at the range, and the really good stuff (for home protection) cost me $35 for a box of 50. But since it’s only for home protection, I will NEVER go through that box in my lifetime.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

For carry or general plinking?

I don’t really carry but I love my glock 26.

jeschge's avatar

buy something usefull instead…

Seek's avatar

Yeah, I can think of a million things I’d rather spend a grand on, than a death machine.

john65pennington's avatar

Glock 40 is an excellent weapon and used by most police departments. it has the knockdown power with a lot less recoil that a 45 calibre.

Randy's avatar

@mrrich724 I like what I’m seeing from the Springfileds and they seem to have great reviews. I’ll definitely take them into consideration.

@ARE_you_kidding_me Not to carry. I don’t see myself carrying a gun around.

@Seek_Kolinahr They’re only a death machine if you use them as such. Even a candle stick can be a death machine according to the game of clue.

@john65pennington I looked at the Glock 40. The reason I chose the 31 over the 40 is because I could put a .40 barrel in the 31 to give myself the two calibers to choose from.

judochop's avatar

I second the Springfield. I just fired one a few days ago. Very, very nice. And can I add, if you do not like or understand firearms then please stay the hell out of the thread. Jesus people. He is not buying a gun to go shoot a living thing. Marksmanship shooting is a sport, you will see it in the summer olympics.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

.38 snub nose with hammer guard. Cheap, reliable, portable, concealable, slips out of a pocket easily with the hammer guard… and you can easily throw it away if you ever have to.

CsC's avatar

definitely the Glock 40, its an amazing gun

nikipedia's avatar

I mean this as a completely serious question—can you explain why you would ever want such a deadly, dangerous thing in your home?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I can’t speak for Randy, but as for myself, the gun is not the most deadly dangerous thing in my home…

I am.

TexasDude's avatar

Good lord… there is a lot of ignorance in this thread.

Go for a GLOCK 17 or 19, or a Colt 1911 A1. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Your first concern should be one that is easy for you to use that fits your hand.

Or you can be like me and get a more stylish handgun.

Randy's avatar

@nikipedia No, it’s a joke question… Ya got me…~

Thanks so far everyone. I’m researching all your suggestions as we speak.

Cruiser's avatar

I might suggest a .357 revolver as they are very reliable and you can shoot dirt cheap .38 caliber ammo in them perfect for range practice.

CMaz's avatar

Comes down to if you are going to carry it or not.

CMaz's avatar

I think the 1911 is a sweet gun too. I have two of them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@fiddle playing creole bastard-Thanks! Guns are great fun :)))
@ChazMaz-I really want an M1 Garand though.I have to wait for my friend to die before I get his though :( lol!

TexasDude's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille, ZOMG another Flutherite who doesn’t go cry in a corner any time someone starts speaking positively about guns. I like you already.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard -Thank you!—said in the voice of Charleton Heston ;)))

Randy's avatar

@ChazMaz Na, I don’t plan on carrying it.

@lucillelucillelucille NICE!

aeschylus's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille YES! I love the 1911 style .45. Perfect general-purpose gun, and about as classy as they come.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I must agree with your ignorance comment. No one has a right to feel safe as long as other people (and animals) inhabit the Earth. Ultimately, an individual is responsible for their own defense, and there is nothing wrong with being prepared.

I had a friend living in a seedy neighborhood of Chicago whose gun saved his life, and those of his wife and children. He was watching television late one night when he heard some footsteps and hushed voices outside his apartment door. He went to the living-room cabinet to get his .40 and waited in the dark in the room adjacent to the entrance. Then, two armed men broke the door and came in, both armed, wearing doo-rags and masks. He shot each one in the head. The police didn’t even take him in for questioning.

CMaz's avatar

Then get a Magnum Research Desert Eagle.

Me, I love my Russian Makarov 9×18 but I carry a North American.

TexasDude's avatar

@aeschylus, Exactly. Try telling that to 90% of the people who answer gun questions on here though. I’m willing to bet that most of them would rather watch their families get raped/shot/stabbed/etc. than even think of using a gun to defend themselves. And they still insist that their anti-gun/anti-self defense stance is somehow morally superior to our viewpoints about being prepared in a dangerous world.

DrBill's avatar

I us a 20mm mini-gun, just right for home defense.

