Purchasing a handgun

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
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I have made the decision to purchase a gun this year. I have never owned a gun before. Shot them in the past on my grandfather's farm when I was a kid. Learned all about gun safety from him and my dad who has 30+ years in the military. I plan on taking a safety course and visiting shooting ranges during and after my purchase.

I am looking for a .22 caliber since it is cheap and fun to shoot at a shooting range. As for price range, I am leaving my options open here since I don't want to say I would go cheap and get something that is horrible quality. I would prefer to stick with a name brand gun if possible.

Another option is a revolver of some kind which I know from experience is much easier to clean and shoot.

My main application will be the shooting range, but my secondary would be home defense.

What are your thoughts?
 

Kirby

Lifer
Apr 10, 2006
12,032
2
0
.357 Mag, it can shoot .38 specials which are still cheap (relatively).
 

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
1,769
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Originally posted by: nkgreen
.357 Mag, it can shoot .38 specials which are still cheap (relatively).

Would a .22 caliber be too small for home defense?

I have looked at a .357 magnum and they do look nice thats for sure. Don't know how much the ammo is though. I will have to look into it.
 

Kirby

Lifer
Apr 10, 2006
12,032
2
0
Originally posted by: Nightfall
Originally posted by: nkgreen
.357 Mag, it can shoot .38 specials which are still cheap (relatively).

Would a .22 caliber be too small for home defense?

I have looked at a .357 magnum and they do look nice thats for sure. Don't know how much the ammo is though. I will have to look into it.

Shoot a .22 then shoot a .357 mag and tell which one you'd rather not be shot with. :p
 

FelixDeCat

Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
29,162
2,034
126
I prefer auto because of the clip capacity, but revolvers dont leave shells behind. :evil:

 

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
18,438
5
81
12 ga shotgun. maybe a mossberg combo with both 18.5 and 28" barrels. Great for home defense with some buckshot (I like #4 buckshot) and you can go out and hit some clays, which is a lot more interesting than hitting paper.

Oh, and you can still easily get 12ga in store, unlike pretty much any pistol caliber, even 22lr.

I wouldn't recommend a 22lr for self defense, but in handgun form, the two main contenders is a browning buckmark (lots of different varieties) and the ruger mark 3. I personally prefer the browning buckmark.

In rifle form, people splooge over the ruger 10/22 but I find it really lacking. There is a huge aftermarket, so maybe you want to spend hundreds on it. Heck, you even have to go aftermarket for the bolt to lock back after the last round. I'd go with a remington 597. Less aftermarket, but already more accurate, $10 magazines at walmart and usually even cheaper than the 10/22 with more options stock from the factory.

EDIT: 22lr kills the most people every year, but then a lot more people probably get shot by one. It has a way of bouncing around inside of people and killing them, but being smaller, it creates a smaller wound channel. A larger bullet would create a larger wound channel, so easier to stop bodily functions without a direct hit on a vital area.

I have only 9mm and 22lr handguns and get made fun of by my 45 buddies, especially for my 9mm 1911, but I can put them all in the 9 ring at 15 yards and bowling pins at 5 yards while side stepping. Something I can't do with 45. If you can't hit someone, it doesn't matter what you're shooting.
 

skyking

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
22,004
4,760
146
Originally posted by: Nightfall
Originally posted by: nkgreen
.357 Mag, it can shoot .38 specials which are still cheap (relatively).

Would a .22 caliber be too small for home defense?

I have looked at a .357 magnum and they do look nice thats for sure. Don't know how much the ammo is though. I will have to look into it.

Everyone will say no, but a .22 and the .22 magnum in particular are very deadly rounds. All the .40 and .357 and .45 ACP guys will protest loudly but not a one of them will volunteer for testing:D
One option is to get a decent convertible revolver. I have a cheapie but someone must make a nice .22LR/.22WMR convertible revolver with interchangeable cylinders.
There is no doubt that a .22LR has more fun for your dollar if you want to put holes in things.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,938
5
81
.22 is definitely too light for effective self defense. nkgreen's recommendation of .357 (if revolver) is excellent. .38 special can be used for routine target practice (price Winchester White Box at Wally World) with .357 hollow point for "business" use. Be sure to budget enough for an occasional cylinder or two of .357 practice; you don't want to be caught entirely by suprise by the added "oomph" of a magnum load!

edit: sp
 

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
1,769
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Originally posted by: skyking
Originally posted by: Nightfall
Originally posted by: nkgreen
.357 Mag, it can shoot .38 specials which are still cheap (relatively).

Would a .22 caliber be too small for home defense?

I have looked at a .357 magnum and they do look nice thats for sure. Don't know how much the ammo is though. I will have to look into it.

Everyone will say no, but a .22 and the .22 magnum in particular are very deadly rounds. All the .40 and .357 and .45 ACP guys will protest loudly but not a one of them will volunteer for testing:D
One option is to get a decent convertible revolver. I have a cheapie but someone must make a .22LR/.22WMR convertible revolver with interchangeable cylinders.
There is no doubt that a .22LR has more fun for your dollar if you want to put holes in things.

