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quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 9:14 AM
OK...

I'm a die-hard revolver guy. I've been shooting revolvers for 35 years... I've only shot a few semi-autos in my life, and even though I shot well with them (1911 .45ACP, Glock 21), I just didn't like them the way I do revolvers. I didn't like them jamming, etc. (I know - once they're broken in, they're great!)

But if I was to get a semi-auto that I could learn how one works and learn how to shoot well with, what would be a good one to start with? And caliber isn't necessarily important - this will not be a home defense gun. Just something to shoot targets, etc...

I fully admit my lack of knowledge of the controls on a semi-auto, what type of ammo they like, etc...

Let's say around $500 budget just to start with...

Thanks in advance,
quiet-wyatt

Black Majik
03-03-2009, 9:19 AM
There really isn't a "beginners" semi auto. It's not like riding a motorcycle, which you have to work you way up, except for heavier calibers, but regarding pistol platforms anything will be fine.

I figure something basic in 9mm, .40 or .45 would be great. It's plentiful (or was... ;) )For $500, there's the Springfield XD, Smith and Wesson M&P, Glock 17/19, or FN FNP. Those three will be polymer framed. You can pick up a Rock Island 1911 in .45 ACP for around $500 as well. A CPO SIG could probably be found in any of the three calibers for slightly more than $500, though searching around and negotiating could probably bring you into high 400s on a used PPT SIG. There's also the CZ75 to consider, for an all metal 9mm/.40

Good luck in your search. Any preference from polymer to metal framed guns? Caliber or action preference?

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 9:33 AM
Black Majik,

No, no preference really for polymer or metal frame.

Caliber - I think 9mm only because of cost - I can shoot more for the same $$$.

Action preference - This is the most confusing part for me. I humbly acknowledge no knowledge! Revolvers are very clear to me. But if I remember semi-autos correctly, I've seen single-actions with hammers and double-action without hammers, etc. This is what I really need to learn about...

Thanks!
quiet-wyatt

DVSmith
03-03-2009, 9:36 AM
I would stick with 9mm to play with. Other calibers are getting too expensive (not that 9 isn't going up too).

There seems to be some surplus stock out there for reasonable prices on occasion.

Snapping Twig
03-03-2009, 9:42 AM
Asking myself the same question back in 1986, I came up with a Sig P220 as the answer.

No safety, decocking lever, DA/SA and a round that's got some bite.

Still have the 220 and it's pretty much lived up to the transitional duty I asked of it.

These days I prefer a 1911, but I'll never sell the 220 and it's my nightstand gun as my wife can use it easily, just point and shoot.

the_donald_
03-03-2009, 9:44 AM
I am going to tend to agree with Black Majik on this one. If you're curious about learning the 1911 platform an RIA is a good starter & in your price range. Springfield XD has a good following as well, and from what I hear & read a CPO Sig is worth a look for the price. The Sig & XD range guns I've rented have all resulted in accurate groupings.

Since 9mm is what you mention, try a Sig P226 or P229 in that caliber. Of course you can always try a Glock, but I don't personally like them much.

Go rent a few and see what you like.

jmf_tracy
03-03-2009, 9:44 AM
like the other said, there really isn't a beginners semi-auto pistol. i would suggest .22lr for a complete beginner, but you already shoot revolvers. i would suggest 9mm as a caliber and would suggest my two favorite guns for your pistol. i like the XD9 in what ever configuration you like, i have the tactical and the subcompact. i also would suggest the CZ P-01, this is a sweet compact pistol. theses two guns are very different, but i really like em both. in any case you will be fine. there are a lot of good guns out there and it comes down to mostly presonal preference.

Black Majik
03-03-2009, 9:50 AM
Black Majik,

No, no preference really for polymer or metal frame.

Caliber - I think 9mm only because of cost - I can shoot more for the same $$$.

Action preference - This is the most confusing part for me. I humbly acknowldge no knowledge! Revolvers are very clear to me. But if I remember semi-autos correctly, I've seen single-actions with hammers and double-action without hammers, etc. This is what I really need to learn about...

Thanks!
quiet-wyatt

If you prefer something with more of a revolver like trigger pull, it'll have to be a light double action trigger, a SIG DAK or HK LEM might do well. However, those are priced higher than $500 but come the closest to what you're looking for. The M&P, XD and Glock can still feel the similiar, in the sense that they dont have a safety, but they're single action. The Glock is a pre-cocked "double action" striker fired pistol, so it can be tailored to a heavy or light trigger pull with swapping out a few basic parts. However, the characteristics of the trigger pull on a Glock pistol still reminds me of a SA trigger.

