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View Full Version : First handgun purchase - walk me through it?


surfinguru
06-24-2008, 11:11 AM
First time poster here, so bear with me...so, given the current social/economical environment, my wife and I have decided to purchase a handgun for the HD. We're looking at the MP line from S&W and will be going to the range to try first and see what fits for both of us.

So with all that said, since this will be my first gun purchase, can someone walk me through the process and what to expect? I know I'll need the HSC test, background test, anything else to be aware of? We also have a 7 year old son in the house, so I'm not sure if we have to buy a separate safe, or is the locking box and lock that comes with the gun sufficient?

Oh, we live in the Monterey Bay area so if anyone has pricing info for the M&P's that be great. (Outdoorworld has an M&P 9 for $602 out the door; minus the current $30 mail in rebate or two mags.) I believe Marklay's down in Watsonville has either the 9 or 40 at the same price.

Thanks in advance for any and all input!!!

JeffM
06-24-2008, 11:19 AM
Sounds like you're already ahead of the curve, having the sense to try before you buy, knowing about the HSC, etc.

Just make sure you budget some professional training into the cost of the gun. It is a much better investment to spend money on a cheap used gun, plus two or three times as much on training, than getting a top of the line new gun, but no training. I don't know if there's anyone around you offering courses, but maybe someone in your area can chime in.

ETA: Maybe someone will trade you shooting lessons for surf lessons. You never know.

SanSacto
06-24-2008, 11:21 AM
First time poster here, so bear with me...so, given the current social/economical environment, my wife and I have decided to purchase a handgun for the HD. We're looking at the MP line from S&W and will be going to the range to try first and see what fits for both of us.

So with all that said, since this will be my first gun purchase, can someone walk me through the process and what to expect? I know I'll need the HSC test, background test, anything else to be aware of? We also have a 7 year old son in the house, so I'm not sure if we have to buy a separate safe, or is the locking box and lock that comes with the gun sufficient?

Oh, we live in the Monterey Bay area so if anyone has pricing info for the M&P's that be great. (Outdoorworld has an M&P 9 for $602 out the door; minus the current $30 mail in rebate or two mags.) I believe Marklay's down in Watsonville has either the 9 or 40 at the same price.

Thanks in advance for any and all input!!!

Looks like you got it. S&W M&P is a great handgun. Good call on shooting it first just to be sure. You take the HSC test at a gun shop in order to be able to complete the sale. 10 days you have to wait. Don't know if locked case is okay, recommend safe either way.

Slayer
06-24-2008, 11:28 AM
M&P 9mm - great handgun. Functions perfectly, and is great on ergonomics. Very simple swap of the palmswells if you and the misses hand different sized hands. 9mm is good for beginners because of cheap ammo.

Now, go for the 2 free mags instead of the $30 rebate. They mags cost almost $40 bucks a piece!

Now you seem to have the process down. Take HSC, and after you pass you can now pay for the gun and begin DROS. After 10 days, assuming the DROS comes back roses, the gun is yours.

The M&P comes with a lockable plastic case as well as a gun lock. No further lock is neccessary as far as the DOJ is concerned. I bought a small safe to keep it in.

Good luck to you man, M&P FTW!

Brooke
06-24-2008, 11:30 AM
You'll sit down with the salesman and fill out paperwork. Simple stuff ... are you a felon? A mental defective? (I'm not kidding!)

Be sure you have proof of address above your CDL. Car registration, utility bill ...

Wait 10 days.

Re: the kid. The case/lock that comes with is worthless, except for storage. You can't get into it fast.

Whatever you do here (safe, etc.), I'd suggest that you don't try to keep the gun from him, in the sense of making it a mystery. Let him handle it, show him how it works, how it comes apart. Impress safety on him, and that it's not something *ever* to touch without you there. My guess is that if you took him to the range and let him pop off one round (is that allowed at 7?) he'd be mighty respectful of its' power.

paladin4415
06-24-2008, 11:54 AM
Re: the kid. The case/lock that comes with is worthless, except for storage. You can't get into it fast.
Whatever you do here (safe, etc.), I'd suggest that you don't try to keep the gun from him, in the sense of making it a mystery. Let him handle it, show him how it works, how it comes apart. Impress safety on him, and that it's not something *ever* to touch without you there.

That is by far the MOST important part. Teach your child to respect firearms and not be afraid of them and he will be safe forever. Teach him about the gun and bring it out when he asks to see it. That will take all the mystery out of it.
The M&P 9mm should work well for you and your wife.

