Handgun for the Wife - Please Make Sure I'm Not Missing Anything!

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  • Which one would you recommend (given the criteria) ?

    • FNH: FNX-9

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • FNH: FNS-9

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • IWI: Jericho (Magnum Research: Baby Deagle II)

      Votes: 1 1.3%
    • CZ: P-01

      Votes: 2 2.5%
    • CZ: 75 SP-01

      Votes: 4 5.0%
    • HK: USP(C)

      Votes: 6 7.5%
    • Ruger: SR9 (F or C)

      Votes: 5 6.3%
    • S&W: M&P9 (F or C) w/Thumb Safety

      Votes: 7 8.8%
    • Beretta: 92FS(C)

      Votes: 2 2.5%
    • Sig Sauer: P226

      Votes: 12 15.0%
    • Sig Sauer: P229

      Votes: 11 13.8%
    • Walther: P99

      Votes: 1 1.3%
    • Glock: 17

      Votes: 2 2.5%
    • Glock: 19

      Votes: 19 23.8%
    • Springfield: XD (4")

      Votes: 2 2.5%
    • Springfield: XD(M) (4.5" or 3.8")

      Votes: 5 6.3%
    • Walther: PPQM2

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • Walther: PPX

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • Bersa: ???

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • Kahr: ???

      Votes: 0 0.0%
    • Other 9mm

      Votes: 1 1.3%

    • Total voters
      80

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    So my wife has started discussing what she wants in a side-arm, and she's left it up to me to draw up a list of possible firearms for her to consider. As I'm a relative novice with firearms myself, I'm trying to do the leg-work and ensure that I include a good selection that meets her criteria; this means I'm appealing for your help to make sure I'm not overlooking anything.

    Criteria:
    -9mm
    -Rail for light
    -External Safety+Decocker (Decocker-only is acceptable but not preferable)
    -Price <$1500
    -Capacity >10 rounds
    -Compact or "Small" Full-Size is preferred

    No:
    -C&R CZ82/Mak (9x18mm)
    -1911s (.45ACP)
    -Revolvers (.357/.38sp)
    -Taurus (SD gun, not a range gun)

    Note:

    Of the guns she's held, she likes both the HK USP(C) and the Sig 229. She did not like the ergonomics of the Glock 19; I'm including it in the list simply because I would feel bad excluding it - same with the Beretta 92FS(C). I'm also a bit in the dark when it comes to whether Bersa and Kahr are considered dependable guns for anything beyond CC.

    She'll be test-firing all of the guns on the final list to prior to any purchase decision; carbines are not in the running as she will be carrying her AR15 as her primary firearm (so no Keltec Sub2000, Hi-Point, or Beretta CX4). Holster availability is a non-issue as I'll be making one out of Kydex for her.

    List is currently as follows:
    External Safety:
    FNH: FNX-9
    FNH: FNS-9
    IWI: Jericho (Magnum Research: Baby Desert Eagle II)
    CZ: P-01
    CZ:75 SP-01
    HK: USP-C
    Ruger: SR9 (Full/C)
    S&W:M&P9 (Full/C), thumb-safety model
    Beretta: 92FS(C)

    Decocker Only
    Sig-Sauer: P226
    Sig-Sauer: P229
    Walther: P99

    Striker-Fire, no safety/decocker
    Glock: 19
    Glock: 17
    Springfield: XD(M) (4.5"/3.8")
    Springfield: XD (4")
    Walther: PPQ M2
    Walther: PPX

    Kahr: ???
    Bersa: ???

    So friends - am I missing anything?
     

    smokey0118

    2A TEACHER
    Jan 31, 2008
    28,398
    why the external safety requirment? not bashing, just curious. The m&p is a solid choice, but the m&p's external safeties just always felt like an afterthought and IMO ruin an otherwise great gun. Also, the cz p09 should be up there somewhere. At around $500 for a 19+1 capacity gun of superb accuracy/handing/reliability....it's a catch. You can also swap the decocker for a safety, or switch it back to a decocker when you get tired of safeties after training for a while.
     

