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  #1  
Old 12-27-2012, 07:34 PM
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Default First gun

Trying to decide which gun to buy for my first handgun. A friend of mine suggested the M&P Shield 9mm. Is this a good conceal carry gun? Just looking for some options and advice.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:05 PM
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The Shied is nice but hard to get in most areas if you can get one quick I would do it but a 9c isn't a bad 2nd option
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:06 PM
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If you're looking for a gun for concealed carry, I would recommend taking a look at the shield 9mm like your friend has said, as well as m&p9 compact, m&p40compact, or any Jframe if you're considering a revolver.

This is of course if you are looking strictly at Smith and Wesson.

A friends advice is always good to have, but doing your own homework and research will go a long way in the long run. Take your time and consider all of your options before you settle on something. Good luck with your search
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:44 PM
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A first handgun is a big decision. Do you really intend to concealed carry it? Usually, that comes after shooting handguns a while (I've shot for close to 50 years, but just got a concealed carry permit this year). Thing is, for concealed, the gun will be smaller, lighter, harder to handle and less accurate than a larger handgun. Do you intend to shoot for sport at all? Or only enough to learn to shoot your concealed gun?

Personally, I would prefer a person learn to shoot well, and be comfortable shooting (hopefully enjoy shooting), before getting a handgun for concealed carry. And their first gun might not be the best one for concealed.

For example, an M&P9 full size would make an excellent self defense weapon, but not that great for concealment. A small revolver makes a pretty good carry weapon, and is simple and easy to shoot.

Anyhow, while you /can/ get a Shield or other compact carry gun, and learn to use it well, it may or may not be the best course for you.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:54 PM
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The Shield is a great pistol, but what guns have you actually fired? If you have not already realized it, there are a wide variety of possibilities before you. Take your time, and test fire a number of the well-known names and models, and as you begin to find out what your own preferences are, you will be able to make a better choice.

Beware, everyone has their favorites, and will recommend that you adopt their choice -- remember, it's up to you, it's your choice, and you will be living with it. Don't allow yourself to rush into it before you're ready. Enjoy the process of looking for a gun.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:08 AM
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Consider the Sig P250 for a first gun. It is completely modular system and has interchangeable grips, frames, barrels etc. It is a single action long pull trigger. If you learn with it and get good, you can handle any other trigger on any other pistol. The other big advantage is the break down of this weapon. It only has one part to remove to break it down. Turn the break-down lever down and pull it out and the slide comes off and the FCU comes out. Super easy to clean and reassemble.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:29 AM
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Like someone else mentioned you might really wanna take a look at some full size handguns first before taking the leap into a SD gun. SD guns go I prefer the Smaller J-Frame or a full size 1911
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:35 AM
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I just bought my first handgun after months of research and spending time at an indoor range shooting various weapons I rented or that belonged to a friend. I, too, was looking for concealed carry weapon. I decided on the Shield 9mm.

I really liked a Kahr P9 and M&P full size 9mm, but the Shield, IMHO, gives me a balance of a reliable design and company at a reasonable price, a good feel in my hand and accuracy. My groups are almost as tight at 7 yards with the Shield as they were with my best shooting gun, the full size M&P.

I eliminated a lot guns too, by deciding early in my research that my first purchase was going to be from an American manufacturer. When I can afford. Sig Sauer, I will get one of those for shooting USPSA matches as we have a local chapter and I want to use the competitive "juice" to help myself become a more accomplished marksman.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:48 AM
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matt:

I'm basically a 1911 guy. My EDC is one of two Officer's-sized .45's.... But around the house (largely because a special belt or high-end holster isn't necessary), an M&P40C is my choice....

(I've been carrying for more than 40 years. Probably everything known to man .... The slightly smaller than full-size 1911's, although with a low round count, are easy to shoot, and will do the BG a very bad turn if I do my job. These two are very reliable, too, and I don't mind the weight. I do wear a special belt, and a good holster.)

One rule is to avoid the "gun of the month club".... Everything you're going to carry should work exactly the same - safety goes "down" to fire, for example - or not have that feature at all. It's far easier to miss a feature that's not there than to try to figure out which way the safety lever goes. (My M&P hasn't got any external controls except for the slide stop.) You can sometimes get into something like my PPK/S where just leaving the safety lever off is adequate, but bear in mind that it's "backwards", should it find itself "on"....

