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Posted: 6/1/2003 12:54:22 PM EDT
I want to add a 9mm to my collection and need a firearm that my wife feels comfortable to shoot. Two that I have considered are the Beretta 92 and the S&W 99. The Berreta is around $575 and hi caps are easy to come by. The S&W is around $475 and no hi caps are available to my knowledge. The S&W also has the interchangeable backstraps for different sized hands that would work well for both of us!

I live in Massachusetts and unfortunately not all manufacturers sell in this state but would like to get some feed back on any 9mm that you can recomend.

Thanks for the info.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 1:39:40 PM EDT
Id take your wife to a gunshop and let her handle the Beretta and if it feels good in her hands that is the way I would go! You cant go wrong with the Beretta 92FS in my view, I love it and the recoil is so light that even my wife enjoys shooting it. Another good place to look is the Springfield XD9, its grip is smaller then the Berettas and you can use XD40 mags as legal hi-caps.

BKVic
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 1:43:10 PM EDT
Ok, I'll bite, just let me get my nomex on for the flame fest.

Ready.

I dont like beretta 92's. I think theyre too large and dont fit my hand well. However, those that shoot them in competition generally do well and they are accurate.

S&W auto's suck. None of the 'high speed, low drag' types use them. No one good uses them in competition. Obviously there is/are reason(s) as to why. S&W 99 might be ok, but if not you'll have to deal with their crappy repairs department. If you like the design - hold out for a walther.

Glocks: Ugly, not overy pleasing to the eye, sitting the political gun control fence. In 9mm are VERY reliable, light weight (a big deal if youre carrying it) and accurate. These plastic melted down barbie pistols are the energizer bunny of pistols! My 'practice only' Model 34 has over 80K rounds thru it. I replaced a broken extractor at 50K rounds. About every 6K, new recoil spring, that's it.

Sig 228: Heavier than similar sized glocks, more accurate, same great reliability. Expensive, but what's your life worth if you need to use it. My wife loves it. About 25K rounds thru it and no probs so far.

Browning Highpower: Probably the best ergonomic 9mm handgun ever made. Accurate, mags are easy to get. Single action = cocked and locked carry (makes some people nervous).

So go to a gun store, see what fits both you and your wife's hands (ie, the pistol is confortable and the sights line up with out much, if any manupulation) and buy it. As long as its a glock, a sig or a Browning Highpower.

Just my opinion
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 3:14:41 PM EDT
I would say go for the Beretta. The weight of a full sized pistol makes recoil very low and your sight picture recovers very well for following shots. It will eat anything and place it on target. A very solid pistol with mags and parts widely available. It's double action pull is a + if you ever get a misfire, strike it again. Thinner grips are available if she thinks it is too big. Warning on the Hi-Power, have her shoot it first. They feel sweet but have a rather sharp recoil to them compared to other 9's. They may not be happy with some ammo types. Glocks are functional but I donn't like strikers because you HAVE to cycle the slide to cock them. They shoot well. Triggers are unique and tend to make your finger sore at the range. Be VERY careful with finger control as there is no manual safety. Carried a 1st Gen from 89 to 94. Donn't like Sigs, you either love them or hate them but again would have her shoot one first. Not worth the price IMO. Stay away from the Sigma, they are the plague. Otherwise any S&W will serve you well. Donn't like the mag disconnect safety though. For a range or house gun one of the Ruger P series is dirt cheap. Sturdy and accurate but abit clunky compared to the rest. Never had any experience with CZ but you might check them out. That about covers it for high cap full sized auto's.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 3:20:25 PM EDT
I'm gonna hve to second the Hi-Power. I have yet to run across something designed by browning that doesn't fit the bill perfectly.

The beretta 92 is just too big... especially for a puny 9mm.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 3:26:37 PM EDT
Another vote for the Browning. It has the smallest grip of just about any hi-cap 9mm, the ergonomics are outstanding, and the all steel construction and low sitting single action design get you low recoil. Not to mention 68 years of military proven reliability.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 4:13:44 PM EDT
The Beretta 92FS is a pretty good pistol, but it is a large pistol and the grip is huge. It might not be the best choice for a woman but only a trip to a gun store will confirm. There are compact and single stack versions as well, so check those out while you are there. The Beretta in my experience is very reliable when keep clean. But mine have been kinda fussy when they get dirty so clean often and use a good lubricant.

