gun store guns
Previous Post
Next Post

We know, it’s not easy out there. We’re living in a Golden Age of carry handguns. An aspiring gun carrier has to choose from dozens of options; a bewildering selection of brands, calibers, barrel lengths, and actions. Most of them are very good and will treat you extremely well.

Gun store salesmen, however, are notoriously bad at cutting through all the clutter and helping customers make a decision. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m going to give you one choice to make. That’s it. Only one. Once you make that choice, I’ll tell you what to buy.

There are plenty of worthwhile alternatives to the guns below, but you won’t have to worry about that. Yes, readers, gun store salesmen and your gunny friends will howl at this. Don’t worry about any of that. You won’t regret taking my advice.

One more thing: if you shoot a lot and expose yourself to new and different guns, shooting techniques and carry methods, you may outgrow this first carry gun (although it will still be extremely useful). That’s OK.

If you don’t — and there’s no law that says you have to — that’s OK, too.

1. The gun

Here’s your one and only choice: semi-automatic pistol or revolver?

Jeremy S. for TTAG

A semi-automatic pistol has a “magazine” that you fill with bullets (gun people call them “cartridges,” but don’t worry about that) and stick into the handle of the gun. After that, you “rack the slide” (pull the top part back) to load the gun. Done. You’re ready to go.

Advantages: Semi-automatic pistols are slim and hold more bullets than revolvers. You can carry an extra magazine to re-load the gun if you have to. They have relatively easy-to-pull triggers, which makes them easier to shoot accurately.

Disadvantages: You have to fill the magazine with bullets, stick it into the gun and “rack the slide” to load the gun. It’s easy enough, but some people find all that gun handling intimidating. Semis have relatively easy-to-pull triggers, which makes it easier to shoot the gun accidentally.

concealed carry pistol made easy
Courtesy Jephthai and Wikimedia Commons

A revolver (as above) has a round-ish cylinder that you open and fill with bullets. You then close the cylinder and you’re done.

Advantages: Revolvers are easy to load. Their heavier trigger pull adds an extra layer of safety; you’re less likely to pull it unless you really want to.

Disadvantages: The cylinder sticks out a bit, making revolvers slightly bulkier than a semi and a little more difficult to conceal. Until and unless you practice reloading (a lot), you won’t be able to reload a revolver easily or quickly under stress. The heavier trigger makes revolvers more difficult for a new shooter to shoot accurately than a semi.

OK…choose one.

Now go out and buy either a SIG SAUER P365 semi-automatic pistol (top image, reviewed by TTAG here) or a Ruger LCR revolver in .38 Special (TTAG review of .357 version here).

buying your first carry gun made easy
Personal defense ammunition (courtesy

2. Ammunition

The SIG P365 semi-automatic pistol holds 10 9mm bullets in its magazine. The Ruger LCR holds five .38 caliber bullets and no more.

Buy four boxes of any type of “full-metal jacket” ammunition (a.k.a., “regular” or range ammo) and one box of any kind of “hollow-point” or personal defense ammunition in the appropriate caliber for your gun. The first type of ammo is for practice, the second for carrying.

If you don’t plan on practicing (and you really should, as much and as regularly as possible) and/or when you’re ready to carry your gun, load it with the hollow points.

concealed carry gun made easy
DeSantis Nemesis holster (courtesy Amazon)

3. Holster

When carrying a gun always carry it in a holster. If you’re a guy, buy a DeSantis Nemesis Holster. For now, that’s where you’re going to carry your gun; inside your pants pocket. If you’re a woman who wears pants, do the same.

If you’re a woman who wears thin dresses, also buy a ComfortTac Belly Band Holster or carry your gun in the DeSantis pocket holster “off-body” (i.e., in a purse or handbag). Off-body carry is not recommended. It’s difficult to extract your gun in an emergency and you could lose or lose sight of your bag.

concealed carry gun made easy pistol safe
courtesy GunVault

4. Safe

Your gun belongs in one of two places: on your person or in a safe. Not in your desk drawer, by the bedside or under a pillow. On your person or in a safe.

Buy a GunVault Mini Vault Standard Handgun Safe. If you have to disarm to enter a “gun-free zone” like a post office while you’re out and about, lock your carry gun in your car’s glovebox or in an inexpensive small lockable car safe. Do not enter a “gun-free zone” with a gun.


