So, another conservation started – this time about guns. I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by people who just want to talk about the things I want to talk about, and it’s great. The question raised was what a good first handgun should be. I had to think for minute, ask a few questions, listen, think some more, and I came back with a solid answer. Well, actually two answers, depending on one factor – are you going to carry it with you?
I don’t like to talk about the firearms I have online, and I don’t tell most people more than they need to know. I’m kind of a weirdo when it comes to that stuff – but for this post I’ll let my guard down a bit. I have owned or do own both Glock(s) and Beretta(s). That’s vague enough, right? All you need to know is that I have experience with both. I also have or had or have fired a bunch of other guns. I’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s a good buy, a reliable weapon, and what’s best for certain situations.
The answer came down to two guns – The Glock model 23, or the Beretta 92FS. Both are amazing handguns. Accurate, comfortable, and neither one jams. The Beretta is a 9mm full size pistol. It’s the same one the military uses (the “M9″), and has a number of nice features. It’s very simple to take apart and clean and it has an ambidextrous safety. The coolest feature in my opinion is the ability to turn the safety on with a round in the chamber, which drops the hammer, but doesn’t fire the round. It also comes with a nice case and two 15 round magazines.
The Glock 23 is a .40 caliber compact pistol. Just like the Beretta, it’s super simple to disassemble, but it has a unique safety – a trigger safety, as well as firing pin safety and a drop safety. All this means that you are going to have to purposely pull the trigger to get the gun to fire. The .40 is going to have a little more power than the 9mm, but since it’s a larger round in a smaller gun the magazines only hold 10 rounds, although you can buy aftermarket clips that hold 13.
Both weapons are nearly impossible to jam. They’ve been put through some ridiculous testing (buried in mud and then shot a full magazine without a problem, etc) so you know you’re getting a quality product either way. But the question that determines it to me is whether you’re going to be carrying the gun or not. If it’s going to stay at home and occasionally make it to the range – I’d take the Beretta. The slightly longer barrel makes it easier to shoot accurately, and the 9mm is a comfortable round. You can shoot a lot without your hand and wrist hurting. But if you’re going to be carrying the gun with you – get the Glock. It’s smaller than the Beretta, making it easier to conceal, and it has a little extra stopping power if the situation arises (God forbid).
Now, I know Beretta makes compact pistols in a .40, and Glock makes full size pistols in a 9mm, but for a first gun these are the two choices I recommended. Lots of ranges have rentals available, and it’s a good idea to try out a couple before you buy anything. Something that’s comfortable and suits your need and won’t break the bank. But keep in mind – this is just your first gun. You’ll be buying another and another soon enough.