When picking a handgun for self defense the most important thing is that the handgun fits you. By this I mean that the handgun must be your choice. While you may not know much about firearms you probably know someone who knows everything about firearms. This person can help you but you must choose the handgun that fits you. If you buy a handgun that does not fit you well, then you won’t practice with it and you might not even use it at all. This means the final decision on what handgun you purchase is yours.
So how do you pick a handgun that fits you? First off it needs to feel good in your hands. You need to be able to fit your hands comfortably around the grip. You fingers must be able to reach and operate the controls of the gun. If it is a semi-automatic you need to be able to rack (pull back) the slide all the way back. Once you have found the size of gun that fits your hands well find a range that rents similar guns. Start with some of the smaller calibers such as .38, 380, or 9mm and shoot them on the range. If you do not have much experience shooting or do not feel comfortable shooting the rental guns, find a firearms instructor or range employee who can help you. Fire as many different varieties of pistols as you can. While many people tell you the larger the caliber the better it is most important that you are comfortable with the recoil (kick) of the gun. Keep in mind that the caliber is not the only thing that affects this. The smaller the gun or lighter the weight the more the gun will kick. For example a small 380 may recoil much more than a larger 9mm. When you find several guns that fit well in your hands and you are comfortable with the recoil start considering the size. Of these guns that you have found to fit you pick one that’s size fits your individual situation.
When thinking about your individual situation the location that the handgun will be kept for self defense is key. For example you could keep it in your night stand drawer, purse, center console of your car, or concealed on your person. If the gun is to be kept on your person a smaller more concealable firearm may be the best choice. If it will be kept in your car or home then size may not be as big of a factor. Whatever size gun you pick it needs to fit well in the location it will be kept and not be overly cumbersome.
When you have found several guns that fit you and your individual situation buy the one you want. This may seem obvious but buying the one you want is very important. Often times people purchase one that is cheaper than the one they want but is similar. They tell themselves they will upgrade to the one they want later. The fact of the matter is that any quality firearms will last a life time. If you save the money and get the gun you want you will never regret it, but if you get the one that wasn’t quite what you wanted you will be stuck with it for a life time.
Last but not least is getting some self defense training. Take a group or private course that will teach you gun safety, shooting techniques, and basic self defense tactics. Even someone who has been around guns all there life can use self defense training. When it comes to self defense most people “don’t know what they don’t know.” Self defense training is not just about marksmanship it about being prepared for the situations that we all hope we never find ourselves in.