View Poll Results: Which opinion do you subscribe to?

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  • A 1911 is ok for a beginner

    29 44.62%
  • No, 1911s are not a beginner's weapon

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Thread: Semi-Auto Pistol for beginners?

  1. #1
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    Semi-Auto Pistol for beginners?

    I was having a discussion on another forum about the best kind of semi-auto pistol for a beginner dead set on a pistol instead of a revolver and the discussion got interesting. The OP was looking for the purposes of self-defense. Someone recommended a 9mm 1911 and another member's comments are below:

    Bold Emphasis Added[...]

    I would also never recommend a single action only trigger for a beginner. 1911's are not beginner carry peices. Do understand that this would necessitate that you carry a gun loaded, with the hammer back (the safety on)and ready to fire 24/7. This was the same dumb move I did when I got my first concealed carry piece. I ran out and bought the latest and greatest Officers model 1911 that Kimber offered and then I was scared as hell that I was going to have a negligent discharge carrying it. I have no problems carrying a full size 1911 in this condition these days but it took a lot of practice to get to where I was safe and comfortable doing so. I ended up buying a revolver after the 1911 fiasco. Don't get me wrong. I don't like anyone bad-mouthing my 1911's! I just don't believe that they are right for beginners.

    [...]
    And this was my posting that followed his:

    Disclaimer: This is not an attack at all. I understand your point and agree that if one should chose to carry a 1911 that practice is necessary (but that is true of any weapon). I just thought I would offer my own humble opinion.


    Just think about your last time in a gun store with an inexperienced individual. Have you been transversed with a gun he/she was holding with his/her finger on the trigger? It has happen to me a few times, and while I know the weapon wasn't loaded, its still an umcomfortable feeling.

    For this reason I honestly think that a 1911 is a better choice for a first pistol. For example, it is more forgiving of accidentally touching the trigger, then say a Glock or XD. A novice may grab the trigger when picking up a gun and have a neglient discharge. With a 1911 with either the hammer down on a hot chamber or hammer back with the safety on; the trigger cannot discharge the weapon. I would recomend a 1911 to a beginner before an Glock/XD type weapon.



    P.S. FYI; although I am not a fan of Glocks, I do own two XDm's.
    "There are three and only three ways to reform our Congressional legislation, familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box".
    - Stephen Decatur Miller (May 8, 1787 – March 8, 1838)

  2. #2
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    A .22 is the best (and only) pistol that a beginner should consider.

  3. #3
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    Well, the OP was looking for self-defense. Someone else (a third poster) recommended a 9mm 1911 and the other poster's comments are above my response.
    "There are three and only three ways to reform our Congressional legislation, familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box".
    - Stephen Decatur Miller (May 8, 1787 – March 8, 1838)

  4. #4
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    A .22 is the best (and only) pistol that a beginner should consider.
    indeed
    DON'T PANIC

  5. #5
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    With proper instruction and practice a 1911 in .45 is fine for a beginner.
    “Guns are not the problem … crazy is the problem” Jon Stewart from Oprah interview, Sept 2010.

  6. #6
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    No vote. If I was making a recommendation to someone with lots of choices I'd start with a .22 target pistol. But I started with a 1911 and did OK. So did lots of other nephews of Uncle Sam.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

  7. #7
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    For me, it would depend on the beginner. If I thought it was someone who would not get into gun nuttery, who was not mechanically inclined, or who was not perfectly safe and responsible, I'd point 'em at a revolver, a concealed hammer one at that. If the reverse, I wouldn't have a problem recommending a 1911.

    Since most beginners fit the first description or you just aren't sure, I'd mostly prefer a revolver.

  8. #8
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    Depends on the beginner.
    "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user."

  9. #9
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    I carry a 1911 as my daily carry firearm. I don't think it's necessarily a beginners gun, but I don't think it takes all that much to get comfortable with one either.

    I personally have a 7rd mag loaded, one in the barrel, what I generally don't do is keep the hammer back. I find that if I am drawing the gun it's simple enough to set the hammer with my thumb as I bring the gun to sight level.

    it's all a matter of preference I'm sure.

  10. #10
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    After training troops here and across the pond for years, weapon doens't matter as long as they get decent and quality training on the weapon.

