For today’s post, we’re diving back into the way of the gun! More specifically, how to find the perfect gun for you!
I am most often asked, “what gun do you recommend?” While that’s a loaded question (pun intended), it really just depends on you, your family, your situation. We are all unique and while we normally recommend the same firearm to the majority of those who ask, we realize that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of situation!
So, let’s dive into some key considerations when looking for the perfect gun FOR YOU!
First, what are you going to use your gun for? Sounds like a silly question, but each gun has a difference purpose and some guns are better for certain things than others! For example, will you be using this firearm for plinking around in your back yard, home defense, or self-defense and concealed carry? All three of those things can have very different connotations.
Plinking around in your backyard shooting coke cans can literally be any type of firearm. From a .22 long gun to a shotgun to a revolver. This is your choice! Home defense, while we will always recommend handguns for home defense, a shotgun (preferably 12 gauge) is usually the gun of preference for homeowners. This is because a shotgun does not over penetrate the walls of your home when the proper type of shot us used.
For self-defense or concealed carry, we recommend a semi-automatic handgun. We don’t recommend using a revolver for concealed carry (which we will use interchangeably with self-defense) because of round capacity. A revolver just doesn’t hold that many bullets! If I need to stop a bad guy or several bad guys, I want as many bullets as I can AND I want reloading that firearm to be quick and worth my time. Meaning that when I reload, I’m putting 17+ rounds in my gun, not just 5 or 6.
Second, size matters. Things to consider here are how well it fits your hand. The gun being too big is an easy one to figure out. However, the gun being too small is rarely taken into account. Cute little revolvers are too small for many hands. If you can’t fit both your hands securely wrapped around pistol grip, your gun might be too small. Another consideration is weight. Is the gun too heavy to practice with? Shameless plug for Glocks here, the lower assembly is all polymer. Only the slide, barrel, and some mechanisms are actually metal. This makes it easy to take an all-day training course and not be fighting the weight of the gun.
Third, round capacity. Obviously, if we encounter a bad guy or multiple bad guys we want as many bullets as we can. If I encounter three bad guys, a 5-shot revolver isn’t going to do me much good! Ideally, each bad guy would be met with a threat-stopping bullet, leaving me two extra rounds. HOWEVER, (and this is a big however because it’s important) we have to take into account the environment. If your hands are muddy, bloody, sweaty, gloved, and/or your terrified and under critical stress, it would make sense that if might take more than one shot per bad guy. If you’re the average mom like me, you don’t have time every week to go practice and also you don’t have the finances to take $200+ training courses each month. This is why we have to give ourselves every opportunity to survive a gun fight. To me, this looks like carrying a firearm that has the highest round capacity.
Fourth, recoil management. Check out this blog on calibers. The thing about recoil is that it’s on a sliding scale, to a point. There is a certain point on the scale that says “the shorter the barrel the bigger the recoil.” The recoil from a .38 special or a 380, which have less than a 3” barrel, are going to “kick” or recoil much more than a Glock 26. On the flip side the longer the barrel (to a point) the less the recoil. Although a Glock 26 kicks less than a .38 special or a 380, a Glock 19 and furthermore a Glock 17 kick considerably less because their barrels are roughly 5” in length. If you can find a gun store that lets you rent and shoot the firearm before you buy, I highly recommend this. This way you will get a feel for the gun and the recoil before taking it home.
Fifth, Reliability. Just because we’re moms, wives, average American folks, doesn’t mean that we are stuck using the subpar equipment. To a certain point that is, not all ninja operator equipment is available for civilian use. Here is my point, though, if it’s good enough for the Special Forces, Delta, Law Enforcement, and Civilian Contractors (“13 Hours” type of ninjas) and other groups like that, it’s probably good enough for me. So, ask yourself, what firearms and equipment are these operators using? If you do research into these you’ll find that most of these groups use a mid-size (not sub-compact), double stack 9MM. As far as the brands I would say that the most common would be the Glock, Sig Sauer (just got awarded the military contract), and a Beretta (still in circulation in the Military). So, ask yourself again, are you more highly trained than a Special Forces guy? No? Well, me neither! But that doesn’t mean that I can’t use the same kind of gun that he trains with. See my point here? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with picking a firearm. Just look at the work that the trained professionals have already done!
In addition to point five, you have to talk to people. I’m not talking about the guys at the gun store, because, in all honesty, they may or may not know what they’re talking about. Talk to the people you trust. Talk to the instructors of your training course, talk to the training companies. More importantly talk to your friends, their husbands, family, etc who you know carry concealed or are just “into guns”. I’m sure they have some, albeit biased, words of wisdom that can help point you in the right direction.
Lastly, commonality of the firearm you choose. Finding a rare 1911 is great and all, but if you can’t find the equipment for it, it doesn’t matter now does it? It’s always wise to find a firearm that fits all of these specifications, but that also fits the commonality of the market. The three brands listed above are probably 3 of the 5 most common firearms out there. The last two would be the M&P (shield), and the Ruger (LCP). If you go any gun store, these five brands are going to be the majority of what you will find! That’s important because if you’re in a bind and need a holster or even a replacement part; you need to be able to find that quickly. The more common it is, the easier parts are to find.
My recommendations: I make no bones about being a Glock girl. My hubby and I are a die-hard Glock family and we will always be. No, we don’t get paid by Glock to say this (but I wouldn’t turn it down!), but we recommend this brand to all of our clients. They’re reliable, they’re durable, and the price point is great. What my husband and I love about using Glocks is that most of the equipment is interchangeable. I use a Glock 26 as my EDC gun. If I run out of bullets, I can use my husband’s Glock 17 magazine as a replacement and it works just fine! Granted, it sticks out like a gangster gun, but it works!
My husband uses a Glock 17 with a surefire x300 light on it. It’s a bulky gun! But my husband can conceal this on his hip (his 3 o’clock) and you wouldn’t ever know that he’s carrying. Most guys can get away with carrying on their hip as many women can’t. He uses this firearm for classes when he’s the student also. He loves it!
I use a Glock 26 as my EDC. I don’t like shooting it as much as my training gun, which I will cover here in a moment, but I can conceal it very well. This is important also. If you have the perfect gun but can’t conceal it, then it’s not perfect, is it? My 26 recoils more than a larger gun, but again, I can conceal it much better. I do not use this gun as my training gun however because the pistol grip is really short and it can be uncomfortable to shoot for long periods of time.
A Glock 19 is what I use for my training gun. I use this at the range as an instructor and as a student when I’m able to take courses. This gun fits my hand very well and has very little recoil. I absolutely love this gun, but I cannot conceal it easily. Which is why I don’t use it as my EDC. But at the end of the day, all three guns are Glocks. My 26 can use a 17 and a 19 magazine, and a lot of our replacement parts and holsters can be used with all three sizes.
Now, there are plenty of good firearms out there. These are just some tips and considerations to help you pick out the perfect one FOR YOU!
Check out this (surprisingly foul-language free) video from Mat Best regarding conceal carry guns!