USN CHIEF
06-24-2008, 12:02 PM
The only problem I see is that you are buying "1" for two people:eek: That is a big negative in my book. Do you only have "1" car, "1" tootbrush etc? Once you buy that gun, then you must buy her a gun.

Like Paladin4415 said it, teach your young kid about firearms safety rules. This is a great site to meet other responsible gun owners in your area. If you put a request to go shooting at your local range, many of the members have a vast amount of knowledge on firearms and I am pretty sure that if you supply the food for the guns they are more than willing to go shooting and let you shoot their guns.
Good on you and your wife for deciding to get a gun and the lil boy not being a show stopper for that decision..

BroncoBob
06-24-2008, 12:25 PM
All comments are excellent. At least you and your wife have done some homework which is extremely important and by all means teach your children to respect the gun and keep it locked up in a safe. There are some rather inexpensive handgun safes on the market.

SKULLCRUSHER
06-24-2008, 12:31 PM
In terms of getting an additional safe which is a good idea for multiple handguns. (because when you get one you will want a few more, trust us) This one at Wal-Mart is only sold online for $39.98 with a digital code instead of key entry and is .55 cu. ft. It should hold about 2 or 3 handguns with ammo too.

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5127163

glockman19
06-24-2008, 12:42 PM
That is by far the MOST important part. Teach your child to respect firearms and not be afraid of them and he will be safe forever. Teach him about the gun and bring it out when he asks to see it. That will take all the mystery out of it.
The M&P 9mm should work well for you and your wife.
+1 for Safety and Education. This can't be impressed enough.

Spend for a safe. A Good one. It will be worth the investment. It can and will also likely be used for important documents and valuables.

For your first gun purchase I'd go to a range that rents and shoot as many as I could, ultimately getting the one that feels most cumfortable and shoots best for you. I also would recommend geting a gun for each of you. It's always nice to have a pistol and revolver. A 4" or shorter .357 that also shoots .38 is a nice 2nd gun to have to go along with that S&W M&P. Lastly, I'd personally get the .9mm I fmy wife were shooting it the .40 may be a little snappy for her.

jazman
06-24-2008, 5:10 PM
I advise 9mm also, much cheaper to shoot ammo wise and little recoil. Definitely get a safe, a good small one:
http://www.deansafe.com/ftk-pb.html
A little more expensive (shop around to find them cheaper), but the simplex lock makes it worth it. It's a mechanical 5 button lock that uses no batteries. The buttons are easy to find and push in the dark to open the safe.

CHS
06-24-2008, 5:14 PM
Buying a handgun will take some time, and parts will be a little annoying, but overall it's not that bad.

First things first, they'll want you to pay the money and take the HSC test. If you've ever fired a gun before, and know even a little bit about gun safety, you will pass the test and get your HSC right there. The test is all common sense.

Then you'll fill out your paperwork (form 4473). Listen very carefully to the instructions, as there are some places where you are allowed to abbreviate, and some where you're not, and you'll be filling this out in pen. The "correct" answers to all the questions are yes to number 1, and no to the rest. Of course, you have to be telling the truth, so if these are NOT correct for you, the purchase will be denied.

The clerk will read over your paperwork, and spend a lot of time at the DoJ computer system entering in your information for the background check.

Lastly, you'll pay for the gun, get a receipt, and come back in 10 days.

If you, for some reason, fail the check then you most likely won't find out until you come back to pick up your gun. Instead of a gun, you'll get a little letter from the DoJ. You have to call them to get the reason. Turners will keep your gun for you, and hold your money to give you some time to work it out with the DoJ, if you feel they are in error.

Otherwise, on your tenth day you'll go over the paperwork again, sign some stuff, cross some "t's", dot some "i's", and drive home with your new gun.

It's all very easy. It's just time consuming and a bit annoying.

For rifles and shotguns, simply have your valid ID. Nothing else is needed. For a handgun, you need your valid ID, proof of residency (utility bill matching your ID's address, or vehicle registration), and HSC.

For your first time handgun purchase, be prepared to spend a lot more money than you thought you would spend. Obviously there's tax, but you'll have to buy a gun lock too, pay for the HSC fees, and pay for DROS. It all adds up and can be a surprise if you're not prepared for it.

