Saturday, February 11, 2012

Handgun Selection: Overview

I am posting this advice as I have been asked by several people in recent weeks for advice on purchasing their first firearm. The reader should assume there is always more detail and information available than what is contained in this post—I am going to try and keep this as short and to the point as possible but it is a lot of information.

Anyone interesting in getting introduced to firearms should take classes from a qualified instructor. The local gun shop can be a great resource and the NRA is also be helpful.

If there was ever a time in the history of the United States to own a gun it is today. Right now. The idea that a weapon will be made available to you, in the event of emergency, and you’ll be able to use it is limited to Hollywood movies and fiction. The threats to our Second Amendment rights are numerous and growing.

The handgun (pistol) is the most versatile self-defense (SD) weapon available. If you can only own one gun, or are getting into guns because you want a SD weapon, the handgun should be first on your list. By no means should you stop with handguns either, but this post will deal only with handgun selection and it will be limited to semi-automatic handguns as they are the most capable for SD.

A Sig Sauer P226R in three different roles; home defense, sidearm, and concealed.

There are those that will argue a rifle or shotgun is easier for new gun owners but it is also more limiting.  In the event you need to leave your home in an emergency, you can’t exactly throw a rifle over your shoulder and walk around town.

Shotguns are bulky, must have a barrel length of 16” to be legal, and have limited ammunition capacity. They are slower to load and it is difficult to carry reloads. There is also conflicting data on the lethality of shotgun ammunition.

Handguns are easy to handle, easy to reload, easier to carry reloads (magazines), and can fill multiple roles…

Home Defense
The addition of a high capacity magazine (available for nearly every make and model) and rail mounted light makes this a perfect gun for securing the home. The weapon in this configuration can be kept in a bedside table and is easily secured in a small safe.

Side Arm
Side arms aren’t carried to win wars; they are carried as back-up for multiple reasons. I never met a Marine who refused an M9. It’s common sense.

If you own long guns, or someday want to own long guns, the handgun doesn’t have to stay at home. I know plenty of hunters who take a handgun with them into the woods (for a couple different reasons).

Even if you do not possess a CCW permit allowing you to exercise your God given Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, you need to consider the ability to conceal a weapon to protect yourself and your family.

Additionally, you are able to obtain a CCW once you are comfortable with your weapon, have taken the required class, and have paid your ~$250 ($125 to CSP and $125 to your local county sheriff). It takes anywhere from four to 12 weeks to get your CCW once you apply for your Second Amendment rights.

There are also interesting laws in different states about carrying long guns in vehicles. In the state of Colorado, it is illegal to carry a loaded long gun in a vehicle where the occupants of a vehicle have access to it (i.e. they want that long gun in your trunk). This is an anti-poaching law.

It is, however, 100% legal, to keep a loaded handgun in your vehicle. Your vehicle is considered an extension of your home. You do not need a permit to possess a handgun in your car if you are legally able to own that weapon.

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