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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. I am a total gun novice in every sense of the word. I have held unloaded handguns and rifles, I know the difference between a revolver and a pistol as well as the terms semi-automatic and automatic. I also understand single action, where the hammer must be manually cocked before the weapon can be fired and must be done so with every shot. However I must admit, I am becoming a little bit confused with the concepts of double action, double action only, and striker fire. Also, I guess I dont fully understand the LEM option found on the USP or as an option on the P2000. Basically, I have decided that it is time to purchase a handgun that will serve as a cc weapon and a home defense weapon. I want a semi-auto pistol in 9mm with a decent amount of ammo (between 13-19 rounds) I went to a local gun shop yesterday and handled a few different weapons, the Ruger SR9c, Glock 19, Springfield xD. As a side note, I told the salesman in the shop that I have little knowledge about guns but that I wanted to purchase one for cc/home defense, and when showing and explaining the features of the 3 various weapons I could easily tell that the guy "helping" me was acting like a real smart ass in discussing the pros and cons of each, is this typical of the buying experience all gun novices encounter when making their first firearm purchase? I didn't buy anything, as I really went in with the intention of just learning and browsing, but I dont think I would return to that same shop as the attitude of the salesman was not appropriate. So, when I do finally make my purchase, I am wondering if purchasing a handgun off of the internet is a good route, as the prices seem much much lower. If anyone has any comments on the best place to actually purchase a firearm from that would be awesome. I digress, though. Of the Ruger SR9c, Glock 19, and Springfield xD, I really liked the feel of the Ruger but the Springfield had a much better trigger. According to the salesman the Ruger was set to 9lbs on the trigger and the Sringfield was at 8.5lbs. That half pound was a noticeable difference. When I asked if the Ruger could be adjusted or changed so that it was at 8.5lbs I was told that it was not possible on the Ruger. Does anyone know if this is true? Lastly, I really like the P2000 and the P2000sk. I was told by the same guy that the P2000 and the sk only come in in double action only, no striker fire option. Is this true? The term striker fire was new to me and is what the salesman used to describe the type of action found on the Springfield xD. So basically, whatever style/type of action found on the xD is what I am hoping the p2000 or sk have also, whatever it may be called. Thanks!
 

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Striker fired handguns do not have external hammers. The firing mechanism is totally internal. The p2000(sk) and all other modern HK pistols are hammer fired. The p2000(sk) can be had in 3 different actions. There is double action/single action(da/sa), double action only(dao), and lem(really a variation of dao). Da/sa is when the hammer is at rest and the trigger will have a harder and longer takeup before the hammer strikes the firing pin on the first shot (unless you cock the hammer back first). Each of the following shots will be single action, meaning the backward motion of the slide cycling recocks the hammer so the trigger will have a shorter and lighter takeup on each of the following shots. Dao is when the hammer will return to rest after every shot and will not stay cocked when the slide cycles, and the trigger will have a consistent takeup every time. The lem is a variation on dao. The hammer is two pieces, one part internal, the other external. The first shot will have a longer takeup but the following will have the same weight trigger pull withe a shorter takeup.

As far as single action only (like a 1911), before the first shot you have to cock the hammer, but the slide will recock the hammer after each shot for you.

Not the most technical description, but hope it helps.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
 

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If the salesman at the gun shop you are at is acting like a smart ass or giving you grief for your lack of gun knowledge then it is time to walk out of there and find a new gun dealer that is willing to take the time to help you find a gun that is right for you. Another good idea would be to take the NRA's basic pistol course. It's a very good start for a novice gun user to learn the basics of gun safety and gun operation and maintenance. It will also most likely qualify you (depending on what state you are in) for your CCW license. There are thousands of instructors willing to take the time to help you. Just find the right one and talk to them.

Welcome to the forums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the explanation, greatly appreciated. One question, with DAO, lets say I have a empty weapon, nothing in the chamber and no clip. The slide is pulled back and the hold open when empty switch is engaged. Could you briefly explain the steps of operation from the point at which you insert a full clip through firing a live round? That would be super helpful. Thanks!
 

