Pistol Advice?

Nov 14, 2005
New Ipswich, Finn-Land
Feedback: 19 / 0 / 0
Well, I'm picking up my LTC-A(ALP) later on today. Being one to waste no time, I was thinking of heading over to 4 Seasons next weekend to burn some cash on my very first pistol purchases. Being a newbie handgun shooter, I'm looking for a little input. Looking at their website, I was thinking of going with a Walther P22 and a S&W Sigma, probably in 9mm but possibly in .40, both used. My reasoning is that I'd like to have a rim fire as was suggested on here for learning, and I want to keep the budget under $600 for both guns. I'll probably buy another centerfire when I've shot enough to gain experience and learn what i want in a keeper/carry arm, but the Sigma looks like a good place to start.
Somewhere on here is thread about places you can try out different handguns before buying. I would suggest you do that or find a few folks that own different guns that would be willing to let you shoot them. You may find something that 'fits' you better.

Good luck!
The first two guns you should acquire are a S&W .22 revolver, preferably a used M-17 in good condition, for learning basic handgun marksmanship, and a S&W .357, preferably a used stainless 4" K-frame. The latter is an effective home defense weapon, can be carried when needed, and, using a mid-range .38 load, is the best way to work up from sound rimfire skills to centerfire skills. After that you can being looking at autos.

For someone who wants an auto and whose skills are still being developed, I highly recommend the Sigs. They are easy to shoot, easier than many autos to handle safely, and more reliable than most. (On the other hand, they are expensive.)
Well, I think Tony nailed it. Try a few different ones before you buy. I'm sure a week or two wouldn't hurt, and you may be able to hook up with somebody here on this forum who'll let you try their guns.

I personally don't think you'll go totally wrong with your choices, assuming they "fit" you comfortably. I know Lynne likes the Sigma, and my son-in-law has a Sigma in 40 S&W and likes it a lot.

If you buy used, you'll probably eat less dipreciation on them when you sell or trade them to move to different guns.
Wait, try before you buy. Also, S&W is coming out with the M&P soon to replace the Sigma. That would be another option and probably mean even better deals on the Sigma.

Just post where you shoot and there is bound to be someone here to let you try something out.
Thanks everyone -- I'll be a member of the No. Leominster Rod & Gun Club. I just gave them my check last week -- I haven't been down there yet as I'm still waiting for my membership to be processed. I would definitly welcome a chance to try out some stuff, and of course, I'd bring the ammo!
I agree with try them out first. Sure, I think Glocks are nice and all, but they just don't fit my hand's shape very well.

You'll need to check a lot of guns to see what "fits". Then decide on what caliber, or what its purpose will be. If concealed carry, that has some different specs than a target or hunting gun.

Good luck, and don't jump into anything too quick. I say just get a .22 for now, to get you to the range, and ammo is cheap. Then, at the range, you can check out other guys' guns over time.

Let us know how you make out.
I'm going to differ here on opinions! [wink]

I don't think either gun you propose is a good starting point. I own or owned both as new guns and have had considerable problems with both.

- P22 - Most/many are very finicky on ammo, love to jam. PITA. I've tried 6 or more different brands/types of ammo and nothing yet runs reliably. S&W admits that it is very finicky on ammo and suggests a particular CCI ammo (that cost ~$5/100!). I'm going to clean it thoroughly in my newly purchased ultrasonic cleaners and if it still happens it will be up here for sale.

- Sigma .40 - Bought it as a CCW for Constable work. After the 3rd mag inserted in the gun (bought new), S&W (and I) discovered that a number of parts had broken. S&W fixed it, but it didn't shoot real well (compared to H&K USPc 40) and I was lucky to sell it at a club swap meet. MANY others (including someone who worked at S&W on that product line) acknowledged many, many problems with this gun. I'll admit that Lynne bought one and it hasn't given her any problems at all. I don't like crap-shoots.

My suggestions:

- Look for a Browning Buckmark, or Ruger semi-auto .22 Reportedly both are excellent guns and can be had in the same price range as the P22.

- Look at a Glock 17 in 9mm. Used sometimes in the $350 area and factory refurb at $400.

Sigs are reportedly great guns, but tend to be too pricey for what the OP wants to pay.

BTW, I have no problems with the suggestions of a .357 revolver or even a .38 with a minimum barrel length of 4" (and made of steel).
My first choice (in spite of my prior post) would be to try some guns out first. Much better than spending money based on "feel" in the hand and then finding out that it was a mistake.
Thanks for the response Len. I was a little leery about the stuff I saw on the Sigmas, but I felt that at a used price, and with the ability to bring it back if it wasn't to my satisaction -- it might be worth looking at.

