How Do You Prioritize The Qualities That Are Important When Buying A Handgun?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by Trunk Monkey, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure exactly how to ask this question but let's assume you own no handguns at all and you want to buy one for self-defense.

    How do you decide which attribute is most important?

    As an example when I'm looking at a handgun these qualities (in no particular order) have to be there.

    Aftermarket support
    Commonly available

    There are other things than those that I look for that I could list but after those six things everything else becomes pretty irrelevant.

    There are also other things that I look for (commonality) that would be deal breakers for me but in my example I don't have any other guns so it's irrelevant.

    Reliability is important. I won't carry a gun I don't trust but assuming I'm buying from one of the major manufacturers and I didn't get that 1 in 100,000 lemon reliability is a given.

    Capacity is important. I said in the other thread that I won't carry less than 10 but the truth is if the choice is between carrying less than 10 and carrying nothing I'll carry less than 10.

    Weight is a deal breaker for me. If the choice is between a heavy gun and no gun I'll carry a heavy gun but if the choice is between to somewhere guns one steel one polymer I'm carrying the polymer gun.

    Concealablity is again important but realistically I have yet to meet a handgun (unless you get ridiculous and want me to conceal a Colt's Dragoon in a speedo) that I can't effectively conceal on my person.

    Commonly available I'm not going to carry a CZ82 or a Tokerov or Makarov because they're "cool" hipster guns. If Walmart doesn't (before they went Bloomberg) carry the ammunition for I'm not buying it.

    Aftermarket support is one of the big reasons I carry a Glock. I mean you could throw a rock and you're going to hit somebody that makes a holster for Glock or magazine or new barrel or an 80% lower.

    So if I had to list them in order it would have to be

    Commonly available
    Aftermarket support.
  2. JakeE

    JakeE New Member

    I swear I just saw this post on another forum I’m on!? Anyhow I’ll say again- reliability is top

  3. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member

    I bet the guy that posted on the other forum goes by the handle Trunk Monkey too
    bluez likes this.
  4. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    First and foremost, how it fits your hand. If it doesn’t do that it is going to be a long continuous battle to master it.

    Then reliability. Beyond that almost everything else is subjective. And, folks will argue about it for ever.
    Txhillbilly and Trunk Monkey like this.
  5. W.T. Sherman

    W.T. Sherman Well-Known Member

    reliability is the number one thing I go for, whether it's a milsurplus or a commercial handgun. which is what I look for in a rifle as well
    schnuffleupagus and sheriffjohn like this.
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    tastes great- less filling.

    1.For self defense- reliable- 100.0000% of the time. I can have a target gun that is finicky.

    2. SIZE and weight. Yes, I have concealed a 1911A1. But a Ruger LCP is a LOT easier.

    3. Enough gun. I have a couple of the most adorable Baby Brownings you could ask for. But I am not comfortable with .25 ACP as a social purpose cartridge.

    4. I can afford it. Not everybody can drop $1k, or $750 without making a really hurt sound.

    5. I can shoot it- really well. If I can't hit a bull in the butt at 5 paces, everything else is a moot point. That includes fits my hand, accurate, I can get ammo for it.
  7. microadventure

    microadventure Well-Known Member

    it has to look like something your grandpa carried on duty. it can not look like something a gate guard at a terrorist training camp would carry.
    sheriffjohn likes this.
  8. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

    I may use slightly different terms or criteria but they run in the same circles of thought.

    Reliability (Same)
    Commonly available (In common use, with parts And ammo readily available.)
    Capacity (10-15ish)
    Weight (Same)
    Concealablity (Size balance between wardrobe, small enough to conceal and be handy, big enough to handle well)
    Aftermarket support. (Parts availability for proper maintenance and repair)

    For me: trigger/action type also factors in.

    I’m probably in a minority, who prefers a double action. I prefer a decocker and no active safety to need to manipulate before allowing the trigger to function.
    boatme98 and Trunk Monkey like this.
  9. freefall

    freefall Well-Known Member

    To tell you the truth, I'm about to go back to my Security Six 4". Simple, reliable, comfortable, accurate. A trifle heavy, but in a shoulder rig, it's nothing.
  10. sheepdawg

    sheepdawg Well-Known Member Supporter

    Reliability rules. I carried a Colt Cobra for years, now I carry a Kahr CW40. Only holds 7 and 7 more in my pocket so capacity isn't as important as that is a step up from the revolver. 15 rounds of whatever in one magazine adds to weight and weight and comfort are important to me. No excuses for not carrying because the little Kahr disappears in a few minutes no matter what I'm doing. Of course a good belt and holster help here too. A good round is important too, I don't care what anyone says a JHP 40 S&W trumps a JHP 9mm. Design matters some, you would think a 40 in a 16.8 oz pistol would be more than a handfull but I routinely shoot 100 or more rounds through it at the range and get better accuracy out of it than my 9mm. Shield. Double taps seem just as quick once you get used to the Kahr trigger. Smooth but DA revolver like. Same feel each shot.
    Txhillbilly likes this.
  11. Ghost1958

