Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Pistol Should I Buy

I got another call today from someone asking what they should buy and I thought it would make a good article for my friends.

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting all sorts of calls from people asking me which gun they should buy. Some have been wanting one for a while and are motivated by the proposed bans, others have been indifferent on gun politics in the past but all the talk on TV is making them more interested, and others are rethinking their current plan for self and home defense because it seems their plan in the past was to just “not get attacked,” and if they do, then “call the police.” Of course both avoiding attacks and calling the police are needed as a part of any self-defense plan, but what they are realizing is that they need to defend themselves if and when something happens in while they wait for the police to arrive.

Before You Go Gun Shopping

Here are a few things to remember before you go gun shopping.

1) Hold or Shoot It First.
You can ask 10 people what gun to buy and get 10 different suggestions depending on what each person owns, and in the case of a gun store, what gun is actually in stock. Instead of taking that approach, I will instead give you some recommendations on gun types to look at, and will urge you to actually get your hands on one and hold it to see how it feels in your hands.

If you can shoot one before you buy, it will even be better. Some stores that have a range will let you shoot used versions, and friends of yours I’m sure will be glad to take you and let you shoot theirs.

2) This Won't Be Your Last Gun.
When people ask, “should I buy this one or that one,” my answer is usually “yes,” one now and one later. This may be your first gun, but this probably won’t be your last. Once you start shooting, you will want others for very specific purposes. That takes some pressure off trying to get the perfect gun I think.

For many people, a first gun is usually a pistol that will be used in home defense and also possibly concealed carry. I’m using this assumption for my recommendation below.

3) Bigger Guns = Easier to Shoot.
Remember that the bigger the gun, the easier it is to shoot, and vise versa. Many people are drawn to the itty-bitty small guns at a store, and feel that because they are newer shooters, a smaller gun is just fine for them. In actuality, the smaller and lighter a gun, the harder the recoil, the harder it is to hold correctly, and the harder it is to aim due to its shorter sight radius. This is yet another reason why you should shoot something before you buy it. You may find that the gun you like in a store isn’t the gun you like to shoot and therefore carry.

A larger gun is usually better for home defense because it’s so much easier to hold and control, but because of the larger size, it is harder and heavier when it comes to concealment. Therefore I think the perfect medium for someone looking for only buying one gun is to get a medium sized (sometimes called compact) version that you can use in home defense and for carry.

4) Best Gun is One You Have With You.
The best gun is the one you have on you when you need it. You don’t wear your seatbelt only on the days you plan on getting in a wreck, and you don’t keep fire extinguishers around the house because you expect a fire. Rather, both are examples of being prepared when you need it. Having any gun on you when you need it is better than having the theoretical “ideal” gun back at home where it can’t help you.

The best gun is therefore one that you’re likely to keep with you, one that you like to shoot, feels comfortable in your hands, and one that you can shoot well. Keep this in mind when you shop for a pistol. That is why you must not simply take someone’s opinion but rather hold and feel how different guns feel in your hand and if possible, shoot many different kinds first.

5) Caliber Isn’t as Important as Many Think.
Ten years ago you might have made an argument of the stopping power of a .45 ACP over a 9mm or .380, but with today’s ammo the caliber isn’t as important.

In fact studies have shown that what stops an attacker is 2.5 rounds to center mass – regardless of the round. For that reason as well as lower price, lower recoil, and the higher amount of rounds that you can fit in a standard magazine, I am going to recommend a 9mm. Of course for carry, you will want self defense rounds in it and not the full metal jacket cartridges used for practice.

6) Get a Good Holster.
The right holster and carry system is imperative for both safety and for quick retrieval. If you are wearing your gun on your belt inside or outside your pants, you will need the proper holster and gun belt. If you are a woman and carrying the gun in a purse, you will still need a holster specifically for the purse, and I would recommend even a gun-purse as well (a purse specifically for carrying a gun). You don’t want gum and lipstick getting into the trigger and you don’t want to have to dig for it when you need it.

As far as belt holsters go, try Cross Breed Holsters or Alien Gear Holsters because they not only spread out the weight of the gun on your belt, but they hold them in tight, and also allow one-handed holstering, and tuck-able shirts too.

