Howdy everyone, I would just like to get an opinion on what everyones first handgun was. Ever since my brother got his first handgun(a 9mm S&W sigma) I have had a marked interest in handguns. He later purchased a Ruger redhawk in .44 Mag. I've shot both these handguns and have become familiar with them through offering to clean them. I've got my heart set on a 1911 style pistol as of right now. When I first learned about them watching the history channel I fell in love not only with the looks of them but also the rich history of this combat pistol. My question is, has anyone dealt with these handguns? What seems to be some of the more affordable options (below $1000) without sacrificing too much in quality? I've looked at the Remington R1 and it seems to have a pretty good record so far, has anyone had experience with them? Any other opinions would be gladly appreciated. Thank you!
I know some one locally who also had his heart set on a 1911 as a first gun. He spent hours practicing siting and and cleaning before taking it to the range. He kept every round in a torso sized target at 20yrds his first trip to the range. I have seen a number of police who can shoot this well after decades. He promptly learned to reload since ammunition is so high right now. Like most people he was surprised to see how cheap a full reloading setup cost compared to a couple boxes of .45 auto.
Our local gunshop almost always has a good used (often accurized) .45 for $600. or less. A used 1911 style pistol might be a good way to start. If you decide that you want something shinier or different you should not have much trouble getting your money back. Have you browsed Gunbroker.com yet?
Kimber makes good 1911s. Several of their basic models are well below $1K. Not flashy ... but they get the job done. The basic operative parts are the same between their high end a low end models. I have a black Kimber Custom II that ran about $750 at a gun show.
My first handgun was my grandfather's Rossi .32 service revolver (he was a central Texas Sheriff for a while). He left it to me in his will. I was 4.
My 1911 was my second pistol. My first was a Springfield XD .40S&W Service, which is a fine gun, but personally, I've never really liked the snappiness of the .40S&W. I was shooting with a couple of guys a year or so into my getting into shooting pistols and they both had 1911s (one was an old Colt, the other a '90s Kimber). They both let me shoot their 1911s and I fell in love instantly, they just fit right. It was a number of years before I was able to put aside enough money for a 1911 and found one I liked, but I'm convinced I will always have at least one in my collection.
I would definitely recommend finding a range that has a 1911 to rent, or a friend you can shoot with to try one out before buying them. I personally love 1911s, but that's not to say they're going to work for everyone. I looked up the Sigma, and it looks like it's a polymer framed, 4" pistol like my XD. I'm thinking I heard somewhere that they were a copy of the Glock. If they're a pretty direct copy of the Glock, one of the first big differences is going to be the grip angle. I personally don't like the Glock because the grip angle is different than the other pistols I have, but I've met Glock people who dislike other pistols for the same reason. The 1911s are also primarily all metal frames (I don't know if there's a polymer-framed 1911 out there, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone has made one), so they're going to be heavier than a polymer-framed pistol. I think the extra weight helps to balance the 1911 more and helps control the recoil, but not everyone is going to like it. And the recoil of a .45ACP is a bit of a change from 9x19, but it's far from unmanageable. There are other differences, too, that might take some getting used to. My 1911 has a 4½# trigger pull, I think, which is pretty light compared to a lot of the other pistols I've shot, and has next no to slack in the trigger, but things like that to me are kinda like getting a rental car or driving a vehicle you're not used it - it just takes a minute to get used to the different sensitivities in the controls and then you're good to go. They're also a bit more complicated to field strip and clean than most polymer-framed guns I've seen, which turns some people off, but I personally enjoy cleaning my guns, so it doesn't bother me.
So I would again definitely recommend shooting one before you buy one, but if you find it fits you well and you like it, I think it's a great choice.
My 1911 is a Springfrield M1911A1 Loaded, which I picked up on GunBroker for just under a thousand dollars new in box (usually abbreviated NIB on sites like GunBroker). I did a bit of research on the internet, and I had a Springfield XD already that I felt was good quality, so I felt comfortable going with them. Springfield also makes a Range Officer model at about the same price or a bit cheaper last time I looked, which I'm thinking the main difference I can recall off the top of my head is the Loaded came with Trijicon night sights and the RO had adjustable sights. I only had two problems with it from the start, one being it came with a full-length, two-piece guide rod which requires a tool to remove to field strip and which kept coming unscrewed when I was shooting, and that the factory magazines seemed to cause a failure to feed on the second to last round about every fifth magazine. I spent maybe twenty dollars to replace the two-piece guide rod with a GI standard guide rod which just drops into place. A lot of people I've read on the internet or watched on YouTube have made that change, too, so it seems like it's a common choice. And I purchased some Chip McCormick Custom magazines which work like a charm. Easy fixes. Some folks seemed to have the same magazine problem I did, but the Wilson Combats worked better for them. They did the same thing for me the factory ones did, so it seems to vary a bit. Important thing on magazines and the like I think is to start with one from a company or two and see which works better for you before buying a lot of them (I keep five good magazines for all my pistols and use them all when at the range to try and keep the wear on them about the same).
Springfield is the only manufacturer I've had much experience with. I've heard good things about Rock Island Armory from some folks who have them, but never actually fired one. Same with Remington. I'd checking out 1911Forum.com, too. They have sub-categories for a lot of the different manufacturers and has a pretty active community. As with everything on the internet, you have to collect a lot of points of view and average it together, but it's a good place to look for some more information.
Sig Sauer makes a good number of 1911 variants, all of which are high quality, and many of which are below 1K, depending on features.
If I ever go back to pistols, I plan on getting one of their compacts.
My first handgun was a used Colt Police Positive Special in .38 Spec. Still have it, and it still shoots well. I've only ever owned one 1911, and I've had it for about 20 years. It's a Thompson/Auto Ordnance 1911, which is one of the cheaper models you'll find. I bought it with the intention of eventually upgrading to a Colt or other high-quality 1911, but the old Auto Ordnance runs like a champ, and I've never replaced it.
I have a Springfield which is OK. I was much more impressed with an old beat up stainless AMT hardballer that some one let me try then tried to sell me. I was in school and had to pass on it unfortunately.
I got to play with one of these Ruger P345s and was impressed but I have come to like pretty much all Ruger handguns. http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-P345.htm I am not sure how much I would trust the non-metal parts if I were shooting a whole lot though. The price is good.
The 1911 is a well evolved handgun today. I just purchased an American Tactical Commander
http://www.americantactical.us/1206/detail.html and was blown away by how well it is made. A friend of mine who is a retired gunsmith said it was the equal of 1911s costing twice as much.