New Community Participant Question

A new Community participant had a question and I thought you all would be able to make some great suggestions for her.

Any info on what handgun to purchase for a first user would help alot.
Looking forward to hearing from anyone with suggestions. Thank you in advance!:grinning:


Start by taking a lesson and then renting a variety of things and see what works best for you. Things to consider are:

  • will it serve for your purpose? Can you conceal it effectively, is the caliber of the rounds effective for defense? Is it not too big (not concealable) and not too small (bigger recoil)?
  • can you shoot reasonably accurately with it? It might not be perfect… that’s what training is for… but the bullets should generally go where you want them to.
  • can you operate it? Rack the slide, drop the mag, use the safety, lock the slide back, pull the trigger, clear a malfunction.
  • is it manageable to shoot? You can handle the recoil, grip feels secure, weight is ok.
  • is the ammo priced so you’ll be able to afford to practice? I love my .45 but its cheaper to practice with the 9mm
  • is it easy to maintain? Can you take it apart to clean it?
  • does it have a reputation as a reliable gun?

That’s a lot of questions, but most of that you can find out in a few lessons and a few more rental sessions.

As for where to start… we all have our favorites. I love glocks for their reliability and consistency and grip fit, and because the angle between the grip and barrel puts the sights right where I like them. Others swear by Sigs or other brands.

I like people to start by learning on a .22 so they can get some skills down before they switch to a more powerful round like a 9mm. Then they can explore what gun fits them. Some people are comfortable starting right out on the 9mm.

I think a semiauto is better for self defense, but there are reasons some choose a revolver.

Personally, I think any of the compact 9mm Glocks is a good starting point, but you’ll get lots of opinions here :slight_smile:


You really do need to try out a bunch of different firearms. Something may feel great in the hand but handle like trash when firing. Take your time, find one you will enjoy.

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I really would try many different guns and Calibers not setting your heart to any certain brand name, magazine capacity, or semiautomatic compared with revolvers. The gun store attached to range will rent out their entire rental inventory. You got the money, they’re going keep renting to you. They’re going to want you to buy their ammo,
Do not get bullied by someone telling you that the caliber is to small or to big. You can shoot and do damage with a .22, a .380, on up. Always follow your state laws as crazy as they may be. Good Luck to you.


First gun aye?.. I’d say get a 9mm because it’s got the cheapest and most available ammunition. Then, it’s got to feel good in your hand. Probably going to have to try on a few, don’t be afraid to hold every gun in the shop if need be. That’s the best generic advice I’ve got.


Gonna absolutely agree with @Zee, go get trigger time with preferably an experienced shooter.

FYI, if there is not a range that rents near you, if you know people who own firearms you’d be very surprised how willing they are to take you shooting. Add some cash for bullets and you’d probably have them lining up.

Good luck…


I’m going against the grain. Since @Zee, @Robert8, and @Sheepdog556 have covered the bases on training, rental, and going with a gun owning friend/family, here’s my additional .02 cents. Is this a ccw gun?

Yes=Small caliber, midsize guns rule. Shield 9, Glock 43 etc.

No=Midsize .357 revolver. Ruger GP100, Smith and Wesson 686, etc. 4 inch barrel, can shoot anything from mouse fart .38’s, through flame thrower .357 mag. The heft, and size make them highly shoot able. The revolver simplicity makes them easy to learn.

Both=Glock 19, M&P 9 Compact, Ruger Security 9 rule the roost. 9mm is a proven round, these guns are small enough to carry, big enough to shoot all day.


With all the information the person asking the question now she should have ample information to make intelligent well informed decisions. Thank You for also contributing Sir


Raging judge
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
for any beginner shooters, I suggest this with 100% sarcasm. This is a monster of a firearm in 45/.410. Not going to tell you what to do cause 'Merica, but please, build up to this!


@Zee and others have already covered the question well. I will just reinforce that, for centerfire handguns, 9mm is the most affordable and available caliber out there. This will make it easy to shoot more which is the only way to improve your skills. Also, stick with a quality striker-fired polymer-frame pistol (Glock, SIG P320, S&W M&P, etc). They are all reliable and accurate, as well as having a single trigger pull weight for each shoot. This allows for simplicity and consistency, which are also vital to shooters, especially new ones.


Oh come on @Kelly. Go for the Raging Judge Magnum. Nothing says “New Shooter” like 454 Casull.

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I dunno…T/C contender in 45/70 may scream “newbie” louder. Hahah :rofl:


Dawn, in the last month or so Beth did a series of I think 3 videos on this topic. If you could find them and link to them I’m sure it would be a big help.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a section here specifically dedicated to those videos where we could have ready access to them and discuss them from time to time either. Hint, HINT!

As for the question.

Get with someone who can be of help that has lots of experience or even take a basic handgun class.

Once familiar with the basic types go to a range that rents different guns and find one that fits your hand, has manageable recoil, and that you can shoot accurately.

Reliability is key so stay away from the el cheapos.

The rest for the most part is just personal taste.


Man I love it when a team comes together! :grin:
I think that might possibly be everything :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Um, yeah, what you said sums it up!

I would like to add that if you can find an instructor with a variety of firearms to try would be a good deal.

At some gun ranges if you want to try a firearm without an instructor, you will be subject to a charge for each firearm you tried, and on top of that you would have to purchase their ammo.

That appears to be the consensus here in DMV. When I acquire instructor cert, my 5x10 package deal will cover 5 calibers using and 10 handguns.

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Started for CCW with a S&W M&P 9mm Performance Center Ported, awesome gun to shoot, accurate, reliable and easy to clean. I just changed to a Kimber 9micro Rapture for the awesome concealable form of the gun with all the sharp corners rounded and its accuracy.


While I look for those videos, here’s one from Kevin that might help:

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Three pieces of advice.

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you what gun you should get. :wink:
  2. Pick one that feels good in your hands and that you can operate properly.
  3. Pick one that you enjoy shooting. If you aren’t having fun with it you won’t practice.



Michael1 is Exactly right! I had a lesson last week with an instructor that had several firearms with him. I was able to fire several of them and had managed to rule out a few that were on my list (sorry Sig you lost). When I took my Conceal Carry Class, an employee at the gun store told me I wouldn’t like one of the guns on my list. If I’d have had the money, I probably would have bought it just to “show him”. I didn’t have the money, so I didn’t buy it. However, I also haven’t had a chance to fire it. For all I know, I’ll love it. Of course, now I can’t remember which it was, but I know that, as of right now, it’s still on my list of possibles. Take a lesson(s) with an instructor that has several firearms you can try. Let them know what your requirements are. The good ones will work with you. Personally, I think my instructor was partial to Glock and, after firing a few of them, I’m agreeing so far. I’m not done with my own gun hunt yet.


If your instructor is partial to Glocks, I’d definitely suggest trying a few without his influence around. I’m very partial to Sigs (I shoot terribly with Glocks), but I always recommend the one that fits in someone’s hand the best.

I know that I was slightly biased by the officers I was shooting with the first time I shot. But in the long run, I got the gun that was right for me.

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