When someone new to the firearms world is trying to pick their first gun, it can be a real challenge. The number of options can be overwhelming, and narrowing down the choices, especially when the budget is limited to buying only one gun at a time, can be both time consuming and exhausting.
Of course, picking the perfect (next) firearm to buy is going to come down to its intended purpose (what situations that you want the gun for: self-protection on the go, concealed carry, home protection, hunting deer, hunting turkey, etc.) and personal preference. Having said that, there are a few guidelines worth keeping in mind.
And for new shooters, those guidelines include some firearms that you should probably avoid for your first gun purchase. Travis Pike gives us five guns to avoid for first-time gun buyers. Here they are along with our comments:
- Magnum Caliber Handguns – This choice is pure practicality. Magnum calibers are intended to have more power, and will typically also have more recoil which is something many new shooters will already have difficulty adjusting to. Increasing the recoil is only going to make that adjustment more difficult. Pike does mention thinking that .357 Magnum is fine for new shooters as it is “magnum light.”
- 12-Gauge Shotgun/Firearms – If you’ve ever shot a 12-gauge shotgun, this should be a no-brainer for exactly the same reason as you would have a new shooter avoid magnum caliber handguns: the recoil. The kick on a 12-gauge, if you’re not used to it, can knock you over, and new shooters should probably work their way up to them.
- Micro 9mm / .380s – Micro pistols have the same difficulty as the above two choices: recoil. With micro pistols, though, the issue isn’t the amount of powder; it’s the lack of mass and, for bigger hands, the lack of surface area with which to grip the pistol. Less mass in the firearm, means that more of the recoil from firing has to be absorbed by the shooter’s hands, wrists, etc. That smaller size, while easier to carry concealed, isn’t necessarily easier to control when firing.
- Subcompact .40 S&Ws – Again, this is another recoil management issue. True, it’s not as big as a .45, but what comes out of it is bigger than a 9mm.
- Anything In the Ring of Fire Family – Pike describes this group this way: “The Ring of Fire guns are small, super cheap guns from companies like Lorcin, Raven, Bryco, Jennings, and Phoenix.” Pike also mentions that these guns have a reputation for being unreliable. Really unreliable (as in, he mentions lists “unreliable” as three of the eight issues that he lists with these guns). Unreliable means it may not work when you need it to. That’s inconvenient at the range. That could be dangerous if you’re in a situation where you’re trying to save your life.
So, there you have it: five guns (or classes of guns) to avoid for your first firearms purchase.
You may choose to buy some of these firearms at a later time. They just may not be the ideal first firearm for someone.