If you are new to handguns or have only shot rifles for most of your life, it can be difficult to pick the right handgun. There are a ton of options to choose from and price points to consider. If you are looking for a guide on how to pick a handgun that’s just right for you, then don’t worry, we have you covered. Here are seven items to consider when looking for that perfect handgun.
- The purpose of the gun
- Single action, double action, and semi-automatic
- Ammo capacity
- Safety switch
- Weight and feel of the gun
The purpose of the gun
As mentioned above the number one factor for how to pick a handgun is the money you have in your pocket. Additionally, you should also weigh heavily why you are buying a gun in the first place. Once you have your price point nailed down, consider questions like:
- Are you purchasing this handgun to practice with the intention of upgrading?
- What about concealed carry?
- Are you going to put home defense rounds into your pistol?
- What features do I need to be successful at shooting my weapon?
Knowing how you plan to use this gun, whether for self-defense, target practice, or competition shooting is crucial to choosing the right handgun.
Single Action, double action, and semi-automatic
There are three types of handguns you should consider:
Single Action: The gun only fires when you pull back the hammer.
Double Action: The gun will fire when the hammer is pulled back OR fires as you pull the trigger. This means for each round you do not need to pull back the hammer.
Semi-Automatic: Once a round is loaded into the chamber, it will fire until the clip is empty. You do not need to pull back the hammer.
Most people opt for double action or semi-automatic as it allows for quick shooting. Again, this goes back to the purpose of the gun and how to pick a handgun in general. Don’t choose a handgun just because it looks cool, choose the gun based on the purpose you need it for. For a more visual guide check out this video:
As defined by Britannica, Caliber is “… unit of measure indicating the interior, or bore, diameter of a gun barrel and the diameter of the gun’s ammunition…” The bigger the caliber of the gun, the bigger the bullets. Caliber is also going to affect things like stopping power and recoil. However, recoil is also determined by the size and weight of the gun as well. The general rule of thumb for new handgun owners is that 9mm is the standard for home defense or daily carry. Police forces even use it. However, choosing the right caliber is subject to tastes and what you feel is best for your needs.
Any “how to pick a handgun” list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning magazine capacity. In short, the bigger the magazine the more bullets you can carry. If you are looking for more than 6 rounds to fire, then a revolver is not for you. However, other guns such as the Glock 19 can come with extended magazines which give you more ammo capacity should you need it. You’re typically going to find guns with larger ammo capacity in the semi-automatic category.
Practicing safety is important, but that doesn’t mean every gun needs a safety switch. For example, in the heat of a confrontation, are you going to remember to turn your safety switch off on your gun? It’s not likely that even if you have the proper training. Not to mention that you are wasting precious time when you could be defending yourself. On the other hand, if you are a first-time buyer and want to practice before concealed carrying, then a safety switch may be the right choice for you.
Weight and feel of the gun
You can only test this feature in person, but the heaviness of the gun and your “grip” on the gun matter a lot. If you want to know how to pick a handgun you need to go feel the gun in person. Make sure the gun isn’t too heavy or feels awkward in your hands. This could throw your aim off.
The handgun world is filled with tons of aftermarket parts and modifications. From grips to barrels, to unique triggers, almost everything can be customized in some way. When you go to look at handguns make sure to ask about modifications you can make and how you can improve upon the gun.
Thinking about buying your first handgun and want expert advice? At Spring Guns and Ammo we can help you find the right guns for your needs. Contact us today and see how we can help you!