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Editor’s Note: The following post comes from Melody Lauer, the newest contributor to Lucky Gunner Lounge. Melody has been a firearms instructor and blogger for years, and we’re excited to add her voice to the team. You can learn more about Melody on her bio page, or check out her blog.

The day I turned 21 was one of the most memorable days of my life. Not only for the legal drinks at the local Applebee’s, but for the hour-long trek to a not-so-local gun store to make the most exciting, and ultimately worst, purchase of my life—a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry chambered in .40S&W.

I took a lot of pride in choosing my first handgun. I believed I’d done my research.

Being new to firearms, I made a list of requirements and handed them to my husband. He came up with several guns that would meet these requirements and off we went, stumbling through a, sadly, anticlimactic purchase.

Kimber Ultra Carry
All that’s left of my Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry is this photo and a few bitter memories


I had never been so excited as when I walked into that gun store, or so worried as when the owner implied that I was making a straw purchase for my husband. I was never so insulted as when he tried to talk me out of my beautiful Kimber and into a snub-nose revolver, or so stoic as when I demanded my 1911, or so annoyed as at his lack of enthusiasm that this was my first handgun purchase.  I was never so confused as to why I couldn’t hit the target, or so infuriated that the gun wouldn’t fire three rounds without it jamming, or so exasperated as seeing the amount of money I spent on gunsmiths trying to get it to run. Finally; I was never so relieved as when a coworker bought it off of me for a fraction of what I dumped into it.

I shed actual tears over that gun, but learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Many years of concealed carry, a few dozen training classes, eight years as a firearms instructor, and two jobs behind gun counters have come and gone since that Kimber. I worked my way through a myriad of autos and revolvers, in all manner of calibers, carried in a number of different holsters.  Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about buying a gun.

Lesson 1 – Defensive calibers don’t have to start with “4”

Once I learned the fundamentals of shooting, my accuracy became superb. Even with .40s and .45s, .44s, .454s and above, I could hit my mark. I couldn’t do it quickly, but I could do it. For three years, I maintained the stance that my defensive caliber must be a point-four-something. It took pulling a muscle in my shooting hand, and a lot of research on the topic, to learn that my stance on this was hindering my own shooting and the defensive use of my handgun.

When I finally traded the seven rounds of .4-whatever for sixteen 9mm rounds, I saw real improvements in my shooting, particularly one-handed. Moving to a more manageable caliber allowed far more confidence and mastery of skills, which I was previously denying myself in stubbornness.

Melody Lauer barricade

Lesson 2 – Capacity is cool

I’m fond of quoting Todd Green who said, “Bullets are opportunities. They’re options. Having more of them is always better than having fewer, even if you don’t need them.” I used to be one of those people who rested securely in the illusion of average. You know what I’m talking about. The average gunfight is going to be within 3 yards, take 3 shots, and be over in 3 seconds.

The trouble is, if average is what we are preparing for, why are we carrying guns? Your average day doesn’t require you to go about armed.

It took a couple rounds of force-on-force to realize how quickly ammo depletes itself and a few videos watching good and bad guys exchange dozens of shots to realize that average was not where I wanted to set my bar.

It’s not always practical or possible to carry high-capacity firearms and magazines. One must do what they can. Whether the solution is more magazines, or simply the preparation of continued fighting with other skills once the ammo runs out, be reminded that cartridges are opportunities.


Lesson 3 – Safeties are irrelevant if you are not safe

For my first handgun purchase, I demanded a firearm with external safeties—a prime example of the appeal of a 1911. There was a misguided sense of security in that. I thought it would make me safer. Safeties commonly have the effect of fooling people into believing they have an excuse to be careless or unsafe. I have been aghast and nearly shot due to the idea that, “It’s okay, the safety is on.”

There are no excuses for improper and unsafe handling.  The more quickly you learn that, the quicker you will learn that the presence of an external safety is irrelevant. Training and safe handling make my firearm safe.  All firearms should be treated and stored as though they are loaded, always, regardless of a safety.

Lesson 4 – It doesn’t have to be made of metal

I had a strange aversion to polymer pistols when I was searching for my first gun. For some reason, they didn’t seem like guns. When I looked at polymer-framed guns, words like “plastic” and “cheap” went through my head. I had an irrational fear that they would break or blow up in my hands, and that bias kept me from experiencing some fine firearms for many years.

I know now that my fears of an explosion or poor quality were unfounded, and my waistband got quite a bit lighter when I went from an all-steel 1911 to a polymer Glock.  There are some great lightweight metals out there, but many polymers have earned their place alongside steel as quality materials for firearms.

Lesson 5 – Reputations can change

When I was researching my first pistol, I read reviews. When I asked the question, “Is Kimber a good firearm?” the response I got was a resounding yes. The firearm was expensive—It’s Kimber!—but I was willing to pay for quality. Kimber had a reputation for quality, and I trusted that.

Throughout the years, I have owned four Kimber firearms. Two of them have been fine working machines. The other two can only be called firearms in the sense that they occasionally fired bullets. They also gave me lots of opportunities to work on my malfunction clearing techniques. I wrote Kimber off as a company I would ever consider buying from again, and noticed I was not alone.

Plenty of people have changed their opinions of many manufacturers over the years. Glock almost went through a huge decline with the issues they had with the Gen 4 Glock 19s. They were able to save themselves with outstanding customer service and a bunch of free recoil springs. In the end it saved their reputation as a quality manufacturer.

Lesson 6 – Find reputable sources of information

Reputations do matter, especially the reputation built within certain circles.

Those in the firearms community see guns lauded by new shooters all the time. It’s somewhat amusing, and exasperating, to see firearm reviewers with minimal experience write pieces titled “Best Gun Ever”, and then start off their reviews with phrases like, “I got this gun today, haven’t had time to shoot it yet.”

How can you award superiority to a gun that still has its packing grease on it?

The reputations built on such reviews are shallow, but longstanding, because people who read and believe them often don’t put their own products through rigorous tests.

There are those, however, who have the ear and the respect of the community at large. They test firearms to the full extent of their measure, or see them frequently in shooting classes or competitions and demand performance from them that can’t be truly tested with static bullseye shooting on a standard range.

Those firearms and their reputations reign. No matter the personal opinions on petty differences, when put to the test, there is a reason names like Glock, S&W, Sig, H&K and others keep boiling to the surface. Yes, they all have their failures, but in general, they perform well.  You’ll be hard pressed to find someone of authority who will deny that.

Before settling on a firearm, it might behoove you to contact a big-name shooting school and ask their opinion on a particular brand.

Lesson 7 – Good customer service makes loyal customers

Gun companies, in general, have better warranties and customer service than almost any other mechanical product.  I can’t find a blender with a lifetime warranty, but if the slide cracked on my six year-old Glock tomorrow, I would likely see it replaced with few questions asked.

Yes, there are things we do to our factory guns that void warranties. I’ve not been able to send back guns for repair because I was not the original owner or work was done on the firearm by an unauthorized individual, voiding the warranty.

But for the most part, gun companies back their products, and that makes for happy, loyal customers. Companies that don’t provide good service often lose customers to manufacturers who would rather repair that broken spring than argue with you about how it happened. As long as the service was great and no money was charged, customers are happy.

Before you settle on a gun, check the manufacturer’s warranty.

Lesson 8 – If it doesn’t fit, it frustrates

Gun manufacturers are starting to catch on to the fact that there are small-handed shooters out there, but man-hands still reign supreme.

I would very much like to meet the man whose hand is the model for finger grooves on handguns. I would then like to meet the man who said, “Yes, let’s mold our handgun grips to his hand,” and spit in his coffee.

The fact of the matter is most guns do not fit me. I can shoot almost everything okay, but the best guns for me are single stack 9mms. This forces me to compromise on my cool capacity, but after years of being frustrated with larger firearms that are too big for me, I’m content with my choice.  However, I remain hopeful that one day I’ll get a phone call from a gun manufacturer and they will say, “We’d love to take a mold of your hands and build a high-capacity firearm that will actually fit small-framed females.”

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

The most important fit for you to consider is the trigger finger reach. While the backstrap of the firearm is in the web of your hand, and the slide is lined up with your forearm bones, if you cannot put the pad of your finger on the center of the trigger with at least some room to spare, the gun is too big for you. You may be able to work around it, but a well-fitting gun will be a far better choice in the long run.

Lesson 9 – Looks don’t matter (but they kind of do)

There are some really pretty guns in this world. Added scrollwork and custom coatings and finishes can make for some gorgeous guns. Of course, if the gun doesn’t run, it’s no better than putting makeup on a pig. Lots of people know this and so they opt for function over form and don’t sweat the aesthetics.

My Kimber was beautiful. All of my Kimbers were beautiful. Unfortunately only half of them actually ran and so I left them for ugly guns that I could actually trust with my life.

That being said, there are people who won’t buy a particular gun because it’s ugly. We’re also seeing an increase in firearms produced that come in custom colors and finishes to appeal directly to women. While it’s still undecided whether or not having colors and decorations on a self-defense firearm is a wise decision, it’s clear that people like buying guns they think are pretty. Just make sure it works, too.

Lesson 10 – Nothing is more fun than a gun that runs

When I took my Kimber to the range the first time, I was so excited. I left that range session in tears. I wanted to take it back to the store and demand my money back, but I was reminded that all sales were final and I felt like I’d been ripped off. It brought me to the edge of saying that guns were not for me — a waste of time and money, and I was done with them.

I have a patient husband and he encouraged me to try again. While I still had setbacks along the way, I eventually fought my way through layers of errors until I found solutions that worked for me.

I encourage others to learn from my mistakes and find the right gun the first time. You’ll be happy you did.

Have you ever bought a gun and wish you hadn’t? What other lessons have you learned that hard way that other shooters might be able to learn from? Let us know in the comments below.


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216 thoughts on “10 Lessons Learned from the Worst Gun I Ever Owned

  1. This articulates the frustrations of thousands if women shooters; well-chosen words make a goid read. Although I would not trade my Kimber Compact CDP II .45m for love nor money 🙂 Between my LCP .380, Taurus .38 revolver, Sig 9mm and the Kimber, it is by far my favorite to shoot.

  2. Great post and thanks for sharing. I am much older (49) and male but I share most of your experience although my kimber 9mm ultra carry 2 shot just fine (I sold it though which was dumb). Very happy with choosing 9mm however, glad I didn’t go the 40,45 route, no way my hands would not take that abuse plus flinch city for me. I am hoping the VP9 I bought works out but I am happy with the Beretta 92 (little big, smooth, looks great, and can feed my CX4) and Stoeger Cougar (fits great, a bit homely ) I have too. It does seem that every youtube site is hosted by guys 6’8″ with dinner plate hands. Sorry, I can’t reach the freaking mag release without changing my grip! Ask me about my VZ 61, now that is some fun shooting! I am not a soldier nor a policeman, I shoot for fun so I finally figured out that my guns should be fun to shoot too.

