This is a question I get asked a lot by new gun owners, with no real answer to give. Let me explain why. There are a lot of variables that go into buying a gun, especially if it’s your first one – mostly because you don’t know what you should be looking for. Some things in a handgun would be, “What caliber?”, “Stiker fired vs. hammer fired”, “Single action or double action”, or “Semi automatic pistol vs. Revolver”. So lets go over some of the things that go into selecting a gun for the first time.
This is the biggest thing there is. Ford vs. Chevy, Cubs vs. Sox, Pop vs. Soda (it’s pop, btw), Does pineapple belong on pizza? (NO), just to name a few. So because you and I might have different views on just these few things, it’s not hard to grasp why there are so many different pistol makes and models.
What type of gun are you looking for?
There are lots of different reasons people buy guns. Some of those are:
If you’re new to guns and all the terminology above confuses you and you want to take a class to learn what it all means, awesome! That’s why I’m here. I’ve had people buy guns before not knowing how to properly hold a gun and when I asked them why their reply is usually, “Because it felt good in my hands.” And then I teach them how to properly hold a pistol, and by the end of the class some of them are saying, “Now I hate how this gun feels. I need to go buy another one!” Awesome, buy them and don’t stop (unless you can’t afford it – remember: food, housing, car, and your kids come first). Guns will always increase in value.
Personally, I have 2 different carry guns in rotation. In spring/summer/fall, I carry my Sig P365. It’s light, effective, has a 12 round mag, and most important, it’s reliable. In the winter, I carry a Sig P320 RXP Compact with a 17 round mag. It’s a bigger gun, but I’m wearing more layers in winter and I can get away with carrying a bigger gun.
Another thing that affects concealed carry options is how are you planning to carry? Inside the waistband or outside the waistband at your 3:00-4:00 or 8:00-9:00 position? Appendix carry? If you’re planning on carrying at the small of your back or in a shoulder holster I would highly advise against it. Neither one allows for a fast draw, you have to flag a lot of people to the side of you to draw and point it at an attacker (including yourself), and carrying at the small of your back is a good way to paralyze yourself if you’re in your car and get rear ended or in some other sort of nasty accident.
There are guns that are around $300. And there are guns that are around $5,000. Obviously, you’re probably not going to carry a $5,000 gun around for your concealed carry gun (some people might – but why?). If all you can afford at the time is a $300 gun and you really need it quickly without having the time or ability to save up for something else, buy that. But it’s going to work like a $300 gun.
I know what you’re thinking, “Gee, Joe, that was a lot of help! Just tell me what to buy!” I can’t do that. Everyones hands are different. What feels good to you might feel horrible to me. That’s kind of what I’ve been going over. Go to the range, rent and try a bunch of different guns out. See what works for you and what doesn’t. True story time: My girlfriend was looking for a new carry gun because she ended up hating her Glock. So we went to the range and she tried 6 different guns (including some that were very popular with a lot of people) before she finally found the right one for her. Now, having shot this gun before, I was not a big fan, but at the end of the day I’m not the one carrying it. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like it, what matters is that she likes it. This is true for you too. Don’t let your friends tell you, “You have to buy this [Insert Gun Make/Model here], it’s the only thing I’ll shoot!” and let that influence your decision.
My biggest advice is to sign up for a Pistol 1 class and get the knowledge and training necessary to make the best decision possible for you!