    Sean415

    Unrepentant HKholic
    May 28, 2013
    134
    I'm a big HK guy and a big fan of you get what you pay for. Excellent weapons and top notch customer service. I can tell you if you start with one they will multiply and FAST! Another good reason to get a DC. I would definitely recommend the usp-c, have you looked at the hk p30 it's a little bigger but very nice. And a definite winner would be the HK P7 or maybe a P7M8 if you hold out and wait for one prices under $1500. The P7's are simply amazing and she probably won't let you touch it and you'll end up buying one or two more for yourself...giving fair warning. But it does not have a rail. I have seen someone have a rail professionally welded on a P7 but you can't do that on the P7M8 due to the heat shield. But if I were to pick any it would be the P7M8 hands down. It won't disappoint.
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    I'd stay away from the Bersa, they can be finicky, and the CZ-82 outclasses it in honest to goodness every single regard, including price, and you've already discounted that pistol.

    I must point out that no one likes a glock when they feel it in their hand, they like a glock after they see how well they shoot with it DESPITE how it feels in their hand.

    I would have your wife rent a G19 from on target or somewhere and let her see how she shoots with it.

    That said, the USP is one of my all time favorite guns. It has a recoil buffer in the form of a complex spring system in the full size, and a nylon buffer in the compact, and the guns are built like tanks. The USP .45 with the LEM trigger is IMO the best handgun ever made for use as an unconcealed duty weapon.

    The compacts are a little bit bigger than other 'compact' guns, and if you want a smaller full sized gun, it will fit the bill wonderfully. The 9mm cartridge, even without the recoil buffer, is a pussycat to shoot, and when taking into account the mass of the gun, the weapon is an EXCELLENT choice for a woman.

    That said, they are immensely expensive.

    The XD is a great gun too, and much cheaper.

    I'm not a fan of the XDM for two reasons, the most important of which is that it is more expensive without offering any substantial gain in performance. The original XD is one of the only guns rated for conversion to the .460 rowland cartridge, which pushes .44 magnum power. The XDM was found unsatisfactory for this due to the weaker slide design.

    The XD is machined impeccably, is treated with a nitriding process that makes the steel extremely hard (~65 HRC hardness) and corrosion resistant, and holds a very large amount of ammunition. Add to this the ease with which it is handled, and it's a no brainer.

    I don't like Kahrs due to their needing to be broken in, and if something fails once, I never trust it, as stupid as that sounds.

    I love Walthers, but as has been said, they are expensive.

    I'd go with the Springfield, or the USP if you can afford it.
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    oh, and the CZ-75 and it's brothers are FANTASTIC guns. The only reason I shy from them is that they are hard to find in anything but 9mm. But since that is one of your requirements, go wild.

    The bore axis and ergonomics makes the CZ-75 series a literal JOY to shoot. Add a wonderfully smooth double action trigger pull and the fact that the czechs make some of the nicest guns on the planet and you've got a winner.

    Also, now they have CZ-75s in stainless steel instead of just a hard chromed finish.
     

    Boom Boom

    Hold my beer. Watch this.
    Jul 16, 2010
    16,834
    Carroll
    Be careful about running full steam into analysis paralysis sight unseen. Numbers, lists, and tables go out the window as soon as she visits local shops to see how each pistol fits her hands. Based on fit and feel, features you and she think are important now might border on trivial then. I suggest worrying about exact features *after* she decides in person on a few final contenders.
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    oh yeah, and the Ruger SR series should also be considered.

    Got an SR-40c that's so thin and nice and tuckable that it gives me fits sometimes. Only regret I have is that sometimes I wish I had gotten the SR9C instead of the 40c

    Not one failure in 1000+ rounds, and ruger's stainless steel is legendary
     

    Fox123

    Active Member
    May 21, 2012
    3,574
    Rosedale, MD
    Find a range with those various rentals and have her shoot, not just hold them.