  3. A .44 mag rossi Ranch hand. Because it looked bad ass. Put less than 10 rds through it then sold. I hated that gun.

  4. Bought a Kel-Tec P-11 9mm pistol, has a double stack 10 rd magazine in a fairly small semiauto pistol configuration. This gun carries excellent due to its size, but that is all it has going for it. Between the longass trigger pull and the inconsistency it caused firing the weapon accurately, it is a POS as far as I’m concerned. You can almost hit the side of a building with this thing……not impressed.
    I suppose it’d be OK for close range use(like 5 ft. away)but I have a couple derringers that are more accurate to use for that.
    All the other weapons I own shoot great and are accurate; my Glock 30 in .45ACP is my favorite.

  5. My first handgun was a Star M-30 9MM. It was all steel and heavy with a wide grip because of doule stacked cartridges. I bought a ballistic OTW holster with a flap that had to be pulled down to open. Over the course of 5 years of shooting this gun indoors and out, in competition (I took 4th place in an urban combat contest with 51 law enforcement officers) and just loved this gun. I put nearly 5,000 rounds new and my own reloads and had only three malfunctions (my reloads) two stovepipe and one failed to eject. I loved that gun. I then bought a 1911 Colt Commander and the 9MM was put in the safe and not fired again for about 8 years. I wish I had started with the .45. It is so much lighter and a much easier concealed carry weapon, even though it was three times the price.

  6. What a lovely article! I bought a Sig SP2022 as my first handgun about a year ago. After taking it to the range, I had the same problem in that it jammed after every third shot. I share in your frustration with this, and I was ready to sell it to my brother-in-law. Knowing that it was my first time shooting, the gunsmith at my local range tentatively asked me “So…how did it go?” I could see that he had some doubt in his eyes that I had a good experience, but he sat down, and talked me through some of the initial steps of being a first time handgun owner. I begrudgingly listened (being the selfish boor that I am), and followed through on some of his advice, namely that all ammunition doesn’t fire the same way, and that it sometimes took a bit of effort to find ammunition that would run properly. My brother-in-law (an ex-Marine) also had solid words of wisdom for me, and through their mentorship, I can finally say that I love my Sig Sauer! I’ve become quite fond of the shooting experience, and rather handy with the wee beast. I think that is something that people take for granted: Find a shooting coach/mentor to walk you through those fumbling first steps. It helps with the frustration, and they will be able to guide you a bit more, including telling you that you have purchased the wrong firearm for you.

  7. I had a Tanfoglio TZ75 that I liked very much. Then one day I inserted a loaded magazine, pointed it at a 45 degree angle down range, thumbed the slide release to charge the chamber, and BANG !! It slam fired. I took it apart, carefully cleaned it, and traded it the next day for a CZ75. As a Marine Gunny, I have been blessed to handle many Shooting Iron and been very fortunate to have had excellent instructors.

  8. This reminds me of the time that I used to bad mouth polymer firearms and especially Glocks. Then, I shot one and have been a Glockster since. Now I own four of them.

    1. I remember my first Glock I bought jamming all the time. The guys at work all said it ME not the gun. They were right. Let my brother-in-law shot it, jammed on him too. Not at first but then he got comfortable with it and jam city. GRIP TIGHTER lol live and learn 🙂

  9. Sounds like the author was limp-wristing her Kimber. Recoil operated firearms tend to malfunction when the shooter doesn’t hold them with a firm, stable grip. This would also explain why the gunsmiths she took her Kimber to were unable to fix the problem. User error.

    1. A large 9mm yes but a limp wristing a small 40 cal 1911 style gun? Considering she had gunsmiths look at it, I doubt that was it. I had to laugh at the snub nose revolver part. OMG I hated my 38 snub nose. Couldn’t use the sights, my fingers covered in powder, the noise, and the pain were just too much. So glad THAT was not my first gun.

      1. A small 1911 platform in .40? That is exactly the kind of gun that would malfunction in such a senario. The gun was probably too snappy for her and she wasn’t able to control it, so it failed to feed.

        1. While it is possible the author was limp-wristing, we should also note that the 1911 platform was designed to be a +4″ gun chambered in .45 ACP with a single coil recoil spring. Her kimber was a different caliber, a 3″, and has a double recoil spring. In my experience 3″ 1911’s tend to not work well unless redesigned like the EMP. The design of firearm just wasn’t meant for it. We should also note that Kimber’s quality after they moved to Yonkers went way downhill. It’s getting better, but slowly. Depending on when she bought her firearm it wouldn’t surprise me if it were a lemon as there were many of them.

          My checklist for malfunctioning firearm diagnosis always goes:
          1. User.
          2. Lubricant/cleaning
          3. Ammo.
          4. Magazines.
          5. Recoil spring (a possible issue here)
          6. Other.

          95% of problems fall into the first five.

  10. I have a Hi.Point C9 9mm.
    it is a bit bulky especially for some one of small stature.
    it has been called cheap and ugly.

    It is in fact “Inexpensive” and is not really ugly.

    It fires every time and is very accurate and I would put it up against any other
    When new some of them tend to hang or stove pipe because the paint the
    load ramp and it takes a half of a box of bullets to ware the paint off..
    Or you can tare it down and buff the paint off..

    then It is a very reliable gun and will do anything any really expensive gun will do.

    for a $175.00 gun made in Ohio and tested by a few pro’s it is almost indestructible.

    and it has a life time guarantee no matter weather you are the first or the 100th owner.

  11. Glad you’ve joined Lucky Gunner Melody!!! I too hated my first gun. It was a Sig P239 chambered in .40 S&W. It had so much mussel flip I though I would never shoot on target follow up shots. Then a guy at the range let me shoot his Glock 23 and I said…I got this. Sig was sold for a G19 and 5 guns later I’m happy with all my purchases. Wish you still did videos.

  12. My first hand gun bought new and proud , a browning BDA made by beretta 1986. Ran fine but couldn’t hit anything with it. Turned it over to my RO LEO buddy. He couldn’t hit much with it !!
    Sold it to a friend for home owner protection and bought a brand new s&w 3914. Still have it and never miss with it.

    1. You would love a CZ-52… The grips were so huge on that I had to move it on to someone else with bigger hands than me.

    2. should have tried a Glock 20 or 21, assuming you did not. .
      My 20/10mm is one of my favorite and most accurate semi-auto handguns.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking. I have smallish hands ,but hunted with a Glock 20 with some Hot loaded 200 Gn. rounds, a little rough to shoot weak hand, but it was Hunting not Combat.

      2. I have a Glock 20 and a Glock 29. I have 40 S&W conversion barrels for both so I can run IDPA a little faster (less recoil) and cheaper. Awesome guns, excellent accuracy and never had a malfunction with either of them. Love my Kimber’s but my Glocks are reliability personified.

    3. That’s funny–my wife has small hands and runs a CZ-75b ok, but has a much harder time with my Glocks.

    4. I have big hands and prefer my Glocks for competition and my Kimber 1911 for carry. I have never met anyone that regretted buying a Glock, are yours for sale cheap? 😉

      1. My first auto was a Glock. Before that it was all revolvers. I bought a Glock 26 gen 4. First trip to the range the recoil spring came through the guide rod hole and permanently locked the slide back. The gun had to be shipped back to Glock for repairs, which I didn’t want to wait for, so I managed to disassemble it from the rear. As soon as I got it back together I sold it. Never again.

        1. Well, that is so rare, you should have bought a lottery ticket that day. But then again, it was a Gen 4. I love Glocks but avoid 4s.

  13. Took me a long time and $$$$ to finally realize the Glock I turned my nose up at the first time I went gun shopping should have been the first handgun I bought.

    Her complaint about finger grooves is funny- I have the exact opposite problem. I have to dremel them off because they’re always too small for my fingers- and I’m 5’6″

  14. Read your article and had to chuckle a bit. My wife thought she did her research and just had to have a Kimber Solo 9mm. What happened to you with your Ultra happened to her with that Solo. Identical problems! She now has a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield as has become very good with it!

  15. Can’t find one thing I’d disagree with and most of this philosophy is in line with the father of the modern pistol technique, Jeff Cooper.

  16. I bought an Ruger LC9. It stopped firing and I had to return it to the factory, twice. I sold it to a friend after the last repair for a cheap price. I informed him of all the problems I had (with paperwork). I just couldn’t trust it as a carry gun anymore.

  17. I have 2 handguns that I really love and both were “cheap”. One is the Smith and Wesson sd9ve or sygma 9 mm. I bought a spring and did the trigger fix showed on YouTube and now it is very accurate and very dependable. The other is a good gun for those smaller hands. It’s a Taurus PT111. It has been an awesome gun right out of the box. It has a 12 round double stack magazine that still fits great in your hand and double click capability that can help in misfire situations.. I love them both.

    1. My Taurus PT111 was the worse gun I have ever owned. It took two trips back to Taurus to fix the jamming issue. I paid $70 dollars for shipping the first time. Taurus paid for the second time. I couldn’t get 3 rounds through the gun without having to clear it. Two trips for repair later and it is fine. I have tried any brand of ammo I can find and there have been no problems in over 600 rounds. It feeds and fires anything. The PT111 went from the biggest mistake I ever made in a gun purchase to the one I trust my life to.

      1. there is another gun you wont to never buy and that’s a Taurus and here is something else some of you guys don’t know about but smith and Wesson are letting Taurus make some of the parts to go in there guns now big surprise ant it don’t take my word for it check it out for your self and they shipping them threw Florida so be careful with your smith and Wesson guns to unless they are the older ones I know this because I have a friend that works for them. bad news cant trust most gun makers any more so do your home work or be stupide your choice.

        1. I love the SD9VE. It’s a great gun. The Shield looks and feels like junk, so I skipped buying one of those. Can’t wait to get more of the SD9’s. People always complain about the trigger. If everyone needs a competition trigger then they have a problem, not the gun. A lot of people carry double action revolvers. In a defensive situation you’re not going to have time enough to cock every shot, so only the first pull is going to be single action with a revolver. I don’t hear them complaining, and double action revolver triggers are really heavy.