You can also legally return the lock at a later time and get your money back. I'm sick and tired of buying these mandatory locks. I have so many of them it's not even funny.

surfinguru
06-24-2008, 5:28 PM
Wow, thanks for all the quick and positive replies everyone- very much appreciated. Yes, the range visit with the Misses will be tomorrow. (We're in Vegas for business and will be visiting Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Center.) I wouldn't be doing this without her buy in. Figure we'll try the MP 9 and 40, maybe the G17 & G22, outside chance at a few XD's in the same caliber. The Misses says go for the biggest caliber, but reality says get something she can actually handle.

Training...yes! We will both be attending a handgun safety class - it just makes sense. Reeds in Santa Clara appears to have decent pricing for classes for two. I like the idea of one on one instruction. I have fired guns in the past, (9mm, .38 spec, .40mm, .44mag and lastly the Desert Eagle in the .50cal flavor!) so guns are not totally foreign to me. Bottom line is I want her to be 100% confident in handling whatever gun we choose.

In regards to the young one in the house, absolutely no hiding it from him! He's an extremely bright and smart young boy, so there will be no hiding it from him. We'll be very up front and to the point in regards to safety and handling of the firearm.

@ USNChief - I hear you as far as only getting one gun. Maybe in the future, but right now, we can only afford one plus training etc. In the future? I could see a 1911 for sure - beautiful guns! FWIW, I'm not against a used gun, but I'm an perfectionist and apparently S&W has superb customer service, so I'm inclined to go new. That is, unless someone has a line on a good deal?!?!

I'm clean as far as the background check goes. No felony or mental issues to worry about. Not even a moving violation in the last 10 years.

Lastly, it's only a 10 day waiting period? Sweet! I must've been confusing the 30 day period thing. (That's only between individual purchases - right?)

Again, thanks everyone for your valued and experienced input!

Oh, one more thing - what's the deal with the ammo law as it stands today? I've been reading as much as possible, but I'm left feeling confused. Can I, or can't I buy regular 9mm or 40mm ammo? Should I be hoarding as soon as I know the caliber we decide on?

surfinguru
06-24-2008, 5:35 PM
bdsmchs, thanks for the excellent post! You responded as I was typing.

You said plan on spending more than I expect? Could you elaborate? I was at OutdoorWorld last week and there was a gentleman that was buying the MP9. I watched him as he was taking the HSC test. Is there a reason why anyone other than a first time buyer would need to take the test? He showed me his printed receipt and it showed $602.xx.

CHS
06-24-2008, 5:38 PM
I'm an perfectionist and apparently S&W has superb customer service, so I'm inclined to go new.


A friend of mine has a S&W Airlite .357. It blew up on him and sent peices downrange. He called up S&W, told them what happened and they said "Wow! That's NOT supposed to happen, give us your address right now". They immediately sent him a postage-paid shipping container to mail the gun and all the parts back in, and he got a new gun in the mail within 2 weeks, if I'm not mistaken. All paid for by S&W with no questions asked. So if that's any indication, they have AWESOME customer service.


Lastly, it's only a 10 day waiting period? Sweet! I must've been confusing the 30 day period thing. (That's only between individual purchases - right?)


Many years ago, the waiting period for long guns was 15 days, and the waiting period for handguns was 21 days. Now it's 10 days for everything. But with handguns you are restricted to one purchase every 30 days. I'm not sure how that applies to private-party transfers, or if it applies at all. But it will apply in your case since you're buying at a shop.

DDRH
06-24-2008, 5:49 PM
[QUOTE=Many years ago, the waiting period for long guns was 15 days, and the waiting period for handguns was 21 days. Now it's 10 days for everything. But with handguns you are restricted to one purchase every 30 days. I'm not sure how that applies to private-party transfers, or if it applies at all. But it will apply in your case since you're buying at a shop.[/QUOTE]

nope doesn't apply to PPT...as for ammo, you should be able to buy 9mm 40SW no problem...i recomend winchester white box (USA) at walmart. best deal around the bay area....but only walmart in milpitas and Mt. view's got ammo...not sure what other walmart.

never shot the MP9, but i have a MP45 and i love it...was kinda disappointed after i shot the Glock21C...that compensator helps the recoil by ALOTTTT...i was really surprise at how soft the recoil on the G21C...but of course since your wife's gonna use it, she may have issues with the grip, Glock grips are a bit big, and she may have a problem reaching the trigger.

Brooke
06-24-2008, 6:01 PM
Yes, the range visit with the Misses will be tomorrow. ... I wouldn't be doing this without her buy in.