    CD
    De Oppresso Liber

    Iraq: 91,03-06,08 & 09'
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  11. #11
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    semi-auto's are fine for beginners... as noted "with adequate and proper instruction". The problem lies with training. I would guess that most beginners that buy a 1911 style pistol for self defense, do NOT get proper training or instruction much less adequate practice. Reacting to failure to feeds, out of battery, stove pipes, reloads and other issues unique to semi autos is a trained behavior requiring time spent on the range and in many hours of practice. Not being able to instinctively respond to any of those issues in a critical situation will likely end badly for the shooter.

    Revolvers: pull the trigger. If it doesn't go bang, pull the trigger again. Even a novice can grasp this concept in about 2 seconds and apply it correctly.

  12. #12
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    For a new person, I would recommend a class or two first; use that and rentals to decide what would work best. Definitely start with a 22, for ease of practice, and encourage participating in some forums or a local gun club / range.

    Assuming home SD, my tendency is to recommend a full sized .357, and to practice with the 22 and with .38s. For a semi-auto, I think I'd go with something simple in mechanics and operation. The 1911 design is somewhat complex, and a new 1911 pistol can (doesn't have to) run into some serious money. I think I'd look at the Glock 17 or 19, M&P series, or the Walther P99 (my personal choice - easy to maintain, ergonomic, and over 2000 rounds without issue).

  13. #13
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    I don't see why a revolver would be any better than a Glock or XD type of handgun. No thumb safety, so you need to "Keep your booger hook off the bang switch". Gun safety rules still apply.

  14. #14
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    The problem is that it takes between 5000 and 10,000 rounds to get the basic skills needed to be a reliable handgunner. And those rounds need to be fired in an organized and challenging fashion - not standing in one position drilling a paper target at 7 yards.

    That's why I'll always recommend the .22. The simple truth is that most new shooters will never spend the money and time to shoot enough centerfire. They will shoot if they start with a .22 since the ammo cost is negligible.
    Once they've got those basic skills, it hardly matters what platform they choose in centerfire.

  15. #15
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    CZ-82. They are cheap, 9x18mm Makarov ammo is cheap (not as cheap as .22LR, of course) and these guns have an absurdly good trigger. More power than a .380, but less than a real 9mm.

    You should start them out on a .22 though, even if it's just a loaner for a couple of range sessions.
    "Nobody wins in a Dairy Challenge" —Kenny Rogers

  16. #16
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    IMO, the average guy can handle a 1911A1.

    May want to scale down the cartridge size for a woman, though.

  17. #17
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    Hmmmm....

    It does depend on the begginer.

    I don't like teaching a flat out newb to shoot on a handgun, I like starting on a .22 rifle, just to get used to the concept of when you pull the trigger it goes bang.

    I also think newbs should be taught the basics of shooting, with an emphasis on what they want to learn, before buying their own gun. Which takes a couple weekends at the most. We're talking basics and a decent grounding, with the umderstanding that real training begins after they get their own gun.

    That is my recommendation, and from there I would recommend they buy what I felt they had shown the most comfort and competance with.

    And I keep a standing offer to teach newbs if any approach me, for this reason.
    "i call her vera"- jayne cobb

  18. #18
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    Therewolf,

    A healthy women can handle a .45 just fine. Hell, at 13 I was shooting a double stack .45.

    A newb is a newb. Don't bother with gender distictions. No newb should shoot a .45 first thing ever.
    "i call her vera"- jayne cobb

  19. #19
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    No newb should shoot a .45 first thing ever.
    While I tend to prefer starting smaller, lots of service folk started on .30 caliber rifles and .45 sidearms and did just fine... I know people who qualified expert on the service sidearm first time firing any pistol for score.
    Paul
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  20. #20
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    lots of service folk started on .30 caliber rifles and .45 sidearms and did just fine
    And they were:
    1- required to keep trying
    2- supplied with free ammo

    Someone buying their own won't actually shoot that fo-five as often as they would shoot a cheaper gun. It is easy to forget but a beginner doesn't want to buy expensive ammo and gear, they just want to go shooting. Inexpensive hardware and gun food are the thing to start out on, and that means a .22lr gun of a common design for most shooters.
    DON'T PANIC

  21. #21
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    Biased. I've heard enough stories from guys in their 40s who told me, explaining why they were NOT shooters, "Well, I went to the range once with a friend who was a shooter, and he handed me this Colt .45 automatic, and it was a real bear. I decided I didn't like shooting."