There’s a lot of stuff you should think about when buying a carry gun — information that has nothing to do with the gun, ammunition, holster or safe. Everything from The Four Rules of Gun Safety to licensing, laws and lawyers. From “situational awareness” to shooting techniques.

TTAG’s Guns for Beginners posts have a lot of useful information. And a good training course is always highly recommended. But remember…

You have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Bullets face forward, aim at the bad guy, squeeze the trigger until the threat stops (or the gun’s empty), run, call 911. That’s enough to get you started. So start.

four rules of gun safety for beginners

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. So much wrong, so little time.

    Tiny guns are the worst options for new shooter as they are the hardest to shoot

    This article is proof that most advice on the internet is bad

    • This is mostly true, but not of the SigP365. It is laughably easy to control and shoot with precision. My Kahr CM9 feels like a magnum in comparison.

      • CM9 is a example why you need to go to the range and shoot. The CW9 is usually a much better choice for most people.

        And that is the #1 wood of advice when buying a CCW gun, find a range that rents the ones you are interested in and go shoot the things

      • The best defensive carry handgun for beginners is the Glock 42. It recoils like a .22.
        I can put that gun in the hand of someone who has only previously shot a .22 and they can get hits on target with it.

        Far better for new shooters to avoid debeloping bad habits.

        Also, THANK YOU for not using the term CCW. Its a horrible term.

    • I’m in agreement with “D”. This article doesn’t differentiate between people with previous handgun shooting experience and a rank newbie and that would make all the difference in anything I would recommend. The new handgunner should go out and buy a used Ruger Single Six, a decent Dbl action revolver with at least a 4″ bbl or a Ruger, S&W, Browning, Beretta, Hi Standard or similar .22 semiauto and learn to shoot it. Cheap, learn the basics of safety, marksmanship, grip, trigger control, focus, sight alignment, loading, unloading, cleaning, the whole deal.

      I well remember all the LCPs, LCRs, J Frames and the like leaving the gun shows immediately after Iowa passed its shall-issue law. All these newbies and their chicks were thinking they’d bought something they could go out with on a Sunday afternoon and knock around some cans for fun. The next show, about 90% of them were coming back trying to trade for a plinker that could double as a defensive firearm in a pinch. I bought 10 or more good handguns for peanuts over the next few months- the dealers sure as hell didn’t want them back and wouldn’t give half of what they sold for even if they’d take them. Nearly all the ones I bought had fewer than 20 rounds through them in appearance.

      I’m not saying a person needs hours and hours of actual shooting time to shoot some knuckledragger in the groin at 2 feet if the need should arise but learning to shoot before hand would be a much better option.

      The P365? Got one, a G43 as well, J frames, you name it. Good choices for me now, not before I learned to handle a handgun. YMMV

    • Agreed. This article is complete garbage.

      How ignorant does someone have to be to assume that his gun of choice is the best option for everyone?

      • He didn’t say it was the best option or the only one. He said it was the EASIEST. And he’s right.

        The number one rule of armed self-defense? Be armed. This article will get you there quickly, and with a tool that works. That’s what matters.

        If your first choice doesn’t quite work for you (which is likely to happen no matter how much research you do beforehand), that’s okay. You can explore the thousands of additional options at your leisure.

    • In the photograph of the safe, I do like that it contains a 357 SIG or .40 S&W SIG P239 SAS. That would be a fine choice for a carry weapon, but it is a little larger, heavier and with less capacity than a SIG P365 because the SIG P239 has an aluminum alloy frame and a single stack magazine.

    • This article isn’t about “your first gun”. It’s about “your first CARRY gun”. I owned handguns before I started carrying one, and I’m sure that’s not an uncommon situation.

      I carry a Kahr CM9—but I also own a Kahr MK9, which is dimensionally and operationally its twin, but is all stainless so it’s not as punishing to shoot. I devote most of my range time to the MK9 but carry the CM9. Best of both worlds.

      Small handguns do require extra practice. I make sure I shoot a carry gun sized pistol every time I go to the range.

  2. ‘Advantages: Revolvers are easy to load. Their heavier trigger pull adds an extra layer of safety; you’re less likely to pull it unless you really want to.’

    You forgot ‘.357 magnum’.