There are mainly 3 types of actions: Single action, trigger pull releases cocked hammer. Double action, same as a revolver. and DA/SA, Double action on first shot, gun cycles and subsequent shots are in single action. DA/SA guns have a decocker instead of a safety (except the HK USP).

All the "safe action", "LDA", "LEM," and "DAK" terms are proprietary to the manufacturer (Glock, Para Ordnance, HK and SIG respectively).

Best thing to do is to try em' all out. :thumbsup:

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 9:51 AM
This is great! All good information... :thumbsup:

I think that's a good idea to rent the models mentioned here and see what I like. Something that fits my hand and "feels right"...

Thanks for the great ideas and keep them coming!

quiet-wyatt

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 9:56 AM
There are mainly 3 types of actions: Single action, trigger pull releases cocked hammer. Double action, same as a revolver. and DA/SA, Double action on first shot, gun cycles and subsequent shots are in single action. DA/SA guns have a decocker instead of a safety (except the HK USP).


Now the different actions are starting to makes sense to me - Thanks for the good explanation...

civilsnake
03-03-2009, 9:56 AM
Semi-auto pistols come in a variety of different actions, and most are similar to revolvers.

Double action only (DAO) means it fires just like you SW Model 17 if you just pull the trigger. The trigger performs the same two actions: cocking the hammer and releasing it.

Double action/single action (DA/SA) means that it still sorta works like a revolver. A straight trigger pull will cock the hammer if not cocked and then release it. If you cock the hammer yourself, the trigger pull will just release it, just like most revolvers. The difference is that with an auto, when a cartridge is fired, the slide moves rearward and cocks the hammer automatically, meaning that you will typically only get one DA shot, an all following shots will be SA. Imagine your revolver automatically pulled the hammer back after every shot. Same idea.

Single action (SA) means that the hammer must be cocked by either you or the work of the slide. If the hammer's down, the gun won't fire. Similar to a Colt SAA or Ruger Vaquero, except with every shot, the slide automatically recocks the hammer.

Then there are striker-fired pistols (Glocks, xDs, M&Ps, etc.). These have no visible hammer because they use a different firing mechanism. There's a springloaded firing pin that is cocked when the slide is racked, but not typically cocked by pulling the trigger. These are essentially single action pistols because if you pull the trigger and there's no "bang", you need to recock the pistol. There are some striker-fired pistols that will cock with a trigger pull, however, making them more like a DAO. Striker pistols typically have trigger pull wieghts between single and double action, and longer pull lengths.

If you're used to standard modern revolvers, a DAO or DA/SA pistol is probably what would be most comforting to you.

If you just want to plink and target shoot, you can get a .22lr pistol. A lot of companies make good ones. They're usually single action, though. If you want something larger, 9mm would be the way to go IMO. You can also buy a 9mm pistol with a 22lr conversion kit for even cheaper plinking. CZ makes good steel 9mms and offers the Kadet Kit for 22lr conversion.

Do you care where it's made?

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 10:07 AM
civilsnake,

No, don't really care where it's made. I assume the CZ is made in the Czech Republic?

Hmmm... 22LR conversion too? That's interesting...

Iknownot
03-03-2009, 10:13 AM
civilsnake,

No, don't really care where it's made. I assume the CZ is made in the Czech Republic?

Hmmm... 22LR conversion too? That's interesting...


You can also get a 22lr conversion for the sig 226, 229, and 220.

I have one for my 226 and it works quite well. (I have a buddy who has the kadet 22lr conversion for his CZ75 and it works very well also).

civilsnake
03-03-2009, 10:51 AM
civilsnake,

No, don't really care where it's made. I assume the CZ is made in the Czech Republic?

Hmmm... 22LR conversion too? That's interesting...

Yes, CZ is made in Czech Republic. If you get a chance to handle one, I recommend you try it out. CZs have an interesting feel to them IMO. If you like the feel, you're good to go. If you don't, there are plenty of other options. I presonally prefer steel pistols, and CZ does that for less money than most while still offering a good quality product. You could also look at a standard Beretta 92, but I don't know that a .22lr kit is available.

Fantasma
03-03-2009, 1:57 PM
Get A CZ75B in Single Action.

