Choosing a Handgun
Choosing a handgun and why it’s a little more than just price point.
Revolver or Semi auto, is that a double action or single action? Is it a striker fired pistol? All of this can be cumbersome to someone that’s only had that “at my uncles farm we shot a gun” lesson. It can be VERY confusing to someone that had never gave owning a gun for self protection a thought, but they’ve finally realized that the police probably won’t get there until it’s too late and it’s time to take action and head to the sporting goods store to save the family.
I’ll be as kind as I can. Most of the information you get at the gun store or online about the best gun for you will be wrong. First of all, most gun store clerks at larger stores have little if any formal firearms training, some do, but most do not. They may have access to Google or manufacturers’ literature regarding the newest model, but to be honest many have not had any actual training on that particular handgun. Sometimes when the gun counter is busy (like when guns are a hot item) the store will bring the kid from the footwear department over to the gun counter and quickly give them a rundown on the legality of sales, how to have customers fill out 4473 forms and oh, if they want a carry gun sell them a snubby or that auto there. So, the gun store is most likely selling you the best gun for them. What I mean by that is that gun may be “hot this year” or fit and function the guy behind the counter likes. Yes, some gun store clerks will sell you something you can use, however until you’ve held the gun, dry fired the gun and fired the gun on the range, you really won’t know.
So tell me how you can go to a big box store and pick up a gun (when you’ve only held two before in your life) and decide if it’s right for you to defend yourself with? You can’t. If the store policy is keeping trigger locks on all handguns until after you purchase it then how will you know if it fits you? Well, you won’t and you won’t know until you bought it and they escort you out of the store. That doesn’t make any sense to me. What if you went to buy a new car and they had those parking violation locks on the wheels. “Sorry Madam you cannot test it out, but you can buy it and then we will tow it to the parking lot and load it into your truck for you and ONLY THEN remove the locks” Would you buy the car? Nope. Is your car used to save your life? Probably not, but you are buying the gun just for that purpose.
The friend that shoots “a lot”:
My friend shoots or owns a gun and they suggested this one or that one. That’s the kind the police use. That’s a good starting point, but did you actually shoot the gun? Did you shoot the gun after taking a training class from a qualified instructor that can teach you how to properly use the gun? I’ve had to shoot dozens and dozens of semi auto pistols that “won’t feed properly, it must be broken” and after I shot magazine after magazine out of the guns realized that the shooter wasn’t holding the gun properly. Perhaps taking a class might be helpful, even if Uncle Gary owns three guns and can hit his target most of the time.
I hope that I can clarify a few things and set the record straight on choosing a handgun that’s right for you and on the different actions and how they work before you go to the gun store that has the best price.
A close personal friend of mine was gun shopping for months after taking our concealed carry class. I had advised her to wait until after she took the class so she could shoot a few different guns at class and then take the knowledge she had attained at class then apply that when renting guns at the range BEFORE buying a carry gun. So she would email me, and call me about different guns, and every time I talked her into spending a few bucks, renting a gun at a local range and shooting their different guns. After getting excited and almost buying 3 different guns that I talked her out of, she finally settled on a sig p238 for everyday carry. It was the perfect gun for her, not the guy on TV, not her husband (who agreed with me by the way and was an excellent shooter) and not perfect for the guy at the gun store. The gun was perfect for her; she can operate it properly and shoot it accurately. That gun works for her, but maybe not for you.
This is precisely what I suggest doing for anyone shopping for a new gun. From a financial standpoint look at this, you will likely lose 50-75 dollars minimum on a handgun you bought new by simply buying it and firing one time. If you don’t like it and sell it you lost money. If you rent a gun at a range it’s typically 10-20 bucks max and most of the time it’s going to be free if you are serious about buying a gun there at the range. So spend 10-20 dollars plus range fees 10 more bucks maybe 20, so were still less than 50 dollars depreciation trying one out. By the way, she called me after trying and buying the 238 and said thank you for making me wait and try so many different guns. I’m glad she tried several out first.