Finding the right pistol for you..

   You'll find that there are certain things you like about a pistol, but you'll have to put up with some things that you don't like. Kinda' like choosing a spouse. There is no such thing as "the perfect" handgun. Once you come to grips with this fact, you may start looking for a handgun that comes as close as possible.


    Lets take this pretty little pistol above, a "Lady Smith". It's a 9mm in caliber. It's got a double action trigger pull with a follow-up shot in single action. It's got a bobbed hammer so that it won't snag on your clothes when drawing it and a nice little finger lip for the bottom of your hand (lower magazine end). It's made by Smith & Wesson, fits easily in the hand, and the front strap is stippled for a solid grip.

   Now, here's what it hasn't got. It's a defensive pistol, not made for competition. It has semi-fixed sights & can't be easily adjusted. It has a short barrel and won't hold a group of shots at any great distance. It has a bobbed hammer that can't initially be cocked when ready to fire. The grip on the pistol is low, causing more recoil, and the hand tends to slide off the bottom when the other magazine (no lip) is inserted. It's for a right-handed shooter, there's no thumb safe of the right side of the pistol (they do make one, you can see the big circle of metal in the upper left photo).



   Now here's a nice brace of Ruger pistols. They are single action (SA) all the way. Single action means that in order to fire, the hammer must be manually cocked first. These are .32 caliber and a joy to fire. When reloading your own rounds, the recoil is like a standard .22 long. 

  The downside is that you can only put in 5 rounds each because they have been modified to be like a Colt (firing pin sticks through the hole on a live round if you put in 6) Also, it's got fixed sights and no way to adjust them, short of filing down the front sight. Speed reloads are impossible (that's why we carry 2 of them).


   Here on the right are 2 modern firearms, the Sig Sauer model P226 (above) and the Glock model 22 (below), both in .40 caliber. They both have tritium (glow in the dark) night sights. They look about the same but they have several differences.

   The Sig (top) has a steel frame with a finely stippled front strap for a firm, non-slip grip. The grips are rounded and it fits the hand naturally. The trigger is made of steel as is the trigger guard with natural finger shaped foreguard. Overall the Sig shoots well, with noticeably more muzzle flip, aka recoil.

   The Glock (bottom) has a polymer lower end, completely. The metal upper end is coated with "tenifer", a hardness of diamond. You can pound nails with it and not scratch it (I have!). The trigger has a little "safety" in it, although after carrying one, every day for over 20 years I don't see any use for it. The Glock feels like "plastic" but under the worst conditions, mud, water, heat, dirt, it just won't stop shooting. It forces the shooting hand high in back and gives a natural point of aim and low recoil.


    Imagine now that you've never handled an automatic before in you're life. Take a look at the Sig on the left. Teaching a new shooter how to operate a pistol is daunting enough. Now try and explain all the nuances of the Sig Sauer P226. Things like the slide lock and takedown switch are fairly common. But now add in the de-cocking lever, the hammer which can be manually cocked, the funny little trigger pull (both through & after the first shot) and the low-hold grip. This will be challenging for any instructor.

The Sig Sauer P226 is $900 .. the Glock is $600

(more "stuff" is on the Sig Sauer than the Glock)

   Now here's a lady who's chosen her pistol. It is the best of both worlds, a defensive pistol and a target pistol. It is a .38 Super caliber, with the bullets reloaded to a stinging 1,300 feet per second. It has Pachmayr grips and stippling on the front strap & mainspring housing so that the pistol "sticks" in the hand. It has Bomar sight for easy adjustment at point of impact. The trigger has been skeletonized and set to break a shot at slightly under a pound with zero travel. The hammer is a commander style and the safeties are ambidextrous, with thumb-guard plates on either side.

   The barrel bushing has been removed and a match "Wilson" barrel & sleeve has been fitted with a compensator extension. The guide rod has been replaced with a full length stainless steel guide rod. The ejection port has been lowered & faired and the magazine well is fully chamfered.

  From the draw, she can shoot a group of 6" at 50 yards under timed fire, and can shoot 12 shots, including a reload, into a pie plate under 4 seconds with this pistol.

   But trying to conceal that thing just won't do..
So she uses one of these below, plain & simple



   You can throw all the money at the problem you want, and maybe it'll solve you're problem, maybe it won't. After you've tried everything, from the most complex, to the simplest, it boils down to only 2 things in buying your first pistol. 

          1)  What is it for? (Defense? Competition? Both?)
          2)  Is it fun to shoot?

   Answer those questions and I have no doubt that you'll find the right pistol for you. Who knows, you may even decide to get two!

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