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Posted: 8/28/2003 9:02:26 AM EDT
My girlfriend wants to get a handgun to keep at her college apt and in her car. She's more excited about turning 21 to buy one than drinking but so am I as I'll be buying a P22. She's set $700 for her limit but has much much more spare cash than that so if it's worth it I may talk her into more. She dosen't have any experience shooting handguns and neither do I other than somebody at the range letting me try. She does however have alot of experience shooting M16's as she's in the national guard and she's also the armorer for her unit in pittsburgh. Sence she won't be carrying concealed I'm not sure if a lighter compact with more recoil or a mid sized with less recoil would be better. I suppose the compact would be easier for her to aim being lighter and the recoil is less important as it's the first shot that counts the most. I have a few picks already from reading other posts but I'm looking for new suggestions or ones that match what I have picked so I'll hold off for now as to what they are. Thanks -Mark
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 9:26:13 AM EDT
I work in a shop and if you came in, I'd ask you what the main purpose for the firearm was. Next I'd ask about your personal experience with handguns. since it sounds like it is for home/apartment protection and you have limited to no experience, I would steer you towards a revolver.
With a revolver you just load, close and pull. You do not have to worry about safeties being/no being engaged. If you pull the trigger and it goes click, you just pull it again. With semi's you must be familiar with it and the procedure on clearing when you have a failure to fire or feed.
The plus is you can find a good used S&W for $2-300.

The other thing I would say is to go to a range that has rentals and try both out. It may cost you some to do this, but it will save you from buying a gun and not liking it.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 9:36:08 AM EDT
My wife, then girlfriend, has for the most part taken over my Sig 225. It is a single stack 9 which means it fits small hands. Loaded up with +P+, I think it would do the job
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 9:46:49 AM EDT
Just as one's first car is not a Ferrari, one's first handgun should not be a semi. She should go with a nice used S&W revolver, maybe a Model 10 or 64 or 65. Maybe a Model 19.

She needs to hook up with some folks & go to the range & see what feels comfortable for her. What feels good in the gun shop may or may not be what she likes to shoot.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 12:20:22 PM EDT
First step is to find something that fits her hand. Women generally have smaller hands and that limits the selection.

A full size 9mm auto is the way to go. Go to a gunshop and have her fondle a bunch of pistols and let her decide what feels good to her hands.

To start out with I suggest the Glock 17, Glock 19, Beretta 92 vertec, CZ 75b, Springfeild xd9, and any sig in 9mm.

Make sure she can work all the controls like the mag release without having to shift her grip too much. Dry fire the pistols to see which trigger feels right.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 12:54:07 PM EDT
If she is in the Guard, the Beretta 92 might be worth a look...it IS the issue sidearm.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 1:05:09 PM EDT
Markman, If the pistol is intended for self defense and it must be 9mm and she has little to no experience with pistols then she will need one that requires very little cleaning and goes bang every time she pulls the trigger with little chance of malfunction.

I would highly recommend a Glock 19 or Glock 17.


Link Posted: 8/28/2003 1:51:14 PM EDT
XD 9mm compact! My wife loves hers!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 2:05:32 PM EDT
P239
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 4:54:21 PM EDT
Handgun newbie's need to start on simple and easy. A .22lr double action Revolver would be the best for her to learn the basics. THEN start thinking about her next Handgun.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:52:25 PM EDT
There are so many platforms in 9mm, you'll probably find five or six models that are perfect. Concealment doesn't seem to be your bag, but you do have to get your gun from the apartment to the car, and I wouldn't openly carry in front of a hundred potential thieves. I guess carrying concealed in your parking lot may be considered the curtilage of your home; I don't know the legality. Guns I would recommend for a beginner include the XD9 in either 4" or 5" versions, Beretta 92FS, Sig 229 or Browning Hi Power. I can see no advantage to owning a 9mm revolver. It sounds as if your girlfriend really wants to learn about firearms. An auto will be a bit more challenging for her and probably more comfortable during shooting sessions. Guns are not terribly complex. If she just wants to load a gun and put it on a nightstand, a revolver would definitely fit the bill. If she trully wants to get into shooting and spend significant time at the range, I would definitely consider an autoloader.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 6:23:22 PM EDT
Easy -- Walther P99. The grip size is adjustable, it's gentle, has a great trigger and is extremely well-built. If you shop around, you can pick one up for $500 - $550 and have plenty of money to spare for cleaning supplies, a nice case, holster, ammunition, extra magazines, etc.