Weight, for a carry gun, isn't much of a problem for a big guy (6' 1", about 350#), but YMMV.... The major problem with the lightweights is that they aren't much fun to shoot with anything remotely resembling full-power loads, but that's also a YMMV thing....

In my case, an M&P40FS or M&P40C isn't more than a little worse than my smaller 1911's, and a 9C is just plain fun (as would be a 9FS). I'm a little hesitant about a Shield 40, but probably could deal with it. I had to get rid of a PPS40 because the trigger was such that my pudgy finger would wrap around it and get pinched badly. Meantime, the very narrow backstrap hurt, too, but I could have dealt with that. (The PPS9 should be fine.)

SO....

If you want something you can carry and punch paper with, I'd go with a 40C or 9C. The 40C is just a tad less capable than the 40FS, with little penalty in the design itself, and most holsters for the 40's will fit the 9's (Compact or Full Size), so you save a buck there. I carry a 40FS magazine, btw, as a spare for my 40C. Small penalty, and it means that I could grab the 40FS instead of the 40C if I have the urge .... All of these are good enough for the range if you're not competing, and fine for bedside guns & such, too.

The Full Size variants are better for the range, of course, but I just don't gain/lose much between them and the smaller ones. The Full Size will shoot a bit better, but if you're into SD, getting six rounds into a six-inch circle at about 30' is good enough anyway.

I have a couple of full sized 1911's. Great for the range, or any "fixed" location, and not all that difficult for me to carry, but the smaller guns are just a lot easier to carry....

(I'm a semi-retired rent-a-cop, among other things. My first "duty" gun was a 6" S&W M19 Combat Magnum. Bigger than a breadbox, but not much of a problem. For concealment, largely because I couldn't hit anything with a snubby, I ended up with a 4" S&W M10HB. "Printing" wasn't an issue then. I switched to an M39 and PPK/S somewhere along the line, and then to 1911's about 2004. Bought my first M&P for the heck of it, really, and ended up with a couple more.)

Buy several....

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Old 12-28-2012, 06:59 AM
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i know ill catch flack for this one... consider a glock 19. falls somewhere between a full size and a compact size gun. reliable, shootable, concealable. that said, i carry a full size M&P 9 in a galco kingtuk holster. works for me fine. i too love j frame S&W revos. own 6. carry one in an ankle rig alco from galco. might also look at the Ruger LCR. i love my smiths, but own other brands too...
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:22 AM
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I will throw my thoughts in here, for what it is worth, being new to the gun world myself.

I agree with everything rraisley said. Re-read the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rraisley View Post
A first handgun is a big decision. Do you really intend to concealed carry it? Usually, that comes after shooting handguns a while (I've shot for close to 50 years, but just got a concealed carry permit this year). Thing is, for concealed, the gun will be smaller, lighter, harder to handle and less accurate than a larger handgun. Do you intend to shoot for sport at all? Or only enough to learn to shoot your concealed gun?

Personally, I would prefer a person learn to shoot well, and be comfortable shooting (hopefully enjoy shooting), before getting a handgun for concealed carry. And their first gun might not be the best one for concealed.

For example, an M&P9 full size would make an excellent self defense weapon, but not that great for concealment. A small revolver makes a pretty good carry weapon, and is simple and easy to shoot.

Anyhow, while you /can/ get a Shield or other compact carry gun, and learn to use it well, it may or may not be the best course for you.
When I took my CCW course I shot a M&P9c and really liked it. I have since bought and EDC an M&P40c The ergonomics of the S&W M&P's is top notch, to me. What fits my hands may not fit yours, and otherwise what I like in a gun may not be what you find you like.

Though I have never shot a shield (no one can get them around here, no rentals and everyone's backlogs of orders stretch months) I have been considering a 9mm Shield for another gun.

What I would recommend, and paralleling rraisley, is to do some shooting before you get your CCW or start carrying. Go to the range, if you have one you can get to, and rent some different guns. They don't have to be ones you are really looking at, but just get an assortment. You will see that there are distinct differences in how guns feel, how they shoot, how accurate you are with them, and you will be able to better form your decision.

