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  #1  
Old 08-08-2005, 06:55 AM
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I am looking to get an affordable handgun for home protection, it will maybe get fired 3 dozen times a year.

I was thinking of a 32 ACP (small frame), because I wanted something small and a gun my wife would not be to intimidated with so She could shoot it.

I will be going to a show in NH on Sept 3rd and was hoping I could get some insight into a <$200 gun that will not jam, used or new.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2005, 07:06 AM
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Bersa .380s run about $225 at Gander Mountain. You might want to try find a used Smith and Wesson J-frame in .38 special.
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2005, 07:16 AM
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Agreed with the recommendation on .38 Special revolver. Simple, reliable, lots of ammo, and about the minimum I'd consider for the job at hand. Not too difficult to master with the low-powered target ammo, either.
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  #4  
Old 08-08-2005, 07:38 AM
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I bought a little PA-63 awhile back in 9X18 (Makarov). This little auto has an alloy frame and is about 6" long. Changed the mainspring to a lighter one and have shot about 5 boxes of ammo through it without problems. Hornady JHP expands well but penetration is iffy. I've been loading it with Fiocchi 95 gr. ammo and it's definitely more powerful than a .380. I think I paid $120 for it and 2 magazines. Manual of arms is relatively simple much like the Makarov but it's much slimmer and lighter.
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  #5  
Old 08-08-2005, 08:12 AM
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I think I would like to stick with an auto for the cool/fun factor. I am not looking to stop a Meth ridden crazy man, I would like a small frame auto. If things get reall hairy I have my Marlin 336C or Mossberg 500
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  #6  
Old 08-08-2005, 12:08 PM
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HArd to beat the PA 63's or the Maks....old commumist nation GI issue, just kept the factories running to sell civialian, so the prisces are low (under that $200 cap) and the construction is rock solid. Are larger than most "pocket pistols" but as you don't list concelame3nt as a requirement, then they will serve very well as house guns.
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  #7  
Old 08-08-2005, 12:18 PM
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you may wish to take a look at some of cobra arms products. they are affordable, concealable, and come in the .32-.380-9mm range of calibers (and I believe they are american made).
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  #8  
Old 08-08-2005, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbonstone
HArd to beat the PA 63's or the Maks....old commumist nation GI issue, just kept the factories running to sell civialian, so the prisces are low (under that $200 cap) and the construction is rock solid. Are larger than most "pocket pistols" but as you don't list concelame3nt as a requirement, then they will serve very well as house guns.
ribbonstone,
You're right about the PA being a little large for a pocket gun but I have managed to carry it a few time in the front pocket of a pair of Dockers. Sure won't work with jeans though. I made a pocket holster for it out of a plastic milk jug by heating the plastic with a hair dryer and boning the folded plastic; stapling around the outline of the gun; then cutting the excess to fit the inside of the pocket. Covered the whole thing with duct tape and I was done. It's not pretty but it holds the gun in place and that plastic holster makes for a slick draw.
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2005, 01:24 PM
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I bought one from a guy at the range...he was cussing and fussing about how it was splitting cases and wouldn't group worth a rat's rump. Noticed he was shooting .380 out of a 9mm Mak. I tired to tell him he was using the wrong ammo, but he insisted taht 9mm Mak was the same as .380 (he was wrong...but you can't get ideas into a closed mind). When he got fed up, held the gun up in the air, and offered it to anyone with $50, I took it.

Yep...it fed and cycled with the wrong ammuntion...never missed a beat...but sending a .355" bullet though a .362" bore isn't a great way to hit anything, the cases would often split (and would swell rather drastically if they didn't). Cleaned it up, looked it over carefully, bought a couple of boxes of Chi-Com 9mm surplus (which wasd pretty common back then) and blew the X out of a silo. target. that old Chinese ammo smelled like a struck match when fired, and was malignatly corrosive.

Later on I found a .32acp Version...shroter, differnt shaped grip, but you can tell its the same design...does have these ugly mill cuts on the slide to lighten it a bit..but it functioned fine from the get-go. Smaller, a bit lighter, and a bit easier to pocket carry...but many people won't bother with .32acp.
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  #10  
Old 08-08-2005, 02:59 PM
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I would recommend a 38spl revolver also. A good one may cost but it will hold it's value and there are plenty of used ones around.

Bill
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2005, 03:38 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sammydogs64
I am looking to get an affordable handgun for home protection, it will maybe get fired 3 dozen times a year.

I was thinking of a 32 ACP (small frame), because I wanted something small and a gun my wife would not be to intimidated with so She could shoot it.

I will be going to a show in NH on Sept 3rd and was hoping I could get some insight into a <$200 gun that will not jam, used or new.

Thanks

It depends on what you like, can handle well and afford. The possibilities are better on the used gun market based on the budget parameters you have outlined. Others have mentioned used S&W K-frame (Model 10) revolvers in .38 Special and I have bought them for around $200. Small autos are usually a bit more money. I have found Astra and Taurus .380s for about your budget figure. Hope this helps. All the best...
Gil
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2005, 03:50 PM
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IF you've got a buddy that is good at sorting out good used revovlers from the others, then the used market is a good place to shop. NOt something I'd tell a non-gun person to go out and do by themselves...better to have (1) one knowledgable in used guns (2) have an unbais second opeion close at hand.
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  #13  
Old 08-08-2005, 04:00 PM
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If your just looking for a home defense gun you might consider a pump shotgun. Lots available for well under 200 dollars and probably the best home defense system available. Mossberg 500 etc. Look in pawn shops and gun stores at used ones.
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  #14  
Old 08-08-2005, 06:33 PM
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I picked up a CZ27 in .32 acp a few years back. I handload the 32 magnum 100 gr JHP's and they hit nearly as hard as factory 9mm. It feeds them just as reliably as the 71gr FMJ.

