You have decided to purchase a gun for personal and/or home protection. Where do you start?
Go to a range and ask the salesman? Go to the local pawn shop? There are a few steps to take before you actually purchase your gun.
Buying a gun is like going to DSW to buy a pair of shoes. Do you want shoes for day or evening, flats or stilettos, bling or no bling? So many choices for shoes and there are just as many choices with firearms.
What Is Your Expectation With Your Gun?
If you are looking for a home defense firearm, a shotgun would be the best choice for a couple of reasons. The first one being everyone knows the universal sound of a shotgun being racked. Second, if you did discharge the shotgun, it probably would not penetrate the walls of your home (which could create secondary causalities).
If you are looking for personal defense, you would want a firearm that you could carry concealed. You want the largest caliber that you can effectively shoot. What does that mean? There is a balance between the weight of the firearm and the recoil associated with the size of the ammunition. Heavier gun means less recoil. Lighter gun = more recoil. If you are carry the firearm, then the weight of the gun matters. How do you know the “right” balance?
Become familiar with different sizes by frequenting your local gun range and renting different calibers and manufactures. Most ranges have one day during the week that gun rentals are free. So you can basically “try on” a variety of firearms. You will need to purchase your ammunition from the range. That gives them control over what ammunition is being used with their guns. Often, the range will offer limited instruction to get you started. Consider hiring an instructor for private lessons. If you are a female, I recommend a female instructor. Why? Most women want to learn how to handle a firearm for personal defense and the ability to protect their children. Men often want to shoot guns that are big, bad and louder. The motives are different.
Once you have decided the perfect firearm for you, take a beginners firearms class. Take a conceal carry course. Learn the gun laws in your state. Discover the reciprocity with other states. Learn how to dismantle and clean your gun. Become involved in a shooting league or competitive shooting. Most importantly, train and train some more. Your life may depend on it.