The Six Steps To Buying Your First Handgun – Step 4: Size

Written by on 06/29/2020

The Six Steps To Buying Your First Handgun – Step 4: Size

In this article we are going to cover what the size of your handgun that you are going to purchase.  This first part comes from Jeff Levant, The Shooting Channel who wrote an article for the Daily Caller. From Jeff’s article regarding size:

A full size duty style gun chambered in a lower powered caliber will be a very enjoyable and easy to shoot firearm, while a compact pistol chambered in a large caliber will be unpleasant to fire for any length of time.  So at one end of the scale is comfortable to hold and easy to shoot and at the other end is comfortable to carry and easy to conceal.  If you do not intend to carry your firearm on your person on a regular basis, you would be best served by a full sized, high capacity handgun.  This will be a comfortable gun to shoot, and will usually allow for a high ammunition capacity.  If you are looking for a gun to carry concealed on a regular basis, you would be better served choosing a compact and lightweight gun.  Just keep in mind that your compact gun will have more perceived recoil, will usually have a reduced ammunition capacity, and will usually have less gun to hold on to.  If you are looking for a multi-purpose gun, there are plenty of guns out there that try to strike a good balance between the two opposite ends of the scale.

This next bit of information comes form  at “A Gun & A Girl” website, the information is still good for anyone regardless: 

How-To-Fit Checklist

Now onto the mechanics of it all.  **Disclaimer: when fitting yourself for a handgun you must make sure it is unloaded (meaning: magazine out and chamber check to make sure it is empty, ensure there is no ammo present, and maintain a safe direction avoiding pointing at the sales person across the counter or wherever you may be and who you are near).**

  1. Center the web of your hand into the beaver tail, making sure your wrist is in alignment with your elbow. Make sure the grip is high leaving no space between the web of your hand and frame of gun.
  2. Place your finger on the trigger to see if you can comfortably reach and achieve the proper placement on the pad of your finger. Ideally you should be able to have enough space to insert a pencil between your trigger finger and the frame of the gun. This gives you “room to work” and have a good trigger pull.  **When you are done doing the trigger finger test, remove your finger from the trigger for the rest of the assessment of the gun.**
  3. If you choose a gun with a safety and/or decocker, does your thumb comfortably rest either above or below it? And do you have the strength in your strong hand thumb to easily engage or disengage the safety lever?
  4. Can you reach the magazine release and slide stop release with your strong hand thumb?  If not it is not a deal breaker, you can use your support hand to manipulate those actions if needed.
  5. Does your support hand fit well in a high grip with both thumbs pointing down the slide. (See proper grips.)

Most people should opt for the biggest firearm that they can comfortable handle. Many will be tempted with the “cute” or “cool” micro pistols. DON’T. They will be miserable to shoot and you will throw it in your safe and never use it again, which will negate the use of having a firearm in the first place. Fit is a very unique so don’t be afraid to go to a range that rents guns and try some out, or take your time at the shop. 

Check out Part 1 Here, Part 2 Here, Part 3 Here


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