Best First Handgun For New Gun Owners

Best First Handgun For New Gun Owners

People know I’m into firearms, training, and shooting hence a handful of hopeful new gun owners ask me for advice. The usual question is what sort of handgun is recommended for home defense or concealed carry. 

This article summarizes my pistol recommendations to newbies, but you should also keep in mind: what is the purpose of this tool? Is it strictly for home defense, concealed carry, plinking/competition, or a variety of all the above? 

My recommendation list is not gospel. You can ask 10 gun owners about their opinions and get 10 different answers. The pistols are also in no particular order.

Larger 9mm Pistols:

  • GLOCK 17 or 19
  • SIG P320
  • HK VP9
  • Walter PDP
  • Smith & Wesson M&P 9

(or consider getting a shotgun)

Compact 9mm pistol recommendations for home defense and concealed carry:

  • GLOCK 19 or 45
  • Beretta 92x
  • FN509

Smallest 9mm pistols recommended, primarily for concealed carry:

  • SIG P365
  • Smith and Wesson M&P Shield (1.0 or 2.0)
  • GLOCK 43

Choose a 9mm pistol for your first handgun

The 9 mm round is ubiquitous, cheap, and easy to handle for beginners. It’s not as snappy as a small .380 nor as “intimidating” to first-time shooters as .45 ACP. This caliber also has good stopping power, depending on your shot placement.

I’m not saying your only gun needs to be in 9mm, but all firearms I recommend for first-time owners would fall under this category.

Choose a reputable brand

Hundreds of gun brands are offering their version of a revolutionary and innovative pistol. But for your first handgun, I think going with a more... established (?) brand is a better idea. More affordable firearms from Ruger, Taurus, Hi-Point, Palmetto State Armory, or Kel Tec exist, but I’m not sure you should start here for a first gun. 

There is more to gun ownership

Owning a handgun is only half the battle. You need to get training and experience now using the pistol. Thus finding some classes and a good range are a must.

You will also need ammunition, extra magazines, a safe or place to store your weapon, a holster, and many cool gun stickers to go with your gear


Something to keep in mind is that your first gun is not necessarily your only gun. You can always buy something different or switch things up if you don’t like your setup in the future. But hopefully, some of these first gun recommendations will be useful during your research. Consult a handful of sources, see the guns at a store, test them out, and make your purchase.

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