5 Best Guns for Bad Shooters

These are all handy carry pistols, but will they be effective without practice?

These are all handy carry pistols, but will they be effective without practice?

Shooting well is a lot harder than it looks. Pointing a gun at a target and pulling the trigger appears to be such a simple thing to do, right? Yet, almost without fail, I see first-time shooters fire shots at a target that’s way too far away. It looks so easy that they can’t comprehend missing. Those first few shots inevitably end in frustration when bullets impact all around the target, but not where they want. Like anything else, shooting is a skill, and no matter how easy it seems, you’ll never be really good at it without structured practice over time.

I think the need for consistent practice is why 99% of gun owners out there aren’t very good shooters. As a GunsAmerica reader, obviously you’re part of the 1% and care about continuing your shooting education with enthusiasm, so I’m talking about all the others.

So, just being real about this issue, there are a lot of folks out there who buy a gun for self or home protection. However, for whatever reason, they’re just not going to invest a lot of time in practice and skill development.

We thought it would be a good idea to point out five handguns that might be best for those folks. In other words, which guns on the market require the least amount of skill to operate with some proficiency? Just to be clear, I am in no way, shape or form advocating that people run out and buy certain guns so they won’t have to practice. I’m simply accepting the reality that some folks out there don’t value the lives of themselves and their loved ones enough to invest in quality self-defense training. In fact, as you look at the list below, you might agree with me that all of these choices are equally, and probably more, valuable to expert shooters.

To come up with my list, I am considering what I think are the three factors that are most challenging for new shooters to master.

Trigger Press

I think the number one cause of misses is a poor trigger press. For almost any handgun, the force required to press the trigger is more than the weight of the whole gun. That means the gun will want to move off target as you apply pressure to the trigger. It takes practice and lots of repetition to pull a trigger and break a shot without pulling the sights off target. For this reason, the guns in my list below have “easier” but not necessarily lighter triggers. You’ll also notice that the guns on my list are larger and, therefore, less likely to move off target during the trigger press.

Sight Radius

I’ll use sight radius as a catch-all to reflect the fact that, within reason, guns that are physically larger are easier to shoot. Part of the reason is extra weight, part is the fact that there is plenty of surface area to grip, but much of this relates to the ease of shooting accurately with a longer sight radius.

For accurate shooting, you must line up front and rear sights precisely and keep that relationship intact from shot to shot. If the front sight moves as little as 1/100th of an inch relative to the rear sight, then you can be a couple of inches off target at 25 yards. With a longer sight radius, a small movement of the front sight has much less error down range. Small pocket guns are just the opposite. They may be every bit as mechanically accurate, but they are much harder to shoot accurately.


For the very first shot, recoil matters not a hoot. The bullet has left the barrel before panic sets in and the gun starts moving. However, for every subsequent shot, the shooter just might anticipate a recoil thump and flinch just before the shot is broken. A gun that has manageable recoil is much less likely to freak out an unskilled shooter, so they’re less likely to flinch shots into the next county.

So those are the three big criteria I’m using to pick my list of five best guns for bad shooters. Oh, one more thing. Ideally, this list would be chock full of guns in .22LR caliber, but we’ll keep this list to practical home and self-defense appropriate chamberings. Here we go:

Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm

If it's going to just sit around, you might as well get this sharp looking flat dark earth two-tone M&P 9mm.

If it’s going to just sit around, you might as well get this sharp looking flat dark earth two-tone M&P 9mm.

I’d vote for the classic Smith & Wesson M&P full-size model chambered in 9mm. While the Shield is a fantastic gun, the small size and sight radius make it harder (not necessarily hard) to shoot accurately than the bigger sibling with its longer sight radius.

I pick the M&P full size because of ergonomics. It’s an incredibly comfortable gun to shoot. I love the grip profile. It fits well in the hand and the shape lends itself to easy trigger reach for shooters with varying hand sizes. The frame design also helps soften recoil and that helps avoid the flinch monster. Better yet, you can choose to have a manual safety or not.

The M&Pc Compact model is a second option, as it still has plenty of surface area to hold on to.  You can purchase the M&P on GunsAmerica in the $400-$500 range.

Sig Sauer P320 9mm

The ergonomics, simplicity and trigger of the Sig P320 make it an easy gun to shoot well.

The ergonomics, simplicity and trigger of the Sig P320 make it an easy gun to shoot well.

You can get this gun in three sizes: Full, Carry and Compact. Other than sight radius tradeoffs, it doesn’t matter which you choose because the fire control assembly is a removable part that goes into different size frames. The action and trigger are therefore identical across model sizes and calibers. For this list, I would choose the 9mm with any of the three frame sizes.