If you are just looking for a house gun, I would recommend looking at the Ruger P95. They aren't pretty nor are they fancy, but their reliability is on par with the Glock, Beretta and Sig, for a price that can be less than $300 (especially with rebates)!

If you demand something a bit more refined, I'd take a look at the Sig-Sauer P228 and P229. These are very nice pistols with grips that seem to fit small and large hands alike, they are reliable and they have outstanding accuracy. If you don't care to spend money on a handgun, this is what I would get if it fits your hands and your wife's.

I would like to recommend the Browning Hi-Power, but most women don't take well to single actions. None-the-less, the Browning (or FN) Mark III will feed well with JHP's, sit in the hands like a dream and are accurate. These are probably the most natural pointing pistols ever made and anyone who has held one knows exactly what I mean.

The Glock 17 and 19 are another choice. If I bought one I would make sure it wasn't one made in the "E" Series run, as some of these had a problem with the frame rails breaking. And the 9mm Glocks (the original ones) seem to be the most reliable and trouble-free. They are simple which is what makes them so attractive. Just draw, aim and shoot.

The verdict is still out on the Springfield XD's as they haven't been around all that long. But from what I have seen so far, they are every bit as hot as the Glock. I haven't heard these pistols associated with all the "kaboom" stories that deservingly or undeservingly surround the Glock line of pistols. I would say these are a winner.

The H&K USP compact might also be a good choice for your wife. These guns come in a zillion configurations, so be sure to carefully check what controls and conditions each pistol has to make sure you get the model you want. These are very high quality, accurate and reliable guns....but like the Sig's, they are pricey. But when trusting your life to the reliability of your gun, cost shouldn't be an issue.

And last, let me give you some ammo advice. Try to get a gun that will hold up to +P ammo so you can shoot the excellent 124 gr + P Speer Gold Dots. This is about the best performing ammo there is readily available to civilians. The Winchester Ranger 127 gr +P+ and the 147 gr standard pressure are probably tops if you can find them. These are made and marketed to law enforcement by Winchester but not directly sold to the public. But if you look hard enough you can find them. The NATO 124 gr 9mm loads and equivalent (namely Federal M882 and Winchester white box...sorry, cant remember the product number) are loaded hot and shoot to the same POI as the +P loads. These would make for some good target practice at a cheaper price. Avoid the Federal Hydra-Shok and most of the other JHP's as many either clog up with fabric from clothing and don't expand well or some don't penetrate well enough. Stick with any of these following loads as they meet the FBI minimum standard of 12" of penetration and expand robustly, even through heavy clothing. These loads are:

Barnes 105 gr JHP Copper Bullet

Triton 115 gr +P JHP (#TR9HVA)

Federal 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)...not the Hydra-Shok

Speer 124 gr +P JHP (53617)

Winchester 124 gr JHP (RA91P)

Winchester 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)

Federal 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)

Remington 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)

Speer 147 gr JHP (53619)

Winchester 147 gr JHP (RA9T)

And oh yeah, one more thing regarding defensive ammo. Test it to make sure it functions well in your gun! And then practice, practice and practice some more! No bullet design can make up for poor shooting, so make sure your wife trains until she becomes proficient in shooting, operating and maintaining whatever gun you decide to buy. Good luck and report back when you make the final selection!

-Charging Handle

Link Posted: 6/1/2003 4:27:31 PM EDT
If you are limited to a mag capacity of 10 rounds (or less) do you really need something as large as a Beretta 92 or even a SIG P226? How about something smaller, that has a mag capacity of 8 to 10 rounds? Have you considered the SIG P225 or P239? Or one of the full size(?) Kahr's in the K series? A H&K P7M10, if you and wife are willing to learn the manual of arms for it? Just my .02, but the Beretta is too large for my hands, I've owned 3 of them and always comes down to that.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 6:56:53 PM EDT
Thanks for the input guys.

What about the Beretta 9000s compact?
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 9:26:20 PM EDT
I haven't seen too many of them in use so I can't comment on the 9000. If it was me I would stick to a full-size duty pistol such as those mentioned previously in the thread. Being compact is ok, such as Beretta 92 compact, or a commander size 1911 for instance. But it seems that many times, when you start getting into the ultra-compact designs you start seeing lots of reliability and accuracy issues.

Since it sounds like this is more or less going to be a gun for your wife to use as a personal protection gun while at home or target shooting at the range, being ultra-compact isn't really all that important. In fact, the smaller you go, the more you are handicapping yourself and your wife. Only consider the small guns if CCW is an interest. Just make sure it suits her and that the grip isn't too large or awkward to her.