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I agree with the fellas above me . First thing I would do is find a good shop/gun range that can offer instructors and a few guns to shoot . Some instructors are willing to bring a few weapons to try and some Shops/ranges offer rentals which is awesome . I've shot plenty but still take the opportunity to rent a new gun . All the features you will read about mean almost nothing untill you shoot one and practice with it . Nobody can tell you what's right for you . Especially for a defense pistol .
I would get some formal training . Even if you know what your doing . I learned more after having a NRA instructor teach my wife . There's always plenty to learn .
If its possible shoot a few popular weapons before to make a purchase . You'll be surprises what just feels right in your hand . Heck even if you can't shoot it go hold all of them . U may have small hands or huge hands . I almost made the mistake of buying a pistol for my wife . I would got her a small cute gun . We went and rented like 6 guns plus a few of mine . She left with a full size m&p 9mm . I never would have looked at one for her BUT now she loves shooting because she found a shoe that fit . Please don't take offense , I'm not comparing you to my wife . This was just my first experience introducing a hand gun to someone new .
All that said . I would not buy online unless you have handled the model you want . You may not even want a hk at the end of the day (hope I don't get banned ). But in the case of your first defense weapon getting a reliable weapon that you enjoy shooting alot ...ALOT ! For practice is going to be more important than getting a "cool" gun or being part of the club . Then again once you get your hands on a hk 9mm you might see what all the fuss is about . Last advice I got is since this is your first and only you get what you pay for ,don't risk A knock off or wierd brand . And since your life may depend on it I'll quote hk "no compromise"
Good luck . You'll find a wealth of info here from guys light years ahead of me
 

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Thank you for the explanation, greatly appreciated. One question, with DAO, lets say I have a empty weapon, nothing in the chamber and no clip. The slide is pulled back and the hold open when empty switch is engaged. Could you briefly explain the steps of operation from the point at which you insert a full clip through firing a live round? That would be super helpful. Thanks!
The bolded, underlined, and italicized should be "magazine." A clip is something that looks like a stick where you put cartridges on. The clip then goes into a rifle. A magazine is a rectangular shaped container that holds cartridges.

"Hold open switch" is called slide release lever, slide lock, or slide catch. They are all synonyms.

You would load a magazine into the empty gun just like any other semi-automatic firearm. The process of chambering a round is the same. Once the magazine is seated, release the slide by pulling back on it. The act of pulling back on the slide when a magazine is seated in the gun will automatically drop the slide release lever. From there just release the slide. It will sling shot forward. The slide will push a bullet into the chamber. If the firearm had the slide in battery (not held open via the slide release lever), then you would simply pull the slide all the way back and release, again slingshotting the slide forward, chambering a round.

The alternative to pulling back on the slide when it is held open by the slide release lever...is to press down on the slide release lever. In a combat situation, using the lever is faster. The slide locks back automatically in most firearms once the last round has been fired. When you load a fresh magazine into the gun, the lever will always be faster since you can just load the mag, re grip your weakhand, and then press the lever. If you used the sling shot method, it adds another step. You'd have to use the weak hand to release the slide, and then re grip. If feces hits the rotary ventilation device, every second counts.
 

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The bolded, underlined, and italicized should be "magazine." A clip is something that looks like a stick where you put cartridges on. The clip then goes into a rifle. A magazine is a rectangular shaped container that holds cartridges.

"Hold open switch" is called slide release lever, slide lock, or slide catch. They are all synonyms.

You would load a magazine into the empty gun just like any other semi-automatic firearm. The process of chambering a round is the same. Once the magazine is seated, release the slide by pulling back on it. The act of pulling back on the slide when a magazine is seated in the gun will automatically drop the slide release lever. From there just release the slide. It will sling shot forward. The slide will push a bullet into the chamber. If the firearm had the slide in battery (not held open via the slide release lever), then you would simply pull the slide all the way back and release, again slingshotting the slide forward, chambering a round.

