Best Handgun for Beginners 2023 | Best Handguns For The New Shooters

man aiming for a shoot | Best Handgun for Beginners 2016 | Best Handguns For The New Shooters | Featured

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.

Springfield XD

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.

best handguns for beginners

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.

best handguns for beginners

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.

Ruger LCR

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.

best handguns for beginners


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.

Glock 19

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.

best handguns for beginners

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.

best handguns for beginners

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.

best handguns for beginners

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.
best handguns for beginners

Are your favorite handguns on the list? Tell us about it in the comments section below! 

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21 Responses to :
Best Handgun for Beginners 2023 | Best Handguns For The New Shooters

  1. Earl says:

    HEY, U forgot something like the Taurus Judge. U can load a variety of 410 & defender 2-1/2″ or 3″ shot gun shells so a rushed shot requires much less accuracy and missed buck or pellets shouldn’t kill an innocent over 200 feet away. My loaded Judges’ 5th shot is a 45 semi jacketed long if I have to shoot thru a fence an ass hole is using for cover. My first two shots have over 60 pellets going for a criminals face! – bucks would be next if needed.

  2. Howard says:

    You also forgot the SCCY CPX2 9mm

  3. Tom Long says:

    I suggest the Ruger LC9s Pro be added to the list. It’s size, weight, integrated trigger safety and optional 9+1 extended magazine make it a winner with me. However, it’s very smooth trigger pull really sold me. I toyed with the idea of the integrated laser which might be fine for short distance target practice but I don’t see the need for it for personal defense. If the “bad guy” is close enough to be a real threat, I don’t see the need to “paint him” with a laser and it’s likely one would not be looking for a dot in such a situation.

  4. Sam says:

    Ruger SR9 or SR40 are good choices as well. I carry my SR40 every day.

    1. Kirk Bakken says:

      SR9c also

  5. J Jaroz says:

    Ruger SP 101 Can do 38 special or 357. 5 shot to keep weight down. Well balanced Stainless Steel so it can lay around for long periods without maintenance.

  6. How about the CZ 75 RAMI? Very accurate and reliable. The slide rides on the inside of the frame. It has an ambidextrous safety and is very concealable. Not too big & not too small

  7. Charles Records says:

    My current carry weapon is the Sig p938.
    A very easy to carry weapon with great night sights.
    Very easy to conceal.

    1. Thomas Welch says:

      Agreed. Love my 938. Reliable and easy to carry.

  8. Doug says:

    Taurus PT709 Slim, love the trigger and you hardly know your carrying. Plus a great price for a 9mm @$199.00

  9. KUETSA says:

    A 1911 chambered in 9mm?

  10. Edward N. Barnes says:

    My EDC is the Kahr PM9, which I have had almost since its introduction. Kahr recommends a 200-round break-in, and I did that, having FTF issues on rounds # 49 and #51. Since then, no hiccups whatever. This is a double-action, striker-fired gun that requires no safety because the long smooth trigger pull provides that function. It has polygonal rifling, which I assume accounts for the price difference between it and the land-and groove rifling of the CM9. The CM9, introduced after the PM9, would probably have served about as well because that is the only significant difference I can tell.

    Another good gun is the SIG P238, which resembles a 1911 and is chambered in .380. I initially had some problems, later found to be with the magazines. The 238 is a knockoff of the Colt Mustang and uses mags that appear very similar. When I first bought the gun there were no additional magazines available at that time, so I stocked up on Colt Mustang mags. I found out the hard way that, as similar as they looked the Colt Mustang mags were not reliable in the P238. SIG soon offered a package of magazines for the P238, which I bought and have never had a FTF using the SIG magazines. One other “glitch” is the SIG laser sight. The switch is a push-on and push-off switch and does NOT time out. Therefore, you need to make sure it is off when you are finished shooting for the day or be prepared to change batteries the next day. I think CTC makes a laser sight for this gun and that is what I’d have gotten knowing what I do now. (SIG does seem to make great guns but not-so-great accessories).

  11. JB Faulconer says:

    You have to put the new CZ P10C on this list. It’s a better first time shooter than the Glock 19!

  12. Custom gun says:

    One handgun I find lacking on a lot of lists is the Bersa Thunder .380. It’s a very accurate copy of the Walther PPK, is a single action, with a double action first trigger pull. It’s light weight, accurate and relative inexpensive. I’ve owned one for many years and have had zero issues with failure to feed, including any hollow point ammo I want to feed it. I’ve put hundreds, if not thousands of rounds through and can attest to it’s reliability and accuracy.

  13. SeventySeven says:

    Ruger SR9C. It’s just nice.

  14. TJ says:

    M&P. ’nuff said.

  15. TJ says:

    Speed loaders. Simple and quick. I am a wheel gun fan myself.

  16. George H Cox says:

    Glock 26 or 27 if you are planning to entrust your life…..

  17. Fireup65 says:

    You cant go wrong with a Kimber Pro Carry II 45ACP

  18. Mike says:

    Another check for the CZ 75b

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