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Buying a gun, especially a handgun for concealed carry, can be intimidating for new guns owners but it doesn’t have to be.

All you have to do is ask yourself a few pointed questions to take the guess and stress out of selecting and carrying your new handgun!

Here are five critical questions that will make buying and carrying the right handgun stress-free . . .

Nick Leghorn for TTAG

Does it fit my hand?

It’s this easy; you don’t fit the gun, the gun needs to fit you. If you can’t get into the range to shoot a gun before you buy it (which I highly recommend!), you at least need to get a hold of it and handle the grip to make sure it fits your hand and feels good in your shooting grip.

Without a good grip, your gun is no good to you. Between the SIG P365, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Glock 43, Walther PPQ, Ruger LCR, Springfield XD9, etc. there’s no shortage of great options on the market and one of them will definitely fit your grip a la Goldilocks: JUST RIGHT.

It’s essential, so make sure it fits you!

woman purse off-body gun carry

How will I carry it?

When mentoring new gun owners, my number one tip used to be ‘Always on your person, never in your purse’ but I know that some women (and men) prefer to or need to carry off the body. I’ve come to terms with the fact that if this is the only way someone will carry a gun for protection, then I want to make sure they are doing it safely.

In any case, you need to ask yourself how you’ll be carrying your new handgun to make sure it works with that method. Whether it’s in a Purse Defender, on a Pac Mat, secured with a belly band, or in a traditional holster, you need to make sure it fits – whether that means having a low profile for appendix carry or ensuring your carry method protects the trigger if you choose a gun without an external safety.

That being said, prepare to buy several options because oftentimes, that’s exactly what you’ll need.


What will I need to go with my new gun?

It’s not just the gun, it’s the accessories that will make or break you. I may have gotten my first handgun, a Smith & Wesson 9MM Shield, at a great price but I definitely didn’t budget in all the accessories I needed to go with her!!

You’ll need ammo, both for practice and self-defense, a place to safely store your guneye and ear protection, practical tools to protect and educate your children about firearms if you’re a parent, at least one effective way to carry it (if not more), a membership to a local gun range and/or a MantisX system to practice at home, and even tools for your range bag to make loading magazines easier like the Maglula Loader.

Money well spent if you ask me, but you also need to make sure you don’t buy the gun and lose the right to carry it. Consider donating to a Pro-Second Amendment Organization and purchasing self-defense insurance to protect your rights! These go hand-in-hand with gun ownership.

second amendment tax holiday

What do I need to do before I start to carry this firearm?

No matter which state you live in, you need to make sure you’re following local and federal laws and are a capable shooter equipped to carry before you start. That means knowing the law, being comfortable drawing and shooting your firearm, and feeling confident in your ability to effectively defend yourself or protect those around you should anyone threaten your lives.

Taking a concealed carry course is smart, even if it isn’t required by the state because trainers have real world experience in your area and are able to share practical advice of their own and from former students.

Books are good, training is better, a combination of the two is best, and multiplying them with practice practice practice is ideal.

guns save life training
John Boch for TTAG

What can I do to ensure I continue my training?

With national groups like A Girl and A Gun and the Pink Pistols emerging on the scene in addition to the hundreds of long-standing sportsman’s clubs across America and no shortage of training available from coast to coast, it’s easier than ever for all gun owners to continue training and practice with their firearms!

Get started, plug in, meet new friends, and continue advancing your skills – it’s easy and fun!

So there it is: your answers to these questions will make buying a new or your next handgun and carrying it easy.

Carry on and carry often – an armed society is a polite society and our society could certainly benefit from a few more good guys and gals with a gun!

This post originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. All I want to know is a Deagle .50 enough gun to protect ones self from a possum with a cleaver.

    Asking for a friend.

  2. My Glock’s grip was the most uncomfortable thing ever when I first started training with it. I have a friend who had theirs resized. I liked it better. How ever it’s about training. After training with mine so much I like it better than my friends resized one.

    It’s super comfortable now. If you train with your gun grip shouldn’t matter. Keep in mind I have very very small hands. I have revolvers I can barely reach the trigger on in some cases which really pulls tendons. lol

    being proficient with your fire arm is the most important part.

    The pink pistols. For what ever reason lbtq groups are just extremely unwelcoming. I used to follow them quite a bit and when ever someone new who wanted to interact with them came they would make them feel bad for saying they changed their mind about gay people.

    They are also ban happy restrictive cliquey people. Safe space types. It’s really awful.

    • Speaking of Glocks, the feel of holding a grip like a block of wood was the biggest turn off. So I blew off glocks dpr over 25 years. Recently I did a grip reduction and shaped the grip to better fit my hand myself. Now I might start carrying it.

