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California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:31 pm
by Jeffcee
Any suggestions on what I should consider buying?

The rounds I'm most interested in are .45 due to mag limitations, and .22 due to ammo cost.

Id like to keep it under $500 if possible.

Bonus points if there is a conversion kit that lets me switch between .22 and .45

I own a bolt action rifle but have limited experience with pistols ( every 12 months or so Ill go to the range for fun)

Looking forward to hearing from people who know more than I do! I'm here to learn!

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:38 pm
by NT2C
Jeffcee wrote:Any suggestions on what I should consider buying?

The rounds I'm most interested in are .45 due to mag limitations, and .22 due to ammo cost.

Id like to keep it under $500 if possible.

Bonus points if there is a conversion kit that lets me switch between .22 and .45

I own a bolt action rifle but have limited experience with pistols ( every 12 months or so Ill go to the range for fun)

Looking forward to hearing from people who know more than I do! I'm here to learn!
Got some really good deals on the S&W M&P Shield series (9mm, .40 and .45 ACP) in the $290 range at PSA, and there's a $75 rebate on them until June 30th from S&W, bringing cost down to $215.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:00 pm
by ManInBlack316
Jeffcee wrote:Any suggestions on what I should consider buying?

The rounds I'm most interested in are .45 due to mag limitations, and .22 due to ammo cost.

Id like to keep it under $500 if possible.

Bonus points if there is a conversion kit that lets me switch between .22 and .45

I own a bolt action rifle but have limited experience with pistols ( every 12 months or so Ill go to the range for fun)

Looking forward to hearing from people who know more than I do! I'm here to learn!
A moving van.... :awesome:
I'm joking of course.

I really like my Shield, and as someone else said, it comes in 45 plus there's a rebate currently.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:04 pm
by NT2C
It went up $20 since I bought mine, but still well under your $500 limit. Heck, with the rebate you could get two for under $500

http://palmettostatearmory.com/s-w-m-p- ... afety.html

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:05 pm
by The Twizzler
It would help if you could tell us what you wanted it for. Plinking, concealed carry, home defense? A 22 is great for plinking and practice but most would not consider it a great home defense round especially in a pistol. Since its a rimfire round reliability can be an issue. Lot's of people love the .45 round and started off with it, but it's kind of expensive to shoot. Since your rounds limited there you might also look at a good revolver (Smith and Wesson and Ruger). :D

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:12 pm
by raptor
KJ4VOV wrote:It went up $20 since I bought mine, but still well under your $500 limit. Heck, with the rebate you could get two for under $500

http://palmettostatearmory.com/s-w-m-p- ... afety.html
Wow $234 after rebate?! That is a great price.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:15 pm
by NT2C
raptor wrote:
KJ4VOV wrote:It went up $20 since I bought mine, but still well under your $500 limit. Heck, with the rebate you could get two for under $500

http://palmettostatearmory.com/s-w-m-p- ... afety.html
Wow $234 after rebate?! That is a great price.
Bought mine when it was $289.99, so $214.99 after the rebate. Still trying to convince the wife to let me get one in 9mm and another in .40 so I have the full set. :crazy:

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:46 pm
by teotwaki
JeffCee

Keep in mind that you can only buy what is on California's "roster". If you are purchasing from a local gun store you'll have no problems.

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/
https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/roster
https://oag.ca.gov/sites/oag.ca.gov/fil ... emoved.pdf

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:47 am
by gunsandrockets
Some uncommon choices, ranked from lower to higher retail price

.38 Special, 6 shot cylinder, RIA M206 $250

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... -38-267531

.380 ACP, 7 shot magazine, Bersa Firestorm $320

https://www.turners.com/bersa/bersa-fir ... -barr-3939

9mm Luger, 10 shot magazine, FMK 9C1G2 $400

https://www.turners.com/fmk/fmk-9c1g2-9 ... -da-429509

.38 Super, 9 shot magazine, RIA 1911 GI $500

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... gi-38--340

.45 ACP, 8 round magazine, RIA 1911 GI $500

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... gi-45a-339

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:19 am
by gunsandrockets
First handgun?

