Buying a handgun to carry for personal defense is an important mission. You should take your time and do lots of research or you might end up with an expensive case of buyer’s remorse! Thankfully, there are lots of good handgun options available today.
I suggest LTC (CHL) holders buy a high-quality handgun they can shoot well and carry comfortably. It is a good idea to take your time and consider all the options before buying a handgun. You might want to rent different models of handguns at a range or shoot friends’ handguns until you find the one that fits YOU best.
Things to Consider When Buying a Handgun for Carry:
You really get what you pay for when it comes to handguns. You should usually expect to pay $300.00+ for a high-quality and reliable new or used handgun. Less expensive handguns tend to have reliability and durability issues. You need to be confident that your handgun will perform reliably when you need it!
Full-sized handguns are harder to conceal and heavy to carry for many people. You may end up leaving it at home or in the car instead of carrying it. You can’t protect yourself and others if you don’t have your handgun with you! “Compact” and “subcompact” sized handguns usually work best for carry.
Smaller handguns are easy to carry and conceal but can be harder to shoot well and have a surprising amount of recoil or “kick” – even the smaller caliber handguns (.22, .32 and .380 ACPs). They are better than not carrying a handgun at all and may do an adequate job at very close range.
Revolvers are still a good option for carry and self defense. A revolver might be a good choice for someone who has weak wrists or hands and has a hard time operating the slide on a semi-automatic handgun. Small revolvers are easy to load but do have significant recoil and can be harder to shoot well.
Larger caliber or higher powered handguns (.357 Mag, .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) are more powerful but harder to carry and shoot well, especially for new shooters. Good shot placement is as important as power. You need to be able to shoot an attacker accurately and repeatedly if necessary. The higher powered handguns can be mastered with experience and many people carry them.
Some will disagree with me, but I believe a compact or subcompact 9mm semi-auto handgun loaded with quality defense ammunition provides the best balance of concealable size, controlability and power for many carry purposes.
My personal favorites for carry include the Glock 26, 42, 43, 43X, 19 and 48, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield or Compact, Sig P365, Kahr CM9 or CW9. I also like the Ruger LCR and Smith & Wesson 442 or 642 .38 Special revolvers. Other compact and subcompact handguns by Sig Sauer, Beretta, Ruger, Colt, Springfield Armory, Kimber and Walther should also serve you well.
Gun store salespeople are not always good sources of information when shopping for a handgun. Actual experience with handguns among gun store employees varies widely. A salesperson may have favorite brands or models or point you toward a more expensive model. Other good sources include online gun forums, articles, reviews, YouTube videos, knowledgeable friends and LTC (CHL) instructors. Check out as many sources as possible before you buy.
Feel free to send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about buying a handgun for personal defense carry.
If you live in the west Fort Worth area, consider taking your Texas License to Carry (formerly CHL) class from Shane Scott, the Texas LTC Coach. Email the Coach at email@example.com for more information about classes, scheduling and pricing or to register for a class. Gift Certificates are available for most public and private classes – Link
The Texas LTC (CHL) Coach holds Texas License to Carry and other handgun classes in Azle, Texas for students in the Azle, Springtown, Weatherford, Decatur, Poolville, Aledo, Bridgeport, Lake Worth, Saginaw, Mineral Wells and west Fort Worth area.