Let me get straight to the point; a slant bar is not a good choice as your first razor. It is however an excellent second razor.
And it was my second razor too – bought after I had a year of experience with DE shaving – and while my first razor was bought more or less based on the description it had in the online store, my 39C was picked up after consulting various shaving blogs and forums.
The construction seems to be a mix of cast head and machined shaft, with a cast know on the end you unscrew to disassemble the razor. There is a split ring that should keep the bolt shaft inside the handle, but on mine that has loosened to the point where I can easily withdraw it for cleaning.
The 39C is a fairly hefty razor with a cast head and a long and heavy shaft – a very marked contrast with my 985CL travel razor. It is also an aggressive razor like any slant seems to be; it is not without reason one of the names given to the 39C online is the “sledgehammer”. If you have the technique down and keep a light touch, it’ll slide straight trough even several days worth of beard with about as much trouble as a combiner harvester have in mowing down a field of hay. It will leave your face significantly smoother than said field though…
The comparison to a hay field is rather apt once you consider how a slant works; it’s more akin to the action of a scythe than a knife in that it slices rather than chops – just resist the urge to swipe it over your cheeks.
The 39C is as mentioned aggressive – in fact it is my most aggressive razor so far – and as such I like to pair it with a reasonable mild blade. I have used Feather Hi Stainless blades, and it works wonderfully, but I realised I needed to be very much on the ball when using those – meaning I could either get a wonderful shave or a face full of nicks.
If you’re in the marked for a new slant you can’t go much wrong with a Merkur 39C in my opinion. If you prefer razors with short handles Merkur also makes the 37C which mates the same head with a shorter, lighter handle.