    Ghost1958 Well-Known Member


    If yet to pickup a handgun I couldn't well enough for SD
    A full size duty pistol isnt that hard to conceal so for handguns that size and smaller concealability isnt really a consideration .
  12. Nmwabbit

    Nmwabbit Well-Known Member

    number one...

    where am i going to use the SD carry, tromp'g in the back forty, or just sit in my vehicle or nightstand, etc.

    number two...

    how much $$$ do i have to spend?

    number three...[especially since i don't know a plumb thing about firearms]

    take a nra basic class so i know the difference between revolver and a pistol, caliber, form fit & function, and so forth!

    number four do research on internet, LGS, friends/acquaintances, touchy and feeling weight.

    then follow c3shooter's guidance

    number five visit LGS w/range and test fire some which met the touchy/feely/recommended handguns to see if my hand and firearm's grip like each other...

    number six...look for the deal!
  13. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    1) Decide what I want it for (such as CC or open carry around "the homestead", or a trail gun, or etc etc)
    2) From this derive what my performance parameters are (size, weight, caliber, type of action)
    3) Find guns that meet those .
    4) Buy the most affordable gun thats still reliable and meets those parameters.
  14. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member

    Ok but what led you to that decision?
  15. freefall

    freefall Well-Known Member

    Did you read my post? I thought I elucidated.
  16. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member


    That is an assumption on your part (Although in your case it's probably correct) I never made being a novice shooter one of the parameters. How do you know I'm not talking about someone whose house was destroyed in the Nashville tornadoes and all their guns are gone and they have to start over?

    When I got my concealed handgun permit the NRA basic handgun safety course was the curriculum and I agree that what it is it's a great class. I'm going to give you a pass on that one
  17. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member

    I did read your post I had to read it again thank you
  18. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    9MM or larger
    AT LEAST 15 rd capacity
    Accuracy equal to minute of scumbag
    Good ergos.
    towboater and bluez like this.
  19. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

    It is very interesting to read the different things that people get caught up in when choosing a carry gun. Most are not a consideration for me though.

    My number one concern is; is it comfortable and do I shoot it to the limits of my ability?

    Reliability: Any gun that I carry I have taken apart numerous times; massaged, buffed, deburred, etc etc; to the point of being unquestioned trust and reliability; and familiarity. Till I develop a complete understanding of how it operates; how to work on it, how to fix it or correct a problem IF something were to ever go wrong. I get to know the gun INTIMATELY.

    Weight: Weight is a genuine concern but has a wide margin for acceptance. There are guns out there that are truly heavy and uncomfortable to carry due to weight, size and shape. That said I don't carry anything over a 6" barrel but I also don't like "mouse guns". Those tiny little things that people stick in their pockets. I wear my guns in a holster.

    Caliber: This is a big one for me. I'm not going to get into a caliber debate here BUT the very fact that there is a debate tells me something. For many the 9mm has proven itself to be "adequate"; for me the jury is still out so I go bigger. Most of the time 10mm these days but the correct 45 loads will do as well. The 38 super is also a trust worthy round in my estimation when loaded HOT (near 357 velocities). 40 is about the slowest / smallest caliber I will carry. 9mm is a "better than nothing" choice and is rarely carried, and never in a gun that is available in a larger caliber.

    Cost: Who cares? I reload so I really don't care about the ammo cost. And when faced with a threat the last thing I'm going to be thinking about is how much money I saved on the gun I'm carrying. As a matter of fact I want to be armed with the best gun money can buy. My life and the lives of my loved ones are well worth it.

    Availability: Come on now. Once I get the gun I want I've got it. I promise you; if I end up in a gun fight with it I'm not going to pause to run to Walmart or the local gun shop for ammo and parts in the middle of things. I carry a gun for the moment that I'm called upon to put it into action. THAT moment is all that matters.

    Design and controls: This is another big one for me. I own a "few" guns and enjoy the diversity of many unique designs but when it comes to carry I want anything I carry to be very similar with the same manual of arms. All the controls in the same places with the same operation. In the heat of the moment I don't want to have to think about how THIS gun operates; they all operate the same. As the old saying goes; "don't fear the man that owns 100 guns; fear the man that owns 1 gun; he likely knows how to use it".


    Oh yes; Capacity: Not as important to me as most other features. I carry a gun for defense not offense. When the option to retreat is there I'm going to take it. A fire fight is the very last option. That said; my life such as it is now is VERY unlikely to put me in a situation where I'm under attack by a large group. High capacity just isn't a factor.

    What I do find REALLY interesting is the 9mm crowd that is so fond of saying how "it is all about shot placement" then touts the need for carrying huge amounts of ammo LOL ................ I guess I just don't understand.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  20. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Well-Known Member

    That's easy, tweakers hunt in packs.