Which handgun to buy?

Hello and welcome @Mike_In_Fort_Worth
I have to agree that the 19 is a good overall pistol I would definitely rent some others if you can before you buy, you may find something you like better.


My small 115 lb wife used to shoot a Glock 19 when she could still handle 9mm. Now she shoots a Glock 44 which is the 22lr version of the 19. Identical size but lighter. The G19 is a good all around gun that will perform a lot of tasks. If you need something smaller the G43 would be a good choice. If you are looking at 380 the only one I would buy is the Glock 42 because it has a 1/2" longer barrel than the other mouse guns. It makes a difference in performance.
Try before you buy is some of the best advice you will get. When trying on a new pistol, close your eyes and bring it up to eye level. Open your eyes and if the sights are not there pick another one. Fit is important.


Mike, welcome. You probably have seen that people change their carry from season to season. If I wear shorts and tshirt (which is all year), there is no way for me to conceal a G19 with my body type and wardrobe. With cool weather clothes, you may be able to. So prepare to consider a 2nd gun.
With a Glock, you will enjoy consistent trigger pull, thanks to a striker, and you can appreciate ease of field stripping it compared to say SW M&Ps. Enjoy your G19!


Im not a fan of glock, dont like how they feel (granted I just took home a glock due to they have worked out the bugs compared to others new to the market that may need revisions).

I had a Glock 34 for a bit, didnt like it, bought another TP9SFX, full size…

The TP9 series is great, except the TP9 DA model, the double action trigger is gritty. The TP9 SF is a good comparible model with a beautiful trigger.

The TP9 Elite is also nice.

Love my TP9 Elite SC, 15rd mag, compact and still a beautiful performer…


Glad you are here!

Have you happened to call around and check if your local shooting-range will allow you to test fire a few?

The Glock 19 is an excellent gun! However, I suggest that you might find one you like that’s different but just as reliable!


I tried out a Glock 34 and CANIK TP9SFX side by side at the range. I went home with the CANIK. The trigger is just fabulous.

Don’t overlook CANIK. They have guns all the way from a daily carry to home defense. Very decent guns at a very decent price.


I’m repeating myself, here - no matter what caliber you choose, as a first-timer you should opt for a hammer-fired, DA/SA pistol or revolver. Pistols you look at should have a slide-mounted thumb-safety, and a nice touch is convertible grips for optimum grip-fit. A hammer-fired handgun will allow you to develop and refine your gun-handling skills, before you go to more sophisticated, striker-fired DAO designs, like the Glock and others. Shop for and look at makes from Walther, Heckler and Koch, and Sig for a start. Kahr Arm’s/Magnum Research’s “Baby Desert Eagle III” is another - in 9mm, .40, and .45, they offer 12 models in all-steel and polymer, and in two barrel lengths and magazine capacities.


I see it differently.

A SA/DA pistol is more complicated to operate. It is more variable. It has more you must remember to do both to be safe and to reliably hit your target. It has a steeper and taller learning curve

If you don’t remember to, or don’t physically successfully, swipe the safety off, you will not be able to defend yourself.

If you aren’t as practiced with a smooth trigger press, the longer probably heavier DA trigger pull might pull you off target.

If you aren’t as practiced/trained (quite a bit) with the transition between triggers, you might be surprised by an early bang from the really short and light single action trigger that comes after that first DA.

If you have an issue with Rule #3, keeping your finger off the trigger, that Single Action trigger could be a real problem.

If you forget to decock the gun after firing or racking the slide, and go to do something else such as holster it or violate rule #3, that short like SA trigger could be a real problem.

A Glock or one of the many other extremely popular pistols that functions the same, is just simple and consistent

It’s the same trigger pull every single time.

You don’t have to remember to disengage the safety.

You don’t have to remember to reengage the safety.

You don’t have to remember to decock it.

You don’t get confused under stress between what’s the safety and what’s the decocker or which one do you have to use (because it’s neither)

Simple. Consistent. Reliable.


I agree with you for experienced shooters that are “feeling” the reset, but I disagree with you for most beginning shooters. Most beginning shooters are going to fully release the trigger which means it is a long, admittedly low resistance pull back to the short and light single action you are referring to.

Also, many DA/SA folks carry decocked with the safety in the FIRE position giving it the same holstering risks and same ready to draw and fire advantages of the striker fire design. However it does have the long heavier DA first shot disadvantage as well as the long follow up single shot trigger pull if not trained to feel the reset.


I’d have to agree with @Nathan57 I got my first DA/SA long after I had gained significant experience with pistols and still found it a challenge to train for the two different trigger pulls.

For a beginner I think there is a lot more to have to learn and think about with DA/SA. With a striker fired pistol your primary thought and concern just needs to be keeping your finger off the trigger. If you can’t remember to do that how are you going to also remember decocking, manual safety activation/deactivation (if it has one) and very long heavy pull vs very short and light pull?

With training and practice a DA/SA can be very effective and does provide some additional protection against an accidental trigger pull (but only when decocked). I feel the added complications create a more challenging mental load for defensive pistol novices. That can be overcome with solid professional instruction and significant practice. But I suspect it slows down the learning curve for most new shooters, and quite a few of them will never get the level of training and practice they should.


I must strongly disagree. @Nathan57 has given the relevant reasons. Such top level instructors as Tom Givens and Rob Pincus both emphasize that self defender shooters need a short and simple a process to use the gun; manual safeties, decockers, and variable DA/SA trigger weights all complicate life (and death) situations unnecessarily.