I understand in home defense, its all about puting your target down. Don't know if a .22 will do the job, but as I said its not my primary application. My primary is shooting at a range. Maybe I go for 2 guns. One 357 for home defense as I can shoot a couple different rounds from it, and another for .22 rounds for target practice.
 

FelixDeCat

Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
29,162
2,034
126
Originally posted by: Nik
Originally posted by: FelixDeKat
I prefer auto because of the clip capacity, but revolvers dont leave shells behind. :evil:

Text

I was waiting for that, but I thought it would be zemnervolt who would do it a few hours from now. Whoever decided to call those "magazines" must have also invented the word "munchkin", another word I dislike. :(
 

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
18,438
5
81
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.
 

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
1,769
0
0
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.

I have always liked the idea of getting a semi-auto. At the same time though, I don't want to get stuck with something that is a pain in the ass to maintain. I have read some stories on how some guns are hard to disassemble and reassemble and thats the last thing I want to do. Also, the feel of a gun makes a huge difference. I am going to be going to a gun store to evaluate some of the models discussed here.

I do like the idea of getting a .22 conversion kit, but I want something that is pretty easy to make the modification to.
 

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
18,438
5
81
Originally posted by: Nightfall
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.

I have always liked the idea of getting a semi-auto. At the same time though, I don't want to get stuck with something that is a pain in the ass to maintain. I have read some stories on how some guns are hard to disassemble and reassemble and thats the last thing I want to do. Also, the feel of a gun makes a huge difference. I am going to be going to a gun store to evaluate some of the models discussed here.

I do like the idea of getting a .22 conversion kit, but I want something that is pretty easy to make the modification to.

Well, while you're at the store, you can see the differences in breaking it down. Most modern semi-autos are pretty easy. You lock the slide back, remove the break-down pin, and then the slide moves forward right off the pistol. From there, it is usually a guide rod/recoil spring removal and the barrel is taken right off.

The 22 conversion kits are usually entire slides with barrel and everything. You remove your regular (9mm, 40, 45, whatever) slide, and then put the 22lr slide in. Browse youtube for some videos and they're pretty easy.

Something about revolvers is you might have trouble cleaning out the chambers. Since the cartridge doesn't fill up the entire chamber (think that front part where the bullet is), there will be residue buildup there.

Youtube up some example guns.

disassemble sig p226
disassemble beretta px4
disassemble 1911
disassemble glock

EDIT: Oh yea, and there are differences in semi-autos within the same model. Do you know about the different triggers, like double action, single action, double action only, single action only?
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
126
I recommend a .40 FWIW. Home defense you don't want to be reloading after 6 shots.
 

AstroManLuca

Lifer
Jun 24, 2004
15,628
5
81
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.

Yeah, I've thought of getting a .22 conversion kit for my Glock 19, just because .22 is so incredibly cheap. It's $250 for the kit, though, which is about the same price as a separate .22 pistol, so I'm not entirely sure it's the way to go. On the one hand, it lets you practice shooting with the same sights and trigger as the original gun, but on the other hand, I might rather have a separate gun.
 

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
18,438
5
81
Originally posted by: AstroManLuca
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.

Yeah, I've thought of getting a .22 conversion kit for my Glock 19, just because .22 is so incredibly cheap. It's $250 for the kit, though, which is about the same price as a separate .22 pistol, so I'm not entirely sure it's the way to go. On the one hand, it lets you practice shooting with the same sights and trigger as the original gun, but on the other hand, I might rather have a separate gun.

Or you can do what I did, get a whole other frame and lower assembly and make a dedicated 22. :)
 

dougp

Diamond Member
May 3, 2002
7,950
4
0
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
12 ga shotgun. maybe a mossberg combo with both 18.5 and 28" barrels. Great for home defense with some buckshot (I like #4 buckshot) and you can go out and hit some clays, which is a lot more interesting than hitting paper.

Oh, and you can still easily get 12ga in store, unlike pretty much any pistol caliber, even 22lr.

I wouldn't recommend a 22lr for self defense, but in handgun form, the two main contenders is a browning buckmark (lots of different varieties) and the ruger mark 3. I personally prefer the browning buckmark.

In rifle form, people splooge over the ruger 10/22 but I find it really lacking. There is a huge aftermarket, so maybe you want to spend hundreds on it. Heck, you even have to go aftermarket for the bolt to lock back after the last round. I'd go with a remington 597. Less aftermarket, but already more accurate, $10 magazines at walmart and usually even cheaper than the 10/22 with more options stock from the factory.

EDIT: 22lr kills the most people every year, but then a lot more people probably get shot by one. It has a way of bouncing around inside of people and killing them, but being smaller, it creates a smaller wound channel. A larger bullet would create a larger wound channel, so easier to stop bodily functions without a direct hit on a vital area.

I have only 9mm and 22lr handguns and get made fun of by my 45 buddies, especially for my 9mm 1911, but I can put them all in the 9 ring at 15 yards and bowling pins at 5 yards while side stepping. Something I can't do with 45. If you can't hit someone, it doesn't matter what you're shooting.