    • Go back and re-read it, Gov. A link to a TTAG review of the .357 version of the LCR was provided. At any rate, for the LCR/LCRx I’d recommend, instead of .38 Sp or .357, the .327 Fed Mag. More power than the .38, rivals lower powered .357, six rounds instead of five, less recoil, and offers the capability to shoot .32 H&R Mag, .32 S&W Long, or .32 S&W for even less recoil for range training sessions for those who are recoil sensitive. In full disclosure, I’m biased. I just really like the .327 Fed Mag. In my opinion, and many others (search for it on preferred search engine, ballistics results are plentiful), it’s overlooked and highly underrated. Carry on.

      • Yes, I saw the link, but it was ignored in the list of advantages to revolvers. One of if not THE biggest advantage to a revolver is the magnum calibers (including .327). Also, not everyone needs to carry a micro-pistol/revolver. The LCRs are the equivalent to the LCPs. They’re made for pocket carry. I carry a 3″ GP100 comfortably and with the Double Taps I carry I’m getting 600+ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. That’s nearly twice that of a 9mm in a sub 4″ barrel. That’s a pretty big advantage IMHO.

    • .357 in a 4″ revolver is the be-all, end-all. There’s no doubt. Carrying 125 grain Remington SJSP in a 4″ 686 gives you a man-stopper.

      .357 in a 2″ J frame gives you a hand-punishing 5 shot cannon that is only nominally more powerful than .38 +P.

      But in a 4″? If I could, I would.

      • Three inch is the magic compromise when it comes to .357s for carry. If you can carry a 4″ pistol you can carry a 3″ revolver. And if you carry the hot loads you’ll get more out of a 3″ than you’d get out of the Federal, Remington, Winchester, etc. loads in a 4″. The 125gr. are probably the way to go for short barrels at lower velocities but the penetration at higher velocities won’t be very deep. Great if over-penetration is the main concern, but lower than the FBI standards. I chose to carry 158gr Double Taps for that reason but if someone made a hot 140gr SJHP load that would be the perfect round.

  3. This is terrible advice. The quality control on the P365 is so spotty that it is surprising you would recommend it.

    • The Shield is more reliable and less expensive than the P365. The Shield is where most people should probably start. If they are recoil shy, frail, weak, or old, then go with the Shield EZ. Otherwise, the Shield 9 will work just fine (EC9s ok also, and even less expensive). Revolverwise, LCR or 642/442.

      • “The Shield is more reliable”
        Brand new to guns coworker bought one two months ago, she had been going to the range every Tuesday since purchase, shoots 50 rounds. Starting this past Tuesday it started to stovepipe almost every round, she took it to the ranges Smith and had it checked and she was able to rent another shield and it worked fine so it’s not a user error and has less than 500 through it.

        • You mentioned “rent another Shield”

          That speaks volumes about the general reliability of the platform. The range apparently regards the Shield to be a gun that can handle a lot of use and abuse (or maybe it is just popular).

          You are right to mention the lemons. There are a few lemons out there, and we need to be honest about them. I picked up a lemon 642 a few years ago. I shot it, and it didn’t work right. I took it back to the store the same day and they let me exchange it. The one I have now has always worked fine.

    • You’re an idiot. Sig cleaned up their act months ago and the 365 is one of our best sellers. Sure the Shield is cheaper but 8 vs 12 capacity? You should try shooting something other than your mouth.

  4. I could not agree with D more….Definitive articles are the most misleading ! Good points ….sure but nothing about how the firearm ‘feels’ ? What if my hand doesn’t like the feel of a ‘pea shooter’ ? Any self defense firearm should be an extension of yourself….if it doesn’t ‘feel right’ then keep on searching ! You can train to overcome a bad fit but it’s a whole lot easier to get the right gun for you !

  5. ……or on the other hand, exercise that grey matter between your ears and figure it out for yourself. They have this crazy new thing called the internet that can help you make an informed decision. Walking into the LGS not having a clue and letting a salesman make your decision for you is just stupid.

    • Yeah this “advice” basically boils down to: “So, you’re too stupid to buy a gun? Here are two that exist.”

      Almost all people making an expensive (or semi-expensive) purchase DO bother to do some research. Virtually all people are smarter than this advice. This article is for a lowest common denominator that doesn’t exist.