You want to be comfortable, confident, and proficient with your carry gun. Admittedly, I am not at the proficiency I want to be yet but I do go to the range and practice so I am getting better.

All of that having been said, the Sheilds are more compact than my M&P40c - thinner and shorter mainly, yet slightly taller. The thinner profile will conceal easier = less bulk, printing (if you pocket carry), bulging, etc.

Another gun to look at would be a Kahr K9. It is thinner, yet, than the Shield's (.90" slide for the K and .95" slide for the Shield) and has a steel frame vs. the polymer frame on the Shield = more dense = heavier = more stable shooter.

Packing firepower in smaller and lighter guns makes them exponentially harder to shoot. The other side of the equation is if you find a gun you like - shoot it a lot and get to know it real well so if you ever got caught needing it, in the mess of fear and confusion, you can pull it out and use it effectively - muscle memory. In most cases you can train yourself to shoot what you have, it might take a lot more practice and a lot more bullets (increasing the operating/learning costs), but you can get there.

Last thought - carry options. I pocket carry my Compact with a cheap pocket holster, for now. I'm a small guy (130lbs, 5'11") and my pockets bulge from my wallet and everything else. I have never had anyone question it. Look at the Crossbreed Supertuck holster for IWB carry. Someone recommended those to me and I ordered one (still a few weeks out). What is unique about them is they will allow tucking in a shirt around the belt clips. I got to looking at it and figured it was worth a shot, everyone that has them has said they are the most comfortable holsters they've ever had. I talked to my instructor last week about his - best holster he has, period.

I hope this helps some.

Last edited by gun1; 12-28-2012 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Doublea17 View Post
The Shied is nice but hard to get in most areas if you can get one quick I would do it but a 9c isn't a bad 2nd option
I was gonna say the same thing. The M&P 9c is an excellent option also.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattc15 View Post
Trying to decide which gun to buy for my first handgun. A friend of mine suggested the M&P Shield 9mm. Is this a good conceal carry gun? Just looking for some options and advice.
Better idea for first handgun: 22 revolver such as Model 617 or 22 Auto such as S&W 22A or Model 41 or Ruger Mk III.

Learn the basics and graduate up!
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gun1 View Post
When I took my CCW course I shot a M&P9c and really liked it.
I took my CCW course with the 9C as well, and love the gun, but found it too bulky for me except under a jacket. I ended up getting a Rulger LCR, and finally a Kahr PM9 for my carry gun.

I definitely agree with gun1's statements, and much of what is written above, /except/ using a 1911 for SD. I have a Kimber Grand Raptor II, and love the gun. I was going to take the CCW course with it, and the instructor HIGHLY recommended not taking the course, or carrying, a single-action pistol. After thinking about it, I agree completely. To me, there is no safe AND ready way to wear a 1911. Uncocked is no good. Cocked and with safety on requires moving the safety before firing. Cocked and not on safety is an accident waiting to happen. So while I love this gun, I would NEVER wear it. Not if I intended to safely carry a gun ready for action. For the same reason, I would never wear a SD gun with a safety.

Also, it's been mentioned about getting a .22 pistol, and to me, that is the obvious first gun. No matter what you get for self defense, you're going to want to practice a lot, probably more than you can afford. The .22 makes it easy to learn and cheap to shoot. Now, MOST .22's are great target guns, but work nothing like real world SD guns. One of the exceptions is the M&P22. Especially if you intend later to get an M&P for carry. So you could do a lot worse than starting with an M&P22, then getting a 9C or maybe a Shield, if you feel you can conceal them well enough.

To me, once you're selecting a gun for concealed carry, the main thing is to choose one you can conceal well and wear comfortably. The 9C did not work for me, and to be honest, I'm not sure the Shield would have, for me. I ended up with the Kahr PM9, about as small a 9mm as you can get, yet I shoot it better than the 9C. But if you're on a limited budget, get yourself that .22, and try out many SD guns, especially try wearing them for comfort and concealment. I ended up buying 3 guns before getting my final SD gun, and you may not want to do that. (I don't mind - love all the guns and enjoy shooting them, but they all cost money.)
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rraisley View Post
A first handgun is a big decision. Do you really intend to concealed carry it? Usually, that comes after shooting handguns a while (I've shot for close to 50 years, but just got a concealed carry permit this year). Thing is, for concealed, the gun will be smaller, lighter, harder to handle and less accurate than a larger handgun. Do you intend to shoot for sport at all? Or only enough to learn to shoot your concealed gun?

