I am looking to purchase a handgun just for recreational use and for protection around the house. I grew up hunting with shotguns so not really sure what to look for in a handgun other than affordability. Any suggestions or recommendations are welcome!
I like the how the article was written about a new holster for big Army and their new Sig pistols but the pic shows a Glock stuffed in them.
Get yourself a .22 auto pistol Browning Buckmark, or Ruger MK4 or 22/45MK4. Just some options.
If you want to get proficient with a pistol you need to practice, and a 22 is an economical fun way to do it. Although not a self defense weapon per say, it will fill that gap until you gain confidence and move up to a centerfire caliber. A 9mm in a semi-auto is an excellent choice and like any firearm will require practice. And although I agree that a 38 special,/.357 revolver may be a good alternative I can tell you from 30+ years of experience and at the risk of starting an argument that they are no more or less reliable than a good semi-auto pistol. And come with limitations and required skills of their own.
More than anything you need to practice with your choice, both dry fire and as many rounds as you can reasonable afford. It does not make sense to shoot anything more than a 9mm or .38special until you gain skill and proficiency.
Get a .22 pistol and find a Steel Challenge club and have some fun and get proficient with that pistol,
That's a good pair of suggestions. A 4" 357/38 is a great general purpose pistol. I don't own one personally but have shot many, they are a joy to shoot with 38.
I am an X Army DI and an X law enforcement and also a NRA instructor. 357 revolver is a great choice. Like the other guy told you, you can use 38n or 357. Get a 4" that is more accurate. If you decide to get an auto, you MUST get to the range often. They are more mechanical than a revolver and lots of thengs can and will go wrong. Not so with a revolver. Ruger, Taurus, are very good quality for 1/2 the money of Colt or S&W.
How about a 4" 357 mag revolver? You can shoot 38 spcl just about all the time with it, even for 'home defense'. A used Ruger Security-Six doesn't cost to much, other options around too.
Having recently been in the same situation I would highly recommend you get at minimum some over the counter instruction in terms of the different types of offerings that are available. Visit several shops and get some insight from those who work there. Take serious consideration into what you intend to use it for and look into models that fit your intended use. For example, if you intend to CC and purchase a 44 mag revolver with a 10" barrel you will be sorely disappointed and at a serious disadvantage.
As was mentioned seek out some instruction, take the CC class and get your CC permit. Educate yourself on the responsibilities of CC and home defense. Their is a lot more to it than just keeping a pistol on the night stand. You owe this to yourself, your family and those around you.
Practice everything about owning a handgun, not just how to hit a target at the range on a Saturday afternoon. If you take the CC class you will understand what I am talking about.
With that being said, I am not going to recommend a pistol or caliber for you. You will need to make that choice for yourself. I ended buying an XDS from Springfield Arms in .40 cal. It fits my needs and my intended uses. I went with a double stack. It's heavy, thick and not a great choice for CC however, I only CC when I am hunting and occasionally keep it in the console of my vehicle. It fits my large hands and I like having the ammo capacity. It also fit my price point. This particular model has no true safety. Once upholstered and in hand it is ready to fire. It's a good choice for self defense from that perspective however, not so good in terms of safety. Imo.
Good luck with your purchase. Be safe and enjoy shooting your hand gun of choice. It's a lot of fun that you can share with friends and family.
I'll second what migr8r said. Training and familiarization with your firearm are paramount. Safety goes far beyond keeping your finger off the trigger and knowing what's beyond in a defensive situation.
I'll let you gather you own opinion on the defensive tool for the job, but in an urban and home defense situation but I will respectfully disagree with the shotgun suggestion when it comes to home defense. They're slow to get back on target if you miss the first shot, they're cumbersome, and require two hands at all times to manipulate safely. Also keep in mind when it comes to home defense target identification is a must, so a light source should be part of your defensive preparation. Don't be the guy who shot the drunk neighbor because you heard a bump in the night and you were told just pointing a shotgun down the hall is a viable option. You are responsible for every single 00 buck round that doesn't hit its intended target.
Again, this is just my opinion, I'm no expert but I do have military training in MOUT/OU and CQB scenarios during a no/low light situation. Training in a no/low light is highly recommended if you ever plan to need to employ lethal force as home protection. Sorry for the rant but the home defense subject is often taken waaay too lightly. I will agree it's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
If you haven't had much experience shooting a handgun, my suggestion would be to hire an instructor for a few hours and first and foremost learn how to shoot and shoot safely. And secondly, he should have or the facility you shoot at should have a variety of guns to try. There's a whole lot to choose from. Finding one that you handle and shoot well should supersede cost. If for personal protection, you're gonna want one that you can grab and operate without looking at it or fumbling around. That means getting one that you can operate easily and practice, practice, practice.
And as BT said, for home defense, nothing beats a shotgun with 00 buck.
As far as protection around the house, I'd stick with the shotgun. Get a box of OO Buck and you have what you need.
For handguns, I have many between .22 and .44 mag. Go small for recreational use. My S&W 422 (.22 cal long rifle) is a hit with anyone who shoots it. Little to no recoil and the ammo is still relatively cheap. 9mm is another fun round but not as accurate as a 40 S&W or 45 ACP. Both have a bit more recoil. My Taurus Raging Bull .44 mag is a force to be reckoned with but 6 shots at the range is enough for one day for me. Don't go there or above for rec use.
Good luck on your purchase.