Twin Cities Carry Forum Archive

40cal for first handgun?
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Author:  jmb3675 [ Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  40cal for first handgun?

any opinions on a 40 for a first handgun?

Author:  bensdad [ Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

Need more info. Level of experience? Age? Gun will be used primarily for...? Why an autoloader over a wheel gun? Specifically what gun?

Many factors are at play here. There's no real definitive answer.


Author:  cobb [ Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

The 40 S&W is a very good round and will probably do everything you want it to as a defensive caliber. In many platforms the 40 S&W can be somewhat unpleasant to shoot for some, in a compact the recoil is very noticeable. Maybe a few more specific questions to what you you need or expect will get you closer to the answer you are looking for.

Author:  Jeremiah [ Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?


The others have already asked the pertinent questions- why an auto and not a revolver, and why this particular caliber?

Author:  jmb3675 [ Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

The main reason is I can get .40 ammo for almost the same price as .22s and plenty of it. Price of ammo and availability have pretty much narrowed it down to those two. What ever I get will only be used for target shooting, at least for now. So far I am not looking for a compact. I would prefer a longer barrel, Although I will be looking to get a conceal and carry permit at a later time, or I may take both classes together. I figure it will be some time before I do carry either way. I will need plenty experience before I will be comfortable carrying. I have been thinking about a .22 revolver to start, and get a .40 later, but even .22 ammo is getting hard to find. And it would be cheaper to buy one and use it for both.

Here is a question that im sure can be debated to the moon and back, but i will ask anyway. A friend of mine says it better to pick a gun thats comfortable to hold and ideally a smaller caliber, and train with the same one, which saves on rental fees. Others say train with a rental and decide what you prefer after. I can see advantages to both. Which do you prefer and why?

Author:  akodo [ Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

wow, care to share your secret about getting 40 cal ammo for the same price as 22?

For the vast majority of shooters, 22LR is a lot cheaper than anything else...followed by 9mm and 38 special being fairly economical...followed by 40S&W, 357 magnum, and 45acp all 3 being a step or two up in price from 9mm and 38 special.

You might want to ask yourself if your supply of inexpensive 40 cal ammo will last. (how many rounds do you estimate you will shoot per year X 5 years or maybe even X 10 years)

Price often steers new shooters to 9mm.

In any given gun, 9mm will recoil less than 40S&W. In any given gun, 9mm will hold more rounds than 40s&w. Those two factors often steer new shooters toward 9mm.

'40 cal' being all the rage in rap lyrics, and/or being the most common chambering for Law Enforcement, many new people feel steered toward '40 Cal'. I think there are a lot of good reasons to choose 40 cal, but this one is NOT one of them

40S&W seems to be a good compromise between the higher capacity of 9mm and the greater stopping power of 45 ACP. This often steers folks to the 40. However, to be fair, all handguns are pretty weak compared to say a shotgun or hunting rifle, shot placement seems to trump whatever caliber is being used, and a 9mm (especially +P) with a quality Hollow-Point is a VERY effective round, as far as handguns go.

In addition to 9mm vs 40S&W, there is also the choice of 380 acp, sometimes called '9mm short' 380 acp is a low recoiling round found in many smaller guns (such as the new Ruger LCP, and such famous gun's as the Walther PPK, made famous by Sean Connery as James Bond) making it excellent for concealed carry. For someone worried about recoil, the are a few nearly full sized 380 acp handguns (Beretta's Model 85 for example) However, ammo tends to be more on par with 40S&W, 45acp, and 357 magnum. Also, because there is a growing number of small 380 handguns for CCW, and so many states are now CCW states, 380 acp can be a bit hard to find.

You mentioned a 22LR revolver, and while that is an excellent training tool, 22LR tends to not end fights quickly. Don't get me wrong, plenty of people have been killed with 22LR, it's just usually bleeding out for a few minutes after being shot, which means if you are getting attacked, the attacker may well be able to finish you off, then die later. Still, the vast majority of criminals desire to avoid being shot, even with a lowly 22LR, so if that is what you have or if that is what you can handle, go for it. In general, it is pretty low on people's suggestion lists unless there are other issues going on, like say severe arthritis.