Link Posted: 8/28/2003 6:34:15 PM EDT
She has shot her dads .38 revolver a couple times but thats hardly worth mentioning. I just bought a P22 today :) so we'll be getting alot of practice with an auto. As far as cleaning I will certantly help her become aquainted with what ever perticular gun she gets. Like I said she's the armorer so she does minor repairs to the M16's and beretta 92's. Sence she's in charge if the vault and basically has free will to do as she pleases she has taken apart the berettas just for fun and only had a hard time replacing one part. Though the beretta seems a little to big for her 5'3" 120lbs. She dosen't have the strongest wrists so I think shooting a revoler for some time at the range will make her carpole tunnel type symtoms act up and she'll stop sooner than if it were an auto thus getting less practice. She just said she dosen't want a revlover also and I know she dosen't like the way glocks look and I don't particularly either. I think they are great guns but I just don't care for the looks (I'm becoming an Industrial Designer so I tend to be picky about astectics :) ) Some of my choices were Sig P229 P239 Walther P99 (maybe best sence most practice will come from my P22) and a Kahr PM9. I think you all would agree a simpler auto without a safety would be best. We'll be going to the local dealer this weekend so hopefully they'll have most of my list for her to hold. Thanks for the replys everyone forums make these type of purchases so much easier cause you don't need to go searching for stuff and a sales clerk isn't trying to get you to buy his favorite.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:23:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AZGunnut:
XD 9mm compact! My wife loves hers!


i agree, no safeties to worry about flipping, just pick up the gun and fire
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 7:38:23 PM EDT
Markman,
The PM9 Kahr is a nice firearm, but the recoil is fairly harsh. For reference, my wife shoots a Glock 26, but did not like the recoil from the tiniest Kahr. I would think the steel Kahrs (I have personally only shot the steel .40, in addition to the PM9) would be fine. Or the full size polymer 9. Definitely try before you buy the PM9.
Best advice, let her handle /shoot as many as she can, guide her a little, but let her choose.
I like the idea of practicing alot with a.22 autoloader, too. It works just fine for learning the basics of sight picture/ trigger control. It's also fun and cheap.
Let us know how it turns out.
TommyB
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 9:22:29 PM EDT
If she works on berettas and has smaller hands she should definately consider the 92 vertec. It doesn't have that bump on the heel of the backstrap. Much easier to grip, point, and work all the controls. Berettas have a pretty smooth action too. The slide seems to glide on ice, like a tuned 1911. My only gripe is that often the pins break on them or come loose every 5000 rounds. I'm sure as a armorer she can maintain that.

Link Posted: 8/29/2003 7:30:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2003 7:31:22 AM EDT by imposter]
My wife and I spent several months looking for a 9mm/38/380 for her. We bought one of those lightweight 38s, but she hated shooting it. The recoil and trigger were awful.

She ended up with the Glock 26. She liked the moderate recoil, ease of operation, simplicity, size, and feel of the grips (especially after adding the pinky base for the mags). She likes shooting it more than my Glock 19. She shoots the G26 well enough to have confidence in it.

Women seem to need a medium sized grip (they do not have the strength for really small grips) and a trigger that is not too heavy. The Glock fits the bill nicely.

