i need recommendation for a good budget gun.

My Taurus PT92 and Bersa 380


I got this for .22:

A 125gr bullet over 2.5gr of Bullseye in a 6” Smith&Wesson L frame has as little recoil as a .22, and is lots more fun to shoot :slight_smile:

ruger MKI-MKIII .22 and a keltec p11 9mm are my picks.

ruger for backyard plinking and pistol target fun and the keltec for pocket duty. its a great pockt gun that holds 10 rds and accepts SW59 mags as well. its double action only too so its as safe as a revolver. (aka firm trigger pull so negligent discharge is very difficult)


If you want a nice .22 to start out with, the Ruger SR22 is a really nice pistol. I have one and it hasn’t had any FTF or any other problems. They are about $350 new and only hold 10 rounds so CA compliant. This is a fun gun to take to the range and let off some rounds. Only thing that sucks is it is still hard to find .22 ammo around here still. The Ruger 22/45 is also a really nice target pistol. My grandfather has a SS hunter and that thing was really accurate and fun to shoot.

SS Ruger Hunter 22/45

Also the Glock 19 is a nice pistol as well.

will they ship worldwide ?

Springfield XD 40, I live in California and bought one over the internet about 6 years ago… Shipped it to a local dealer with a 10 round magazine to be Cal. legal. Passed a test then took a course. Gun range personal instructor, etc.
So far have only used it at the gun range. About a month before I purchased the XD two guys jumped me in my driveway. Didn’t do much to me (I ran away!) but they damaged both cars in my driveway. You know…. broken mirrors, glass, kicked in door panels.
Should I be lucky enough to meet them again I think it will be a teachable moment. I now carry a very bright flashlight when I investigate noises at night.
Love the XD. Went to several gun shows and held 30 to 40 different hand guns and researched the XD like I research flashlights now. The XD was one of only 3 or 4 models that fit my hand and “felt right”.

TriStar C100. Excellent CZ75 compact clone with an alloy frame. Amazing gun for the price. So good I'm almost thinking of picking up a second, but my next purchase might be a M&P Shield.

Think we need some more info. on your needs in a gun.

  1. you want a semi auto, check
  2. what is it going to be used for, target/recreation, hunting, protection, gang-banging lol
  3. is it going to be carried on your body(concealed or in a visible holster), at home only, in a car
  4. how big are your hands, what size gloves do you wear

Some things I would suggest you avoid in a first gun

  1. double action only guns, too easy to misfire
  2. single action only guns, too slow when needed if uncocked, too easy to misfire is cocked
  3. 45ACP caliber, too much recoil for a first gun, slower follow up shots because of recoil
  4. guns with small ejection ports, more chance of a jam

Some things I would suggest for a first gun

  1. double action auto, first shot is double action and subsequent shot are semi auto, first shot can also be semi auto if you cock the hammer
  2. 9mm caliber, more than adequate stopping power and much less recoil than a 45ACP, if you want something in between go with a 40S&W. 9mm ammo is also a lot cheaper than 45ACP ammo. Smaller bullets also have less of a tendency to jam because of the smaller diameter, don’t have to make such a big jump from the magazine to the barrel

While I own a lot of the guns I’m about to bounce of your list, these wouldn’t be my choice for a first gun.
Browning Hi-Power and variants, small ejection port
Colt 1911 and variants, single action only, 45ACP
Glock, double action only

Of the guns people have listed this would be my order of preference
Sig Sauer P226
Baretta 92
Taurus PT92


You don't want to shoot like this.

Cops miss target, but hit two bystanders

Or this.

Cops kill target, hit 9 bystanders

Civilian Lance Thomas learns how to shoot, shoots and kills multiple robbers without hitting a single bystander.


Saw that on TV when it originally aired a long time ago somewhere around 96 or 97. He is one badass, a real life Clint Eastwood character. Still have it on video tape somewhere, originally was on Dateline I believe. All those semi autos are Sig Sauer P220s and yes they are 45ACP. He ended up moving to Idaho because the gangs put a price on his head and it was a matter of time before they would eventually get him. This guy also had extensive training and zero fear.

+1 again.

Renting a gun at an indoor range allows and shooting it is better way to pick one out than just holding one at the gun counter.

If you can find an FFL in CA that will do internet sales, http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php is a good source.

People who haven’t watched the video of that watch maker and his shoot outs, should, it is an extraordinary story.


I've got the Ruger MK-I with factory muzzle break, and SS Ruger MK-III Target/Hunter model. Love the .22s. My dad has the slab side MK-II target model, also a great gun.