Let people know you have one, and they will not give you a reason to use it.

mrrich724's avatar

LOL, “throw it away if you have to”, OMG.

CMaz's avatar

“I really want an M1 Garand though.”

I have an Inland M1 Carbine.

TexasDude's avatar

@ChazMaz, I’m getting a Garand sometime later this year after my bank account recovers from buying my Mauser C96. I’m getting it in honor of my grandad who served in the army in the 50’s

DarkScribe's avatar

I have a Glock 34 and a Glock 19. The two of them are the most inaccurate handguns I have ever owned, but they are easy to carry all day without discomfort.

I don’t know why the disdain for a .22. They are light, accurate and very effective at stopping – you don’t need to kill, just disable. One round is a warning, several in rapid succession stops anything that isn’t armoured.

mammal's avatar

yes go play with your Penis.

TexasDude's avatar

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, @mammal.

DarkScribe's avatar

@mammal _

yes go play with your Penis.

I thought that penile envy was supposed to be a girl thing.

Nullo's avatar

A gun is as dangerous and deadly as a kitchen knife, and only marginally moreso than a skillet. You keep one in order to encourage avaricious unwanted guests (and wild animals, depending on your area) to leave.

Beretta makes a pistol that is longer in the handle than in the barrel. Beyond that… there are no words for how ignorant you sound.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Do you plan to carry? You won’t have to leave the Ruger LCP at home.

JeffVader's avatar

Here’s my advice….... dont!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ve carried an M1911 my whole adult life, recently shifting to a G30 for concealed carry (this lightweight .45 ACP has a nasty recoil though). If you reload ammo, the cost of retail commercial ammo disappears as an issue. Depending on your type preference, I’d recommend a large-frame semiauto in .40 or .45ACP (the .45 ACP ammo can be cheaper), small-frame semiauto in 9mm, a large frame revolver in .357 or .44 magnum (you can shoot .38 SPL or .44 SPL for lighter recoil), or a small-frame revolver in .38 SPL.

My wife was very small (100 lbs), her preference was a Walther PPKS in .380. This is not really an adequate round, but was the most recoil she could comfortable handle in a purse-sized weapon.

In the wood, I carry a Ruger Super Blackhawk (.44 Mag) in a shoulder holster. This is bear or crazy Bullwinkle medicine or a signalling device.

CMaz's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land – You are the man!

I have a Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt.

DarkScribe's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I’ve carried an M1911 my whole adult life

I still have 1911a that I have had since my military service, it has been “accurised” but is still an overly heavy weapon for extended concealed carry. (Nowadays I have no real reason for concealed so it is no longer an issue.) I shoot at my local pistol club at least fortnightly and every now and then I will take it down and let the others laugh at me. I really prefer a lighter, higher velocity weapon for shooting, but as I am unlikely to need to stop a car or annihilate someone with one shot, I don’t really go for the heavy magnum loads. You can kill a croc witjh a Browning 9 mm, that’s good enough.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@ChazMaz The Ruger single-action is the best. The transfer bar system allows you to safely carry all six chambers loaded.

@DarkScribe I carried as a soldier for 29 years, size and concealability were not issues. After retiring, I chose the Glock 30 as it was concealable and fires a round I’m familiar with. I spend a lot of time in the woods, I need something that will stop a bear or moose, so I go with the .44 Mag with an 8½” barrel. My “home protection” weapon is still the M1911.

semblance's avatar

A .357 is a good choice in ammunition. Enough power without costing too much, either for the gun or the ammunition.

In my opinion though a revolver is a much better choice than any semi-automatic handgun. Yes, semis carry more rounds and you can shoot them slightly faster than a revolver. However, what matters not is who shoots the fastest or has the most bullets but who has the most reliable operating handgun and who shoots straightest. All semis jam from time to time. Revolvers pretty much can’t. If you ever might use a handgun in a crisis situation then a double action revolver is a virtually foolproof weapon. It won’t jam and you won’t be fumbling over things like the safety and whether it is cocked. You can claim that you can eliminate those problems with training, but there is a world of difference between practice and what you have to do when you are dealing with the adrenaline rush of fear.

Having had to fire a handgun – only once, thankfully – in a crisis situation I am happy that it was a .38 Smith & Wesson. One shot was enough. My current handgun is a .357 S&W and I have no plans to change in this lifetime.

bhec10's avatar

@ChazMaz How many guns do you have ?!?!

