Mistakes when purchasing a defensive handgun

This is a discussion on Mistakes when purchasing a defensive handgun within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First, I am new to this website so my apologies if this question has already been addressed elsewhere and I just missed it. I am ...

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Thread: Mistakes when purchasing a defensive handgun

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array KoriBustard's Avatar
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    Mistakes when purchasing a defensive handgun

    First, I am new to this website so my apologies if this question has already been addressed elsewhere and I just missed it.

    I am doing some research before purchasing my first defensive handgun. While there is a lot of good advice on how to choose a handgun for personal protection/concealed carry, I’ve not seen the topic addressed from the standpoint of “biggest mistakes” first time buyers make.

    I was hoping that some of you more experienced owners, and those who own more than one defensive handgun, would be willing to relate any mistakes or oversights you made (if any) in your first purchase and that should be avoided by other first time buyers.

    By the way, I’m primarily considering the Walther PPS (9mm).

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Welcome to the DC Forum from Delaware!

    Purchase the gun you like, try it out first, get one that feels good, is accurate, you can handle. Don't be pushed into a purchase.
    Hiram25
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Array KevinDooley's Avatar
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    I think a big mistake people make is underestimating what they are able to carry and end up buying something small, loud, and hard to handle as their only gun and then never practice with it because it's a pain to shoot. With a good holster and belt combo you can carry almost anything - so make sure you get something that you will want to shoot and then practice, practice, practice.

    My mother-in-law got a j-frame for it's size - she can't pull the trigger unless she uses both index fingers and hates the way it shoots, but told me it's all she could carry due to size. I showed her what my wife carries and how much easier it was to shoot and handle (M&P9c) and she was amazed.
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  5. #4
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    Welcome to the forum. Feel free to ask as many questions as you feel you need answers to.
    You will often get multitudes of different and various responses that you'll need to sort through and evaluate depending on your personal circumstances.
    You just took the best first step in joining here and so have already avoided one huge boo boo.

    You should be asking yourself some basic questions and jotting some things down because there is a HUGE world of available firearms out there for the purchase & you'll need to begin by narrowing down your potential choices.

    Example: Will your firearm be strictly for home defense or will you be carrying it daily?

    If you have never fired a gun or a handgun before before then you should go here to First Shots and see if there is a program in your area.
    Here is the link: http://www.nssf.org/FirstShots/
    First Shots has helped ranges across the country introduce thousands of individuals to shooting and firearm safety. Developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and hosted by independent shooting facilities, the program provides participants with a comprehensive introduction to shooting by qualified range operators and instructors that includes firearm safety, local ownership requirements, shooting fundamentals, hands-on instruction and how and where to continue.

  6. #5
    Member Array Skippys's Avatar
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    Mistakes cost money (don't ask me how I know that). Try to look ahead before you pony up the pesos.

    1: What are you defending? Around the home? Perhaps a 12 gauge and a handgun. Revolver? Semi-auto? Factor the cost of ammo and the range/practice time to get --and stay -- proficient. Where and how do you store the firearm(s)? Who else should know where they are and how to use it/them? What might the duplex neighbors think if a bullet or shotgun slug passed through a shared wall?

    2: Concealed carry? Take the classes first; use a variety of handguns your local range has to offer. Ask people you trust about why and how they came up with their setup. Take some time to decide what you shoot best.

    3: Don't buy crap handguns and holsters. Do your homework. Experiment with small quantities of ammo (50-100 rounds), when you find the defensive/practice rounds that work for you, stick with it. Lord knows how many half-empty boxes of trendy, pricey, internet-hyped ammo many of us have on hand (don't ask me how I know).

    And that's just the financial side of things......
    I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

  7. #6
    Member Array Dsully's Avatar
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    Biggest mistake is NOT trying a firearm out before purchasing. Everyone is different. If you don't feel comfortable with the firearm, you won't carry it. Once you find the one for you, get ready for the other 5 you will be purchasing as soon as the money is available. Have fun

  8. #7
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    If possible, shoot the type of handgun before you buy it, to see if you like it, not always possible, but if it is, do it.

    If a semi-auto is what you want, get something with a 3.5-4.5 inch barrel, in 9mm, .40, or .45 from a reputable manufacturer. These pistols tend to be a good combo of shootability and concealability. A lot of people go too big, or too small when buying guns for carry, stick with a mid sized weapon, that will be fun and accurate to shoot, in a caliber that will work, and you can conceal.

    Don't skimp, not everyone needs a $2,500 dollar custom 1911 for carry, but generally somewhere between $300-600 will get you what you need as far as a pistol. Then get a good purpose made gun belt, and a holster for your firearm. A few extra mags (3 minimum in my opinion) should also be on your list.

    And last of all, do your research. You have found what is in my mind one of the best resources on line to learn about concealed carry, and firearms in general, here at Defensivecarry. Ask questions about anything you want to know, someone here probably knows about it.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    There are a lot of mistakes you can make when getting into firearms. While I understand the OP's question and desire to avoid making the common ones, I also see that some of the lessons are things you have to learn for yourself.

    The only thing I'll say on this is to repeat what others note above: try before you buy.

    If I were to buy a gun based only on what I read online, I'd be scrambling to get a Glock. If I were to buy a knife based on Internet recommendations, I'd get a Spyderco.

    Yet, having handled gear made by both companies, I've found that these are not products that suit my preferences. Can't say they are bad products, I'm sure they work for some people, but they do not work for me - and the only way I've learned that is by handling them. Several firearms have made my short list, only to be discarded once I actually handled them and tried them out.

    So don't buy off paper specs or online recommendations. Use the Internet to narrow down your choices, then field test to determine the finalists.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  10. #9
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    Welcome. My first firearm for concealed carry ( at the recommendation of a friend) was Glock 30. I bought one and a holster. It did not work for me, too wide and heavy. I now carry a Kahr P9 in an OWB holster on a daily basis. Try as mant different firearms as you can b4 you make an actual purchase. This stuff can get expensive.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    when I first started out i had the thought that every gun i had had to be a carry gun and a range gun, now i realize there are guns that i would never wanna carry on my belt, but that i love to shoot. Feel free to get more than one gun for the range and different ones for carry.
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  12. #11
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    I think the biggest mistake people make is buying for price. I, and many others, have gone out and bought a bargain pistol. Six months later we go out and buy a nice pistol and then are happy. Meanwhile we have a 2 to 3 hundred dollar boat anchor sitting around the house collecting dust.

    My biggest advice to you is buy a nice gun, one that you will be happy with for a long time. Don't go with a blue light special.

    Glock, Sig, S&W and Springfield (I'm sure I missed a few) are all good names. I'd start here and find a model you like.
    Last edited by atctimmy; January 21st, 2011 at 09:37 PM. Reason: grammar
    It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.

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    This is a wonderful topic.

    Now I will just sit here and think about what I could add, looks like it's all covered. Thinking.

  14. #13
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    Try finding yourself a nice gun store that you can start building a relationship,somewhere you can buy your bulk ammo and other goodies that will go with the guns your going to be buying. Because it's an unwritten rule, you can't have just one You'll see, Good luck and Welcome to the Site
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” -- Thomas Jefferson

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    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    the best I have to offer is do NOT sucker for an ultralight pocket micro pistol for your first defensive handgun

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr surveyor View Post
    the best I have to offer is do NOT sucker for an ultralight pocket micro pistol for your first defensive handgun
    Excellent advice.

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