    Sig 229 is a great choice but it should be her choice not ours or yours.



    The bersa ? you might include is the thunder 9 UC. Will probably be hard to find a range that rents them however. Would usually include it in a list because of the price point, however, your high range kinda moots that point, and it is out classed by others on the list. (though she may be lefty and you a righty, the ambi controls for everything is nice)
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    why the external safety requirment? not bashing, just curious. The m&p is a solid choice, but the m&p's external safeties just always felt like an afterthought and IMO ruin an otherwise great gun. Also, the cz p09 should be up there somewhere. At around $500 for a 19+1 capacity gun of superb accuracy/handing/reliability....it's a catch. You can also swap the decocker for a safety, or switch it back to a decocker when you get tired of safeties after training for a while.

    Thanks - I've added the CZ-P09 to the list!

    I have the feeling she'll eventually get over the desire for an external safety - I really think the most she would need is a decocker. She hasn't really given me a good rationale as to her need for an external safety, but she strongly wants one. My guess is that it's because our HD plan is for her to barricade herself and our two children in a room and she is afraid of losing her side-arm in all the confusion and our one of our children picking it up and causing a ND. I've included firearms without an external safety (but match criteria) just to give her some exposure so that maybe she won't be as dependent on the feature.

    I'm a big HK guy and a big fan of you get what you pay for. Excellent weapons and top notch customer service. I can tell you if you start with one they will multiply and FAST! Another good reason to get a DC. I would definitely recommend the usp-c, have you looked at the hk p30 it's a little bigger but very nice. And a definite winner would be the HK P7 or maybe a P7M8 if you hold out and wait for one prices under $1500. The P7's are simply amazing and she probably won't let you touch it and you'll end up buying one or two more for yourself...giving fair warning. But it does not have a rail. I have seen someone have a rail professionally welded on a P7 but you can't do that on the P7M8 due to the heat shield. But if I were to pick any it would be the P7M8 hands down. It won't disappoint.

    Thanks - I've added the HK P30S (safety) to the list!

    Unfortunately my wife is set on the rail (for a light), so I can't include the P7 or P7M8. Thank you for the suggestion though - they look awesome! She also loved the HK USP(C) - I didn't mind it either ;D - so it's definitely one of the top contenders at the moment.

    I'd stay away from the Bersa, they can be finicky, and the CZ-82 outclasses it in honest to goodness every single regard, including price, and you've already discounted that pistol.

    I was originally thinking about a CZ82, but discounted it because of the ammunition and lack of a rail - it's top on my list of C&R purchases though. Thanks for the heads-up about the Bersa!

    amoebicmagician said:
    I must point out that no one likes a glock when they feel it in their hand, they like a glock after they see how well they shoot with it DESPITE how it feels in their hand. I would have your wife rent a G19 from on target or somewhere and let her see how she shoots with it.

    She will be trying her hand at shooting a G17 and G19 at the range for this very reason, but she absolutely hated how it felt (I'm hoping the G4 backstraps will improve her disposition towards the Glocks) so I'm not too optimistic.

    amoebicmagician said:
    The compacts are a little bit bigger than other 'compact' guns, and if you want a smaller full sized gun, it will fit the bill wonderfully. The 9mm cartridge, even without the recoil buffer, is a pussycat to shoot, and when taking into account the mass of the gun, the weapon is an EXCELLENT choice for a woman. That said, they are immensely expensive.

    The XD is a great gun too, and much cheaper.

    I'm not a fan of the XDM for two reasons, the most important of which is that it is more expensive without offering any substantial gain in performance. The original XD is one of the only guns rated for conversion to the .460 rowland cartridge, which pushes .44 magnum power. The XDM was found unsatisfactory for this due to the weaker slide design.

    The XD is machined impeccably, is treated with a nitriding process that makes the steel extremely hard (~65 HRC hardness) and corrosion resistant, and holds a very large amount of ammunition. Add to this the ease with which it is handled, and it's a no brainer.

