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Old 12-28-2012, 02:32 AM   #1
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First Handgun - 380. or 9mm? Need some lessons!

I have been going to school for the past 3 years now to become a Police Officer and next Fall I will begin the Police Academy. To be honest I have never been much of a gun person, which is probably because at a young age I was put into Martial Arts and relied on that since for self defense. But I realize that the world we live in isn't quite fair when it comes to life or death and being that I am going to be a Police Officer, I think I should start educating myself on Guns.

I have quite a few questions concerning Guns in general, some of which may seem like a dumb question but I see it as the only dumb question is the one never asked. Anywho

Most Police Departments issue the Officer a handgun, in most cases a 9mm I believe. So I am thinking of going for something different, something lightweight, that is easily concealable and easy to use, and reliable. I have been debating between getting a 9mm or a 380. however I am unsure which one would be better. Being that I have a good chance of being issued a 9mm when I'm a Police Officer, I'm almost thinking I should just stay away from it since I'll get one for much cheaper when I become an officer. Also, I hear people say all the time, the bigger the gun/bullet, the more deadly, which is obvious. So it would be obvious that a 9mm would be more powerful than a 380. but I see it as this, its a gun,...won't it pretty much kill/injure someone regardless? My girlfriends dad carries a 357. Magnum on him, and although it is a cool gun, I don't see the point..

So which would be better for everyday carrying? Which one would provide more reliability and practical use? Pricing differences and the like?

One last thing, I was looking at either the 380. Bodyguard or the Ruger LC9 9mm Pistol. Anyone have any experience with either of these and good review?

Thank you

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:41 AM   #2
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I'd recommend finding a gun shop/shooting range that will let you rent or try out several different types. The only real way to see what suits you best is to try them out for yourself.

Some recommend a .22 as a first which isn't a bad idea. Cheap to shoot and no recoil lets you practice your aim better and more often.

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Old 12-28-2012, 04:19 AM   #3
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I would say 40 thats what i carry a glock 23 and the ammo is almost the same price between 9 and 40. Its got stopping power and not to much kick either but best thing to do is go to a range and test fire several guns and see which ones you like the best.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:13 AM   #4
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+1 on going to a range and trying both out. I have a highway patrol friend who carried a Sig P238 as a backup in an ankle holster (in .380).

Sig now offers the same size (pretty much) in the 9mm. Pricey, (its a Sig!), but worth a look.

Cabela's: SIG Sauer® P938 Centerfire Pistols

I hope the thread doesn't devolve into a "your round sucks!" p!ssing contest. I heard a guy at a gunshop telling a customer "anything < .45 ACP isn't worth carrying". There are plenty of dead guys from 9mm, .380 who disagree.

Most firearms instructors will tell you the "best" gun is the one you're most comfortable with.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:22 AM   #5
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Yeah most people that make claims like that are clueless. Statictically about 80% of all people shot with a handgun survive regardless of caliber.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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Having done ER rotations and worked on my share of gunshot wounds while in the service I can say with certainty that the .380 or 9mm will kill. However, there is no comparison when it comes to the wounds caused by those rounds and the .45acp.

People watch TV and think that when a person gets shot they immediately fall to the ground and that’s it. That is not the case. Unless a person is shot in a few select locations they almost always survive for a while at least.

Having said that, I’ve seen people shot with the .45ACP and had their arms or feet basically severed at the point of impact. I’ve seen a guy who was shot with a .45 and it grazed his thigh but the force of the impact was strong enough to snap his femur in half. I’ve also seen a guy shot in the back of the head twice at close range with a .380 and the skull deflected the bullets and they just left the guy with a couple of nasty scars.

Personally, I carry a .45ACP or 9mm. A .380 is basically a small step up from a BB gun IMO.
A lot of people do carry the .380 though and if you find you shoot better with a .380 than you do with a 9mm or .45 then it is not a bad choice.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Any caliber can kill, even a lowly .22LR.

The best advice was stated above. Get to a range that offers rentals and try a variety of sizes and calibers.

A 22 is good for getting your feet wet and learning the basics of safe firearm handling.
You might not like learning to shoot with a compact .380 as the small size makes them harder to hold and the recoil is greater due to the lighter weight of the gun. I have a Ruger LCP in 380 and also a Ruger P95 in 9mm. I taught someone to shoot and she loved the heavier P95 and ended up buying a Ruger SR9c. Both she and my wife don't like the 380. My wife actually likes my GP100 in .357 magnum the best.

As for daily carry, I usually carry the P95 (15+1) unless circumstances call for more discretion, then I take the LCP.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to firearms.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:22 AM   #8
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There is a good chance you will be issued a 40 instead of a 9. It should be easy to find out.

I agree with all the above, a 22 gives a lot of cheap practice, the low recoil lets you learn sight alignment and trigger control. 380’s can be snappy and have more felt recoil than a 9. I don’t recommend them for a first pistol. Add 38 revolvers to the mix you are looking at. They can be very versatile, and easy to use.

Find a friend who shoots, go to a range with rentals see what feel comfortable to you.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #9
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There is a good chance you will be issued a 40 instead of a 9. It should be easy to find out.

I agree with all the above, a 22 gives a lot of cheap practice, the low recoil lets you learn sight alignment and trigger control. 380’s can be snappy and have more felt recoil than a 9. I don’t recommend them for a first pistol. Add 38 revolvers to the mix you are looking at. They can be very versatile, and easy to use.