On the P22, it was the Walther P22, not S&W. Is that the one you were referring to? It just looks like a cool pistol, which admittedly is what caught my eye.

Well, I just back from the Leominster PD to pick up my permit, so I will be wanting to check stuff out as soon as I get my Leo Rod & Gun membership.

I agree with Lens. If you must be impulsive, buy a Ruger .22 and Glock 17.

There is still a risk that they aren't for you but they are very popular choices and have a good resale value.
Mark, yes I have the Walther P22. Would never buy another one, even if we do get it to work.
Picking a first handgun

When it comes to picking your first few guns, remember Bart Simpson's comment about the cherry bomb in the toilet ("I always had a weakness for the classics").

I would suggest considering the type of gun you want to buy, and they buying a name brand classic which occupies the niche you wish to fill - something with a reputation for reliability, quality and for which there is an abundant supply of parts and service.

Some that come to mind:

.22 Target Pistol - Ruger Mark III or Mark II if you want a very good gun; S&W Model 41 if you want to go the next step up. If you need anything beyond a Model 41, you're not going to be getting your advise in this forum :).

Center fire defensive semi auto pistol: Glock 17 or 19 (9mm) ; Glock 22 or 23 (40 S&W)

Center fire single action - 1911 or Browning HiPower

Small revolver: S&W J Frame (many variants)

Large revolver: S&W 686 (6 or 7 shot models available)

There is plenty of time to get the newest fanciest gun, but it is unlikely you'll ever regret having any of these classics in your armory.

This list emphasises timeless durability and designs that are going to be around for some time to come. Even if any of these were discontinued tomorrow (unlikley), they would remain relatively common guns for decades since so many have been sold.
GTOShootr said:
I agree with Lens. If you must be impulsive, buy a Ruger .22 and Glock 17.

There is still a risk that they aren't for you but they are very popular choices and have a good resale value.

I think you understand me -- I now have this burning desire to buy something! :D
LenS said:
Mark, yes I have the Walther P22. Would never buy another one, even if we do get it to work.

OK, thanks Len. Shame, if they could operate on looks alone, that gun couldn't possibly be a lemon. Guess that's one of the resons they end up used, though.
I agree with a .22 as Gun #1. Cheap to feed and keep and will really go a logn way to mastering marksmanship.

As for centerfire, you can't go wrong with a nice .357 4" as they said above. Or even a Model 10 .38 Special (It will eat +p all day long if you need it to)

For autos, you really need to find out what you like. I think the Glocks are nice, but only the model 36 will fit my hand, and it's not available in MA for the most part.

My favorite is a Sig. Yes, they are a few more $$, but it fits well, and I have not had one malfunction in the 4 years I've been shooting it.

Take the time and handle as many as you can to see which ones fit you well and then try those by renting or borrowing.

With a revolver, you can make just about anything fit with new grips, it isn't that easy with an auto.

Also, look at how the guns come apart for cleaning. Some people have a real issue with the fact that you have to pull the trigger on the Glock before you can field strip it. Others like the classic 1911 style are a royal PIA to take apart compared to more modern designs.

Be honest with your intended use. Don't go getting the massive Dirty Harry gun for carry and don't get a lightweight carry gun for target. I think we all have one or two pistols we bought because we fell in love with the way it looked, but don't really have a practical use for.
I definitely understand. I bought a Beretta 92 and a 1000 rounds the day I got my LTC... only to buy a Model 41 .22 a week later. I would have gone with a Ruger .22 if they were available then.
I don't know, is there any practical use for a Nagant Revolver?

Mine looks a lot better than this one, though.

yeah, if you want to mount a supressor on a revolver 8)

the Nagant is one of the only ones that this can be done.

That and it has all that "commie-made Charm" that I'm a sucker for. even though it's technically a Belgan gun.


-Weer'd Beard

Let me echo Rob Boudrie's post - lotta good info there. FWIW, my first 3 guns were a Ruger 10-22 rifle, a S&W Model 19 .357, and a Ruger Mark 1 Standard.

25 years later, I still have the 10-22, sold the Mark 1 Std for a Mark 1 Target, and am trying to get the guy I sold my .357 to to sell it back to me (until then, I bought a Mod 66 - same gun in stainless!). Of course, I have a bunch of other guns, and have about 8-10 guns on my lust list, but I still shoot those three guns.

So... my advice? Hie thee over to Boston Gun Range in Worcester, Manchester Firing Line in Manchester, NH, S&W in Springfield or American Firearms School in North Attleboro and spend some $$ on the range renting guns and see what you like.

Or ask folks around here when they're going to the range next. I love having new folks to shoot with - I hate shooting alone - and I know others feel the same way. Feel free to email me or MP me to ask when I'll be on the range next.

