Best handgun for beginner?

I have no experience with handguns, but want to buy one for personal protection (and will definitely take a firearms course). From the research I've done it seems the 2 basic options are a 9 mm or a .45.

Could anyone please give basic info on which is "best". I realize each has its positives and negatives.

For simplicity I'll just list some questions:

1. Is one easier to be more accurate with?

2. Does the .45 have more "stopping power"?

3. Is the "1911" a specific model type of a .45?

4. Is either more reliable (not breaking, lasting over time)?

5. Regarding Glock's: What does the number refer to (i.e. Glock 17, 19, 21, 30)

6. Is either easier to use?

7. Is either easier to repair personally (with a repair kit)?

8. Is there a particular brand that is best?

Though I want a good gun for a beginner, I also want one that I can stick with long-term and appreciate as I become more experienced.

Thanks a lot for any information!

24 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    the best way to learn is, buy a 22 cal. pistol. ammo is 7 or 8 bucks at bi-mart for 500 rounds. cheap to shoot and good to learn on. when your comfortable shooting that, then switch to the other gun. do what you like, but, here's a suggestion.

    if you go with a glock 40 cal., you have more power than a 9mm, a little less than a 45cal. and 15 rounds.

    my duty weapon, glock 22 with hollow pts.

    and they don't rust.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    1. 9mm For a beginner might be more accurate because the recoil is very easy to manage, but the .45 is just as accurate once you are adjusted to the heavier recoil. 2. Yes, the .45 ACP has a lot more stopping more and is the better choice for carry. 3. The 1911 is a Pistol design for the .45 ACP platform, yes. 4. If your talking Glock Vs. 1911, The 1911 is more reliable. 5. The number on the Glock refers to the patent. ( i.e. Glock 17, is the 17th design Glock made. ) 6. The Glock is easier to field strip and clean but its light, the 1911 is heavier and that means a more accurate shot for most. 7. Both are easy to repair, but in my experience i have seen Glocks break and i have never seen a good 1911 go bad. 8. For 9mm, Glock, Sig Sauer, and Beretta are the cream of the crop. For a 1911 almost every company makes a good 1911, but i would recommend Springfield Armory, Colt and Smith & Wesson. However Rock Island Armory 1911's are very inexpensive and are of great quality. The 1911, although a personal favorite of many for personal defense, is heavy and hard to conceal if not paired with the proper holster, and may still be uncomfortable to some. However .45 ACP is still the best choice for personal defense, Glock has a few is handguns chambered in .45 ACP, but my recommendation to you is the Springfield Armory XD Service model ( i.e. 4" Barrel ) chambered in .45 ACP. If you decide you do not want a .45 handgun, a handgun chambered in .40 S&W would be better than 9mm, and a wide variety of manufacturers make those too. Being that you are new to handguns i would not recommend getting a Glock, they are made for police and professionals and have no safety's where an XD has 4 safety features.

  • 5 years ago

    For your first shot, a single action trigger pull is going to give you the most accuracy but on follow up shots many feel it is easier to get back on target with the 9mm because it does have a little less recoil. The barrel length and practice are going to be your biggest factors with overall accuracy. The .45 does shoot a much heavier round which many feel give you the most stopping power but in the end, shot placement is the key, next would be the type of ammo. The 1911 is a particular design of pistol that many manufactures now make. It was patented in 1911. It is a great style but not one I would recommend to a beginner. Reliability comes more from the brand and the work you put into taking care of your pistol. Some good brands out there are Sig Sauer, Kimber, Springfield, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, to name a few. The model numbers on the Glocks refer to the size of pistol and the caliber. As a previous poster said, check out there website and it will give you all of the details. I wouldn't recommend making any of the repairs yourself in the beginning, leave that to a qualified gunsmith. Any weapon you plan on using for personal defense is not one to play with. Cleaning can be done by you but leave the rest to a gunsmith. With all of that said, I always try to encourage new shooters to start with a revolver vs. an auto so they learn the basics without all of the added complexities of an auto. If that's out of the question then I would have to suggest something like a Sig Sauer P220, P226 or P229. They are DA/SA so they're always ready with the hammer down, yet you still have the ability to fire everything from SA (single action) if you want. It also has a de-cocking mechanism so you can safely let the hammer down without trying to ride it with your thumb. I'm not a fan of the DAOs like the Glocks and Springfield XDs for starting either although both are fine weapons. The Sig is going to cost you a little more but it will last you a lifetime+ and you won't ever regret having one. I've got many Sig's and love them all.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Best Handguns For Men

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think all of that above have been great answers

    Starting with a .22 pistol and then moving up is good advice

    I think a 9mm, a 40 or a 45 would fine choices - and I would definitely buy new.

