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VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

The Code of Virginia is not preemptible by local statute

VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 12:23:14

Hello everyone, this will be my first thread posted!
Basically the whole point is for me to get some confirmation on what the laws are as of now. From what I understand, and correct me if I am wrong, is that anyone age 18 and above may purchase a handgun from a private seller, so long as they are a VA resident and not a felon. I am 20, and I have just recently been looking into a handgun which I was originally going to start the process of buying when I turned 21 as I thought you had to be 21 to legally own one. However, I have read that is not the case if you are purchasing from a private seller, or a gun show (not clear on the requirements for purchase at gun shows). I know you have to be 21 and clear a background check if you purchase from a legit dealer, so as of right now thats not an option, but I was planning to purchase a used gun anyways so if I can get it directly from a private seller before the age of 21 then it might be a mighty fine Christmas gift to myself :clap: Well, I think you all get the idea, any clarification on these laws and/or personal input, whatever it is I'm sure it will be helpful.
Kick it off! Thanks.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby rromeo » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:39:03

007Fitz wrote:Hello everyone, this will be my first thread posted!
Basically the whole point is for me to get some confirmation on what the laws are as of now. From what I understand, and correct me if I am wrong, is that anyone age 18 and above may purchase a handgun from a private seller, so long as they are a VA resident and not a felon. I am 20, and I have just recently been looking into a handgun which I was originally going to start the process of buying when I turned 21 as I thought you had to be 21 to legally own one. However, I have read that is not the case if you are purchasing from a private seller, or a gun show (not clear on the requirements for purchase at gun shows). I know you have to be 21 and clear a background check if you purchase from a legit dealer, so as of right now thats not an option, but I was planning to purchase a used gun anyways so if I can get it directly from a private seller before the age of 21 then it might be a mighty fine Christmas gift to myself :clap: Well, I think you all get the idea, any clarification on these laws and/or personal input, whatever it is I'm sure it will be helpful.
Kick it off! Thanks.


Yes, you are good to go, if somebody will sell to you. Some folks don't like to sell to people under 21 though.

The laws for buying at a gun show are no different. The media just makes a big deal about gun shows because it sounds catchy.
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:46:30

Romeo: Yep yep. Thanks for clarifying the gun show rules.

Could someone help me with what the policy is on what needs to be done after a purchase on the buyers behalf? Is there any requirements for registering the gun in your name or anything like that?


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby OakRidgeStars » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:54:45

There is no registration requirement in VA for handguns and long guns.
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:57:53

OakRidgeStars wrote:There is no registration requirement in VA for handguns and long guns.


That is what I thought. It all seems so easy. All I need is more cash so I can get whatever I want! If anyone has any suggestions of good quality compact or sub-compact guns for around $400 give or take $50 you can find a WTB thread of mine in the WTB section. Thanks for the help so far.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby OakRidgeStars » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 15:54:14

Here's an interesting thread on concealed handguns and holsters. You can find many more on that topic using the search feature.

carrying/thoughts-handgun-chp-t5176.html
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby OakRidgeStars » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 15:57:33

OK, this is actually the thread I was looking for...

general-discussion/best-concealed-carry-pistol-t6272.html
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby ProShooter » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 16:01:11

You can also take a concealed carry class before age 21, and turn in your application on your 21st birthday!
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 16:17:06

Oak: thanks for the link, it seems every likes to say "whatever gun you shoot best or whatever gun you carry most comfortably". I have looked and read threads like that, however I really just want ppl to give guns with a pro and con list and save the whole whatever you shoot and carry most comfy. I want to know what I think I should go out and look for and what I might enjoy trying out and eventually owning. If it helps I am 5'9 or 5'10, about 145 lbs, I stay in shape and wear clothes that fit well (not real tight, but snug).

ProShooter wrote:You can also take a concealed carry class before age 21, and turn in your application on your 21st birthday!


Thanks for that heads up....I'll try and get started on one when classes are over for the spring semester. How long do they normally last?


