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From the category archives: Beginner Gun Reviews

Reviews of guns from a beginners point of view. Not so much "is it a good gun" but more "is it a good FIRST gun".

Beginner Gun Review: The Smith & Wesson M&P C.O.R.E. 9mm

In my first unofficial post on Gun Noob (helping to answer a Free For all Friday question), I mentioned that I recently retired my 9mm Beretta PX4 compact in favor of a 9mm XDS 3.3." The PX4 was fulfilling dual roles, as both a carry/self defense gun and a range toy. Now that I have a little more disposable income (not really, but I keep telling myself that) I decided to replace one do-it-all gun with two more specialized pieces. Since I am looking to start competing with a pistol, I did some shopping around and decided to buy myself a Smith and Wesson M&P C.O.R.E. 5" in 9mm. I can't shoot Glocks worth a damn (wrong grip angle) and as much as I like the XD series (I do own one after-all) the M&P just felt 'right' in my hands. Besides, Jerry Miculek shoots one and who am I to argue with the master. 

Full review after the jump!

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A Review Retrospective

Have you ever bought something and immediately loved it? Then, after more and more time using it, you start to notice little issues with it here and there. Initially, they’re just filed away in your brain under the “huh, that’s weird” category. Eventually those little issues either get more and more annoying or you start noticing glaring problems. After enough time, the honeymoon is over and that thing you initially loved turns out to be a festering hunk of crap. No, I’m not talking about my first marriage. I’m talking about the guns we’ve reviewed here at Gun Noob. Actually, let me clarify that a bit: I’m going over the guns that I’ve personally reviewed. Some of the guns were reviewed by other writers who have since moved on so I can’t realistically give an update on those.

Let's take a trip down memory lane after the jump! 

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Mostly Platonic Love. Mostly... (Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22)

I wanted to start off my GunNoob reviews with a gun I felt very comfortable writing about. I have personally owned two of these plastic marvels and have shot a few belonging to others. Introduced in 2009 in both rifle and pistol configurations, the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Rifle (that's a mouthful) is a wonderful platform that can be used for three distinct purposes. 1) to introduce rifles to new shooters 2) to train with instead of a full-sized AR, and 3) hunting small varment. I use mine regularly for the first two (as i don't hunt) and have over 5000 rounds through my rifles.

Full review after the jump...

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Beginner Gun Review: Remington 597

Let’s talk about hipsters for a moment. According to urban dictionary, this subculture rejects the mainstream in favor of the ironic and independent lifestyle. They generally have very productive jobs and have above average income yet dress like homeless people, all in the name of irony. They criticise things for being mainstream and brag about liking things “before they were cool”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ripping on hipsters. I’ve been a hardcore nerd since I said my first word as a baby (“condominium”, for those who are wondering) so it would be hypocritical for me to criticise a fringe culture.

Why am I talking about hipsters with a gun review? Find out after the jump!


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Beginner Gun Review: FNH FNS-9

FNH FNS-9Although this is a review for the FNH FNS-9 pistol, I’m going to take a moment and talk about the Glock 19. The G19 is actually the very first gun I ever reviewed on this site. Ever since that review, I have referred to the Glock 19 as a “Goldilocks gun”. It’s size allows it to easily be concealed for daily carry but it’s not so small that it’s uncomfortable to shoot. In fact, you can spend a whole day at the range with this gun with no problems at all.

There’s a good reason why the Glock 19 is Glock’s most popular model if not one of the more popular guns on the market. It’s no wonder that just about every company makes a striker fired handgun in a similar shape, size and frame. Smith & Wesson has the M&P 9c, Springfield has the XDm 3.8 and, of course, FNH has the FNS-9 pistol. See how I brought that back around?


Rest of the review after the jump!

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Beginner Gun Review: Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device Carry Edition

Two years ago, at my first SHOT Show, I got a special invite to view a fascinating prototype. Unfortunately I was under an NDA that included the words “execution with extreme prejudice” as part of the “repercussions” section for violation. Needless to say, I didn’t even tell my dog. Imagine my surprise when two armed representatives of Aperture Science showed up at my door with to personally deliver a T&E weapon to review! The NDA has been lifted and I can talk about this amazing new direction for personal defense.

Full review after the jump!

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Beginner Gun Review: Taurus 627 Revolver

Taurus 627You may remember that I reviewed the Smith & Wesson 686 a couple months ago. In that review, I discovered that I don’t, in fact, hate revolvers. Who knew? Anyway, tragedy of tragedies: I had to give the 686 back to my friend. Pro tip: buy the gun from a person BEFORE you publish a glowing review of it. So there I was revolverless and in need of a revolver. We’re not talking “honey, I really need this Desert Eagle .50AE for...uhm...reasons.” but more of “In order to get this certification, I need a revolver with which to practice.”

Full review after the jump...

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Beginner Gun Review: Taurus PT-1911

Taurus PT-1911For some reason, I've had this deeply held belief that a 1911 shouldn't be a noob's first gun. It’s an expensive, complex gun with a large and powerful caliber round that spits forth from it. While I've shot 1911s on many occasions, I've yet to put one through the tests. Granted, this is partially because I haven’t been able to get my hands on one long enough to actually run my gauntlet. For some odd reason, people don’t like the idea of me conducting my “limp wrist test” on their $1500 Dan Wesson Custom. Can’t say I blame them, mind you, I cringe a bit when I do it to my own guns.

That’s the other problem with 1911s: most people aren't going to drop more than $600 on their first pistol and, for the most part, a solid 1911 falls in the $800+ range. There are a couple of exceptions, however. 

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Beginner Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220

I have a list of firearms I refer to as my “Bucket List Guns”. These are guns, gun or bad, that I want to own, or at least shoot at some point in my life. Of course there’s the obligatory Desert Eagle .50 and the 50 BMG and so on. Other ones might puzzle some people. One such gun is the SIG Sauer P220. “That’s a bucket list gun?!” some might say. It’s a fairly common pistol, in the grand scheme of things. While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s not prohibitively expensive either coming in at around $850-$950 depending on your location. It also doesn’t have some super special technology like the Desert Eagle’s piston system either.

So why is this on my list? I’ll be honest, it’s purely for aesthetic reasons. It’s a deeply ingrained part of my personality that fell in love with the looks of this gun. I like mechanical things. I like machines. I like levers and switches and buttons. Look at the side of a P220: three levers and a button. It looks industrial. It’s beautiful.


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Beginner Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Model 686

Smith & Wesson Model 686In the interest of full disclosure, I feel the need to make a confession: I’ve never really liked revolvers. Now, I recognize that there are people that love them and swear by them but I’m not one of them. Suffice to say, it comes down to the fact that I just don’t like the way they feel. While there hasn’t been many, every revolver I’ve shot to this day was clunky and downright painful to shoot. Give me a nice, semi-automatic pistol of any caliber any day and I’m happy.

I’m also working on becoming an NRA certified instructor. One of the requirements is that I have to demonstrate ability with a revolver.


Well, time to get ahold of a revolver I guess. Fortunately, a close friend of the family had one he was planning on selling and he let me try it out first. The revolver in question is the Smith & Wesson Model 686. This is a double action revolver chambered in .357 Magnum which means it can also shoot the cheaper and lighter shooting .38 Special as well. The gun is based off of Smith & Wesson’s L frame which is what they call their “medium-large” pistols. It holds 6 rounds but there are also 7 round options and It also has adjustable rear sights.


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