I have read article after article on gun reviews, the best pistol to buy, how to fire one, etc. However, what about those who dont even know where to start on what type of gun they need? I will give a brief synopsis on where to begin when buying guns for self-defense.
First, we need to look at what exactly you will be defending yourself against. For self-defense away from home, there is no better protection than a pistol. But before you go and buy yourself a sidearm and pack it inside your waistband, be sure you know the legalities of where you are traveling. Most states require a Concealed Carry Permit (CCP), which allows you to carry a concealed weapon in public; minus a few restrictions such as government buildings and places that sell alcohol. Some states dont allow you to carry at all, while some dont even require a permit. An easy way to learn about CCPs is to visit www.usacarry.com. You will find nearly everything you need to know about CCPs for each state and then some.
Many states will require you to complete a basic pistol shooting class before you can obtain your CCP. This class is taught by instructors certified by the National Rifle Association. To locate a class nearest you visit www.nrainstructors.org. Here you can find information on a plethora of courses offered by the NRA. Even if you dont plan on obtaining a CCP, it is still beneficial to attend one of these courses. I recommend it for both beginners and also veterans who havent completed the course. Many veteran shooters do not use proper shooting techniques such as breathing and stance that could improve their precision and accuracy. The course normally ranges in price from about $50-$150 and requires about 50-100 rounds of ammunition. Many places will even provide a weapon, but ensure that you obtain all details for the class given at each specific location.
Whether you intend to obtain a CCP and carry in public or not, you will have to determine what type of pistol you need. You need to decide for yourself what is more important in a variety of different areas. While revolvers are the epitome of reliability, they may not be the best choice when you need to fire more than six rounds in a short amount of time. Revolvers are very easy to use and less complex than semi-automatic pistols, especially for the new gun owner. Malfunctions rarely occur and if they do they take mere seconds to fix.
I recommend a semi-automatic pistol due to the number of cartridges they can handle and their ability to be concealed. There are hundreds of different handguns out there and everyone seems to have their own opinion on which is best. Lets first start with the caliber required. I would not recommend anything smaller than a .380 caliber for self-defense. While there may be the urge for a new gun owner to purchase a .22 caliber handgun, I highly recommend against it for self-defense. It just isnt big enough. Can it kill someone? Absolutely. But it can also put you in a very difficult situation with someone who carries something larger. The best utility semi-automatic pistol out there for both the newbie and the veteran is the 9mm Luger. Ammo is plentiful and cheaper than most ammunition out there due to its massive popularity. There are many makes and models of the 9mm so again it depends on what you what. Are you looking for easy concealment or is dependability your main concern? I could write on this topic alone for days, so instead Ill get right to the point. Go to a gun store and get a feel for whatever gun feels best to you. While I personally recommend the Glock 19, there are many others guns that are equally dependable and effective. The .40 caliber is also a popular choice for many handgun owners, as well as the .45. I suggest you do some research on your own to learn whats best for you before visiting the gun store. If you believe bigger is better, then you might want to consider a .44 magnum or 10mm. The 10mm is found in many semi-automatics but unless you want to carry around a seven pound Desert Eagle, you will have to opt for the .44 in a revolver. I personally own three handguns: a Ruger .380 ACP which I use for easy concealment, a Glock 20 10mm which I use for self-protection and hunting, and a Beretta M9 9mm. I am an Army NCO with 17 years of service and carry my assigned Army M9 during my deployments. There is no better way to be proficient with the weapon you are carrying in combat than owning it and firing it regularly. Owning my own Beretta M9 allows me to do just that. Whatever you decide, remember that everyone has their own opinion. With a little bit of research and a visit to the gun store, in the end you will be much better off with any handgun at your side than none at all.
Now lets talk about home defense. Again, there are many variables here. Do you live in a rural area on 100 acres or in an urban area such as downtown Chicago? To me there is no better weapon for self-defense inside your home than a 12 gauge shotgun armed with 00 buckshot. Youre talking about a massive amount of fire-power and not much room for an invader to escape at short distances. Deciding which shotgun to buy once again goes back to exactly how you want to use it. If you will also be using it for hunting, what will you be hunting for? Turkey? Deer? Waterfowl? There are guns/barrels designed for all of them and if money is limited you may want to choose a shotgun that will suffice for all. If you hit an invader with some 00 buckshot, I highly doubt he or she will know the difference in what brand of shotgun it was fired from. To me, you cant go wrong the venerable Remington 870. You can configure it with many different barrels suiting your desired target and it can be purchased at a reasonable price. For dependability you cant go wrong with a Benelli Nova Pump, but if price is your main concern then consider a Mossberg 500 or 930. All of them will do the job, but realize there is a difference in reliability. A pump-action shotgun is going to be more reliable than a semi-auto, not to mention less expensive. But, if your main reason for purchase is home defense, you may want that auto-loader that will throw massive amounts of lead as fast as you can pull the trigger. For this, I recommend none other than the Saiga 12. The Russian-made semi-auto shotgun can be loaded with 12 to 25 round drums and completely unloaded within seconds. The amount of damage one of these can do is terrifying. To watch a quick video of what the Saiga 12 is capable of, then watch this YouTube video.