Some Things to Think About When Choosing Your First Handgun

by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Whenever I write about firearms, there are lots of technical questions. And because I’m no expert, I often turn to you, the readers, to help answer them. A member of our community volunteered to write a series to help folks who are choosing their first handgun. There are a lot of things to think about when making that decision, so for the next month, Monday will be Gun-Day here at The Organic Prepper blog.

Please offer a warm thank you to Steve Candidus for the first post in this excellent guest series. ~ Daisy

Some Things to Think About When Choosing Your First Handgun

by Steve Candidus

This article is specifically for anyone that might be considering acquiring their first handgun but is unfamiliar with the myriad types and offerings. This should be a good basic guide to get you started. You can always further your knowledge over time and in future articles posted here on The Organic Prepper.

There are countless articles on the Internet recommending which handguns that particular writer thinks are best so I will not be discussing any particular brand or models here.

First of all, a handgun is very much a personal weapon. What is best for one person might not be best for another. Although you might choose the same handgun that someone else has you should do so for the same reasons that they did rather than just because they did.

A quick handgun glossary

Some of the things that you will need to consider when choosing a firearm are:

  • Intended Use: The first thing you need to consider is the purpose that you intend the handgun. Do you want one for day-to-day or occasional concealed carry or do you intend it strictly for home defense?
  • Revolvers Versus Semi-Automatics: Do you want a revolver or a semi-automatic? A revolver, sometimes called a wheel gun, has a cylinder typically holding five or six rounds. They are not called bullets, that is what comes out of the end of the barrel. The complete bullet, powder, and brass or aluminum case is called a cartridge or round. A semi-automatic is flatter in profile and typically holds more ammunition.  It fires a bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and extracts and ejects the spent cartridge case from the firing chamber, re-cocks the firing mechanism, and loads a new cartridge into the firing chamber.
  • Polymer Versus Metal Guns: This is the material that most of the gun is made of. Polymer, sometimes referred to as plastic, is a very strong and very light material that is used in constructing the frame (the guns skeleton) and its outside covering.Metal guns have an all-metal frame. Some use an aluminum alloy to reduce weight, but all will usually be heavier than polymer guns. The barrel and the slide (the top part that moves backward when fired on semi-autos) on all semi-automatics is metal. Revolvers are usually metal and heavier than autos.
  • Caliber: Caliber means the diameter of the bullet that exits the barrel.
  • Recoil: Recoil refers to how much backward force the gun will give when you fire it. As with the caliber selection where the more powerful the caliber the greater the recoil, the lighter the gun the greater the recoil will be.
  • Holsters: A holster is what you would most likely keep a gun that you intend to carry in. There is a wide variety of types including side holsters – some worn outside of the pants, and others inside the pants. Additionally, there is something called a small-of-back holster (SOB), and even shoulder holsters. What you choose depends on both purpose and even your own personal build.
  • Strong Hand and Weak Hand: The hand you hold a gun with is called your strong hand and as you might expect your other hand is called your weak hand.
  • Training: Training is very important. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you will be able to figure out how to use the gun when the need arises. If such a situation, you will need to be able to react quickly and instinctively. Plan to spend some time at a gun range to familiarize yourself with your weapon.

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