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Discussion Starter #1
I'm researching pistols and looking to buy one to keep under my seat in my car. What would you boys recommend I look in to? I'm turning 21 before too long and am anticipating buying a handgun and learning to shoot. Looking into either "the judge" by taurus or one of the smaller kel tec pistols. Any caliber's you'd recommend? Any other specific gun?
 

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First check what your laws are in your area and your state. If I was going to keep the pistol under the seat of my car, which I don't recommend, it would be some basic 38 spl or 357 Mag revolver.

Personally I would get a 4 or 6 inch barreled Stainless Steel pistol, I like the S$W 686 type of pistols, but they can be pricey. The low end for me would be something like the Rossi R97206.

I recommedn stainless because cars are dirty and have various materials that may affect the blueing or parkerizing on some pistols. The reason I recommend revolvers is the simple reliability of the design.

My kids and my friends are surprised to find that I carry a S&W 340 PD as my CCW pistol. I normaly shot 1911s, Hi Powers, Sigs and a few others.

The reason I don't recomend leaving a pistol in your car, it could be stolen while the thieves are looking for other stuff in your car.

BTW my first new pistol that I bought was a Colt Series 70 1911 45 ACP. The pistol I had before that was a used S&W Model 10. My very first pistol was a Colt Huntsman 22, I got that when I was 16. Times were different then.

Jerry
 

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Modern double action revolver with at least a 4" barrel and adjustable sights chambered for .357 magnum.

Why? A 4" barrel is a good compromise for both target shooting and carry. Anything with a short barrel means a short sight radius (distance between the front and rear sights) in which case you have to have almost perfect sight alignment to shoot well. Adjustable sights gives you the capability to move your group on the target. If, for example, you are shooting to the left of the bullseye, you can adjust your sights to bring your group to the right into the black. For a first gun, .357 magnum means you can shoot the high velocity .357 magnum for serious work and yet shoot the milder .38 S&W Special cartridges when you just want to do some plinking.

The case can certainly be made to start off with a .22. It's true that the .22 will allow you to learn to shoot a handgun at minimal cost until you get the basics of handgun shooting down pat. However, now you have a .22 which is economical to shoot but not that effective during a confrontation. Don't get me wrong, I really like the .22 cartridge but it is not a man-stopper and I wouldn't want one to be my only handgun.

These are just my thoughts on your question. Others will surely give you their's. One thing most of us will agree on and that is to practice, practice, practice. Best wishes on your new handgun.
 

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I would not get a Judge but that is just my opinion. For me a dedicated .45 Colt is enough power. As for your gun I would recommend a Ruger GP100 4" barrel or a Ruger SP101 3" barrel in .357 mag.
 

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You won't learn anything with the KelTec or Judge. I whole heartedly recommend a 4 or 6" Ruger GP100 and/or a Ruger MKIII .22LR. There are many different models available in both lines, and I highly doubt you would ever be disappointed with any of them.
 

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I will second what Miestro Jerry stated in his post! Don't be keeping a pistol under the front seat, unless you have a CCW permit and gun is in a lock box.

Once upon a time I had my .357 pistol under the front seat (years ago) and I was being chased by some fellows, who thought it not nice for me to be in their turf. Anyway I was cut off by another vehicle and we hit cars. I jumped out to reach for my pistol, only it being under the front seat was now in the rear, over on the passenger's side. Yeah, under the seat is NO GOOD! I was saved by the police who just happened to be a 1/2 block away a the time.

I would advise as others have already stated, a 4 inch revolver with adjustable sights in the .357 magnum caliber. You can practice at first with those .38-spl rounds and learn the right way. They later you can step up to .357mag rounds and then heavy magnum loads. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're right about the gun under the seat. I'll just have to get a small case for whatever I'm getting and keep it out of sight somewhere else besides under the seat. And yes, I will be sure and check local laws and regulations. I'll get whatever permit(s) i need to get to keep a gun in my vehicle.

As far as the .22 pistols goes, that's a really good idea. I probably need to gain some experience and practice with one, learn how to shoot the cheap way, because I've learned how expensive ammunition is. And a .357 magnum would really do the trick wouldn't it? The Ruger GP100 looks pretty good to me, I'll be able to find one if I look at a few local gun shows, right? They're not too hard to find...?

