Buying my first handgun

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by LeSabreUltra, May 11, 2008.

  1. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    Yep, I turn 21 on Wednesday and I'm thinking of buying myself a handgun. I already do have a few but they were all given to me, and for various reasons none of them are really suitable for being carried around on a daily basis. I've already had my CCW for about a year and haven't been able to use it much.

    Anyway, I've been researching a LOT and have heard a lot of nice things on this site about the Bersa Thunder 380 series as a whole. The fact that they are so affordable too is a huge plus. After searching some more I found a local gunshop that is a registered dealer of theirs, so I am going to drop by and visit tomorrow to see what they have. I'm hoping they have a Bersa Thunder 380 Concealed Carry. If they don't have what I want I'm sure I can order through them.

    I'm not limiting myself to just this gun, though it is high on my list. I want something quality and reliable, small enough to be carried even in the summer (shorts & t-shirt), and inexpensive...I'm looking to spend less than $400, $500 at the absolute max. At this price range, it would seem (to me) that the Bersa is right up my alley.

    I would consider used too, but I don't know if this shop sells used guns and I do have a slight preference to new.

    Anyway, I was wondering what your opinions on the Bersa Thunder 380 Series were and if you had any other recommendations in that price range. I would be willing to consider revolvers too.
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  2. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    Well, I ended up going to the gun shop. I tried the Bersa 380, which was my favorite of the semi autos by the way, I tried some Kel-Tecs, some Taurus revolvers and semi autos, and a couple of Smith and Wesson revolvers.

    NONE of them fit so well as the Smith and Wesson 637 .38 special revolver. The action and fit with my hand was just too good. I put a deposit on it and will pick it up on Wednesday.

    I had no idea just how crappy my RG was until I got my hands on this one...the action was really smooth, precise, and tight. As nice as those other guns were, none of them really matched the quality and precision feel that I got from this Smith and Wesson. It's small and lightweight, pretty much perfect for concealed carry. A little bigger than I was shooting for, but the perfect gun for me.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear your opinions on the Smith and Wesson 637...I'm very excited to have bought it and proud of myself for buying a very high quality daily shooter that will last me a lifetime and will undoubtedly retain it's value through the years.
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  3. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman New Member

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    Good decision.
    The 637 is a fine revolver... I have the 642 and love it.
    The trigger may have to be broken in a bit (dry fire) and practice practice practice at the range will be in order.
  4. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    Thanks, and I plan to take it out to the range and give it a try the day I buy it. :)

    This is the exact gun I bought:

    [​IMG]

    List price was $561, I managed to get away with it for just under my max spending limit of $490. Brand new gun too, fresh factory oil.
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  5. pawn

    pawn New Member

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    congratulations!
  6. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Congrats... I wasn't happy with my wife's 642 until I bought a trigger and hammer spring kit from Wilson Combat. She has trouble with the trigger pull, being on the small side, and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it... Now, it has a very smooth trigger pull and is fairly accurate. Of course the 642 is DAO, so it's at a disadvantage compared to your 637 in trigger pull.

    http://www.wilsoncombat.com/a_spring_ct_revolver.asp

    Kit #321 on this page...
  7. LeSabre, in my humble opinion you picked one of the VERY best J-frame .38s available today. I own two of them, one equipped with heavier Pachmayr grips, and the other with a set of smaller Uncle Mike's boot grips. I probably carry one of them more often than any other piece I own. You spent a bit more, but you definitely got what you paid for. Oh, and by the way, in the very unlikely even you should ever have a problem with the revolver, Smith and Wesson has the best customer service I've ever encountered. Get us a range report soon as you have a chance to shoot it! You won't be disappointed.
  8. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    Thanks for the opinions and information. :)

    I've been reading a lot on this gun and I'm liking what I'm hearing. Really can't wait to pick this one up. I plan on getting there when the store opens so I can spend a full day at the range.

    I've also ordered an IWB holster for it, just in case it doesn't work well for pocket carry, though I think it would. I've also been looking at some other accessories like grips, but while wood grips would sure look pretty on this gun, I think they'd reduce the control of it over the Uncle Mike's grips that are already on there. The gun already fits really well with my hands so I don't want to change that any. Kind of surprised me just how well it fit because it's a fairly small gun and I have big hands.

    Forgot to mention earlier the other Smith and Wesson I looked at was a 638. Used and therefore cheaper. It had a shrouded hammer so it would be snag free but I really liked the look and feel of the exposed hammer, so much that I had to spend extra to get it.