The alternative to pulling back on the slide when it is held open by the slide release lever...is to press down on the slide release lever. In a combat situation, using the lever is faster. The slide locks back automatically in most firearms once the last round has been fired. When you load a fresh magazine into the gun, the lever will always be faster since you can just load the mag, re grip your weakhand, and then press the lever. If you used the sling shot method, it adds another step. You'd have to use the weak hand to release the slide, and then re grip. If feces hits the rotary ventilation device, every second counts.
The statement in bold had me laughing hard enough to get a strange look from my son and his kitten...good stuff

All hilariousness aside, your choices outlined are 1) you should try to find a local range that allows range rentals or find somebody you know who has a few different handguns to test-fire; I only suggest it because, not to sound like a gun snob, your outlined choices all suck for the role you outline--the XD has a major flaw, the small "backstrap safety" on the rear of the grip--it has to be depressed to work the action, which is bad bad news in a high stress situation. They are excellent target-only guns, but not a real contender for real work....the Ruger is not dependable enough for me, personally, the last 3 Rugers I owned all went back 'home' to Arizona at least once apiece for various issues--the P95 I owned had to have the entire slide replaced 7 weeks after I bought it because it was defective...Id skip the SR9 as well (failure to eject spent cases on range trip #4) the Glock, well I just don't like Glocks, its a well know fact among my posts--however if it feels comfortable, then it might be your best option for a starter...a P2000sk is a smallish gun to learn on (unless you have small hands)
B) get training...as soon as possible...owning a gun is but the first step in a journey; learning how, and when to use it is a neverending evolving process...having a gun without proper training is arguably WORSE than not having one...it is not something to make a snap decision on and it is certainly not something to pinch pennies on!

My vote is a P2000 in 9mm or a USPc in 9mm...you shouldn't have too much trouble tracking one down, they're excellent guns and easily maintained...magazines, holsters and ammo won't be problematic and 9mm is a good cartridge balance to begin on...the Glock is a distant second, for the same reasons....
 

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+ 1 on USPc 4 Life on the weapon(s) suggested and on Username re the NRA class. I also recc that you take an intro course asap, so that 1. you don't start getting the proverbial shooting/marksmanship 'bad habbits' and 2. you don't get too discouraged if your rounds aren't hitting the mark initially.

Once you get taught the basics there are many personal defense / combat shooting courses out there. Many cover a weekend or 3 or more days; some are outstanding and some are awful - if (hopefully) you want to continue training check their references and professional reputations out as much as you can. Best of luck!
 

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I've always liked. "When the defecation hits the oscellation."

ON to the OP. We all have bought what we thought was the perfect gun at one time or another based off of outside factors without handling the actual firearm. In my case, it went back to the gunstroe, I ended up taking a bath on it, and then found what worked for me. Almost every range has rental pistols, take the time to narrow down your field of interest and then rent some off of your list. There are plenty of shiesty gun salesmen out there who love to take advantage of folks that are just trying to learn. The fact is that no one else can tell you what gun will work best for you. You are the guy that has to use it.

And please dont be that new shooter that doesnt take the time to get trained on basic pistol handling. PLEASE! You will have more fun, be much safer, and really enjoy shooting if you get some basic safety and marksmanship skills down from a professional. If you do that and dont get too hung up on your accuracy for the first couple of times you will have a blast I guarantee it.

Then hang out here and we can convert you over to the dark side of over engineered German pistols and really make a dent in your wallet!!

Welcome!
 

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Yah the prima donna salesmen are jerks. Just take your time until you find a gun shop/pawn shop until you find someone willing to take some time educating you on diffrent choices. As for handgun reccomendations i have glocks and hk's and i would reccomend the P2000 (chambered in 9mm) for a beginner. For me anyway they tend to be more forgiving than the glocks. My 2 cents :) . Oh and welcome to the boards and read and absorb as much as you possibly can both here and google.
 

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I own p2000sk in 9mm LEM, my fav carry HK, the very first round I fired hit dead center slow fire pistol target @ 25yds, I saved that target lol, and the smile I got from it! :)
That's great...and completely irrelevant to the OPs post...a P2000sk is a bad choice for a beginner; carrying should be the LAST thing a novice is concerned with...safety and ability to handle and maintain the weapon and reliability are priority...an SK is a great carry gun--for people who don't mind the size for concealability, but a new shooter is going to be shooting A LOT (hopefully) and an SK isn't the most comfortable gun to learn on

Now that I think about it a P30 in 9mm is a great choice also
 

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Agree with USPc_4_Life: find a range that rents and take a few for a "test drive."

Generic advice for WeirdFishes as you evaluate your choices in the shop:

1. Remember, all guns are compromises (no matter what their marketing department might say :wink:). To find the right tool for a job, first you have to clearly define what the job is. This brings me to my next point....

