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My buddy is worried by what he sees happening around him now. Currently owns no guns. He asked me for advice regarding purchase of a handgun for self-defense. Being he's a newbie, I recommended a 9mm (specifically, Glock 19 gen 5). I figured it would be easy for him to learn, even his wife could handle the recoil, it's reliable and popular, and it still brings excellent force to the party (penetration of 12+ inches in gelatin as tested by FBI). I was also clear that there is no "perfect" firearm or caliber for every purpose, so he'll want to keep an open mind based on information he learns from gun store counters since they'll know much more than me.
I know everybody will have a highly personalized opinion, and I suspect many of you have also been in the position of recommending a first firearm for a buddy. What handgun would you recommend for a newbie? Thanks in advance for your insights!
 

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I think a .357 revolver is very versatile, and simpler to use than a semi-auto for an inexperienced shooter. .38's are easy shoot, great for practice, and you have the option of full load .357 magnums. A 4 inch S & W would be perfect.

If he's set on owning a semi-auto, an M & P 2.0 compact 9mm would be my recommendation. the differences between the M & P compact and the 19 Glock are minor. But many prefer the grip angle and trigger pull on the M & P.
 

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The G19 is a solid choice, as would most others in this size. That was my choice, and it still gets carried.

We sell a lot of the Taurus G2c's, and we have heard nothing but positive back on them. They cost half as much as a Glock.
 

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Kellen: Sir; Glock 19 ='s #1;
Knowing all are compromises
Simple-rugged-service without much tooling talent
Accuracy; most will find shooting;
The firearm is more accurate than most trigger pullers

First-last. Glock will give years in quality ownership. Many rounds and trouble free
 

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That's no way to pick a handgun! Have your friend go to the gun shop and try out a bunch of 9mm pistols. Have him find the one that fits his hand naturally like a kitten curling up in his lap, whose controls he can find automatically without thinking about them, that has sights he can acquire without having to concentrate on technique. THAT is the pistol he should buy. If it feels good to him, it will shoot good for him.

When I was a kid, if you had told me that the semi-auto which would fit my hand the best would be a Model 57 Yugoslav Tokarev in 7.62 Tok, I'd have laughed in your face. I'd have bet on the Walther PP, or maybe the FEG PA-63, or even the Star Model S. I knew the standard M1911 fit me okay if the side panels were thin, and the Ruger Mark I had a great angle for my hands, but a Commie copy of John Browning's mighty Model 1911? Puh-LEASE!

Then I got to try one. Like every other Russian-designed gun, it wasn't pretty. Maybe clunky, even. But its issue sights were surprisingly good, much better than the issue GI .45; it was thin and light; the grip angle was just right; the balance was perfect for me; and it spake with a voice of thunder that would give Harry Callahan pause. And I could hit with it; it points naturally for me and the rounds go where I want them to. Recoil was negligible, target acquisition was great, and the 7.62x25 cartridge delivers more terminal energy at short ranges than the standard 9mm NATO round.

So the Model 57 became my go-to semi-auto. I won't recommend them to everyone. But I do recommend that your friend handle a bunch of 9 mils to find the one that fits his hand best, not buy one because you like the name, or the cops like them, or because it's a plastic-fantastic pistol. Buy the one that fits.
 

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As Cyrano suggested in post #8, picking a firearm for someone else is a dicey proposition. Used gun cases are literally full of firearms that did not suit someone for a variety of reasons. There are gun ranges that rent a variety of the common choices available. That might alleviate the possibility of your friend following a recommendation and winding up with something they didn't like. There are also ranges that have instructors who do beginner shooter classes that could possibly be a good place to start.
 

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Second on the .357 (or even just a .38 Special if $$$ is an issue) if they are first time buyers / users with no previous interest or not much shooting experience then a DA/SA revolver is likely the best first time purchase option for several reasons IMO:

- It is the simplest to use especially under pressure / duress (just make sure everyone has the strength to pull the trigger in DA mode!).
- It is the least likely to negligently discharge. (when unloaded it's obvious and easier for a novice to verify- no forgetting there's a round in the chamber).
- It is the least likely to not work when you pull the trigger (for the exact opposite reason as above there is virtually no "Forgetting" to put one in the chamber).
- It has far less of a learning curve (which is especially important in our current circumstances as both Ammo and Range time to get proficient are hard to come by).
- If they are buying out of fear vs. to start shooting regularly all of these points will continue to be valid long term because of lack of practice.

Don't get me wrong a good Semi-Auto Pistol is a great choice too, but if you're not going to practice and cozy up to your chosen handgun and put the necessary time and effort into getting proficient then I just don't generally feel it's the best choice, and as far as 9mm goes the best thing to do is as others have mentioned is that they need to the range with a friend and try several types of handguns then go the shop as a couple if both are using and find something than fits them both. Personally I'm fond of my Springfield XDm 5.25, but that's just a personal choice.
 

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My buddy is worried by what he sees happening around him now. Currently owns no guns. He asked me for advice regarding purchase of a handgun for self-defense. Being he's a newbie, I recommended a 9mm (specifically, Glock 19 gen 5). I figured it would be easy for him to learn, even his wife could handle the recoil, it's reliable and popular, and it still brings excellent force to the party (penetration of 12+ inches in gelatin as tested by FBI). I was also clear that there is no "perfect" firearm or caliber for every purpose, so he'll want to keep an open mind based on information he learns from gun store counters since they'll know much more than me.
I know everybody will have a highly personalized opinion, and I suspect many of you have also been in the position of recommending a first firearm for a buddy. What handgun would you recommend for a newbie? Thanks in advance for your insights!
Similar to your thinking, I typically recommend any new polymer 9mm handgun.