    2. I bought one of the PT111’s due to hype. Hated it. Polymer guide rod. Slide rattled a lot. Has a single-action sear to hold the striker, and the sear is so tiny it will wear down and then your gun will start firing fully automatic. Had a lot of problems with jams. I also bought a PT140 which had a different (and worse) guide rod. The front of the guide rod would hang over the front of the slide and prevent it from going fully into battery. It wouldn’t go into full battery until I pulled the trigger once, which snapped the front of the guide rod off of the slide and allowed it to move forward.

      If you want a better pistol for less money, the SCCY CPX-2 is a better deal. Solid gun. No rattles. The guide rod is plastic but can be replaced with a steel guide rod. No complicated single action sear. It’s all double action. Can’t beat it for reliability. I haven’t had any jams so far.

      I do love the SD9VE. I didn’t even mess with the trigger. Those aftermarket trigger springs can cause light primer strikes. I didn’t think the trigger was heavy or long… but then again I have really long fingers. A 10lb pull is nothing to me.

  18. When we bought our first Glock, a stretch, as we aren’t really fans, and the gun blew apart on the 5th shot down the barrel (not a squib or overcharge), we wished we hadn’t bought it. I WAS however, impressed that even though it had a kind of violent beginning, that it did not injure our son who was holding it at the time, and only required one cheap part to repair.
    My main beef with Glocks is that they are simply inelegant machines. They work good, not well.
    My nearest regret, which did not come to pass thanks to my husband, was buying a small, synthetic, 9mm because it was small and light and would fit so well in my hand and purse. Both true, but it was terrible to shoot, unpleasant, made me afraid of it, and I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

  19. My first & only gun (so far) is a 3rd gen Glock 19. I LOVE THIS GUN!!! Sure I had some problems with it at first (total user error) but it’s accurate, easy to clean & totally bomb proof. I’m a 5’5″ female & carry concealed – on my person, not in my purse. My next gun will also be a Glock but a 10mm.

  20. I bought a Springfield Armory 1911 and had the same problems. Ironically I traded it for a Kimber that has never failed me.

  21. My first CCW was a Walther PPK/s .380
    I had a lot of the same opinions, issues, and beliefs you wrote about. I owned it for about three months before taking a concealed carry class with my shooting instructor who’d taught and certified me in basic pistol. Although it was only a 6 + 1, I got through hardly had any full mags without a jam. Primarily double feeds caused in part by my new shooter’s limp wrist. Regardless, very difficult to clear as the ejection port is too small for the caliber, and mags were next to impossible to strip. Combine all that with the very difficult, backwards thumb safety and the concern over firepower, and I was convinced it was not right for me. I’m now a very contented owner / carrier of multiple ugly, plastic Glocks!

  22. I have had several guns I had to send back to the manufacturer to be fixed after my first time shooting them. But my worst gun was a Kahr. Impossible to manually chamber a round. Did not matter how fast I sling shot the slide the round would jam. Others thought I was riding it forward until they tried it themselves and had the same problem. Kahr told me with their hand guns you do not manually chamber a round. You are to use the slide stop. I told the guy he was crazy that I own many guns and have never heard of such a thing. Needless to say I sold it and good bye Kahr. I will never buy another one

  23. My first gun was a Bersa Thunder, life warranty, I never have a gun failure over 3 years. Right now I have a Bul ultra X 9mm…just beautiful I love it!!

    1. My second was a Bersa Thunder 380. I’ve yet to have a failure with it, and I now own several of its big brothers in larger calibers, as well as the double-stack 380.

      1. Glad you had such luck. I had a Bersa Thunder 380 and it was a piece of crap. It literally fell apart. A friend of mine that has owned a gun store for 30 years and is a gun smith couldnt believe what a piece of cheap tin it was.

        1. that’s what I just seed about a BERSA Thunder if you were lucky and got one that worked and is still working you better thank god it don’t blow up some day or something don’t happen to it being made in ARGENTINA.

          1. Argentina isn’t Mexico or China. They’ve got a modernized military industrial base. The Bersa Thunder Pro pistols are some of the most reliable pistols you can buy.

    2. I own a Bersa Thunder too. It has always been a good shooting gun, light and fits my hand well. The two things I don’t like are
      – with the mag removed the slide will not lock open, slams shut as soon as you remove the mag. The slot in the slide is not deep enough.
      – The safety lever seems very thin and frail. I worry about it eventually cracking so that I won’t be able to disengage the safety when I need to.

    3. man you got lucky with that Bursa I made the mistake of buying one and it was just junk made in ARGENTINA man when are people going to quit buying this junk from a country like these hi points are better than these things.

    4. I also have a Bersa Thunder. It’s one of my two favorite carry firearms. It cost little to purchase and is easy to shoot and maintain. Never had a problem with it.

  24. Ok, for the newby’s out there, and some of you people still looking for the “perfect gun”. IMHO your first gun should be a (Drum Roll Please) a S&W 38/357 revolver, 4 inch. As my wife says, 6 for sure. Learning to shoot well and having to shoot a ill fitting gun or a gun that will not run, is the ultimate in frustration. A good S&W 19/66/586/686 will shoot 10 ring groups at 25 yards all day long. Plenty of grip options for small hands to Gorilla hands. If you start with 38 specials (148 Wadcutters Target loads nice light load) you can shoot all day. And it doesn’t need any break-in period. You will never wear it out. My favorites, 686 6″, 686 4″, 15 5″, 66 21/2″, 629 Classic 8 3/8, Ruger BLackhawk, 357 4 5/8″ 648 1/2″ and to appease the semi-auto gods, Para Ordnance P14 LTD (2 of them), Springfield 1911 (had it 25 years), Ruger MKII Government 6 1/2 bull barrel (a tack driver)

    1. While the .38 is a great first weapon, do not discount the .22 Many manufacturers make a .22 that has similar geometry to their larger calibers. For the new shooter the tiny bit “kick” from the plinker round will allow them to work on fundamentals and easily shoot hundreds of rounds a session …. when you can find the ammo 😉

  25. There is a telling irony to this story. This woman is too emotionally wrought to have a gun. The evidence of her experiences, as recounted in the “lessons”, suggests she is reduced to tears when her gun fails to operate properly. She is an emotionally fragile female and should be consigned to the kitchen (of course remove all knives and other sharp instruments first!).

    1. I know her and I can tell you that your read of her is far off the mark that it is laughable. Stick to something else other than trying to psychoanalyze people after reading something they’ve written because you suck out loud at it tard.

  26. I bought my first gun and hated it – it was a great deal on a S&W .40 something or other – I couldnt hit the side of building with it ever. I had been shooting a sig saur 229 .9mm and was razor sharp so my logic said jump and buy a .40 S&W in which I had never shot but was a gun club awesome deal. what a stupid mistake!!! I’m back to the 9mm Sig and LOVING IT for my size hands.

  27. Wow! Been there, done that! Lots if good points! I myself just faced the challenge of choosing a sub compact 1911. Was seriously considering the Kimber but read so many negative reviews from gun instructors, I chose the S&w sheild instead. It shoots like a dream.
    I love most of my guns like children. Hard to say I hate any of them. But I did but a snub nosed hammer less pocket carry 357 mag. Wow, it’s like an exploding firecracker in your hand. It spanks! I won’t shoot anything but 38 special in it. It’s a safe queen now.

  28. “Have you ever bought a gun and wish you hadn’t”?

    A Taurus before the restructuring. A used 70’s/80’s model 66 that wouldn’t group worth a damn even in a bench vise. Different ammo was used too. It was just a pos. Last used gun I ever purchased.

  29. So what rationale did they use to try to talk you out of the Kimber and into something else? I’ve found that I can be swayed with logic — but not with the “c’mon little lady, you don’t want that” that is so often prevalent in gun stores.

    As a large, large-handed woman, I’ve found a standard 1911 fits my hand nicely. I still find that some naturally point better than others, and in fact my regular carry gun is a double-stack 9mm.

    1. This is why I stopped using gun stores in general. My gunsmith sells guns, and I have another dealer who can order anything I want. Both treat me like a real person, so I can trust their advice. I have small hands and can always depend on a sub compact to fit..

  30. I also have small hands and always buy sub compacts. I’m really satisfied with my Glock 39 .45GAP, which is my carry gun and is carried in a pocket holster. I also have a 9mm Beretta, and a small Ruger revolver. I like my guns simple. The Beretta is probably the most complicated gun I own. Really like the article, well written, I couldn’t stop reading and hope to hear more from this author. A final word: As a woman, I really hate any firearm accessory that’s made specially for women. Any combination of colors that includes pink makes me want to throw up. I am a shooter and a permit holder. I think most female shooters are more concerned about the reliability of their guns and equipment than fancy pink and black holsters – yuck!

  31. By far, this is one of the best pieces of “gun business” writing I have ever had the pleasure to read.

  32. I can’t say bad words about Glocks but I just don’t like them. They fit funny in my hand and the triggers just feel spongy to me. I am however a HUGE fan of he XD series from Springfield. I now own three and have never had a failure. I really like the feel of a CZ but so far have only purchased a clone. I do like the feel of it though and I shoot it very well.

    1. My first (and only) gun is a Springfield XD. Love the fit and the fact that the safety is in the grip. When shopping for a firearm, it was kind of like the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” . . . this one’s too big . . . this one’s too heavy . . . etc. Glocks didn’t fit. The Baretta nosed over because it was front heavy. The XD was just right. I have friends who swear by their Glocks but I couldn’t make them work for me. Moral of the story? Listen to your body. Buy a gun which pairs uniquely with you.

      1. I have and XDS single stack and holds 6 with one in the tube it is light weight and sights well with the stock glow sight you can get a mag that hold 7 it just makes the grip longer it is the 45 cal and shoots great groups at 18 and 25 feet if the target is behold that they must not be coming at you,so hold fire till needed/1″ wide and conceals nice

    2. My feelings exactly. There’s nothing wrong with them but I can’t stand to shoot them.

    3. +1 for the opinions of TheOnlyKarsh. I am a CRSO and instructor, and have fired a LOT of platforms. Glocks do work, but I do not like the “feel” of them and their lack of any safeties (regardless of what the Glock fans have to say) makes them not acceptable to me. I have seen more than my fair share of Glock-leg in the LEO communities. Now, on the other hand, I do love my XDs (I have x5 of them), and some high-end 1911s (not Kimbers), and CZs, and HKs, and most Sigs, and and and. A running gun that is reliable and comfortable in the hand is a beautiful gun, irrespective of anything else.

      1. I have a S&W stainless 1911 in .45 acp and it is a great.gun. I broke out the Dremel and a poliching wheel with compound and it never fails to feed, even with hollow points! Is smooth as silk now!

    4. I love my Glocks, that being said, I HATED the triggers, I replaced them with an aftermarket Vogel competition trigger.

