So you're in the market for a new firearm? There are thousands of different guns available on the market, ranging in terms of firing mechanism, ammunition, size, weight and more. To make the buying process a little easier, we're going to reveal some essential tips for choosing the gun that's right for you.
Pistol, Rilfe or Shotgun
Most firearms can broken down into one of three different categories: pistols, rifles and shotguns. Rifles feature long barrels with spiraling grooves (known as rifling) inside the bore and are commonly used for long-distance shooting. Shotguns look in similar in appearance, but the barrel is thinner to reduce friction as the shot travels through the bore. Shotguns are intended for close-quarters, often using ammunition like buckshot and birdshot that contains multiple bullets. Pistols, on the other hand, feature a much shorter barrel and can be fired using either one or two hands.
Why Do You Want a Gun?
Ask yourself why you want one in the first place. Some people buy them for hunting, whereas others buy them for personal protection or home defense. By identifying your goals and objectives, you'll have an easier time choosing the gun that's best suited to your particular needs. Homeowners who only wish to protect their property from intruders, for instance, often prefer shotguns due to their spread and reliability, not to mention the sound of it cocking which has been known to deter a bad guy by itself. If you plan on going to the shooting range, though, you'll want a pistol or rifle instead. If you focus is hunting, a rifle is the way to go.
Semi-Auto vs Revolver Pistols
Since our focus is on personal defense through concealed carry, we'll assume you are choosing a pistol. So next, you'll need to decide between a semi-automatic or a revolver.
Revolvers operate like the classic six-shooters that you see in old western movies. After each shot is fired, a new round “revolves” into the firing position. If it's a single-action revolver, you'll need to cock back the hammer before each shot. If it's a double-action revolver, you squeeze the trigger and it will cock the hammer and release it for you. Revolvers generally hold between five and six rounds of ammunition, although there is quite a variety in the marketplace available.
Semi-automatic pistols rely on the energy produced by firing to cycle the next round of ammunition into the firing position. They usually contain a spring-fed magazine clip that is inserted into the grip. Semi-automatic pistols are often viewed as being prone to jamming and misfires, although this is a generalized statement that doesn't hold merit in today's age.
When it comes to ammunition, bigger isn't always better. Sure, Dirty Harry looked cool carrying around a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29, but you have to think about the way in which you will be using the firearm. Trying to haul around a 3-pound pistol isn't exactly ideal for concealed carry holders. And high-caliber ammunition such as this may decrease your accuracy, negating its beneficial stopping power.
If you have a small frame and are are looking for a handgun, you may want a 9mm or .32acp pistol. Both of these ammunition types are bigger than .22 but still smaller than .357, .44, .40, and .45.
Shopping for a new gun isn't a perfect science, so don't treat it as such. Before you head out to the gun shop, consider your reason for buying a firearm, how you intend to use it, and choose the type that's right for you. If the gun shop has on-site shooting, take advantage of it by firing off a couple rounds from prospective firearms.
Whatever firearm you wind up purchasing, make sure to head to the range frequently with it. No matter how perfect your gun selection is, practice is the only way to make your groupings tight!
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Jack Acecroft.