Nov. 25, 2013 By Garrett Kelly – Considering purchasing a handgun for target shooting or self defense? Firearm training instructors offer 9 tips to help you make the right decision.

Choosing the right handgun can mean the difference between life and death if you need to use it. If you’re unfamiliar with the world of weapons, take a look at these tips from highly rated firearms training instructors before you buy a gun.

  1. Learn the applicable gun laws. You need to know your state’s laws, says Douglas McCullough, owner of Stone Mountain Firearms Training Service in Stone Mountain, Ga. The laws vary widely from state to state and sometimes differ at the local level. The best place to find these laws is your state government or local municipality websites.
  2. Try before you buy. According to Kevin Sadeski, owner of Armed2Defend in Canal Winchester, Ohio, you can normally find a gun range that will let you test a rental gun similar to the one you’re considering purchasing. Sadeski says it may cost about $20, but it’s worth the investment to learn about a gun before spending several hundred dollars.
  3. Evaluate cost vs. comfort. According to Sadeski, you can get a decent handgun for about $300 to $600 and prices can go up into the thousands. “It’s like cars,” he says. “Do you buy the Chevy or the Mercedes? They’re both going to get you somewhere.” He stresses that your comfort with the gun is the most important factor.
  4. Test different brands of ammunition. Sadeski recommends trying several different brands of ammunition in your firearm. Not all guns accept ammunition equally and the last thing you want is an ammunition failure in a life-or-death situation. Find a brand that feeds through your weapon smoothly and reliably. Online retailers price handgun ammunition between $7 to $30 for 50 rounds, depending on the caliber.
  5. Take some training. Sadeski and McCullough say a firearms training course is essential. McCullough says it’s the best way to learn safe handling and shooting techniques. Sadeski suggests taking a training course before you buy your gun if you have no experience.You can locate reputable training opportunities in your area by searching the National Rifle Association’s course database online and checking Angie’s List to see if any are rated in your area. Courses with McCullough cost between $90 and $250. The average class with Sadeski is around $100. Both men are NRA certified and recommend getting as much training as possible.
  6. Consider size and weight. If you plan to conceal carry your handgun, Sadeski suggests thinking about comfort. In the summer months, you may want to carry a lighter gun because there will be less clothing to conceal it. In the winter, you may be able to increase the size of the gun you carry.
  7. Once purchased, secure your firearm. McCullough says you should lock up your gun when you’re not carrying or cleaning it. The ammunition should be locked as well, separate from your gun. “In order to be a responsible gun owner, you have to keep your gun secure at all times,” he says.
  8. Clean and maintain it. Sadeski highlights the importance of learning how to care for your gun after the purchase. Every gun comes with an owner’s manual, so read up and learn how to properly care for your firearm. This will keep the gun in reliable working order and retain its effectiveness.
  9. Become familiar with your gun. McCullough says you need to practice to become proficient with your firearm. Visit a shooting range and learn how to load your gun, how the safety mechanism operates, and work on accurately placing your shots in case you need to defend yourself with it.

Original article can be viewed at https://www.angieslist.com/articles/9-tips-buying-handgun.htm – Retrieved January 6, 2019