Also a gun belt should be used, which is stiffer and made to spread out the weight of the gun across the entire belt, rather than a normal belt that will sag to the side or pull down your pants. Cross Breed sells great gun belts.

7) Think Safe at Home.
Especially if you have children or others in your home, have a system of safety at home and a place to put your gun when it’s not on you or when you’re asleep. Many people are getting a small gun safe like this one that opens quickly when you need it.

8) Get Training.
You want to know your gun as well as you know your car’s controls. When you drive a car, you don’t have to look down at the gearshift or pedals, and if something bad happens, you react instinctively without thinking about each hand and each control. Similarly, you should feel the same about your gun and that means you need training.

The saying goes, “When the time comes, you won’t rise to the occasion, but rather fall to the lowest level of training.”

For many across the country, carrying concealed is becoming a growing option and some states only make that option available if you jump through a few government hoops first. One hoop is a concealed carry class that some feel is training. It is not. It is simply a worthless government requirement where they remind you to only use a gun to protect life, not stuff.

You should already know that, and you should also get lots of training. The government should not mandate training in order for you to practice your constitutional right to defend yourself, nevertheless, you should get training on your own.

Spending time with an NRA shooting instructor will help you with your grip, stance, holstering, drawing from concealment, and overall technique. Training can also cover mindset, positioning and scenarios as well, and the more you learn, the more you'll want to learn.

Some classes can be expensive, so at the very least or as you save and prepare for a class, I’d recommend this set of DVDs from Magpul as well as all these DVDs from GunTalk.

Types of Pistols to Look At

I recommend to my friends, as a standard go-to gun for both home protection and concealed carry, a striker-fired 9mm semi-auto pistol. That would be like a Glock, Springfield XDm, or Smith and Wesson M&P. There are others and all good brands will offer good guns, but I'd start with these three.

Pistols of the past have traditionally used a hammer to fire the round, which meant that the hand and grip was lower due to the mechanics. A lower grip makes for a higher fulcrum of recoil, meaning it’s harder to control.

The new line of striker-fired semi-auto pistols allows your hand to hold the gun higher for more control, plus they have plenty of internal safeties that make the gun easier to use when you need it. And because many of these use “double-stack” magazines, they also allow you to carry more rounds in your firearm, which is crucial when you need your gun for self defense.

Women Who Will Carry In a Purse

Women who are carrying in a custom gun purse (of course with purse holster as well) may also look at a hammerless snub-nosed revolver because it will allow you to fire and keep firing from within the purse where a semi-auto will jam in that situation.

There is a particular technique to shooting from a purse, so ask about that when you train. But even still, remember that a revolver will hold fewer rounds and will be harder to shoot than a striker-fired semi-auto. Nevertheless, if the purpose is for a purse, the revolver is still the best. Keep the round smaller, like a 38 Special over a .357 magnum to keep it easier to shoot, because a revolver will twist and torque your wrist more.

Customize the Grips

With the newer striker-fired pistols, you can usually change the back-strap to a smaller grip, and most people prefer the smallest option because it gives them more control. Also, if you go with Glock, I’d recommend also getting a Hogue brand rubber over-grip as well.

One of My Favorites

The Springfield XDm 3.8 in 9mm is great, and I really like the compact version because it is exactly the same size as the full-sized version but with a shorter grip. In this way it’ll hold both compact and full size magazines, making it a full-sized gun when you need it at home and a compact gun for carry.

Again, before you buy anything, at least hold if not try them first if possible, and get with a trainer to make sure your technique is safe and the most effective possible.

Disclaimer: This is for entertainment purposes only. I'm not an expert and you really should seek the opinion of an expert. I offer this information freely in hopes of putting you on a bigger path of education and I can’t and don’t take responsibility for how you may use or interpret this information. I offer it in hopes that you will be more prepared and perhaps be able to save your life or a loved one’s. Nevertheless, no one but you can be responsible for how you handle or store a gun. You must always follow all the rules of gun safety at all times, store and clean your gun safely, and get training from a NRA firearms instructor.

No comments:

Post a Comment