The primary reasons that the Sig P320 makes this list of easy-to-master guns are the trigger, ease of operation and ergonomics of the frame. It’s a striker-fired design like a Glock but has much better trigger. The combination of smooth, stack-free pull and a clean break make all the difference in ability to shoot accurately without being a trigger sensei. The trigger itself is also smooth and rounded metal, and to me, this makes it easier to operate smoothly. Also as a striker-fired pistol, operating controls are simple. There’s a slide stop lever. That’s it. The frame is well contoured, which helps reduce the felt part of recoil.

Combine all that with traditional Sig reliability and I think you’ve got a winner for shooters with an aversion to practice. Of course, like the others, this makes a great experts gun too for many of the same reasons.

Depending on which option you choose, you can pick up a Sig P320 for $450 and up on GunsAmerica.

Smith & Wesson M66 Combat Magnum

As far as revolvers go, the M66 is a great balance between easy handling and effectiveness.

As far as revolvers go, the M66 is a great balance between easy handling and effectiveness.

OK, so maybe “Combat Magnum” sounds all tactical and warrior-like, and it certainly can be. However, this is one simple and comfortable gun to shoot. As the name implies, it’s designed to shoot .357 Magnum cartridges, which certainly would be a handful for a less-than-expert shooter. However, the .357 Magnum holes in the cylinder also shoot .38 Special, and these have a long track record of success, but without the huge muzzle blast and recoil. In fact, in a gun like the M66 with its 4.25-inch barrel, .38 Special rounds are very easy to shoot accurately. This gun holds six rounds and is super simple to load and operate.

This particular model is built on the K-frame, which is not so huge to hold, but plenty big enough to easily control. It’s got a firm, but squishy enough grip to dampen recoil and the bright orange insert on the front sight makes it a breeze to aim quickly.

Of course, while it’s easy for beginners, it’s a great option for a handgun aficionado too.  Depending on condition, I’ve seen them listed for as low as $530 on GunsAmerica.

Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm

I find the Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm to be a very shootable gun for a compact.

I find the Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm to be a very shootable gun for a compact.

I didn’t feel like it was fair to include only full-size guns in this list, so I picked a compact and very concealable model. The Springfield Armory XD-S is a very flat gun. It’s small enough for pocket carry, and I do that frequently using a Galco Pocket Protector leather holster. However, the grip is long enough to get your fingers on, even when you’re not using the extra-length magazine extension. Using that makes hand purchase even better. The XD-S has no controls to operate and most importantly, has a good trigger.

In short, it’s easy to get hits with this gun considering its compact size. While the .45 ACP version of the XD-S is a handful, the 9mm shoots relatively tamely. If concealment isn’t the primary issue, the four-inch barrel model is an even better choice.

You can pick up an XD-S on GunsAmerica for under $500.

Ruger SP101 Federal .327 Magnum

It may not win the Revolver Fair Queen contest, but the SP101 is a great gun. It's built like a tank, and chambered in .327 Magnum offers power and controllability.

It may not win the Revolver Fair Queen contest, but the SP101 is a great gun. It’s built like a tank, and chambered in .327 Magnum offers power and controllability.

Hey, it’s my list so I can pick something a little non-traditional if I want. Why such an oddball caliber here? I choose it because of the balance of felt recoil energy as compared to down-range effectiveness. Because it takes the lighter bullet at higher velocity approach, felt recoil is surprisingly tame for a cartridge that delivers between 430 and 780 foot-pounds of energy.

In this case, the gun that tames this little beast of a cartridge is a steel revolver with a 4.2-inch barrel. It weighs just under 30 ounces, so there’s plenty of weight to make it an easy combination to shoot. A front fiber optic sight makes this one a piece of cake to aim too. Yeah, it’s got a double-action revolver trigger, which might be considered a drawback for a new shooter gun, but I think that’s overcome by the other advantages. Ammo is hard to find, but remember, this list is for folks who don’t shoot very often anyway. There’s this nifty invention called the InterWebz that can have a box delivered right to their door every six years.

You can grab this Ruger wheel gun on GunsAmerica at or around the $550 price point.

Honorable Mentions and Not Invited to the Ball

First, let’s address the elephant in the list. Glock. Remember, this list is about guns that are easier to shoot for those who aren’t going to put in the practice time, as bad of an idea as that is. Glocks are great guns. They’ll work, all the time. They’ll take the abuse that a bad shooter will heap on them in the form of neglect. They’re just not all that easy to shoot accurately without practice. Maybe it’s the blocky shape. I know the stacky, Glock-y trigger has a lot to do with it. Heck, just watch a first-time shooter with a Glock. They’ll swear to the grave that the sights are off because it’s hitting low and to the left. Nope. That’s called “Glock Trigger” and it can only be overcome by aftermarket service and/or parts or practice. Fair enough?

