The United States is one of the most accomodating countries in terms of gun rights. While specific laws vary from state to state, Americans, in general, enjoy the second amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Though 32% of Americans own firearms, buying your first handgun can be a little intimidating. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with these types of guns. Handguns are exceptionally dangerous and must be approached with caution and respect.
The question is, how do you pick the right starter handgun? Which type of handgun will serve you best?
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry, we’re here to answer all of your questions. Keep reading for a quick guide on how to buy a handgun.
Identify Your Needs
First, you need to identify the purpose of your future firearm. What will you be using the handgun for? Is it going to be used for home protection, concealed carry, target shooting, competition shooting, small game hunting, or something else?
Answering this question is important because it will dictate the best type of handgun. It will also help you determine the right size and caliber for your needs.
For example, concealed carry pistols should be light, small, and thin. This makes them easier to conceal and more comfortable to carry. If you’re looking for home protection, on the other hand, you might want something that provides maximum round capacity.
Trial Different Types of Handguns
If you’re new to firearms, we highly recommend trialing your options before committing to a starter handgun. Different calibers and styles of handguns fire differently. Some have more of a kick than others, which can be intimidating for new shooters.
Additionally, some handguns have a smoother and lighter trigger pull. While this makes firing the gun easier, it can also make new shooters more prone to accidentally discharging the weapon.
There are revolvers that have external hammers which must be cocked before they will fire. Some pistols, on the other hand, have internal hammers.
To understand the best starter handgun for your needs, experiment with a variety of different styles and calibers.
Understand the Safety Features
Before you purchase a handgun, it’s a good idea to determine the best type of safety features for your needs. These vary from firearm to firearm.
For example, a 1911 pistol might have a safety lever as well as a grip safety. Like revolvers, the external hammer needs to be pulled back before it will fire.
Conversely, Glocks offer more subtle safety features, such as the trigger safety mechanism. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re more comfortable with.
Some people feel better about having multiple safety features. For tactical reasons, other people find excessive safety features to be a hindrance.
Choose the Right Caliber
Earlier, we talked about handguns coming in different calibers or ammunition sizes. This is an important factor to consider when picking a starter handgun.
Again, consider what you’ll be using the handgun for. For example, if you want a target shooter, you might be alright with something small, like a .22 caliber pistol.
These rounds are easily the most affordable. However, they also have limited range and penetration power.
On the opposite side of the scale, you have .50 caliber pistols like the Desert Eagle, which are unnecessary and excessive for most purposes. We recommend finding something in between these sizes, which include:
- .40 caliber
- .45 caliber
- And more
These calibers are practical and easy to find.
Pistols that fire smaller rounds like 9mm bullets will be able to hold more ammunition in each magazine. Many 9mm pistols can carry upwards of 15 rounds, while a .45 1911 will only hold 8.
Consider Your Budget
Before buying a handgun, you must also think about your budget. How much money can you afford to spend on a starter handgun? If you’re taking out a loan or using a credit card, how soon will you be able to pay off the expense?
Buying a handgun for $1,000 on credit could end up costing you twice that if you don’t pay it off quickly. In most cases, it’s better to put money aside until you can afford the expense outright.
If you’re limited on funds, that’s okay too. You can find a cheap handgun on the market that’s reliable for any situation.
For example, you don’t have to empty your bank account to secure a firearm to keep you and your family safe. Take a look at this list of budget handguns for protection.
Think About Weight
Whether you’re in the market for a cheap handgun or are going all out, it’s important to consider the weight of the weapon. The lighter your starter handgun is, the more kickback you’re going to experience with each shot.
A light pistol made with a polymer frame, for example, won’t offer much compensation. On the other hand, a pistol with an all-metal frame will reduce the recoil. Of course, the amount of recoil produced with each shot fired also depends on the type of ammunition you’re using.
Weight is a vital consideration if you’re planning on using the handgun for concealed carry. The heavier the firearm is, the more noticeable it will be to you as you’re carrying it. It might also be uncomfortable and lead to wardrobe issues.
Find the Right Aesthetics
Finally, no matter how much money you’re spending on your starter handgun, you need to find a firearm that you find aesthetically pleasing. While performance and reliability are certainly more important, you can’t discount the visual appeal of the gun.
Some people appreciate the classic style and ethics of revolvers while others lean toward tactical pistols. Which style draws your attention the most? You also have plenty of options regarding color and other stylistic features.
Are You Ready to Choose a Starter Handgun?
We hope this guide helps you find the best starter handgun for your needs. As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you invest in a firearm.
Remember to stay safe and familiarize yourself with each firearm’s safety features. And of course, follow the gun safety rules.
If you’re looking for more information on finding a handgun on a budget, check out this article. Otherwise, look through the rest of our blog to find more content on guns, ammo, gun laws, and more.