2. Size: it sounds like this will be a general purpose weapon for you--learning/range, home defense, and some CC. Usually, the mid-sized guns (barrel length 3.5-4 inches) are best for this. Large enough to shoot comfortably, but small enough for most people to conceal reasonably well.

3. Decide how important having a consistent trigger pull is for you. Nearly all striker-fired pistols (Glock, XD, M&P, Ruger SRx, Steyr, some Walthers, etc) act like a single-action though they're technically not. They will have a trigger pull that is always the same. Hammer-fired DA/SA guns (like H&Ks) will have 2 different trigger pulls to learn--a long, heavy one and a shorter, lighter one. If you prefer a striker, you didn't mention checking out the Walther PPQ or Smith & Wesson M&P--they're worth a look.

4. Check out all the ergonomics. Can you reach the magazine release, slide lock, and safety (if any) without changing your grip? How naturally does it point? Is the grip too big/small for you to comfortably reach the trigger? Is the grip tall enough to fit your entire hand, or is your pinky finger hanging out into space? (This makes for easier concealment but less-comfortable shooting and lower accuracy).

5. What safety features do you definitely want or definitely not want? On a DA/SA or DAO pistol a manual safety is not really required (the long DA trigger pull makes accidental firing unlikely/difficult) but some people like to have them anyway. Some pistols come with a decocker. Some striker-fired pistols are available with an optional manual safety (XD, M&P), some aren't (Glock, Steyr). XDs and 1911s have grip safeties; USPc_4_Life apparently hates them, but other people like them. In general, simpler is better.
 

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Agree with USPc_4_Life: find a range that rents and take a few for a "test drive."

Generic advice for WeirdFishes as you evaluate your choices in the shop:

1. Remember, all guns are compromises (no matter what their marketing department might say :wink:). To find the right tool for a job, first you have to clearly define what the job is. This brings me to my next point....

2. Size: it sounds like this will be a general purpose weapon for you--learning/range, home defense, and some CC. Usually, the mid-sized guns (barrel length 3.5-4 inches) are best for this. Large enough to shoot comfortably, but small enough for most people to conceal reasonably well.

3. Decide how important having a consistent trigger pull is for you. Nearly all striker-fired pistols (Glock, XD, M&P, Ruger SRx, Steyr, some Walthers, etc) act like a single-action though they're technically not. They will have a trigger pull that is always the same. Hammer-fired DA/SA guns (like H&Ks) will have 2 different trigger pulls to learn--a long, heavy one and a shorter, lighter one. If you prefer a striker, you didn't mention checking out the Walther PPQ or Smith & Wesson M&P--they're worth a look.

4. Check out all the ergonomics. Can you reach the magazine release, slide lock, and safety (if any) without changing your grip? How naturally does it point? Is the grip too big/small for you to comfortably reach the trigger? Is the grip tall enough to fit your entire hand, or is your pinky finger hanging out into space? (This makes for easier concealment but less-comfortable shooting and lower accuracy).

5. What safety features do you definitely want or definitely not want? On a DA/SA or DAO pistol a manual safety is not really required (the long DA trigger pull makes accidental firing unlikely/difficult) but some people like to have them anyway. Some pistols come with a decocker. Some striker-fired pistols are available with an optional manual safety (XD, M&P), some aren't (Glock, Steyr). XDs and 1911s have grip safeties; USPc_4_Life apparently hates them, but other people like them. In general, simpler is better.
Just to clarify, I hate the XD version of grip-safety; as pointed out in another thread I have yet to see a major instructor endorse them and the grip safety lockout is a staggeringly BAD design, incomparable to a quality 1911 platform...it wasn't the worst gun I have fired or owned but it was far from being ergonomically designed and not nearly easy enough to operate for anything but punching paper or a hunting sidearm
 

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Thank you for the explanation, greatly appreciated. One question, with DAO, lets say I have a empty weapon, nothing in the chamber and no clip. The slide is pulled back and the hold open when empty switch is engaged. Could you briefly explain the steps of operation from the point at which you insert a full clip through firing a live round? That would be super helpful. Thanks!
Insert clip release the slide and fire.
 
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