How to buy a semi-automatic handgun

Posted: Jul 05, 2006 12:00 AM

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had scores of emails asking for advice on the purchase of a handgun. I can only hope that these readers are buying guns in response to recent gun control activities in the United Nations. I envision an America so overflowing with handguns in the homes (and cars and holsters) of law-abiding citizens that the U.N. ceases its futile efforts to subvert our Second Amendment rights.

Since most of my readers are seeking pistols lately, rather than revolvers, I am providing a pistol recommendation in every caliber I deem worthy of ownership. I am also including some comments about the appropriate use for each weapon. I hope these opinions are helpful to my readers – especially those considering that all-important first handgun purchase. Of course, each gun purchase is an important decision, not to be taken lightly.

Ruger 10/22 Mark III Hunter. This is by far the toughest category from which to choose a single recommendation. Some new offerings by Walther and Sig Sauer were hard to resist. But the accuracy and reliability of the 10/22 have made it a favorite among target shooters and small-game hunters for years. With adjustable sights and a barrel well over six-inches long, even the novice target shooter will be thrilled with the accuracy of this fine weapon. The fiber optic front sight will also come in handy in the woods. This is really an ideal squirrel gun but the long barrel also produces enough energy to take out foxes, raccoons, and armadillos. This is all the more possible with some of the hotter ammunition now available at most sporting goods stores. 

 Sig Sauer P232 Stainless .380. Career women – those with jobs keeping them busy during the day- must often do their shopping late at night. I encourage women to be very careful when carrying a purse at night – and during the day for that matter. A woman should always keep her purse close by her side. She should also keep one hand inside the purse clutching this beautiful stainless gem by Sig Sauer. It isn’t just an excellent deterrent for robbers. A potential rapist will also be repentant after seven stinging shots from this accurate little weapon. Men with larger hands should note that the molded plastic grip also makes the Sig P232 more comfortable than the average .380.

 Browning Hi-Power 9mm. A few years ago, my friend Jon Deputy introduced me to this wonderful firearm. The 4 and 5/8-inch barrel makes it extremely accurate. This is the perfect target gun for those who have mastered the 22 long rifle. It can also be a good sidearm in the woods, particularly when one is carrying a big bore rifle (note: I always carry a small sidearm with a big rifle and vice versa). A light weight 9mm bullet is actually a good round for the rabid raccoon or fox one might encounter in woods. Some might say this is overkill but, of course, with rabid animals around overkill is more desirable than underkill.

H&K USP .40. The people at Heckler and Koch make some very fine weapons. Reliability and accuracy are guaranteed regardless of the model or caliber. I like this particular model because the 4.25-inch barrel and USP recoil reduction system make it such a smooth shooter. The .40 caliber does have some kick that can wear down shooters, especially when they get into barrels under four inches. But, sometimes a gun-owner needs a little more energy than a 9mm can deliver. Just ask one of my students – also a sworn police officer – who was mistaken for a burglar while stalking a drug dealer in someone’s back yard. After the home owner unleashed his pit bull, the officer was barely able to save himself with the third shot from his 9mm. The .40 caliber will usually do the trick with the first shot.

Springfield XD .357 Sig. Let me state upfront that I have no need for this gun and no real justification for buying it. But I’m enjoying my Springfield .45 XD so much I’ve decided to buy another XD in a caliber I do not yet own. (I’m just learning to celebrate diversity, I suppose). The .357 Sig is one hot little round but, of course, the ported barrel will help to tame it. It will be interesting to see what this does to the next coyote I encounter in the woods. Of course, that’s not a realistic scenario but, remember, I’m just trying to justify the purchase.

Glock 10mm Model 20C. This is as powerful a pistol as you will ever want to fire. Clearly, it would be entirely too much recoil without the compensated barrel. But it will come in handy when I go hog hunting later this summer. I plan to use a 45-70 rifle to take a trophy hog. Then, the real fun will begin when I go after a smaller (and, no doubt, tastier) hog with the 10mm. The 4.6-inch barrel will give me all the accuracy I need to take a smaller hog with one clean shot.

 Kimber .45 Tactical Custom II. This full-size .45 ACP weighs only 31 ounces. It has a 5-inch barrel that is fitted to a stainless steel match grade bushing for incredible accuracy. This is a good weapon to take out of the safe and slide under your bed at night. When loaded with 230-grain hollow points, it will take down any intruder while minimizing the threat of over-penetration. Kimber offers a lot of choices.

Of course, all of these handguns will be helpful if we ever have to expel the U.N. from Manhattan. In case they don’t, let the great American tradition of gun collecting continue. And let the Utopian Marxists beware.