A lot of people go into gun shops knowing that they want a gun, and about 50% of them buy on the recommendations of others and find themselves frustrated and cheated. It is not the gun shop’s fault.
It is because we rely on the information from a family friend who “is an expert” because he has a collection of guns that is tucked away neatly in his safe. This type of information is his opinion on his experiences, but not solid gold. He meant well, that is for sure, he wanted to steer you in the direction that he went, but it is not up to him to determine what brand, make or model you will be able to comfortably shoot, shoot often, or even carry.
Here are some things to think about before stepping into the gun shop. You want a firearm for self-defense, possibly concealed carry, or home defense. There are differences in what you might consider for your first purchase.
Fit, Function, Finance
Each make and model has been tested and put on the shelves for you to choose from. Do some makes and models have more issues than others? That depends on how you use them and maintain them, just like any car. What you are looking for is the right fit for your hands. Does the grip sit nicely in the “V” of your hand, can you reach the slide stop/slide release with your thumb without too much trouble, is there a manual safety on the slide, and can you manipulate it, as well as the magazine release? Does the handgun you are looking at fit the needs for self-defense, concealed carry, or home defense? Can you handle the caliber’s recoil in the gun? The best way to determine this is to go to an indoor range where you can rent a few handguns to try different calibers.
What features does this handgun have? Are there any safety devices or de-cockers you need to know about? Is it a self-defense model that has a manual safety? Is this handgun a single action or a double action? What do those terms mean?
When we are talking about actions, we are talking about the trigger group and their function on the gun. Single action means to release the hammer and now striker on some models. (to learn more about actions join us at www.gunpowderandlead.training for your fundamentals course) Double action means that the trigger group needs to set the hammer and release the hammer, two functions. On most striker-fired handguns, Glock, Sig, H&K, Walther, etc., the triggers mimic the double-action trigger, giving the operator a consistent trigger press each time, which is critical in a self-defense situation where you are under stress. You are looking for a double-action type firearm for all three, self-defense, concealed carry, and home defense.
Can you work the slide on the semi-automatic that you are looking at? How about the revolver? Can you press the trigger (ask first)? What about pulling the hammer back. Some models are quite difficult to work to what you need. Remember, this is your investment. You need assurances you can handle the firearm you are looking for.
When talking finance, we are talking about not only the price of the gun in your budget. You want to consider also the gear, ammunition, storage, self-defense liability insurance, and training for your gun. The purchase should not stop at the shop with the firearm and a box of ammunition. You took the time to think about a gun for some type of defense, so add in all the other factors.
When we talk to our family’s friend who owns a few, remember he chose his firearms to meet his fit, his needs, and his wallet. This is a personal purchase, and it is yours to make.
With all that above, there is not a brand I would not consider if it fits all the needs and you seek out training.
-safety through education