    I don't like Kahrs due to their needing to be broken in, and if something fails once, I never trust it, as stupid as that sounds.

    I love Walthers, but as has been said, they are expensive.

    I'd go with the Springfield, or the USP if you can afford it.[/QUOTE]

    I definitely am on the same page when it comes to trusting firearms; thanks for the heads-up about Kahr and the XD(M). I'll do some more research but I'm thinking about dropping the XDM in favor of the XD as per your information. Thanks for the information!

    oh, and the CZ-75 and it's brothers are FANTASTIC guns. The only reason I shy from them is that they are hard to find in anything but 9mm. But since that is one of your requirements, go wild.

    The bore axis and ergonomics makes the CZ-75 series a literal JOY to shoot. Add a wonderfully smooth double action trigger pull and the fact that the czechs make some of the nicest guns on the planet and you've got a winner.

    Also, now they have CZ-75s in stainless steel instead of just a hard chromed finish.

    I've heard great things about CZ (and some kind of prissy things as a Beretta owner :p), which is why I went with the 75 SP-01 (75B with rail) so it's definitely a contender!

    Be careful about running full steam into analysis paralysis sight unseen. Numbers, lists, and tables go out the window as soon as she visits local shops to see how each pistol fits her hands. Based on fit and feel, features you and she think are important now might border on trivial then. I suggest worrying about exact features *after* she decides in person on a few final contenders.

    This is always a great suggestion for first-time gun purchasers; and we spent some time doing this pre-SB281. While we got some great help thanks to Engage, we weren't able to fully explore all of the features/options she would like (availability). I tried to come up with a loose-list that fit her must-haves (although I threw in a few that didn't fit just to give her that exposure). She was leaning towards the HK USP(C) and Sig 229 (and running away from the Glock) the last time we went. Unfortunately we didn't have time to try out the FNH, Springfield, CZs, etc.

    She also had a chance to explore some revolvers, but she wasn't interested (ammunition compatibility and capacity); as she is fairly good with following processes/series-of-actions, we both believe she can handle a semi.

    oh yeah, and the Ruger SR series should also be considered.

    Got an SR-40c that's so thin and nice and tuckable that it gives me fits sometimes. Only regret I have is that sometimes I wish I had gotten the SR9C instead of the 40c

    Yeah I was looking at the 40c but discounted it for the SR9 (F/C) because it's .40 and not 9mm; if I had gone with a 96A1 for my side-arm then it would be the other way around. Any thoughts on the SR9 and fullsize v. compact?
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    didn't mention this already and probably should have, the SR9C has a dual recoil spring with built in buffer, it's a pussycat to shoot for a gun that's so small
     

    Boom Boom

    Hold my beer. Watch this.
    Jul 16, 2010
    16,834
    Carroll
    She also had a chance to explore some revolvers, but she wasn't interested (ammunition compatibility and capacity); as she is fairly good with following processes/series-of-actions, we both believe she can handle a semi.

    If she hasn't yet, get her to handle one or more S&W 8-shot 357 revolvers, especially the 627 PC. As big as the 627 PC is, it works wonders fitting into and balancing well in both bigger and smaller hands. Maybe even better for her would be the lightweight M&P R8 version, with it's under-barrel rail.
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    as for the SR9 vs the 9c, I'd go with the 9c, for the simple fact that with the extended magazine sleeve you can use full size SR9 mags, and frankly modern propellants makes the differences in barrel length less important, although not trivial.

    The 9c just has so many more options. It's easy to shoot well, and can easily fill the role of the SR9 with a larger magazine. You can't make an SR9 fill the compact role- it only goes one way.

    The SR9c's slide is very slightly thinner than the 40c, and that I can tell you is a DREAM to carry.
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    Find a range with those various rentals and have her shoot, not just hold them.

    Sig 229 is a great choice but it should be her choice not ours or yours.