The CZ27 is very nice quality, double action and can be "cocked & locked". Pushing the safety lever down further serves to de-cock it. In the hand, it feels a lot like a SIG P230.

I't's been my experience that a good quality (used) military sidearm is often more reliable and better quality than some of the current production cheapies.
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  #15  
Old 08-08-2005, 07:19 PM
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You've gotten a number of choices that should run under $200...but I do have to admit, for pure home defence, a shotgun is hard to beat, but may be a bit intimidating (even in 20ga.) for some. Same could be siad about any gun, so teh key is getting out there for some practice sessions.

For her first sessions, double up on the hearing protection...plugs and muffs...won't give that much more protection, but enough to be noticable (esp. by new shooters whose ears haven't be detuned).

Measure off the longest shot she'd likely to take in teh house, set out a reasonably alrge target at that range, and get her started right.
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  #16  
Old 08-09-2005, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Agreed with the recommendation on .38 Special revolver. Simple, reliable, lots of ammo, and about the minimum I'd consider for the job at hand. Not too difficult to master with the low-powered target ammo, either.
Yes, accurate and easy to shoot with the low-powered target ammo yet able to handle the 'serious' ammo too albeit on the low end. Does not need the 'technical' know-how that a semi-automatic requires to make it work and is popular with the ladies as they don't have to be Popeye and rack a slide. Would also suggest a barrel length of at least 4" for a good sight radius, reduced recoil and muzzle blast. Look around for something like a used S&W model 15 as it comes with adjustable sights. Nothing will turn off your wife to shooting more than a handgun that barks like a junk yard dog, kicks like a mule, and is incapable of hitting a target. If you are into the semi-autos, then by all means get one for yourself but for minimum stopping power, get at least a 9mm. Plenty of 9mm ammo around at dirt cheap prices and it's available everywhere which is more than I can say about some of the smaller calibers.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 08-09-2005 at 08:54 AM.
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2005, 09:18 AM
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You might want to consider a Ruger MKII or III. While not the greatest defense caliber, it will do the job, if needed. Chances are one shot to the ceiling will scare off any intruder anyway. The nice thing is that you and your wife will be able to spend many, many pleasurable hours at the firing range together without breaking the bank.
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Last edited by OldWolf; 08-09-2005 at 10:24 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #18  
Old 08-09-2005, 10:12 AM
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Find an indoor range !! FIRST THING

These ranges usually have guns you can handle, or rent to shoot at the range. The FIT of the gun to the hand is more important that many realize. If you wife is going to shoot it as well, You need something that is a good compromise in fit for both your hand sizes. Both revolvers and pistols can use aftermarket grips. I suggest HOGUE rubber grips. Excellent fit to the hand for any handgun. Small frame revolvers are the easiest to use. Small frame pistols also may be easy. I have a Kel-Tec P11 in 9mm that works extremely well. Very popular with law enforcement here as it can use either Smith & Wesson / or Glock magazines. Small in the hand and 10 rounds per mag. I paid $225 for mine in 2002. Let her shoot any models that fit her hand and give her some input into the decision. I also bet the Makarov is a good fit, but I would consider .38 Special or 9mm the smallest cartridge you should depend on as a self defense load. .38 Special +P loads preferred in that cartridge. Most 9mm loads don't need to be +p or +p+ to be effective.
Let us know what you narrow it down to before you decide. There is an education in your searching for others of us who are contemplating a handgun for our spouse, girlfriend, daughter . . . .. This information will be useful to many!

Thanks for posting an important question.
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  #19  
Old 08-09-2005, 10:30 AM
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Another thing to consider is the force required to cycle the slide by hand. My wife is a small woman and would have a hard time trying to rack the slide of either of my S&W or Colt autos. That is why maybe a revolver is also good choice. Just pull the trigger.

The MKII bolt is relatively easy to cycle by hand.
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  #20  
Old 08-09-2005, 12:32 PM
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OldWolf, I am going to have to strongly disagree with your statement re shooting one in the ceiling to scare off an intruder. If he or his wife is faced with an intruder, then they should rightfully believe their life or the life of a family member (child who may be sleeping upstairs) is in danger.

With that in mind, if a verbal warning is warranted and/or doesn't suffice, he or she would be justified in dispatching the bg. They, of course need to have the mindset to do that if necessary prior to buying a self defense firearm, otherwise the gun shouldn't be purchased IMO. Yes, I realize some states have laws (ridiculous IMO) that say you have to retreat even in you own home until cornered before you can use the gun. Nevertheless, you don't shoot warning shots in your ceiling when the time comes to shoot. This isn't tv or the movies, shot bullets go places and could possibly kill/injure someone. But that isn't my primary reason for disagreeing with your statement.

The purpose of the gun isn't to scare off the intruder with a warning shot to the ceiling, it is for self defense, whatever the caliber/model. Once they have made the decision to purchase a gun for that purpose, then it should be used if necessary, for self defense. Once the intruder has entered their home, the time for warnings shots, if there ever was a time, is over. The bg goes out in a body bag.

This comes from one who has the mindset of 27yrs in le.

On the topic, I would also go along with a good quality 38cal revolver. Simple to operate; no slides, external safety or mags to worry about. I used a Model 15 4" for the first 14yrs of my career and bought it when we went to the Beretta 92f. The 15 is accurate and doesn't have a lot of recoil. I recommend that whatever you get, that you both practice, practice and practice some more. Shot placement, more than caliber in most instances, is the important factor.

Last edited by retired; 08-09-2005 at 12:38 PM.
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