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Discussion Starter #1
I am totally new to the world of guns. I am currently in the process of doing preliminary research on semi-automatic handguns, with the intention of purchasing one sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Today I went to a gun shop and talked to the owner for a while. She showed me several handguns: a Glock, a Smith & Wesson, a CZ, and a Beretta.

I'm not yet sure which of these I prefer. I do know two things: I want a gun with a safety, and I want something compact (i.e. not too big).

I'm wondering if people here might care to share their thoughts on which of these models they prefer, and why?

I'm also interested to hear about other brands, models, etc. I'm basically an information sponge at this point, interested in gathering as much knowledge as I can.

Thanks for any help/advice you care to share.
 

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Ancient Gaseous Emanation
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Glock's 'safety' is, at best, a drop safety. It does nothing to protect against inadvertent/negligent discharges.

Why do you want a compact handgun? Mass/weight is your friend as it helps absorb recoil.
 

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The best safety is the one between your ears.
As long as it is a quality firearm, by the one that fits your hand, needs and budget the best. The better it fits your hand when held properly, the better you will shoot, the more comfortable it will be to shoot and the more you will want to shoot it. Therefore, the better you will get. One that doesn't fit you can be shot accurately, it just takes more practice.

There is no best maker or model. Only the best one for you. The only way to determine that is to shoot them. Try looking for a range that rents different models and styles and try the ones that really feels good in your hands. That is a good starting point. Or go to the range with friends and family that will let you try several models.

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If you're looking for a carry gun that is easily concealed and you can handle some moderate recoil i would also recommend the shield. If it's going to be a range or house gun look for something bigger which will also greatly expand your choices. When it comes to full size semi auto's in calibers like 9mm, 40S&W or 45acp there is so many quality choices to be had at which point you would be looking to see what feels the best for you.
 

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Back up for a second. What is the purpose for this first gun? If you want to shoot and become proficient with this gun, you should be looking at a .22. They have mild recoil and are inexpensive to shoot. If it’s a home defense gun then a shotgun may be the better choice. If it’s concealed carry, then there are some good guns to choose from but you’ll need LOTS of education and understand your exposure to the law, both criminal and civil. I don’t know what state you are from but they can differ wildly. No matter what you want a pistol for, get a .22 and practice, practice,practice. Welcome to the forum rm NJ.
 

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Personal preferences are best learned through experience, not other people’s preferences. As has been suggested, if possible, find a place that allows some trials by renting a gun briefly to see what you think of them. That said, I personally would lean towards CZ out of those you listed. CZ pistols have great ergonomics and tend to ride recoil better than some. Polymer frame guns are lighter, but you will experience a little more felt recoil because of that. CZ produces both polymer and steel framed guns. There is nothing wrong with the other three brands, but, for me, they do not get the preferential nod. The question is what you will prefer, and you need some experience to know more what feels right and is best for you. A good .22 is not a bad first pistol; allows a lot of economical practice with a less expensive firearm (typically) and really cheap ammo (although 9mm is pretty cheap too). You might also look on YouTube a bit and see how each gun is disassembled, cleaned, and then reassembled (get some knowledge). Gun reviews can be informative too, but are quite often prejudiced to varying degrees and they cannot replace first hand experience.
 

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To help you further, we will need some information on what you want the pistol for. Self defense, home defense. sport/target shooting.
Also the the state you live in can make a big difference in what you can legally own.
Welcome to the forum
 

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I tend to prefer after a test fire all guns mentioned are nice guns...For Carry/Defense I suggest rent some of them first lobb a few rounds from each see of fit/recoil/ which one 'feels' 'rides' 'shoots' and does HIT TARGET with the best and make my decision 'based' on education rather than somebodies 'favorite' what Taurus does for one might be a Hi Point or a Jennings to someone else just my .02 cents worth
 

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I wouldn’t even look at buying a gun until after you’ve taken a course with live action teaching you how to control, defense, offense, and support of a firearm. The best weapon on paper becomes useless in the real world if it doesn’t work with you. What looks good in a holster on the table and what is easy to work with to your hands have no correlation to each other whatsoever. The problem with inexperience is that you can’t imagine what you know nothing about. If someone gives you the 5 guns everyone in the room swears is the best gun they’ve ever used, you’ll be lucky if just 1 fits you and works as you want it to. Likely everyone has used each of them yet they all say “that one is the best” and none of them are wrong about that. For the inexperienced they all look like guns and go bang. You can read till your eyes bleed about triggers and grips, recoil, whatever..... until you're being ran through a course trying to control a gun that’s too small, heavy, doesn't land shots like “the other gun did” when you’re on your feet moving, and countless other factors how could you possibly know what you want?

i think everyone should have to watch this before buying a gun and if you skip a single bit of it because it’s too long, don’t buy a gun. Go get a new dog and train it to sick’em. Less chance of you AND someone else getting killed.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
To help you further, we will need some information on what you want the pistol for. Self defense, home defense. sport/target shooting.
Also the the state you live in can make a big difference in what you can legally own.
Welcome to the forum
This pistol would be for home defense/self defense. I live in California.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Back up for a second. What is the purpose for this first gun? If you want to shoot and become proficient with this gun, you should be looking at a .22. They have mild recoil and are inexpensive to shoot. If it’s a home defense gun then a shotgun may be the better choice. If it’s concealed carry, then there are some good guns to choose from but you’ll need LOTS of education and understand your exposure to the law, both criminal and civil. I don’t know what state you are from but they can differ wildly. No matter what you want a pistol for, get a .22 and practice, practice,practice. Welcome to the forum rm NJ.
This is for home defense primarily, but possibly concealed carry at some point. I'm not interested in shotguns or a small caliber pistols; I'm thinking somewhere in the 9mm or .40 caliber range. Of course getting plenty of practice is a must.
 

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Forget all that fancy crap. Both the CZ-75 and the Beretta 92 have safeties, and hammers. All metal, with a DA/SA pull. If you have small hands get the CZ.

If you have large hands, get the Beretta. Go with 9mm for now. It's fine.
 

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Have you checked CA laws about the restrictions and liabilities of possessing, carrying, and securing your weapon?? (We assume you care ....)

Next step I recommend would be to find a range that will let you "test drive" some weapons under expert guideance.

Most self-defense gun incidents happen within 15-20 feet. They are not John Wick encounters!! Whatever you get has to be something you can comfortably carry all day, get into action easily and immediately without contortions, and use proficiently as naturally as you drive your car through traffic. This will take lots of practice, which is time and money. If you're not ready to invest here, you might want a dog instead.

Ed
 

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Since you are an inexperienced shooter, I would suggest a revolver. Unless you plan on shooting a lot, to many things can happen to stop a semi automatic. You really need to learn them all and how to fix them in a hurry if you want to rely on them for personal protection. Revolvers are very hard to screw up with. Not that a revolver can't jam but it's much more rare with a quality gun. Whatever you end up doing, get some training so you don't hurt yourself or others that don't need hurt.
 
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