Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Thoughts on my First Handgun Purchase.

I pretty much have decided that I am going to go with a 9mm. I have never had an interest in a revolver. I understand that a 45 has more stopping power. In reality, however, I don’t think this will ever really make a difference to me. I live a well-protected, sedate life. Having shot both, a 9mm just feels more precise. As a golfer, that appeals to me. Likewise, the 9mm will provide a little less of a pounding, if I were to put in a good deal of time at the range.

The idea of something small appeals to me. There is just something really cool about having a weapon not much bigger than a wallet that you could carry in your pocket. So the idea of a very light and very slim PF-9 or something similar excites me. However, I do not like the idea of my little finger hanging off the end of the grip. Also, the size of these subcompacts also brings up the pounding issue. I just think I should go for something more practical.

Somebody I work with recommended a Sig Sauer P-226 Navy. I have had the idea of that weapon fixed in my mind for some time. I look at it and just go "Wow!"  However, it is pretty expensive. The days of it ever being possible that I will be a Navy Seal are long, long gone for me. I held a Sig at a gun show somewhat recently, and I just seemed, well, hard. These days, I like simple and easy in my life.

Now I am still tempted by something small.  The 3.8 inch barrel XD(M) seemed strangely appealing. However, this gun is just not in proper proportion. The Walther PPQ really looks quite sweet and properly proportioned. As a golfer, I like the idea of a polymer grip. I also like the idea of interchangeable back straps. But, I have the idea of becoming eye poppingly proficient at hitting my target. This puts me at odds with the Walther because of its 4” barrel and short sight radius. But I keep coming back to it because it is smaller, including in the magazine, which is not too small.

I don’t want a 5” barrel. That’s just too geeky. A Glock 19 is the right size and shape. After all, if you are going to go 9mm, it just makes sense to go with a 17 capacity magazine. Otherwise, why bother, right? I held the Glock 19 at a show, and the sensation of it stuck with me. But there are too many Glock groupies out there.

I have come to take a very close look at the M&P. I like polymer for light weight. I like the clamshell machining on the back of the rail. It has a fill Picatinny rail, so I can get silly with it later. The price is reasonable. They sell it with a full complement of accessories in a neat little picnic box.

I also want to take a very close look at the XD(M) 4.5. They come in a picnic box as well. Switching out the sights, it seems, may be a bother. However, I like the idea of the safety at the rear of the handle and the sight hole on top that allows you to see a chambered round. I am a novice, but a safe one. I will go shooting with my 17 year old girl, so safety is a key issue. I don’t know if the handle safety will nip my hand. If it does, I’m not sure I can buy it.

Whatever the choice though, I want all black because that’s just nasty.


Ikaika said...

I'm very happy with my S&W Shield. Probably the best sub compact 9mm i've shot.
If you have the bucks, the HK P30 is SOTA for duty.
I have a German sig p228 hat I used to carry. Too bulky or iwb.

The P30 gives you 15 rds of satisfaction with no FTF hat I have experienced after 2000 rds mixed.

If you ever make to Miami, I'll let you try them out.

Tom said...

You know I love the Springfield XD series for a number of reasons. RA just went and bought the smaller one so maybe we can schedule a time for you to try it out.

That's always best - shoot one before you buy so you know what you're getting into. It's too much of a hassle in NJ to make an impulse buy.

frithguild said...

I have some questions in my mind about the XD trigger. From what I have heard, it releases very low. That makes sense, because it seems Springfield engineered everything erring on the side of safety.

The Walther trigger is supposed to to very light and very smooth because all it does is release the striker, not bring it back at all. A light trigger might not be ideal for my level of experience. However, that will probably lead to better on target results more quickly.

The shield looked interesting and appealing in size, but at the end of the day, I have no use for a CCW.

I'll take a close look at the P30.

frithguild said...

btw - the XDm 9mm 4.5 with the black slide is sold out everywhere, so I guess I am not alone in my preferences. I think the one feature that keeps me coming back to it is the safety on the back of the handle.

But if RA got an XD, I might just have to get the Walther :)

JD said...

Since you're in NJ the 17 round Glock is out.

frithguild said...

HK 30 looks beautiful. I like that it has a decocking button, which the Walther PPQ and XDm lack. It gives up about 1/4 of an inch or a little more to both on sight radius. But it IS pricey.

Tom said...

Yeah Frith, NJ has a 15 round restriction on all magazines. My AR15 mags are all made special for compliance with NJ law.

JimInTx said...

The XD(m) 4.5 9mm is very similar to the .40 cal version. In my experience you'll forget the grip safety is even there if you're holding the grip firmly so that the action works to eject/load after the shot. There is a longish trigger run on it but that's part of the safety action. You can easily get used to that.

Another consideration is your desire to shoot that gun with your 17 y.o. daughter. Unless her hands are on the larger side, she may not like the size of the double-stack grip, even with the small grip installed. My 5'-3" daughter doesn't like it for that reason; the gun feels "too big" to her and she doesn't have confidence in her control over it.

For some more unsolicited advice, I suggest you try out the S&W M&P 9mm side-by-side to the XD(m). It's similar in size to the XD(m) but has a different feel. Two others I have taken on range outings (both male, average size) who have tried both, prefer the S&W. Me too, actually. When the current silliness abates, that one is next up for purchase.

Good luck.

ikaika said...

The P30 has adjustable grips (as does Beretta PX Storm)

I really like my wife's PX Storm in .40 cal.
In 9mm it must be a tack-driver.

