Buying Your First Handgun

By Sharon R. Upchurch

Preparing to buy your first handgun can be quite daunting. They aren't cheap. New handguns range in price from $250.00 to $2,500.00. And to complicate the matter even further, there are many different manufactures and choices. I tell people in my carry permit course that there are as many different types of handguns as the manufacturers can talk people into buying. What is probably most confusing to someone new to this field is the fact that for every make and model of handgun, there are 3 gun magazine writers telling their readers that their particular brand or caliber or gizmo is the best, and 4 others saying that the gun in question will get the reader killed.

One very common reason for owning a gun is self-defense. Women who desire a gun for this reason may have varying levels of experience with firearms. For instance, it may be that she intends to buy the gun, place it unloaded in a closet and forget about it. She does not intend or expect to have to use it, but it provides a sense of peace by having it. At the same time, she is apprehensive and unprepared to ever use the weapon. It could be, on the other hand, that the woman who is looking to purchase is fairly familiar with guns, having grown up around them. She is fairly comfortable shooting the gun. On occasion she may practice shooting, but this is usually more to make sure the gun still works than to improve her skill (Blair). This woman is looking for a gun that functions easily and has low maintenance requirements. A woman with this view is likely already looking for a firearm; she just needs a reason to come to your business.

Revolvers are a type of pistol that has a rotating cylinder containing a number of firing chambers. They typically hold 5 or 6 rounds, each held in its own firing chamber. They are generally cheaper to purchase than a semi-automatic, with a new one from a major manufacturer such as Taurus or Rossi being in the neighborhood of $250.00. The major benefits of this type of handgun include:They are easier to learn to manipulate, because there is generally fewer functions than a typical semi-auto.They are normally easier for weaker handed persons to operate. This is due to the lack of a slide.They are generally more reliable.There is more choice of ammunition.Revolvers are not as training intensive as a semi-automatic pistol (more about this later).

Another type of female consumer, who is generally rarer, is the avid shooter. She has likely been around guns all of her life, shoots with regularity, and has no qualms about firearms (Blair). This woman likely spends a lot of time in gun stores, and feels fairly comfortable regardless of decor or the gender of employees, although a female employee and neutral decor is still beneficial. However, care should be taken not to assume that she is inexperienced with firearms. Employees should be sure to treat her with respect and courteousness at all times, even before he or she is sure of how much experience that this customer has.

Revolvers do have disadvantages, and it is because of these disadvantages that police departments around the county have changed from them to semi-automatics. These disadvantages should be understood if the reader wishes to make a decision; therefore I will list them:Revolvers are slower to reload than the typical semi-automatic. They are sometimes harder to conceal, due to width of cylinder. Revolvers do not normally hold as many rounds (5-6rds compared to 8 or 10rds in a semi-automatic.Because a revolver contains separate chambers for each round, to fully load a revolver, the operator must put a round in each chamber (6 actions for 6 rounds). To fully load a semi-automatic the operator has to insert a single magazine into the pistol (one action for multiple rounds).

Also, stay knowledgeable and up to date on what firearms and accessories are helpful for women, and avoid anything that is just a gimmick. Ultimately, the prudent gun store business owner will be sure to treat all customers equally and with respect, regardless of any perceived attributes. In so doing, all persons will feel welcome in your store, increasing the potential customer base for your business.

Learning tactics designed for self defense for women is important for every woman, especially for those who live alone or venture out by themselves on a regular basis. There are many crimes that more commonly happen to women, such as rape, domestic violence, purse snatching, stalking, carjacking, threats, and crimes against children in their protection, and women need to have tools at their disposal to protect themselves and not just give up or give in to their attackers.

One of the most important means of self defense for women is prevention. Women must protect themselves by knowing their surroundings, being ever vigilant, avoiding being in unpopulated or poorly lit places alone.However, when prevention fails, sometimes the only way to survive is to fight back. Self defense techniques can help you fight off an attacker and help you protect yourself, because it is your right as a woman to do so.Here are some great ways that women can protect themselves from attackers:Limit time and exposure in undesirable situations such as dark streets, secluded parks, and other places that attackers may take advantage of a lack of people and low visibility.Get a large dog to walk with you or live with you for extra protection and to warn you if someone is near your home.Always go places with a group or with a buddy, or at the very least let someone know where you are going

Avoid off-brand and chippo priced guns. Remember the saying: You get what you pay for. The suggestion is to stick with S&W, Colt or Ruger. If you really need a handgun, you want one that goes bang when you pull the trigger. I think the Lady Smiths are the same as the other "J" frames, with a bit of extra engraving and for a bit more money, of course. Rossi makes good firearms too, which will cost less the S&Ws, Rugers, Colts, etc.

Self defense for women is important because statistics say that all women are stand a good chance of becoming victims of violent crime at any point in their lives.According to statistics, by the time, you as a woman, reach the age of 21 years of age you have a 30 percent chance of suffering violent crime in your life. Self defense is more than just something to think about. When your safety is in danger, defending herself by fighting back with any means available is the most critical decision you can make.

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