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Posted: 5/23/2005 1:24:01 PM EDT
I am planning on purchasing my first handgun in the next month. I've seen plenty that I like and have read a lot of opinions on semi-auto however my question to the experts is this

This will be my first, and therefore probably what I want for home defense. I have a brother who is a policeman who recommended a revolver because of the simplicity of the action and reliability. The last thing I want is to depend on anything that can be picky or problematic. That being said I really like the Kimber 1911 types. What advice do you have for me ?

Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:27:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 1:34:32 PM EDT by HardShell]

Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
... That being said I really like the Kimber 1911 types. What advice do you have for me ?




Follow your gut. (Kimbers are fine 1911s IMHO.)

One can learn any firearms system with training & practice. This is your first handgun, so pick what you like, want, etc. - what appeals to you IOW. The more you like it, the more you will shoot it, the better you will shoot it over time, and so on...

Best of luck!


Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:31:44 PM EDT
Your brothers advice was wise, my first handgun was a S&W 686 4" .357 and most of my home defense guns are revolvers.

However if you feel confident enough in your ability to learn the excentricities of a 1911 I see no point in trying to discourage you. Kimber makes a very good product and handled properly it will server you well.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:37:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:39:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sysop:
Your brothers advice was wise, my first handgun was a S&W 686 4" .357 and most of my home defense guns are revolvers.

However if you feel confident enough in your ability to learn the excentricities of a 1911 I see no point in trying to discourage you. Kimber makes a very good product and handled properly it will server you well.




Tell me more of the excentricities.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:41:16 PM EDT
Are you a regular shooter?

Do you already have a routine of going to the range??

Unless you are going to dedicate yourself to learning all that goes with defensive use of an auto, go with the revolver.

Yeah, it's purdy. BUT, that won't matter when it jams on you and you don't know how to clear a stovepipe or FTF.

Without training or a sincere dedication to practice and develope skills, the auto would be a mistake in my opinion.

Good luck, report back, and of course... post pics!
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:42:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 19suburban96:

Originally Posted By sysop:
Your brothers advice was wise, my first handgun was a S&W 686 4" .357 and most of my home defense guns are revolvers.

However if you feel confident enough in your ability to learn the excentricities of a 1911 I see no point in trying to discourage you. Kimber makes a very good product and handled properly it will server you well.




Tell me more of the excentricities.



Long story short: Some 1911's (remember, they're made by eleventybillion different companies) may need a bit of tweaking. Generally, at worst, you'll polish the feedramp, replace the extractor, and adjust the trigger.


If I were you, I'd get a Springfield 'loaded' 1911 instead of the Kimber, but that's just my opinion.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:45:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 1:45:55 PM EDT by ALPHAGHOST]
get the KIMBER

or any quality 1911
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:46:37 PM EDT

Your brothers advice was wise

That said, any of the major manufacturers provide good options. If I were you I would go to a range that rents guns so you can fire a few and see which you like to shoot best. If you dislike shooting your choice you will probably shoot it less. Whatever you end up with, as always, the key is learning the ins and outs of the system.

Cheers
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:47:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By arowneragain:

If I were you, I'd get a Springfield 'loaded' 1911 instead of the Kimber, but that's just my opinion.



nationwide concurs
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:19:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:33:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 19suburban96:

Originally Posted By sysop:
Your brothers advice was wise, my first handgun was a S&W 686 4" .357 and most of my home defense guns are revolvers.

However if you feel confident enough in your ability to learn the excentricities of a 1911 I see no point in trying to discourage you. Kimber makes a very good product and handled properly it will server you well.




Tell me more of the excentricities.



Well unlike most handguns available today they are single action only and designed to be kept with one round in the chamber cocked with the hammer safety on. Many people are uncomfortable with this. They also have a grip safety.

So when drawing a 1911 style pistol you have to get into the habbit of disengaging the hammer safety while you are indexing.

1911's are comparatively harder to disassemble and then re-assemble.