CMaz's avatar


And, I do the right things to properly posses them.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@semblance Good advice for the newbie. I like the way you think. +GA

semblance's avatar


Thank you!

Nullo's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille You can still find some surplus M1s at gun shows, being sold through private dealers.
There’s a certain emphasis in those circles on tracking the parts of the gun. Finding one that still has all of its original hardware (that is, without having broken bits swapped out over the last 65 years or so). As with all collectibles, the intact originals are going to cost a bit more.

Nullo's avatar

Ah, I see that I didn’t complete my thought. It’s supposed to say, ” Finding one that still has all of its original hardware (that is, without having broken bits swapped out over the last 65 years or so) is something of a big deal.”

CMaz's avatar

If you want to spend big money. Excellent shape. Matching numbers.
Leave those for the hard core collectors. Unless that is what you want. But you will pay a premium for it.

If you want a good shooting gun that won’t cost you much.
You will get a refurbished usually with mismatched numbered parts.
Most military surplus is that way.

Randy's avatar

I ended up getting a SW99 .40. I got it for a little over $400, tax and everything, and it feels great in my hands. Anyone ever fired one or know anything special that I should know? Opinions? From what I have read on the internet, people either love or hate them. I’ll let you guys know how I like it after I fire a some rounds through it next weekend.

TexasDude's avatar

@Randy, I put a magazine through one once. My ex-girlfriend’s dad has one and he let me shoot it. The recoil is a little sharp, but I found the ergonomics to be comfortable enough to counteract this. That’s all I can really say about it, but I think you did well. Now go buy some ammo and get some training.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m having my G30 Magnaported, 3½ lb trigger pull and laser installed. The Magnaport job should help hold the muzzle down.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar


I have found glocks to be some of the most accurate handguns period and most everyone I have met that has fired one would agree 100%.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me @DarkScribe Glocks are very accurate for their intended purpose, service or defense weapon. For centerfire competition use, my Gold Cup will outscore anything made, but the accurization mods have tightened the weapon to the point that I don’t consider it reliable enough for defense. If you just want to punch paper targets for proficiency, get a Ruger .22 , A High Standard or Colt Woodsman. Remember that the Glock rifling system is only compatable with jacketed ammunition (its “rifling” is actually a twisted hexagon like the old British Whitworth target rifles of 150 years ago).

CMaz's avatar

I have been looking at this gun. It is slick.
Kel-Tec PMR-30

TexasDude's avatar

@ChazMaz, I’m planning on getting one. It reminds me of a poor-man’s FiveseveN.

Randy's avatar

Absolutly AMAZING gun! It felt great, I never had a problem with jamming, it was easily controlled as far as recoil and everyhing was sighted in great for me. It’s a great gun.

DarkScribe's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land ARE_you_kidding_me @DarkScribe Glocks are very accurate for their intended purpose

Maybe – if throwing one at a target counts. (And you have a good arm.)

If they are accurate, why are there so few of them used in club shoots? Many of the people in the clubs that I belong to own one, (most are Police) but they sure don’t use them in competition. Maybe for someone with just a need for general protection they might be fine, but they are NOT accurate or consistent. Perhaps you have not had experience of a truly accurate handgun? I own and use a couple of Glocks, they are not faulty in any way, but they cannot match many other handguns I own or have used in competition. They were not designed to be extremely accurate, even Glock doesn’t claim so, they were designed for utility.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@DarkScribe That’s why I use a Colt Gold Cup in competition. My service M1911 Colt is no more accurate than the Glocks, it actually rattles if shaken, but is supremely reliable. A 3” group at 10 yards is good enough to save your life, especially with .45 ACP rounds.

echotech10's avatar

My recommendation….the Glock 19…uses 9mm Luger (aka: 9×19, 9mm parabellum) 9mm ammo is readily available, and is a very reliable round, and usually has a 15-round magazine. that is a great firearm…If you want a revolver….Smith & Wesson Model 637, uses .38 special, and it is also readily available, as well as small enough for concealed carry (2” barrel, 5-round capacity) and can handle +P ammo as well…if you want something smaller….Ruger LCP…uses .380 ACP ammo (aka: 9mm Kurz, 9×17). Hope this helped.

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