GUN (hand)Gun noob, some questions

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Biomechanoid, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Biomechanoid

    Biomechanoid New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    7,265
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    In the Woodline.
    all right; my "experience" with firearms consists of two things: skeet shooting in boyscouts about 8 years ago, and playing CS. not good. I'm starting to research buying a pistol for self defense, but I am at a loss as to what "features" I should be looking for in a hand gun, as well as what the terms associated with said features mean.

    I'm looking for a gun that I can carry concealed (looking into getting the permit), and that would be used for a self defensive situation (mainly due to the fact that I'm spending more time in the ghetto near the university on legitimate business :hs: ).

    rather than name off gun makes and models, I'd rather someone tell me what i should be looking for IN a handgun as opposed to looking for a specific hand gun.
     
  2. Platinum_Thunder

    Platinum_Thunder Reliability for life and liberty

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    108,922
    Likes Received:
    208
    I guess I will start. First off, shoot a bunch of guns and see what you like best. Might I suggest a Walther P99 9mm. Anyway, there are a couple terms you will hear when talking about a handgun. One of the most important is the "action" which is how the firing pin is fired. On a typical revolver, you either cock the hammer back manually, which is called Single Action (SA). This means that the trigger does one thing, drops the hammer. On a typical Double Action (DA) when you pull the trigger, it cocks the gun AND drops the hammer. A DA pull is much longer than a SA.

    That being said, auto loaders work much the same way. In a typical SA such as a 1911, you will cock the gun, hammer will be ready to fire when trigger is pulled. At this point, most of them have an external safety. This is commonly called "cocked and locked." Now, with a DA, you usually do not have a safety, external anyway. Your "safety" is the extra long trigger pull. Rarely do you have a safety on a DA except for internal. When you pull the trigger the first time on a traditional DA, the second round will be in SA mode. Also, with most of the DA you will have a decocker which safely allows the hammer to drop and the gun to go back to DA mode.

    Now, back to the action, you have hammer fired and striker fired. A 1911 or HK USP is a pretty good example of a hammer fired gun. Striker fired is a little different. There is a rod inside the slide that is pulled back when the trigger is pulled and drops at a certain point. Glocks are the best example of this action. Walther is a modified version of a striker fire.

    Last, shoot and see what fits YOU. The NRA suggests that you get the biggest caliber that you can handle. I don't 100% agree with that.

    If you have any other Questions, hit us up :wavey:
     
  3. Flyte risk

    Flyte risk Guest

    'scuse the OT noob posting... but I have a few things to add.

    Both these guys are right. You want something your comfortable with, not what a salesman is comfortable pressuring you into buying. You want something for concealed carry so I personally would be looking at an autoloader, not a revo. Being a small guy I carry a poly framed compact. Poly for weight and compact so I can easily conceal. buddy of mine carries a steel semi-compact... Just a matter of what we're both comfortable carrying. Something they didn't mention is single stack vs double stack mags. If you have smaller hands or short fingers you may want to limit your choices to a single stack for comfort. Double stack mags are wider causing some comfort issues for some people. Likewise, big hands and single stacks don't always get along.

    Look at where the decocker or safety is mounted. Frame or slide, personal preference again. Ambidextrous safety is a plus.

    Pay attention to the rifleings. If you get the polyagnol rifleings that the Glock and a few others feature be aware that you should never shoot bare lead or cast bullets. They must be plated or jacketed. Standard land and groove rifleings will digest any projectile you feed it.

    Ask yourself how often you plan on shooting. Do you plan on going to the range alot or just enough to stay in practice? Do you have the $$$ to shoot as much as you plan. 9mm is about as cheap as they come to shoot. .40 is getting affordable however it's still alot more than 9mm.

    Do your homework in regards to caliber selection. With so many to choose from and as many opinions to whats best it's hard to decide. For reference I and most everyone I know all carry .40 S&W, the others I know that carry use .380 acp, 9mm or .45acp.