I came really close to including the Beretta PX4 and Sig P226/P229 models and only left those off the list because of the double-action / single-action trigger design. I love that and consider it a feature, but for a shooter who won’t put in the practice time, the transition can be tougher to master.

I arbitrarily limited my list to five. Because. With that said, what would you include? Remember, we’re talking about the easiest guns to shoot well, with minimal practice, not necessarily the best or most powerful.

Also, remember, we’re not advocating that one shouldn’t practice or that buying one of these firearms means one does not have to practice!  Shooting is not a hobby but a discipline that requires practice, practice, practice!  And those who fail to practice or refuse to practice when possible are neglecting their duties as competent and responsible gun owners.

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  • best compact 9mm April 27, 2021, 5:26 am

    I have been training at Front Sight Firearms in Nevada for years but due to law changes I had to take the mn. course. I was impressed with instructors knowledge on the carry laws. He did a nice job and he was very pleasant to listen to. Don’t know if it would work here but at Front Sight a 2 or 4 day handgun class is followed by the concealed carry course if needed.

  • JR July 15, 2020, 10:15 am

    Several guns I think are easy to shoot that didn’t make the list. The don’t fall into that $500 price point. A quality 1911 should be there although you do have to remember to disengage the safety. The Sig X5 Legion, Sig P 210 Target and the Walther Q5 steel are all easy to shoot although they don’t conceal very well and would be heavy to carry.

  • Best 9mm Pocket Pistol February 19, 2018, 7:39 am

    Thanks For Writing Such a Quality and Good Piece of Work….

  • mary williams September 19, 2017, 8:48 pm

    I am 71, just moved to TX and moved into a trailer near my church not knowing this was a dangerous neighborhood. The last gun I owned was a 38? and at the range I was completely overwhelmed by recoil and how much force needed to pull the trigger.. I scared the people running the range. I do not have the hand or wrist strength to handle that particular gun, yet I want to learn- I need to learn.I’d better learn. These people will not settle for cookies and charm if they want my things. What gun do you suggest? Should I get training first and then buy a gun? Also, I just cannot afford $500 for a gun. I was thinking MAX 400- even that is a struggle. Thanks for your suggestions.

    • cb December 11, 2017, 11:43 pm

      If you have a problem with the strength of your hands/wrists you may want to consider a “long gun.” Whether you opt for a revolver(trigger pull) or a semi-automatic(slide functioning), you need some strength in your hands. A pump shotgun in 20 gauge may be something you could handle and would be just as effective as that .38. I have kept a 12 gauge Remington 870 around for years but have recently settled back to 20 gauge. There are many options, all of which someone will find fault in. Go to a gun shop or gun show and pick up and handle what interests you. Then get some training to go with your purchase. The shotguns should be under $400.

  • Wallace Dunn August 7, 2017, 5:18 pm

    IMHO if a shooter can’t figure out the DA/SA trigger mechanism maybe they should just grab a baseball bat. It ain’t rocket science…

    • JR July 15, 2020, 10:03 am

      No but it does take practice.

  • JR July 28, 2017, 12:57 pm

    Great list and article. I just picked up the Sig P320 full size Tac ops model. Put about 150 rounds through it…all POI hit about 4 inches left at 20 feet. But my HK and Springfield all hit center no problem. In this case I think the Sigs sights need to be realigned….kind of disappointed considering how much I paid for a Sig

  • Roy Payne November 3, 2016, 10:06 pm

    The S&W SD9VE is so similar to the S&W 9mm you listed, the differences are inconsequential. Except for one thing … price. It can often be found for around $300 (sometimes less) and has been called “the poor man’s Glock 19”. I own one and love it.

  • Val July 1, 2016, 3:09 pm

    I’ve shot MANY weapons over 40 years. You name it, I’ve shot it. My favorite after all this time for my personal carry is the Bersa .380 Thunder. I don’t have huge hands, and I wanted to know when I need it ITS THERE. My daughters and teenage grandkids use it for practice. I asked myself considering today’s climate what gives me best chance to engage & get others away safe. I’m picky on ammo though. One shot, one stop. I highly recommend it. My second baby? The Judge.

    • Roy Payne November 3, 2016, 10:08 pm

      I have all 9mm and the main reason is cost & availability of ammo. Do you find that .380 ammo is readily available and inexpensive? I’m looking for another smaller concealed carry & one for my wife, too.

