Getting ready to buy your first handgun? Here are some tips to help you find the right one
03/21/2017 / By JD Heyes / Comments
Getting ready to buy your first handgun? Here are some tips to help you find the right one

One of the greatest freedoms recognized and protected in our Constitution is the right to keep and bear arms – for self-defense, defense of the country, and defense against tyrannical government.

While the U.S. is not under any serious threat of invasion and there are no indications President Donald J. Trump is preparing to wage war against the American people, life can sometimes be dangerous. And since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the past that police have no inherent duty to protect the general public, that duty falls primarily to each one of us.

But if you’ve never owned a handgun for self-defense, there are some things you need to know in order to help you choose the best weapon for you.

The thing is, there are a great many weapon choices on the market. That can be a good thing and a bad thing; good, because there is practically no way you can’t find what you want, but bad because sometimes too many choices make selection more difficult. (RELATED: Five Types Of Ammo You Should Stockpile Before SHTF.)

What is the handgun’s purpose? The very first thing you should do is identify the reason why you want a handgun. Are you just wanting something you can plink with at the shooting range, to build on your level of overall firearms skill, or are you wanting a gun for self-defense? Are you going to be carrying your weapon concealed, or keeping it in your nightstand next to your bed or perhaps in the glove box of your car, both of which are legal in many states? Or maybe a combination of these things? Answering these questions will determine what type of holster you purchase, whether you’ll even need a holster at all, the number of extra magazines you’ll want (for a semi-automatic gun), etc.


Carrying a weapon concealed involves a great responsibility; before you ever leave your house packing a gun, be sure you have a) ascertained from state or local law enforcement that you’re legally able to do so (you may need to take a concealed carry class, for example, and obtain a licence); b) are well-versed in state and local laws governing the use of deadly force to protect yourself, like, what conditions must first exist (fear for your own life, acting to save another person’s life, etc.); and c) you have practiced many hours with your handgun so that you are extremely familiar with its operation. Remember, the very instant you use a gun in self-defense, your life changes forever and, depending on local laws, maybe not for the better. Be sure you can carry concealed before you do carry concealed.

“Bottom line: Your first handgun should be task-specific,” noted Concealed Nation. “Once you master that firearm you can buy other handguns for other tasks – increasing your chances of success within each firearm’s assigned role.

Practice shooting a variety of handguns. There are a number of gun ranges in many cities that allow you to rent various handguns to practice with. Getting to know how various guns shoot will go a long way towards identifying the right firearm.

Do you need a semi-automatic or a revolver? What caliber of gun is best for you? How much bullet capacity are you looking for – six, the number in most revolvers, or more (some handguns hold 15 or more rounds)?

There are several things to consider. Are you physically large or physically small? That matters because of a handgun’s “recoil” power; that is, the blowback motion when the gun is fired is harder to handle for smaller people shooting larger-caliber handguns. (RELATED: A Guide To Making Gunpowder The Old Fashioned Way.)

How well does the gun feel – does it fit well in your hands? A better fitting gun is easier to control, making you more accurate (and you definitely want to hit what you’re aiming at if you have to use your gun to protect yourself). Trying different handguns and different grips will help you identify the perfect fit.

You might make a mistake and buy the wrong gun anyway. Don’t get “married” to your first handgun, Concealed Nation notes. Even after all of your consideration and practice, you may find that you bought a gun you can’t master, that hurts when you fire it, and is functionally awkward.

No problem. That’s another good thing about having a lot of different guns to choose from. Go back to the range; rent other guns. Borrow your friends’ guns and shoot them. Eventually, you’ll find your “perfect” handgun. Learn more at

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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