Personally, I would prefer a person learn to shoot well, and be comfortable shooting (hopefully enjoy shooting), before getting a handgun for concealed carry. And their first gun might not be the best one for concealed.

For example, an M&P9 full size would make an excellent self defense weapon, but not that great for concealment. A small revolver makes a pretty good carry weapon, and is simple and easy to shoot.

Anyhow, while you /can/ get a Shield or other compact carry gun, and learn to use it well, it may or may not be the best course for you.
Thanks for the input I think that's very good advice. I don't intend to go buy a gun and start carrying it around immediately. I would like to buy something that I could use for conceal later on when I got better shooting and more comfortable. I have a .22 magnum revolver and have shot a M&P .45. Those are the only 2 I've shot in years but felt fairly comfortable with both for no more than I've handled a firearm. I definitely need a lot more time before I start carrying a gun around. I'm not sure about sport shooting and haven't ever thought about it just because I've never owned many guns and never had the time to get into it. But, I need a new hobby and I like to compete so who knows.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMMAssociates View Post
matt:

I'm basically a 1911 guy. My EDC is one of two Officer's-sized .45's.... But around the house (largely because a special belt or high-end holster isn't necessary), an M&P40C is my choice....

(I've been carrying for more than 40 years. Probably everything known to man .... The slightly smaller than full-size 1911's, although with a low round count, are easy to shoot, and will do the BG a very bad turn if I do my job. These two are very reliable, too, and I don't mind the weight. I do wear a special belt, and a good holster.)

One rule is to avoid the "gun of the month club".... Everything you're going to carry should work exactly the same - safety goes "down" to fire, for example - or not have that feature at all. It's far easier to miss a feature that's not there than to try to figure out which way the safety lever goes. (My M&P hasn't got any external controls except for the slide stop.) You can sometimes get into something like my PPK/S where just leaving the safety lever off is adequate, but bear in mind that it's "backwards", should it find itself "on"....

Weight, for a carry gun, isn't much of a problem for a big guy (6' 1", about 350#), but YMMV.... The major problem with the lightweights is that they aren't much fun to shoot with anything remotely resembling full-power loads, but that's also a YMMV thing....

In my case, an M&P40FS or M&P40C isn't more than a little worse than my smaller 1911's, and a 9C is just plain fun (as would be a 9FS). I'm a little hesitant about a Shield 40, but probably could deal with it. I had to get rid of a PPS40 because the trigger was such that my pudgy finger would wrap around it and get pinched badly. Meantime, the very narrow backstrap hurt, too, but I could have dealt with that. (The PPS9 should be fine.)

SO....

If you want something you can carry and punch paper with, I'd go with a 40C or 9C. The 40C is just a tad less capable than the 40FS, with little penalty in the design itself, and most holsters for the 40's will fit the 9's (Compact or Full Size), so you save a buck there. I carry a 40FS magazine, btw, as a spare for my 40C. Small penalty, and it means that I could grab the 40FS instead of the 40C if I have the urge .... All of these are good enough for the range if you're not competing, and fine for bedside guns & such, too.

The Full Size variants are better for the range, of course, but I just don't gain/lose much between them and the smaller ones. The Full Size will shoot a bit better, but if you're into SD, getting six rounds into a six-inch circle at about 30' is good enough anyway.

I have a couple of full sized 1911's. Great for the range, or any "fixed" location, and not all that difficult for me to carry, but the smaller guns are just a lot easier to carry....

(I'm a semi-retired rent-a-cop, among other things. My first "duty" gun was a 6" S&W M19 Combat Magnum. Bigger than a breadbox, but not much of a problem. For concealment, largely because I couldn't hit anything with a snubby, I ended up with a 4" S&W M10HB. "Printing" wasn't an issue then. I switched to an M39 and PPK/S somewhere along the line, and then to 1911's about 2004. Bought my first M&P for the heck of it, really, and ended up with a couple more.)