  6. My first concealed handgun was a US Revolver Co Hamemrless in .38 S&W. Thank goodness I never had to use that antique breakttop, though must say it worked and shot alright. Sold it for a good profit, bought better stuff. But that was after it sat for many years in the gun locker.

    Second one was an Accu-Tek AT-380. 1.25 pounds of stainless steel and a lousy trigger. Man it was like grinding sand. Sold it years ago, moved on to better things.

    Now the country is awash in quality options and there really is no “best” that any writer can claim without revealing purely personal preferences.

    Neither of this writer’s choices appeal to me, though I am a fan of many Ruger firearms and own about five I think, at the moment.

    • It’s surprisingly difficult to find a bad gun nowadays. There are plenty that aren’t very well-finished. Lots of ugly and klunky guns at the low end. Lots of bad triggers. But they all work. If all you can afford is a Hi-Point, that Hi-Point will work just fine for you. So will the SCCY.

      But if you can spend $300—-you can start looking at Shields and Kahr CM9s. You can get a Walther PPS M2.

      At this point spending more than that for a carry pistol is just a matter of brand choice. I’ve seen P320s for under $400, and sometimes closer to $300.

      The Turkish handguns are supposed to be very well made. Canik gets all the attention, but the Sarsilmaz and Tisas pistols are supposed to be excellent. If I ever find that Tisas .380 Beretta copy, I’m going to snatch one up.

      It’s a good time to be a gun owner. You can have a stable of handguns which serve different purposes, because they’re so affordable now.

      • I’m a S&W fan boy, but I will say that Glock’s are perfectly acceptable as a self defense weapon. I personally prefer to carry either my 3913 or my 4006TSW (during the winter), but I would have no problem trusting my life to a Glock.

        • A Glock will lie and claim it is the only gun brand ever to make a gun that goes bang every time and also has something called “accuracy”, previously unheard of in guns.

          A Glock will shoot you in your own foot (leg, thigh, etc) and then send your money to Austria for some dude named Gaston to spend it on pretzels and beer and hookers while bragging about how it is safe like no gun ever was safe.

    • As much as I’m not a big glock fan, I would say the same. If you’re not interested in really looking into what gun you want, a glock is a good choice. It isn’t the best at anything but it’s good enough at pretty much everything and their popularity means you have plenty of options for service and aftermarket parts…

  7. If this posting is to be believed, why then is the Ruger LCP the most popular handgun in the country? BTW, I own a P365 and LCP2, they both can conceal , but the Ruger is far better for conceal and you don’t really give up too much The Ruger fully loaded with 7 JHP weighs 15oz in a kydex pocket holster, the P365 with 11 JHP weighs 26 oz in same style holster and is a lot thicker.

    • I have shot Ruger LCPs and absolutely cringe when a new shooter buys one (unless they shot it first). I personally hate the way they feel when shooting one. I do pack a CW380 so the size is not the issue. And I would never want to buy any small two finger .380 as my “first” gun.

      • @binder. I would tend to agree, of the two, the LCP2 is more difficult to shoot, but surprisingly fairly accurate ( if you highlight the front sight). I would say neither the LCP2 or the P365 you shot for “fun” But I practice with what I carry. If you want a fun gun to shoot I would recommend a S & W Shield .380 EZ, it’s very accurate from what I have found. Recoil very manageable, and I still don’t know anyone volunteering to be shot with a .380ACP It’s a little harder to conceal, but possible of you consider lots of people conceal a G19 or XD

      • A CW380 is a three finger gun with the seven round, extended magazine. Or, you could buy the CT380 which is a seven round, three finger gun. The CW380 with the extended magazine is marginally easier to conceal in your pocket.

  8. And with the Sig P365, you get to enjoy buying it a second time once your first one breaks at the 500 round mark.

    • Do you have one? Have you actually shot one? Have you carried one?

      Gosh, by your logic I should be purchasing my fourth P-365…just went over 1500 rounds with – 0 – issues on the first one.

      Practically invisible when carried OWB in a Bianchi M-57 (Glock 42) leather holster under a Life-is-Good T-shirt.

    • When you’re actually shooting at someone, you won’t notice the difference. Trust me, personal experience.

    • As long as you have already ensured reliability and accuracy with your carry ammo, shooting an fmj that shoots to a similar point of aim is a far more economical way to practice.

