I'm in quite a few firearms, gun policy, and concealed carry groups on Facebook. Some are private, some public, some are female-only groups, some are tacticool funny. However, across the board, I've noticed an overwhelming and somewhat alarming trend. While I completely understand the rampant desire to guarantee your ability to defend yourself and your loved ones, I also see a potential issue emerging.
The number one question I’m seeing people ask lately is “What gun should I buy?” or worse yet, “I’m buying a gun for my wife, what should I get her?”
Now, most of us know the issue with posing this question to the general public and the myriad of complications that could come from asking strangers on the internet but there are a lot of people who are sincerely looking for sage advice from others. The issue, of course, is that firearms are not gender or lifestyle specific.
Think about your favorite pair of jeans.
Chances are if some random person tried on that exact pair of jeans - same size, style, color, length, etc. - they probably wouldn’t love them just the same as you do. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what works for you. What fits right? What complements your movements? Are you buying them for work or casual events? Not to mention, what you can afford.
It's the same with guns.
While seeking advice on which gun others recommend isn’t necessarily bad, the firearm that fits best in my hand won’t necessarily be the best fit for my friend Tes or my 67-year-old stepmom or the wife of the stranger asking the question on the internet.
When I visited the gun counter shopping for my first handgun, I asked the salesman what he would recommend for a concealed carry firearm. His response? "We have a great deal running on the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield right now!"
Lucky for me, the Shield fit my grip, budget, and method of carry, so that’s what I bought. After getting her out to the range a few days later, I'd say I made a good choice.
My first time shooting my concealed carry firearm was a success!
For most people, it takes handling, if not shooting, a handgun to make sure it’s a good fit. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "Which handgun should I buy?" but I can tell you my answer is always the same: whichever gun one fits you best.
With so many great choices out there; S&W Shield, Walther PPQ SC, SIG P365, Springfield Hellcat, Glock 26, Mossberg MC1sc, (we could go on and on here), your biggest problem is going to be narrowing down your choices.
The easiest way to narrow down the best options for your first firearm, simply ask yourself the following questions:
1) What firearms can I legally buy and carry? State laws vary, so check to see what you're allowed to carry and what you may need to do before purchasing a semi-automatic handgun. New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and several other states have highly specific gun laws, so check them before you begin. You may also want to find out if what steps you'll need to take in order to become a permit holder and how to get a Concealed Carry Permit. Concealed Carry Laws also vary from state to state, so if you frequently travel across state lines, you'll need to consider that as well.
2) How will I use it? If you plan to keep it as a home defense weapon, size won't factor into your answer. However, if you're planning to use it as a concealed carry firearm, you'll want something that can be easily concealed. Luckily, there are an insane amount of options for you in that department, including THESE great choices.
3) Does it fit my hand? This one is paramount. Grip is key, so I highly recommend actually shooting a gun before you buy it. If you can't, you at least need to hold it and handle it to make sure it fits your hand and feels good in your grip.
Due to their small size, handguns can be difficult to shoot accurately. The best way to combat recoil and ensure swift sight alignment is a proper grip. Pitch the web of your primary hand high on the back of the gun snugly under the back strap. Your primary hand's firm hold of the grip is then supported by wrapping your non-dominant (support) hand around it with your pointer finger up tight against the trigger guard.
As you grip the gun with your strong hand, your thumb should be pointing down the slide. Your support hand will have an equally firm grip which allows the large muscle of your thumb to settle up against the gun. This, in turn, will create a full 360-degree grip without weak spots or openings - this is essential for accurate shooting and fast follow-up shots.
Once you have a few options that fit within your answers to these three questions, it's time to hit the range to see which ones work within your parameters. Ask the range for instruction if you haven't had a basic pistol class yet and always follow the four basic rules of gun safety.
Don't overthink it; the gun that you hold comfortably and shoot effectively is exactly the right choice for you. And that's probably not the gun that someone recommends for you on the internet. Becoming a responsible gun owner who carries every day is a journey, not a marathon. Start with these first steps and commit to continue your education along the way!
How do you respond to people looking for recommendations for new firearms on social media? We want to hear from you, so leave a comment below!
Jenn Jacques is a fierce defender of the 2A, concealed carry advocate, fishing enthusiast, avid hiker, hunter, and an all-around great gal with a gun. As a former Private Detective, Jenn put those skills to good use, fighting for gun rights in her home state of Wisco before becoming the first female editor of a 2A/Gun News site, then moving on to become a publication writer, popular multi-media guest, and respected news expert.
Jacques has hundreds of hours of firearms training under her gun belt including Concealed Carry, Street Encounter Skills and Tactics, Low Light/No Light Training, 3-Gun Fantasy Camp, Gunsite Academy's Ladies' Pistol, and was named a S.A.F.E. Summer Local Champion of Firearm Safety by Project ChildSafe.
A staple in the firearms industry since 2009, Jenn is proud to be raising her three children with her husband John who is also an avid hunter, 2A supporter, and an amazing father.
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