How do you figure out what type of handgun to buy? Do you pick a revolver or semi-auto? How about the caliber? Do you need to ask questions when looking at a firearm? What questions do you ask? Questions like these and many more can be downright frustrating at times.
I was at the Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show (the largest gun and knife show east of the Mississippi) this past weekend working my booth (Austin Originals) when a couple walked up to look at the grips on our table. As I approached them, the man asked if I could suggest a firearm for his wife. I’m always excited to help someone, so of course I said yes. But, I need to ask some questions first….
Looking at the women I asked if she was familiar with firearms and if she shoots regularly. Her husband answered, “Yes, she does.” Now the first thing I thought was, ‘why didn’t she answer me?’ So, I looked at the man and told him I really wanted to talk with his wife not him. I mean, there is something said for shivery but when you’re looking for a handgun – ladies, you need to be the one talking not your husband or boyfriend. If you want to shoot – take control!
Below are questions I think someone should ask themselves to determine what type of handgun is a perfect fit for their particular needs:
What do you want in a hand gun?
The first question should be, “What am I going to use it for?” In the case of my gun show couple, Ann, our lady friend wanted to cowboy shoot. Ok – the answer is a revolver. In cowboy shooting you need a revolver. You would also ask yourself the question, what type of cowboy shooting am I going to do? Will I be shooting SASS matches or how about Cowboy Mounted Shooting? How about the National Congress of Old West Shootists if you want something a little more traditional? Well, Ann wants to shoot SASS, Single Action Shooting Society.
What is your purpose for shooting?
Is it just for fun or do you have a competitive nature? Do you want to shoot fast? Do you want to shoot with some accuracy? As you can see there are many, many questions that can be asked. So, what would your purpose be? Well, Ann just wanted to have a little fun and learn something new.
What type of caliber should I shoot?
I suggested a smaller caliber such as a .32 or .38. Ann’s a small woman and carrying around heavy guns on your hip all day can be tiring. However, the best thing Ann could do to decide on what caliber is to shoot one or several. There are several shapes and sizes. The Colt Single Action Army is available in a .32/.20 caliber as well as the .38 Special and .357. The barrel length is also a concern for women as you have to pull the firearm from the holster and you need to be able to do it with comfort. The Colt Single Action Army Revolver has a 4 ¾ “ barrel length with an overall length of 10 ¼ “. If you wanted something a little smaller, Colt has the Sheriff’s model in a 3” barrel with an overall length of 8 ½”. However, the Sheriff’s Model comes in a .45LC caliber only.
Ruger has the Ruger Vequero in a .357 Mag. with a barrel length of 5 ½ “ and an overall length of 11.12”. Another choice from Ruger is the New Model Blackhawk in .357 Mag. which as a barrel length of 4.62” overall length going to 10 ½ “. Sometimes the choice can be narrowed by how much you have to spend on two handguns. The Ruger New Model Blackhawk’s suggested retail is $599.00 for each handgun. While the SA Army’s suggested Retail with tax is just over $1,500.00 for each handgun.
How does each gun feel in your hand?
I picked up the Ruger Bisley and fell in love. Yes, I did. It felt good in my hand; the weight was good as well as the balance of the firearm. However, when I shot the Bisley I found it twisted in my hand. I tried different loads with the same result. But, with the Ruger Super Blackhawk, the weight distribution is different and I don’t have that problem. This is also something to ponder – I hold my handguns differently than most people. It was how I was taught as a child. I hold in a cup/saucer grip. Most experts say that this is wrong or not the most effective way to shoot a handgun. I believe that you should shoot in a way that is safe and comfortable to you. A double handed grip is nice for most cowboy shooting as you can push out with the dominate hand while pulling back with the weak hand giving you more stability while shooting. You also have to take into consideration your stance.
How are you going to stand while shooting?
Weaver stance or a Modified Weaver? How about the Isosceles stance? You may be asking – What, I’ve never heard of half this stuff. Or, you may not really care about any of this ‘stuff’. So, I will tell you this – find someone that offers training classes. Depending on your location in the country there are a tremendous amount of NRA certified instructors and independent safety courses at your fingertips. If you are serious about shooting, you need to be serious about training.
How you hold the handgun and how you stand while shooting can help determine what type of handgun you will shoot well with and have fun with. Remember, this is supposed to be fun for you! But enough questions – for Cowboy shooting you should buy something that is light and inexpensive to shoot with little, to no recoil. If you want something to carry, a lot of the same questions apply but I would offer some type of revolver for a woman who carries in her purse again, something that doesn’t weigh a lot and is easy and comfortable to shoot. Home defense, well that’s for another time.
I hope you have gleaned some information and I encourage you to ask someone who you trust and is knowledgeable in all types of guns what might be the best gun for you. If someone starts out saying you need a certain type of handgun, you really need to question whether or not they have you in mind or are they thinking of what they like. Everyone is different and everyone has a different set of needs.
Until next time…Kitty Austin