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby Yarddawg » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 19:47:59

Fitz, first welcome aboard! There is really no way for anyone here to give objective reviews of "pros and cons" because it is all very subjective, and it has a lot to do with what exactly are you planning to use the gun for. Are you planning to hunt with it, use it for self defense, target shooting, or...?

I could make some recommendations of what I feel are good guns for each of those scenarios, but I could not give a recommendation for a single "do it all" gun because in my opinion it does not exist. Also, what feels good in my hands may not feel to good to you. Some people can handle recoil better than others as well.

Give us a little more information to "fill in the blanks" (revolver v/s semi-auto, what the gun will be mainly used for, etc.), and we can let you know what we like and why.

In the end, you will still need to go out and handle (and preferably shoot) some handguns to decide which is the best fit for you.

When you have your choice made, and purchase the gun that is right for you... :gunporn: of your find!
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby ProShooter » Fri, 12 Nov 2010 23:01:20

007Fitz wrote:
ProShooter wrote:You can also take a concealed carry class before age 21, and turn in your application on your 21st birthday!


Thanks for that heads up....I'll try and get started on one when classes are over for the spring semester. How long do they normally last?



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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby user » Sat, 13 Nov 2010 08:29:11

1. There is a world of difference between ownership and possession. A child of five years old, a dangerous felon, and a raving psychotic may all "own" firearms - as long as they never come into possession of the firearms. Of course, it's illegal to "transfer" a firearm to such a person, and particularly to sell a firearm to such a person. But they could receive a gift or inheritance, for example, and lawfully own the firearms.

2. There's a long list of people who are not permitted to be in possession of firearms - I suggest you download the CHP application form from the Virginia State Police website, and look at the list of questions of the form, "Are you ...?"; if you have been voluntarily committed to inpatient psychological treatment subsequent to a court-ordered observation, an illegal immigrant, etc., then you aren't allowed to be in possession of a firearm (whether you own it or not). All those categories of people listed on that form are the ones who are not allowed. If you're one of THOSE people, then don't try to get a gun.

3. If you do buy a gun from a non-dealer, use my bill of sale form - right-click on the link under the mailbox on my website and do a "save as".
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Sat, 13 Nov 2010 20:23:58

Yarddawg wrote:Fitz, first welcome aboard! There is really no way for anyone here to give objective reviews of "pros and cons" because it is all very subjective, and it has a lot to do with what exactly are you planning to use the gun for. Are you planning to hunt with it, use it for self defense, target shooting, or...?

I could make some recommendations of what I feel are good guns for each of those scenarios, but I could not give a recommendation for a single "do it all" gun because in my opinion it does not exist. Also, what feels good in my hands may not feel to good to you. Some people can handle recoil better than others as well.

Give us a little more information to "fill in the blanks" (revolver v/s semi-auto, what the gun will be mainly used for, etc.), and we can let you know what we like and why.

In the end, you will still need to go out and handle (and preferably shoot) some handguns to decide which is the best fit for you.

When you have your choice made, and purchase the gun that is right for you... :gunporn: of your find!


I would most likely use it for target shooting, but I want something that I can carry for self defense and use at home in case I need it for self defense. Mainly, I would like a gun that is going to be enjoyable at the range. I am looking for something reliable, durable, and well-functioning. I would like a semi-auto, not really looking for a revolver right now. I know a lot of people say that your opinions and preferences will not be the same as mine, but they very well could be and thats why I am just wondering what your opinions may be, and if they aren't the same for me when I look into then no harm done. To clarify what I am looking for a little more in depth: I would like a semi-auto with at least a 6+1 capacity, in a compact or sub-compact size, preferably a 9mm or .40, concealable (it doesn't have to be something very concealable, as I won't be carrying it daily), and I am looking for something in the used range of $400 give or take $50. Some examples of guns I have been just looking at online that seem appealing (however, I have not held or handled them, so I don't know for sure) would be: Beretta PX4 SC, Glock 26/27, Kel-tech PF9, Walther P99C, Walther PPS, Springfield XD SC, and some others but I'm sure you get the general direction and idea. Hope this helps, and would love to hear what you all think.