      • Wallace Dunn August 7, 2017, 5:20 pm

        .380 ammo is readily available and generally more expensive than 9mm…
        Stick with the 9mm.

  • JD June 11, 2016, 9:29 am

    I just have a question. What is the pistol on the left forefront of the headline picture? I want one!

    • Steven c. June 29, 2016, 5:59 pm

      Looks like a Beretta 3032 Tomcat. The grips look like they might have been changed.

  • Delbert April 25, 2016, 5:36 am

    My M&P Shield Performance Center in 9mm comes with fiber optic sights and an enhanced trigger. One reason I bought it was because of the smaller grips.

  • Anthony Harley January 8, 2016, 11:05 pm

    The JUDGE. Can’t hardly go wrong with a minne 5 round scatter gun.
    I don’t shoot as often as I should. I have the 6″ Rossi 357 magnum.

  • J January 8, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I don’t think its a bad list. . . But I still have to go glock 19 for most new shooters, or if we are talking about women, why no midsize .380? I don’t think the M&P stock trigger us better than a Glock one either. A Judge? Really? Pssst .410 in a 3″ barrel? COME ON MAN. My issue with the smith revolver is its size, thing is huge! I do like the xds mine is a better gun than the G43 imo. Sig, meh.Nothing special that I can see either way. I think it boils down to what is Visually appealing and comfortable in the hand. Don’t disregard the visal aspect especially for a new shooter that may need to “feel” comfortable mentally as much or even more so than physically.

    • JR July 15, 2020, 10:17 am

      Have to agree on the Judge, Really!

  • JKL December 9, 2015, 8:43 am

    Good list Tom. I would agree that practice makes perfect. Instead of jumping into an argument about particular guns, I’d like to offer a solution to the problem, the lack of practice. Coming from a DA revolver background, I found that the SIG with DAK trigger is very effective. With a snap cap, one can dry fire it all day long without cycling the action (double strike capability). Similarly, six snap caps in a revolver offer the same. And, since the DAK trigger was designed for LE use, it is extremely safe and easy to use under stress. Check one out sometime!

  • AJR November 6, 2015, 8:23 am

    A fair list, all modern and reliable. As an old curmudgeon, my prefered carry gun is an antique Colt 1903 in .32acp. I can put 6 rounds down range in less than 5 seconds. At least it will give a bad guy indigestion.
    The other carry gun is also an old timer. Browning High Power in 9mm. This too can put 6 rounds down range and give a bad guy a very bad day.
    You have noticed that they are both single action only and all steel. Personally I find single action only easier to shoot. I don’t practice enough, work and family get in the way, but try and make time. Shot placement is everything.

    • Pvt.Joker January 18, 2016, 9:11 am

      Within the parameters of the sicussion, I was going to say the 1911 is one of the easiest to shoot, and of course the Hi-Power has the same list of attributes.
      The offset for either would be putting in the time to master safe(st!) gunhandling practices.

    • ZT June 29, 2016, 1:36 pm

      I own a 1903/1908 Hammerless .380. I can’t miss with that gun!! Been shooting it for over 20 years but I do not carry it. Honestly I probably shoot it more than I should. It was my Grandfather’s WWII service pistol! He was an officer & an airman so that’s what he was issued. She’s beautiful & I lover her!

  • Tony October 14, 2015, 1:31 pm

    I own a P220 and think its a little much for someone who does,t practice, however it is a p320 mentioned in the article.

  • Irish-7 October 13, 2015, 11:14 am

    My wife’s friend was talked into purchasing a Ruger SP-101 in .357 Magnum, as though it was a good firearm for a woman and beginning shooter. I think this was a big mistake, as she is arthritic. She has difficulty holding it, even using .38 Special rounds. For someone with no physical limitations, that just has trouble hitting a target, I’d suggest one of the revolvers that chamber both .45 Long Colt and .410 Gauge shot shells, Taurus Judge or S&W Governor. However, I would caution them using .410 GA loads, so as to avoid collateral damage. I think the Walther PK-380 is simple and accurate for a person with limited firing capabilities. Or, better yet, a Kel-Tec PMR-30! Plenty of opportunities to get on target with that magazine!

  • Brian October 13, 2015, 8:28 am

    What about the fns. never shot one but have heard a lot about them and the fnx’ s 9mm.or the ruger sr9.

