Come fellow firearm owners, we must chat.

Is there a list somewhere of which guns you should own? Preferably listed by caliber and type in order from beginner to advanced?

Ones you like and feel good shooting. Gun wackos who NEED to own 2 of every caliber are pretty weird. Shoot what you like, not what you are told to like. I personally think the Ruger is dumb.

The list was just an example of formatting, not that I want two of every caliber. How about then which to try out? it's just not possible to try out all the different ones available.

Go to a indoor range and see what they have to rent, try some out, thats the best way. The gun you like depends on a lot, hand size, wrist strength, overall comfort level with firearms. Don't necessarily pick a .22 because its a low caliber. I have Walther p22 and its a noisy, slightly jumpy .22 thats pretty care intensive, not a perfect starter gun. I'd try .38 revolvers. Tons of grip sizes, lots of barrel lengths and you don't worry about misfires and jams.

I picked the Ruger Mk2 and 10/22 for a number of reasons.

First, this damned war is making ammo prices so insanely expensive that a serious recreational shooter really has no option other than going 22LR. Before this war, bulk .223 ammo could be easily had for 17 cents per round. Now, you're lucky to find it for anything under 50. The price increases for .45ACP are even more dramatic.

Second, if you really want to improve your shooting technique, it is pretty hard to do better than to go with a quality 22LR. Heavy recoil may be fun, but without a proper base of good technique, it is really easy to develop bad habits. A 22LR is light recoil and will let you know right away if you're flinching, anticipating the recoil, or yarding on the trigger.

Thirdly, if you're going to go with a shooter, go with a shooter. Don't dick around with a wannabe SD gun unless you plan to use it as an SD gun. Then, get an SD gun. I have an HK USP45 to do IPSC shoots and SD stuff with. The 22LR is for plinking and improving technique. And for that, you really do want something on the higher side of accurate.

As for the whole discussion of "essential first guns", I would strongly counsel folks to avoid looking for the "one gun" that does it all. Determine what you want the gun for and guide your purchase toward the tool that will get that done. I see far too many folks buying large caliber concealment pistols because they think they want a gun good at self defense -- when the reality is that they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting a CCW permit in the People's Republic of Maryland. The net result is that they end up with a short handle, short sight radius, and a massive recoil on a gun they don't enjoy shooting and can't hit crap with.

For most folks who just want to enjoy the sport of recreational shooting, I would recommend a full sized semi-auto in a caliber they feel comfortable with, a couple extra magazines, a mag loader, lessons from a qualified shooting instructor, and whatever money left over spent on ammo, targets, and range time.

MaverickDago wrote:

Ones you like and feel good shooting. Gun wackos who NEED to own 2 of every caliber are pretty weird. Shoot what you like, not what you are told to like. I personally think the Ruger is dumb.

Dumb in what way though? Because you don't like .22s, because you don't like Ruger, because you find fault with that particular model?

Dumb in what way though? Because you don't like .22s, because you don't like Ruger, because you find fault with that particular model?

O i love my p22, i just don't like the Ruger as starter because its not a great tool to learn combat shooting techniques with, as a pin point tool its great, I just don't really care for that level of competition with my hand guns.

You can't beat the wally world prices on .22 though. Bricks for 13 bucks near me.

Paleocon wrote:

Before this war, bulk .223 ammo could be easily had for 17 cents per round. Now, you're lucky to find it for anything under 50. The price increases for .45ACP are even more dramatic.

You probably have, but I'll ask anyway. Have you been to Gun-Deals.com?

You can sort current deals on ammo by cost per round, which shows .223 for as "little" as .25 a round. Granted at that point you're buying Wolf or Silver bear which is basically not good for much but plinking and general practice. If you're talking like XM193 or Match grade ammo or something then yeah, it's expensive.

I went 9mm because it's actually not that much more than a .22, at least for ammo that's satisfactory for just plinking and general trips to the range. I bought 1,000 rounds of Wolf 9mm for $170 just a couple weeks ago.

Thin_J wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Before this war, bulk .223 ammo could be easily had for 17 cents per round. Now, you're lucky to find it for anything under 50. The price increases for .45ACP are even more dramatic.

You probably have, but I'll ask anyway. Have you been to Gun-Deals.com?

You can sort current deals on ammo by cost per round, which shows .223 for as "little" as .25 a round. Granted at that point you're buying Wolf or Silver bear which is basically not good for much but plinking and general practice. If you're talking like XM193 or Match grade ammo or something then yeah, it's expensive.

