Originally Posted by RugerChic
I have a question for all you handgun owners out there. I am looking into getting my concealed carry permit and was wondering what handgun would be worth looking into.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I can't tell you what handgun would be best for you, but I can tell you some things to consider.
I think you've already considered the first in what would be the purpose of this gun, and you've stated Self Defense (SD). The next question might be how do you intend to carry it? On your person? In a purse, handbag, fanny pack, etc, etc. The answers to those questions is going to narrow it down a bit. Price range is another consideration. You need to pick from guns in your price range, but keep in mind, more expensive guns can usually be found for much less than their MSRP. I would recommend a new gun for you, but if you have someone that can check a used gun that knows what they're doing, you can save some money with a used gun.
Next, shooting. What types of handguns have you shot before and what are you comfortable with? Many gun ranges have rental guns that allow you to try a wide selection without making a major investment.
Caliber? Since the purpose of this gun is for SD, then you're probably going to want something that will be the most effective if you ever had to use it. Being effective means that you can shoot it with a reasonable certainty that you could stop the threat. That being said, most people consider SD rounds in the range of .380 to .45. The main calibers inbetween are 9mm and .40 for semi autos and .38, .357 and .44 for revolvers. More on this later.
What style of gun do you want? Basically, there are pistols and revolvers, with pistols meaning semi automatics. There definitely pro's and con's to both.
Ease of use - advantage revolver
Ease of maintenance - tie, depending on the firearms
Size - advantage semi auto
Weight - generally, a semi auto will weigh less, but some new revolvers are in about the same category
Price - advantage semi auto. Good quality revolvers often cost more than their semi auto equivilents
Ease of reloading - advantage semi auto, since I'm referring to reloading during a shooting situation. For plinking, it's hard to be easier than dropping some bullets into a chamber.
Safeties - advantage semi auto. Most revolvers don't have safeties whereas most semi auto's do.
Noise - advantage semi auto. Semi autos generally don't make as much noise as a revolver.
Concealability - advantage semi auto. Semi autos come in very small sizes now. While there are some small revolvers, they still are harder to conceal due to the cylinder.
Price of shooting - advantage semi autos (excluding .22's). 9mm's are about the best deal in this range of calibers.
Back to caliber. Regarding stopping power, modern .380's have become almost as good as 9mm's, especially at close range where most incidents happen. 9mm is used by most of the US Military, it's the most common round, easy to control and the least expensive. The .40 is the next common size up. This is a much more powerful round than the 9mm. It was designed by the FBI for their agents which wanted a round with maximum stopping power but lighter weight than the .45. As a result, most .40's are harder to shoot well than their 9mm and .45 counterparts. Then you have the .45. It's widely known for having the maximum stopping power in this range. It shoots a large bullet but it's also a slow bullet, which makes the felt recoil lower than a .40 and approaching a 9mm. If you're talking about revolvers, then the two main go-to rounds are the .38 and the .357. There is also a .327 round to consider. The plain .38 is the lowest power, I believe the next is the .327 magnum, then the .38+P and then the .357. .38's and .357's were carried by LEO for decades. The .327 is a limited production round. Most think that the .38 is kind of on the weak side for a SD round, but they are still effective and easy to shoot. The +P and .357 are progressively more powerful and harder to shoot.
So, there's a good starting place - probably more than you wanted to know or a repeat of what you might have already known.
One of my favorite carry weapons is a Sig Sauer P238. It's a small, light weight .380 semi automatic that is extremely accurate and easy to use. It comes with fantastic night sights that are great day or night.
You might want to check out these Rugers as well. LCP, very small and light .380 semi auto. LC9, small and light weight 9mm, LCR, small-ish and light weight revolver that comes in .22, .38+P and .357 (note: a .357 will shoot .38's, .38+P's and .357's). SP101, small-ish but heavier all metal 5 shot revolver much like the LCR. SR9c, small-ish, fairly light, hi capacity 9mm.
Just some suggestions for you to try if you can. Except for the LCR .22, any of these would make a good SD weapon, but they vary greatly in the way they shoot.
Hope this helps and good luck with your CC permit!