    5. TheOnlyKarsh…, I totally agree with you. I just retired from the military and have been around a lot of guns. I like Glocks and have always liked them, but they are just NOT for me. I don’t like how they feel in my hand, I don’t like the trigger feel, I don’t like the fact that they don’t have a manual safety, after over 20 years of being in production. Many Glock owners, especially those in Law Enforcement have shot themselves accidentally because of the LACK of a manual safety lever. It is a very embarrassing fact that is not discussed much. Many Law Enforcement Officers have what is called “Glock Leg,” something that I have NO desire to acquire.

      I have a Springfield Armory XD 9, I have never had any problems with it, and it has a grip safety. It’s a very well engineered weapon and is, I my humble opinion, a superior weapon to any Glocks or Smith and Wesson, Beretta, Ruger, Kimber, etc. I really think that Kimbers are over-rated and over-priced. I have heard complaints from several Kimber owners of frequent jams and malfunctions. I will never buy one. The same way that I won’t ever buy a High Point, SCCY, Radon, Taurus or Kel-Tec.

      I also have a Bersa Thunder 380, which is an excellent choice for Concealed Carry purposes. It’s very reliable and is a great value. I think the Bersa brand has been over-looked because of its affordability. However, they are worth every penny.

      1. Sig Sauer are great weapons also, but I think they are over-priced also. At least they are reliable and accurate. However, I would probably buy one eventually, but they are NOT particularly good looking weapons. They have some very unusual designs, and they don’t offer a manual safety, that is a problem for me. Some of them have a “de-cocker,” instead of a safety. I think that was a very STUPID decision. The -de-cocker is completely useless as a safety substitute !!!!!!!!!

        1. The de-cocker is a great safety feature! They had double/single action triggers. When de-cocked they will be in double action mode requiring a longer heavier trigger pull. So you can carry it with out a safety and with out a light trigger.

    6. Springfield XDM 4.5″ 9mm best gun I have ever had. Glock fits my hand kind of funny too. I think i’m going to get me a compact springfield xd series this weekend for carry

  33. I agree with this article. Very well written. There are hundreds of guns in a gun shop- but not all of them are right for YOU. In fact, only a small percentage are.
    I/my wife was very fortunate. When I took her shopping for her first pistol, I expected she’d end up with a compact .380- or something similar. Her choice- a full-sized S&W M&P 9mm…. she loved it then- and hundreds of rounds later- she still loves it. She likes it better than a dozen guns she’s tried since then, including any of mine.
    No one else can say what the best gun is for someone else.

  34. I have several guns over the years, My first I bought from a Police officer I didn’t know a lot about guns because my father did not allow guns in the house. But that gun thought me something before you buy one check it out this one had an egg shaped barrow an I could not hit the broad side of a barn. After many different makes of guns over I found that 9mm was the best for me The Smith And Wesson

    M&P that has grips that are inter changeable work great for my hand. I have two now one standard and one compact love them both. The first one I tried I was in enforcement and they issued it my Marksman ship improved better than it had with any other gun I had ever had.

  35. Great article! My little hands are happy with my officer model 1911, steel frame and little recoil. It’s kind of a bear to conceal, though.

  36. Very well written article and I have to agree with pretty much everything the author said, except… (Here it comes)

    I LOVE KIMBER’S!!! Okay, there it is!

    I personally own six (6) Kimbers and carry one daily and have had no problems with any of the ones I won and I have put a minimum of 500+ rounds through every single one with the notable exception of my safe queen which has only seen 5 rounds shot through it after several thousand dollars worth of custom work done on it.

    Now having said all that, guns and individuals are like snowflakes. No two are the same and each one is unique, even if they look identical. YOU have to choose which gun is right for you and just because it is right for you doesn’t mean it is right for me and vice versa.

  37. I have had a long battle with my wife’s BG 380’s First one FTF Hammer dragging on slide frame. #2 Laser no workie. #3 laser was a shotgun pattern . #4 Firing pin broke first whack. I was tired of sending it back so talked S&W into sending a firing pin. When they FINALLY got them, they sent 3. Found that you had to pull trigger to frame HARD to make it fire and had many FTF. Bought the trigger kit from a well known company and continued with FTF. Did some work on the slide for more hammer / firing pin contact and installed a hammer spring spacer and learned that Federal primers were the most sensitive. Now I’m going through dozens of powder / bullet combinations to find one that will group center of mass. My wife likes the BG better than the PPK and Glock 42. I am stuck making this little monster a workable reliable piece. God should have stopped me from buying this POS!

  38. My .38 s&w wheel gun has never been in the shop. My beat up hi-standard .22 is fine for my self defence too. I can practice all kinds of positions and quick fire situations. Most people I know don’t want to be in front of me pointing a gun at me. Those 22s can make a mess out of a brain.

  39. AWESOME article, I am so much in agreement with. I Alma small framed man and have loved guns for ever, but we smaller handed people have a very select range of guns to choose from. This one of the reasons I went with the M&P series pistols, and to boot my wife really like them so we carry M&p’s, hers is a compact and mine is the full size, and we can exchange magazines. One again thank you for a great article. My only problem Glocks are the arrogant owners.

  40. Great article! You made some very good points concerning research and reviews and what actually transpires once the gun is in your hands. Before I bought my first handgun, I went to a store that was also a range and they rented guns. Try before you buy is a wonderful concept, especially with guns, and they made it easy. I tried out quite a few guns before zeroing in on a S&W M&P40. After 2,000 rounds and almost two years I am extremely happy with my choice.

  41. Phenomenal article. Thanks so much for sharing.

    It’s great that you were able to overcome your initial problems. This should be a cautionary note to everyone who makes blanket or universal recommendations to new shooters. A small M1911 in 45ACP, for example, will not be the best choice for all newbies.

    Good luck on your ongoing journey.

  42. I’ve never had any issues with any pistol I’ve bought so far. Started out with SA .40/.45, then moved to Kimber/Randal 1911’s. But now the only one I carry is a HK p30. That’ll be my carry for a long time.

  43. My carry pistol is a Ruger P-85 chambered in 9mm. I’ve owned this for 9 years, and have yet to have an issue with it. The only other pistol I owned that i liked as much was a Walther P-99 chambered in .40 cal. I sold the walther because I needed the cash at the time, but I will never part with the Ruger. Mainly because Ruger no longer makes the P-85, and also because it operates better than any handgun I ever owned. All in all, a good piece of gear.

  44. Got a Sig, a Girsan, 2 Tisas, a TriStar and a Hi Point. Like the quality of my Turkish Guns, my Sig 1911 Nightmare is a beauty, but I have ran several hundred rounds, close to 1900 through my Hi Point and it has never failed. Say what you will but if the Hi Point breaks they fix it or replace it, no matter how many times it has changed owners.
    Gun Snobs be Damned, Bad Guys don’t give a crap how ” Pretty” your gun is, all they know is something hit them!

    1. Amen there. I currently have a Hi Point that I traded a friend for, and even though it is a little big and clunky, I have never had a problem with it, I have not yet had the opportunity to try out the warranty, but I have heard it is an industry leader.

        1. You should know that most of the world considers messages typed in all caps to be “shouting”, and generally the mark of someone mentally disturbed or flat out crazy.

            Only the most brilliant of morons would consider itself under audio attack by
            the typed alphabet.
            Perhaps you’re also a sexual deviant? Lots of that “LGBT insensitivity” accusations going around.

        2. I cleaned mine without any issues. Then again, I have small brushes and wooden tools to hold cleaning patches which I use to clean the interior. I cleaned it up after I bought it and after the first run WITHOUT disassembling it. (Haven’t had it out to the range for an extended run yet…) However, considering the current generation of Hi-Points are designed to go up to 1500 rounds between cleanings and you have pretty much raised a moot point.

        3. why I have thrown my old cheap hi point in the river ran over it just to see if it wood still work and the are not that hard to brake down you just got to know what your doing that’s all. and you know that cheap thing still feeds and works better than some of the guns you give seven or eight hundred for.

        4. No need to caps-lock shout, but yes, the HiP does require pressing out a roll pin and catching a spring and a small part to disassemble/strip it. You can do all right by spraying it out with gun cleaner&lube, using the high pressure straw. You can grease the rails if you want after that.

    2. It’s good to know your Hi point is serving you well so far but it’s only 1900 rounds. I have close to 10,000 rounds through my Glock 17 with only 4 feed malfunctions all on FMJ target practice rounds (usually the cheap Winchester white box ammo) and never a feed malfunction on SD ammo. One malfunction was because the round didn’t have a primer. Once a gun can do this then you can start really saying you have a reliable firearm. Other than the 4 feed malfunctions on cheap practice ammo the gun has never malfunctioned. Not to mention it takes about 6 seconds to break down a Glock. Get your tool belt out to break down your Hi point.

  45. Great article! I have weak forearm muscles from being a dental hygienist and realized a 38 snub nose was actually my best bet for my first CCW. I had trouble with my husbands slide on his 45 and finally settled for safety and accuracy over coolness!

  46. My first handgun was a smith and Wesson .40 cal., I have now a Tanfoglio Witness .45 and a Ruger SR9C. And the can both thread a needle. Never had any issues, but I keep them clean and oiled at all times. Firearm maintenance is the most important aspect of having a well firing firearm, regardless of the make and model.

  47. My Walther PPK/S was the greatest disapointment of my firearms life. It “bit” me every time I pulled the trigger. I tried over ten different makes of ammo and none ran without jams. I even had an accidental discharge at the range while loading a fresh mag (Thankfully, I always practice proper muzzle discipline). It may have been cool for 007, but not for me.

    1. That’s funny, my Manurhin PPK/S copy runs flawlessly with ball ammo. Hollowpoints are not always as reliable though. It has bit me once, and after that I watch my grip better when I’m shooting it.

  48. Of all the semi autos I’ve handled, only the CZs fit like a glove… and then the 1911s, and a distant third is the Beretta 92FS. I own a Glock only because I got one for half the going rate — it’s the worst-fitting for my hand. (Sorry Glock fans.) I don’t own a 1911 or Beretta because CZs are simply a much better value, quality, and perform flawlessly. Customer as well as community support can only be paralleled by a few companies like Ruger.

  49. I would add – check for available holsters and accessories. Nothing is more fustrating than buying a new gun only to find out there are VERY LIMITED options for holsters. My first gun only had three manufacturer producing holsters. Was not going with a generic one size fits all holster so I ended up paying over $100 for a good concealment holster where other guns had good quality holsters fur $65

  50. Great read ! Best advice I ever got don’t buy a gun you haven’t shot rent it first from a gun range a lot of times if you buy they will for go the rental cost!