I went 9mm because it's actually not that much more than a .22, at least for ammo that's satisfactory for just plinking and general trips to the range. I bought 1,000 rounds of Wolf 9mm for $170 just a couple weeks ago.

I will NEVER put Wolf or Silver Bear in anything but a throwaway AK. lacquered steel casings will tear the hell out of your expensive upper receiver. That is especially true when you recognize how little quality control is exercised in that ammunition. Unless you have a cheap source of good facial reconstructive surgery, I strongly suggest you stay away from that crap.

I tend to get my plinking ammo mail order from Georgia Arms. They do a very respectable job and are nice as hell to boot. I'm currently a little how (down to my last 500 rounds of .223), but am holding out for an Obama presidency and a scaling down of the war before I shell out for another 2500 rounds.

MaverickDago wrote:

O i love my p22, i just don't like the Ruger as starter because its not a great tool to learn combat shooting techniques with, as a pin point tool its great, I just don't really care for that level of competition with my hand guns.

Nobody recommended learning combat shooting techniques with it though. It's a good place to start with fundamentals. And cheap.

MaverickDago wrote:

O i love my p22, i just don't like the Ruger as starter because its not a great tool to learn combat shooting techniques with, as a pin point tool its great, I just don't really care for that level of competition with my hand guns.

How is your P22 holding up? I've had mine for about 3 years, and it's falling apart. It is tempermental about firing occasionally, and sometimes the slide won't cycle. I've noticed some pretty severe wear on the slide itself. I take good care of the pistol, and clean and lube it after every time it's fired, but I'm about to throw it away.

bennard wrote:
MaverickDago wrote:

O i love my p22, i just don't like the Ruger as starter because its not a great tool to learn combat shooting techniques with, as a pin point tool its great, I just don't really care for that level of competition with my hand guns.

How is your P22 holding up? I've had mine for about 3 years, and it's falling apart. It is tempermental about firing occasionally, and sometimes the slide won't cycle. I've noticed some pretty severe wear on the slide itself. I take good care of the pistol, and clean and lube it after every time it's fired, but I'm about to throw it away.

That's a fairly typical criticism I have heard of the P22. Another is that it is pretty temperamental with subsonic ammunition (not as bad as the Sig Mosquito, but bad enough to be a pain in the ass). I decided against it for a number of reasons. The kicker, however, was that the grip feels like I'm holding a squirt gun. It's too small for my hands and looks cheaply made.

In the end, it just made more sense for me to spend the extra cash and get the Mk2. I don't regret the decision.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
MaverickDago wrote:

O i love my p22, i just don't like the Ruger as starter because its not a great tool to learn combat shooting techniques with, as a pin point tool its great, I just don't really care for that level of competition with my hand guns.

Nobody recommended learning combat shooting techniques with it though. It's a good place to start with fundamentals. And cheap.

I'm also a bit curious what "combat shooting techniques" you can't practice with it that you can with the P22.

Paleocon wrote:

I will NEVER put Wolf or Silver Bear in anything but a throwaway AK. lacquered steel casings will tear the hell out of your expensive upper receiver.

Eh, I'm gonna avoid the other part lest we get into the same discussion that occurs on every firearm board, but they don't lacquer the casings anymore, they're polymer coated. The edge of the casing in particular is less harsh on the inside of the receiver than any of the brass stuff I've shot so far. I really disagree about the reliability of the ammo, but based on the discussions about it I've read to date it's a conversation that never goes anywhere, so I vote we forget it started.

My company just awarded me a $2k Amex gift card. I'm not sure if I want to spend it on a 700VLS with Leupold Mk4 optics at Bass Pro or to get the Trek Madone I've been drooling after for ages.

Suggestions?

How is your P22 holding up? I've had mine for about 3 years, and it's falling apart. It is tempermental about firing occasionally, and sometimes the slide won't cycle. I've noticed some pretty severe wear on the slide itself. I take good care of the pistol, and clean and lube it after every time it's fired, but I'm about to throw it away.

Mines doing great actually, a bit over 3k rounds through it and a 1.5 percent failure rate, most of that coming from a sh*t brand of ammo I ran through, CCI Blazers. Mines a 08 and apparently they really upped their game with both construction and the new magazines they use in them. I don't use subsonic, no real reason for me, so I haven't had problems with cycling. If you decide to scrap it, remember to sell the mags, their worth about 35 bucks, depending on what letter they are, A or B.