None of these differences are impossible to get used too or learn even for a first time handgun owner. It just depends on how much time and effort you want to devote to the task.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:44:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:53:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shadowblade:

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By arowneragain:

If I were you, I'd get a Springfield 'loaded' 1911 instead of the Kimber, but that's just my opinion.



nationwide concurs



I'd have to agree as well. I have 2 Springfields and 2 Kimbers.

Springfield #1 - loaded model - replaced extractor, now runs 100% even with cheap mags
Springfield #2 - milspec model - 100% from day 1, heavily modified now and still runs 100% with the cheap mags

Kimbers #1 and 2 - both RCPs from the Kimber custom shop using Wilson mags - I bought for carry, and cannot carry them because they are too unreliable. FTEs, FTFs, lucky to get through 3 mags without a problem. Replaced extractors, polished ramps and chambers, still won't run. For a gun with a $1200 retail, they sure do suck. Next step is to send them back to the custom shop, but shipping is outrageous from AK so I am holding off.



$1200 retail for a Kimber? Where are you buying these Kimbers that you have been having so much trouble with?

I own 4 Kimbers and have owned 2 others and I only ever had a problem with one of them. I sent it back to the Factory and they fixed it + sent me a free denim shirt for my troubles.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:58:31 PM EDT
How much did you want/have to spend?
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 3:31:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DocGun:
How much did you want/have to spend?



I don't want to spend any more than I have to, but I could go to about 650 to 700 if I know i'm getting something good
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 4:04:45 PM EDT
If you can go a little higher (less than $800) search Gunbroker and AuctionArms for a Kimber 25th Anniversary Custom.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 4:05:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 4:07:15 PM EDT by blackta6]
If you have a large hand a Beretta 92 or 96 would be another auto to look into, the safeties save many a LE's lives and they are well known for quality. Besides the 1911 it is the only other handgun that has seen service in the military for three decades. I own a 92 and am comfotable with it, but my wife can not. She has problems with the handgrip being too large and the dual action pull of the trigger is to strong for her to accuratly use. They cost about what you want to spend, and if you find one that is a police trade you can save a few $$$. There are some pros and cons on the only other handgun I would own, the other is a Charles Daly 1911 that I have put too much money into. I should have saved longer and went with a name brand!

Oh, if you can't find a range that rents guns, put up a post in your hometown forum and see if anyone lives near by that would be willing to instruct on use and maybe let you fire off a few rounds.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 4:28:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 4:28:28 PM EDT by NickDrak]
Whichever handgun you decide to get, make sure to get some serious training with it, and get at least 1,000rds. of trigger time with it. Start looking for a qualified defensive pistol course in your area. If you decide to go with the revolver you may have a harder time finding a course that is structured toward a revolver as most courses are more semi-auto friendly. But im sure you can find something.

As far as a 1911 goes, I would recommend that you avoid the external extractor Kimbers. Im sure there will be plenty of folks who are gonna jump all over this thread and say their external extractor Kimbers have all been 100% and thats great for them, but the fact remains that many, including myself, have had alot of problems with their external extractors. It seems that Kimber may have resolved the problems that the original external extractor design was causing, but thats still not enough for me to recommend one of them to anyone, especially to someone that is looking for their first pistol. That being said, I would recommend that you get a Kimber 1911 with the internal extractor, or any of the other brand 1911 pistols recommended above (Springfield) without hesitation.

A new Kimber Warrior with a weaponlight would be a nice home defense set-up, but not cheap

Whatever you choose, make sure you train with it!!!
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 4:31:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 4:32:29 PM EDT by NickDrak]

Originally Posted By 19suburban96:

Originally Posted By DocGun:
How much did you want/have to spend?



I don't want to spend any more than I have to, but I could go to about 650 to 700 if I know i'm getting something good



I would recommend Gunbroker also if you really want a 1911.

You might be able to find a used series-1 internal extractor Kimber for around that price if you really look.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 4:34:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2005 4:36:41 PM EDT by SP1Grrl]
I have a .357 in my closet for home protection. I don't like it near as much as I like my 1911, but I think it would be easier for me to handle in case of an emergency. It's the 'oh shit' factor. I tend to panic in some situations, and I think that if it were to ever happen, it would be easier for me not to have to deal with the slide in case my hands were shaky.

