What Is The Best Handgun For Beginners?


Out of the thousands of questions that I’ve seen on Concealed Nation, this is up there in the top 5 without a doubt. So many new faces are coming over to gun ownership and concealed carry and are looking for direction in many different ways. It truly is a great time for concealed carry and firearms in general.

One of those directions they seek: What is the best handgun for beginners?

While the answer is not a specific firearm, there are some questions that anyone can ask themselves, and then apply the answers to a future purchase. This is definitely not a catch-all, but it’s a start.

Here are four questions to ask yourself:

Question 1: What Is My Experience With Firearms

Your lifetime experience with firearms will play a large role in a beginner handgun. If your experience is very limited, such as never even firing a gun, it’s best to start out with a smaller caliber. Never be afraid or ashamed to pick up a nice .22 caliber handgun. In fact, I recommend it as a first purchase for anyone who is new to firearms. It’s a great way to get a feel for firearms, they’re cheap to shoot, and so much fun.

If you have a little experience and are familiar and have shot numerous calibers, it’s recommended to start off with one of the following: .22, .380, 9mm.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to get proficient with a smaller caliber until moving up to a larger one. For example, if you pick up a nice new 9mm Glock and can’t hit the paper, it’s best to set that one aside for the time being and get yourself a .22 or .380 until you become proficient with that (preferably a .22).

Question 2: What Am I Going To Do With The Handgun I Purchase

I’m going to break this down into two categories: Range Gun or Carry Gun.

Range Gun
If it’s a range gun that you’re looking for, it’s really up to you with what you choose. Remember, we’re still keeping the answer to question #1 in mind. If however, you’re looking for a carry gun, read on.

Carry Gun
A beginner that’s looking for a carry gun has to take a few other things into consideration before making a purchase. Is the firearm that you’re looking at easily concealable? Is it suitable for concealed carry? What are the reviews like? Also, you don’t want to be carrying a firearm around that you haven’t demonstrated proficiency with. Range time and practice are extremely important, and don’t ever forget that.

Question 3: What Is My Budget

Oh boy, the budget question. If this is your first firearm purchase, it’s likely not to be your last. Shooting is an expensive hobby, and concealed carry is a serious thing. What’s my point? Whether you’re just looking to hit the range or you’re looking to be a serious concealed carrier, be prepared to spend some money.

Especially with concealed carry, you’ll want to purchase a firearm that has a great reputation and one that you can trust with your life. With so many great firearms to choose from, it’s not… necessarily necessary… to spend a ton of money on a carry firearm. However, it’s best to stay away from the lower-end firearms out there.

Not to get off track, but budget is an important part of firearm ownership. Just as you’ll be spending money on firearms, you’ll also be spending money on food for those firearms; Ammunition and cleaning supplies. Practicing is always an important thing and if you’re practicing on a regular basis, you’ll be purchasing ammunition on a regular basis as well.

The bottom line here is this: Don’t be afraid to spend a little more on a quality firearm. If taken care of, it will provide you with a lifetime of service and will still be around to hand down to your kids.

Question 4: How Does It Feel

The feel of a firearm in your hand is an important thing. Many times, if you’re checking a few out at the gun shop, you’ll know –as soon as you pick it up– if it’s going to be a good fit for you. There’s just something about wrapping your hands around the grip of a fantastic-feeling firearm.


With these questions and a trip (or two or ten) to the gun shop, you’ll find the perfect firearm in no time. Don’t rush the purchase, and be sure to do your research. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few serious contenders, check them out as much as you can. If you’re able, try them out at a range. It’s the best way to fall in love quickly.

About the Author

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, with a Shield Sights RMSC Red Dot, that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in a Vedder Holsters ComfortTuck IWB holster.

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