Choosing a Handgun
By Levi

Hopefully this will be the first of a few articles about handguns and their usefulness in our lives. For the experienced, this will be a re-hash of stuff you already know.  For newcomers to survivalism and self-sufficiency, this will give some insight as to why a handgun is needed  and will help in making an informed choice.

The first thing to examine in choosing a handgun is to ask, Why do I want a handgun? The common answers are; Plinking/target practice; hunting; collecting; or self-defense. Since we are interested in the handgun for self-defense and the legal defense of innocent third party victims, we will discuss defense weapons.

Self-defense

The definition of self-defense is somewhat self-explanatory: Defense of self (and others, in some specific cases.) Therefore, one is interested in a weapon with power sufficient to neutralize an opponent of equal or greater portions than oneself.

Things one will need to take into consideration in their choice of guns are: knowledge of and personal experience with handguns, physical size, hand strength and preference for semi-automatic pistols or revolvers. 

Experience

Experience is a good initial consideration. If you have no experience with handguns, I recommend a .22 cal revolver and 1,000 rounds of ammo and instruction from a qualified instructor. This will familiarize you with the basic operation of a firearm and teach you basic firearm safety (the topic of an upcoming article).  It will also help you practice basic marksmanship with the assistance of an experienced shooter.

Physical size is an important consideration. It is important not to overpower yourself with more handgun than you can handle. If the gun feels too big in your hand, it probably is. Hand strength goes hand-in-hand (pun intended) with size.  Although, it is one thing one can improve with effort.

Preferences
 

As to preference for one type of weapon over another, that is strictly an individual choice. Some shooters wouldn't carry a wheel gun for any amount of money, and the same goes for diehard revolver lovers. To each his own.  Of course, his own must be of sufficient caliber to do the job, without being more than he or she can be comfortable with and still accurately shoot.

 In my opinion, a good, defensive handgun, is something no smaller than 9mm and no larger than a small frame .357 Magnum. This is especially true if the weapon is to be carried concealed. Anything smaller than a 9mm risks insufficient knockdown power, while anything over a .357 is not as concealable as it probably should be.

Price

Price is another item that one must consider. Always remember that you get what you pay for. There are affordable handguns on the market that are as reliable as the $2000 custom jobs. Remember to buy the best equipment that you can afford. If you are part of a team or group try to buy with standardization in mind. In a SHTF situation, it is much less stressful if all the magazines in your group will fit all the weapons in said group.

If you are not experienced with handguns, try to find a friend or family member to take you to some gun shops and help you decide. Also, always do your research ahead of time. If you have a basic idea of what you are after before you leave the house, it will make the shopping trip less confusing and much more pleasant. Remember that as much thought needs to go into holster selection as went into weapon selection, too. That, however, is a thought for another day. I hope this will be helpful in beginning your excursion to a lifelong good time with handgun shooting.

Levi


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