    Once you graduate to this larger gun make sure you choose one that fits you - I have an HK and it may not "fit" you if you have smaller hands

    I am also a believer that you get what you pay for - right now the best handgun is a Kimber, if you were just going only by name - but one of these will be twice the price of a Glock

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    my first handgun was a 44 rem mag and I love it.. It has a small boot to it but you have all the stopping power you will ever need and if that is what you are looking for I would trash any idea of a 9mm they suck ***.. The 1911 is a good reliable gun and it got a lot of stopping power

    Glocks are really reliable and accurate you can put 10'000 rounds through them and they still shoot like it there first but be very careful with them they don't have a finger safety only a trigger safety. Glock 17, 19, 21, 30 these are model numbers and if you go to there web-sight they have all the corresponding cal. for each model. they also have picture of the gun so you can see if you like the looks of it. the glock 22 is a .40 cal. and that is a great firearm for a beginner as well as an experienced person and it hold as many rounds as the 9mm counter part it has a lot more stopping power

    the 357 Sig is also a good cal. it has all the stopping power of the 357 mag but comes in a smaller package.. if you want to get good information on the new styles of pistols you should pick up a shotgun news.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    your best bet would be to start with a .22 double action revolver.not only will it be the least expensive but also it will help you to learn to place your shots.forget about all your questions for now concentrate on being able to hit your target every time. the only thing you can't control is the ammo, a revolver will not jam and if you do get a misfire all need to do is pull the trigger. get lots of practice when you feel comfortable with that you can upgrade to a larger caliber

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The guys above give great info. My two cents are to go with a 45 acp for the stopping power. I wouldn't buy a Glock until you have been shooting for a couple of years. My recommendation for a first weapon would be a Beretta. You could also get another make that has a safety that not only decocks the weapon like the Beretta, but also pulls the firing pin completely out of the reach of the hammer. The Glock does not do this, and hence it is easier for a shooter to get have a misfire or accidental discharge especially for a beginner. This I recommend strictly on a safety basis, until you are extremely comfortable handling the weapon.

    A reputable gun shop or gunsmith can help you select the weapon most appropriate for you. Taking the gun safety course is mandatory in my thinking. I'd then spend a lot of time on the range. I'd go at least once a week for the first couple of months you own the weapon. This will help you improve you aim, grouping, techniques, etc.. More importantly you will be building up experience safely handling the weapon in a proper environment for that.

  • H
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    When you say 'handgun' and that said you'd probably be better off with a revolver. However, you are specifically asking about 'pistols' (.45 acp, .9mm, etc.) and since you are taking the handgun course you'd be better off with an auto-loading pistol.

    Can't go wrong with the Glock. The Glock 17 was just their first production model. It is a full size .9mm. The compact .9mm is the 19 and the subcompact is the 26. The 21 is full size .45 acp and the 20 (my personal favorite) is the powerful .10mm.

    The 1911 is a model describing the Colt-type, full size semi-automatic pistol introduced around 1911 by Colt and chambered then for the .45 acp. It is now available in .38 Super, .9mm, .380, .40 S & W and .45 acp. and .10mm (when you can find it but stay away from the ten in the old 1911 platform as it isn't strong enough to take the beating of the .10mm). The 1911 is a good but dated design double-action on the first shot with probably more safeties than it really needs. John Browning (inventor & designer) eliminated the grip safety on his last design, the Browning 1935 Hi Power .9mm.

    Glocks are very user friendly. NO quality handgun should need repairs anytime soon after purchase. Best to let a qualified gunsmith work on your guns.

    For a first semi-auto I'd recommend the Glock Model 19 in .9mm. It is user friendly (just keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot and keep in a holster that cover the trigger), accurate, durable and dependable. The polymer frame aborbs a lot of the recoil. For practice use the inexpensive ball ammo and for serious defensive purposes use quality 115 to 127 grain hollow point ammo or pre-fragmented slugs (for home defense; these are less likely to go through dry wall endangering loved ones sleeping in the next room).



  • 1 decade ago

    glock is a good beginner gun. its popular in Law Enforcement, easy to field strip, easy to control and accurate out of the box.

    45 has alot more stopping power as the bullet is almost twice as big as a 9. 9 is gonna not kick as much and be a little easier to control. 9 mm is alot more popular on the street. I wouldn't carry anything under a 45 or maybe a 40 but 9 is more popular

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