Find a friend who shoots, go to a range with rentals see what feel comfortable to you.
Hey Sparky. Nice to see another Philly member.

Are you a member on the PAFOA or PA2A boards?
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #10
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9mm would be my first choice. I've owned both and would never go back to .380auto.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
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Out of all the pistols that I ever shot, out of those two I would probably pick the standard issue 9mm.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:02 PM   #12
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I say 9mm maybe a Glock 26 or 19 you could also look at the Smith&Wesson M&P.
Just my 02.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:08 PM   #13
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Check out the XD pistols as well. I had an XD service in .45 and currently have an XDm 3.8 in 9mm. Both good guns.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:46 PM   #14
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hey sparky. Nice to see another philly member.

Are you a member on the pafoa or pa2a boards?
pafoa
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:49 PM   #15
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Another vote for the 9 and if you are looking for concealed carry check out the S&W Shield 9mm. Tough to find right now but very very popular gun.

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Old 12-28-2012, 03:10 PM   #16
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My dad's a gun collector (mostly historic) and recently got a Bodyguard 380 in a trade and showed it to me over Christmas. I have to agree that the tiny size makes it really appealing for carry - talk about a pocket rocket. The integrated laser is neat as a gadget, but he said he was not able to get a lot of accuracy at target practice even when the laser was properly sighted. He did admit that the poor accuracy might have just been him pulling to the left because the trigger is pretty stiff, but it still comes back to it being so small.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:14 PM   #17
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Sprindfield xdm 40 3.8 is my cc great gun = my .02 $
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:27 PM   #18
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For what you are asking for, here are two of your best options:
Ruger® LC9™ Centerfire Pistol
Kahr P9 w/ External Safety & LCI - Style # KP9193, Kahr Arms Pistols

The Ruger is what you should get since it is almost as good and costs a bunch less.
Look for a used one to save some bucks.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:10 PM   #19
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Geez, anyone using less than a .45 shouldn't be shooting.... period.








OK, that was my official snobby response. Seriously, .380 or 9 mm are excellent rounds, albeit a pain in the ass to reload. If I had to choose, I'd probably pick the 9 because I find the .380 a little too "poppy" for my tastes. That, and the fact that most .380 handguns don't have handles that fit normal or large hand size. Otherwise, they are both wonderful rounds.
I will say that I would probably go .45 over .40 but that's a whole other debate and really just my personal opinion. My brother LOVES his .40, I just prefer the "feel" of the good ol' .45 ACP. Kimber makes some excellent, small concealable .45 1911s with minimal recoil.... food for thought.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #20
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Check out the XD pistols as well. I had an XD service in .45 and currently have an XDm 3.8 in 9mm. Both good guns.
^^^^
Couldn't agree more with this post. The new XDS is a beautiful little pistol that is very concealable. I'm STILL looking for the 5.25 XDM in .45, very hard pistol to find in my area.
SA makes some incredible weapons.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:18 AM   #21
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That M&P shield looks awesome! I have a Glock 31 .357, great gun for the range, but too large to carry. Bullets are also $ but I was excited years ago and got it. Might be selling it for something more practical and can carry.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:15 PM   #22
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I currently carry a .380, but that's because I believe the .380 I currently own is a more effective weapon than the 9mm / .40 / .45's I wish I owned...
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:26 PM   #23
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My wife has a bodyguard 380 for concealed carry. Its a nice little pistol but the trigger is terrible. As for me, after owning numerous other brands of pistols i'll never buy anything but a glock again
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:36 PM   #24
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In a deadly situation you want to stop whatever you are shooting at in its tracks period. That said, I would never rely on anything less than a 9mm and that minimum. Personally for a semi auto I would go .45. A .380 just isn't powerful enough.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:47 PM   #25
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My wife has a bodyguard 380 for concealed carry. Its a nice little pistol but the trigger is terrible. As for me, after owning numerous other brands of pistols i'll never buy anything but a glock again

I don't like Glocks-- H&K all the way-- personally I would go with an MP5SD5....
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:00 PM   #26
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My personal choice is a Kimber .45 Ultra Carry CDPII.....Many departments are issuing Glock .40's these days as their duty weapon. A .22 is a perfect firearm to train on. You can shoot all day while learning the fundamentals of sight picture and grouping techniques for pennies. Once you have the technical skills down, then go rent a few options at the range......Too many folks speaking bravado will drop you into too much gun from the start. Learn to be a good shooter and then any firearm is the tool it was designed to be.

I've outshot too many guys with their own firearms because I learned good fundamentals.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:03 PM   #27
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I don't like Glocks-- H&K all the way-- personally I would go with an MP5SD5....
I've never understood the love affair some have with glocks either. The beretta 92fs handles and fires so much better IMHO. But those that like the glock for whatever reason just wouldn't have anything else.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:05 PM   #28
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I like my Glock....Had to buy one for the stable.......But do not care for their double stack .45.......Give me a 1911 frame any day of the week. I like my Beretta 92 but still prefer a 1911.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:34 AM   #29
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Sig's P238, is a nice option in 380, good grips, this gun is all metal, no plastic, shoots well.
380 ammo has come along way over the past few years, more options than ever before.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:12 PM   #30
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I prefer the good ol 1911 45acp loaded with a barnes xpb God forbid but if you had to use it there will be no walking away! I have shot two deer with mine one at 14 feet and the other at 21 yards its a lot of stopping power and you can get a conversion kit and shoot 22s through it to practice cheap........but that's really not as much fun! I carry a Kimber custom covert 2 and she's one sweat tool.
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