how to choose your first handgun

The Armed Citizen Series: How to Choose Your First Handgun

This will cover some important considerations for choosing your first handgun for carry duties.

The most important step next to training is going to be choosing that first handgun that will fit your needs for self-defense and carry duties. First off, let's start with a video that covers some considerations.

Some very good points in this, especially about looking at what most security services use for their day-to-day carry and training needs. To further explore this, let's look at some types of pistols and caliber options.

Type of pistol

With thousands of hours of firearms and pistol training under my belt with a wide variety of guns, I have to recommend one of the quality line of polymer pistols. Just look what major police forces or the military are using, or looking at, and you will see striker- fired polymers coming to the forefront.

There are some really solid reasons they've chosen polymer pistols. They are simple to train on, as many have simple or integral trigger safeties, and as double action pistols, the mechanics are very easy to teach and learn for a new shooter.

Polymers, such as Glocks or Smith and Wesson M&Ps, are also very robust and have been through the testing ringer before release, so you know you're getting a good gun. No major security force gets a new handgun until they have thoroughly competed a large number of different types, so what they choose will be a good product.

By also, picking one of the major polymers, you know you will always have replacement parts readily available as well as gunsmith services just around the corner: something you can't always guarantee with less well-known gun types.

There are a ton of choices out there, but stick with what is proven and you will be on the right track.


Gun enthusiasts can argue this one for decades on end, but unequivocally it is recommended you pick 9mm for your first handgun. I now shoot primarily 45. ACP but that is a personal choice and I started out all my training with 9mm and still would recommend it for carry duties above any other caliber and here's why:

First off, 9mm is readily available almost everywhere and it is fairly cheap to buy; something you will appreciate when you train hard and run thousands of rounds through your gun.

9mm also usually affords larger magazine capacity giving you more rounds in an emergency situation and it provides adequate stopping power against threats.

Finally, 9mm provides a very controllable recoil so is an excellent choice when you want to shoot accurately and quickly. Again, look at what caliber most police forces, federal agencies and the military goes with and 9mm reigns supreme, there is a good reason for that.

There you have it some considerations for your first time buy for a pistol, take your time and head to a reputable gun store and start looking for that firearm to meet your personal needs. Train hard and train often and you can't go wrong.