  9. Sure am glad I bought before I was “educated” by these internet “experts”. I’ve never had and will never own any of the guns or holsters recommended because there are so many other choices that are as good or better. The best way to turn off a new gun owner is to recommend a little bitty gun that is hard to shoot accurately and has substantial recoil.

    • That isn’t the Sig P365. My wife is the daintiest woman possible. Wrists literally the girth of a couple of hot dogs. She shoots this gun extremely well and in my enormous hands it is so controllable as to be startling.

  10. I don’t know how I managed to carry a 1911 concealed for nearly three decades before all these real concealed carry handguns came along.

    • *tips hat* The 1911 is a fantastic weapon and it’s thin profile and neat triangle between barrel and mag well and also thin barrel and slide profile makes it one of the best carry options in existence. That being said, the P365 is truly an awesome gun and you’d probably like it if you tried it.

    • Amen to 1911’s, Brother! That was the gun I learned to shoot a pistol with, in the military, and liked it so well that I bought a Combat Commander when I got out. I’ve still got that weapon 47 years later and it’s my” every day carry” weapon because it’s pretty easy to conceal and it shoots first time every single time. Say what you will about Glocks but that old Colt is up to any challenge Glock can put out. I’m a S & W fan and favor the Model 29-2 and 27-2 but I bet my life on that Colt every time I leave the house. As for practice/carry ammo I use only what I carry, wad cutters. If that doesn’t put them down I might as well take the pistol and beat them to death.

  11. The biggest problem I have with this article is that the author specifically tells people NOT to test their carry ammo, which is dangerous and stupid. Though most modern guns will fire pretty much any ammo you put to them, some may not.
    Much more commonly a given gun may shoot different ammo to drastically different points of impact or dramatically different group sizes. As an example my Kahr PM9 shot Critical Duty, Federal Premium and Sig V Crown to roghly the point of aim with varying group sizes but grouped Speer Gold Dot 6 inches low at 7 yards.
    Test your carry ammo and run at least 100 rounds of it through your gun to ensure reliability, after that feel free to shoot the cheap stuff to your hearts content.

    • Yup. You gotta run at least 100 rounds of your chosen defensive ammo through your weapon without failures, to know if it is acceptable.

  12. Hmm. I guess this “staff writer” doesn’t have any experience with S&W or Glock or Taurus or … All of whom do not come with a $500 price tag. Oh wait, I get it, he’s assuming you either have the money or are living in a trailer park.

    True story. I went shooting with my friend and his P365. Awesome gun btw. The following week I went shooting with the same friend but minus the P365. It was sent back to Sig because the firing pin broke.

  13. The real way to choose your first gun is to head to the range and try some different rental guns to get a feel for what you might like

    • This. Better yet, take a class. At the range when people rent a gun and have issues, they will stress less as they aren’t dependent upon it. Start with a compact or P938. I love the P365, but I laugh at how jumpy it is (but quick to shoot and shockingly accurate). The LCR is great, but I cannot out 50 rounds through it before I’m done due to the shock recoil. I’ll happily shoot a huge bucket through a carry size SIG…

  14. While the article is overly simplistic….I kind of like it.

    Might as well pay your nickle and take your chances.

    I grew up with guns and like a lot of different models.

    Someone new to guns has a lot of learning to do once they get their new heater.

    All the newbs I know that buy a handgun to carry are never carrying the same handgun 6 months later. Most heavily researched it and fried a bunch of guns before choosing.

    Once they got their piece, they went through learning to carry and conceal and then use them same gun for home defense.

    They figured out pretty quickly that every gun is a tradeoff. A couple sold their 1st carry to buy a smaller and bigger gun formcqrry and home.

    Another added a smaller gun and kept their first for home/spouse duty. One added another just like his first (LCP) and arrymtwo instead of a reload.

    I would probably suggest a Glock 43 due to them cost of magazines. I would certainly recommend the LCR as a revolver. Probably 38 special. If recoil is an issue, i would recommend lightweight bullet loads as opposed to a lesser caliber.

    Fun read and comments. Whoever wrote it should have the cods to claim it.

  15. The article is not bad, it is just about a subject than many mistakenly believe is a religion. There are literally dozens of carry pistol options. They all exist for a reason/audience. A close relative just purchase their first handgun for concealed carry. They shot many (mostly mine) semiautos and revolvers. They narrowed their preferences down to a Ruger LCR or a S&W snubbie. They managed to find an amazing deal on a very gently used, one owner, S&W Model 60. They are very happy with it. I am happy they found something they like. Is it what I would carry? No. But I am not them.