    Go to a range with rental guns, shoot everything that interests you. My local range is run by the sherrifs dept, they've got probably 60 pistols available for rental @ $6 per session no matter if you shoot one or all 60. A good range will also have a RSO (range safety officer), be honest and tell the guy your pretty fresh with firearms he'll get you shooting properly in no time.
     
  4. smell my finger

    smell my finger strive nonetheless towards beauty and truth,

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    74,527
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    nyc
    ill just add that everyone has given you good information so far, but it might be too much to process right now. start lurking around on handgun forums (www.thehighroad.org is a good start) and click on threads that interest you and read up about different calibers and features. the search feature there is a wonderful thing.

    you'll start to put together the differnce between a sub-compact, a long slide, a .38 special, a 9mm and a .45acp and noting the differences between each and what might suit you best.

    the best advice is to go to a range with a good demo selection, and spend some money shooting some guns. dont just blast down range ... pay attention to things like trigger feel, balance, size, sights, and overal build quality impressions you get. (but rember that range guns are typically abused a bit) ... anyway, dont jump right in, take some time to get aquainted, it will probobly pay off in the long run.

    and feel free to ask any question you want about differences in anything or for definitions about something, you wont get flamed or anything like that
     
  5. attomica

    attomica Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nashville
    Good advice abounds here...I'll add a little more. You've clearly indicated what your intended use for your gun will be. That's a great first step. Now, you should consider some important points. I'd like to address the Automatic versus Revolver issue.

    Automatics (auto-loaders) are fantastic and a lot of people advocate them as primary weapons, but they do have some real liabilities. They have infinitely more components than a revolver. Springs, slides, magazines, release levers, safeties, bushings...the list is quite long. A revolver has very few, comparatively. Frame, cylinder and trigger assembly.

    The reasons this should be considered are many. In my eyes, the big one is the state of the gun when you're in a "Hot" situation. If you have to draw it, you won't have time to process the state of the weapon. That means you'll have to know if the safety's engaged and, if it is, you'll have to consciously disengage it. Then, you'll have to be sure the magazine is in place. Then, you'll have to know if a round (bullet) is actually in the chamber, and if not, you'll have to charge the gun by racking the slide. Then, if the round ends up being a dud, you have to actually clear the chamber before you can recharge it. That's something that usually takes a lot of time and concentration. Now, picture a coked-up, knife-wielding thug coming at you with all of these things you have to consider. There's just no time.

    In comparison, a revolver is quite simple and more reliable, assuming you have a double-action in your hands. There aren't any slides, safeties, magazines or chambers to deal with. The rounds reside in a cylinder that just hinges down and also plays the role of the chamber. You just pull the trigger and it'll fire and if you get a dud, just pull the trigger again. It's that fast and simple.

    There are some who'll constantly point out the automatic's increased ammo capacity. I think that's an unimportant point. First, more ammo means more weight to carry. Second, it's statistically unlikely that you'll ever become involved in a Hollywood firefight with bullets flying everywhere. Three rounds is the average discharge in a "Hot" conflict. Third, if you can't get "it" done with five (or six) rounds, you shouldn't be shooting in the first place.

    I said five rounds as a lead-up to my recommendation for an effective concealed-carry handgun. Ruger is among the best in the revolver business and their entry into this category is the SP-101. It's quite small (it'll only handle five rounds) but is beautifully designed to be a CCW. I have one in .357 and can carry it in numerous positions.

    There is no perfect defense caliber. Some say .380 is good, some won't go with less than 10mm or larger. It's a matter of physics. The larger and faster the projectile, the more energy is imparted to its target and energy is what does the incapacitating. The beauty of anything in .357 is that you can shoot .38s through the same gun without modifications. That means practice can be a lot cheaper and some think .38 is an effective defense round too. I personally prefer .357 as the caliber of choice.

    As others have said, make sure you "test drive" anything you may purchase and keep in mind that an automatic has distinct advantages, but for me they're not good enough to risk the possibility of a failure in a "Hot" situation.