    I think all in all I looked at:

    Taurus Ultralite 85 revolver, Charter Arms .38 Special Revolver, Smith & Wesson 637 & 638, a Taurus semiautomatic of a diminuitive size (name slips my mind), Bersa Thunder 380, two Kel-Tec 9mm (one 10 round the other 9), and I believe that's all. Going on memory here so model numbers are uncertain.

    In the end it was mostly between the Smith & Wesson 637, the Taurus Ultralite 85 and the Bersa 380. I decided against the Bersa simply because I think I prefer revolvers, none of the semiautos seemed to fit my hand very well. The 637 won over the Taurus because of the brand name and visually better fit and finish. The Taurus's action worked about as well as the Smith & Wesson's, but it just didn't fit as well with me.

    Anyway, I'll post pics and my shooting impressions tomorrow. :D
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  9. The 637 is almost ideal for IWB carry if you're so inclined, LaSabre. I do that occasionally myself, and for that purpose I've found the Bianchi Professional Model 101 holster works extremely well for the 637. It's also one of the least expensive leather holsters you'll find out there. The 637 is small and very lightweight, so it works fairly well as a straight pocket carry, though it can feel a little bulky at times, at least it does for me.

    The 638 is also a very good revolver, but the shrouded hammer makes it a DAO, and personally, I like to have the option of single action use should it be needed. Recoil on these aluminum alloy revolvers is stout, especially with +P ammo, but not what I would call excessive. The boot grips absorb much of that recoil anyway. I don't think you will find it uncomfortable to shoot. Accuracy with these revolvers is excellent, though you may find it takes a little practice. The short 1.8" barrel on them does not provide a long sight radius, and this tends to hinder accuracy. In the final analysis though, a .38 snubby is intended as a short-range weapon anyway. At 25-30 feet, loaded with +P ammo (I like the Speer Gold Dot 135 grainer for carry), it is a very fine self-defense weapon.
  10. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    IWB would work fine for me. Basically, in order of preference (comfort), I have: pocket, IWB, and shoulder holster. The shoulder holster with my extremely heavy RG was proportionally extremely uncomfortable, WAY too tight. I found myself having to pull on the straps to try to make them loosen a bit but they worked their way up again. The gun was just too heavy I guess. It was a balance between having the gun too low and the holster too loose or having it nice and secure, and at the right position but the straps were way too tight. I'm hoping this gun's much lighter weight will help me there.

    This is the holster I ended up ordering:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370050308104

    Seems decent enough.

    It shouldn't take me too long to adjust to this gun, as I've had great results as far as accuracy is concerned with my equally short barreled RG 40. The weight difference will throw me off a bit, but I'll adjust.

    And don't worry, I'm not concerned about recoil with this gun at all. My Mossberg 12 gauge has undergone a combat shotgun transformation and at the rear sits a pistol grip, made of hard polymer no less. Now THAT'S some recoil! :eek: After firing 50 shells my hand was sore for two days.

    If I can control that thing and hit what I'm pointing at reliably, I think I'll be able to manage this one fine. :p

    I agree with what you say though about DAO guns. I MUCH prefer the look, feel, and control of a revolver with a fully exposed hammer. Hell, I even like my autos to have hammers on them too. Superior accuracy aside, nothing says "I mean business" (except perhaps a shotgun racking) more than locking the hammer back.
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  11. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    Picked it up this morning.

    Haven't gotten to the range yet, waiting for it to open. Pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Really love the way this gun feels in my hand. It's so lightweight and feels like a natural extension with the finger slotted grips.

    More reports later.
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  12. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman New Member

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    Looking good - have fun and safe shooting.
  13. Mosin_Nagant_Fan

    Mosin_Nagant_Fan Active Member

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    I usually go to the Tuskegee National Park's range. But I guess it depends on where in Alabama you live in.
  14. LeSabreUltra

    LeSabreUltra New Member

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    I went to the same place. You must live nearby, I'm in Auburn.

    Anyway, range results indicate I need A LOT of practice. Which is why I went ahead and enrolled myself in a training course.

    I did hit the target most of the time, managed to hit the bullseye more than once.

    The gun performed well though. Very precise and consistent. I am very much a fan of this gun and I doubt it will be the last Smith and Wesson that I buy.

    I'd like to share more but this post is seeming more and more incoherent as I continue...I'm enjoying the OTHER right I gain as a 21 year old with friends and just happened to log in here...I'll add in anything I forgot later if I forgot anything.
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  15. Vladimir

    Vladimir New Member

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    This thread has me thinking a 637 might be my next handgun. I'm going to have my dad check with his department range/shop and see how cheap he can get one for.
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