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So here's the deal: while I'm not presently a gun owner, I'm considering investing in one or more M&Ps for personal/home defense, for use both by my wife and myself, the idea being that having one model of handgun around means only having to learn one set of handling procedures. My wife has a couple of female friends who carry concealed, and they strongly recommend .40 S&W as the round to go with, which sounds like good thinking to me. (This all assuming that we both like the feel of the M&P when we go to test-fire one, which I most certainly intend to do before buying.)



But I haven't fired a gun in 13 years (and that was a Glock 17), and my wife never has, so it struck me that it would also be a good idea to invest in a .22LR pistol to use as a training weapon, from which we can both work up to the "real thing." I say "invest" also because we have a 17 month-old son, and I figure some day several years down the road, the best way to "gun-proof" him (per Massad Ayoob) is by hands-on instruction, and a .22LR pistol will also be useful for that purpose when the time comes.



So does anyone have any suggestions what model of .22LR semi-auto would be suitable? I've read various comments on this board to the efect that the M&P has a similar grip angle and "pointability" to an 1911, and Ruger makes the 22/45 Mk.III which is specifically designed to handle like a 1911. Would that be suitable? Or are there other suggestions?



Thank you in advance for any responses.
 

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The S&W model 22A is a nice target pistol. I bought it as my first gun. It has a long barrel (7"), adjustable rear sight, easy to handle, and a lot of fun. I hear you can pick it up nowadays for under $200.
 

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That's a tricky one since the 22 autos are single action and the M&P is a striker fired, or could be considered a double action. (Don't send me any hate mail, it's about the closest description)



A 22 auto with a similar grip angle would be OK, but the trigger will be completely different, IMHO a better trainer might be a 22 revolver that can be shot double action, shooting it double action would better prepare a person for the trigger action of the M&P. It's been mentioned several times that it would be nice to have a 22 conversion for the M&P, hopefully someone will be bringing one out, but that might be a year or two in the future.
 

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I agree with John, but I really like the Ruger MK III 22/45. Its grip is very similiar to a 1911 grip and at $250, you cant beat it... With an accurizing kit, and trigger enhancement, you will have yourself a fine target/practice pistol for you and your wife.
 

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skip the 22 all together! Proper stance and grip make the M&P easy to control. Invest in training, not a 22. JMHO
 

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Unfortunatly, the majority of 22lr handguns on the market have a very different action type than the average defensive handgun. The only two that I am aware of that have similar function and manual of arms are the Walther P22 and the SIG Mosquito. I just recently purchased the Mosquito for myself and I love it! I think it likely to be the closest option you'll find in similar ergonomics and operation to the M&P.



MC
 

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I'm not sure if the OP wanted a .22 with the same type of action. I may have misread him, but I thought he just wanted a .22 to plink away, to get used to handling a firearm, and to have some time to work on his targeting and safety skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
SCFireFighter said:
I'm not sure if the OP wanted a .22 with the same type of action. I may have misread him, but I thought he just wanted a .22 to plink away, to get used to handling a firearm, and to have some time to work on his targeting and safety skills.


You read me entirely correctly. I'm looking first and foremost for a training weapon with which to get a grip on basic firearms handling and shooting technique without having to overcome the steep learning curve of starting on a .40 straight away. Any similarity to an M&P in operation and handling would just be an added bonus, not a prerequisite. Sorry if I didn't make that quite clear at the outset.



tsix said:


Ooh, pretty! But with an MSRP of $782, a little too rich for my blood.



The Mosquito's nice, but at $100 more than the most of the rest of the field, I think I'll pass on that one too. I'll look into the Mk.III, the Buck Mark, the 22A and the P22, and see which feels nicest. Thank you all for the help.
 

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IMHO the .22 is the perfect training gun because it teaches proper sight alignment, trigger control and all the basics of hangun shooting without the recoil of full power hand guns.



Once a .22 is mastered with nice tight groups at POA the step up to a .45 becomes much easier. I have found that my many thousands of rounds with a target .22 keeps the basics of handgun shooting fresh and when I am shooting any of my big caliber guns from .40 to .460 mag I can generally know instantly when I have a flyer coming because of recoil anticipation, loss of focus on the front sight at time of ignition, or any one of the many human reasons the 5X on the target was missed.



There are times when I seem to be pulling or pushing rounds left or right so I will get out my High Standard or Ruger .22 and fire 50 to 100 rounds to get me back in the groove then go back to the bigger guns. I seems to settle me down.



There are a number of excellent .22's out there. The Kimbers sure is sweet but beyond my price range also. My Ruger MKI is one of my most fun shooters and has had more rounds down range than any of my other Semi Autos or revolvers. You just can't beat making one ragged hole with a .22 :)
 

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My compliments to the OP for extraordinary common sense. My suggestion is give up on trying to duplicate the handling characteristics of the M&P and settle on a good quality .22 for lots and lots of cheap practice and confidence building (and fun!). My choice was a slick looking, fine shooting, easy to take down and clean Beretta U22 NEOS. Yes it looks like a raygun but it shoots great. You can pick up a nice 4.5" for around $230 new and CDNN sells spare magazines for $10ea.





If you must get closer to the handling characteristics of an M&P40C than you might look at the little $250 Walther P22. It's not DAO and it doesn't have a great reputation for reliability but it does look a little bit more like an M&P compact than most 22s. Then again it might kill her confidence.







The other option is just to buy a ton of WalMart Winchester White Box practice ammo for $22/100rds. That's 1200rds for the price of a .22.