    There, see how easy?
     
  6. Platinum_Thunder

    Platinum_Thunder Reliability for life and liberty

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    108,922
    Likes Received:
    208
    Revolvers are not always the mosre reliable choice. When I was taking my CCW class, there were 4 different revolvers that malfunctioned several times. Get what you like though.
     
  7. attomica

    attomica Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nashville
    Hmm...that's a real fluke. In the 20 years I've been shooting, I could probably count the number of actual gun malfuntions on two hands. Most of the time, it's the ammo that malfunctions, not the gun.
     
  8. footratfunkface

    footratfunkface New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Covington, GA
    MOST of the time, it's the magazines/ammo combination.

    as far as caliber and terminal ballistics, you're about to get it.


    first off, ignore energy and all that bullshit. you pay attention to how that energy is imparted into the target, how fast, and ultimately, the result of all of these things, how big a permanent wound cavity the round makes. the permanent wound cavity is the only true measure of a round's capability of incapacitation. the larger the permanent wound cavity, the higher the likelyhood of the round severing a large artery, or penetrating a major organ. both of those things will result in major trauma and blood loss, which will in turn effect the incapacitation of the target. the resultant of the blood loss in the long run may be death, but that is of no concern. all you want is incapacitation. to stop the threat upon your life.

    with handgun rounds, the permanent wound cavity cannot be made larger by the yawing action that rifle bullets use, because the bullets aren't shaped right or weighted right to actually be able to yaw much more than a few degrees in tissue. what handgun rounds use to create a larger permanent wound cavity is expansion. hollow points and soft points, basically. the round expands to larger than its original caliber, and thus permanently destroys more tissue than a non-expanding handgun round, such as an FMJ. the larger the expansion, the better the performance will be in the flesh of thy enemies.

    in conjunction with expansion, you also want to look at penetration. you want a minimum of 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gelatin to ensure the proper penetration in manmeat. the 12 inches is to ensure that a major organ or vascular structure is hit, no matter the angle at which the round enters the foe's body. i'd look for something with more like 14 inches in gel, because human skin's surface tension can act the same as 2 inches of gel, which would bring your penetration from 12 inches to 10.

    in summation, the energy is useless if the round does not impart its energy to the target by means of permanent wound cavity creation.

    to see real live results of scientific tests (not "one-shot stop" stories and other campfire tales) of all sorts of rounds, from handguns to rifles, in all sorts of calibers, and from all sorts of brands, visit www.ammolab.com
     
  9. footratfunkface

    footratfunkface New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Covington, GA
    oh, and i would NOT carry anything less than 9mm. i also, coincidentally, wouldn't choose to carry anything more.

    capacity is an issue for everyone, not just police. you carry more rounds that you THINK you'll need, because you never KNOW how many it'll take. if you have multiple adversaries, or you get excited (i know, i know. you're thinking, "excited? in a gunfight? me? no way.") and miss. i have seen videotaped gunfights where an officer and a suspect will be no more than 5 feet from each other and just be shooting like mad at each other and both empty their mags without hitting their target. when you are in a situation in which your life is in danger, you don't generally just plant your feet, and neither does anyone else. you're moving, people are moving, your firearm moves, you heart beats, your muscles tense. you miss. facts is facts. your body goes crazy in those situations, and you don't know what you'll need for capacity.

    if you visit ammolab, you'll see why 9mm is every bit as good as .40 or .45, or anything else in a pistol. the only thing i'd rate higher than it is the new taurus 100% copper, but i still haven't seen anyone else test it and verify the results. it has tested poorly in the past, though. i also throw out any rounds that show jacket separation or disintegration, because those rounds will not be reliable in real life. jacket separation is the sign of an unbonded jacket, and when the jacket separates, you get uncontrolled expansion. uncontrolled expansion can sometime still produce good wound tracts, but most of the time, it leads to early expansion, and very little penetration.
     

Share This Page