Top 10 Considerations When Buying a Daily Concealed Carry Gun
Here are 10 things that you may or may not have considered while pondering the idea of buying your first gun. There are a lot of things to think about and I'm hoping that this will help focus you on the most important things to chew on while making your decision, not only to purchase a gun but WHICH gun to, in fact, purchase!
When considering what type of handgun is the best when you're a beginner, there a few factors to consider. What will stop the bad guy with the least amount of shots? How much are you going to go to the range to hone your aim? Are you ok with a large amount of recoil or "kick" from the gun? In doing my OWN research I found an excellent article by Greg Ellifritz, of AmericanHandgunner.com. He does a great job of not only explaining which calibers are best for carrying a gun for self-defense but also WHY those calibers are best. I agree with him that 9mm, .40 and .45 calibers are the best for a Gun Rookie but read his article to find out why other calibers can work for you, as a beginner, as well.
I'm going to make the answer to this consideration an easy one. Once you have decided on the caliber of gun you want to carry as your first, find the gun model that fits YOU best. Maybe you want an easy slide because your hands don’t have a lot of strength. That's why I chose the Walther PK 380 as my first handgun. I have weakness in my hands due to a medical condition so this was a great fit for me. It's not a small gun, I have long fingers for a woman so the grip is just right and the weight feels good in my hands. I know the recoil isn't bad but I wouldn't mind if it was. Sure, there are a LOT of other firearms I REALLY like but for self-defense carry, I need to be able to easily and QUICKLY operate my gun! Contrary to popular belief. If you are very small or have never even fired a gun you should probably stay away from revolvers with short barrels. The kick on those guns is FOR REAL! It just all depends on YOU! Ask questions at the gun shop and don't let them get away with not answering them. If they wiggle around the answer or you just feel like you're not getting the answers you need (and deserve)....try a different gun shop!
If you plan on carrying your firearm consistently (and you SHOULD plan to do this), you should consider the weight of the gun you choose. Concealed or not, weight is important. Hi-Point guns are very heavy. They come in at a great price for a first gun (Usually under $200) but they aren't the best gun for carrying on your person as they are bulky and heavy. They are fantastic for a bedside gun for home defense though! You'll know it when you find it. Remember when I said that when you own a gun you are in a relationship with that gun? This is one of those points where you will know that's true because weight is one of those considerations that are best answered in person and you'll KNOW when you find the right weight for YOU!
- Racking the Slide
As I mentioned before, the ease of racking the slide (chambering a cartridge) on a handgun is important. If it is really stiff or just plain hard for you to pull back the slide on a firearm, you are not going to want to carry or fire it very often. Don't let the slide of the gun be a deterrent to you carrying that firearm. You're not looking to purchase a gun as a new paperweight. You are considering owning a firearm to serve as protection and possibly even as something fun to do at the gun range. It is very important when you go shopping for your gun that you pull back the slide and see how it feels to you. Remember that you will be disassembling this tool in order to clean it as well. A slide that is too tough for you to rack might be too hard to pull all the way back to lock it open or to hold it in a specific position in order to takedown your gun to its basic components to clean or repair it.
The hammer of a gun is also important to consider when you are choosing your first firearm. One of the guns on the 5 Best Conceal and Carry Handguns for Beginners list here on GunRookie.com is the Charter Arms .38 Special. Fantastic gun! Exposed Hammer. What does that mean to you? It means that You can choose to cock the hammer with your thumb and then fire the gun or you can simply pull the trigger to fire. So, what does that mean in relation to firing your gun? I found a GREAT article by Damion Wasylow at Gunzmart.com. Check out the article here http://www.gunzmart.com/blog/understanding-handgun-actions/. Damion also explains internal hammers and striker fire handguns and even explains what it is like to carry each kind of these firearms.
My suggestion is pretty short and sweet when it comes to sights. Either purchase a firearm that already has night sights or have your sights replaced or painted to BE night sights. This means, make sure your sights glow in the dark. It's not much use to have sights at all at night if you can't even see them!