  3. We’ve all heard it before countless times, but I’ll spout it off again. Just get the gun you can reliably handle, and train regularly with it. And by “regularly”, I mean not once a year with yer buddies. You should be dedicated enough to keep the perishable skills honed sharp, so it’s not unreasonable to go the range every few weeks at minimum. And take a professional-instructed course at least once per year.

    Bruce Lee was credited with saying “I fear not the man who has kicked 10,000 times. I fear the man who has practiced a single kick 10,000 times.”

    Or as I’ve read elsewhere [author unknown], “Beware the man who owns but one gun. He likely knows how to use it.”

    I have my own varied collection like many other readers here. But I consistently train with the same make/model.

    • “We’ve all heard it before countless times, but I’ll spout it off again. Just get the gun you can reliably handle, and train regularly with it. And by “regularly”, I mean not once a year with yer buddies.”

      Yes you are quite right but there is a very serious problem here as not is all perfect in heaven. The problem most people face beside the fact that they have no any extra time is the problem of ammunition cost. To practice regularly will cost you a kings ransom even if you are a hand loader and cast your own bullets and most people are not hand loaders and fewer still cast bullets. So what is the solution? This solution is not perfect either but I often recommend a .22 rimfire pistol. It cuts the cost way down as I was able to buy ammo on sale for $1.40 a box of 50 and the recoil is practically non-existent. The problem with this is the rimfire will be a different pistol and probably a different design. Yes it is true that some popular center fire pistols can be had with a .22 conversion kit but they can be expensive and are not often the most reliable or accurate but it does solve the problem of getting used to the operating procedures of two different pistols.

      • Agree to disagree, Vlad. It’s certainly cheaper, but the problem is that your motor skills will go on auto-pilot when the dreaded “moment of truth” comes unexpectedly and you need to draw your weapon. If a person trains only with inexpensive .22LR, but carries a .40 for defense, the result will be that your body will act as it was trained and not act the same as if it were accustomed to the weight, recoil, muzzle report, and possible malfunctions of a larger caliber. The same could be said for someone who carries a .45 ACP but swaps in a 9mm barrel for cheaper training costs.

        If there’s a need to save money (and I agree that cost is certainly a factor with ammo), then I strongly recommend plinking with 100 rds of a smaller, cheaper caliber to get your draw-from-holster kinks worked out, then switch to your EDC for the remainder of the session.

        Oh, and at least twice per year, shoot a couple of mags’ worth of the actual JHP defense ammo through your gun to verify that it still feeds that type of ammo well. This will tell you if the feed ramp needs to be polished or your actual EDC mags are reliable. Your EDC gun absolutely needs to be in top shape to be of any use in that “moment of truth”.

      • Vladimir why do you care? You want all guns banned anyway.

        And you’re wrong. .22 is a stupid choice as a self defense round.

        • Some years ago, my best friend unfortunately died from a single .22LR to the head. Conversely, I read a statement from a field surgeon stating he had a patient come in with a total of six 5.56 wounds, but wasn’t critical because all had missed vital organs. The term “it’s all about shot placement” is true.

          I guess my earlier point to Vlad was this…if your EDC is a .22 Derringer, then train with it, and train regularly. But if you carry a 9mm, then train with 9mm.

        • .22 is a stupid round for self defense, the reason so many people have been killed with.22 is there are probably as many .22LR firearms around as all the other calibers put together.

        • @Hellbilly, @dph,

          Agreed that .22LR isn’t the optimum for self defense, but why don’t you two volunteer to stand in front of me while I point a measly Derringer at you to test if the round will bounce off your Superman chests or not. Or in the case of my above-mentioned friend, whether a single shot to the head from a “stupid” caliber will be harmless.


        • .22 is a stupid round for self defense, period. You know that. Stop with the bullshit. .22 is great for squirrels, rats, and birds. It’s not good for people. No amount of smart mouth comments are going to change that.

        • @Hellbilly,

          Wow. So sensitive.

          I fully agree with you on the basic premise that bigger is better, and I myself will never carry a .22 or other “mouse gun” if I have another option. My own pistols are all 9mm. I think perhaps we’re on the same page with this, at least.

          But I personally know someone who *was* shot and killed by a single .22LR to the head at close range. In fact, I was at his funeral, and it was closed casket because the bullet did more damage to his face than anyone would have expected. So I will disagree with your assertion that .22 isn’t suitable to do anything to people. I will overlook your lack of civility, maturity, and possibly age, and simply acknowledge your right to have your own opinion, even if it’s an uninformed one.

