Van, Allen, Tracey, JT and others interested in this topic: Today I spent 3+ hours with a firearms instructor reviewing handgun types and firing many different models and calibers.
I asked the instructor to bring as many different styles of revolvers and pistols as was practical and he surprised me with a 'Centennial' 38, .357 magnum, and .44 magnum. Also, 15 different semi automatic pistols including several Glocks, Rugers, S&Ws, a Sig Sauer 9mm, Barretta 9mm, Russian 9mm, Colt 1911.......
He spent the first 90 minutes describing to me and showing me how all of the pistols have different safeties, or none, de-cockers, mag releases.....In all, there were 11 different combinations. Boy, if dealing with a strange handgun it would be difficult to know just how it functions. Also, there are single vs double vs safety actions.
The balance of the time was spent loading and firing many of them. We practiced at 6', 15', 21, 50', 75. Sometimes while stepping backward. Sometimes aiming and sometimes bringing the gun up and pointing and firing. All different challanges.
Interesting findings regarding single action - on the .357 and .44 revolvers there was little resistance. A bit more on the pistols. Double action required deliberate pulls. The 9mm SS had double then single action. The first trigger pull was deliberate, the second required a lot of slack take up followed by a light pull. Hard to get used to.
My findings: The Glock is simple, repeatable and has a nice trigger pull. Glad I got it. The SS 9mm was the most accurate but I did not like the 2nd trigger pull and it would be my 2nd choice after the Glock. The .44 and.357 are awsome revolvers but in single action a hard sneeze would fire them. The Colt .45 1911 was nice but only single action.
I did fire the standard weight centennial .38 and it was not bad. However, I would need a larger grip as my index finger really curled around the trigger. The instructor recommended against the titanium model as being too light to be comfortably fired and felt the standard version would be better to carry, despite the weight. Van?
Again, time and money well spent. Despite standards for caliber, everything else is different. There are safeties/decockers and whatever that manufacturers put whereever they please, functioning however they please - a dangerous condition.
Next month, time permitting, I plan to take the next course which includes low light conditions, manequins, stress inducing factors. If I am going to carry a gun, I will be certain that I am well trained. If I want to go further, he has a program over a 60 day period to hone shooting skills. We shall see.