  51. Every since my first glock this hasn’t been a problem. I love my sigs too but the price tags are up there. Function over for always. Great read.

  52. my first gun was a Bersa Thunder .380. Checked it out at the store, researched it online and found nearly zero issues reported and almost rabid love for it, and took a chance. Been a fantastic gun. Second was a Ruger SR1911 – same story.

  53. I notice however, that you choose to not even mention, much less discuss the fact that you committed the cardinal sin of purchasing a handgun – you apparently didn’t try out the model you were interested in before purchasing it. You handed your husband a list of requirements, then took his word on which guns were best for you – essentially, you let him make your decision for you. I’m fairly new to instructing, but have had a 30+ year passion for firearms. Anytime anyone has asked me what gun they should buy, I’ve always said the same thing: “Only you can decide that. Go rent several different guns – even ones you think you might not be interested in, shoot them, & see how they feel in your hand, & how you do with them.”
    Nothing beats hands on experience, not just regarding guns, but in most areas of life. Just because something looks good on paper, doesn’t mean those stats will stand up to the scrutiny of real-world testing & usage. If you want proof of that, look no further than the Detroit Lions. On paper, they were quite impressive this part season – how did that work out for them?
    All that being said, I have a Kimber Pro-Carry II. I love it, but I would never use it for concealed carry. Why? Because I know its limitations. Kimbers have a reputation for being finicky regarding ammo & magazines, as well as maintenance requirements. I also wouldn’t want to have to worry about it being taken as evidence if I ever needed to use it. Plus, it was a deployment gun, & I was lucky enough to get S/N 1 of 58 made.

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a cardinal sin. Yes, it’s ideal to be able to try before you buy but not everyone has that opportunity and sometimes you have to roll the dice.
      I grew up shooting guns and the first handgun I ever shot was a 1911 so I was biased towards it. I did have an idea of what I liked and didn’t like. But was very ignorant about some of the finer firearms I didn’t have experience with. I chose a 1911, not because my husband picked it for me, but because it was what I picked amongst other recommendations he thought I might like. I still love (and continue to love) 1911s. Between my husband and I we’ve owned somewhere around twenty 1911s (four of them Kimber).
      But my love for 1911s also illustrates the changes that come with training and experience, too. I still love 1911s but I don’t carry them because my personal preferences and needs in a carry gun have changed.
      Lots of people who choose a first-time firearm will find their preferences will change over time as they train and learn new things. That’s not a bad thing at all. I’ve had many students bring “good” guns to classes that they chose well only to decide they weren’t what they thought they wanted by the end of class. It happens all the time and it’s okay.

  54. I found that cz and s&w semi auto metal frame pistols fit my small hands nicely. Only bad thing the s&w pistols I like have been discontinued I have the model 411 and model 4566. Some polymer pistols are to big for my hands that’s why I like my steel frame pistols.

  55. Find your own comfort range with a gun. Most people don’t like a trigger with a lot of float before the break. I actually have adapted well to that float, and work well with it.

  56. Sure are hard on Kimbers. I have two,, one a CDP Pro.. The finest gun I have ever shot. I also love my Glocks but they are not the gun my CDP is.

  57. my first was a ruger sr9… if you all remember the recall and safety scare that accompanied the release you will understand why I regretted buying it after sending it back to rugee

  58. I own a bunch of handguns and was finally able to get my wife to go to the range with me (she had a bad experience at WalMart). Tried her out on revolvers first, (sp101 and SW J-frame) and she hated them. Didn’t have the finger strength to pull the trigger and keep the sights on target. Next I tried the CZ’s I own. They all have very strong recoil springs so she had trouble pulling back the slide. All this frustrated her to the point that she didn’t want to continue. Finally had her try one of the Springfield XDs I own and she really took off! She is now really excited about shooting the XD.

  59. Great article. I, too, made a huge mistake in my first buy. Oh, how important trigger reach is! I’ve since tried several other manufacturers and Kahr and Glock are my favorites. The Gen 3 Glocks were just too bulky for my very small hands. Our local Glock rep spoke at my Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapter and brought them all for us to try. The ability to change the back strap has now made Glock an option for me…I needed the smallest. I was impressed…tried many from .380 to .45 and hit my target with the first shot every time. I now have a 34 with long slide for target shooting and getting ready to buy the 42 for carry. The new 9mm will be next! Glock may not be the prettiest and may not come in multi colors, but I haven’t had any jams and I hit what I’m aiming at.

  60. I have owned 4 Smith and Wesson M&Ps and 3 of them I shot once and hated them so much I brought them back immediately. The 4th….the Shield, I love. It is my love of the Shield that pushed me to kept trying other M&Ps (45, 45C and Bodyguard) but to me they aren’t in he same league as the Shield. I am done with Smith and Wesson (though since my wife has taken over my Shield I might have to get a second one). I have tried many different handguns over the years and always seem to come back to Sigs. They are heavy….they have a ridiculously high bore-axis and they are too expensive. But they work….and yes they are good looking as well!

  61. Got ma a Ruger SR9c.. Everyone told me I will regret it etc.. 1200 rounds later, no malfunction of any kind and pin point accuracy quickly changed their minds about the gun.. This is a very reliable gun and with 17+1 capacity, able to stop multiple attackers..

  62. Feel free to delete this, but just a grammar PSA: Myriad = many. “You don’t say there were a myriad of… ” but you say “there were myriad…”

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it helps me convince my wife to start carrying.

  63. Excellent article. I would add that when buying, be sure to have the option at the range to try out different guns. I have a G20/10mm and love it. I never modified it in the 15 yrs I’ve had it. But I have large hands. Take the time to shop around for your first gun and never be afraid to ask others what their experiences are. The more you learn, the better the decision will be for you.

  64. I have an XD – love it. Also bought a .45 Taurus one day when I thought it was a good idea – don’t like it much but I can make it run with extra effort. Took a 5-day course with my Ruger P95 and although it is more “complicated” than some other firearms I own, I did it intentionally so by the end of the course I felt very confident I could pick up almost anything and make it work. Now, I run the P95 very smoothly and can do a mag swap and clear a malfunction faster than you can say “high capacity magazine”. My shooting buddy owns several Glocks and although I can’t say anything bad about them, Glocks just aren’t for me.

  65. I recently bought a Beretta 9fs. I know it is not the best for carry & conceal can anyone suggest a decent hip holster?

  66. Re: Kimber issue. I have a Kimber Ultra Covert II, 1911, .45 cal, had many hiccups during break-in, smoke stacks, double feeds, etc. Now have close to 1k rounds thru it and it runs fines. The other two 1811 are Springfield Champion and Range Officer both .45, and enjoy shooting both, with few if any hiccups. While the Glocks and XDs are fine guns and get great reviews from multiple sources, I do not care for the feel, or the lack of external safeties. But then again, to each their own. Overall, thought article was well written. Gun handling SAFETY, SAFTEY Always first and foremost

  67. Excellent article Melody! I have about average size hands for a guy, which allows me to shoot most things, though the H&K USP that I someday wanted has such a huge grip, I can’t comfortably hold it and squeeze the trigger. I have a G27 because I like a larger caliber than a 9, though I want to get the pieces to be able to convert it to a 9mm G26 and also a .357 Sig. I have a .357 S&W L-frame and a .44 Mag Taurus and PT1911, as well as a Beretta 96 .40 cal and a Kimber Ultra Carry II .45. I also used to have an XD Compact .45 and Subcompact .40. I will probably replace the .45 someday, it was an awesome gun. I liked my Subcompact too, but the G27 is a bit thinner and more rounded for concealed carry. To me, the Glock Gen III’s shoot the same as my XD’s, I don’t really notice a difference, other than the grip safety. I got used to the weird little flip that every .40 cal I’ve shot has, and I don’t notice it anymore. Also, the Kimber shoots awesome, just as well as the PT1911 even with the shorter barrel. I learned on the Beretta, the PT1911, and it’s the same with the Kimber, that they are sensitive to grip and magazines. I have two stainless Kimber 8 round magazines that work in either gun, and one that jams constantly. I also have that problem with one of the Beretta factory mags. Even the Glock is a slight bit sensitive to proper grip. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I suspect that without a firm grip on any of them(the ones with grip safeties obviously), the gun may jam. With a proper grip and reliable mags, it doesn’t happen. My 2 cents.

  68. Great article about first time gun buying. My first gun, a Lady Smith 3914, is still my favorite. I bought it over 18 yrs ago. It’s never had a misfeed or jammed on me – can’t beat that reliability for CCW.

  69. I don’t mind polymers on rifles or shotguns. But I can not stand a polymer pistol. I have bought several and ended up selling them within weeks. You can have your Glocks. I will keep my 1911s and SP101s.

  70. Very good article, one of the better article with some great information without the bias or loyalty of a particular brand. Good job I look forward to reading more from you.

  71. LOL, good article, I have been shooting for years in the Marines and beyond, I also bought my first brand new Kimberly just a few years ago the worst gun I ever bought, luckily I found a buyer and got rid of it and moved out of state, I do own a Kimberly and will never part with it. My last purchase was a LEO program S/W E class 1911 very pretty light weight and so far off center it is having to go back to S/W for repair, when I first called S/W they gave me the old bs that well it sounds like you and the gun smith I had taken it to for adjustment may have poor shooting skills, uh yeah right. Finely found someone their that gave a cap about there reputation and it has been sent in, still a bit skeptical but we will see, I found it strange that this weapon costing over a grand would be so far off but yet a 365.00 S/W .40 cal M & P shield right out of the box would shoot just as well as my Wilson Combat go figure…

  72. Very good article. Gota Sig. P220. Love everything about it but the stock sights. It fired so low and left I was sorry I bought it. I love my XDM shoots great accutrate as heck. Put Micropolite sights on Sig. Much better but still a disappointment.

    1. Yes, great article and expresses what I have been thinking for awhile.
      My first gun buy was a Sig 2022 .40. Think it is a great gun but just too big for my small, girlie hands. I too fire low and left with it. Put a laser on it as I have it by my bedside for SD purposes. Don’t want to be missing low and left with it when it counts.
      May look to something better fitting and smaller caliber such a a 9mm.

  73. A compact .40 would definitely be far down the list of SD handguns I’d suggest for a novice shooter.

    Good article.

    1. For a novice or a woman, I totally agree. 9mm is a better choice. Personally I carry a Kimber Ultra Carry 45 ACP or my Glock 29 in 10mm. I would also never recommend a novice to carry, just shooting at a range until they are competent and totally comfortable.