        • Well you’re certainly full of yourself. Do whatever you want, I don’t care. But just because you know someone who was shot in the face and died from a .22 doesn’t change anything. An old Alaskan woman shot and killed a bear with a .22 awhile back, as reported here. That doesn’t now make .22 an appropriate bear round. Neither you, me, or the vast majority of people on this site are that woman, and probably couldn’t make that shot.

        • Hey Hellbilly, what are you, 12? Grow up and allow someone else to have an opinion that differs from yours. I would never carry a .22 for self defense, either, but it looks like Haz is at least allowing you to say what you want. He’s even making some good points, and if one of his friends died from being shot with a .22, why the hell are you still arguing with him? I’m sure nobody wants to be shot, much less in the face.

          Grow up.

      • There are pistols that have .22 conversions like my CZ 07 Duty. The cadet conversion works great and eats up any .22 I feed it. One of the reasons I got that one, other than the fact that I like CZ’s.

  4. HellBilly, its better than nothing and sometimes its all arthritic hands can manage, I can put 10 in a quarter at 7 yards in 5 seconds, you’re saying that won’t do a head or chest of an attacker enough damage or kill them?

    • You want to shoot .22 at someone be my guest. When that person bends you over and shoves your beloved .22 up your ass I hope you’ve filed the sights down.

      • .22 LR is far from optimal round for self defense but it certainly is better than nothing if that is all someone can shoot well with. While a lot of people die from a .22 gunshot wound the objective for self defense is stopping the attacker ASAP so he/she is no longer a threat. It does no good to shoot an attacker and they die later but they have enough time left to gut you first and watch you die while laughing at you before they keel over.

      • Somewhere I read that more people are killed by a .22 than by any other round. BUT they don’t say whether it’s a .22 Short, a .22 LR, a .22 WMR, or a .22 Hornet. Just sayin’…

  5. I don’t doubt that training is good for those that can take the time and afford it. But contrary to what the operators operating operationally say about training, my primary concerns with it are cost, getting enough time off to attend training courses and, oh, did I mention cost? One training company I looked into wanted me to pay $600, take a week off, drive a couple hundred miles to their site (factor in the cost of gas, lodging and meals) and bring 1,000 rounds of ammo for their course ($$$$). No doubt this course would have put me on a level with Rambo as far as gunfighting is concerned, although I’m not sure if the course included martial arts, knife fighting, axe throwing or building mantraps. If not, it should have. So, as I enter my golden years and look at retirement, reduced income and a reduced standard of living, I guess I’ll just have to do a lot of reading on the subject and figure it out for myself at the local range.

  6. The question I ask when buying a gunm is, “is this a Can gun? Is it good for shooting Americans, Africans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans ext.?

  7. Nobody seems to be actually commenting on the above item anyway, but did anybody else notice how shy TTAG is now getting about being bought and paid for?
    They started out by saying: “sponsored content” right under the headline. Bragged about it even. About how all readers should have seen it, because it was right there on top.
    But now: “This post originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.” The dead last line, under the ads. AFTER the articles closing, and separated. Carefully placed where few will ever see it. Shy indeed about living in the corporate pocket now. No more bragging about honesty in ads, like a year ago either.
    The standard formula. “It won’t matter. The readers will never notice. They’re such sheep.” Its SOP in the journalism world. Waters where Farago refused to tread, TTAG now dives into without even looking. And that’s a guaranteed way to someday land face first on a big rock.

    • Yup…
      I heard the “splat” months ago.

      I must add that I have respect for Dan, and his experience.
      But nonetheless, the lack of regular, independent firearm reviews has greased the slide from preeminent firearms site to one of mediocrity, entrenched in politics and shills.
      This WAS a site I would recommend to newbies for good gun reviews and informative exchanges.

      Vale amicus cursus ante te.

      • Ain’t this owned by Canadians? Something about when it switched over. There for a while mildly provocative comments were deleted. But hey Hell Aint No Bad Place To Be.( damn the rock concerts

  8. Better than a gun that feels good is a gun you shoot well.

    Try before you buy is best but not always possible in smaller towns.

    At least handle a bunch that you would carry before you buy.

    If looking for a home defense or vehicle gun, you have more options in service sized pistols.

    The Glock 48 is now the gun I recommend as a Goldilocks gun for home or carry. Full grip and decent round count and cheap magazines.

    For budget guns, look to S&W SD9, Ruger Security 9, or SCCY 9. Good options and cheap mags for the Smith and SCCY.