User: Thanks for the help.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby user » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 08:41:48

007Fitz wrote:...I would most likely use it for target shooting, but I want something that I can carry for self defense and use at home in case I need it for self defense. Mainly, I would like a gun that is going to be enjoyable at the range. I am looking for something reliable, durable, and well-functioning. I would like a semi-auto, not really looking for a revolver right now. I know a lot of people say that your opinions and preferences will not be the same as mine, but they very well could be and thats why I am just wondering what your opinions may be, and if they aren't the same for me when I look into then no harm done. To clarify what I am looking for a little more in depth: I would like a semi-auto with at least a 6+1 capacity, in a compact or sub-compact size, preferably a 9mm or .40, concealable (it doesn't have to be something very concealable, as I won't be carrying it daily), and I am looking for something in the used range of $400 give or take $50. Some examples of guns I have been just looking at online that seem appealing (however, I have not held or handled them, so I don't know for sure) would be: Beretta PX4 SC, Glock 26/27, Kel-tech PF9, Walther P99C, Walther PPS, Springfield XD SC, and some others but I'm sure you get the general direction and idea. Hope this helps, and would love to hear what you all think.

User: Thanks for the help.


You're welcome. And as to the gun: With the criteria you've listed, I'd observe that you still have a couple of options to clarify.

The most important (in my opinion) is whether you want one that does "single action / double action" (the traditional method using an exposed hammer that you can cock manually, based on the original 1911 design, and having two or three different trigger pull options), "double action only" (no exposed hammer, striker operated, consistent trigger pull); or one of those using a trigger system that's essentially DAO with restrike capability (e.g., SigSauer's "Double Action Kellerman", and others). Most of the guns you listed are SA/DA, though some have a DAO option.

The next is whether you want a gun that is designed to be reliable or one that is designed to be accurate. That's an over-simplification, of course, but if you're the sort of person who wants the point of impact to be the same as the point of aim on a consistent and repeatable basis, then you want a gun that is made by CNC machining to precise tolerances (and which might blow up if you drop it in the mud and then try to fire it). And, if you mainly want the gun to work no matter what, and are willing to put up with a three to five inch "group" at twenty-one yards, no matter how carefully you aim, that's another.

Finally, the capacity of the gun really depends more on how big your hand is than anything else, and how concealable you want the gun to be. A gun like the SigSauer 229 can be obtained with the DAK trigger system, and with aftermarket MecGar magazines will hold fifteen rounds (15+1), though it's a bit bulky despite the 4" barrel; I've got fairly large hands and I've got one of those that I like a lot, but the double-stack magazine makes the grip large enough that I had to install a "short trigger" (that's really just a "thin" trigger, the "short" designation refers to the distance from the front of the trigger to the back of the backstrap). They generally sell new for about eight hundred bucks. That's one, which like the Glock, is designed for ultra-reliability; the manufacturers don't even bother to try to sight in the sights on those - quality assurance consists of determining whether they shoot "groups", pretty much regardless of any consistency between point of impact and point of aim.

By the way, the Glock is a special case: the barrel is mounted lower in the gun, so that the force of recoil goes against the web of your hand, rather than forcing the muzzle upwards. That's to promote efficient target re-acquisition or rapid secondary target acquisition. People who like them are religious about how they feel. And people who don't like them really dislike them. No accounting for taste, eh?

Based on your criteria, and filling in the gaps with my own preferences, I'd recommend the Kahr CW9; it's a relatively inexpensive 9mm (which is more than sufficient, having sufficient kinetic energy at fifty yards to crush human bone), and machined to fairly exacting tolerances. It's as easy to field-strip and clean as any other semiautomatic (and easier than most Kahrs), and is a DAO. I had a chance to check one out recently, and I was impressed at the quality and workmanship given the reduced cost (especially as compared with the MK9). It's not a "drop in the mud" gun, but as long as you keep it clean and lubricated, it will be very reliable, and a fairly precise shooter. (I like my 229, but I also like to be able to hit what I'm aiming at - in the movies there's always some guy who shoots Badguy right in the head, when Badguy's got a hostage in front of him as a "human shield" - unless Goodguy's shooting a Kahr, I always think that shot is not possible - a Glock or a Sig is just as likely to hit the hostage as Badguy's head - the reliable guns are designed for "center of mass" aiming.)
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 13:19:29

user wrote:You're welcome. And as to the gun: With the criteria you've listed, I'd observe that you still have a couple of options to clarify.