If its just to learn to shoot and target practice this is a great model to start with.

They tend to go for around 400-500 Used, 500-600 New.

-hanko
03-03-2009, 2:46 PM
Get A CZ75B in Single Action.

If its just to learn to shoot and target practice this is a great model to start with.

They tend to go for around 400-500 Used, 500-600 New.
A CZ75B or Browning Hi-Power;)

-hanko

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 3:06 PM
Wow - So many choices...

Looks like I'll have to just go out and rent and shoot alot of pistols...

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it... :)

ojisan
03-03-2009, 3:14 PM
The quest begins...
:)

Saigon1965
03-03-2009, 3:23 PM
So much fun -

The quest begins...
:)

Jonathan Doe
03-03-2009, 4:50 PM
I bought a Glock 17 just to teach a new shooter at the range. It is a simple pistol and easy to shoot. I think it is a decent bigginer's pistol at a good price. I never had aGlock, but it shot very good group.

But, then I carry Sig P226 and P220.

Tho_Sun
03-03-2009, 5:14 PM
A little heads up. I love the feel of a single action firearm. Don't you just love the way revolvers fire when you pull that hammer back? I do. I own a Sig P226. It's a great gun! Only problem is the slack. Since it was my first gun I didn't know much about the finer qualities of a hand gun. I figure all guns are the same and could be changed later in the future. My mistake.

So this is my warning to you. Even though DA/SA are both, they don't function exactly the same in all guns (well at least mine doesn't). When you lock the hammer back on a Sig p226 to perform in SA mode, the trigger does not travel with it. I hate that slack! So if you want a crisp trigger like a single action revolver with every trigger pull, I would suggest a SA semi. You said it was a range toy so no worries needing it for quick draw "You have offended my family, I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUAL!" type situations (bigons). I learned my lesson and am looking for a 9mm 1911 now or even the very fun .357 Desert Eagle. Just passing on the knowledge :whistling:

What ever you choose, make sure you try it out first in L.A. gun club to see if it fits you. Personal note, love the look of a USP9, hate the trigger on striker fire guns~ Wish the USP fit me better.

wildhawker
03-03-2009, 5:21 PM
I'll agree with the CZ75 rec (as well as the Hi Power, although more $), very reliable and accurate out of the box and inexpensive to boot. For a heavier semi, try the CZ SP01. That said, all the advice here is good. Go to a range that rents (or see if some Calgunners will meet you there) and try different stuff.

Tho_Sun
03-03-2009, 5:25 PM
Hey, if you pay for the ammo, I'll gladly bring my sig p226 for you to try~ Starving college student willing to hore out his gun for a good time! Catch is, we gotta take turns with it~

B Strong
03-03-2009, 5:27 PM
OK...

I'm a die-hard revolver guy. I've been shooting revolvers for 35 years... I've only shot a few semi-autos in my life, and even though I shot well with them (1911 .45ACP, Glock 21), I just didn't like them the way I do revolvers. I didn't like them jamming, etc. (I know - once they're broken in, they're great!)

But if I was to get a semi-auto that I could learn how one works and learn how to shoot well with, what would be a good one to start with? And caliber isn't necessarily important - this will not be a home defense gun. Just something to shoot targets, etc...

I fully admit my lack of knowledge of the controls on a semi-auto, what type of ammo they like, etc...

Let's say around $500 budget just to start with...

Thanks in advance,
quiet-wyatt

Used Glock 19 or 17, if you can find one.

Second choice would be one of the used SIG P6's that are floating around.

Either the Glock or SIG should be 100% reliable with all ball ammo and most HP's.

fastpowerstroker
03-03-2009, 7:31 PM
I just bought a M&P. I like Glocks and the XD also. If you can rent them somewhere I would highly recomend that. I thought I wanted a HK USP, shot it and was not comfortable. I spent about $80 on four guns and ammo, but was well worth it.

Black Majik
03-03-2009, 7:37 PM
A little heads up. I love the feel of a single action firearm. Don't you just love the way revolvers fire when you pull that hammer back? I do. I own a Sig P226. It's a great gun! Only problem is the slack. Since it was my first gun I didn't know much about the finer qualities of a hand gun. I figure all guns are the same and could be changed later in the future. My mistake.

