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Uncertain what pistol to get for your first gun or for home defense?
We’ll cover all of the important decision points such as for example caliber, ammo, size, ergonomics, price, and safety.
Best Beginner Handguns
And end it with a few of our personal suggestions.
We also cover this topic in-depth inside our video course, Gun Noob to Gun Slinger. Only the main handgun knowledge to truly get you competent in 2 hours.
Table of Contents
Caliber…is Bigger Better?
Popular Pistol Calibers
Inside our previous caliber article, you saw the favorite 9mm and .45 ACP cartridges together with some various kinds of bullets including the full metal jacket (FMJ) and hollow points.
Now, we drill down and recommend obtaining a 9mm for your beginner handgun.
The 9mm is simple to find and cheap in comparison with other calibers (~20 cents for a 9mm FMJ and ~40 cents for a .45 ACP round).
9mm vs .45 ACP
It’s smaller size means it has mild recoil and higher capacity magazines (usually 15+).
9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)
Here’s me shooting among my top suggested handguns…the Glock 19.
Not too bad…right?
Plus, nearly all police forces use 9mm and the FBI recently returned to the 9mm after discovering that the existing .40 S&W rounds were creating excessive wear on pistols and were less easily manipulated by female agents.
Ammo: Hollowpoints or Bust
9mm 147 Federal Hydrashok HST
For home defense purposes, we recommend hollow point bullets for his or her stopping power (and capability to stop in drywall).
5 Shots into Ballistic Gel
Ouch…that’s gotta hurt!
147gr Federal Hydrashok Expansion
Two of the most used are Speer Gold Dot and Federal Hydrashok. We cover everything inside our Ammo & Reloading section.
Based on your caliber, you’ll want to have a look at among these articles:
Best 9mm Ammo
Best .45 ACP Ammo
Best .380 ACP Ammo
Best .38 spl/.357 Mag Ammo
Best .44 Mag Ammo
Selecting a Beginner Handgun
The main thing about finding the right handgun is fit.
A few of Our Handguns
We recommend obtaining a “full size” handgun this means near 5″ barrels.
Having a complete sized handgun helps it be much easier to shoot since there’s more mass to soak up recoil, a more substantial area to grip, and an extended sight radius from leading sight to the trunk sight.
Glock 17 Grip (Fullsize)
But…if you think you may do concealed carry later on and don’t need to get another gun…you can try the compact size too.
You lose just a little sight radius but release some grip space which helps a whole lot in concealing. Nevertheless, you don’t want to go so small that your pinkie is left hanging.
Glock 19 Grip (Compact)
Here, we recommend too little an external safety.
We think that your brain is the greatest safety and that in heat of the moment throughout a self-defense situation, you may forget to disengage the safety.
This takes out a number of possibilities like the venerable 1911 which we think is a touch too complicated and finicky for the beginner shooter.
Easy, get the night time sights since most self-defense encounters occur in candlight locations.
There usually are night sight models for each and every of our recommended pistols. Or you can always purchase aftermarket sights and also have your gunsmith install them.
Glock Night Sights, USACarry
We recommend a striker fired handgun for the beginner and home defense because the trigger pull is practically identical each and every time (at least in comparison with a double action).
A good way to tell if a handgun is a striker is that the trunk of the slide is flat and does not have any exposed hammer.
Here a Glock, there a Glock…
Double action pistols such as for example most Sig Sauer’s and the Beretta 92FS have much first shot because you are cocking back the hammer.
Beretta M9 Double Action Single Action
What about revolvers?
We love them for his or her reliability and simple working with malfunctions (just press again), but we don’t like their low ammo capacity (5 or 6 in comparison to 15+ for our recommendations).
The Smith and Wesson Model 686P
But we’ll be including among our favorites that packs in 7 rounds