It’s your first time buying a handgun. You’ve asked the question “Which one is best?” a hundred times and have gotten about that many answers. You’ve scrolled through endless internet debates between people convinced that this model or that model is simply the best. All you’re looking for is some objective and easy to understand advice, right? Look no further. What follows are a few of the key things you need to consider when selecting your weapon. |
How you will be using your handgun? Will it be primarily for recreation or defense? When and how will you be carrying it? Will you be the only one shooting it, or will you be sharing you weapon with other family members? Be sure to keep your firearm’s intended use in mind.
Caliber refers to the internal diameter of the barrel of a gun. The larger the caliber, the bigger the bullet being fired. Each caliber of bullet has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Some calibers, like 9mm or .22, are relatively inexpensive to shoot. These smaller calibers are ideal for shooters looking to get in a lot of range time on the cheap. Shooters looking for a self-defense weapon may choose a larger caliber. Larger caliber handgun bullets tend to expand more on impact. This means that they transfer more of their energy into the target and, especially when tactical bullets are used, are less likely to over-penetrate. To put it simply, a bigger bullet will usually stop an attacker more effectively than a smaller one.
When considering caliber, it is also important to consider the size (and preference) of the shooter. A small framed 110 pound grandmother may not be comfortable with the same amount of kick as a 250 pound linebacker (though looks can be deceiving). It is important that the shooter not be intimidated by their gun. A shooter who is intimidated will not enjoy training with their firearm and will be less likely to use it in a defense situation.
There is a handgun for every budget . A shooter can easily spend thousands of dollars on high-end collector pieces, but that is not advisable for a first time buyer. For your first handgun, plan on investing in a sturdy and reliable weapon you can learn with. Be willing to pay for quality, but don’t feel as though you need all the bells and whistles now. As your preferences develop and you get a better idea of what features are important to you, you will be better equipped to invest in a higher-end gun. If cost is an issue it is a good idea to buy a popular model, as this generally means that you won’t have much difficultly finding inexpensive used holsters, magazines, and accessories. The Glock models 19 and 23 are both excellent examples of highly popular and affordable quality firearms with plenty of accessories on the market.
Guns with lots of small parts, special cleaning instructions, and confusing levers can be overwhelming. When selecting your initial handgun, simplicity is key. Look for a firearm that is simple to use and maintain. You want a gun you will use, not one that will confuse you and end up sitting in a locked case in the back of your closet all the time. Simplicity has the dual advantage of often translating into reliability, which is a huge factor in effective self-defense as well as in avoiding frustration while learning.
Shooters who have or intend to apply for a concealed weapons permit need to consider how they will carry their handgun. Purses, backpacks, and baggy clothes all allow for bulkier weapons. Concealing under tighter clothing means that a gun with a slimmer profile is required. If you plan on carrying concealed, your fashion choices could have a big impact on the gun you buy.
No Magic Bullet
There is no one handgun that is right for every person in every situation. Selecting your first handgun is a decision that should be made based upon your lifestyle, intended use, and personal preferences. The best way to pick the gun that it right for you is to shoot as many different guns as possible. Before you buy, rent or borrow the model you are interested in and take it for a test run. How the gun feels in your hand is more important than anyone’s opinion, and opinions are plentiful.
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