Out of the thousands of questions we’ve seen on Concealed Nation, this question is easily in the top five most asked. The number of new people coming into firearm ownership is increasing at an all-time pace. In fact, if current gun sales are any indication, we may have more new gun owners right now than ever before. It is truly a great time for concealed carry and firearms in general.
One of the first questions people ask when they have decided they want to buy a gun is “What is the best handgun for beginners?” The answer may surprise you. There is none.
The fact is that there is no single firearm out there that is the best for every beginner. Each person will have different needs, different experiences, different budgets and so forth. The best handgun for a beginner is going to be unique to each person that asks the question. So below we have a guide that will help prospective gun owners how to find the best gun that is right for them.
Here are four questions to consider:
Question 1: What Is Your Experience With Firearms
Just because you’ve never owned your own handgun before doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have any experience with guns. Your lifetime experience with firearms will play a large role in a beginner handgun. Maybe you’ve shot a family member’s gun before, or have gone to the range with a friend.
If you have zero or very limited experience, it’s probably best to start out with a gun that uses a smaller sized caliber round. A handgun chambered in .22 is a good example of a low recoil, easy to shoot handgun. Ignore the haters who don’t think a .22 is a viable self-defense round. Remember, the best caliber to use is the one you are going to be most accurate with.
People have been using .22 as an effective shooting round for years. Don’t be ashamed to start with a small round like this. Another plus to using a .22 is that it is the least expensive ammo; so you can get a lot of practice rounds for low cost.
If you have some basic experience with handguns you might want to look at some guns with a higher caliber. A .308 is a fairly small round with generally low recoil. You can also look into a 9mm, which arguable is the most popular round for concealed carry guns.
The worst thing you can do is jump into buying a gun that intimidates you when you shoot it. If you’ve never or rarely fired a gun before, those first few shots can either be exhilarating or terrifying depending on what you’re shooting. Too big of a round with too much kick when you fire it could make you change your mind about carrying a gun altogether. It’s ok to start off small and start getting into bigger caliber guns as your experience increases.
Question 2: What Do You Want To Do With The Gun?
Generally speaking, there are usually three purposes people have in mind when they buy their first gun. They either want a gun to take to the range, a gun to keep in their home for home defense, or they want to carry and wear their gun out every day. Depending on which of these purposes you want your gun for will also impact which is the best gun for you.
If you want a range gun or a home defense gun you really have a lot more options. There is a lot less to consider when deciding on a range gun or a home defense gun. Find one that speaks to you, one that feels good in your hand, or maybe one that has a unique design and looks interesting to you. Obviously keep in mind question #1 when deciding.
A beginner thats 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? Where do you intend to carry it on your body? What kind of holster is going to be best suited to fit this gun and your desired place to carry it? 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.
Question 3: What Is Your Budget
The price on handguns can run anywhere between $200 and well over $1000. So knowing what your budget is will help narrow down your options when deciding what the best beginner gun is for you. If you only have $500, then an FN 509 is going to be out of your price range. You might want to be looking more at a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. Keep in mind too, that if this is your first purchase, you will probably be buying more guns in the near future. If you become like most gun owners, you will find that you can never have enough guns!
Budget is also important because you want to get the best quality gun for your price range. If this gun is for home defense or concealed carry, you are going to be trusting your life with this gun. There absolutely are good, reputable firearms in nearly all price ranges. You will need to do your research or talk to salespeople at your local gun stores. Some firearms are expensive, like a lot of other products, simply because of the name stamped into it. Other guns cost more money because they have fancy parts specific for a type of shooter. As a beginner, the most important thing for your first gun should be be one that is reliable and shoots well right out of the box.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to budget is ammo and maintenance. To train with this new gun you are going to need to feed it lots of ammo. You are also going to need cleaning supplies and tools to keep it in good working order.
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
Don’t underestimate how a particular gun will feel in your hand. Guns come in different weights, are balanced differently, are made of different materials, and have different texture on the grip, just to name a few things. Finding the right one that feels good in your hand is actually very important.
You will know as soon as you hold it that you’ve found the right one. It is a personal and unique experience that will matter when it comes to deciding what the best carry gun is for you.
As stated in the beginning, there is no one gun that is the best for beginners. Take a few trips down to the gun store, hit up a range that lets you try guns out, read reviews online, and don’t rush your decision. Purchasing a gun is an investment; not only monetarily, but an investment in your ability to defend yourself. Finding the right gun IS your best carry gun.