She does not like the Beretta 92. While we did not try the Vertec, the 92 safety was difficult for her to manipulate and the trigger was much too heavy. She also did not like the size and weight.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 10:24:50 AM EDT
I promote the Sig P239 also, except get rid of the factory grips ASAFP and put Hogue grips on it-the factory ones are SLIPPERY JUNK. The Browning HiPower is an excellent firearm (I own one) 'cept it's single action, and you don't want her to worry about cocking the hammer to shoot, or worry about carrying it in battery. I have, recently, found that "fanning" the hammer back cowboy-style on the HiPower for the first shot works really well and seems to be more reliable than thumbing the hammer back. However as afore mentioned, revolvers are pretty foolproof and WILL get the job done.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 11:38:53 AM EDT
> "a handgun to keep at her college apt "

Red flag here. Some states and colleges do not allow firearms on premises and this includes residence buildings. Have you checked the legality of her having a gun there?

Note that I am not suggesting either breaking or adhering to the law, I just want to make sure you're informed before she puts herself in what might be a tight spot.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 12:04:35 PM EDT
9mm for your girlfriend?

Sounds like a good trade. Go for it.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 7:06:37 PM EDT
Ok went to the local class 3 supply today and she held alot of the mentioned models. The one that fit her hand best was a sig p232 but it's not a 9mm and I'm not sure if ammo would cost more. One reason to go with 9mm is ammo cost so we can shoot more. With that said the sig p239 was a good fit and she also liked a Beretta 8000F. They have a XD9 4" to rent at their indoor range I think we'll try out tomorrow. She got to shoot the guy's personal Tarus millenium P111 in 9mm. The first shot gave her a shock but after a couple shots she hit a 4" disc at 40'. I gave it a try and after 2 shots she wanted it back and he only gave us one mag. The trigger wasn't too diserible for range shooting though as it's double action "ish" as it has a long pull but it didn't seem to be actually double action only. It's a pretty compact 9mm so she should be fine with recoil on any 9mm. They didn't have a 92 vertec and he thought it wasn't smaller but just a different finish??? They did have smith and wesson p99 equvilant but he said it was DAO so we didn't give it much time. I'm pretty sure the P99 is DA first shot and SA there after though. We'll have to find a P99 some where and try all the different grips. The definite no's were the CZ's she didn't like their looks and the sig p229 was too wide of a grip. The list is getting smaller we just need to go somewhere that has everyone on the list and try the fit on them all at once. What about a H&K compact they have external safetys but they are much easier to use than any I have seen don't know why other mfgrs don't make them similar. Oh Emoto she dosen't live on campus but rather in a rented (Ahem) trailer so thats no problem. No roomates either and it's a really nice trailer really :)
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 8:05:07 PM EDT
Just to chuck my 2¢ in, I recently purchased a BHP Practical for my finacé. She loves the way it looks (she's likes the black/sliver contrast) and it fits her hand to a T. She was quite pleased with it, and it was under the $700 limit you've referred to.

I suggest getting her to handle one, if not shoot it, to see how it fits her hands.

Jonathan
Link Posted: 8/30/2003 3:00:12 PM EDT
I second the Glock 26. My wife loves mine.
Link Posted: 8/31/2003 11:16:56 PM EDT
I second the suggestion for the Berretta 92 or the Hi-Power. The Hi-Power can now be had with the Safe Fast Shooting System factory installed. Basically it will allow loaded chamber with hammer down carry.
Link Posted: 9/1/2003 12:12:41 PM EDT
Get the XD. I have the XD40 and love it.
Link Posted: 9/1/2003 1:16:24 PM EDT
If you like the Highpower, check out the CZ75 models. They do have a shorter 'compact'.
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 9:37:50 AM EDT
O.k., my .02 here: Find a gun that fits her. All of us have our favorites that work for us, but find what works for her. I think the 9mm round is the way to go: small, controlable and yet strong enough (in most cases) to take a bad guy down. As I tell my wife, "Dump ten, load again."

If she buys the gun, make sure she's going to learn to use it. I'm a bit surprised by some of the responses from others such as buying a gun that doens't need a lot of cleaning or making it sound like she will rarely shoot it. Get her to shoot it, and often! Invite her to go with you everytime you go shooting.

My suggestions is to seriously look at: Walther P99 or the Glock 19 (or smaller versions). However, make sure SHE likes them. If it isn't comfortable to shoot, or she can't hit anything, it won't do her any good.

Good luck.