  74. Universal M1 Carbine. I wanted an M1 so bad that I leaped at a $200 Universal when I saw one at my LGS. It was a horrible jam-o-matic. I finally traded it in for an unissued CZ-52 (which runs like a champ for a handgun made in 1954) after I put down the real money for a USGI Rock-Ola M1 Carbine.

  75. Melody,
    Ironically I too own a Kimber Ultra Raptor II, sub-compact Officer’s model 1911.
    Online research indicated it was better than any other 1911 out there and at a good price point.
    I opted for it instead of a Wilson Combat because, at that time, the Kimber was billed “as good as the Wilson Combat” by everyone on the ‘net… eight years later I’m still kicking myself over that decision to this very day and I no longer have the cash to buy a Wilson Combat.

    When I started to get premature lockback issues (upon recoil) with this Kimber, it became unreliable in my mind. After two gunsmiths and trial and error, I can only assume that tiny 1911 makes it impossible for me to NOT accidentally activate the slide lock upon recoil, there’s not much to grip onto with such a small grip with no pinky finger control, the pinky just hangs out there.

    So experience taught me an expensive lesson: full sized grips only for me.

    BTW, my Kimber’s mainspring housing is made of plastic, I only found this out when I had the Kimber shipped to Wilson Combat (ironic) for their Armor Tuff coating and they informed me they had to replace the original plastic mainspring housing with a steel version of their own.

    Also, Wilson says they don’t work on compact 1911’s anymore as they feel they cannot guarantee reliable functioning because of past experience as well as their philosophy that 1911’s were never meant to be that compact.


  76. I would NEVER push a new shooter to the .40S&W. It’s just too damn snappy for a new shooter.

  77. There are a lot of places that you can rent and shoot the gun before you purchase it. I went through this with my wife and she tried the Shield, XDs and the Walther PPS, all in 9mm single stack. She choose the Walther. She said it fir in her hand the best and was very comfortable when firing it as well. We were even able to try both of the back straps it comes with when we rented it.

  78. Great article. Some really good points. As a smaller framed man with much smaller hands and wife who has hands even smaller than mine, this article has some great points and some great ideas and info.

  79. Great article, very easy to read, even for a noob like me, so thank you for that. I really appreciate all of the great info, I’m so glad I found this community, everyone here is helpful and decent but without sounding condescending.

    I have had a Springfield 1911 Range Officer for 6 months now, it is my first gun, and so far, after a couple thousand rounds, (knock on wood, polymer and steel) it has been flawless. Before I bought it, I went to the range and rented a bunch of guns, among them was a Springfield 1911 Range Officer. I loved how it felt, how it shot, pretty much everything about it. But since I was new to this, I waited a few months and tried out even more guns. I ended up going back to that 1911, and I’m happy I did. That being said, I think the only way to find a gun that will fit you is by shooting a bunch of guns. Go to a range, rent a few, compare, contrast, have fun with it and eventually I think you will find what works for you. It damn sure beats walking into a gun store and just going with what some salesman tells you is the next big thing.

  80. I had a Taurus Slim, every 10th to 12th if would not fire. Tried 5 different types of ammo with no luck. Now I know why some people say you either like or really dislike a Taurus. Good article.

    1. ***
      HI C–I bought the Taurus 709 slim stainless. Very reliable with different brands of 9mm ammo. Nicely rounded and compact. My only kick is that in dim light it’s hard to get a proper sight picture. Failure to fire is about 1 out of 100 rounds. Seems like an occasional primer problem–clearing it and putting the round back in again always fires it.

  81. When I first got my CCH, my wife wanted to treat me to a fitting CC firearm. Did the research and settled on a Glock 36. POS doesn’t begin to describe it. I wanted a larger capacity mahazine and a better fit for my hand so I got the mag extensions. Everytime I shot, the gun felt loose like it was going to fall apart. Someone suggested I loze the extensions but it still felt like an old Dodge in my hands. Plus it flew out of my hands a few times cause the grip was miniscule. I eventually sold it and none too soon. I bought taurus PT145 and it is ten times the gun that Austria produced. I now also have a Glock 22 .40 cal which is ok but still lacks any type of comfort in my hand. When my index finger reaches for the trigger, the tip of my finger rubs on the bottom of the guard and throws off my shot. These are not guns for big handed people. In truth, my opinion is that they all suck!

  82. Great article! I went to buy a first gun for my 20 something petite daughter with small hands and narrow wrists. Thinking that she needed a small gun with little recoil, we bought her a Taurus PT22. Big mistake. The trigger pull was well over ten pounds, she couldn’t pull it more than a few times before her finger strength was gone. Also, it is very picky with ammunition, CCI only, everything else fails to eject after a few rounds. I know that .22 is not considered a good defensive round but thought that that was the only recoil she would be able to handle. After the problems she had with the gun, I decided to let her test a 380 and a 9mm, surprise, surprise, she had no problems with them. We are now in the process of deciding which gun and caliber we will buy to replace the Taurus. Anybody want a Taurus PT22?

  83. I have a Walther P22 and a Ruger LCP. I like them both, but find that the grip of the LCP is too short even for my small hands! I even got a magazine that holds one more round. It extends the grip a bit, but not enough for comfort. The P22 is much more comfortable in my hand.

  84. …so she went with a plastic pistol with warning labels all over it for dumb people. The reason why they are making guns so hard without engaging 4 safeties is for people that the warning “gun capable of firing with magazine removed” was put on that POS for

  85. My 5’10” wife went to a firearms store which, against my advice to her and them, sold her a Walther PPKS which was too small a pistol for her and which gave her horrible problems trying to put the second and subsequent rounds on target due to recoil. She was horribly upset with her experience and went back to the same gun store which was looking to unload yet another “lady’s gun” on her: she bought a Colt 1911 in .380 ACP, and had even worse results. The WA State Trooper who taught shooting to the class of women finally asked her to find another pistol before she went back to class. Fortunately, I was shooting in an adjacent lane and she asked to borrow my Colt 1911 in .45 ACP. In one hour, she was producing excellent results and by the last day of her class had out-scored her classmates in all IPSIC-style trials.

    It took me nine years to get my Colt 1911 back. Unfortunately, she bought a Kimber 1911 — which has had a very expensive childhood.

  86. Kimbers are for people who wear a lot of Jewelry, That’s about the best way to explain it.
    For the money, there are so many better choices out there. I have been doing this for 45 years “carry evry day” and what looks pretty or sharp to you, doesn’t mean a dam thing if it doesn’t perform every time, not sometimes or most times, every time.
    Coming from a Revolver in the 60’s, I kind of got used to a bullet coming out the other end when I pulled the trigger, “not an excuse”.
    I have found Glock to be the best functioning gun over time then any other gun, although I do pocket carry a Kahr PM9, because I have an excellent, specimen that shoots dead on accurate, is small enough to disappear and never ever had an issue. When a gun has a problem, I immediately sell it.
    If you learn anything from this, learn this, if you get a gun that gives you problems from day 1, and has been “fixed” more than 2 times at the manufacturers, and still gives you a problem, just get rid of it, I don’t care how pretty or how much it cost.
    It ain’t worth getting killed over.

  87. I’m on the other end of the trigger reach dilemma; my trigger reach is almost 4 inches. The only gun I have been able to make even close to fitting me is a Glock 21 full size with Pachmayr slip-on. No concealed carry for me….

    1. I’m a smaller guy, and I concealed carried a Glock 21 for about 6 months. You can do it with the right holster. Plus, there are modified grips you can use with smaller pistols for larger hands.

  88. My #1 lesson is to learn how to grip a pistol properly before trying to find one that “fits your hand”. I went decades with an improper grip and issues with accuracy and repeatibility, especially with fast shooting. Since I’ve learned a proper grip, I’ve shown others how to grip their pistol correctly, and viola! their ill-fitting pistol that they “hate” all of a sudden fits their hand. Watching other people at the range, I would estimate that 2/3ds or more shooters do not know how to grip a pistol correctly.

  89. The only pistol I have ever regretted buying was a S&W 420 Airweight in .38spl: Recoil was hideous, trigger pull was obscene, and the chances of actually hitting the broadside of a barn was extremely remote…

  90. She ran into the same problem that many owners of new kimbers run into – they are built to tight tolerances and have L O N G break-in periods, 400 – 500 rounds per the manufacturer, and require cleaning/lubricating the firearm every hundred rounds during break-in. Before they are broken in, stovepipes, FTEs, etc, are NORMAL. Either she failed to read the owner’s manual, or the salesperson failed to inform her (or both!).

  91. Im not a big fan of the capacity argument. Find, at least in my experience it encourages spray and pray. As an instructor I encouraged my students to to get the weapon they shoot best with. Regardless of capacity and drill drill drill. Enter a match a month.

  92. Great article. I have had several 1911s from colt, Llama and kimber. None were reliable enough to carry for SD. Great target guns but heavy, limited capacity and failed to work with hollow points. I have a G19 gen 2 that runs like a Swiss watch. 25 years never a malfunction. I also have a G27 and G30. The 27 is almost perfect compromise of size and capacity but is finicky with cheap ammo. Sent it to a gunsmith and fixed the extractor. Runs good now but hasn’t built my trust up yet. The 30 has been flawless but it’s too fat to carry concealed for me. So the bottom line is until they make a 10+ capacity, sub 15oz loaded with a minimum of 9mm that will fit in my pocket I will end up taking my titanium /scanduim jframe 90% of the time and keep the 19 in the glove box.

  93. Great article. I lucked out with my first hand gun which not shickingly enough was a glock 19. ive seemingly always had good luck with with all of my guns. However, to answer the authors questions.. so to speak… The gun i regret seeing purchased the most was my gfs Glock 42. Issues right off the bat.. sent it in to have the mags and internals swapped.. and still had the occasional ftf/fte. in her hands… not so much mine. I had a problem with her carrying it because I didnt trust it, and her, like yourself, tried so hard to have faith in it. After more range time it just proved itself to not fall under the same reliability umbrella as other Glocks so we finally sold it last week and are going to pick her up something else.

  94. Great article! My wife’s first CCW gun was a mistake.. it was a Beretta Pico… the guy at the gun store helped her choose. We sold that at a slight loss and got her a Glock 42 that she loves and shoots very well with. 🙂

  95. My first ever purchase was a S&W SD 9mm and I love it. However I made the same mistake. My second purchase was a Tuarus slime .40 for carry. I hated that thing with a passion. I am not a great shooter but better than what I could do with that thing. I sold it and bought a S&W 9mm Sheild and am a lot more accurate with it. I also purchased a Ruger LC380 for my wife. Why you ask. Because she has shot my SD 9 and the Ruger. The Ruger fits her better and she is more comfortable with it.

