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Women's First Handgun Purchase

Chapter Four - What to Look for in Handguns

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Women's Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

Ch 1 - Introduction

Ch 2 - Why Handguns

Ch 3 - Why Many Handguns Aren't Right

Ch 4 - What to Look for in Handguns

Ch 5 - Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol

Ch 6 - Revolver Choices

Ch 7 - Semi-Automatic Choices

Ch 8 - Used or New

Ch 9 - Internet or Local

Ch 10 - Why Practice is Important

 
Women's First Handgun

Book Title:  Women's Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

Series:  Firearm/Pistol For Life Series

Author:  Ruperto Elpusan Jr.

Be sure to look for ISBN #0-9772088-3-4 at Amazon, Powells and other fine online retail bookstores.

Chapter Four:  What To Look For In Handguns

The primary attributes that everyone regardless of experience looks for in a handgun, apply:

1.                Purpose – Does the gun meet the intended purpose of the gun, whether it’s home defense, personal protection, concealed carry, hunting, plinking, competition, practice or whatever.  The appropriateness of the caliber needs to be considered.

2.                Quality – How is the fit and finish, and the the robustness of the materials used?  Is it designed and manufactured well?

3.                Price – Budget is a constraint for most people.  This is the major determinant for most people in making tradeoffs with all the other features listed here.  You may not be able to afford the best quality or the one that is most accurate or easiest to use.  Also, don’t forget to consider the price of ammunition for your gun candidate.

4.                Accuracy – Does it shoot where you point it, or close enough?

5.                Ease-of-use/handling – Is the gun convenient to handle and operate?

6.                Durability – Is it resilient over the long-term?

7.                Reliability – Can the gun operate effectively a high percentage of the time?

8.                Maintainability – Is the gun as close to maintenance free as possible?

9.                Vendor support – Does the manufacturer or gunshop provide a service warranty on the product, and for how long?

10.           Safety features – Besides complying with law, is there sufficient safety features of the gun?

11.           Appearance – Is the gun attractive?  

You will need the assistance of a gun-knowledgeable associate or firearms instructor to help you ascertain how your prospective guns rate on the attributes above.

Features that tend to be most relevant to women, and which we discuss more extensively in this chapter, include the following:

1.                Ease of use

2.                Grip size

3.                Overall gun size

4.                Recoil

5.                Caliber

6.                Maintainability 

7.                Safety features

8.                Training

We are not saying that these features are specific to only women, nor are we saying that these are the most important features to all women.  We have found that these features tend to be the ones most important to a majority of the women we have talked to.  As such, you can take the list above, or a photocopy of this chapter, to the gunstore with you when you purchase a handgun.

1.  Ease of Use

For those who do not consider guns as either an avocation or a hobby but who need to be sufficiently knowledgeable about guns, ease-of-use is of primary importance.  In fact, ease-of-use is the single most important characteristic sought after by the casual user, and the basis for most of the other features that make the gun desirable.

The following point applies with regard to the gun’s ease of use.

 

Insight:  Establish the purpose of the gun.  The question about the gun’s ease of use is relative to the purpose of the gun.

 

Are you purchasing the gun for personal protection carry?  Is it a concealed carry?  If so, then the gun needs to be easy to draw from a concealed carry.  Will it be from a holster in a purse?  Will it be from a pocket or a wasitband?  The gun has to be small and manageable enough to keep in whatever you container you will use.

Are you purchasing the gun for home defense?  Then, the gun doesn’t need to be small as with a concealed carry weapon, unless you plan to use the gun for both.  It needs to be easy enough to store and handle in the home.

Is the gun for competition?  If so, is it for action pistol such as with the organizations of IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association), USPSA (US Practical Pistol Association) or club.  Is it for bullseye competition, such as the NRA Bullseye Competition or club?

Is the intended use for hunting?  If so, will it be varmint shooting, medium prey or larger animal?

Maybe you are purchasing for plinking tin cans in the desert?

Are you purchasing the gun for target practice at the range?  Then other criteria apply with regard to ease of use.

Here are the things you need to look for with regard to ease-of-use:

 

Is the gun easy to use?

1.               How easy is the gun to hold?

2.               How easy is the gun to shoot?

3.               How easy is the gun to shoot accurately?

4.               How easy is the gun to load?

5.               How easy is the gun to unload?

6.               How easy is the gun to store?

7.               How easy is the gun to obtain training with?

8.               How easy is the gun to obtain information about?

9.                  How easy is the gun to obtain parts and service for?

Now, we will explore each of the questions in the list above.

 

How easy is the gun to hold?

 

Tip:  Before buying the gun, hold it in your hand.  Is it easy to hold?

 

There are two aspects to this question:  grip size and shape, and overall gun size.  These are covered more thoroughly later in this chapter.

Very simply, there are some grips that are much too large for the size of a person’s hand.  Additionally, there is the issue of grip shape, which does tend to vary on personal preference.  Some people find the finger grooves of some grips to be uncomfortable and would prefer a smoother surface for the fingers.  Some people don’t like the feel of a smooth surface and would rather have the suction characteristics of rubber.

Perhaps the gun is too heavy for someone of small stature to hold.  Not just because of the weight of the gun but because of the balance.

The only way to find all this out is by holding the gun and deciding how it feels.  Grasp the gun with your right hand, then with your left hand.  Is it comfortable?

Then, assume the two-handed shooting position, extending your arms out.  How comfortable is this for you?

Now, we will explore each of the questions in the list above.

Continue to Part 2

Ch 1 - Introduction | Ch 2 - Why Handguns | Ch 3 - Why Many Handguns Aren't Right | Ch 4 - What to Look for in Handguns | Ch 5 - Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol | Ch 6 - Revolver Choices | Ch 7 - Semi-Automatic Choices | Ch 8 - Used or New | Ch 9 - Internet or Local | Ch 10 - Why Practice is Important

 
     
 

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