  • Peacekeeper October 13, 2015, 8:16 am

    Glock is ruled out because of the trigger, but the Springfield has the same type of “safe action” trigger. I don’t get that. I am instructor and our agency, rents Springfield’s, which I think are crap. Why? The rust like a boat anchor. Glocks don’t. I don’t like their shiny silver mags… I don’t like bad guys seeing me coming and with flapless mag pouches my mags are yelling at them… “Shoot me here… the shiny spot”. The guide rod and recoil spring assembly not being able to separate. On the full size model, you can pull off the spring. On the mid sized service and compact models, they are stuck together, and I have yet, from the Armorer’s manual, figured out how to disassemble them to clean. Inside the spring loaded guide rod, when you lock the slide to the rear, you can see it rusting. The only way I’ve found to clean it, is with the slide back and using a q-tip with some solvent on it and then putting some oil on it. I don’t like guns at all where I can’t remove parts and properly clean them. The pins in the XD rust just as bad. For a gun that is a rip off/Glock wanna be, it sure didn’t copy the great things about the Glock, like the plastic magazines and the anti-rust finish. My company went to the XD’s because they believed students (and our security officers) required a external safety for it to be safe. Well a grip safety is not technically a safety. You don’t need an external safety. Your trigger finger is your safety. One reason I think Glocks are prefect for new shooters, the finger grooves. Not the ones on the grip, I am talking the ones on the frame, where the take down pins are located. It’s the perfect spot to rest your trigger finger when off target and not ready to shoot. We try to tell students with the XD to keep their finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until on target and ready to shoot, but then we give them a gun that doesn’t have a place to put their trigger finger. Gaston Glock, thought of that, way back in the 80’s and his guns have gone on to include thumb rests also which keep your thumb pointed down range at the target. No, I say if you want to teach new shooters correctly, with a gun made for newbies, then give them a Glock. That pulling to the left/low side of the target can be fixed with coaching on proper trigger pull and finger placement. Just my 2-cents. Thanks.

    • Terry cobb January 7, 2016, 2:14 pm

      What does all that have to do with a beginning shooter that won’t practice? They don’t care about springs, shiny spots, or anything other than pulling it out of a nightstand drawer and pulling the trigger.

    • Wade January 18, 2016, 8:55 pm

      Dang! so called Peacekeeper. I bet you have an iPhone just cause you were “told” they were the best. As far as a Glock, I agree they are good at everything, but are best at nothing. I own Glocks (have 2) and Springfields (have 3)and would prefer Springfield on several values. My Springfield has never rusted and I have pulled it from a bucket of water in IDPA matches. Though my Glock has never rusted either, I have seen a Glock with rust. So I would question you agency on their gun maintenance or lack of. As far as the shinny magazines, if you’re carrying concealed no one sees them. Sounds like you open carry if you’re using that scenario which open carry is all ready saying “shoot me first”. In my matches the polished mags eject way faster and smother for reloading than my Glocks. Not a fan of the plastic though I own them.
      My guide rods and springs never need disassembling neither . They clean up just fine.
      Your bashing of Springfield probably comes from a heritage of Glock lovers who just can’t accept that Springfield gives them true competition. It’s not like either makers are on the top of the food chain. There both are just affordable and reliable guns.
      As far as a safety, I agree with you. Your finger is your safety. But of all the guns I’ve fired, I’ve never wondered where to put my finger outside the trigger guard. It’s just natural for me, my wife, and all others I know. Don’t need a Glock to show you that. And my thumb has never pointed any where else than down the range. Sounds like you love Glock and nothing wrong with that. Wouldn’t part with mine. But they’re not necessary the the best for bad shooters and newbies.
      Again your right about fixing accuracy with the right coaching, but giving them a Glock is not the absolute. I would choose my Springfield or even my Sig way before the Glock any day. Just another 2-cents to add.

    • JOHN February 7, 2017, 5:12 pm


  • Robert October 12, 2015, 10:09 pm

    Tom, when I saw you include the M66 revolver my mind went immediately to my “odd caliber” SP101 .327 Fed mag. Then there it was in your #5 spot. Due to hand nerve problems I’m recoil sensitive…the .327 Fed mag meets my bill plus affords the small frame a 6th shot. When I first picked it up my hand and the SP101’s ergonomics were a marriage…I had to have one.