Consider choosing a handgun model that is particularly suitable for dry fire practice. Dry firing is a great way to drill on the cheap, for practicing basic skills like reloading, trigger control, sight alignment, drawing, etc. And dry firing drill can be extremely convenient too, since it can be done in the home whenever you want. Including Snap Caps and a Laser Sight are great additions to aiding dry fire practice too.

Most .22 rimfire handguns can be damaged by dry firing. And nobody makes snap caps for dry firing .22 rimfire either. About the best that can be done to counter that problem is choosing one of the few .22 rimfire handguns which use a manual safety which only blocks the firing pin and doesn't stop hammer from falling, like the slide mounted safety on the Walther P22.

Most automatic pistols function in such a way that dry firing is more unnatural. You have to rack the slide, or cock the hammer for every trigger pull. That might possibly subconsciously ingrain some bad habits in real life. But mainly it is annoying and time wasting during dry fire practice.

Revolvers of any type, whether ordinary double action, single action, or double-action-only, are great for dry fire practice since they are purely manually powered mechanisms and operate the same with ammunition or without ammunition.

The FMK pistol has an unusual design of using a true double-action-only trigger, and has a frame rail which could be used for a laser sight, which arguably makes it among the best of the less expensive handguns for dry firing.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:26 am
by JeeperCreeper
Just something to throw out there, it might be worth getting a gun from a stable manufacturer with a good track record and solid customer service and warranty. With the way things are going, you don't wanna end up with a gun that is broken and can't be fixed.

I don't really follow (I can't keep up) with Cali's gun laws and what guns are on their VIP list, but I'd look at brands like Smith and Wesson and Ruger. I know they make Cali models and the companies have been doing well lately so I don't see them folding (*cough cough* Colt and Remington *cough cough*).


As far as caliber exchanges, I have a SIG P250 that shoots amazing if you like DAO triggers... but I think the 45 is a different chassis than the 9 and 40 and 22, you'd have to check. Not sure if the P320 is cali legal so you'd have to search for a used or new old stock P250.

Other caliber exchange guns can be the EAA witness line and RIA 1911s. I'm sure there are others but this is off the top of my head.


And again, I didn't look at the Cali list.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:42 am
by flybynight
It's california, so here's a list of legal firearms for the left coast state of confusion
http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:43 am
by NT2C
flybynight wrote:It's california, so here's a list of legal firearms for the left coast state of confusion

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/safeguns_resp.asp
Land of the Weird and Home of the Strange.

(still a nice place to visit though)

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:46 am
by flybynight
KJ4VOV wrote:
flybynight wrote:It's california, so here's a list of legal firearms for the left coast state of confusion

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/safeguns_resp.asp
Land of the Weird and Home of the Strange.

(still a nice place to visit though)
had to change the link, the first one wouldn't work if the the list was open.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:27 pm
by 00dlez
Jeffcee wrote: The rounds I'm most interested in are .45 due to mag limitations, and .22 due to ammo cost.
This is my first thought as well - unlike in most places where I would suggest starting to refine a search based on magazine capacity in a reliable caliber, in this case you are rounds limited so:

1) Look at handguns that hit the maximum allowed round count (maybe accept those with one, MAYBE two less than maximum, IF AND ONLY IF it meets the rest of the criteria better)

2) Find a size/weight (LOADED) that you are comfortable with carrying, and carrying often

3) Determine the largest caliber (within reason, of course, .45 is probably the largest needed) that fits the size/weight

4) Try some models in your price range, and determine what you can shoot most comfortably

5) Pick a few favorites: practice reloading rapidly and jam/malfunction clearing drills... Do any of them have controls that are noticeably better or worse than the others?

6) Salivate on the internet at all the other kewl guns that we get to play with and you don't. Neener neener.



