When purchasing a handgun for the first time, beginners often find themselves overwhelmed by the many options available.
Selecting the right firearm that suits your needs, preferences, and skill level is crucial for a safe and enjoyable shooting experience.
As a beginner, choosing the right handgun can be a daunting task. The wide range of choices can confuse even the most enthusiastic gun enthusiasts.
However, by understanding the essential factors that play a role in selecting the best handgun for beginners, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.
Factors to be Consider
Before diving into the specific handgun options, it's important to consider a few key factors that are particularly important for beginners.
Comfort and Ergonomics
When selecting a handgun, comfort and ergonomics should be high on your priority list. A comfortable grip and well-designed ergonomics ensure a secure hold and reduce fatigue during extended shooting sessions.
Consider visiting a local shooting range or gun store to try out different models to find the one that fits your hand comfortably.
Ease of Use and Recoil
For beginners, it's essential to choose a handgun that is easy to operate. Look for models with intuitive controls and a straightforward manual of arms.
Additionally, consider the recoil of the firearm. Opting for a handgun with manageable recoil will make it easier to maintain control and improve accuracy.
Affordability and Availability
As a beginner, starting with an affordable and widely available handgun is wise. This ensures that you can easily find ammunition, accessories, and spare parts for your chosen firearm.
Consider your budget and the cost of ongoing maintenance and ammunition when deciding.
The Best Handguns for Beginners
Let’s take a look at some of the best handguns for beginners. Our top picks are based on their caliber, size, capacity, reliability, and ease of use.
Built for Beginners
There are several firearms available today that I could list as one of the seven best handguns for the new shooter. To make a list, a firearm has to meet the following:
Have some type of safety feature
- Known for accuracy
- Easy to clean
- Available in a 9mm pistol
Note: The compatibility between gun and shooter depends upon the shooter. It depends on how big their hands are, what they're looking for in a gun, and what they need it to do.
The XD line is an excellent striker-fired, polymer pistol. They tend to come in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45ACP and are available in many different sizes. One model is even available in the venerable .357 Sig cartridge.
These firearms are about as safe as you can get without having a manual safety that you must flip off. They are also easy to field strip and clean.
Smith & Wesson M&P
Smith & Wesson's M&P line of handguns is an excellent option in the striker-fired, polymer-framed self-defense pistol category.
The M&Ps meet all our requirements for a safe weapon because they can be purchased with a manual safety feature.
They also have other safety features if you're like me and don't want mechanical safety. These handguns are comfortable to hold, reliable, and available in different sizes.
Projectiles range from .22 up to .45 to make sure you can feel comfortable behind the trigger.
This list of guns wouldn't be complete without at least one revolver. Revolvers are great because they are simple, point-and-shoot firearms.
A decent self-defense handgun with remarkable stopping power. There is literally almost no room for error.
This .22LR caliber handgun provides low recoil, making it easier to control and a great choice for honing shooting skills. The SR22's ergonomic design and affordable price point make it a favorite among novice shooters.
Don't miss your target five times, or you'll be in trouble. The safety feature on this handgun is the incredibly long double-action-only (DAO) trigger, which you have to intend to pull.
Recoil on these little snubs can be intense for newer shooters. Make sure you're ready for it and understand proper shooting mechanics first.
It pains me to put a Glock on my list because I'm not a fanboy. Other pro shooters swear by them, and who am I to argue with the pros?
Glock 19 offers a balanced size, suitable for concealed carry and range shooting, and is available in various capacities.
With its simple design and reputation for durability, the Glock 19 is an excellent choice for those starting their firearm journey.
I listed the 19 because it is chambered in 9mm, an excellent self-defense choice. Its polymer frame, although lightweight, aids in absorbing the recoil, making it one of the best handguns for newbies.
It does have trigger safety to help reduce negligent discharges.
Furthermore, Glocks are arguably the most reliable handgun in the world, so there's also that.
Beretta PX4 Storm
The PX4 is an uber-safe, comfortable, reliable handgun that some people overlook simply because it isn't as popular as the others on this list.
Having a manual safety/de-cocker that needs to be disengaged before it can be fired is positive in the minds of some new shooters.
Plus, once you disengage the safety, you'll have a long double-action trigger, unless you pull the hammer back. It is available in 9mm, .40S&W, and .45 auto colt pistols.
Walther CCP M2
This is a bit of an oddball to be on this list because it is a different type of handgun. Yet, it does have manual safety and is a perfect firearm for someone with weaker hands because of Walther's “Softcoil” gas-delayed blowback system.
The newer version M2 is also ideal for shooters who have a hard time pulling the slide back to send a round into the chamber.
Not only are they reliable and accurate self-defense handguns, but the craftsmanship is also striking with its carbon fiber finish.
Even after several hundred rounds, the KAHR CW9 will still fire. All these qualities make it one of the best handguns for newbies, they can carry without any reservations.
I would like to state here that having a mechanical safety feature doesn't mean the firearm won't “go off” unintended. Then again, it is one more step you need to take in a self-defense scenario.
We always recommend practicing as much as you can. That way, you get used to flipping it to the “fire” position whenever needed.
Sig Sauer P320
The Sig Sauer P320 is a modular handgun that allows beginners to customize their firearms to suit their preferences. It offers a smooth trigger, excellent ergonomics, and outstanding reliability.
The P320 is available in various sizes and calibers, providing beginners with options that fit their needs.
Important Beginner Handgun Considerations
Before you buy your first handgun, there are some important considerations you should keep in mind as a beginner. Here are some of them:
- Safety: Safety is the most important aspect of owning and using a handgun. You should always follow the basic rules of firearm safety, such as treating every gun as if it is loaded, keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, never pointing your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy, and being aware of your target and what is beyond it. You should also learn how to safely handle, store and transport your handgun, as well as how to use its safety features.
- Training: Training is essential for becoming a proficient and responsible handgun owner. You should seek professional instruction from qualified instructors who can teach you the fundamentals of shooting, such as stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control, breathing, and follow-through. You should also practice regularly at a safe and legal shooting range or facility, where you can improve your skills, accuracy, and confidence.
- Legal: Legal issues are another important aspect of owning and using a handgun. You should familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding handguns in your state, county, and city, as well as any other places you plan to visit or travel with your handgun. You should also obtain any permits or licenses required for owning or carrying your handgun, such as background checks, registration, or concealed carry permits.
- Maintenance: Maintenance is necessary for keeping your handgun in good working condition and extending its lifespan. You should learn how to properly clean, lubricate and inspect your handgun after every use or at regular intervals, depending on how often you shoot it. You should also learn how to troubleshoot any problems or malfunctions that may occur with your handgun, such as jams, failures, or misfires.
Are your favorite handguns on the list? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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