If you are looking for something a little bigger, I really like my TZ-75 for plinking and home defense, not that it has ever been used for home defense. EAA Witness is what they call the TZ-75 now. Also, the CZ line of pistols are nice too. The Sig p226 also is a great gun and just feels right, but are also pretty expensive. But, they also have a wide range of calibers to choose. My uncle had 9mm, .45, and .357 sig in the p226. They all shot great and the .357 sig is a screamer

I got nothing against Glock, but will never own one. They just do not feel right in my hand. I really like the feel of the 1911 format.

What you should do as others have suggested, go to a local dealer or gun range and hold them. Work the action, see how they fit your hand, look down the sights... Make sure it all feels good and natural.

Unless you are planning to get extensive training, I would strongly suggest that you consider a revolver instead of a semi-auto. They are much easier to master, and much less prone to misuse under stress.

I don’t claim to be the last word on these matters, but I have competed with various types of firearms for many years. I have assisted in teaching some self defense courses for novices as well, and I can tell you that stress does strange things to people who can operate a firearm flawlessly under “normal” conditions. With a revolver there is much less of a tendency for mishaps by novices (I have seen several accidental discharges in self defense courses, and most have been with semi-autos).

If you think you may want more than 6 shots, both Smith&Wesson and Taurus have produced 8 round .357 Magnum revolvers, and they have the advantage of also being able to also use .38 Special ammo for versatility and reduced recoil.

After you thoroughly master the revolver, and the rules of gun safety, then you can move to the semi-auto if you want. The revolver will still make a great backup at that point.


The Sig P226 only comes in 9mm, .40 and 357 Sig. It’s a great gun although way out of the OP’s budget range. With the .40/.357 Sig caliber model one can get conversion barrels so all 3 calibers can be fired from it. Personally I don’t see any benefit in .357Sig since 9mm rounds achieve nearly the same velocity.

Glocks are Ok. I have a Glock 24 and it’s reliable and accurate, but it feels like a 2x4 in my hands and the trigger is nothing to write home about even with the light trigger in it. They are much easier to detail than Sigs of course.

1911’s are great to shoot. Easy to get a one with a decent trigger, and the balance and feel in the hand is perfect for me. They also run forever if not abused and maintained frequently.

Wow, thanks everyone for such great recommendations, this is just another level of hobby that I can’t imagine of, I only want a gun for self-defense, I’ve talked to fishmaniac and with his generosity he offered to take me to the range so I can try out his guns to see what I like the most. As of right now I’m still very new to this hobby, I’ve looked at the tristar that someone recommended and I really like the look of it also the price is very afforadable, I was wondering where in California I can check the gun out, I want to come and hold it to see how I like it. Anyways thanks everyone again for all the advises, much much appreciated. I’m glad I’ve found blf. This is such a great family. Thanks!

I’ve been a shooter for 30 years and a police officer for 19. For the 1st time shooter its always a .22lr revolver. Being that this my be your 1st and only handgun, I recommend a 4” stainless steel .357 made by Ruger or Smith&Wesson. Specifically the Ruger GP-100 or the Smith$Wesson 686. Stainless steel holds its value much better and is rust resistant. The .357 lets you shoot the greatest variety of ammo from .38 target loads to the fire breathing .357 mag. As a 1st time owner and non shooter you don’t have the worries of(is the chamber loaded, is the safety on, how do I clear a stovepipe, etc.) You may start by dry firing (Firing the weapon without ammo in it) to get the feel of the trigger. With training start with the weakest .38 special load and work your way up. Many never use the .357mag full power loads. Yes the .357 is a little heavier than a .38 but this help mitigate recoil. Think of the gun as a car and the ammo as the motor, heavy car weak motor produces less recoil. Most will advocate a semi-auto and this would be better after you master the basics and learn that you enjoy the shooting sport.

If you absolutely must have an auto. Then the 9mm is your best choice as ammunition is cheaper and recoil is less. More shooting less flinching.

I have both those guns I believe. Not sure the exact model of your Bersa but if it has the steel frame instead of alloy, that’s the one.

I have have very mixed results with Taurus. On the good side were the PT-92 series, they really are good guns and the PT-1911 is a good one. On the bad side were a bunch of other guns from them. The PT-22, Millennium, all revolvers, and PT-24/7 were all garbage. I mean really bad. It’s weird how the PT-99 or PT-92 can be so well made and reliable and then the same company makes the Millennium which is a just a sad joke of a cheap crappy gun.