I'm also a bit curious what "combat shooting techniques" you can't practice with it that you can with the P22.

Its a 3/4 P99, you get a truer feel for Mozambique drills, reloads and the difference in handling a combat gun vs a target shooter.

It's too small for my hands

I have tiny hands :(. My sig 250 has the smallest grip set on it too.

Paleocon wrote:

My company just awarded me a $2k Amex gift card. I'm not sure if I want to spend it on a 700VLS with Leupold Mk4 optics at Bass Pro or to get the Trek Madone I've been drooling after for ages.

Suggestions?

Don't you already have a nice bike? But then I guess you already have some nice guns too.

Flip a coin

MaverickDago wrote:
I'm also a bit curious what "combat shooting techniques" you can't practice with it that you can with the P22.

Its a 3/4 P99, you get a truer feel for Mozambique drills, reloads and the difference in handling a combat gun vs a target shooter.

It's too small for my hands

I have tiny hands :(. My sig 250 has the smallest grip set on it too.

I hate the P99. Grip is funky for me and it feels like a toy. Your mileage may vary. I currently shoot with a USP45 and a 1991A1. The Ruger 22/45 is a to scale rendition of the 1911. The Mk2 is about as close to the P08 Luger as you can get. My understanding is that that killed more than a few Americans/Brits/Russians and can probably be considered a "combat firearm".

Can you talk about your USP45? I almost bought one over the weekend and now I can't decide between the Mk2, 22/45, and the USP45/Mk23/SOCOM/whateveryouwanttocallit.

Edwin wrote:

Can you talk about your USP45? I almost bought one over the weekend and now I can't decide between the Mk2, 22/45, and the USP45/Mk23/SOCOM/whateveryouwanttocallit.

Absolutely love my USB45, though folks say that the "problems" associated with it have been "solved" by the HK45. Those mostly have to do with the thickness of the grip. If you have decently sized hands, however, it shouldn't be a problem.

Possibly the only beef I have with HK is that they seem to make an effort to screw with folks when it comes to proprietary equipment. Mags for the USP will not work with the USB Compact (and vice versa). Neither will work with the new HK45. The accessory rail on the USP only accepts HK accessories. And most galling is that despite the fact that the Mk23 and USP Tactical come with threaded barrells, they state that use of a non HK suppressor will actually void a warranty. Oh, did I mention that the HK suppressor is illegal in the US?

Aside from that, they really do make a fan-freaking-tastic firarm. There is a great deal of truth to the HK-owner-to-Glock-owner insult that the USP is a Glock that went "full term" (implication being that the Glock is a USP abortion). Both use hammer forged barrells, polymer lowers, and rock solid polycoated slides. But the USP has a control set that allows far greater flexibility in carry. The Glock has only the "safe carry". I also dislike the fact that you actually have to pull the trigger with the slide closed to field strip the weapon. That says negligent discharge all over it.

I'd recommend getting the basic USP. The Tactical has the threaded barrell and the overtravel stop, but neither affords you much. Unless you plan on getting a warranty-voiding suppressor, the threaded barrell won't do much for you and the standard trigger has zero overtravel anyway. In fact, the stock trigger in SA mode is about as good a stock trigger as I've ever found.

I'm a big fan of my Mk2, but am told that the 22/45 is the better choice if you decide to go with the Accuracy International upper receiver (super light, very flashy, and threaded for suppressor). Since the AI is aluminum, the upper can be pretty light. The 22/45 lower is polymer and lighter making the overall weight pretty uniform. Putting the AI upper on the standard steel Mk2 lower makes for a slightly bottom heavy pistol. Not a huge deal, but enough for the flea egg examiner to gripe about. Either will be excellent tools for teaching you good shooting habits, but the Mk2 is really the gold standard for 22LR pistols.

My hands are big enough to palm any basket ball/soccer ball if that helps determine size.

Edwin wrote:

My hands are big enough to palm any basket ball/soccer ball if that helps determine size.

Then stay away from any of the Walther products. They're made for midgets and carnies.

Edwin wrote:

My hands are big enough to palm any basket ball/soccer ball if that helps determine size.

Maybe you should forgo the firearms. You could just get a case of mortar rounds to throw them at the attackers with your bare hands!