BTW... is the "tele" in your screen name because you're a telepath :D, or because you're in telecom? Just wondering; I'm in the telecom field myself.

I would respectfully dissent from the recommendation for a Model 36 (or any J-frame S&W revolver).

It is a function of the small frame size that these guns do not fit most adult hands. The distance from the trigger to the backstrap is just too short. Particularly when trying to learn DA, the hand gets all scrunched up before let-off and you end up grabbing the shot just to get it done.

With no evidence at all to back this up, I'd bet that the overwhelming majority of Model 36s and 60s spent their entire existence riding on the bellies of white-shirted PD brass who never carried them outside the office (and had little use for them inside it).

Smith used to make a 2-inch version of the Model 10. It was not all that much more difficult to conceal than a 36, but it was immensely easier to shoot. Back when the PPC was a popular form of competition, some of the regular match sponsors would from time to time run "snubby" matches, which were limited to unmodified out-of-the-box revolvers. A bunch of usually good shooters would show up with their 36s and I'd clean their clock with my 2" 10.
Ross -- you're not kidding about the info! This short post of mine has generated so much material in a few short hours that I'm going to print it all out when this thread slows down and pour over it. What a wealth! The Boston Gun Range tip is an example -- I never knew there was a rental place so close to Leominster. The one in Manchester I remember when it opened when I was living up there, but not being into guns then I never checked it out. I still get up to Manchvegas in the warmer months to mountain bike, so I'll probably hit that one too (minutes after I got home from picking up the LTC, I was online printing out the NH Non-Resident Pistol form).

I'll hit you with a PM shortly to see what your schedule is. My neighbor has a .357 that he's told me I'm now welcome to borrow whenever I want.

Tele is Telemark skiing, what I do. It's also known as free-heel skiing:

http://images.google.com/images?sou...GL:2005-09,GGGL:en&q=telemark ski&sa=N&tab=wi
C-pher said:
I've always thought that it was pretty cool skiing. But nuts. Who would want to ski downhill on cross country skis? LOL!

Just kidding.

Just for kicks, me and a friend ended our skiing season last year at Wachusett in April, the day before they closed for good. We hiked up the mountain with our skinny XC track gear and did a run down Conifer. Normal downhill tele gear is heavy and supportive like alpine gear, just no fixed heel. Normally Conifer isn't much of a challenge, but it sure was that day. [shock]

Actually, I can show you. Here's my ski quiver. The skis I used on that day are to the right. The stuff to the left of it is my downhill gear. How's that for topic drift??

Back on topic -- does anyone know the best paintball setup for clobbering snowboarders?

Manchester firing line is pretty good for renting. I've been a couple of times to quench my burning desire to buy guns (still waiting for LTC).

The have a bunch of Glocks and Sigs, a few revolvers, a ruger P345 (I love the look, haven't shot it. Probably not a good first gun.). No rimfire semi-autos to rent unfortunately.
Used, Used, Used, Used, Used

Used, Used, Used, Used, Used...Did I say Used? Find a nice used .22 that
you like (should set you back $150-$200). Then find a 9mm (cheap as
heck to shoot at 10cents/round on sale) that you like and find a used one
that either is the same or really similar. Why drop all of that money on
a brand new Sigma when you can spend *less* on a Glock, S&W non-sigma,
Walther, or even a sig (with some luck)? I would love to see you get a
great quality used gun versus a cheaper new gun.

I'm with Len.

Skip the Sigma. Just don't go there. Life's way too short for a POS gun.

Skip the Walther .22 and other variants. Look for a Ruger MkII, S&W 41, or, or Browning Buckmark.

Glock 17 is a fine gun. So are various S&W revolvers.

I'm east of you (Wayland), but if you want to go to the range and try a bunch of different guns, just send me a PM. I'll bring the guns and ammo. We can meet at a gun club in Wayland.
I skied my way through UVM at Stowe and then worked for Vail. I always wanted to tele, the Garmont boots my buddy had looked so much more comfortable than mine. What you need is something like a demo-day at the mountain, but with guns.
OT then back On Topic..

How do you like the parabolics? I'm still skiing on straight wall downhills...

Well, I'm not really skiing on them. I've yet to be skiing since I've moved to MA because can you believe that I can't find anyone to ski with?? I've been here for four years and can't find someone to ski with...this sucks.

I do know that I need new boots because I tried to get into mine and they were too small. And, I'm sure that I'm not going to be too parallel because it's been 5 or so years since I've been on the slopes.

Anyway, back on-topic. Don't konw where you are compared to me, but I'm willing to do the same...I'll take you to my local club and let you try some of the things that I have.
Top Bottom