8 Tips for Buying Your First Handgun

3 years ago
Betty M Russ

Alt Title: 8 Important Pieces of Advice for Buying Your First Handgun

There are many good reasons to want a handgun. You might be interested in getting better at shooting targets. You might be interested in home defense. You might even be interested in hunting small game.

Whatever your motivations are, there’s a handgun that can serve your needs. The problem is, with so many handgun options to choose from, it can be overwhelming for a newcomer to evaluate their options and feel confident about their decision.

The Choice Problem

Part of the problem stems from the paradox of choice. We intuitively believe that a greater number of prospective choices is always a good thing; selecting from 10 options is inherently inferior to selecting from 100 options. But this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, when more options are available, it makes us feel more stressed and ultimately makes us less satisfied with our final decision.

In the world of handguns, there are almost limitless options to choose from. With different manufacturers, models, calibers, and styles to choose from, a newcomer can easily become overwhelmed by the thousands of viable options available.

So how do you narrow that list and choose the most appropriate handgun for your needs?

Setting Your Goals

First, you need to set your goals. What’s most important to you in a weapon? What about your overall purchasing experience?


  •         Caliber, size, and power. What kind of weapon, generally, are you looking for? Do you want something for small game hunting, or just something for target practice? Your personal preferences and desires for the gun should help you decide what kind of size and power you want to have at your disposal.
  •         Cost. Next, you’ll need to think about how much you’re willing to pay for a weapon. If you find a good dealer, you can get a handgun for just a few hundred dollars. But do you have a strict upper limit for what you’re willing to pay?
  •         Speed and efficiency. How fast and efficiently do you want to purchase this handgun? You might end up paying more if you want to purchase a gun as fast as possible, since you won’t be able to wait for sales or specials.

How to Buy a Handgun More Efficiently

If you’re getting ready to buy your first handgun, relieve your stress and get to a better final decision, follow these tips:

  1.       Consider your handgun’s purpose. Think carefully about how you’re going to be using this weapon. If you want something portable and easily concealable, you need something small and lightweight. If you want something with more stopping power or more heft, you’ll need something bigger with more force potential. If you’re looking for something versatile, serving multiple functions simultaneously, you’ll need something middle-of-the-road.
  2.       Choose the right caliber. Caliber is one of the most important variables to consider. Generally speaking, larger bullets tend to pack more power but they result in more recoil and therefore less accuracy. Smaller bullets make accuracy easier, but aren’t quite as powerful.
  3.       Shoot many handguns. It’s important to try a weapon before you buy it. In fact, it’s important to try a wide variety of handguns, so you know how they all feel to you, personally. You may find that certain weapons fire differently and feel differently than you might imagine. The more experience you have, the easier your decision will be.
  4.       Don’t commit too quickly. Many newcomers develop an affinity for one of the first weapons they fire. But be careful not to commit too quickly. Keep an open mind and continue experimenting with different firearms until you get more experience.
  5.       Talk to experts. When you start learning more, talk to other experts. Get to know some of the pros at the shooting range and get their advice and opinions.
  6.       Shop in multiple places. Different types of stores have different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to shop in many different places. It’s also a great way to see the true spectrum of handguns that are available.
  7.       Wait for sales and specials. If you’re in a hurry to buy a gun, there may be no stopping you. But if you can afford to be patient, try to wait for sales and specials. A steep discount could help you get the perfect gun for under your budget.
  8.       Get to know your weapon. When you’re ready to finalize your decision, get to know your weapon of choice even better. Follow all safety standards and get a lot of practice to master your firearm.

After buying your first handgun, you’ll be much better acquainted with the types of firearms that are available and more familiar with the gun buying process. When it comes time to get a new handgun, or a different firearm entirely, you’ll be prepared – and much more confident than you were initially.

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