Just some thoughts on where a new shooter should head as they venture into the world of pistols. Two years ago I was begining my own research and didn't own a single firearm. Today I own 9, among them 5 pistols. With any luck I'll be pretty close to 10 pistols by year's end. Along the way I've made some great decisions and some not so great ones. I've also learned to use this forum (and it's regular contributors/members) to bounce ideas off of. So here's my thoughts on how to begin a pistol collection and I'd love to hear yours. Most of the "established" contributors to this forum have more real life experience than myself. What are the essentials? What do you see as the ideal progression, etc? 1) 22lr Rimfire Pistol. You can get into a great gun for $250-500, and popular opinion will point you in one of two directions: Ruger or Browning. There are other great options for sure, but those two offer the best bang for the buck. Cheap ammo + insignificant recoil = lots of reps for a new shooter. 2) Your First "Big Boy" Defense Pistol, Centerfire. There are multiple directions you can head here, and they'll be covered in the next three slots. All are simple, reliable defense options. The right choice boils down to personal choice, use, and budget. *2a) Metal Framed semi-auto 9mm. CZ 75b was my choice, but there are some great offerings from Browning, Sig, and Beretta as well. These guns are well-balanced, heavy enough to soak up recoil, and ultra reliable and accurate. 9mm is an adequate defense round, but affordable enough for plenty of training reps. *2b) 357mag Revolver, medium-full frame/barrel (3-6"). A solid S&W or Ruger six-shooter can make for a great home defense and range shooter. 357mag is at the top of the heap for common defense rounds. 38sp is nearly as affordable as 9mm, and almost identical ballistically . These things are easy to operate, build "Ford tough", and hold their value well. *2c) 9mm polymer. These guns are tough, low maintenance, and offer great bang for your buck. Most are under $600. I'm not a Glock fan, but a Glock 19 is one of the most versatile pistols a new shooter can get their hands on. Small enough to carry, big enough to enjoy extended range sessions. Just pick what fits your hand well, as they all shoot about the same. Glock, SW M&P, SA XD, CZ, FNP, Ruger, Beretta, and others offer outstanding guns for $500, give or take $100. 3) Premium Guns, Larger Calibers, etc. Your first major investment might come after you've nailed down just one, two, or even all three of the above mentioned $500-ish options. This affliction can be like a tree branching out in all directions, so my own personal opinion is that there's valuable knowledge to be gained in each of three steps listed 2a-2c...because now the wallet might be opening a little wider. Each of the three "branches" listed below offers plenty of really great options for pistols of any size, including compact carry guns. 3a) 1911, Sig Sauer, BHP, CZ. I find myself heading down this path. If you've found that you're most fond of the steel/alloy framed semi-autos, this is where you're likely headed. 3b) Premium/Large bore Revolvers. Many hunters, outdoorsmen, and recoil nuts go this route. The sheer power of a large bore revolver is something to behold. And there's no shortage of really cool 357/38 wheel guns either, with plenty of collectibles among them. 3c) Tacticool Polymer. H&K, as well as all of the other previously mentioned polymers offer some really cool guns in a variety of calibers and frame sizes. They're sort of the SUVs of the gun world. They're not classics and they're ideal for everyone, but they offer impressive versatility. The biggest thing for newer shooters to keep in mind is this: Value commonality; both in make and caliber. There's little to be gained in going out right away and buying expensive, rare, or complex firearms. Common makes and common calibers mean more affordable parts, accessories, and ammunition. They also translate to higher demand on the resale market. Keep it simple until you really know what you want.