Choosing a Handgun

Criteria for Choosing a Handgun

There are differences between choosing a gun to shoot, a gun to collect, a competition gun and a defensive \ combat gun.We don’t want to go into that here that’s not the purpose of this article.

Over the years we’ve heard some strange reasons for choosing a new handgun by experienced and inexperienced buyers and probably some of the worst one’s we’ve heard are shown below.

“When I shook it it rattled inside, so I didn’t buy it.”  That was the sound of the internal safety mechanism  on that particular gun – it’s supposed to do that, its not an indication of the quality of the gun.

I figured the guy behind the counter knew more about guns than I did so I followed his advice. Well that’s not always a good plan and not always true.

“I got a good deal on it.”  – We’ve probably heard this one the most often,  followed closely by; “I can’t find magazines or parts \ ammunition for it.”

“I didn’t like the feel of the trigger it felt heavy / gritty.” Modifications can be made to the handgun after purchase to reduce the trigger pull. First, try shooting it, putting 500 rounds through it, or lots of dry fire before you have it professionally modified. We hear this a lot. 

I told the guy at the store I wanted a gun for a concealed  weapon class I want to take. So he sold me this snubby 357 magnum, it’s difficult to shoot.” 

So we thought we’d put together a brief guide of what we consider to be some important criteria for purchasing a first \ primary handgun, it’s not an exhaustive list just a brief guide.

  • The Handgun should be chosen based on its intended purpose.
  • Do some research prior to visiting the store. Talk to a knowledgeable friend. Check the web for information. Buy a gun related magazine from the newsstand.
  • It should be accurate and reliable and have a good reputation.
  • Have easy to use controls.
  • It should fit your hand and be well suited to your strength, size and skill level.
  • Current production \ popular handguns generally have parts \ magazines \ ammunition which are widely available.
  • Newly introduced models generally don’t have accessories available for a while.
  • Try renting the gun from a gun range and test firing prior to purchase.
  • Take a “live fire” class and rent a gun prior to any purchase.
  • Full Size guns are easier to shoot than  Compact or sub-compact guns.
  • Compact and Sub-Compacts may be easier to conceal than full- size guns.
  • Check the availability and price of accessories; magazines, holsters, etc.
  • Be realistic in your expectations.
  • Reputation of the gun and the retail vendor are almost equally important.
  • Be prepared to spend $500-800 or more on a good quality new handgun.
  • Up to $100 on a good quality holster, if you need one.
  • Give serious consideration to buying locally and supporting your Local Economy.

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