I have had a number of people ask about what to look for in purchasing a new handgun. There are a few criteria to consider when looking for one. I’ll list some items and try to explain as I go along.

1. What is the handgun going to be used for?

a. You may want a longer barreled gun for accuracy if you are using it for target practice or competition.

b. You may need a shorter barreled gun if you are using it for personal protection and need to conceal the firearm

c. The use may also determine if you are looking at fixed sights versus adjustable sights

2. The gun should fit your hand.

You should be able to have a comfortable grip and be able to manage the recoil. Gun grip will affect your accuracy if you do not        have a good, solid grip that you can continually re-grip in the same manner.

3. Caliber is important when deciding on what to buy.

If you are purchasing a gun for personal protection, you should buy one that is the largest caliber that you can safely and                   accurately shoot. ATTENTION!!!! Note I did not say the largest caliber, but the largest caliber that you can safely and accurately       shoot. It is recommended by the NRA that a personal protection gun should be a minimum of a .38  spcl caliber in a revolver and     a 9mm in a semi-automatic. I am not a huge advocate of bigger is better, but rather of accuracy of shot. It is also important that       you buy a gun that you can afford the ammunition for and is not hard to find. If you can’t afford the ammo, or can’t find it, you         won’t practice as much.

4. What can you afford?

This one can be tricky. If you are buying a personal protection gun, consider why you are buying it. Is your life worth the extra          $50.00 you could save by buying a less expensive handgun and it not be as reliable as the other one? Here again though, if you          can only afford the least expensive one, it is still better than a sharp stick.

5. Reputation of the Manufacturer

Please research any and all avenues you can and see how a particular gun has performed for others. With the internet, this is             easy. Also keep in mind that not all manufacturers carry the same warranties.

6.  The handgun MUST be reliable.

You don’t want to have a jamming issue in a critical incident or if you are in a timed competition. One jam can be disastrous.

7. Revolver or Semi Automatic?

There are pros and cons to each and these should be considered when deciding. A revolver is easier to use in most cases. It is less      likely to jam compared to a semi automatic. The trigger pull on a revolver can sometimes be heavy in a double action gun. Semi        automatics can be hard to “rack” and someone with limited strength may not be able to manipulate the slide correctly. In double      action/single action or single action only semi’s,  the trigger pull is substantially lighter. The semi automatic generally carries            more cartridges. This has to be considered and is a personal choice by each individual.

8. Barrel length and weight of a gun.

Basic physics dictate that the shorter the barrel and lighter the gun, the more felt recoil will be experienced. This has to balanced      with what the gun is to be used for. If you want something light and small to carry for protection, be prepared to experience a            “snappy” recoil. The heavier the gun, the recoil inertia is transfered more to the gun and not as much to your hand and wrist.            That is generally why you will see a long barreled handgun being used in accuracy shooting competitions. Here again , personal        preference comes into play.

9. What the gun looks like? (NO>>>>NOT REALLY)

Personally, if the gun meets all of the above requirements, I don’t care one bit what it looks like.  One of the ugliest guns I have, I  carry for personal protection because it has never, ever failed me. If you are concerned about the looks of a gun over function, accuracy and dependability, you should probably evaluate why you want one in the first place.

Although this is not the exhaustive list about all items to be concerned with when purchasing a handgun, it will give you something to start with.

As with all things that you start, you only get better if you have the fundamentals and practice correctly. Simply buying a gun, placing your finger on the trigger and pulling, will not make you into a proficient shooter. Practice does not make perfect….perfect practice makes perfect. FUNDAMENTALS!!!!!

This information is attributed to the teachings of the NRA and as taught in the classes I currently instruct.

For a quote on a firearm, call Tim at Defensive Line Guns, Ammo & Leathers.

(440) 522-8410


Defensive Line Guns, Ammo and Leathers