F.A.S. Out
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 9:54:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Markman:
Ok went to the local class 3 supply today and she held alot of the mentioned models. The one that fit her hand best was a sig p232 but it's not a 9mm and I'm not sure if ammo would cost more. One reason to go with 9mm is ammo cost so we can shoot more. With that said the sig p239 was a good fit and she also liked a Beretta 8000F. They have a XD9 4" to rent at their indoor range I think we'll try out tomorrow. She got to shoot the guy's personal Tarus millenium P111 in 9mm. The first shot gave her a shock but after a couple shots she hit a 4" disc at 40'. I gave it a try and after 2 shots she wanted it back and he only gave us one mag. The trigger wasn't too diserible for range shooting though as it's double action "ish" as it has a long pull but it didn't seem to be actually double action only. It's a pretty compact 9mm so she should be fine with recoil on any 9mm. They didn't have a 92 vertec and he thought it wasn't smaller but just a different finish??? They did have smith and wesson p99 equvilant but he said it was DAO so we didn't give it much time. I'm pretty sure the P99 is DA first shot and SA there after though. We'll have to find a P99 some where and try all the different grips. The definite no's were the CZ's she didn't like their looks and the sig p229 was too wide of a grip. The list is getting smaller we just need to go somewhere that has everyone on the list and try the fit on them all at once. What about a H&K compact they have external safetys but they are much easier to use than any I have seen don't know why other mfgrs don't make them similar. Oh Emoto she dosen't live on campus but rather in a rented (Ahem) trailer so thats no problem. No roomates either and it's a really nice trailer really :)



Ok, cool. I have been in nice trailers. Did she try any revolvers? I shoot with 5 women on my club .22 pistol team, and when we shoot centerfire, they all switch to revolvers and often kick the mens' asses. A .38/357 might be a nice start. .38 ammo is relatively affordable, and they always go BANG.

Of course, her being an armorer, she may want a semi, so I would have to agree with the other about a Browning Hi-power. It is a lot like the 1911, but a little smaller and has a very natural "pointability" to it. Worth a look.
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 10:58:59 AM EDT
I have to second the Sig 225. However, it may be hard to find. But if the 239 and 232 were good, then it may be worth it to check it out.

As has been said before, I think the fit is the most important part. If you go over to the sig forum you will see that the 225 is sortof a favorite because it fits so many different people like a glove.

good luck
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 6:17:26 PM EDT
I think the suggestion of the XD9, either the 4" or sub compact is a great idea.
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 7:02:00 PM EDT
A quick FYI - The xd9 can use the std. xd40 magazines to fit 15 rounds. an inexpensive high cap option if your interested.
Link Posted: 9/2/2003 9:17:50 PM EDT
Something to consider indeed :) We will be shooting the XD9 4" this weekend. I also like that you can do the same with the P99 but thoese mags are a bit expensive. Another pluss for the P99 is the grips if one fits her good one of the others will probably fit me good also. We will be shooting it as often as affordable. She is buying it mainly to have fun with but sence she's only gonna have one it's best to make it a good all arounder. So I think the short list has become this:

Sig p239
Walther P99
XD9 4"

And the longer side is:

Glock 19 17
Beretta cougar 8000F
CZ 75B
CZ 75 Compact

Any info on that cougar would be helpful I doubt it would be a winner due to the safety but it was one she liked the feel of. We have yet to find a place with all on the list but Unlimited Firearms in pittsburgh most likely does and we'll get to go there next weekend when she has guard duty.
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 5:00:50 PM EDT
I have the XD9 4" and I have 2 XD40 mags I bought from Kieslers. They hold 15+1 and are BATF approved. We have a letter from them on the rulingof whether they are legal :)
They work right out of the box most of the time but sometimes need to close the feed lips just a tad. Hi Caps...for $21 :)
Link Posted: 9/3/2003 10:34:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2003 10:42:05 PM EDT by brewsky101]
I would not recomend the P99 for her first pistol. The trigger is "somthing to get used to" and also much different than the P22.
I would get her somthing with a hammer.