Editing because I forgot to address your desire for a .22 - I get the concept and wouldn't try to talk you out of it. A .22 conversion is great long term, it will pay for itself and save you some money if you are putting a lot of rounds downrange... BUT BUT BUT - shooting .22 out of a .45 for training is NOT a 1:1 - you are not getting the recoil, weight, ballistics, etc. that you really should be learning and experiencing in you defensive firearm. Lets say for easy math that the conversion kit is $300 and you are saving 30 cents a round shooting .22 instead of .45... thats 1000 rounds of 45 you could have been training with instead of .22...

That's a crap ton of "real" training instead of approximation training. If you are really concerned about learning controls/etc, rather than putting your real caliber down range, maybe an airsoft trainer of your model would be even better than a .22? especially in CA? (I'm not joking or being snarky)

.22 conversions are great in the long term... but I mean LONG term. I think that on the front end, you'd be better served shooting and training with the actual caliber and adding the kit later on.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:05 pm
by The Twizzler
gunsandrockets wrote:First handgun?

Revolvers of any type, whether ordinary double action, single action, or double-action-only, are great for dry fire practice since they are purely manually powered mechanisms and operate the same with ammunition or without ammunition.
Point of reference for new shooters-this does not apply to older revolvers with the firing pin on the hammer
The FMK pistol has an unusual design of using a true double-action-only trigger, and has a frame rail which could be used for a laser sight, which arguably makes it among the best of the less expensive handguns for dry firing.
I have never owned an FMK, that said anyone I ask about them says they are unreliable. I have no eveidence for this it's just what I have heard

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:40 am
by woodsghost
Here are my thoughts, and I might get corrective feedback from the hive.

I think it depends on whether you plan to get real, stress based training or not. If yes, them get whatever is reliable and you like the look of. If not, consider a revolver.

In a limited state, the capacity limit won't be as big a handicap.

A revolver is less ammo sensitive, so you can buy whatever you want with less concern over whether it will run or not.

A revolver has a simpler manual of arms. If a round does not go bang, you pull the trigger, bringing the next one into play. This is also natural human instinct.

Also revolvers don't get stove pipes or failures to feed. Or a host of other problems. The one problem they do have comes from shooting ammo that is too powerful.

A squib load will still be a problem, but the revolver handles it better as it vents the gas out between the cylinder and the barrel.

Just my thoughts. If considering training to handle malfunctions under stress I'd look at an auto. Those 6 rounds go quickly, and it is slower to reload. I have experienced this in classes.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:59 am
by gunsandrockets
The Twizzler wrote:
gunsandrockets wrote: I have never owned an FMK, that said anyone I ask about them says they are unreliable. I have no eveidence for this it's just what I have heard
The unreliability problems I have seen reported about the FMK boiled down to two different issues, defective "fast action trigger" (essentially copied from the Glock) over which the company had to issue a recall, and failure to feed in the form of the slide not completely closing when using a mostly full magazine.

But the California legal version of the FMK uses 10 round magazines instead of 14, which means much less spring tension on a fully loaded magazine (or it should in theory) so the feeding problem should be solved. And the California legal version of the FMK uses a true double-action-only trigger mechanism instead of the Glock style partially cocked striker mechanism.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:30 pm
by Jeffcee
The Twizzler wrote:It would help if you could tell us what you wanted it for. Plinking, concealed carry, home defense? A 22 is great for plinking and practice but most would not consider it a great home defense round especially in a pistol. Since its a rimfire round reliability can be an issue. Lot's of people love the .45 round and started off with it, but it's kind of expensive to shoot. Since your rounds limited there you might also look at a good revolver (Smith and Wesson and Ruger). :D
Wow! Thanks for responding, everyone! Ill go though the questions in turn.

I'm just looking for a general purpose pistol to develop skill and satisfy the first rule of a gunfight. In a pinch, It would be in my Bug out bag as well.
I had not considered cost of ammo when I thought of .45, Its just the caliber I have the most experience with. Since economy is a factor I'm open to a cheaper, yet effective, round.