The P30 is expensive, but you are investing in a firearm that will last a lifetime and will continue to function with precision after serious abuse or neglect.

Springfields are fine pistols. The croates did something right, but I'll stick with either German or Italian engineering if I had to choose.

Matt H said...

I'm looking at getting a S&W shield for concealed carry since my wife has started carrying more and thus reclaimed the LC9.

But if I lived in a state w/o concealed carry, I think I'd want a CZ P-01. The ergonomics give the outstandingly comfortable HK P30 a run for its money. The CZ costs about half as much IIRC. The trigger on a CZ can be gritty out of the box, but I hear they smooth out with time and use.

firefighter4884 said...

I'm 100% a Glock guy... and didn't start out that way. I own a couple of HKs, a couple of Sigs, a Springfield XD45, several 1911's, and a couple of revolvers. I also own 2 Glock 19's and a Glock 17. I've been shooting for over 10 years, and work part time retail selling firearms. I've talked friends out of buy Glocks, and into Springfields. Then I picked up a Glock 19 (Compact 9mm) and fell instantly in love. Liked it so much, I bought a twin to it, and just recently I added a 17 to the mix. The biggest reason I like the Glock series of guns: I can walk into any gun shop in the US, or order holsters from any manufacturer, and they carry products to support my firearms.

The XD series of guns looks almost the same as Glock, and functions nearly the same way, however, there is a difference, and it might be important to you. On the XD series of guns, the striker is fully cocked when the gun is loaded, a Glock, it's about 90% cocked. XDs have the energy they need to ignite the primer stored in the striker, while with the Glock, you need to give it that extra push so it has enough energy to fire the round.

Ultimately, pick what you like the best, and don't listen to a bunch of arm-chair quarter backs on the internet. Before you make any final selections though, I'd also encourage you to look at the Ruger SR-9 and SR-9c series of guns, and compare them with the guns you're already considering. If possible, get to the range and shoot the stuff. If you're up for travel, I can recommend a good indoor range in Southern NJ that allows rentals, and has a good guy that gives intro classes (and will normally let you shoot his stuff...)

Tom said...

By all means recommend the range anyway. I'm sure a number of readers would like to know.

Tom said...

But Frith, firefighter's comment should certainly let you know to what extent the minutiae of firearms engineering is typically considered, and how carefully most people think about those issues rather than cosmetics. Performance is almost always the primary (if not only) consideration.

Glock makes a number of fine weapons, each with a well deserved reputation for engineering and design excellence. But it's as but ugly a firearm as has even been made.

~RA said...

Next time we shoot , I'll bring the XDM .. its pretty compact and with the large Mag, your fingers dont fall off the grip.

frithguild said...

Thanks RA! My daughter is excited to give it a try. My hands a maybe a little larger than average, so this us a good report on the grip size. One of my main concerns is I want something she is comfortable with.

Thanks firefighter! I like the idea of a fully cocked striker because I found the variable resistance through the pull of the trigger to be distracting.

I am seeing very few comments about the Walther PPQ ...

Tom said...

It's not a popular gun.

Walther's have a less than stellar reputation compared to Glock S&W or Springfield.

(This may or may not be a fact BTW, I'm just reporting the 'conventional wisdom'. I personally have no opinion.)

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

A bit offtopic:

Drudge has a link that NY may reduce the legal magazine capacity from 10 bullets to 7. That would make my Ruger 10/22 rifle illegal.

I wonder if NJ will follow suite?

ikaika said...

Obama does not beoieve in what 2A stands for.
He repeatedly mentions "Sportsmen & Hunters" as responsible gun owners.
I guess off duty cops fall into the category of :irrational and Irresponsible Gun Owners".

I expect Christie to Leave NJ Gun Laws as they are, however if you have enough liberals in the Legislature that will present a new bill, he'll be hard pressed to reject it.

Your biggest threat in NJ is the Legislature pushing through whatever they want.

With Hunting and the game council it was easy to defeat Panter and Karcher. We united hunters for the first time for a meaningful election cycle.

Uniting gun owners in NJ is a whole different collection of flavors. There are plenty of people in Law Enforcement that don't want frithguild to have the ability to take his pistol home.

ikaika said...

H_i_L_N... FYI

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- New York has no deal on new gun
control laws, New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan says on
Twitter, citing unidentified Cuomo administration official.

flynful said...

The heavier the pistol the less the recoil. I find that it is easier to fire a full size 1911 in 45ACP than a smaller sixed Bersa 380 Plus. Shock. And, the 1911 is more accurate. I think that youshould also consider what the pistol will be used for. In NJ, that's pretty much target shooting and home defense. A 9mm will go through more walls than a 38SCP, a 45 ACP or even a 20 gauge shotgun with #4 shot. Consider the safety of your neighbors. I would suggest that, in the scheme of things, it is more important that your daughter have fun tagging along with you to the range and, if the 9mm has too much of a recoil, she may not want to go back. Although sort of off topic, my first pistol was a Browning Buckmark in 22LR, a real pleasure to shoot and accurate. And with rounds at less than a nickel each, you can shoot all day and stay on budget. Compare the price of a box of 50 rounds of 9mm against a brick of 500 rounds of 22LR. I would also suggest something more attractive to you and your daughter, such as the GSG 1911 in 22LR and all black or some other 1911 look alike. They are fun to shoot and look like the real thing.