  96. 10 things is too many. narrow it down to 3: #1 – your brain is your best “weapon” and must be working at all times to keep you out of trouble and dangerous situations, #2 – your gun MUST work 100% of time and #3 – you MUST practice to the point that the guns usage is natural and mistake free. Of course getting #1 satisfied can be a pain and possibly impossible for many people.

  97. I have three Glocks. I started out with a G26 as my carry gun, then got a G17 for competition and recently won a G42 at a Glock shoot. The only problem I’ve had with any of them is that I have to be mindful of what ammo I run through the G42, as it will have failure to feed with underpowered ammo. I love my Glocks, they are light, dependable and fun. I love looking at the Kimbers, they sure are beautiful, but I’d never own one. A friend of mine shoots one in league and has no problems, but he bought his from someone we know and it was well broken in before he got it.

  98. Similar experience with a Kimberly Ultra Carry Ii. For what I paid for it, I could’ve bought any Glock, a high quality leather holster, and a case of ammo. Mainly it was the slide lock release that kept jumping up into the slide lock knotch. Kimberly sent a replacement…not much better.
    The most annoying thing was the need for a small stiff wire to hold the recoil spring back when field stripping. Had to make sure it was never lost or field stripping became much much more difficult.

    Which brings me to my two points…
    Glad to hear other’s have had problems with Kimber. All my friends were like, “wow, you gotta Kimber, dude!”. I was like, “wish I never bought it, dude.”

    That Kimber was a pain to field strip…and of course I eventually lost the little wire thingy…necessitating a day of searching for suitable replacement. My 2 cents…get a gun you can take down and clean quuckly with no hassle and no additional equipent….like a Glock. (Save maaaybe a ball point pen to push out the slide retainer pin like what is on the Ruger LCP, LCR)

  99. My first gun was an xd service in 9mm its had 6000 plus rounds through it never fails and still lives beside my bed . best choice i ever made.

  100. That was just plain stupid. It seems you make a lot of bad choices.Married at 21? That will last about as long as your Kimber, or just go through men like Kimbers and maybe you’ll find and ugly man made of plastic with no apparent safeties that is just right. Yes, that’s it!

  101. Im in the market for a subcompact polymer handgun in 9 mm or 45 acp. Im sick and tired of hearing all the problems these “reputable” firearms companies are having with there current above mentioned hadguns! Started with Springfield and then Glock and now S&W! I dont need to explain the problems with these new handguns! Most of you out there know what im talking about.It pisses me off that these problems were not corrected before hitting the consumer market. Shame on all of you! Lost my confidence on purchasing your firearms!

  102. Excellent Article Melody. I have had a lot of pricey guns that I thought would be great and had problems. I have bought and sold so many guns and my opinions have changed a lot over the years I have carried. It amazes me how a purchase of a expensive gun that I think will be the perfect fit and has problems ends up leading me to a cheap gun that I love. I remember dropping a fortune (For me anyway) the Colt first reintroduced the mustangs. For the first 1000 rounds it ran like a champ and then became a Jam-O-Matic. 3 trips back to Colt didn’t fix it. I finally traded it for a used beat up 9mm Shield with night sight and a Apex Trigger, and I love that gun.

    A second gun I thought I would love was a Sig P290. I thought it would be wonderful, and it was my very first SIG. After Many trips to the range and working with a firearms instructor for two range sessions, I just couldn’t handle the long heavy trigger. I am not a great shot, but I couldn’t keep it on the paper at 20ft with that gun. I ended up trading it at a gun show for a scratched up well carried Taurus 605 357 Snubby. I love the Taurus. I carry it often as well. I find the heavier 357 with 38 Specials in it. Only 5 shots but I can connect and make rapid follow up shots with it better than any gun I have owned. And I love throwing some heavy 357 Wadcutters in it at the range for fun, but I don’t carry it with them.

  103. I bought the single stack 4″ Springfield XDs 9mm. Great gun. Ran great. Wasn’t for my bear paws. I can not shoot a single stack comfortably. I eventually traded it off for a 2″ Ruger SP101 which is one of my favorite guns of all time now. So not completely disappointed with the purchase. I guess I found a way to turn lemons into lemonade.

  104. To each his ( or her ) own.that being said I don’t think its accurate to judge all Kimbers,1911s,calibers that begin with 4 or all metal handguns based on your experience with a 40 s&w compact Kimber.for whatever reason Kimber has yet to perfect their compact guns.ive heard many malfunction stories about them.any caliber beginning with 4 is probably not the best choice for a beginner nor is the 1911 design.there is a plethora of handguns well suited to a small handed person of either gender already .i don’t see the need to spit in anyone’s drink for the reasons given anyway.there are still plenty of us with big hands and experience that are comfortable shooting larger guns and bigger calibers that believe its more important to put a few larger holes in a target rather than several small ones .

  105. I loved this article. Very relevant and true. I only wish my wife would like shooting, but alas..at least she lets me buy a new gun now and again without complaint! I researched long and hard and thought deeply about a home defense gun a few years back and bought a used police S&W 10-8 38 special revolver, I was very proud of it. But it bothered me. The cylinder seemed loose. At the same time my son was getting more into guns and got me interested too. Being an engineer I took the $269 S&W to pieces, and it’s still that way. Never fired. My next purchase, after much reading and thinking, would be my carry gun and home defence gun. My new surplus $230 Bulgarian Makarov .380 was the best gun I ever bought. I have it still, and it is the best defense and carry gun I have. Totally reliable, steel, blue, lovely, and blends to me in my fourth holster, a Safariland. I wear it outside my belt under my sweater and my son says he always forgets I have it on. I bought a second one, with feed issues, which I think I cured by bonding a shim to the mag release ledge the mag sits on, mag was too low! Then I got the bug. A few classic ex-military rifles later, I got a Glock 26, after much soul searching, for a car and pocket gun. Then a S&W Bodyguard .380 as carry backup and a shorts gun. The Glock goes in my jeans pocket, both guns fit inexpensive pocket holsters from Wal Mart. My son uses .40, but I used my noodle concerning the bigger may be better (or not) argument, and picked 9mm. To me is it the perfect compromise, more rounds, lighter, cheaper, does the job. The Glock is ugly. But I picked reliability, reputation, and function over form for my life’s protection. The BG380, I love. It’s a jewel. But light strikes are having me be a gunsmith right now. For fun I have a couple of single action army revolvers, a .45, a .44, and a second S&W .38, a few .22 revolvers, all for fun. I love my guns. They all suit my personality. I buy what suits me.

  106. I own eight Kimber Ultras, all in .45 ACP, seven of which I have fired, two of which have more than 1,000 rds each (the others 200-400 each), with production dates ranging from 2005 to 2013. All with internal extractors. None of them are jam-o-matics. All of them are reliable when held correctly using quality Winchester white box ammo fed from Kimber or Colt magazines. None of them rust. None of them are peening. None of them have broken parts. Yet I constantly see articles and posts about how crappy Kimbers are. I don’t know what alternate universe those people perhaps live in, or if there is another Kimber out there (I’m being sarcastic, of course there isn’t), but it isn’t my reality. And for that matter, I also have three Colt Defender types (Defender, New Agent, and New Agent TALO); and all of them work, too. And a Metro Arms Amigo, and that works, too. So much for the idea that short 1911s don’t work.

    1. Cool story dude. I also like Ram trucks…you probably like Ford for example. You hate said truck brand because you bought a lemon or two. I hate ford because they are overpriced garbage and i can get twice the truck in a Ram with a 6.7liter cummins for less money. Same with guns. I’ve had Taurus pt92, Thompson 1911 .45 acp custom, Springfield XDM 9mm, Ruger 44 mag super redhawk, taurus pt111, ruger 44 mag super blackhawk, ruger sr22, etc. I will never buy another taurus due to personal issues, and i am quickly getting turned away from the ruger sr22 i bought for my girlfriend due to issues. You own 8 Kimbers. That doesn’t mean numbers 9 and 10 were not junk. It just means you apparently haven’t received the junk. My preference is Springfield xdm. Does that mean someone else didn’t buy a lemon?

  107. I know how you feel, bought a Beretta 92SF when they came out years ago. Jammed, stove-piped, failed to feed, the factory mags were junk. Bought 4 steel mags from a catalog, it ran fine. However it was finicky about it’s ammo. Stop trusting it and sold it to a store that bought used guns. Buddy bought a Taurus 92 clone, gun printed over a pizza box at 15 yards. Barrel was so loose that I wrapped electrical tape for a barrel bushing to get it down to a ”pie plate”. Manufactured junk.

  108. My first handgun was a PPK/S that I bought because I liked the way it looked, and the way it felt in my hand.

    It turned out to be terrible idea. It hurt my hand when I fired it, it weighed over a pound and thus was impossible for me to carry half the time (based on how I dress being in FL) — it took me about 2 failed CCW gun options before I snapped to my senses and realized I needed to get a gun for the situation and not for range day. I switched to an LCP, and I can handle it just fine, I hate firing the damn thing.. but it works every time. I did buy a 637 .38 S&W this past year, and have started carrying it over the LCP, and I love it.

    I also can somehow relate to how you felt about your first Kimber failed you when you went to the range. In December 2014, I “bought myself a gift” of a Ruger Gunsite Scout in 5.56 –my first bolt gun, and I had ALWAYS wanted the 308 when it came out, but I went with the 5.56 because my Dad reloads them, so it was economical (in hindsight, wish I got the .308)…

    My first trip to the range? Failure to extract, bolt sticking, chambering issues… I was so upset I thought I could cry. I wanted my money back, as you said, knowing that that wasn’t possible. I got home and was so disgusted I didn’t even want to deal with Ruger customer service, I just threw it in a closet and wrote it off as an $800 loss.

    Luckily, my Dad took it, gave it a thorough one over, put a few hundred rounds through it, and it has worked through some of it’s glitches. It’s still sketchy, but probably 75%+ reliable now. I’m still upset about it. Honestly I wish I could sell the damn thing and just move on. 2014 was a year of extreme up and downs for me, and that was supposed to be my reward for sticking it out… yet it failed me! Ugh! 🙂

  109. Thank you Ms. Melody Lauer for let me know about your experience in how to identify the real individuals needs on selecting the right firearm,really thank you, your experience help me to decide how I really think before and for buy a gun. God bless you Amen.
    Thanks for your sincere experiences, you really help me.
    Alvin Martinez

  110. Why didn’t you contact Kimber about your issues? I had the same issues with a Kimber Solo Carry. Sent it to them. When I got it back it worked flawlessly. I also have an Ultra Carry in .45. Wouldn’t be without it. Best fun I’ve ever owned.