Im very open to a revolver. The more low maintenance the better.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:33 pm
by Jeffcee
KJ4VOV wrote:
raptor wrote:
KJ4VOV wrote:It went up $20 since I bought mine, but still well under your $500 limit. Heck, with the rebate you could get two for under $500

http://palmettostatearmory.com/s-w-m-p- ... afety.html
Wow $234 after rebate?! That is a great price.
Bought mine when it was $289.99, so $214.99 after the rebate. Still trying to convince the wife to let me get one in 9mm and another in .40 so I have the full set. :crazy:
Holy crap I wish I had the cash on hand when these were on sale. Stupid rent. Ill have to birddog this site from now on.

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:34 pm
by Jeffcee
teotwaki wrote:JeffCee

Keep in mind that you can only buy what is on California's "roster". If you are purchasing from a local gun store you'll have no problems.

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/
https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/roster
https://oag.ca.gov/sites/oag.ca.gov/fil ... emoved.pdf
This is great reference! Thanks!

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:57 pm
by Jeffcee
gunsandrockets wrote:Some uncommon choices, ranked from lower to higher retail price

.38 Special, 6 shot cylinder, RIA M206 $250

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... -38-267531

.380 ACP, 7 shot magazine, Bersa Firestorm $320

https://www.turners.com/bersa/bersa-fir ... -barr-3939

9mm Luger, 10 shot magazine, FMK 9C1G2 $400

https://www.turners.com/fmk/fmk-9c1g2-9 ... -da-429509

.38 Super, 9 shot magazine, RIA 1911 GI $500

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... gi-38--340

.45 ACP, 8 round magazine, RIA 1911 GI $500

https://www.turners.com/rock-island-arm ... gi-45a-339
And now I kinda have a crush on that Bersa. Also, doesn't Turners have shops in California? If I order though them, can I pick it up at their nearest physical address?

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:59 pm
by Jeffcee
gunsandrockets wrote:First handgun?

Consider choosing a handgun model that is particularly suitable for dry fire practice. Dry firing is a great way to drill on the cheap, for practicing basic skills like reloading, trigger control, sight alignment, drawing, etc. And dry firing drill can be extremely convenient too, since it can be done in the home whenever you want. Including Snap Caps and a Laser Sight are great additions to aiding dry fire practice too.

Most .22 rimfire handguns can be damaged by dry firing. And nobody makes snap caps for dry firing .22 rimfire either. About the best that can be done to counter that problem is choosing one of the few .22 rimfire handguns which use a manual safety which only blocks the firing pin and doesn't stop hammer from falling, like the slide mounted safety on the Walther P22.

Most automatic pistols function in such a way that dry firing is more unnatural. You have to rack the slide, or cock the hammer for every trigger pull. That might possibly subconsciously ingrain some bad habits in real life. But mainly it is annoying and time wasting during dry fire practice.

Revolvers of any type, whether ordinary double action, single action, or double-action-only, are great for dry fire practice since they are purely manually powered mechanisms and operate the same with ammunition or without ammunition.

The FMK pistol has an unusual design of using a true double-action-only trigger, and has a frame rail which could be used for a laser sight, which arguably makes it among the best of the less expensive handguns for dry firing.
Thanks for the tips!

Re: California Safe pistols Please suggest.

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:01 am
by Jeffcee
JeeperCreeper wrote:Just something to throw out there, it might be worth getting a gun from a stable manufacturer with a good track record and solid customer service and warranty. With the way things are going, you don't wanna end up with a gun that is broken and can't be fixed.

I don't really follow (I can't keep up) with Cali's gun laws and what guns are on their VIP list, but I'd look at brands like Smith and Wesson and Ruger. I know they make Cali models and the companies have been doing well lately so I don't see them folding (*cough cough* Colt and Remington *cough cough*).


As far as caliber exchanges, I have a SIG P250 that shoots amazing if you like DAO triggers... but I think the 45 is a different chassis than the 9 and 40 and 22, you'd have to check. Not sure if the P320 is cali legal so you'd have to search for a used or new old stock P250.

Other caliber exchange guns can be the EAA witness line and RIA 1911s. I'm sure there are others but this is off the top of my head.


And again, I didn't look at the Cali list.
Thanks!