So this is my warning to you. Even though DA/SA are both, they don't function exactly the same in all guns (well at least mine doesn't). When you lock the hammer back on a Sig p226 to perform in SA mode, the trigger does not travel with it. I hate that slack! So if you want a crisp trigger like a single action revolver with every trigger pull, I would suggest a SA semi. You said it was a range toy so no worries needing it for quick draw "You have offended my family, I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUAL!" type situations (bigons). I learned my lesson and am looking for a 9mm 1911 now or even the very fun .357 Desert Eagle. Just passing on the knowledge :whistling:

What ever you choose, make sure you try it out first in L.A. gun club to see if it fits you. Personal note, love the look of a USP9, hate the trigger on striker fire guns~ Wish the USP fit me better.


You bring up a good point, which is a characteristic of most DA/SA service pistols. Beretta's 92/96FS, SIG P-series, HK's USP, HK's P2000, Walther's P99 all have a long reset point, as well as long slack which can induce trigger freeze if short stroked.


ETA: Wow, I brainfarted big time. Why in the world did I list the P99 in there?? It has a reset point that rivals a Glock and 1911. Oops :whistling:

quiet-wyatt
03-03-2009, 8:25 PM
That's what I love about this forum - Lots of knowledge and good advice!

I'll start the process of renting and shooting what I can.

Sorry Tho-Sun, I'd take you up on your offer but I'm in Sacramento area... :(

But I appreciate the offer!
(That's good info about the trigger pull too...)

civilsnake
03-03-2009, 8:48 PM
So this is my warning to you. Even though DA/SA are both, they don't function exactly the same in all guns (well at least mine doesn't). When you lock the hammer back on a Sig p226 to perform in SA mode, the trigger does not travel with it. I hate that slack! So if you want a crisp trigger like a single action revolver with every trigger pull, I would suggest a SA semi. You said it was a range toy so no worries needing it for quick draw "You have offended my family, I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUAL!" type situations (bigons). I learned my lesson and am looking for a 9mm 1911 now or even the very fun .357 Desert Eagle. Just passing on the knowledge :whistling:



The trigger on the P226 does move back when the hammer is manually cocked. There's still some slack, but the trigger's not in the same position as when the hammer's down.

Tho_Sun
03-03-2009, 9:10 PM
bah! slack is slack! there's enough of it to make me cringe~ :iggy2:

GrizzAwoken
03-04-2009, 9:23 PM
I grew up shooting a 1911 (.45) and just bought my "first" Pistol. I was trying to stay under $500 and decided to go with 9mm so I could afford to reteach myself how to shoot and ended up going with a Ruger SR9 (Got it for $460 before fees and taxes). I've heard a lot of good things from (I'm personally FAR FAR FAR from an expert) Sig and Glock owners about it and the few times I've shot it so far it has been an absolute pleasure and very accurate. I have to admit I've never shot a Glock but I've shot several Sigs, 1911's, CZ's, S&W's etc.

If you like all metal vs. poly I would personally go with a CZ 75. If I could of found one used to had the extra cash for a new one (I wanted a rail) that's what I would of got. But the Sr9 imo is a fantastic value and a great shooter.

-Grizz

5hundo
03-05-2009, 10:53 AM
I was going to suggest a Browning Hi-Power until you spoiled it with the $500 budget... :(

They make them in 9mm and .40 S&W but they're expensive to buy new. You might be able to find a nice used one, though...

The Hi-Power was one of the first High Capacity 9mm pistols to come into the mainstream market with popularity. They are notoriously reliable and lots of cops on many departments first transitioned from wheel-guns to the Hi-Power. They are still a fantastic weapon, even by today's standards...

weatherman
03-05-2009, 11:02 AM
Glock 17 is a great 9mm pistol and I am a huge fan. That being said, if you're accostomed to revolvers, a Sig 226 might be a easier transition...

Twinspool
03-05-2009, 11:23 AM
I'm a wheelgunner too and I was much more comfortable with the DA/SA type triggers on Sig and CZ.

I'm planning on going out to SVSS this weekend if you'd like to meet and punch some paper.

Cheers

esskay
03-05-2009, 3:22 PM
I think best method is to try a bunch of different types of guns to see which you like the best -- whether renting at a range with good selection or finding a buddy with a nice collection.

But generally speaking, I like striker-fired handguns as a "kinder/gentler" intro to semi-auto pistols... they have a very simple manual of arms compared to SA or DA/SA pistols. i.e. Glock, XD, M&P

dilligaffrn
03-05-2009, 9:08 PM
JMB's masterpiece, the 1911.

IMHO