  16. What is to small? My P64 is about as small as I want to depend on to shoot accurately. Others have larger hands. The P64 does sting. I like a handgun that is as long as a dollar bill and one I can get at least 2 fingers around the grip. Any smaller is good enough for a holdout gun or up close and personal work.
    Of course, a full size handgun like a CZ-75 or a 1911 is much better to shoot accurately.

  17. 1) Buy a Glock 19, whatever Generation fits your hand and wallet best.

    2) Get some serious training from a qualified professional or someplace like Gunsite or Thunder Ranch.

    3) Start looking for a better/more suitable gun IF you are dissatisfied AFTER steps 1 and 2.

    4) The Glock will hold its value in the secondary market, IF you decide to get rid of it (NOT recommended). There will ALWAYS be a demand for Glocks.

  18. This article is pretty good if someone is suffering terribly from “analysis paralysis” — although I would NOT recommend the Sig P365 for the semi-auto pistol. In all fairness, I am not sure which semi-auto pistol I would recommend as a solid choice for everyone. Perhaps a Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield?

    I can tell you this much: Ruger LCR revolvers in .38 Special and Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield pistols are quality handguns and rock-solid choices for self-defense against the overwhelming majority of attacks. Perhaps most importantly, either one is infinitely superior to being unarmed.

    Of additional importance: both of those handguns that I listed will always be relevant and you will always be able to sell them quickly if you decided to change to a different handgun for everyday carry.

  19. I almost bought a lcr today, but I wouldn’t suggest any snub nose for a first gun. Lightweight 5 shot 38s are experts guns, same with micro 380s. Both are difficult to shoot fast, recoil heavy for caliber and can be a challenge to manipulate with their small size. The 365 would be fantastic if only I didn’t hear about so many problems. Pick up all the small 9mm guns you can get ahold of and buy the one that’s most comfortable to you. Or if they’re worried about recoil get a shield ez or a pk380

    • And yet my daughter shoots my LCR (now hers) better than my 43, SR9, and SR9C.

      We loaded it with Golden Saber 125 g +P and she it as well and any of the target loads.

      She noted she liked the trigger pull better than those on my Smith 042 and 640 (38special).

      Why you need to try.

  20. At the end of the Caliber Wars there was peace and tranquility across the interwebz. Until, one day a post appeared in a small corner of the world wide web. A post so oddly written that few understood it’s true implications.

    At the time no one realized that a new age of conflict had dawned and that before it was over many commenters would be enraged, many fine guns disparaged and most firearms websites would lie in ruin. Anger simmered once more at TTAG. Anxiety spread across the Chans. While others took defensive positions Calguns was simply the sight of mass suicide. Before long war drums could be heard from deep within the Redit as thousands of trolls prepared for battle…

    So began what would become known as the “Best gun for a CCW noob Warz”. And war never changes…

    • ……

      What would be come to be known as the Great CCW noob War, and in its wake the gun world would be left shattered forever. Comments sections closed, social media accounts deleted. Many would seek refuge in underground podcasts designed for this exact scenario. It’s here, in podcast 101 you were born, and here you will die. Because in podcast 101, no one ever enters, and no one ever leaves…

  21. The P365? Are you freaking kidding me? You’re recommending a deathtrap handgun. That would be like recommending a VSKA as a first and only AK. I mean, MrGunsAndGear’s didn’t totally fail, right?

    • Go buy one, dingus. We have one and it has performed flawlessly. They are fantastic weapons. There are some at ranges with 5-7K rounds through them and more. Very robust design. Now say something else extremely hyperbolic.

  22. I am a relatively new shooter for the past two years. Too many nit picking details on this website and often in the comments.
    I carry an H&K 45 compact. It is a little larger than others but I shoot it better than any 9 mm (or .9mm for that matter) I have tried. I practice with standard jacketed ammo but carry with Federal HST. I do not notice a difference unless I use +P ammo which I choose not to use because it makes second shots more difficult for me and I am unlikely to need the extra penetration. It has an 8 round magazine because the extended 10 round magazine is too bulky (elephant foot).
    My point is that on this site I could find advice that disagrees with everything I do and probably find others who would say it is fine, especially if I am comfortable. I don’t really care what any one thinks as I have spent a good deal of time selecting a weapon, holster, ammo, and practicing so I can hit what I need to and not hit what I don’t want to. I do not believe there are too many absolute do’s and don’ts but sometimes the keyboard experts on this website cause confusion for a newby. I suspect we do scare off some people with how opinionated we are. We could even argue that that is a good thing as someone who is too indecisive probably shouldn’t carry a firearm.
    Just sayin’. Not everybody who visits this site is an expert and none of us are 100% correct all the time(except maybe me). I thought this article hit the essence of what is important to start out IMHO.

