Whether you’re an experienced gun owner or totally new to the world of firearms, buying a new handgun can be a daunting process. There is a bewildering array of options out there at every conceivable price range with different specifications suited for various roles. It can be difficult to know where and how to get started.
But you are in luck. These tips will give you an idea on where to start and what to look for in your first purchase. Follow these and you’ll be a happy customer and handgun owner.
- Why are you buying a handgun?
Ask yourself why you want to purchase a handgun. Are you looking for something appropriate for home defense? Is it for personal protection? Do you intend to use it for sports or target shooting?
In any case and especially if you are inexperienced with firearms, it’s usually best to buy something light and easy to handle. Handguns firing .22lr ammo or a similarly sized caliber are great starters for the basics of handgun use. Lightweight guns don’t need much strength to carry and won’t drain your endurance when you’re in the range, giving you more time to practice shooting.
- Research your needs.
Whatever your reasons, it’s important to narrow down your shopping list. Check around online to determine what kind of handgun you should be looking at.
Larger calibers are great for personal and home defense but can get expensive if you intend to spend a lot of time practicing at the range. Similarly lighter calibers (like the aforementioned .22lr ammo) are cheap and easy to practice with but make poor defensive tools thanks to their low stopping power.
So if you just want a handgun for target practice, go for the lighter models, but if you’re looking for personal protection, go heavy.
- Try before you buy.
If possible, check for local firearm ranges near you. Many ranges offer rental pistols that can be practiced with for a nominal fee. Most will also offer courses in firearm safety and handling, which can useful if you’re totally new. These rental ranges will also give you an opportunity to test fire a variety of weapons, and give you a better idea of what fits your needs.
Testing a gun before buying it will also guarantee that it is serviceable, that it has no defects that may cause accidents and misfires. You don’t want to buy a faulty handgun that could blow up in your face at any time.
- Make your purchase.
Choose either a local firearm dealer or online marketplace from which to make your purchase. Local retailers are often helpful as most are happy to discuss firearm specifics with first-timers. Online shopping is easy and widespread, though you will most likely need to ship your purchase via an FFL (Federal Firearm Licensed dealer).
Don’t forget to also purchase ammunition from a reputable dealer, many firearms are only as effective as the ammunition you put through them. Some rounds may also be incompatible and damage your new gun. Retailers who can give you advice are always the better merchants over those who just want your money.
- Ensure safety.
Remember that firearms aren’t toys, and should be treated with care and respect. Whatever your reason for ownership, safety should always be a top concern. Enrolling in a firearms safety course is always the smartest move, and can be extremely affordable in some areas. Firearms instructors can also advise you on what handgun best suits your needs and physical build.
In addition, always remember to store your handgun in a safe and secure fashion. If you have purchased a home defense pistol consider buying a quick opening safe or gun lock. Many modern models can be quickly accessed with your finger or thumbprint.
These tips should give you a solid foundation to get started on the path to handgun ownership and give you a good idea of what’s required. Though the choices available are numerous, there’s always something just right for your needs. You just need to take the time to browse through the arsenal of handguns available on the market today.
Guest post by Jeff Oxford
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