  111. I sit here speechless, amazed and relieved that you have put into words my experiences over the past 4 years with my Kimber Solo Carry that I was not able to put together so concisely and eloquently as you. I actually think I can sleep better tonight knowing, after all, its NOT me and I deserve better than settling for a firearm that I have zero confidence will save my life. TY, TY…TY! This article changed my life, right now at this moment!!!

  112. I also agree with much of this. I shoot a Kimber 1911 Gold Match 2 Stainless and it is my favourite pistol – runs great on STI mags. But I am one of those man-hand people the author ponders (3XL) Also love my CZ SP01 (which I tried after ditching a CZ75) and S&W 625 – but ditched my M&P Pro for accuracy issues (loved ergonomics and it ate anything but not so accurate for me). Wife has small hands and is ok with a CZ Orange. Gotta love variety and trial and error!

  113. I got burned by Colt wheelguns many times in the ’90s before I gave up on them. The 1911s weren’t bad, but the Gold Cup I ordered was roughly finished for the money. They’re MY Kimber experience.

  114. Excellent piece! I completely agree with all 10 of your points. Unfortunately in this age of social media, how a gun looks and how cool some popular you tubers think a particular gun is is driving many people to purchase guns that don’t run reliably. Also it’s become difficult to get honest reviews even in trusted periodicals due to the pressure from gun companies. There have even been trusted contributors black-balled for speaking the truth. I’m pretty amazed that you called out Kimber, I’m sure you will get some venom from the Kimber fanboys. People really don’t want to think that they may have not made the best decision. They become emotionally vested and as Jack once said “they can’t handle the truth” hopefully you won’t be punished to much for your mentioning Kimber. I’ll be looking for your contributions. You have earned a new fan. Keep it coming. Honesty is becoming a lot harder to find these days.

  115. I guess you don’t wear a seatbelt because doing so would make you a more careless driver. Conceal carrying a single action, cocked and chambered gun is the safest way to. Let’s face it, in all engagements, having a safety will cause you that split second which will get you killed every single time (you know one bullet, regardless of caliber, always kill on the first shot).

  116. GREAT article. One of the best i’ve read on this subject. In the mid 80’s i bought my first two guns. a ruger single action 6 shot .22 COWBOY gun and a smith and wesson 422 , 10 round semi automatic .22 “field pistol”. I do a lot of desert camping and have used these two pistols two or three times a year since i bought them. They are great guns. it’s like they were made for MY hands. Now fast forward 30 years. I live in california, I don’t like AT ALL the way gun laws are going here, and have been wanting a couple higher calibre pistols anyway. Being in ca, it’s very limiting as to what you can buy in semi automatics. I did get a very popular 6 shot .357 with a 4″ barrel. (it was very “exiting” buying this. such a nice pistol). I’m 5′ 9″ with normal size hands. I WANT a full size 9mm and so far have not been able to find a good fit. ALL sales people say the same thing, “you’ll get used to it” I guess i’ll have to stop comparing everything i pick up to my sweet little 422 and make a purchase before california still SAYS i can. thanx again for the great article….danny

  117. Great article… Thank you very much. I’ve just made a purchase of a sig p229 (9mm) and spent over $1000 with tax… I haven’t picked it up yet as I need to obtain a license and register the gun. Your thoughts regarding your first purchased reflected my feelings exactly. I’m male, and though I’ve been around guns a little (via a friend’s father that was a dealer) I am completely on the fence about this whole thing. I wish there was a way to “try before you buy”. Right now im suffering big time from buyer’s remorse, “should I have purchased a cheaper gun?”, “will I even be able to shoot this thing accurately”, “will I know enough to be safe…”, are people around me at firing ranges safe?.., and the list goes on… Not sure what I can do to address these concerns.

  118. I was lucky, my first handgun was a hi power. Got it in trade for work. Always had a good point to start from. This helps when you pick up one that doesn’t fit you’re not stuck with it.
    Didn’t have that choice in Jimmy Carter’s navy when the newest 1911 on board ship was built during the forties.
    A Tokarev shoots straight,but it’s not a lot of fun.
    Always interesting when a new generation figures out what time it is.

  119. you might have saved yourself a lot of grief had you listened to the clerk who tried to talk you out of a 1911 as your first firearm. he probably had his reasons.

  120. Enjoyed the post. You hit on one of my pet peeves. Someone who is posting a review saying “I haven’t shot it yet but…..” What are you going to tell me about the gun? How quickly it arrived? How you went about unpacking it? I just don’t understand as it must be the thrill of seeing your name in print that they cannot at least wait until they have a few shots under their belt to talk about. Oh well? 🙂

  121. I’ve had my ruger sr9c for 3 years, shot over 2500 rounds. 1 stove pipe that was my fault when learning a proper grip. Other than that it’s ran 100% . Great carry gun . Optional 17 round mag is nice and turns the compact into virtually a full size. Before judging a gun that you can grip well let it break in (600 rounds minimum ) . And always clean and maintain your firearms!

  122. I enjoyed the article very much I found it very informative I’m in the market for a new 1911 and ran across it while shopping online and I’m glad I did
    Thank you for the info

  123. Well at least you were getting three rounds outa your kimber. HA I just recently purchased a ATI Titan .45acp bought 1800 rounds of .45 cause I was gonna need em right? HA. After numerous upgrades I Have yet to get through a full clip!! Maybe two rounds at a time!! So I feel your pain melody!!
    I was LMFAO Reading the article
    NO MORE ATI’s for u GI.

  124. I just stumbled across this article as I’m looking for a .22 pistol. Something my wife and I can practice with without spending a lot of money on ammunition. The points on this article are very good from my perspective. it was nicely organized and points basically has the message that the gun needs to work for you, and that it actually works. My wife and I just recently acquired a very slightly used S&W 9mm shield. I did some research on it and it had good reviews, and some of my LE friends and others own it as a CCW. It has turned out to be a good purchase, very reliable and has only FTE a couple of times using aluminum 9mm cartridges. I wanted a larger weapon as I found the Shield a little small. So after a ton of research I found an almost new CZ75BD Police. It has been great except for when the LCI loosened up and fell apart. Even though I bought it used, my dealer sent it to CZ and they fixed it pretty quickly for free. Thanks for writing the article I found it very informative!

  125. You really did not say anything great or terrible about any firearm just your experience with choosing a side arm. However your aritcal was so well written that I read the whole thing. What I was looking for was people who were as frustrated as me with cleaning a kimber 1911. Great read thanks.

  126. I found this a year late but if I can find it so might someone else so I’ll add this…

    Just goes to show that experience and experiences make all the difference in the world. I’ve fired .45 ACP since Vietnam, basically my whole adult life and have learned that it is NOT the right pistol for someone just starting out. I now own 2 older Kimbers, a polymer and covert custom, that work exceptionally well, if I get one FTE in 500 rounds it is unusual and I never have a fail to feed.
    After saying that I must add that both have been worked on. It seems Kimber had / has a problem with trying to build too good of a product and as a result the tolerances are just too tight. When I first obtained the polymer I did have a lot of FTE’s but after studying the problem and talking to a gunsmith I had the chamber reamed by about a 0.001 inch. FTE problem solved and the gun fires and cycles perfectly. However if I didn’t have 40+ years of experience with almost every make of 45 out there I wouldn’t have had any idea what to do.
    From that first service issue 1911 that was so worn that the bushing rattled and the barrel would actually wiggle until today with the super high tech weapons available I’ve learned a lot. One thing I have learned is that not every firearm is right for every person. Melody is perfectly correct…Make your choices carefully. I will add this; Don’t buy from a dealer that will not arrange for you fire a same make / class weapon before you buy it. Treat it like a car, would you buy without a test drive?

    1. Thank you for your service in Vietnam. I served in peacetime (USMC 85-89 infantry 0311) and never fired in anger. My carry piece is a Sig Sauer 1911 TacPac , I traded in a POS Remington 1911R1 for it, more jams than bangs and very very inaccurate. Welcome home and job well done, sir.

  127. I have the opposite problem, I have large hands, my main carry is a Sig full size 1911 with 8+1 capacity. I traded in a Roger LC9 on a Glock 19 gen 3 (15+1). 1911 just feels natural.

  128. i started shooting and carrying a little over 2 years ago. did research talked to folks i respect, rented a couple and bought a GLOCK 26. a bit later i got a 19 and, when i needed a small gun a 42. first time at my range with the 42 i had all sorts of jams. i asked one of the range employees and he blasted 6 rounds no problem. he watched me and that’s when he saw the problem. he was left handed and i am right handed and have an “aggressive” grip with both thumbs parallel along the slide. that was pushing my rear thumb against the slide lock. once i moved my right thumb off the gun i had no problems. i haven’t run the 42 in a training class yet but i will.

  129. Was she holding them too loosely? Did it need some ramp polishing? Did she ever take them to a gunsmith ?

  130. Thanks for this article, you’ve now convinced me that a para elite ls hunter 10mm is totally not the right gun for my first gun lol, I’m now looking at the HK VP90,

  131. My first good sidearm was a Colt 1991A1 made in the early ’90s. It was an awesome pistol. Sadly, it was stolen. It was replaced by a Hi-Power, Eventually. I wanted another 1911. All of the new production ones, where unreliable. Today my EDC is a S&W M&P FS TS in .40S&W.

  132. I had a revolver that jammed. I had a derringer I could not hit anything with at point blank range. I’ve had a Hi-Point that I could accurately hit at 25 yards and that if I didn’t treat it gently, ran like a champ.

    Great article.

  133. The small hands but looking for a high capacity double stack 9mm can be easily solved with a SPRINGFIELD XDM 9MM. 19+1 capacity and great for smaller hands or bigger depending on which grip you have it fitted with that comes with the gun. My 4ft11in small handed girlfriend can hold it comfortably. Plus it has reliability 2nd to none. I have never had any problems whatsoever. Almost every 1911 i have ever had ran into problems on occassion. Like you, i strayed away from the (cheap, plastic) and wanted nickel or stainless. My XDM changed that. It is the best gun i have ever bought. To think…i almost bought a Kimber instead lol

  134. It doesn’t seem like you knew much about 1911s or Kimber when you bought your ultra carry. These guns require an extensive break in period due to the precision of Kimber’s manufacturing process. FTF is extremely common with these weapons and is not considered a defect by the industry or avid shooters. Also, they are not small despite having “carry” in the name. It is basically a full sized 1911 frame with a shorter barrel. Once again, sounds like lack of research. If you want to buy a gun that doesn’t need to be broken in and comes in a subcompact model, sure, glocks are great. However, that doesn’t make Kimbers or 1911s a poor choice simply because they didn’t meet your expectations of what gun ownership should be like.

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