Handguns For First Timers By Jaz McKay

Jaz McKay sent me such a great email about the type of guns that newbie shooters should use that I asked him to allow me to post it on RWN. After retooling the email just a bit, Jaz gave me the go-ahead. Enjoy!

Recently John was writing about handguns for first timers. As an official, card carrying gun nut I get that question a lot from listeners of my radio show here in Bakersfield. Here’s what I always tell them about buying their first handgun.

First, it won’t be your last. Buying a gun is like getting a tattoo for many people. One is never enough. As soon as you get on the range and discover the greatest legal thrill of all, SHOOTING, you begin to crave it. After a while you start to wonder what other guns would be like to shoot. If you have friends with different types of firearms you can always ask to try theirs to find out what you might like next.

Most people start with a simple 9mm or .380, they’re a blast to shoot, not much kick and easy to find cheap ammo for. Then one day you may decide to kick it up a notch and go for a .40 or .357. Not long after that you want the big boy, a .45 1911 model. WOW! What a blast! That big assed gun has more power than you can imagine.

If you start with a semi-auto you’ll someday crave a revolver too. The best place to start there is the .38 Police Special. And then it just starts all over. You want to go to a .44 and then a .357 magnum followed by a .45 and so on.

The funny thing is that after you get a big gun you start wanting to add smaller ones to your collection, too — like .22s and .25s. They’re loads of fun for plinking. And great starting places for young ones. Yes, the shooting sports are a family affair.

The best thing to do is become informed. The internet is a great way to research the topic. Read up on all the guns available in your state. In California, for instance, we have an approved list we have to go by. That just plain sucks. Then check prices on the various websites that sell guns such as The Gun Source or Gallery of Guns. There are also e-Bay type auction sites like Auction Arms and Gun Broker.com where you can get great deals. Remember when buying online to find a local Federal Firearms License holder to have your gun shipped to; that’s the law. Shop around for this, too, as the service can be a bit costly.

I tell my listeners to go to the local shooting range here in Bakersfield, 2nd Amendment Sports. They rent handguns and you can try out a variety of different ones and find the one that best fits you. You may have a range like that in your town. Find out.

Remember, recoil is one of the most important things to consider when buying a gun for self defense. That’s why a lot of folks carry 9mm instead of big bore guns. You have to be able to handle the weapon for it to be of any use to you in a life or death situation. Big guns do have more stopping power and are better in the long run but, you may have to be able to squeeze off more than just one shot to stop most assailants. You have to be able to shoot, re-aim and shoot again in a nanosecond. If you can’t handle the kick of a .45 ACP or a .357 magnum, what’s the point of having a large caliber? But if you can, then by all means go for the gusto!

Also for carry conceal you will want a smaller frame gun that you can carry comfortably without it showing. You’ll also need to practice drawing the weapon and firing a lot before you should start carrying it. You may not want or be able to get a CCW. While they are more readily available today than in the recent past, some states still repress your right for self defense outside the home. So if you’re buying one strictly for home defense, some will say just buy a shotgun. OK fine, shotguns are great weapons but they are bulky and hard to handle in a high stress situation and remember there isn’t just one bullet coming out the end and the shot can scatter around your target and place family members in danger.

Once you’ve decided on a make and model, don’t go with the first one you come across in a gun store. Shop around and find out who has the best price. It’s just like buying a car; you can haggle. You may find price differences of over a hundred dollars between different stores. Get to know your gun store and never be afraid to ask questions. No matter how stupid you think the question is, ask it! Remember nobody was born with an inbred knowledge of firearms; we all had to start somewhere and learn. Don’t be intimidated by the salesmen either. Some of them work on commission and will try to steer you toward the more expensive handguns. When possible deal with the owner.

Then when it comes to ammo, go for an expensive box of hollow points for defense and the cheapest box for target shooting. Never carry full metal jackets for self defense as they can pass right through your target and harm an innocent.

For me, my preference is Glock. I just started the paperwork on my newest Glock yesterday. I have always preferred Glocks to any other make. They last forever, are accurate as hell, light weight and are inexpensive for their high quality. They are carried by more military personnel and law enforcement than any other brand.

I’ve never understood why Kimbers cost so much more than other guns. Sure they’re GREAT firearms but, for the cost of one Kimber you can get two Glocks. And as I said before, the more the merrier, right?

My newest one is a Glock 30 SF. It’s a compact version of the Glock 21. It’s a .45 with 10 + 1, fires standard .45 ACP and is very easy to conceal. It’s the newest version of the G30 with a shorter grip and a few nifty new features. I may be the first non-law enforcement person to get one in California. They are still pretty rare.

Finally, if I might suggest a cheap gun, try the Hi-Point. These are available in several calibers and cost as little as $119. They’re ugly and clunky (They remind me of a cordless drill) but very reliable. They are a polymer frame, like the Glock, are American made and come with a lifetime warranty. For someone on a budget you can’t beat um. Google them for owner reviews. I feel everyone should own at least one handgun and the size of your bank account should never prevent you from defending yourself.

Most importantly, know how to use your gun. Get to the range as much as possible. Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. Go on your lunch hour, after work, or on the weekend; just go.

P.S. Please do your part to protect our right to keep and bear arms and join the NRA today. Even if you don’t own a gun and have no plans to do so, the NRA fights every day for the most important civil right we have — the right to protect ourselves — and God help us if we should ever lose that right.

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