The most important (in my opinion) is whether you want one that does "single action / double action" (the traditional method using an exposed hammer that you can cock manually, based on the original 1911 design, and having two or three different trigger pull options), "double action only" (no exposed hammer, striker operated, consistent trigger pull); or one of those using a trigger system that's essentially DAO with restrike capability (e.g., SigSauer's "Double Action Kellerman", and others). Most of the guns you listed are SA/DA, though some have a DAO option.

The next is whether you want a gun that is designed to be reliable or one that is designed to be accurate. That's an over-simplification, of course, but if you're the sort of person who wants the point of impact to be the same as the point of aim on a consistent and repeatable basis, then you want a gun that is made by CNC machining to precise tolerances (and which might blow up if you drop it in the mud and then try to fire it). And, if you mainly want the gun to work no matter what, and are willing to put up with a three to five inch "group" at twenty-one yards, no matter how carefully you aim, that's another.

Finally, the capacity of the gun really depends more on how big your hand is than anything else, and how concealable you want the gun to be. A gun like the SigSauer 229 can be obtained with the DAK trigger system, and with aftermarket MecGar magazines will hold fifteen rounds (15+1), though it's a bit bulky despite the 4" barrel; I've got fairly large hands and I've got one of those that I like a lot, but the double-stack magazine makes the grip large enough that I had to install a "short trigger" (that's really just a "thin" trigger, the "short" designation refers to the distance from the front of the trigger to the back of the backstrap). They generally sell new for about eight hundred bucks. That's one, which like the Glock, is designed for ultra-reliability; the manufacturers don't even bother to try to sight in the sights on those - quality assurance consists of determining whether they shoot "groups", pretty much regardless of any consistency between point of impact and point of aim.

By the way, the Glock is a special case: the barrel is mounted lower in the gun, so that the force of recoil goes against the web of your hand, rather than forcing the muzzle upwards. That's to promote efficient target re-acquisition or rapid secondary target acquisition. People who like them are religious about how they feel. And people who don't like them really dislike them. No accounting for taste, eh?

Based on your criteria, and filling in the gaps with my own preferences, I'd recommend the Kahr CW9; it's a relatively inexpensive 9mm (which is more than sufficient, having sufficient kinetic energy at fifty yards to crush human bone), and machined to fairly exacting tolerances. It's as easy to field-strip and clean as any other semiautomatic (and easier than most Kahrs), and is a DAO. I had a chance to check one out recently, and I was impressed at the quality and workmanship given the reduced cost (especially as compared with the MK9). It's not a "drop in the mud" gun, but as long as you keep it clean and lubricated, it will be very reliable, and a fairly precise shooter. (I like my 229, but I also like to be able to hit what I'm aiming at - in the movies there's always some guy who shoots Badguy right in the head, when Badguy's got a hostage in front of him as a "human shield" - unless Goodguy's shooting a Kahr, I always think that shot is not possible - a Glock or a Sig is just as likely to hit the hostage as Badguy's head - the reliable guns are designed for "center of mass" aiming.)


I have fired 2 different 9mm in SA/DA and I really liked them. Being the first handgun type that I fired I have nothing to compare it to, but I did indeed like it. I don't have a preference though to be honest, I will try to shoot a DAO glock over Thanksgiving with my brother, so after that I can let you know if I do or don't like that system. In regards to the different systems, I have seen that a lot of the DAO's don't have a manual "safety" option, maybe its because I am new to guns and the idea of not having a system, but I think I would be more comfortable carrying a gun with a safety. However, I would rather get a gun that is more comfortable to handle/shoot and then just allow myself to get used to the no safety thing, rather than limit myself to only guns with safeties.