My .02

If you do decide on the P99, I'd replace the factory sights with the XS 24/7 night sights, or somthing of the like, before she gets used to shooting it with the factory irons.
Link Posted: 9/4/2003 9:53:54 AM EDT
buy her two Bersa Thunders. One for each hand
Link Posted: 9/5/2003 8:22:24 AM EDT
We went to another store yesterday and they had all but the CZ's and the beretta but she not going get it anyways as it's the only one I would have a hard time shooting. I agree the trigger on the P99 is horrible or the sw99 rather but I'm assuming there the same. I really liked the P239 trigger she agreed but said the sig was heavier. She dosen't like the grip safety on the XD9 says it digs into her hand and she thinks it would bother her to shoot it. Well see though cause we're shooting it this weekend. The glocks are out grips didn't fit her or me for that matter probably the least comfortable I've felt other than the Hi-Power. So the list shortens again.

The short:
Sig P239
Walther P99

The long:
XD9
CZ 75B / 75B Compact

The place that rents the XD9 has all of these except the 75B compact I think so we'll probably know after we're done shooting what she's getting.

I want to thank you all for the help with out it she would probably have the wrong gun.

Thanks -Mark
Link Posted: 9/5/2003 9:09:29 AM EDT
Get her a S&W 3914 or 3913. It will fit her hand perfectly, she will be able to work the slide w/o a problem and the trigger is acceptable for a female's hands and grip strength.
Link Posted: 9/5/2003 9:31:34 AM EDT
I can't say enough about the H&K P7M8.

It is just hands down the best weapon with a barrel under 14.5" I ever fired.

For some reason women seem to have an easy time with this weapon making it, in my view, worth the price.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 8:56:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 9:19:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Tatjana-or anyone else-how tough is the cocking lever to use on the P7. I have only seen them at gunshows and never fired one. Is it naturally cocked as you grip the pistol, or does it require a specific action to squeeze it? I'm debating between a P7 and a Sig P239 for my girlfriend and it is my unfamiliarity with the P7's cocking system that makes me nervous about the HK.



In my view the P7's squeeze cocking system is totally superior. It is the fastest weapon for me from presentation to controlled pair. It is instantly intuitive and natural to use the squeeze cocking device and for some reason the camber on the grip seems to be better for women's hands.

It is not at all hard to operate and not at all stiff or difficult. It's far easier than any other safety system out there, I think.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 2:26:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 2:42:35 PM EDT
We have both the SW 99 and Walther P99 at the range, new, at the range where I instruct. The Walther has a far superior trigger feel. I have no idea why, but it does.

Link Posted: 9/6/2003 7:50:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:
The Walther has a far superior trigger feel.



If you had to compare it to a sig P239 how would it rate. It's pretty much a toss up between these two but haven't found an actual walther just smith's. We pretty much decided on the sig today as the sw99 trigger is plain horrible. I guess we'll have to look at this HK P7M8 also. Whats a good price for the three of these guns? Thanks -Mark
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 8:22:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2003 12:54:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Markman:

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:
The Walther has a far superior trigger feel.



If you had to compare it to a sig P239 how would it rate. It's pretty much a toss up between these two but haven't found an actual walther just smith's. We pretty much decided on the sig today as the sw99 trigger is plain horrible. I guess we'll have to look at this HK P7M8 also. Whats a good price for the three of these guns? Thanks -Mark



In single action mode it is much shorter and lighter than even the P239. Decock the Walther and it is s tossup. I was shocked at the difference in trigger between the Smiths and the Walthers.

We have a used P7 for about 1k I think, I'll check tomorrow when I am there. Our Walthers are in the five and a-half range. I will need to check on the Sig.

I'll repost tomorrow evening
Link Posted: 9/8/2003 2:49:53 PM EDT
gunrange pricing

Walther P99, .40 Cal in Green =$615

Springfield XD9 =$470

Sig 239 $625

HK P7 $900
Link Posted: 9/8/2003 4:03:19 PM EDT
Thanks! We need to find somewhere with the sig and walther to compare.
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