I think someone has made a point before that when you're in home defense mode, you don't take the time to line up one shot and then wait for the recoil to keep going. With a .22, you won't get a lot of recoil and you'll be dumping rounds fast. You don't shoot an intruder once - you'll have the tendency to empty an entire clip.

What hurts worse, 10 .22s in a 1/2" diameter or 9 .357s in a 5" diameter?

Probably doesn't matter because they'll be dead from either one.
 

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
1,769
0
0
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
Originally posted by: Nightfall
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
I think you should go semi-auto. Something with a 22lr conversion kit for cheaper target practice. That way, at least you're still familiarizing yourself with the gun. Sig has 22conversion kits for their 229, 226 and probalby some others. You basically change the slide and use a 22lr magazine instead of whatever normal stuff.

You can do it for 1911's, glocks, etc.

1 gun, 2 possibilities.

I have always liked the idea of getting a semi-auto. At the same time though, I don't want to get stuck with something that is a pain in the ass to maintain. I have read some stories on how some guns are hard to disassemble and reassemble and thats the last thing I want to do. Also, the feel of a gun makes a huge difference. I am going to be going to a gun store to evaluate some of the models discussed here.

I do like the idea of getting a .22 conversion kit, but I want something that is pretty easy to make the modification to.

Well, while you're at the store, you can see the differences in breaking it down. Most modern semi-autos are pretty easy. You lock the slide back, remove the break-down pin, and then the slide moves forward right off the pistol. From there, it is usually a guide rod/recoil spring removal and the barrel is taken right off.

The 22 conversion kits are usually entire slides with barrel and everything. You remove your regular (9mm, 40, 45, whatever) slide, and then put the 22lr slide in. Browse youtube for some videos and they're pretty easy.

Something about revolvers is you might have trouble cleaning out the chambers. Since the cartridge doesn't fill up the entire chamber (think that front part where the bullet is), there will be residue buildup there.

Youtube up some example guns.

disassemble sig p226
disassemble beretta px4
disassemble 1911
disassemble glock

EDIT: Oh yea, and there are differences in semi-autos within the same model. Do you know about the different triggers, like double action, single action, double action only, single action only?

Nope, don't know about different triggers but I am willing to learn.

I like the idea of a .22 conversion kit. I am going to look more into this. Going to watch the youtube videos too.
 

Nightfall

Golden Member
Nov 16, 1999
1,769
0
0
Originally posted by: dougp
Originally posted by: Kelvrick
12 ga shotgun. maybe a mossberg combo with both 18.5 and 28" barrels. Great for home defense with some buckshot (I like #4 buckshot) and you can go out and hit some clays, which is a lot more interesting than hitting paper.

Oh, and you can still easily get 12ga in store, unlike pretty much any pistol caliber, even 22lr.

I wouldn't recommend a 22lr for self defense, but in handgun form, the two main contenders is a browning buckmark (lots of different varieties) and the ruger mark 3. I personally prefer the browning buckmark.

In rifle form, people splooge over the ruger 10/22 but I find it really lacking. There is a huge aftermarket, so maybe you want to spend hundreds on it. Heck, you even have to go aftermarket for the bolt to lock back after the last round. I'd go with a remington 597. Less aftermarket, but already more accurate, $10 magazines at walmart and usually even cheaper than the 10/22 with more options stock from the factory.

EDIT: 22lr kills the most people every year, but then a lot more people probably get shot by one. It has a way of bouncing around inside of people and killing them, but being smaller, it creates a smaller wound channel. A larger bullet would create a larger wound channel, so easier to stop bodily functions without a direct hit on a vital area.

I have only 9mm and 22lr handguns and get made fun of by my 45 buddies, especially for my 9mm 1911, but I can put them all in the 9 ring at 15 yards and bowling pins at 5 yards while side stepping. Something I can't do with 45. If you can't hit someone, it doesn't matter what you're shooting.

I think someone has made a point before that when you're in home defense mode, you don't take the time to line up one shot and then wait for the recoil to keep going. With a .22, you won't get a lot of recoil and you'll be dumping rounds fast. You don't shoot an intruder once - you'll have the tendency to empty an entire clip.

What hurts worse, 10 .22s in a 1/2" diameter or 9 .357s in a 5" diameter?

Probably doesn't matter because they'll be dead from either one.

This is very true. Since I have never been in a home invasion situation, I will probably respond just like that. Especially if I practice like I plan to.
 

Auggie

Golden Member
Jul 18, 2003
1,379
0
0
OP, this is what you want to get:

http://www.smartgunner.com/adv...del17222431343537.aspx

CANT go wrong with a Glock! "Glock perfection" baby!

Edit: Not necessarily from that reseller - but Advantage Arms are a reputable conversion kit manufacturer. Call around the bigger gun stores near you to see about getting put on the waitlist. In Houston, every store that carries them has had a "half-down, half-at-purchase" waiting list since last fall.