  • Mongo October 12, 2015, 5:45 pm

    It was a good attempt to match a pistol with one’s lack of practice, but you just wasted time. Lack of practice won’t make any gun effective. User friendly is another matter, my 80 year old aunt likes the revolver because you pull the trigger till you hear “click”. She thinks a little old lady with a gun can be very scary, especially if she’s cursing at you in between shots, and hitting stuff around you will get you looking for the door. In theory, I think she’s right….
    A side note, I read a book by a Seal, and he talked about a 70/30 grip; 70% of the grip comes from your support hand, 30% from ” trigger” hand, this helps keep your trigger finger less tense. That helped accuracy that was affected by poor trigger pull. Try it next time, you should see a difference, I did.
    Stay safe and stay armed

  • Ken Johnston October 12, 2015, 3:52 pm

    I live in waskom, tx., can someone recommend a fire arm instructor to get NRA certification? Thanks! Ken

  • Roady Fanelli October 12, 2015, 1:15 pm

    Come on TOM.
    Aren’t we being just a wee bit mercenary with this bullshit list?
    The M&P has a crappy trigger & Smith isn’t going to support their old autos.
    SIG SAUER P320 is Sigs newest offering. Did they give you one?
    SMITH & WESSON M66 – I have to agree on this one.
    SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD-S- If somebody is poor shot, 2 fingers on the grip is not the gun for them.
    RUGER SP101 FEDERAL .327 MAGNUM- may be the best of them.
    There are still many better older guns but you don’t get paid to hawk those do you?

  • Roady Fanelli October 12, 2015, 1:14 pm

    Come on TOM.
    Aren’t we being just a wee bit mercenary with this bullshit list?
    The M&P has a crappy trigger & Smith isn’t going to support their old autos.
    SIG SAUER P320 is Sigs newest offering. Did they give you one?
    SMITH & WESSON M66 – I have to agree on this one.
    SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD-S- If somebody is poor shot, 2 fingers on the grip is not the gun for them.
    RUGER SP101 FEDERAL .327 MAGNUM- may be the best of them.
    There are still many better older guns but you don’t get paid to hawk those do you?

    • Charles Roberts October 12, 2015, 10:32 pm

      I have a Kel-Tec 9mm, single action pulls hard and recoilas hard. Tough to hold on target.

    • Tom McHale October 14, 2015, 11:35 am

      Well, you’re on to my scam. Gun companies paid me $247 million last year to hawk certain products. Dang, I guess the gig is up… I’ll have to make the big bucks by finding a new job to post the same old conspiracy crap in blog comments. Are there still openings for that position? Can you introduce me to someone?

      Got news for you. No one pays anyone to write about their guns. Companies don’t give free guns to writers. I’ve paid for every one, just like you. The Sig P320 is an excellent pistol. I have large hands and can fit three fingers on the standard XD-S grip, as I mentioned in the article.

    • Dave Higginbotham October 14, 2015, 12:54 pm

      Roady. I pay Tom to write articles. What he writes is up to him. Grow up.

  • Evan October 12, 2015, 12:57 pm

    I’m not much of a pistol shot, I can get minute-of-man at 25 yards, but that’s about it. But with a good 1911 in .45ACP, I do OK.

  • Woody Eubanks October 12, 2015, 12:19 pm

    There is no substitute for practice. I don’t mean just shooting to be wasting ammo , you need to practice like your life depends on it . My father taught me the best advice I can give anyone when it comes to hand guns he said their main use is for personal protection and in that situation you won’t have time to think so it must happen like instinct. That said he said everyone is built different and there fore no one gun fits all or most . What you need is a gun that naturally shoots where you look . So he always said pick up the weapon and point it at a object and if the sights do not automatically land on target and aligned than its not for you. Trust me I have tried this on many persons at my range and the ones who did this could hold the group in the kill every time with out much practice at all . My best all time shooter or the 45 XDS 4″ it shoots where I look and never have to look at my sight picture it shoots so well that I kept 25 rounds in the head of my siloet at 50 yards. My father was a army expert with hand guns and a gun smith he would work with people and make grips and changes to make the gun of choice point where they looked. I truly miss him and his wisdom.

  • Steve Carson October 12, 2015, 12:17 pm

    Just as the 357 mag can shoot 38 caliber bullets; the 327 can shoot 32 caliber bullets. This makes usable ammo Much easier to find!!

  • Tony Formicola October 12, 2015, 9:05 am

    That was a pretty good article but you made a serious mistake. You let you personal trigger issues cloud your perception of opinion vs fact. The fact is that millions of shooters can place rounds where they aim with a Glock. The factory Glock trigger is a fine design that works well for many. I personally like the stack and prepping the trigger is second nature. Once the slack is taken up the shot breaks the same as a 1911 single action.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude October 12, 2015, 11:51 am

      You’re right, Tony. I do one hole target shots at five meters with the right ammo in my match grade barreled Glock 22 with a standard factory trigger all day long or until you are tired of losing money betting the shots. I could also max out the moa potential of a standard AK with its notoriously bad trigger movement, notwithstanding. Trigger ‘excuses’ have always been typical of those who simply don’t know ‘how’ to shoot properly. I like a ‘stacked’ trigger also for the reason of its original design intent. Which is why so many LEAs went to the DA Glocks and Sigs. The ‘accidental’ discharge factor in high stress adrenalin pumped fine motor skills deterioration and tactile pressure differentiation. A liability problem that low shooting skilled police didn’t/still don’t need on top of all their other problems. Back in the day, my department had to literally mandate practice every 6 months or so and sign off qualification at the range because nobody really practiced that much.