The Ruger SR9 is a budget friendly option that I recommend.
S&W M&P EZ in 9mm looks like a winner too.
Glocks are also well-received as a recommendation.

Edit to add - If you have a friend with more refined taste and the extra money, I simply recommend a Hi-Power. Something common, but different and a little more interesting than a "practical polymer."
 

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EO raises good points. I'll add one more for a novice revolver shooter to increase safety.

Load it with a round in the first chamber - in necessary, mark it with a dot of paint. Skip loading the second chamber. Load the third, and the rest. Close the crane with the first chamber under the hammer. Cock the hammer, which will cause the second, empty chamber to rotate into firing position, and let the hammer down on it. That will put the hammer on an empty chamber and eliminate the chance of an accidental discharge.
 

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That's no way to pick a handgun! Have your friend go to the gun shop and try out a bunch of 9mm pistols. Have him find the one that fits his hand naturally like a kitten curling up in his lap, whose controls he can find automatically without thinking about them, that has sights he can acquire without having to concentrate on technique. THAT is the pistol he should buy. If it feels good to him, it will shoot good for him.

When I was a kid, if you had told me that the semi-auto which would fit my hand the best would be a Model 57 Yugoslav Tokarev in 7.62 Tok, I'd have laughed in your face. I'd have bet on the Walther PP, or maybe the FEG PA-63, or even the Star Model S. I knew the standard M1911 fit me okay if the side panels were thin, and the Ruger Mark I had a great angle for my hands, but a Commie copy of John Browning's mighty Model 1911? Puh-LEASE!

Then I got to try one. Like every other Russian-designed gun, it wasn't pretty. Maybe clunky, even. But its issue sights were surprisingly good, much better than the issue GI .45; it was thin and light; the grip angle was just right; the balance was perfect for me; and it spake with a voice of thunder that would give Harry Callahan pause. And I could hit with it; it points naturally for me and the rounds go where I want them to. Recoil was negligible, target acquisition was great, and the 7.62x25 cartridge delivers more terminal energy at short ranges than the standard 9mm NATO round.

So the Model 57 became my go-to semi-auto. I won't recommend them to everyone. But I do recommend that your friend handle a bunch of 9 mils to find the one that fits his hand best, not buy one because you like the name, or the cops like them, or because it's a plastic-fantastic pistol. Buy the one that fits.

I've harped on this before, but if a newbie wants a gun the best thing is to make sure they have a gun that fits their hand and naturally points. Firearm pointability means one less thing for a new shooter to learn.

For this reason a Glock is a terrible choice for a first gun unless someone has a weirdly shaped hand where their pinky is their longest finger, their trigger finger naturally overlaps their middle finger, their palm is shaped like a trapezoid, their wrist is attached 16 degrees off center,and they really love the feel of a grip about as pleasant to touch as unexpected Vaseline on a door handle and a trigger as much fun to pull as your wacky-but-lactose-intolerant-cheese-eating uncle's finger.
 

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If your friend has never owned a gun, my first suggestion would be to go to a shooting range where they loan guns and have him shoot first. Most people who have never used a gun are scared to fire one the first time. Then he needs to know if the situation ever arises, is he going to be able to pull the trigger towards another human being. I understand the logic of owning a gun for self defense, as I know we all here most likely have one, but to want one during a time in which you think everyone is freaking out can be a menu for a terrible accident.
 

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If he has never been to a range, someone needs to take him.

I agree with find a range that has loaners or rentals. Find what fits and has no problem operating the controls / functions.
A gun safety class for him and her .
This is a opportunity to have more pro gun people in our communities. We should all be in agreement that this should be a good thing and do our best to help.
 

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EO raises good points. I'll add one more for a novice revolver shooter to increase safety.

Load it with a round in the first chamber - in necessary, mark it with a dot of paint. Skip loading the second chamber. Load the third, and the rest. Close the crane with the first chamber under the hammer. Cock the hammer, which will cause the second, empty chamber to rotate into firing position, and let the hammer down on it. That will put the hammer on an empty chamber and eliminate the chance of an accidental discharge.
A Smart move so long as it's done correctly but could be disastrous if done wrong and get a click when you need a bang!

Also depends on the Revolver too, as I know both my Ruger Redhawk and GP - 100 have drop bars between the hammer and firing pin that are connected to the trigger so that when the trigger is released the hammer is resting on the frame with no way to touch the firing pin, not sure what other manufacturers use a similar system though.
 

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I've harped on this before, but if a newbie wants a gun the best thing is to make sure they have a gun that fits their hand and naturally points. Firearm pointability means one less thing for a new shooter to learn.

For this reason a Glock is a terrible choice for a first gun unless someone has a weirdly shaped hand where their pinky is their longest finger, their trigger finger naturally overlaps their middle finger, their palm is shaped like a trapezoid, their wrist is attached 16 degrees off center,and they really love the feel of a grip about as pleasant to touch as unexpected Vaseline on a door handle and a trigger as much fun to pull as your wacky-but-lactose-intolerant-cheese-eating uncle's finger.
I knew there was a reason no matter how hard I've tried I could never manage to leave a gun store with a Glock... Just couldn't quite put my finger on it! :p
 
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