    If by first semi-auto, you mean first purchase after extensive practicing with it and other guns--maybe first semi after mastering the .357 Mag 4-inch!--then sure. The safety/condition 1 thing doesn't bother me, and can be a real advantage.

    If you mean first exposure, then no.
    a 1911 is a better choice for a first pistol. For example, it is more forgiving of accidentally touching the trigger, then say a Glock or XD.
    It is more forgiving--unless it's been left in Condition 0. Any newb green enough to grab a Glock with finger on trigger is probably green enough to leave the 1911 safety off. There are reasons for preferring an external safety (and for not preferring it), but an untrained user can get an AD/ND with either.

    (Now, a P7 automatically "goes safe" as soon as you release it. Unfortunately, it can "automatically" go hot as soon as you grab it, too. Don't see a clear winner in this contest: no gun is newb-proof.)
    Last edited by Loosedhorse; March 1st, 2011 at 07:29 PM. Reason: added second part

  22. #22
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    Question

    I have never understood why, if somebody was not mechcanicaly inclined enough to shoot a 1911, they were then inclined enough to shoot something else?

  23. #23
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    Dave, I agree its better to start with a .22 -- I just reject the assertion that it is the only way.

    I have a Ruger Mark II that I love -- if I had to choose between it and any other semi-auto it would go last, I enjoy it more.... But if all I had to teach someone with was a 9mm or a .45, I think it's still better than not trying it at all.
    Paul
    People have some respect for the complexity of technology. But almost every ignorant fool thinks he understands money and economics.

  24. #24
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    Every range has shooters punching paper at 7 yards and making groups as big as a hat. Those shooters have one thing in common - they don't shoot a .22, and didn't start with a .22.

    Every range has shooters punching paper at 25 yards and making groups as big as a softball. They too have one thing in common, they shoot (or began with) .22's.

    There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest one is simply economic. Most people simply can't afford to shoot enough centerfire ammo to master their weapon. Even if you reload, the cost is many times higher than .22 ammo.

    The best thing you can do for any new shooter (rifle or handgun) is to buy them (or recommend) a .22.

  25. #25
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    But if all I had to teach someone with was a 9mm or a .45, I think it's still better than not trying it at all.
    Obviously any shooting is better than no shooting.
    But that statement points out the merit of a .22lr pistol just as much as ti points out the value of "run what you brung".

    Simple economics for the new shooter:
    Brand-new 1911 pistol = $500 (cheapo Armscor)
    Brand-new .45acp ammo = 40 cents / round or $40/100 (cheapo ball ammo)

    Brand-new .22 pistol = $400 (nice Ruger mkIII Target)
    (or less, a Walther p22 runs and feels like a duty pistol and runs ~$300 new)
    Brand-new .22lr ammo = $19 / 500+ rounds (Fed550 bulk) or ~3.5 cents / round ... call it $3.45 / 100 rounds

    Using round figures, a .22 pistol will pay for itself in ammunition costs in ...
    ...

    $40 - $3.45 = $36.55 cost savings per 100 rounds of ammo

    $400 / $36.45 = 10.97 boxes
    So somewhere around your eleventh box of ammo through that fo-fi you may as well have bought a twenty-two, call it an even dozen 100-round boxes to pay for a pistol and some extra ammo

    Of course, if you're letting machismo get in the way of learning to shoot, you just shoot less to avoid that wimpy girly .22, and hit up the pay-per-play range once or twice a year to feel manly shooting your hand-cannon. (or spend more, but the norm seems to be the "never shoot, just rely on hardware" approach)
    Personally, I'll provide a .22 pistol or rifle, a few handfuls of cheapo bulk ammo and some range time to anyone who wants to try out shooting. It is a hard hobby to get into without putting in an investment, I think the cost of a new gun, ammo, range minutes, etc etc has the effect of limiting membership in the shooting sports, recreational shooters, and the armed citizenry. If my taking a new shooter to the range to try out some target guns (and maybe a few serious guns while we're at it) gets a new shooter motivated to actually get their own toys (or even better, ARM THEMSELVES) then we all win.

    On the other hand ... tolerating the "only a big hole in the end will help you shoot" attitude does not help anyone.
    DON'T PANIC

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