As far as reliability vs accuracy, thats a tough one, but I think I would like to go with accuracy foremost because I will be using the gun primarily as a range/target gun but would like the option to carry it for self-defense as well. If at all possible though, I would really like to get the best of both worlds.

I am looking for any gun with a capacity of 6+1 or greater, and then when I can afford an extra mag that allows for more, maybe I'll look into that. I was basically just trying to say I'm not looking for a gun thats really small and can only hold 4 shots. I will say I don't have large hands, they are more of a medium-small (some small gloves are too small but some mediums are a tad big).

The glock sounds like a gun I definitely need to try out, and like I said I will be shooting one over Thanksgiving break. I will let you guys know if I do or don't like it. And thanks for the Karh CW9 recommendation, I have not yet looked into one or really looked at them online but I'll be sure to do so.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby Yarddawg » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 13:45:02

Really, any of the weapons that you mentioned are good choices. My opinion on the best of both worlds (accuracy & reliability) is the Glock. If you are stuck on the 9mm, the G19 is an excellent choice. Glocks are known for their reliability, and accuracy isn't bad either.

For a little more, I would get it in .40 More knock down power, and not much more expensive. I've been looking at the Glock G22 & G23 myself. I have bigger hands, and like a bigger gun.
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 14:11:07

Yarddawg wrote:Really, any of the weapons that you mentioned are good choices. My opinion on the best of both worlds (accuracy & reliability) is the Glock. If you are stuck on the 9mm, the G19 is an excellent choice. Glocks are known for their reliability, and accuracy isn't bad either.

For a little more, I would get it in .40 More knock down power, and not much more expensive. I've been looking at the Glock G22 & G23 myself. I have bigger hands, and like a bigger gun.


I have been mainly looking into the G26 for a 9mm glock and a G27 for a .40 glock. The G19 is nice too, but I'm just liking the smaller options right now, for the possible carrying options. Also, I don't have large hands so the smaller options shouldn't pose a problem for me.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby user » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 18:16:32

Btw, given two guns shooting the identical cartridge, the smaller will be harder to control. The more mass your "launch vehicle" has, the less the recoil will be a factor. (The cartridge detonation causes equal force in both directions.)

For example: My 6" Ruger GP100 .357 is kind of like, well, I know I'm shooting a gun, but it's very stable, accurate, and fun to shoot. I sold the S&W 649 J-frame .357 I had (at a loss) because I couldn't put two bullets within an inch of each other at seven yards with it, and after shooting all five rounds in the cylinder, my hand hurt too much to continue.

It's sort of like taking a picture - if you think you're all done when you push the shutter release, you'll get blurry pictures, because you'll move while the shutter's still open. Similarly, when you pull the trigger, you still have to hold the gun still for a fraction of a second, until the bullet's gone away. If you move while the bullet's still in the barrel, you don't hit what you were aiming at when you pulled the trigger. "Felt" or "perceived" recoil affects your ability to hold the gun steady for the "follow-through". (Another reason folks like the Glock - the motion produced by recoil tends to be linear, rather than an arc.)

I prefer steel to aluminum and polymer, both for that reason (more mass=more stability) and because I think it's more durable.
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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby 007Fitz » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 19:43:50

Yep got that. I won't mind having something with polymer or aluminum because I will be possibly using it as a carry weapon as well. Steel might weigh me down too much lol.


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Re: VA Laws...Can I really own a handgun under the age of 21?

Postby t33j » Sun, 14 Nov 2010 20:49:08

I owned as many as 5 handguns when I was under 21 and open carried everywhere I went that was not a prohibited place (very few in Va). The private sales (buys) I engaged in went very smoothly; don't present yourself as a thug.

Glock is a reasonable choice for around $400. Khar and KelTec are others. I hate Glocks, but I have no problem suggesting them...

People who are new to carrying seem to get stuck on the safety/no safety issue. This stuff has been thought about before! Double action triggers, firing pin blocks, and the like exist for a reason. I only use the safeties on my 1911s and when carrying my USP in condition one.
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