Another option is a 1911 style firearm (the good old Colt 45, but now you can get them in 40S&W, 9mm, and even 380acp) and a 22LR conversion kit, which would basically allow you to experience low recoil inexpensive training with the very gun you are going to be carrying, as opposed to, say, buying a carry handgun and a 22LR handgun for inexpensive practice.

So far, this has all covered semi-auto handguns (pistols). Let me speak about revolvers for a minute.

Both semi-autos and revolvers, with proper maintenance, are VERY reliable guns. However, revolvers tend to stand up to benign neglect better. (By this I mean I'd trust a revolver to go BANG more than a semi-auto, if both guns were for 10+ years sitting untouched in a dresser drawer under that ugly sweater Aunt Gertrude got you for Xmas...or a gun that gets placed in a jacket pocket with all the lint and grime that may accumulate there, or in glove box, etc.)

Also, revolvers tend to be mechanically straight forward. They are simple and easy to understand, easy to see if it is loaded, and generally easy to load, shoot, and work with. The down side is limited capacity.

While not the best gun for concealed carry, a medium framed revolver with a 4 inch barrel and adjustable sights IMHO makes a wonderful beginner gun or nightstand gun. A snub-nose revolver is a bit harder to shoot accurately, but it's simplicity and reliability make it an excellent CCW choice.

Finally, if you get a 357 magnum revolver, you can also shoot 38 specials through it, so it is like getting 2 guns in one. (although firing 357 magnum rounds in a snub-nose will have you experiencing a LOT of recoil)

Author:  nitzer [ Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

Why did everyone just assume he was not looking for a can shoot 40 S&W from a Smith & Wesson 610 revolver.... :lol: I have shot only one 40 S&W that I liked to shoot that had almost none of the "snap" of the 40 and that is my full sized Witness Elite Stock. I'm not a big fan of the 40 S&W cartridge, but I like it in a big heavy all steel gun.

Author:  zimme71 [ Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

I carry (daily) a SA 3" sub-compact XD40, it's my first handgun, and would recommend it to anyone. It's uber reliable (over 3k rounds w/o any issues), very accurate, handles well, and is a pleasure to shoot. I don't find it to have any more recoil than my friends XD9. My $.02 anyway. :D

Author:  tcglaw [ Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 40cal for first handgun?

Well - I won't claim to be the seasoned expert that many here are. I am, though, a fan of the .40 S+W. Why? For me, it's a compromise between a 9mm and a .45 - true. The good side of that is greater magazine capacity than a 9mm, and stopping power closer to a .45, better than a 9mm. Sure, a .45 is a .45 - the most fun, the most stopping power - at a price, not just cost of ammo but mag capacity.

What's best for you? That's a question only you can answer. For a first handgun? I tend to think less recoil is a good thing, especially for a first owned handgun. That would lead me to recommend a 9mm (assuming a semi-auto). If you truly only care about target shooting and not at all for defense possibilities, then a .22 LR makes most sense - least recoil, least cost. If self-defense is even a slight consideration, I'd say a .380 at least, or better yet a 9mm. This is based on the assumption that you've experience shooting a .22 LR rifle. If this is the first gun ever, of any kind - then I don't know, since I started on .22 bolt action rifles, and think that a great start.

Another thought - as important as a first owned handgun may be, if you are like many of us - it won't be your last! That should take some pressure off!

As for renting first - I like the idea, or free at a manufacturers show. I was interested in a Kahr PM .40. Tried it free at a show at Bill's. It jammed a few times through a 50 round box. Rep said "you limp wristed it." Well, ok. I want to be able to shoot with one hand. I then tried their PM 9mm. Flawless. Light. Not one jam, then, or since! I love it. Nice pocket gun. Light, small, little felt recoil - for me. Point here is that the size of the firearm is at least as important as the size of the round, and the purpose (carry, competition, etc.) are important in turn.

In a bigger size gun, a .40 is not bad at all - even in a medium-small Sig. In a little plastic gun, I didn't like it. The bigger the round, the smaller the gun, the bigger the potential recoil problem!

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