*Buying your first handgun*
By: Brian
11 September 2007

The first thing that I should mention is that this article contains my views and no one else’s. These are the things that I feel are important and others may feel that I have left something out or put in things that are not necessary. The goal of the article is to help the novice/beginner make an informed decision. There are a few questions that are often asked by people looking to purchase their first handgun and these questions require more questions to be asked to help find what gun is right for the individual.

Which gun is the right choice for me?

* What is your purpose for buying the gun? Is it for concealed carry, for a gun to keep in the end table for things that go bump in the night, or is it for target shooting to name a few?

* How much time and effort are you willing to put into learning the operation and maintenance of your new firearm? Certain firearms have more bells and whistles than others requiring more time and training to learn to be proficient with them.

* Decide on the type of handgun that you want. Revolvers, semiautomatics, derringer types all have their uses and applications and the only way to know which one you prefer is to try them all. This can be as easy as calling a friend who shoots and asking if they will take you to the range. Or you may have to use the yellow pages to find a local gun range that has rentals that you can try.

* Decide on a caliber for your firearm. While there is a lot of talk about stopping power on a lot of web sites, it will do you absolutely no good if you can not shoot it because you fear the recoil. I would much rather have a .22 that I can put all the rounds quickly into the target at 25 yards than a .44 magnum Dirty Harry special that I can only hit one out of 6.

* Decide how much you want to spend on the new firearm. Not all good firearms are expensive and not all bad firearms are cheap but you need to have a range to look in as handguns can be priced anywhere from $100 for a used .22 revolver up to $3000 for a custom .45. It will make it easier when you go to a shop for them to assist you if they do not have to show you every gun in the store.

* Research the different manufactures and models and narrow your efforts to the ones that fall into the above criteria.

* Go to the local gun shop and see how each of them feels, can you reach the safety? Can you operate the magazine release if it is a semiautomatic? You may have to visit more than one shop as not all shops carry all brands. If at all possible rent the gun and try it out or talk to someone who has one and is willing to let you try it. This will tell you the most information on whether you like the gun or not.

* Once you decide on the firearm you want and purchase it the research is not over. Now you need to learn your new gun. The initial learning comes in the form of the manufacturer’s manual included with the firearm. Then I would recommend that you either seek a qualified instructor or a competent friend to go with you to the range at least the first time. This will allow you to start off on the right foot and not have to correct bad habits later.

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