When it comes to the magazine of a gun, my personal opinion is this: Carry the maximum number of cartridges that your gun will take and then carry an extra magazine full and ready to go. If you aren't carrying your gun, then have a full magazine near your gun. There is no point in having a half-full magazine or only having a couple of rounds to fire. If something should happen that requires the need for you to draw your gun, be prepared to fire more than once and don't limit yourself psychologically by knowing you only have a few rounds that you can utilize. Having to use your firearm defensively is never going to be a low-stress situation and being able to depend on your gun to save or help you is of the utmost importance in that moment. Counting how many times you've fired your gun because you know you're about to run out of ammo is just anxiety-inducing and probably impossible when you're under that sort of traumatic stress. Just like the Boy Scouts say "Be Prepared"!
- The Safety
Safeties are an arguable feature on a gun. By that, I mean that some people choose to not have to worry about disengaging the safety as much as they choose not to have to count their ammo as they fire it. If you are considering getting your firearm in order to have it as a home defense tool, then a safety is not usually an issue unless there are children in the home. In most cases, you have time to think about what you are about to have to do if the bad guy is in your house because they may not already be in your bedroom. This gives you a few more seconds to disengage the safety and ready yourself to fire your gun. However, if you are carrying a gun on your person you probably won't have much time at all to think about having to do that. If you choose to carry but not on your person, such as in a bag or briefcase, a safety is probably a good idea as it will provide you with peace of mind that there won't be an accidental discharge of your gun whilst it not be in your hand. Children being in the vicinity of the gun is also an important thing to consider when deciding on whether or not to have a safety on your gun. Here's the relationship metaphor again: You'll know in your heart what will be best for you. I personally prefer a firearm WITH a safety that I can choose when and whether or not I want to engage it. But I do choose guns that only have ONE safety, not a juggernaut of safeties to disengage before I can even pull the trigger.
One of the last thing anyone thinks about when they are making the decision to purchase a firearm, much less choosing which ONE to purchase, is ammunition. That new gun is completely useless without it and not getting enough ammo to practice with is ALMOST just as useless as none at all. This is important to consider when it comes to the cost of owning your gun. You have to feed your gun in order to form trust and confidence in it. Yep! Back to that whole relationship thing LOL! The cost of ammo is relative to the caliber and the most recommended calibers for a Gun Rookie are 9mm, .40, and .45. These all range from $0.23 to $0.28 per cartridge. Some defense rounds can be a few cents more but obviously worth it. I always recommend getting cartridges for both practice and personal or home defense. Get yourself to the range and fire those bad boys and get a feel for your gun! After that, clean your gun and fill your magazines or cylinder with defensive rounds so that your gun is ready to do its job.
You will definitely need to consider the type of holster you will need once you have your firearm. If you don't plan to carry it with you, then consider the type of safe and place you want to store it for easy access. I'll be posting a whole article in regard to that but for now, let's discuss holsters. There are almost as many different TYPES of holsters as there are guns and of course there are as many models of holsters as there are models of guns. Almost every gun made have holsters available unique to its shape, style, and size. Then it comes down to the question of whether you want to lock your gun into the holster while you're carrying it or have a holster made to fit your gun so snugly that there is no fear of it falling out but it can be accessed without having to undo a strap. Then there's the question of how you will be carrying it. Do you want to conceal it or open carry it? And another question is WHERE do you want to carry it. On your hip? Maybe the small of your back? Possibly on your thigh? Finding the right holster isn't as difficult as choosing your firearm but having a really good idea of how and where you want to carry it will make choosing your holster much easier. And don't think you can't have more than one! For some, today may be an open carry, strapped down hip holster but tomorrow may be a concealed, easy access underarm carry!
There is so much to consider when thinking about owning a gun and I know I've only covered a few here but I truly hope that it has been helpful! When it comes to gun ownership, too often, we don't think of all the things that come with it. Like buying a new car. The last thing we're thinking about is car washes and oil changes. We're thinking about shiny and new, safety maybe and getting to drive a beautiful piece of brand new machinery off the lot with no problems and nothing to worry about. We may have been considering some of the more mundane things like gas mileage before we stepped into the showroom but it's easy to get distracted. It's a good thing we thought of all the important stuff beforehand. Same with your new firearm but the difference is, we usually already know quite a bit about cars and guns may be completely foreign. I'm glad you're here visiting my site to find out some of the things that you didn't know you didn't know!
If you have any questions or comments about some of YOUR considerations or even worries before purchasing a firearm, make sure to leave them below. If I don't have the answer, we'll learn together as I am surrounded by firearms experts with years of experience and advice!