How to choose your first self-defense gun

One of the most important things that people looking to purchase a firearm for the first time should keep in mind is that a gun, above all else, is a tool. It’s not a toy that you can take out and show to all of your friends just so that you can be the center of attention; it’s a weapon used for self-defense in a life-threatening situation. This, among several other things, is a crucial point to consider when choosing your first firearm.

Ask yourself: What is your reasoning for purchasing a gun? If you are looking for a way to properly defend your home in the event that a burglar breaks in, then it might be a good idea to look into getting a shotgun. Pistols, while commonly concealed and taken from place to place in case of a defensive encounter, are also well suited for a defensive encounter inside of your home. (Related: A rampaging knife murderer in a Minnesota mall was stopped by a man with a gun, reminding us yet again that guns save lives.)

If you do decide to go with a pistol as your first firearm, then the next decision that you have to make is part of a larger debate that goes back over 100 years: Semi-automatic pistol or revolver? Of course, there are pros and cons for each, all of which you should take into consideration before making your final decision. While semi-autos usually hold more rounds than a revolver and give the gun’s owner the ability to carry extra magazines, semi-autos can also malfunction and render the firearm inoperable until it is cleared. Revolvers, on the other hand, don’t malfunction nearly as often, and when they do, all you have to do is pull the trigger a second time and the gun will switch to the next round in an instant. (Related: Here’s why more and more women are starting to join gun clubs to learn self-defense skills.)

With pros and cons for both, it all comes down to personal preference. If you feel more comfortable holding a semi-automatic pistol and want the ability to carry extra magazines with you, then go for it. On the contrary, if you are worried about your gun malfunctioning in the middle of a life-threatening situation, consider the revolver. It may be cliché, but it’s absolutely true: You don’t choose the gun, the gun chooses you.

You also need to make sure that you put in the necessary amount of research before purchasing your firearm. As Andy Grossman wrote for, “I have experienced numerous clients that took my concealed-carry classes that purchased firearms before class and literally could not pull the trigger due to the pull being so heavy. I have also seen people who shot the gun one time and almost blew their arm through the back wall at the range because the gun was just way too powerful.” You need to make sure that the gun you choose as your first is well-suited for your own personal tastes and physical capabilities.

Lastly, while choosing your first firearm, keep in mind that you are taking on a giant responsibility by becoming a gun owner. Firearms are excellent tools that can save your life in a dangerous situation – as a matter of fact, they are used by law-abiding citizens 2.5 million times every year to defend themselves against criminals, according to However, you should always keep in mind that if they are mishandled or disrespected any way, then the results could be ugly.

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