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What to Look for When Buying a Pistol

With so many brands, models, and cartridges available, it can be overwhelming to choose a new pistol whether it’s your first, a replacement, or part of a collection. The fact is, most handguns sold in America are going to serve you well, although some may better suit your needs for carry, home defense, as a backup hunting weapon, or for target shooting.

The most popular cartridge around the world is the 9mm, and because it sets the baseline to some extent of what is expected of a cartridge, it’s a good caliber to start with and then decide a make and model you like.

The intended use of the pistol is going to be the main factor in making a decision. A police officer, for example, if allowed to carry their own pistol instead of an issued weapon may have some criteria their office demands of the gun they carry. A civilian might have different expectations for comfort or weight depending on whether they plan to carry it in a box to a shooting range for practice, conceal carry for personal defense, or have it at home to protect their family. Someone who needs the weapon for work, whether as a jewelry store owner or cashier in a convenience store in a bad neighborhood may have a different set of criteria for what their customers see and what they might need in the case of a robbery.

The main consideration, especially if you plan to conceal carry, is the size of the gun. A lighter gun is going to be easier to carry and less likely to show as a bulge on your hip. For home defense, or as an open carry weapon, a larger gun might be a better choice as it can provide an intimidation factor. It’s always better for a potential criminal to change their mind rather than having to shoot someone. Another size consideration is how the grip fits your hand, and whether or not it’s comfortable for you to fire.

Although any pistol sold in America is going to be well-made and serve most people’s purposes, a name you recognize and trust can go a long way toward your trust of the weapon. Glock, Beretta, Ruger, or Smith and Wesson are just a few well known name brands although there are plenty of other great gun manufacturers, some of which might be considered as “generic” such as Taurus. Someone who shoots left handed might want to consider the ejection path of empty cartridges, while a smaller framed person or someone with a disability may decide on a heavier weapon with less kickback.

The bottom line is that with all the choices available, any weapon will likely meet your needs. It’s really a matter of personal preference. You may have heard Glock is the “best” but prefer a different brand for comfort or some of the features provided. To the extent possible, test fire a few pistols and decide which one you prefer before making a final decision about what to buy.

~ Firearm Daily


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