    • Based upon my analysis of the comments through the years, the average TTAG commentator is the embodiment of the true meaning of “sophomore.” WISE MORON. Just enough education and experience to sound like they know something, not enough to really see what’s going on. Just a few years ago this was THE destination for Austin-type gun noobs and hipsters. That sort of colors the interpretations in the comment section to this day.

  23. If you are at the level where you need to have you explained what a semi-auto is and what a revolver is, you should only consider one thing: go to a range, ideally with a friend who has guns, and try out different types of handguns, learn how they work, many ranges also rent firearms.

  24. The article was a starting point for new shooters in my opinion. Not the final word on anything; I think most folks will acknowledge that was the author’s intent. That’s the way I took it anyway but I could be mistaken.

    Don’t take this wrong but for all you “Gun Expert” geniuses throwing off on the article; why don’t you write your own article so you can correctly and succinctly inform us about what we’ve been missing all these years. I for one would love to see and read it. Never too old to learn I always say.

  25. Why do almost all the guns in the top photo look like BB guns, Turkish knockoffs, or…? It’s driving me crazy!

  26. Too many choices in the comments for me to make a decision! Oh! well, I’ll just buy the one I think is best for me. I don’t wonder about the choices others make relative to gun and accessory purchases, so why should they worry about mine?
    BTW the author is as entitled to his opinion as you are yours. Difference is he didn’t attack you.

  27. If you are new to guns a good starting point is rimfire. Talk to friends and family. Go to gun shops and explain about wanting a gun to start learning on. Revolver or semi-auto, do not buy quickly and do not buy for concealment. You want enough barrel and decent enough sights to experience the fun of accurate shooting. That should come before moving up to big booms in small packages.

    The idea of renting at a range is a good one. You can also buy used. Cheapest .22 on the new market is the Heritage Rough Rider single action revolver, even new it’s well under $200 and at times under $150.

    Get yourself a gun safety course.before you buy. Lots of gun ranges offer them.

    After that what you move up to is about learning. If it is a concealed carry gun you truly want, well then your size and your clothing preferences open and close the options. A small person who never wears jackets is going to have a hard time concealing much. A woman has an option that men don’t, if she has the chest for it that is, with the bra holster . A man who is built tall and big can consider a double stack .45 and conceal it easily.

    My advice is to always buy the best balance of quality gun, holster and enough ammo to develop proficiency with that you can afford. It’d be pointless to buy a $2000 piece and have nothing left in your budget to practice with. At the same time all advice of buy a cheap gun so don’t mind losing it to the law in a defensive gun use case is just plain stupid. Your life is worth vastly more than any tool.

    Buy what you can shoot well and accurately. Both on the first shot and the next several quick ones.

    The best you can afford, that you can conceal, that you can practice with regularly, that you can shoot accurately. Maybe that will be the first gun you select. Maybe the third.

    Go find out already.

  28. The author sounds like one of those gun salesmen behind the counter. His opinion is best and your ain’t.

  29. A SA/DA revolver beats most semi autos in ease of loading, cleaning and trigger pull if in SA mode. Semi autos wins hands down on magazine capacity and consistency of trigger pull.

    Where first timers can be intimidated about a semi autos with field stripping and racking the slide. Neither are issues with revolvers. Consider the steps needed to field strip a 1911 vs. a revolver.

    My first was a S&W model 19 and it was a great gun for me. For many people that gun solves most people’s home defense needs.

  30. Another problem with purse carry: The purse itself is a target. A gun inside is a bonus for the purse snatcher.

    • Woman I used to know wanted to carry in her handbag. She took an Uncle Mike’s nylon holster and cut the sewn seams out. Cut the holster and then sewed it inside a zippered part of a handbag. Nothing went in that part of the bag but the gun and spare magazine. This was all before the days of lady’s handbags being marketed for gun carrying.