Buy several....

Regards,
Thanks, great advice and info. I have been wanting to buy a gun for forever and haven't ever because I haven't taken the time to research and learn and actually go to a range and shoot. So that's why I am here, to try and learn and and get advice. Went and shot yesterday and had a lot of fun. One thing about me is I'm always really overly paranoid about safety when I don't know all there is to know. So I will keep trying.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GRP17 View Post
I was gonna say the same thing. The M&P 9c is an excellent option also.
Went to the gun shop yesterday to look around. I did not get to shoot at the range while there it was so crowded. I did check out the m&p9c and the shield. Just holding the two I can already say I liked the 9c better. I did get to shoot my friends m&p .45 outdoors yesterday and liked that. It was full size and no more shooting than I've done, was easier to shoot than I thought it might be. Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by shawn mccarver View Post
Better idea for first handgun: 22 revolver such as Model 617 or 22 Auto such as S&W 22A or Model 41 or Ruger Mk III.

Learn the basics and graduate up!
Thanks, definitely all about learning the basics and moving up. I have the .22 magnum revolver I just shot for the first time yesterday so I will keep practicing with that. Definitely not going to just go out and buy something not having a clue about it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rraisley View Post
I took my CCW course with the 9C as well, and love the gun, but found it too bulky for me except under a jacket. I ended up getting a Rulger LCR, and finally a Kahr PM9 for my carry gun.

I definitely agree with gun1's statements, and much of what is written above, /except/ using a 1911 for SD. I have a Kimber Grand Raptor II, and love the gun. I was going to take the CCW course with it, and the instructor HIGHLY recommended not taking the course, or carrying, a single-action pistol. After thinking about it, I agree completely. To me, there is no safe AND ready way to wear a 1911. Uncocked is no good. Cocked and with safety on requires moving the safety before firing. Cocked and not on safety is an accident waiting to happen. So while I love this gun, I would NEVER wear it. Not if I intended to safely carry a gun ready for action. For the same reason, I would never wear a SD gun with a safety.

Also, it's been mentioned about getting a .22 pistol, and to me, that is the obvious first gun. No matter what you get for self defense, you're going to want to practice a lot, probably more than you can afford. The .22 makes it easy to learn and cheap to shoot. Now, MOST .22's are great target guns, but work nothing like real world SD guns. One of the exceptions is the M&P22. Especially if you intend later to get an M&P for carry. So you could do a lot worse than starting with an M&P22, then getting a 9C or maybe a Shield, if you feel you can conceal them well enough.

To me, once you're selecting a gun for concealed carry, the main thing is to choose one you can conceal well and wear comfortably. The 9C did not work for me, and to be honest, I'm not sure the Shield would have, for me. I ended up with the Kahr PM9, about as small a 9mm as you can get, yet I shoot it better than the 9C. But if you're on a limited budget, get yourself that .22, and try out many SD guns, especially try wearing them for comfort and concealment. I ended up buying 3 guns before getting my final SD gun, and you may not want to do that. (I don't mind - love all the guns and enjoy shooting them, but they all cost money.)
Thanks, good advice I appreciate it
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:04 AM
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The same day I got my M&P40c I picked up an M&P22 also. I figured the cheap cost of the .22's would out-weigh the price of the gun and make shooting more affordable over time. I got a case of Blazer .22's for $18 per box of 525 rounds (every one of the rounds I've shot out of that batch, over 1000, was perfect too), you can't get close to that with any other caliber. There is a HUGE difference in the way the two guns shoot though.

The M&P22 is a fun and easy gun to shoot, but honestly I don't feel it is helping much with my practice because there is such a difference between that and my 40c. The frame size is different (the 22 is full frame), the trigger pull is different, the weight of the gun is different, and the big one - the recoil is a world of difference.

Dad and I are hitting the range today or tomorrow. I am going to see what all they have to rent just to get a feel for some more guns myself, dad is still shopping. I gave him the same advice - shoot a few before you make a decision.
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