I have never owned a handgun before, what should I get?

In August, I posted an article in which I quite scientifically broke down how to choose a handgun for self defense and the why’s and why nots. This article is more of an opinion piece but will still draw on facts laid out in that article, “The best handgun for self defense: A review and statistical approach

Every day thousands of new firearms owners are guided by their respective gunstore employees to buy. This decision rarely takes into account anything more then personal employee likes and dislikes or preconceptions about who is buying, what works and what doesnt. Your average gunstore employee is not Iraqveteran8888, Hickok45 or 22Plinkster who thankfully has positively influenced hundreds of thousands of people with his well thought out, fun and very informative videos. With the advent of the internet has come a dark side too; the forum know it all and the propagation of more myths regarding firearms then most shooters would know exist.

Added to this is the modern gun stores approach to sales, “just sell something, it doesnt matter what, just sell!” Now mind you there are still a few old timers running the increasingly rare no pressure, let the customer decide, help when asked only gun store. However, these have given way to the Outdoor Warehouses and Gander Mountains and BIG 5s and other chains which lead to the old time approach selling out to new owners with mountains of dollars generated in a large market as their incentive to own a gun store. So this article is going to be a slap in the face for many who presently own a gun, run a forum or simply believe most if not every myth ever propagated from massive government conspiracies to plans by single races too take over the world.

Okay, so how do you choose a handgun for self defense? The answer is to ask yourself a few simple questions.

  • Do you have a family or care for your life?

  • Do you plan on carrying the handgun on your person regularly?

  • Are you planning on training the others in your family?

  • Do you live where open carry is normal?

  • What is your climate like most of the year?

  • How many times a day do you lift weights?

  • Do you prefer meat or vegetables?

  • Do you drive a Prius or Ford F150?

Now we answer the questions, if you have a family or care for yourself the reality is NONE OF THE OTHER QUESTIONS MATTER! The simple answer is carrying is to protect yourself, if you are buying guns based on your outfit choices or the variety of color schemes someone put them in you are purchasing for entirely the wrong reasons.

What matters is your safety and that of those you love. Current crime statistics show that there is a growing trend towards groups of attackers whether it be home invasions, car theft or blind attacks at the local mall. As a result you want a handgun that can be both concealed and give you 10 or more rounds per magazine. Sure, some of you may live in communist states that disallow the carrying of real protection, and to you I say, apologies. However, I and millions others do not. So buy a firearm that will carry a large amount of ammunition RELIABLY in the magazine it has so that even though you have a second and possibly third magazine available you can stop a threat with the first magazine if necessary. I recommend the following handguns as I have used them and find them to be absolutely reliable with GOOD self defense ammunition (Speer, Hornady or Remington jhp rounds being among the top, size of the round depends on caliber and that decision is next)

  1. Glock 19 (I prefer the gen 3, however any generation will work fine and the newer model is more user friendly, also it has a standard 15 round magazine)

  2. Springfield XD9 (This is a bulkier feeling firearm when carried concealed, however, it is generally more accurate then the shooter which is a good thing, it also has a 17 round magazine.)

  3. Smith and Wesson M&P9C (Though not as inherently accurate as the Glock or the XD it is a comforable firearm and quite reliable, it only has 12 rounds.)

  4. CZ 75 compact (Though the magazine holds 5 less then the Glock and 7 less then the XD this firearm is one of the most accurate, reliable and just amazing to shoot that I have ever had my hands on. I personally have a love affair with CZ firearms that sadly remains unfulfilled to some extent.)

  5. Lastly, I recommend the Canik TP9 (the least expensive of all of the above firearms, it also combines some of the finest traits from all, with a 17 round magazine and accuracy that easily matches the Glock and surpasses the M&P9C it is a VERY solid choice for the shooter who needs defense.)

Now some of you may have noticed that every single firearm I picked on this list is in 9×19 luger or the more commonly known 9mm for American readers. There are several reasons for this, suffice it to say as a round the 9×19 round is absolutely among the best rounds for personal defense with a handgun. I outlined numerous meticulously written, well researched and tested as well as personal test results with regards to caliber choice. In the end the 9×19, 9×17 (.380) or 9×18 really are the minimum side of the self defense world. With 9×19 modern self defense loads such as Speer Gold Dot, Hornady Critical Duty & Defense, Remington Golden Sabre rounds being among the top tier for threat stopping rounds. My suggestion after testing is never use below 115 grain or above 135 grain for self defense. Below has a disturbing inability to penetrate to depths necessary for defensive uses as do many of the rounds above 135 grains. This being said there are a few (VERY few) expensive specialty defensive loadings that fall in the above or below category that work amazingly well according to all data I have seen. However, I cannot personally attest nor have I verified so, until the time I am able to test them myself I will rely on what I know to be solid in performance.

If you have never owned a handgun before please, DO NOT simply follow the local gun store employee’s advice, trust me, when you leave they will laugh because they know they made money from your ignorance. Take the time to research, look around and think about WHY you are purchasing and by all that is holy, DONT buy a revolver or 1911 for a FIRST gun! Woman, man or child- they are NOT good first guns, not unless you already have a few dozen hours of practice under your belt. Next, DO NOT assume your local NRA certified CCW (concealed permit) instructor actually has any real knowledge. Trust me, a trained monkey can pass an NRA certification class! Take the time to train with someone who knows what they are doing. There are VERY few individuals I would recommend to the brand new shooter and even less agencies/groups. All of these agencies are pro cop, pro military and you will need to bite your tongue if you are one of my followers who like me is not any of the above. This however, DOES NOT change the abilities of the instructor staff or programs.

These follow,

  1. Gunsite Academy is a wonderful place to train– though they are rigid in stance issues their training is exceptional and far above what is par for many. This is where you should go if you live in the Southwest or now on the East coast (Richmond, Virginia I believe)

  2. The Firearms Academy of Seattle – Marty Hayes is an experienced exceptional instructor if you live in the Pacific Northwest.

  3. Massad Ayoob Group – This training is essential for the legal aspects of it. While some may disagree with his approach it is quite legally sound as I have had the chance to verify and locate dozens more incidents in which individuals who DID not use his defense lost. I highly recommend at the VERY least his MAG-20 and or his MAG-40 – he travels around the United States annually doing classes simply ensure booking in whichever is closest, soonest. (btw, my background/education/experience is in Criminal Justice/and similar fields-though I detest our system it does not change the fact that you still operate within it.)

  4. Middle America should look into either Valor Ridge with Reid Henreichs, Patriot Nurse and a few other solid instructors (a lower impact more personally tailored approach in my opinion) or if you want a more high intensity approach there is Tactical Response with James Yeager and his competent staff.

  5. Lastly you can always contact myself and I can locate a more individualist instructor or assist myself. Liberty Practical Training is tailored to the beginner, disabled and less physically adept, there is NO reason you should be any less capable of defending yourself then the muscle bound modern ninjas that somehow believe they are top of the food chain. I know from experience that strength, physical stamina etc., does not a better shooter make. I am not in the same class as some of the above shooters, however, I can and do regularly hold my own against other quite talented shooters. So take it as you will, these are my recommendations!

Free the mind and the body will follow


About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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4 Responses to I have never owned a handgun before, what should I get?

  1. Reblogged this on lisaandrews1968 and commented:
    I remember my first purchase and while I felt I was a well-informed buyer when I arrived I was still overwhelmed by the selection, the atmosphere the excitement!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cavpatriot says:

    Excellent post. Sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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