ETA: You probably wouldn't have that problem, so I'd go with a good 1911.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 7:15:19 PM EDT
i'm going to give a slightly dissenting opinion here i think.

my nod would go to the sig p226 in 9mm. i would also recommend the usp series, but in this case i would lean to the sig.

with it, you have a damned reliable gun with no tweaking whatsoever. as your first gun, you'll want to shoot a lot. and with that, 9mm is about as good as it gets in functional centerfire cartridges. dirt cheap. .45 is a LOT harder on the wallet, and you'll notice it. you may not think much of it now, as i didn't with my first .40s&w, but after a few thousand rounds you start thinking "hey, i could be shooting a lot more for the same cash".

the sig has no safety, so like a revolver, less to "fumble with" when deploying. add in a couple 15-round mags and some 124-gr +p gold dots, and you have a recipe for a damned fine defensive gun. and, while sigs are fairly pricey, they will still cost you less than a kimber (unless you get the x-five, of course ).

kimber's are fine weapons, but i'd go with a springfield over a kimber. if nothing else, you can have a lot of custom goodies slapped in and still be cheaper than a kimber. and it will run just fine. if you want a damn nice 1911 that needs no extras, i'd look at dan wesson. they are around the same $'s as a loaded springer, some slightly more for the upper models. the nicest production trigger i've yet come across, damn fine fitting, and good looks.

i just recently got my first 1911, an sa loaded, and i'm very pleased with it thus far (~200 rds no failures). they're an excellent platform, but there are refinements in the higher end modern autos (like sig, hk, beretta) that make them more appealing for defensive use (like ergonomics and general hands-off reliability).

revolvers, i like s&w 686 and ruger gp100, but really that's the only revolvers i've had any experience with.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 7:57:45 PM EDT
Alright, before anyone scares you away from a 1911, I'd like to add that field stripping one is not tough. As a matter of fact it's not a whole hell of a lot different than most of the afforementioned firearms, except that it doesn't have a captive spring on the guide rod. If American GI's could handle it for the better part of a century, I think you'll be able to handle it too.

The singe action trigger of a 1911 makes precison marksmanship easy. The addition of a .22 conversion like the Marvel Unit would go a long way towards learning trigger control.

As far as the safety thing goes, remember that if you learn a proper draw and grip then the safety snaps off almost automatically. Get a high grip, thumb on safety, and when you squeeze your hands together it should click off from the pressure of your hands. It's really easy and can be mastered with an empty gun from the comfort of a living room while watching TV.

I'm a fan of 1911's and Glocks. If a 9mm is an option, I'd give some serious thought to a Glock 19. IMHO, a Glock 19 comes as close to the do everything gun as anything on the market today. I used to have USP's but just couldn't make them work as well as my Glocks and 1911's.

A wheelgun would be a fine choice as well.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 9:46:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Suggest you go to a shooting range that rents handguns and try them out, then make up your mind.

Tj



+1

Everyone is different and what I like in a defensive handgun you may hate. Finding a range that rents guns shouldn't be too hard, check the phone book and call around. Personally I like revolvers for their simplicity and their looks. (That said my next gun will probably be a semi-auto.)
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 4:37:24 AM EDT
IMHO the following are generally my recommendations for beginner's handguns:

1. Air soft, BB, or pellet pistol
bottom end very cheap (<$30) , can practice indoors

2. DA revolver in .22lr
simple, cheap ammo, with mild recoil
Taurus 94 used ~$200

3. Semi-auto in .22lr
good for beginner if you plan to move up to center fire semi-auto later
Ruger Mk II is safe to dry fire
conversion kit for full size handgun**

4. DA revolver in .357/.38spl - steel frame, 4" barrel
practice with mild .38spl loads
best beginner center-fire handgun IMHO - expecially when combined with desire for self-
defense use. (KISS DA revolver operation - pull trigger "BANG" if no bang, pull trigger again)

5. full-size Semi-auto in 9mm
mild recoil and least expensive ammo


**As was previously mentioned, one option is getting a full size semi-auto that has a .22 conversion kit available for it. (Most Glocks, some Beretta's, Taurus', CZ/EAA, and possibly a few more). The conversion kit can be as much as some .22lr pistols, but this way you can become more familiar with the same grip and controls.