The judge is just a cool pistol in my opinion, its a shotgun pistol. One of my deercamp buddies has one, I just thought it was really interesting. And my pops already has a little kel tec, a P32 or something. It's really small, a cool gun. That was just a thought.

Well thanks for your quick feedback, I'll keep an open mind about the .22, I need practice first. I've only shot a pistol a few times, and that was way back when I was a kid with my grandpa out at some clay bluff. Long, long time ago. But I've been dove hunting since I was a kid, deer hunting, turkey, pretty much everything. I know my way a little bit around shotgun and rifle shooting. Hopefully won't bee to hard learning to shoot a pistol. Well, thanks again guys. Let me know if you have any more suggestions.
 

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Both GPs and MKII/MKIIIs are pretty easy to find at virtually any gun show in this country.

I will warn you that .22s are pretty addictive, it starts with one, and balloons to 8 in no time. I have some pretty trick ones including MKIIIs with optics, suppressors, and Pac Lite uppers. I have a couple of GPs too, a 4" stainless and a 6" blued one. The 6" was my first handgun that I paid for myself (my dad had to do the paperwork).

Ruger also made a nice .357 before the GPs called the Security Six (also Service Six/Police Six/Speed Six) Some were 9mm and 38 Special, most were 357 Mag. They are usually a bit cheaper than the GP, but every bit as strong. I paid $200 for my last one.

Starting with the .22 LR and .38 Special will make you a lot better shot with the heavier loads, plus they are a lot cheaper than .45 Colt or .32 ACP.
 

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Under the seat? Better have a concealed carry permit. There's a lot of info to consider what gun and caliber for a "first" that you didn't include in your post like your size, price range, purpose, etc. BUT those here who have recommended a 38/357 are on the mark and a Ruger wheelgun is as good as they get. The Taurus Judge is what I call a niche gun, nice to have but not very practical. Nor would I recommend a .22 if you are to defend yourself with it. Semi-autos I wouldn't recommend for a beginner. They require a lot of practice for them to become an extention of your hand, which is what your goal is for self-defense.
 

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Just a suggestion here but you might think about a semi-auto with a matching 22LR slide conversion like a 1911 or a Glock. That way you can practice cheap with the 22 conversion and you can put the original slide back on for defense purposes.
 

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If I try real hard I can just about remember what it was like to be almost 21.

Good advise has already been given, a 22 rimfire revolver or full size semi-auto is the way to go.
Itty-bitty pistols and The Judge are cool, but not as first handguns.
..
 

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The GP-100 is a great pistol. You might see if you can get one used. You can shoot .38s (non +P) until you get used to it, then move up +P and then full power .357 mags whenever you feel ready.

The Ruger GP-100 is a nice heavy gun that soaks up recoil and they shoot very accurately too. I have an SP-101 snubbie which is similar but more compact.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What do you folks think about a .380 auto pistol? There were some dirt, dirt cheap .380s in the pawn shop the other day. Is that caliber just junk or something?
 

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Possibly the reason these pistols are in the pawn shop dirt cheap is their former owners didn't think much of them. For carry and/or SD, I would go for nothing less powerful than the .38 S&W Special or 9 mm Luger, both have been around long enough to be stress tested. YMMV
 

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What do you folks think about a .380 auto pistol? There were some dirt, dirt cheap .380s in the pawn shop the other day. Is that caliber just junk or something?
Check ammo cost / availability before you get one. 9mm is usually cheaper and more common. If you plan to shoot a lot that may be a factor.

.380 is lesser-powered enough that it can go in some smaller, lighter guns. That is really it's niche these days. 9mm is going into some pretty impressively small platforms though.
 

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I'd say the biggest caliber you can consistently hit a ham sandwich with at 10 paces is a good place to start when considering a carry pistol. Don't let anybody talk you into their ideal gun. Your hand may be built different, your eyes may need bigger sights and so on.

Go to a range with a good selection of rental guns and start trying them. If you can't hit paper with them get some pointers on what you are doing wrong. Most guns will outshoot most humans in the accuracy department but it is not one size fits all. If you have buddies that have handguns ask them to show you theirs at the range and split a couple boxes of ammo with them and try them out. You will figure out what you are capable of and what you like. It is importatnt to do this step before you plunk down your cash for the one you saw in an ad or on a movie.
 
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