Here is the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Brandon asks: I know firearms aren’t exactly the domain of this site, but I value the opinion of you and your readers. I shot a gun for the first time recently, and now I have to learn the intricacies of this industry to buy my first firearm. I fired a .45 APC Glock, and though it was fun and exhilarating, I progressively got worse and worse with my aim as time went on. The trigger seemed to get harder to pull and my grip on the gun was getting worse and worse. I tried a 9mm Glock as well and the recoil didn’t seem much different to me. Next time I’m going to try a gun without a trigger guard. Anyway, I was wondering, which brand(s) is the “Toyota” of this industry, and which is the “GM”?Also, 9mm, 40, or 45? Just your preference and experience.
My reply: I’m hoping others will jump in because I’m far from an expert on guns. But, I am a gun owner and will give you my opinions, for what they’re worth.
First, there is a learning a curve – very much as there is with cars. Starting with a .45 (regardless of brand) or even a 9 mm is arguably “too much” for a new shooter. As you’ve discovered, the .45 especially can be difficult to shoot accurately, consistently, because of the recoil. The gun tends to pitch up after each shot.
I’d recommend learning to shoot- becoming proficient at shooting – with a smaller caliber pistol such as the excellent .22 Ruger (I have one). It is kind of like learning to ride on a 250 CC bike except you will not outgrow the Ruger. It is a fun gun to shoot – and .22 ammo is cheap – so you’ll be inclined to shoot more often.
Once you’re ready for a larger gun, you will want to test drive several. Again just like a car. There are small and large frame guns of all calibers, single and double stack, revolvers, different triggers, etc. Visit a good gun shop – one that has a large selection and a knowledgeable staff – and tell them your deal, ask them for advice. They will – they should – let you handle a variety of different guns, to get a sense of how they feel in your hand, their weight and so on.
This will help you narrow things down.
As far as brand recommendations:
I personally love my SigSauer .45 pistol. It is exceptionally accurate and – to me – a work of art. But it’s a big, heavy gun – with powerful recoil. This is ok for me because I’m a pretty big guy and I lift weights so my hand/grip strength is good. Sig also makes the same basic gun in 9 mm and other calibers. These are, however, top-of-the-line guns and priced accordingly.
I also have some very reliable, well-built smaller guns that are not works of art but are great deals and also easy to manage. One of these is a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver; a snubbie (short barrel/small frame). This is a rock-solid reliable gun that is very safe to carry (almost no chance of accidentally firing it) and also inexpensive – about $320 brand new. It makes an excellent “carry” gun as it easily fits in a pocket or other concealed place. Mine has a “hammerless” profile for just this purpose, so the hammer does not get caught on clothing, etc. This gun also has good stopping power – cops used to carry .38 specials very much like this one.
Another gun I’ve had for years and like a lot is my Bersa Thunder .380 – basically, a copy of the famous Walther PPK. It is also a good (reliable) gun that can be used to carry purposes, though the .380 (9 mm “short”) doesn’t have a lot of punch. But definitely better than nothing.
Now it’s time for others to chime in!
. . .
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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