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 6:14:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MartinR:
IMHO the following are generally my recommendations for beginner's handguns:

1. Air soft, BB, or pellet pistol
bottom end very cheap (<$30) , can practice indoors

2. DA revolver in .22lr
simple, cheap ammo, with mild recoil
Taurus 94 used ~$200

3. Semi-auto in .22lr
good for beginner if you plan to move up to center fire semi-auto later
Ruger Mk II is safe to dry fire
conversion kit for full size handgun**

4. DA revolver in .357/.38spl - steel frame, 4" barrel
practice with mild .38spl loads
best beginner center-fire handgun IMHO - expecially when combined with desire for self-
defense use. (KISS DA revolver operation - pull trigger "BANG" if no bang, pull trigger again)

5. full-size Semi-auto in 9mm
mild recoil and least expensive ammo


**As was previously mentioned, one option is getting a full size semi-auto that has a .22 conversion kit available for it. (Most Glocks, some Beretta's, Taurus', CZ/EAA, and possibly a few more). The conversion kit can be as much as some .22lr pistols, but this way you can become more familiar with the same grip and controls.




I agree with Martin. You need to learn to shoot before you complicate matters with cartridges that have much recoil. Your initial satisfaction will be much greater and your learning curve steeper when you take the time to learn the basics first.

Also consider the cost, It takes a lot of shooting to get good with a pistol. For the cost of 50 centerfire cartridges you can buy over 500 .22 LR cartridges.

Kent
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:57:02 AM EDT
Not knowing what your experience and comfort level is with handguns, it is pretty tough to help you with your decision. Just because this is the first handgun you are purchasing, doesn't mean that you don't have a lot of trigger time with guns your friends or family owns.

That said, it is very hard to argue the reliability and simplicity of a good revolver. As confident as I feel with any of the semi autos I own, the one gun that stays loaded and next to me in the bedroom is my 357 mag revolver. Caliber debate aside, the revolver, IMHO, is a better platform for the average person to rely on in a stressful situation. No safety to worry about, double action means if you have a failed primer strike you pull the trigger again and fire without having to rack a slide, and there are fewer parts to malfunction at an inopportune time.

They are not as "sexy" for most people, and some will argue that the reduced capacity is a negative, but 6 or 7 rounds of 357 mag is more than enough to stop an intruder if you do your part.

As stated above, rent some guns at the range and decide what feels best in your hand and what you can shoot most accurately. Then determine what the best platform is for you to rely on for protection.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:05:11 PM EDT
My only real experience was in the military when I qulified with a .45. Needless to say far from real trigger time as far as handguns are concerned
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 4:42:10 PM EDT
yeah the 1911 is a great gun, and i've never shot a kimber, but I'm sure that would be an excellent choice....however while its not a super tough gun to master, if you're not planning on really doing a lot of practice shooting, you're probably better off with a nice S&W 357 686
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 5:23:49 PM EDT
I second the motion of going and tryin some out first. Try a hipower while you're at it. My dad has one and it is very nice. I learned on a ruger .22 and a taurus 9mm. I like them both. I shoot a 1911 now. It kicks a hair more than a 9 but is definitely more expensive to shoot. You can't beat $5 a box for 9mm. Winchester white box. If you've shot handguns alot already, than a 1911 would probably be alright. But again, go shoot some and see what you think. If you need something for home defense, borrow your grandpa's side by side 12 or 20 gauge for now and learn how to shoot and manipulate the handguns fairly well. Or even better yet your .30-30. Heck, you really can't beat a .30-30 lever action. We all just love all these other guns. I'll probably get flamed for about 3 statements in there but I stand firm to what I said.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 9:09:24 PM EDT
I'd second the 357/38 revolver.

2nd choice also a full size 9mm of any type. enough power for any human target coming into your home and cheap ammo.

I had a glock 19 as my first gun. Loved it and never had a problem with it.

oh yes and get one that feels good in your hands.
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