      The problem is almost never the trigger. And that, if anything is probably that it is too hair sensitive. like some of these tricked out race guns. The problem is not knowing how to keep your sight from not moving off the mark until AFTER you pull the trigger. This requires the most training and must be ‘muscle memoried’ in permanently before you go on to the next level of rapid fire and combat drills. The good thing is that it can be practiced dry firing or with pellet guns, etc.

      Also, the article should have mentioned that the ‘simplest’ firearm to ‘operate’ is ALWAYS the best for the novice. This is why a Glock is better than a 92FS or 1911 for the amateur. No manual safety-off issues which are sometimes ‘forgotten’ by the best of us in high speed sudden ambush confrontations. Which is why most ‘professional’ operators prefer an automatic with no manual safety like a Glock or Sig or…keep one in the chamber on ready DA action with the safety off.

    • Tom McHale October 12, 2015, 4:14 pm

      No, no mistake. Facts are things like the fact that police officers hit their targets between 9 and 61 percent of the time, depending on a whole lot of factors like daylight or night conditions, whether multiple officers are shooting, etc. All in all, you’ll find hit rates in the 30% range. Obviously, part of the reason for all the misses is stress. Other causes are lack of practice and training. Others just may be gun related. In NY, where the big heavy NY Glock triggers are in use, the average hit rate is in the low 30% area. But that’s with the NY 7.5Lb trigger, so it’s not an exact comparison. LAPD uses a mix of guns, with heavy Glock use, and their hit rate is in the high twenties most years.

      There’s nothing “wrong” with a Glock trigger, nor do I have any personal issues with them. They’re just not as easy to shoot well as other triggers out there. That’s my only point. And I have to totally disagree that a Glock trigger breaks like a 1911. Not even close 🙂

  • Charlie October 12, 2015, 5:41 am

    I would have thought the S&W 686+ would have made the revolver list. I have a 3″ 686+ that is very easy to shoot and has an extra round.
    I agree with the choice for M&P, I went with a M&P CORE (4.25″) and have a Delta Point on it because my eyes are old.

  • chief Slowroller October 8, 2015, 10:57 pm

    I had a XD 40 what a piece of krap, glad I traded it for a Sage flyrod.
    PX4 shoots great hits the target every time.
    where’s the Judge?
    Ruger Blackhawk is on my list.

  • Eric October 8, 2015, 10:35 pm

    What about a FN five seven? I have never shot one but from what I understand it’s a full size gun with a high velocity, low recoil round. I would like to hear from an owner of one of these pistols/ caliber to hear their opinion. I am interested in possibly buying one and would appreciate any feed back.

    • Chris October 12, 2015, 1:30 pm

      I have one, and it is a dream to shoot. Very low recoil, full sized frame, 20 to 30 round ammo capacity, and very lightweight. Only downsides are expensive-ish ammo, and a pretty expensive gun. They are also kind of hard to find in your LGS.

  • Djk October 8, 2015, 6:27 pm

    Please tell me more about “glock trigger”.
    I live low and left. How can I train to fix it? Or what is needed to be replaced by gunsmith to fix it?

    • Mikial October 9, 2015, 1:02 pm

      I had a good Glock qualified gunsmith install a 4 pound trigger in my Glock 21. That lightened the pull and smoothed it out considerably over the factory trigger. It is now an extremely accurate gun and my EDC.

      I find my XD .45 does the same low/left thing. At first I thought it was me, but our Berettas, Walther PPX, 1911, and Taurus guns don’t seem to do it. I corrected it with my XD by focusing on using the ball of my first finger joint to pull the trigger rather than the portion of my finger closer to the joint itself. This allows a little more room between the part of your hand where your trigger finger attaches and the frame of the gun so that as your hand bunches slightly as you pull the trigger, it isn’t pushing against the frame as much and nudging the muzzle to the left.

      You can see what I mean by holding your hand in the shape it would be if you were pulling a trigger and looking down on it from above as you go through the motion. You can see how your hand bulges a little with the tightening on your trigger finger, and how it would be pushing against the frame when you shoot.

      Hope that made sense.