    The bersa ? you might include is the thunder 9 UC. Will probably be hard to find a range that rents them however. Would usually include it in a list because of the price point, however, your high range kinda moots that point, and it is out classed by others on the list. (though she may be lefty and you a righty, the ambi controls for everything is nice)

    Definitely solid advice - she will be holding, and then shooting, every gun on the finalized list prior to any purchase decision. I'm trying to come up with a list of guns for her to try out so I can figure out who rents them/sells them and because I want to make sure I'm not excluding a gun that may be "the one" [of many, hopefully] for her.

    I noticed the Bersa Thunder Pro when I was looking into them but it seems the page went down. The consensus is as you stated - it seems other guns within this price range out-class it, so I'll probably be excluding it after this thread ends.

    I should mention that she is right-handed (as am I), so ambi-controls are nice but not necessary. Thanks for the information!

    sr9 standard or c is an excellent gun my wife loves to shoot mine.

    Do you have the SR9 fullsize or compact? I have 2XL hands so it would be a huge plus if I could comfortably shoot her side-arm in a pinch. Thanks! :)
     

    amoebicmagician

    Samopal Goblin
    Dec 26, 2012
    4,174
    Columbia, MD
    oh, and it's literally less than 20 seconds to remove the magazine safety from the SR series of pistols if you don't want it in the pistol.

    I like the idea of having it in the pistol if there's a child in the house, since then I can leave one in the chamber, and keep the mag separate and the gun is inoperative, but all I have to do is pop the mag in and it's ready to rock, no slide rack or anything.

    If you decide you want more of a combat handgun, that will fire with the mag out for tactical reloads, you can remove the linkage so easily as to be laughable and the gun functions perfectly. It's all about options.

    Also you have the fact that Ruger literally developed it's own brand of stainless steel specifically for firearms usage, yielding almost a 50 HRC, whereas most stainless steel is about 42 HRC. The barrels are darn near indestructible, and I've never seen one shot out.
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    didn't mention this already and probably should have, the SR9C has a dual recoil spring with built in buffer, it's a pussycat to shoot for a gun that's so small

    Good to know, thanks!

    If she hasn't yet, get her to handle one or more S&W 8-shot 357 revolvers, especially the 627 PC. As big as the 627 PC is, it works wonders fitting into and balancing well in both bigger and smaller hands. Maybe even better for her would be the lightweight M&P R8 version, with it's under-barrel rail.

    I'll look at both the S&W 627PC and the S&W M&P R8 - thank you for the suggestions! A couple of questions (as I'm completely clueless about revolvers), if you'd please enlighten me:

    1. From what I remember, you don't want to put your hands/fingers too close to the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. If this is true, how easy is it to utilize the rail-light?
    2. Would any 8-shot .357 speedloader fit the bill, or would I need a brand-specific one?
    3. How easy is it to carry/use speedloaders? I've only seen the fully-encased leather holsters and it seems slower to deploy than traditional magazine holsters.

    as for the SR9 vs the 9c, I'd go with the 9c, for the simple fact that with the extended magazine sleeve you can use full size SR9 mags, and frankly modern propellants makes the differences in barrel length less important, although not trivial.

    The 9c just has so many more options. It's easy to shoot well, and can easily fill the role of the SR9 with a larger magazine. You can't make an SR9 fill the compact role- it only goes one way.

    The SR9c's slide is very slightly thinner than the 40c, and that I can tell you is a DREAM to carry.

    I'll put an emphasis on the SR9C over the full-size unless tonioaj wants to debate you - thanks for the info!
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    oh, and it's literally less than 20 seconds to remove the magazine safety from the SR series of pistols if you don't want it in the pistol.

    I like the idea of having it in the pistol if there's a child in the house, since then I can leave one in the chamber, and keep the mag separate and the gun is inoperative, but all I have to do is pop the mag in and it's ready to rock, no slide rack or anything.

    If you decide you want more of a combat handgun, that will fire with the mag out for tactical reloads, you can remove the linkage so easily as to be laughable and the gun functions perfectly. It's all about options.