One other pistol I forgot to add to the list is the Smith and Wesson 5906. I have had two of them and both were absolutely reliable. I still have and frequently carry one of them. These guns are actually pretty small compared to many other full size duty type pistols. But they do have a steel frame and are sort of heavy. But the recoil doesn't feel sharp at all because of this. And there are lots of factory high capacity mags out there for them, often cheaper than Sig, Beretta, etc by as much as $20 each. I see the guns themselves floating around in the shops here for about $350 each, so they aren't that expensive either.

My single biggest gripe with the 5906 is the trigger and it will likely take a little getting used to. The 2 I had both had triggers with tons of creep and gritty feeling pull. But some practice at the range backed up by some practice with snap caps will quickly alleviate this little problem. They are actually quite accurate once you master the weapon. I am constantly amazed at how I can get such tight groups with my 5906 during rapid fire drills. In fact, I shoot it better during rapid fire than I do slowly! LOL.

But ultimately, you will have to buy what best meets your and her needs best. While all of the guns mentioned in this thread are great handguns, none of them may suit you when you look at them. Be prepared to spend several hours in the gunshop debating this when you do go. I always find myself debating a couple of hours, even when only deciding between two pistols! You should have seen me the day I bought my first Sig...a P226. I was in and out of the shop 3 hours and I still couldn't decide between the P226 and H&K USP .40's. Finally (and this is true), I just flipped a coin! LOL. The Sig went home with me that day. Just be prepared to find yourself torn between two or more guns, as it happens pretty often. But whatever you do, don't let her bring home a Jennings or a Hi-Point! Haha.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 5:59:29 AM EDT
The Beretta 92 is a good gun, but a big gun. Don't buy it if it doesn't fit your hands well. I love my 2 Berettas, but I have gorilla hands.

I would suggest that instead of the SW99, you try the Walther P99. (Get a german made one)

There are legal pre-ban hicaps out there for it (converted from P-88 mags) and while not cheap, they can be had. It is a comfortable pistol to shoot, even with +P ammo.

I have owned one and tested it extensively, and it now goes with me more often than even my prized Berettas do. Excellent firearms...
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 6:53:10 AM EDT
I wouldn't recommend the 92FS or anything built on that frame, purely because it's just too big.

The best pistol Beretta makes, IMO, is the Compact 92/96. It's the perfect size (the Glock 19 of the Beretta line), can be carried concealed if you'd like, and is very comfortable to shoot. I have a Compact 96 in .40 and I enjoy shooting it MUCH more than my Glock 23, which stung so much I finally ended up getting rid of it. In fact it's the softest shooting .40 I have ever owned.

I don't like the 9000 because it feels very uncomfortable in my hand, the frame-mounted safety is awkwardly placed and quite difficult to engage, the trigger is way too stiff, and the inverted slide rails give you very little to grab onto when you are clearing jams, etc.

The S&W autos tend to get a bad rap and I feel this is mostly due to uninformed individuals passing the same rumors back and forth. I can say good things about the 3rd gen guns. I own a 6906, which incidentally is my wife's favorite, and a 4506. Good magazines for them are everywhere and invariably cheap, the S&W's I've shot are good shooters, and while they are a little more complex internally than, say, a Glock, they cannot be accused of being of poor quality. The magazine disconnect (ala High Power) is undesirable to many shooters but I don't care much one way or the other. So I wouldn't rule out a good deal on a S&W. I do suggest avoiding the Sigma series because they have a horrible trigger and have a spotty reputation for reliability. I would also avoid the S&W 99 because it's largely an unknown quantity at this point.

The HK P2000 (basically a USP Compact with a facelift) also has the interchangeable backstraps as well, but may be more money than you'd like to spend.

I like the Glocks well enough -- they're reliable, well-debugged, and accurate enough, but many people just do not like the way they feel, which is understandable.

Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:40:35 PM EDT
Striker type pistols (the XDs and the G-word) don't have to be fully cycled to cock them, but then again, unless you like it loaded and ready, you'll cycle the slide to chamber a round.
XDs are the Handgun of the Year according to the NRA. Less expensive but every bit as good as a G-word. My wife has an XD9 Service model, and no, you don't want to meet her at 5 yards more or less in my house. I have an XD40 tactical and love it. I can hardly wait for the XD 45 next year.
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