So your concealed carry permit just arrived in the mail and you’ve got a few hundred dollars in your bank account just begging to be spent on a new carry piece. Before you rush off to your local gun shop or sporting goods store, consider a few ‘do’s’ and ‘do not’s’ of purchasing your first concealed carry firearm.
Do: Your research.
Invest in a subscription to a gun magazine, sign up to become a member of a firearm forum online, and cruise some of the online gun auction sites. These all help to give you a better sense of what the going prices are for new and used guns, what recommendations the leading industry experts have for guns on the market, and in the case of the Internet forums, a healthy dose of what guns to steer clear of or what experiences other enthusiasts have had with certain makes and models.
Do not: Rely on the sporting goods salesman to select the right gun for you.
This has a lot to do with the previous tip. Do your due diligence before you walk through the door of the gun shop. Though there are a lot of helpful folks out there, no one—not even the most knowledgeable salesperson—knows what will work best for you and your needs but you. Go into the store with a firm idea of what models you want to look at and what you’re willing to pay for them.
Do: Shoot as many guns as you can before making a decision.
Research can carry you far when it comes to purchasing your first carry gun, but there’s no substitute for time spent on the range. If you have a friend with a handgun, ask if you can go with them to shoot sometime. Another option: Many ranges offer firearm rentals—an inexpensive way to get a feel for a gun before you buy. You may otherwise end up with a great price on a quality gun and still find that you absolutely hate how it shoots or feels in your hands.
Do not: Fall into the trap of “Grandad carried a 1911 back in the war, so that’s what I’ll carry.” Pick the right gun for you.
New gun buyers are often entranced by the idea of a particular gun rather than its practical fit for their needs. That Sig Sauer P226 that the Navy SEALs carry? It’s a great gun. But is it the right gun for your concealed carry needs? If you’re a fan of tee shirts and shorts during the summer, good luck finding a place to tuck that heavy, full-frame, wide-gripped handgun that won’t look as though you’ve sprouted a tumor. You may, instead, want to consider a compact or sub-compact pistol designed less for warfare and more for practical civilian carrying.
For those who carry, what other tips do you have for first-time buyers?
Featured image courtesy of Ralph D. Freso.