I'm a big USP fan as well. Though I do not own a USP anymore, I had a USP Compact in 9mm for a number of years that I probably put 5000 rounds through. It was comfortable to carry and shoot, accurate, and dead-on reliable. They are easy to strip and clean. My only complaint about the gun was that mine was the "Variant 1", with the DA/SA trigger. I didn't like that the first trigger pull was different than the following ones. If I got another one, it would be with the LEM trigger (HK will sell/swap you another pistol "lower" if you want to change variants).

bennard wrote:

I'm a big USP fan as well. Though I do not own a USP anymore, I had a USP Compact in 9mm for a number of years that I probably put 5000 rounds through. It was comfortable to carry and shoot, accurate, and dead-on reliable. They are easy to strip and clean. My only complaint about the gun was that mine was the "Variant 1", with the DA/SA trigger. I didn't like that the first trigger pull was different than the following ones. If I got another one, it would be with the LEM trigger (HK will sell/swap you another pistol "lower" if you want to change variants).

I figured I am probably not in any danger of ever qualifying for legal concealed carry in the People's Republic of Maryland, so I went with the full sized USP45. Having the full trigger options (including the ability to carry condition one) is a wonderful thing.

So which version is recommended? I see it called so many different names and models (Mk23, Mark 23, USP, SOCOM, Mk 23 Mod 0, ) and then there are different variants of each (Tactical, Expert, Match, Elite). Any thoughts on the various calibers (9 mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and, exclusively to the Compact model, .357 SIG)?

Side question: What was the Mk 23 Mod 0 replaced with? I see it was discontinued from use by USSOCOM.

Variants list

Edwin wrote:

So which version is recommended? I see it called so many different names and models (Mk23, Mark 23, USP, SOCOM, Mk 23 Mod 0, ) and then there are different variants of each (Tactical, Expert, Match, Elite). Any thoughts on the various calibers (9 mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and, exclusively to the Compact model, .357 SIG)?

Side question: What was the Mk 23 Mod 0 replaced with? I see it was discontinued from use by USSOCOM.

Variants list

The Mk23 is a pistol designed by a government committee. It's freaking huge, the handle requires a gorilla hand, and it might as well be an Uzi. Aside from the obvious collector value of it, I can see no reason to wish to acquire it.

The standard USP should do you just fine. Like I said, you don't need the threaded barrell or the trigger overtravel stop on the Tactical. The Mk23 has those features and far more that you won't use.

As for caliber, I'll leave that up to you. I prefer the .45 because I'm the sort of old fashioned person who holds to the quaint notion that it is hard not to bleed out of a half inch hole. That and if 9mm were so great, we would have had a German pope a long time ago. There is a good reason why most law enforcement agencies have fled from that caliber. 40SW is okay, I guess, but it really affords you little advantage over the .45 and is problematic to reload. You really have to visually inspect the brass every time you press .40 rounds because of the higher pressures involved.

.45 is tried and true. Go with the known quantity.

I also own a USP .45. I have fired many of Stone's handguns, but I always come back to the feel of the USP. I have larger hands, and this gun just seems to give me great grip. I looked at a Socom at one point, but I just couldn't justify the cost for a similarly reliable gun.

It's easy to clean and very reliable. Every stoppage I have had was due to poor quality ammo and not the gun. Personally, I like the .45 for the weight and bullet properties. It's got a unique look and most of the time it looks like a monster when you fire it. Huge muzzle flashes are not uncommon, either. It's also very loud. I consider that a plus.

There are some cons I could warn you about.
o The grips are rough on the hands if you have "soft" hands. When people shoot some rounds with the USP, that's the usual complaint. Didn't bother me much.
o Hard to conceal, if you are interested in carrying it concealed. It's a bulky gun.
o It also gets lighter as you fire more bullets. The bulk of the guns weight towards the back are from the .45 rounds in it. So, as you fire, it changes the feel.

I don't think I'll ever own another gun. I don't go to the range as much, but I am sure this gun will outlive myself.

Wow that's quiet.

I'm thinking of looking for a USP 45 (not sure which variant trigger/model).

Edwin wrote:

Wow that's quiet.

I'm thinking of looking for a USP 45 (not sure which variant trigger/model).

What you're hearing there is the slide slapping back into battery. In some of the variants of the silenced Mk2 used by the gubmint, you have the ability to lock the bolt forward. The result is damn near silence, though you do have to re-cycle in order to get the next shot. A bud of mine has a Mk1 that was similarly modified and you could hear a flea fart next to him.