Buying a handgun to carry for personal defense is an important mission. You should take your time and do lots of research or you might end up with an expensive case of buyer’s remorse! Thankfully, there are lots of good handgun options available today.
I suggest LTC (CHL) holders buy a high-quality handgun they can shoot well and carry comfortably. It is a good idea to take your time and consider all of the options before buying a handgun. You might want to rent different models of handguns at a range or shoot a friend’s handguns until you find the one that fits best for YOU.
There are things to consider when buying a handgun for carry: Personal preference is a right as well as a responsibility, and one’s opinion and comfort level should neither be ignored nor the subject of negotiation. Comfort and function, trigger press, perceived recoil, or sights that don’t lend themselves to proper or consistent alignment, should be typical causes for dismissal. Consider: Is it small enough to be concealed properly?
You really get what you pay for when it comes to handguns. You should usually expect to pay $400+ for a high-quality and reliable new or used handgun. Less expensive handguns often have reliability and durability issues. You need to be confident that your handgun will perform reliably when you need it!
Full-sized handguns are harder to conceal and heavy to carry for many people. You may end up leaving it at home or in the car instead of carrying it. You can’t protect yourself and others if you don’t have your handgun with you! “Compact” and “subcompact” sized handguns usually work best for carry.
Smaller handguns are easy to carry and conceal but can be harder to shoot well and have a surprising amount of recoil or “kick” – even the smaller caliber handguns (.32 and .380 ACPs). However, they are better than not carrying a handgun at all and may do an adequate job at very close range.
Revolvers are still a good option for carry and self-defense. A revolver might be a good choice for someone who has weak wrists or hands and has a hard time operating the slide on a semi-automatic handgun. Small revolvers are easy to load but do have significant recoil and can be harder to shoot as well.
Larger caliber or higher-powered handguns (.357 Mag, .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) are more powerful but harder to carry and shoot well, especially for new shooters. Good shot placement is as important as power. You need to be able to shoot an attacker accurately and repeatedly, if necessary. The higher-powered handguns can be mastered with practice and experience and many people carry them.
Some will disagree with me, but I believe a compact or subcompact 9mm semi-auto handgun, loaded with quality defense ammunition’ provides the best balance of concealable size, controllability, and power for many carry purposes.
My personal favorites for carry include the Glock 17, 26, 42, 43, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, or Compact Kahr CM9 or CW9. I also like the Ruger LCR and Smith & Wesson 442 or 642, and .38 Special revolvers. Other compact and subcompact handguns by Sig Sauer, Beretta, Ruger, Colt, Springfield Armory, Kimber and Walther should also serve you well.
Gun store salespeople are not always good sources of information when shopping for a handgun. Actual experience with handguns among gun store employees varies widely. A salesperson may have favorite brands or models or point you toward a more expensive model. Other good sources include online gun forums, articles, reviews, YouTube videos, knowledgeable friends and LTC (CHL) instructors. Check out as many sources as possible before you buy.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Gift Certificates are available for most public and private classes.