  9. Don’t worry folks! In the Socialist Utopian Police State of Massachusetts…The Local/State Police have YOUR back by being in absolute control over your (2nd Amendment right) Massachusetts “MIGHT ISSUE Privilege”. With ALL the Draconian, Anti-2nd Amendment weapons control in place…The Local/State Police will place so many roadblocks in front of this “MIGHT ISSUE Privilege” that YOU won’t have to worry about such stress as stated within the article. The key phrase he is “Privilage, NOT a right…” Nothing says “A State Secure (Constitutional Right) Privilege” that an unfriendly trip through YOUR local police department…Especially, if YOU DON’T KNOW ANYONE, or AREN’T friends with any of them, or NOT a police groupie: like some on TTAG…You’ll be “subject to NOT the paperwork reduction act, mandatory firearms safety courses & certificates, criminal interrogation by a local PD licensing officer: without an Attorney present, and whatever YOUR police department seams fit to place in YOUR way. Since, absolute power corrupts absolutely! Also depending on your locale as well…

  10. 1 Does it fit my hand?
    No, your hand will fit it.
    2 How will I carry it?
    Strong side. Next question.
    3 What will I need to go with my new gun?
    Good holster and ammo, ammo, and more ammo.
    4 What do I need to do before I start to carry this firearm?
    If you haven’t already, move to a free state.
    5 What can I do to ensure I continue my training?
    What training? Stick em with the pointy end.

  11. I will simplify this further:

    There are three questions you need to answer. (Caveat: I am assuming that you already reside in a place where you can legally carry and that you intend to obtain or already have the necessary permit, if that is required. If you don’t, this discussion is moot, and if you don’t and you don’t know you don’t, I am surprised that you have the literacy skills to read this.)

    1. Are you satisfied that the chambering of the gun you will carry is powerful enough? Personally, based on the work of a Mr. Greg Ellifritz, I would say that a .380 ACP is the minimum that you should consider in terms of power. In fact, there are many advantages to the .380 ACP. But if a) you are not confident with that caliber and would have more peace of mind with a larger caliber, or b) you can’t comfortably handle a .380 ACP but can shoot a .32 ACP or perhaps only a .22 LR well, then: In the case of “a”, go for it, but keep in mind the two factors I am going to proceed to list below, or in the case of “b”, be sure to hit the range OFTEN and develop kickass accuracy with your “mouse gun” (and if you do that, it will work, too…FACE SHOTS).

    2. Once you have settled on a caliber that you consider satisfactory, is the gun small and light enough that you are willing to carry it all the time? Even if it isn’t particularly small and light, if you are willing to carry it consistently – and there are some people who really do carry a full-size M1911 all the time – that is critical. But if the gun you buy for EDC winds up in the car, truck, or at home most of the time after a little while because it is a “hassle” to carry, then you made the wrong choice. Save time, trouble, money, and above all, the risk that when you need it, you won’t have it: get something that you really are willing to carry any time you leave the house.

    3. Are you willing to train with it? You need to be able to confidently draw and deliver fire against a man-sized target, hitting vital areas, within ten yards for the great majority of DGU situations (statistically most are at closer range but if you can shoot well at ten yards- or as far out as you dare – you are that much better prepared). This does not require Olympic-class marksmanship skills, nor do you need to be a former SpecOps trooper to achieve this. But it also is not something that merely “happens”. You have to practice regularly. Are you comfortable enough shooting your intended EDC so that training will not be something you make up excuses to avoid? Along these same lines, another key issue to consider is that with any widely used defensive handgun cartridge, the chances of killing or incapacitating your assailant with ONE hit – even in a vital area, unless it is a dead-on head shot – is only about 20%, but this increases to 80% with two hits. So, you will likely need to be able to deliver at least one accurate follow-up shot. That’s why a) training is so important, and b) carrying a big macho hand-cannon is not necessarily a good idea.

    That’s my two cents on this.

  12. First find yourself a non cardboard Instructor, one who actually can teach instead of just issues authoritative statements! Using a .22 LR, if you put two in their heart, one in the head that person will not care if it is the correct size and correct caliber or not (most of those that espouse using next super dooper pooper scooper have no combat experience too base claims on)

  13. the Israeli sky marshalls used berretta .22lr m71s and put down there “targets” every time they had to. the Mossad used m70s in the same caliber. the CIA walther ppk(s) in 22lr and , well , the mob used 22s as well. many people who can’t handle recoil , have successfully defended their lives time after time with the 22lr handgun( and 25acp) . I don’t want to be in front of ANY gun ANY CALIBER . not even a bb gun. 22s seem to go inside the body and play pinball, hitting and damaging many organs as it bounces around inside. they are best used at close range. do not underestimate them or any other small caliber gun, ever.


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