      • Al October 13, 2015, 2:01 am

        Also, I’d like to add that lot of people tend to shoot low/left when transitioning from revolvers. If you tighten your grip with your left pinky you’ll jerk the trigger low/lef because the same grip will tend to torque gun weak side. I grip the gun with my middle and ring fingers and the ball of my thumb. The pinky stays loose off the grip – keep enough room to slide a pencil between the palm and your grip. I stage the trigger, hold my breath, focus on the front sight – till I get the right sight picture: After a while with practice, you won’t be staging – it will turn into a smooth trigger pull and sight acquisition: Let the hammer down and “boom”. You’ll be dead on.

      • Al October 13, 2015, 2:09 am

        Also, I’d like to add that lot of people tend to shoot low/left when transitioning from revolvers. If you tighten your grip with your left pinky you’ll jerk the trigger low/lef because the same grip will tend to torque gun weak side. I grip the gun with my middle and ring fingers and the ball of my thumb. The pinky stays loose off the grip – keep enough room to slide a pencil between the palm and your grip. I stage the trigger, hold my breath, focus on the front sight – till I get the right sight picture: After a while with practice, you won’t be staging – it will turn into a smooth trigger pull and sight acquisition: Let the hammer down and “boom”. You’ll be dead on.

    • Dr. Strangelove October 11, 2015, 5:30 am

      Mikial is correct. Low left usually means you are jerking the trigger. Never heard of “Glock trigger” before.

      • Tom McHale October 12, 2015, 10:12 am

        There’s nothing “wrong” with a Glock trigger, just the nature of the pull combined with the apparently easy operation of the gun, which leads many to jerk the trigger, resulting in low and left hits 🙂

      • EPoch270 February 27, 2016, 12:19 am

        I usually find that low and left is from an anticipatory flinch, causing the muzzle to dive down and left moments before they pull the trigger. Dry firing and live fire will usually fix it with time.

  • Data314 October 8, 2015, 1:22 pm

    I agree with Jeffrey. I brought home a Mossberg 500 Tactical (#54303), it holds 8-rounds of the 20-gauge round of your choice. For my wife, who doesn’t enjoy going to the range to practice as much as I do, it is hard to beat.

    • Doug October 12, 2015, 9:49 pm

      What about a Charles Dailey, over n under 28ga? Beautiful gun, very little recoil, though shell only holds 2 BBs of buckshot! (Haha)

    • Charles Roberts October 12, 2015, 10:28 pm

      I have one-12 ga, I’m 80 years old and tt tears up my arthritic wrist trying to hold onto the pistol grip. Not a gun for the weak of body.

  • Jeffrey Knotts October 8, 2015, 10:12 am

    Simple. A 12 ga double-barrel shotgun. If you are never going to practice and you want to be successful with that first round downrange (and don’t mind installing a new wall), nothing says “Get the hell out of my house now!” like 2 barrels of buckshot/birdshot coming out of a 12 ga shotgun. Just make sure everyone you don’t want to kill is behind you…

    • CJ Klekar October 10, 2015, 11:49 am

      Joe Biden, is that you?

      • MDS October 12, 2015, 2:34 pm


    • Lying Bastard December 25, 2015, 8:48 am

      So your assumptions are

      1) Bad guy(s) will be terrified of the shotgun and will run before you have to reach for the trigger. If that does not work,

      2) Bad guy(s) will be terrified of the shotgun and will run after you fire one shot.
      2.1) Maybe you had to shoot one of the bad guys and the other(s) will run.

      3) You are an amazing shot and there are only two bad guys who just happen to be standing in front of you waiting for you to aim and shoot each one of them. Kinda like those fighting movies where there are 15 bad guys but only one attack the hero at a time.

  • Terril Hebert October 8, 2015, 8:58 am

    Not a bad list at all Tom. I always thought of 32 caliber guns as the easiest to shoot well with little range time. I would think the DA pull on a revolver would make it hard for “bad shooters” to shoot well. Of course 22 LR guns are probably the easiest to shoot but I like that this list shows only centerfire guns.

  • Eddie M. October 7, 2015, 8:59 pm

    I have recently found myself to be a member of the 99% club. In joining those ranks, ive found that a 5″ 1911 in 9mm is about the easiest for me to shoot well with limited practice time. For me, the single action trigger seems to make all the difference. And it’s not much harder to carry than a short barreled weapon.
    No compromise. No regret.

  • James M. October 7, 2015, 5:22 pm

    Of all my pistols. My 9 yr old daughters favorites to shoot are S&W model 66-2. And Sig p220. One a .357, other a .45. She absolutely refuses to shoot my wifes ladysmith .38, and ruger lcr. Out of the mouths of babes.

    • Tom McHale October 7, 2015, 8:16 pm

      Ha! Love it! Especially the Sig P220. Amazing she can even get her hands around the grip 🙂

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