Greg McLaughlin 1395 County Rd. 6310 West Plains, Mo. 65775     417-255-1612

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A HANDGUN

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A HANDGUN.

 1. The gun must fit your hand. Whenever you are looking to buy a handgun, one of the first things you need to consider is: does the gun fit my hand? Let me emphasize this again: any gun you buy must first and foremost fit your hand. The gun must feel comfortable to you. It should have a natural feel to it when you pick it up. It should feel like an extension of your hand. If the gun feels comfortable when you pick it up, learning to shoot it well will become much easier. If the gun does not feel comfortable, but awkward every time you pick it up, the awkwardness of the feel will be a distraction to you every time you shoot it.

 2. The gun must be a quality gun. Most people buy a handgun for self protection either for the home or to carry concealed. If you are buying a gun for home defense, do not buy a handgun; buy a shotgun instead. A handgun will only shoot one projectile at a time. A shotgun (with buck shot) will shoot 9-12 projectiles with each shot fired. The reason we carry a handgun is simply because we can’t conceal a rifle or shotgun on our person; besides, it would be too heavy. We carry a handgun because (A) it is relatively light weight, (B) it is easy to conceal and (C) it is capable of a lot of firepower. If you have a pistol with three magazines that hold fifteen rounds each, that is forty-five rounds you can carry on your person at all times. Concealed properly no one will even know you are even carrying a firearm.  

Now as far as quality is concerned, I will not attempt to start listing names. There are many good quality pistols on the market today. Just remember that you will get what you pay for. If you want a cheap gun then only spend $125.00 – $250.00 and you will more than likely have wasted your money on an unreliable firearm. One that will jam every other time you pull the trigger. If that is what you have right now, then get rid of it and get you a quality firearm.

 You can have a great quality firearm for around $500.00 one that is reliable and dependable. The question I have for people who buy junk guns for self protection is: what is your life worth to you? Most people think that a gun is a gun. In other words what’s the difference? The difference, my friend, is quality. If you ever need a gun to save your life, you will want that gun to shoot every time you pull the trigger with no malfunctions. Now let’s be real honest: no one can guarantee that even a quality gun won’t malfunction. However the chance of a quality gun malfunctioning is far less likely to happen. The point is why try to protect your life with a cheap piece of junk. If you can afford a quality pistol, then get a quality pistol.

 3. The gun must have a smooth trigger. This is equally as important as the first two requirements. There are some very good quality guns that have a very rough trigger from the factory. However, a good gunsmith can usually fix this with no problem. Having a smooth trigger is very important. Most of the time when a shooter pulls a shot, it is due to a poor trigger press or trigger control. A smooth trigger on a good pistol will make it easier to have better trigger control, thus, better accuracy.

 I am not very fond of any of the “pocket pistols”. In the first place they do not fit anyone’s hands. In the second place even if they are made by a quality company, you will be sacrificing the amount of rounds you can carry. Most of the pocket pistols only hold 5-6 rounds. In the third place I have seen a lot of these pistols malfunction, even those made by good companies. In the fourth place I have not seen any of them with a good smooth trigger. You are sacrificing all of what you need to have in a good pistol when you buy a small pocket pistol.

 I highly recommend that any pistol you buy new or used, quality or not, that you go to a range and shoot at least 1000 rounds through it to be sure it is reliable and functioning properly before you start carrying it on a regular basis. You need to make sure that all the magazines are feeding properly, etc. You should number all of your magazines. If one of them starts having problems, you can look at the number and know right away which one it is, and separate from the others. If your pistol is going to malfunction, it is far better for you to find out about on the range and not in the middle of a gun fight.  

I also recommend that every 30 days you rotate your magazines. If you carry 3 magazines, one in the pistol and two in a mag pouch: you should unload those 3 magazines every 30 days to let the springs rest and reload 3 new magazines. 

 What about caliber? This is the never ending question .45 vs. .40 vs. 9mm, etc. I tell people all the time, you can kill a man with a .22 caliber bullet, but that does not mean you should carry a .22 pistol on you for your protection. It beats nothing, but in my opinion a .22 is next to nothing. Robert Kennedy was killed with a .22 caliber and Ronald Regan was nearly killed with a .22 caliber. So, yes they can and will kill a person, but I don’t recommend a .22 for personal protection unless that is absolutely all you have at your disposal. I personally will not carry anything smaller than a 9mm.

You need to realize that it takes two things to stop a man or an animal, (1) Shot Placement and (2) Penetration. You can shoot a man with a .22 caliber and have good shot placement and good penetration and stop him, or you can shoot a man with a .45 and have real good penetration, but poor shot placement and still not stop him. You can also have real good shot placement and poor penetration and still not stop him. Even if you have good shot placement and good penetration it may still take 12-15 seconds for an individual to bleed out. They can still do a lot of damage to you during that time or even kill you. A man with a gun shooting at you for 12-15 seconds is a long time. And if he is cutting you with a knife it will seem like an eternity. You shoot and continue to shoot until the problem is solved and you are no longer in danger of death or serious bodily harm. You shoot until he stops all lethal aggression toward you. It may only take one shot or it may take several. There is no set number of shots to shoot in a gunfight. You shoot and continue to shoot until he stops all lethal aggression toward you. I hope these few tips will be a help to you. Remember this is only one man’s humble opinion.

 God bless you and our Nation,

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