But you don’t know what to get, and are confused about the types and calibers. Well you need to ask yourself what are you going to be using this handgun for? Will you be using it for plinking (shooting tin cans), or maybe home defense, Carry Concealed, Hunting?
Then you can look at the basic types of handguns, they are Single shot break open (like and double barrel shotgun), Single action, double action revolvers, Semi-auto, and there is even a bolt action handgun (hard to come by though).
The common calibers range from,
.22lr (lr = Long Rifle)
.38 Spl. (special)
.40 Smith & Wesson / 10mm
.44 Spl / .44 magnum
There are other calibers to be sure but most are not the common type that people get on an everyday bases. And most wildcats are something people get just to say they got one.
If I were going to hunt small animals with a handgun like Rabbit, and Squirrels, or just shoot tin cans then a good .22lr would be what I would get. For animals like Coyotes and wild dogs then a good .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, or a .44 Magnum would be what I would look for. If I was going to hunt Dear with a handgun I would look at something in the .44 Magnum, or maybe one of the not listed calibers like .454 Casull.
If I want a handgun for home defense then I would look at something in .38 Spl. / .357 Magnum, 9mm, .40 S&W, or the .45auto. Depending on the handgun these can also double for Carry Concealed.
If I were not experienced in handguns and was getting one for home defense then I would opt for a revolver probably in .357 Magnum. Reason being is that it is easy to operate; if it is loaded all one need to do is aim and pull the trigger. No safeties to worry about and no wandering if you had put a round in the chamber.
Single shot break opens like the Thompson Centers come in a verity of calibers and are mainly used for target shooting and hunting.
Encore Pistols - Thompson/Center
The Remington XP-100 is a bolt-action handgun that is mostly used for target and small game hunting. These are not produced any more but one may still find one for sale in a gun shop or a private sell.
Remington XP-100 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Single action revolvers are like the old west handguns, the Colt Peacemaker ect.
Colt Single Action Army - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Double action revolvers are like the Dirty Harry Smith & Wesson Model 29
Smith & Wesson Model 29 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Semi-autos are like the Colt 1911 .45auto
M1911 pistol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There are many differing brands, models, size and calibers of each category of handguns. So choosing your first handgun is as confusing to many people as is reading legal gorgon from a lawyer. The best thing one can do when being new to handguns is to find a gun store/range that rents handguns and has someone on staff that can teach you the handling of the gun. Then you can try out many differing types, and calibers before making that jump into something you may not be happy with.
A few things one should remember about handguns are but not limited to is that,
1. A handgun is a defensive weapon and not an assault weapon.
2. A handgun has a much shorter range then a rifle.
3. A handgun takes a lot more practice to become proficient with then a shotgun.
4. Hollywood distorts most weapons use to sell the movies
A lot of people want a handgun because they watch some actor in a Hollywood film use one to fight some war against bad guys. And some people actually believe Hollywood as being experts in everything and anything. Just don’t believe what you see in the movies.