More important though is formal training. I'm not talking megabucks at FrontSight (well not yet :wink: ), there are a zillion perfectly fine little shooting academies run by off-duty law enforcement firearms instructors. A one day beginner's course will do wonders for her confidence. I know I had a ball doing hours worth of double taps while the instructors built up the beginners' legal knowledge, safety knowledge and confidence, misfire clearance skills and confidence, and shooting and reloading skills. The intermediate course covered combat draws and variations of firing from a draw while engaging multiple targets and was even more fun. Total investment $350 plus ammo for two full Saturdays worth of fun.
 

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I bought a S&W 22A for arond $200, mounted a cheap red dot sight on it and had a trigger job done to it. The sight was $30 & the trigger job was done a a local GS for $50. I went with the red dot sight to help perfect trigger control. Starting out I was amazed how much that little red dot danced around! As I increased trigger time the dot is now focused on the target. I use this set up to shoot freestyle, stong hand and week hand only with good results. Although this is just my opinion I feel I have a good, stable a platform to accomplish what I wanted to do that doesn't cost much to shoot.



The only trainer out there cheaper to shoot than a 22 is a decent airsoft blow back pistol. You can pick up a decent airsoft pistol for around $125 + another $30 should get you enough gas & ammo to keep you shooting for a while. It is probably the most cost effective way to train using a handgun. Another advantage is that you can use it in the basement of your home or back yard - you can practice any time you like. Currently there is not an airsoft replica of the M&P. I have used the airsoft version of the G17 and found it to be a good training platform. Like the 22 the only thing missing is the recoil when compared to the "real weapon"(9mm, 40SW, 45) - other than that it functions just like a real weapon.



Bottom line - there are lots of options available to you. Do some due dilligence and find something that will fit your needs and budget. You and your wife are the ones that have to shoot the choice you make. Visit several gun shops, ask a bunch of questions and go from there. Don't rule out purchasing a used 22 either. Depending on the weapon, buying used can realize a 20 to 30% or more savings.



There was an article in a gun magazine about using airsoft as a training tool. If I come across the article I'll post a link for you. Either way a 22 or airsoft is a good platform to learn fundamental handgun skills - the most fundamental skill to master with the exception of safety is trigger control.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
sholling said:
My compliments to the OP for extraordinary common sense.
Well, thank you. Thank you also for the suggestions re: models to look at.



sholling said:
More important though is formal training. I'm not talking megabucks at FrontSight (well not yet :wink: ), there are a zillion perfectly fine little shooting academies run by off-duty law enforcement firearms instructors. A one day beginner's course will do wonders for her confidence.
Formal training is pretty much a given. I'm lucky in that one of my wife's brothers is a firearms enthusiast; he took several classes at the Firearms Academy of Seattle and enthused about them. My wife's already said she'd want to take their Handgun Safety Seminar either before we brought a gun into the house, or at the very earliest opportunity after. FAS is about an hour's drive south of us, so we'll probably take as many classes there as we can afford. I'm also lucky that she has a couple of women friends who shoot and carry; between that and her brother, it's made her a bit more amenable to the idea of gun ownership.



Also, thank you, Throwin Lead, for the tips.
 

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Chassist said:
Handgun Safety Seminar either before we brought a gun into the house, or at the very earliest opportunity after.
More good thinking! I'd also go to the range and try shooting a couple of different things. Once you get to the hands on shooting classes I'd want my own weapon so that I could take best advantage of the instructor's knowledge and start establishing weapon specific habits.
 

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My uninformed $0.02...



You can't really go wrong with a Ruger. One of those old classic designs that is very well proven and very well regarded. Affordable. And it will always be in demand should you wish to sell it.



A bonus is that if you get one of the bull barrel versions you have a competitive bullseye competition gun with a few simple mods (trigger, basically...there's a drop-in accurizing kit available). A lot of the other alternatives aren't really suitable for that, yet they cost as much or more.



Something else to consider...rumor has it that somebody's going to make a 22 conversion kit for the M&P this year. That would let you handle the real thing, shooting 22 until you think you're ready for the larger caliber.



The above observations are worth every penny you're paying for them. They also assume that I'm actually in touch with reality, which, upon long and careful reflection, I have determined is vastly overrated.
 

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I bought a Walther P22 for training also. I love the gun. Its quirky at times but it looks cool and is very fun to shoot. The biggest problem I am having now is that my wife doesn't want to shoot the bigger guns now. She will shoot them but she still falls back to the .22. It's driving me crazy. She wanted a gun to begin with but is having a hard time over coming the difference between a .22 and a 9mm. I know before you start I have tried telling her everything. We are taking SD course next month to hopefully help get over this hurdle.



My point is, right at this moment I wish I would have started her off with a 9mm and spent the money we spent on the P22 on ammo. After going thru this I would reccommend going to a range and renting different guns. Get used to shooting different types. Then but what you want. Shoot that. Then if you still want a .22 then buy it. Don't get used to the .22. Its harder to transition away from it. Buy it after you are used to shooting your carry gun to improve your skills. Don't start with it though.



If you are worried about the .40 then buy the 9mm. The M&P 9mm has very little recoil. Throw in plugs and ear muffs and the noise isn't an issue either. Its alot cheaper to shoot than the .40 too.
 

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Chassist said:
So here's the deal: while I'm not presently a gun owner, I'm considering investing in one or more M&Ps for personal/home defense, for use both by my wife and myself, the idea being that having one model of handgun around means only having to learn one set of handling procedures. My wife has a couple of female friends who carry concealed, and they strongly recommend .40 S&W as the round to go with, which sounds like good thinking to me. (This all assuming that we both like the feel of the M&P when we go to test-fire one, which I most certainly intend to do before buying.)


Go to a range that rents the pistol you are considering and get a qualified trainer to get you started.
 
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