    Also you have the fact that Ruger literally developed it's own brand of stainless steel specifically for firearms usage, yielding almost a 50 HRC, whereas most stainless steel is about 42 HRC. The barrels are darn near indestructible, and I've never seen one shot out.

    the SR9 and 9C have reversible backstraps, it is a wonderfully ergonomic firearm.

    I didn't know that the SR9 had this level of user-customization; that's great news as it gives her room to modify the gun to fit her needs! How easy is it to take-down and clean? As its a SF, does it require special cleaning (my 92 is fine with being hosed with Ballistol but I know you can't do that with a Glock)?
     

    Boom Boom

    Hold my beer. Watch this.
    Jul 16, 2010
    16,834
    Carroll
    1. From what I remember, you don't want to put your hands/fingers too close to the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. If this is true, how easy is it to utilize the rail-light?
    2. Would any 8-shot .357 speedloader fit the bill, or would I need a brand-specific one?
    3. How easy is it to carry/use speedloaders? I've only seen the fully-encased leather holsters and it seems slower to deploy than traditional magazine holsters.

    1. Correct. The supersonic, superheated gases can slice fingers in half and blow a thumb off. If need be, there are lights with cabled pressure sensors that mount on the front of the grip, if that interests her. Personally, I think a small tactical flashlight with a rear thumb button and held in the weak hand is a better idea, especially to sweep a room/area with the light while maintaining a safe muzzle direction.

    2. S&W is the gold standard for 8-shot revolvers, so finding a speedloader is easy.

    3. I think a better question might be how reasonable is it to expect to need more than 8 shots? Granted, it can happen, but it's extremely rare. Regardless, instead of the round speedloaders, there are the strip-type loaders like Bianchi makes. The strip-type, loaded with ammo, easily slide into a pocket.
     

    MonkeyPunch

    Member
    Feb 23, 2013
    475
    Montgomery County
    1. Correct. The supersonic, superheated gases can slice fingers in half and blow a thumb off. If need be, there are lights with cabled pressure sensors that mount on the front of the grip, if that interests her. Personally, I think a small tactical flashlight with a rear thumb button and held in the weak hand is a better idea, especially to sweep a room with the light while maintaining a safe muzzle direction.

    2. S&W is the gold standard for 8-shot revolvers, so finding a speedloader is easy.

    3. I think a better question might be how reasonable is it to expect to need more than 8 shots? Granted, it can happen, but it's extremely rare. Regardless, instead of the round speedloaders, there are the strip-type loaders like Bianchi makes. The strip-type, loaded with ammo, easily slide into a pocket.

    You're talking about wresting the revolver on the wrist of her weak hand, as it holds the flashlight, correct? Would that take more wrist-strength than an isosceles stance?

    Besides S&W and possibly Colt, are there any other revolver brands that you would suggest? I looked briefly into Chiappa but heard they have unsuitable triggers for quick followup shots (and a Mateba isn't in our price range).

    When you mention the "strip-type loaders" are you referring to those round bands that hold the rounds and are then placed, as a whole unit, into the cylinder? I've heard rumors (which I hope you'll set me straight on), that they can be finicky (get stuck/broken easily/etc) and that most people prefer speedloaders - any truth?

    As for the "how much do you'll need", it's not really an argument I want to go down - it falls into a "why not .40/.45/etc" quagmire that I think a lot of people are going to jump in on and will detract from the thread. Ammunition choice aside, my wife wants the higher capacity because if she needs to use her side-arm, it means that I'm dead/incapacitated and she's out of rounds/unable to reload her AR15. As the last-line of defense between whomever and our children, she wants the extra capacity and I'm not going to argue with her. 8 Rounds of .357 or 38 special +p is worth considering so I'm going to do some research and hopefully get her to try it out; but she has told me point-blank that she isn't comfortable with only 6 rounds.

    Thank you for the help and information! This is really expanding what I know about revolvers (beyond a Colt SAA)!
     

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