You may be surprised. My gun-shy wife (I thought!) has been with me twice. Next time, she wants her own lane. :) Life is good.

Figure we'll try the MP 9 and 40,

Do let her shoot a .45 cal. My wife prefers it - "softer", less snappy, recoil. She likes the .38 revolver best, though (she dislikes the flying brass).

lazyworm
06-24-2008, 6:11 PM
Regarding the HSC test, be sure to read and understand each question
throughly before answering, don't skimp. There are a few you could call
"trick" questions.

CHS
06-24-2008, 6:24 PM
bdsmchs, thanks for the excellent post! You responded as I was typing.

You said plan on spending more than I expect? Could you elaborate? I was at OutdoorWorld last week and there was a gentleman that was buying the MP9. I watched him as he was taking the HSC test. Is there a reason why anyone other than a first time buyer would need to take the test? He showed me his printed receipt and it showed $602.xx.

You need to renew the HSC every 5 years, but aside from that, you'll only need it this first time.

Between the DROS and HSC costs, that's easily 50$. Then you've got tax, and the gun lock (7-15$, depending). So your total out-the-door can easily be more than 100$ over the list price of the gun.

socalgunrunner
06-24-2008, 6:36 PM
Many years ago, the waiting period for long guns was 15 days, and the waiting period for handguns was 21 days. Now it's 10 days for everything.

I'm not trying to hijack the thread or anything, but what year was this? I don't recall a 21 day waiting period for handguns. The most I remember was 15 days...

CHS
06-24-2008, 7:15 PM
I'm not trying to hijack the thread or anything, but what year was this? I don't recall a 21 day waiting period for handguns. The most I remember was 15 days...

I'm not sure, exactly. I remember the switch-over to 10 days for everything, and all I remember was 15/21 before that. Now, I was only 18 at the time and was only buying long guns. They switched over to 10 days before I turned 21 so I never had the chance to find out. I just remember being told 15 for long guns, 21 for handguns. Waiting period, not age :)

I very well could be wrong. It's just what I remember.

bswp
06-24-2008, 7:27 PM
Oh, one more thing - what's the deal with the ammo law as it stands today? I've been reading as much as possible, but I'm left feeling confused. Can I, or can't I buy regular 9mm or 40mm ammo? Should I be hoarding as soon as I know the caliber we decide on?

Well, the 40mm ammo may set you back a bit, but if you can find it, buy as much as you can carry. :D

You should also review your personal liability coverage - if you ever do shoot someone, expect to be taken to court, which is expensive, I've been told.

lateknightucd
06-24-2008, 9:05 PM
You should also review your personal liability coverage - if you ever do shoot someone, expect to be taken to court, which is expensive, I've been told.

On that note, is this usually a rider on a homeowners policy or is it a separate policy? If so can anyone recommend a source? What about pre-paid legal? Thanks!

U2BassAce
06-24-2008, 9:40 PM
Wow, thanks for all the quick and positive replies everyone- very much appreciated. Yes, the range visit with the Misses will be tomorrow. (We're in Vegas for business and will be visiting Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Center.) I wouldn't be doing this without her buy in. Figure we'll try the MP 9 and 40, maybe the G17 & G22, outside chance at a few XD's in the same caliber. The Misses says go for the biggest caliber, but reality says get something she can actually handle.

Training...yes! We will both be attending a handgun safety class - it just makes sense. Reeds in Santa Clara appears to have decent pricing for classes for two. I like the idea of one on one instruction. I have fired guns in the past, (9mm, .38 spec, .40mm, .44mag and lastly the Desert Eagle in the .50cal flavor!) so guns are not totally foreign to me. Bottom line is I want her to be 100% confident in handling whatever gun we choose.

In regards to the young one in the house, absolutely no hiding it from him! He's an extremely bright and smart young boy, so there will be no hiding it from him. We'll be very up front and to the point in regards to safety and handling of the firearm.

@ USNChief - I hear you as far as only getting one gun. Maybe in the future, but right now, we can only afford one plus training etc. In the future? I could see a 1911 for sure - beautiful guns! FWIW, I'm not against a used gun, but I'm an perfectionist and apparently S&W has superb customer service, so I'm inclined to go new. That is, unless someone has a line on a good deal?!?!

I'm clean as far as the background check goes. No felony or mental issues to worry about. Not even a moving violation in the last 10 years.

Lastly, it's only a 10 day waiting period? Sweet! I must've been confusing the 30 day period thing. (That's only between individual purchases - right?)