My first carry gun that I wanted was with a hammer specifically, a Ruger P95 PR, wide grip, a bit big in my hand, SA/DA, decocker, good gun…

I later went to stiker fired as not many hammer fired and i liked the feel…

One that is next my list is a SA/DA, a Girsan Regard MC varient, a Berretta M92 clone that very well built and nicer in my opinion plus lower cost…

The double action I wanted originally was to have a full strength/length trigger pull on the first shot, so the trigger pull was intentional rather than accidental.

Experience at the range and practice carrying those initial things I wanted was no longer important and actually a smooth crisp light trigger is more important, most important is that it feels good in my hand…

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Well, first of all. Welcome. My advice would be to go to a range that rents handguns and try them until you find one. I am partial to Glocks, but that’s just me. Also something I find absolutely essential. Finding the right holster and how you are going to carry, as in where at on your body, canted forward, maybe straight ,or canted back. It can be a huge hassle, I’ve got dozens of holsters, so once you find the right handgun, get some advice on holsters.

Now comes the fun part. Training. Find a good trainer who teaches good fundamentals, use your USCCA membership to it’s fullest. Find out the laws around you, permitting process etc. Then it’s on to ammo, ball is fine for the range but you do still want Self Defense ammo, so you need to think about where you live, so think about where the rounds go especially, if there are others in your home. Plus if you A) miss or B) over penetrate.

Now you need to think about becoming comfortable with Concealed Carry. If it’s a Glock, no safety but the one on the trigger. So you have to think about carrying it with a round chambered, yes or no. Practice… ALOT with your handgun, remove all ammo, clear the chamber pro tip here(check again) then get in alot of practice draws and dry firing(it won’t mess the handgun up.

Last piece of advice. Storage. This is especially important if you have children. At minimum a small bedside safe, but you did mention you have used long guns before, so you probably have a big safe.

Good luck!

None of the above was meant sarcastically, or meant to be offensive.


Nice one! You hit on about all of the important subject. :+1:


I’m impressed with the number of responses received here. Its good to know there is an active community for this. Thank you very much all! I live in Fort Worth so I do plan to attend the Expo next month.


I’m not going to weigh in on “first firearm” pros and cons. I think we have thoroughly confused all of the first-time buyers & shooters. I do have this suggestion, however.

Get a spiral bound notebook. You can find some affordable ones that are roughly 4"x6"x1" (roughly 100 pages). Next…journal everything. Write down everyone’s “Pro” and “Con” opinions. Write down words and phrases you don’t understand. Get the definitions - write those down also. We you start shooting at the range, write down your objectives and plan for the trip. Follow your plan. After shooting evaluate your success at following your plan and meeting your objectives. Make notes for your next range trip (what you need to fix or improve on from what you just did). If you read a magazine article or watch a video write down your impressions (What do you want to remember? What do you want to get more information about? Etc.). You might want to divide your notebook into sections: Firearms; Shooting Fundamentals; Ammo; Holsters; Cleaning; Home Defense; CC; Stupid/dangerous things other people of done; and so forth. Pictures are worth a thousand words, if you are reading articles from your magazines or online make copies of pix and paste into your notebook. You are going to need more than one notebook!!! But one will get you started.


And that will be the best way to find the tool that fits you. :+1:


Welcome, Mike-In_Fort_Worth. I have taken the liberty to highlight the fact that you’ve stated your experience with firearms, specifically “long guns.” I will assume that your familiarity with the purchasing process and the antics inherent with salesmanship is nothing new to you. And because now your attention has turned to “pistol” selection, you’ve invited suggestions as to which brand would be good to consider. As you can see you have hit a hot button of many along this thread. Many of them I would endorse, but the bottom-line is that as you consider the endless choices; you will have to make a decision that has only you, based on your purposes, in mind. I can only opine that you give due consideration to what has been written, but anchor on what you deem best for you.

Additionally, and I conclude here. Whatever you decide, please ensure that you train and practice with whatever you decide. I would recommend that you Purchase what you will Shoot often or with regularity. As it has been alluded to, what you are comfortable with, you will be more apt to train and practice with more often than a selection you find hard to control, or that hurts your hand, or is misaligned with your intent or overall objective. But train and practice with whatever you choose. This is the only advice that I can add to the stack of nomenclature, specifications, and statistics that you’ve already received via this thread. Best to you on this journey. Be well my friend and stay safe.


Not a fan of DA/SA. I trained on a 1911 and the safety was no problem once you got the muscle memory. Later I got a Beretta 92f. Decocker and safety. I would carry it with the safety disengaged and relied on the DA (revolver) 1st round. The safety would occasionally get engaged and then you have a problem. I changed it to a G configuration which eliminated the safety. Decock and a spring disengaged the safety. Still had the different trigger pulls between 1st and subsequent shots. Wife could not handle the shift at all and usually ended up with a much delayed missed 1st shot. I mostly run striker fired no manual safety pistols. I have a couple of hammer fired pistols that are DA only. I also run revolvers DA. Takes a bit of training to eliminate the bounce. The trigger pull is consistent. Most people shooting DA/SA do not put in the training to eliminate the DA bounce and they get a 1st shot that is off.
I know of 1 guy who had an attempted car jacking. Jacker jumped into his truck with a gun. He had his gun pulled and was trying to pull the trigger. Jacker looked over, saw the gun and jumped out running. In the panic he forgot to disengage the safety. Turned out well but he could be dead. He bought a Glock.


I suspect that could be said of many. There was a recent ASP video (maybe several months or more ago) where a store clerk lost his life due to not having a round chambered or had the safety on (I do not recall exactly), but the end result was he was killed by the armed robber. Yes, training with your carry firearm is critical.