One of my favorite moments being a firearms instructor is guiding students through firing their first shots. There is a moment of relief and joy that is involved with that. I also find it humbling to instruct beginner shooters and walk them through their first handgun purchase. Why? Because nothing feels better than observing someone making a good, wise, decision in selecting the right firearm that may serve him or her in a moment of need, and on top of that, saving money.
Believe it or not, the majority of shooters will purchase their first handgun before even taking a basic pistol class. No one is to be blamed here with this phenomenon because most people will either inherent a firearm from their loved ones or listen to an advice from the sales associate at the gun store. And as a reminder, firearms are not refundable.. Purchasing your first firearm is an important task. The intended use of the firearm should determine the type that will fit you most. Try to think of firearms as tools. They serve the same purpose, but the performance and outcome will be different. For example, you will never (I hope) use a sledgehammer to hit a small nail to hang a picture on the wall, right? The performance and outcome will obviously be different as if you used the right hammer for the job. The point is that we must know the intended use of the firearm before making the purchase. So don’t jump the gun while purchasing one. The list below will help you limit your selection and guide you towards making the right decision in buying your first handgun.
Take a fundamentals class
This is very important. Taking a fundamentals firearms class is essential. As responsible future gun owners, you must know how to use one properly! Proper stance, grip, sight alignment and sight pictures are just the tip of the iceberg, but the most important part of taking a fundamental class is to understand firearms SAFETY, STORAGE and HANDLING. Fatalities resulted from accidental discharges are on the hike due to lack of firearms education. Let's make a stop to this epidemic. Book your basic firearms class now!
Rent it first!
During your fundamental class you will be required to take your first shots with an instructor. This will be a very exciting moment for you and the instructor, but don’t let the excitement steer you off your goal. If the live firing session takes place in an indoor range that offers gun rentals, ask your instructor to recommend you on two or more handguns that he believes will serve your purpose. Rent those firearms and give them a try with your instructor present. It is essential that you try a firearm BEFORE purchasing it just as you would test drive a car prior to owning it. Your instructor should accommodate your desire to try out more handguns. Additional fees may be associated if your instructor charge per hour, but it will worth it.
It must be comfortable!
Your firearm should be comfortable in your hands and feel natural. Some firearms have a very rough texture and designed to be used with tactical gloves - this probably shouldn't be your first handgun. You also want to make sure that your body and skill level can handle the recoil of that firearm. The recoil of the firearms is generated from its overall design and caliber. Almost safe to say that you should avoid high calibers for your first handgun. 9 mm is the most ubiquitous caliber and should be manageable by most shooters.
Never buy a firearm on a budget!
Just like any other purchasable items, handguns vary in price and quality. What differs handguns from any other product, is that your life depends on it. A defensive handgun should never be the cheapest handgun you see on the counter because it has higher chances to fail when you need it the most. Take everyone's advice with a grain of salt and remember the firearms you tested on the range. A decent handgun should cost between $400 - $700 depends on the brand, size and features. You should feel confident purchasing a defensive tool that may save you and your loved ones lives.
Stick with it!
This is just my personal opinion, but try to avoid carrying different handguns for self-protection. A self-protection handgun should be suitable for most activities, even running. Once you find a handgun that works for you, master it. You see, each handgun has different components that can affect accuracy immensely. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know YOUR handgun. Know its strengths and weaknesses, get used to its trigger and make it your own. There is nothing wrong with having your own personal firearms collection to take it to the range from time to time, but when it comes to your defensive tool, try not to switch things too much.
At Jericho Defensive Shooting Academy & Krav Maga we work daily with new gun owners. Our instructors will guide you through the process and recommend on a suitable handgun for you. If you liked this article please like our google page and visit our website at www.jerichotactical.com.
Adir Rafael - Former Israeli Special Agent and Owner of Jericho Defensive Shooting Academy & Krav Maga - Charlotte, NC.