Again, thanks everyone for your valued and experienced input!

Oh, one more thing - what's the deal with the ammo law as it stands today? I've been reading as much as possible, but I'm left feeling confused. Can I, or can't I buy regular 9mm or 40mm ammo? Should I be hoarding as soon as I know the caliber we decide on?

I have to say nice choice in handguns "Semi M&P". The M&P line is great. Yes I have owned Glocks and own a bunch of O-Frames.

I would look at 45 ACP WAY over the 40S&W. Price of ammo is the almost the same as 40S&W.

Problem with 9mm "I own a S&W 9mm" is you get ten rounds in a mag meant to hold I believe 15 or 16. With the 45ACP you get 10 big boys as the handgun was designed for.

But anyway 10 rounds +1 of 9mm is not the end of the world. Especially if you are getting the SO into shooting.

You are making a great choice in friearms looking at the M&P line. Throw the small palm swell on it and you and your SO can shoot it great.

NoobShooter
06-24-2008, 11:15 PM
+1 safety and education for kid
+1 digital safe (no fumbling with keys)
+1 on professional training.

Everybody has covered everything else.
I just wanted to impress upon you the importance of professional training. I've attended one. There is just so many unexpected things to learn about practical handling of a handgun. There so much information, you would always have to take that first class again to move onto the next level.

Get trained, especially if you're using a handgun for home defense.
Otherwise, get a Remington 870 shotgun.
My 2 cents. :hide:

Dark Water
06-25-2008, 3:10 AM
Whatever handgun you finally decide to go with is up to you. It sounds like you have done your homework and know what you want. When you go in to make the purchase expect to take a HSC test and fill out some forms. Be sure to bring your ID and expect to pay for your purchase that day. In addition to the price of the gun you will have to pay for the DROS, background check, tax, and transfer of the gun. After the 10 day waiting period the gun is yours to take home.

Owning a gun is a big responsibility. Not just to yourself but to your family, your neighbors and fellow gun owners. Your actions with your gun can directly affect the view of others, which in turn can cause laws to become worse if you are unsafe. There are plenty of places to get handgun training and I suggest that if you haven't already that you look into one. If you can I also encourage getting your wife and child involved as much as possible. A gun is only a good defense if you can use it properly so practice often. This includes your family.

The gun will come with a cable lock but that is not sufficient for a home with children. You need a safe, not necessarily a big one but that is not a bad idea because once you and your family get into it you will find yourself wanting more guns and needing a larger safe to fit them. Teaching your child about guns will eliminate the mystique television gives them and partnered with a safe will make it less likely that your gun will be misused.

Finally, since your clearly support the right to bear arms there is nothing better you can do to protect that right than joining the NRA. The NRA works very hard to ensure that our 2nd ammendent rights are protected and will exist for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. You should be able to join the NRA at the store you buy your gun from for $30.00 a year and if you can't go to www.nra.org to join there. Help yourself and others like you to protect our liberties before there aren't any left to protect. If I can help with anything else feel free to pm me.

surfinguru
06-25-2008, 8:05 PM
Well, we went to the range today and tried out the G19 and an XD both in the 9mm flavor. The gentleman behind the counter was quite helpful and walked us both through the entire loading, firing process, etc. to help smooth out the nerves.

Out of the 40 or so rounds my wife shot, only about 10 were outside the 8 ring at 5 yards on a standard silhouette- hot damn! She even hit the bullseye once as well as putting quite a few in the center ring. Gosh I love that woman. :D

After several years of not shooting anything myself, I did quite well also. Out of my 50 or so rounds, nothing outside the 9 ring in addition to pretty much taking out the center "X". :cool: We've both decided that the 9mm will be just fine and look forward to some good range time once we decide on a specific model. And yeah, I see her having her own gun not too far down the road.

Unfortunately, they didn't have any of the M&P's to try out which was a bummer, but I have to say, the Glock felt pretty good as was quite easy to shoot. Very confidence inspiring in fact. My wife's comments were that it was fairly easy to shoot, but the handle was too big for her. I didn't like the XD at all. The trigger just didn't "feel" right to me or my wife for that matter. That one's definitely off the list for sure.

We'll be back home by the weekend and Markly's down in Watsonville carries the M&P's, so our next trip will be to take one of those bad boys for a spin and go from there.

Again, a huge thanks for everyone's input and support. There really is a great community here and I'm glad to be a part of it.