      Also, she carried it with the long strap crossways over the opposite shoulder. Makes it much harder to steal a bag from a woman that way.

  31. This is a dumb article, really.

    A concealed carry handgun is a very personal choice, and the best solution will vary greatly with the individual. To recommend two particular guns as a “two sizes fits all solution” is ridiculous.

    There is a three point matrix that determines what is the best gun for a given individual. Plug in the right answers for YOU and that will serve as a guide for a good personal fit.

    1. What is the size/weight that you are willing to carry a high proportion of the time (ideally 100%)?

    2. What is the balance between the size/weight of a prospective weapon, on the one hand, and the power of the chambering, on the other, that is concealable enough but is also comfortable enough for you to shoot that you are willing to train regularly?

    3. Is the chambering powerful enough that you will have confidence in your ability to stop an attacker with it? This as not as cut and dried as some may say. Even a .22 LR can be wielded with confidence if the shooter can place very accurate hits (e.g., in the face) under duress.

    Speaking for myself, the two choices presented in the article, while they may be fine for someone else, do not make the grade for me. The Sig P365 is too big and bulky for my tastes, and the LCR is hammerless, and I would not want to be stuck with DA only. The version with the exposed hammer would do – I have carried a .38 snubbie in the past – but my SA 911 fits my needs extremely well.

  32. My 2 cents on first gun/ CCW-LTC for newbies:
    Find a NRA instructor and get safety and basic pistol classes before you buy. Your instructor may let you try some of his guns at range. Get NRA certified if possible ( highly recommended )
    Start with something manageable , like 22LR but consider the gun not a viable carry gun ( most states will not qualify you for a CCW/LTC with 22LR weapon). I started with a Walter P-22 and still have it. Qualified with a Glock, still have it but don’t carry it often.
    Find a gun you are comfortable holding and firing, and also carrying, forget what the fanboys like. Buy what works and you can afford. If a Hi-Point is all you can afford, fine, spend more on ammo and range time. If you can afford a Sig Glock, S&W or Ruger that’s fine also. Don’t forget to buy plenty of FMJ and JHP to practice with. Get holster that’s comfortable, it’s mandatory in most states anyway, but carrying a loaded gun stuffed into your waistband or pocket without a holster to protect trigger is not only stupid, it’s most likely going to get you arrested… Learn your local laws !!
    I expect a lot of experts will critique this so have at it guys.

  33. I see the comment about having a gun either on you or in a safe. I know political correctness and “lawyer safeties” require this type of mis-information. If you have children or someone not trustworthy in the home then the statement is correct.

    However, if those issues don’t apply to your home then I would never store my firearm in a safe. Nor would it ever be un-loaded.

  34. “Yup. You gotta run at least 100 rounds of your chosen defensive ammo through your weapon without failures, to know if it is acceptable.” – LMAO…
    The average cost of 20rd box of decent name-brand self-defense ammo (Hornady Critical Defense/Speer Gold Dot/Buffalo Bore/etc) Is $30×5=$150 Most people including myself are not going to spend that kind of money just to “make sure” it feeds properly. I’d willing to bet the quality control is more stringent on the personal protection stuff a.k.a Jacketed Hollow Point than it is on the Full Metal Jacket practice rounds. Not to mention if your choice of E.D.C. can’t feed and fire the cheap stuff without failure why would you expect it not to do the same with the expensive stuff? I’ve only shot maybe 150 rounds or so through my S&W Shield 2.0 and maybe 350 rounds through My Springfield XD(M) 3.8 and neither firearm or ammo ever gave me any problems…

    • FWIW-the problem with “defensive ammo” vs. practice ammo isn’t about price, or about how well made they are in comparison to each other, its about the shape of the bullets and making sure they feed reliably. I have had several semi-autos that were “picky” about feeding jacket hollow points. Changes in the past 20 years to both ammo and guns seems to have lessened the problem, but it still occurs. Case in point-I have a Glock 17 that feeds Critical Defense ammo reliably but my Glock 26 does not (at least one or more misfeeds per 10 rounds). YMMV.

  35. I will add one positive aspect of the article for me, though. I also use a DeSantis “Nemesis” holster for my SA 911; it really is an excellent product, IMHO.

Comments are closed.