Choosing a Defensive Handgun in 24 Hours
Dr. John Woods 03.01.19
Walk into a well-stocked gun shop and up to the display cases showing self-defense handguns. What would be your first impression? Likely it would be something like, “How in the world am I going to pick one of these today?” It would be a tough decision.
Hopefully, you would not be under such pressure to have to buy a self-defense handgun in short order. I have seen this circumstance when working gun shows. Either somebody has a feeling of an eminent threat, or cause for needing self-protection. Often there is an urgency attached to the search for a sound, effective firearm for self-defense. Here are some considerations for choosing an effective gun for protecting yourself.
It may sound odd to take this approach to buying a gun to thwart a threat, but first assess your budget. Decide what you can afford and look no further. Concentrate your search in that price range. That may have to be a used gun.
Next, as quickly as possible decide if the gun is to be a revolver or a semi-auto pistol. Seems easy on the surface, but it isn’t. If you want the quickest, easiest decision, then pick a 5-6 shot revolver with a 2-3 inch barrel. If you want or think you need more shots, then you’ll have to go with a magazine fed pistol offering 6-10 rounds.
eOnce you decide the type of handgun you want, then narrow your search there. Keep focus on the goal and don’t stray. Handle as many models as the dealer or gun show has on display that day. Honestly, you might have to shop more than one dealer, but this is the mission to buy a suitable protection handgun today.
You’ll be better served in the long run by balancing your budget with a gun from a major manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and reliability. It is far better to invest in a good firearm up front than risk a cheaper, less well made gun that might not serve well. This might also mean stretching your budget to the limit or exceeding it.
Brands? Gun prices vary but look first at Smith, Colt, SIG, Ruger, Charter Arms, Springfield Armory, Walther, and a few others. Stick with a known brand. Cartridge wise go with a .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .380, or 9mm. If you can handle a big auto, consider the .45 ACP. Buy good defensive ammo and practice with it ASAP. Then hope you won’t have to use it.