First Time Handgun Buyers Guide

If you’re looking for a home defense weapon, you should consider a smaller caliber weapon. Smaller rounds are easier for inexperienced shooters to keep on their target, deal with the sound of the weapon and more.

Most new gun owners who fire a handgun from inside of a car or home will regret if they purchased a powerful caliber of handgun. Regret based on the power of the sound alone. I fired a 357 on an indoor gun range (one designed to absorb sound) and I had earplugs in. Still, my ears rang for a few moments. If you were shooting from a car, you might permanently lose some hearing. I can only imagine a 44 and the sound that might generate.

You also need to consider how far bullets will travel through walls and other obstacles. If you live in an apartment building or duplex, you must consider how your guns rounds may travel through surrounding walls.

A 357 can go well into the engine block of the car, and will speed their way through most walls and even firewalls between rooms in homes, and apartment buildings.

If you choose something like a 9MM and pick the right ammunition, the rounds are many times less likely to travel through walls and hurt others. Modern ammunition designs offer many great options. I personally like hollow points. A hollow point round spreads fast as it first hits anything. This not only increases the stopping power when used for self defense, it slows the rate of travel through walls and other objects.

It is true that the stopping power of a 45 is twice that of a 9MM or 38. A 45 is.45 inches in diameter round. With a full metal jacket round point, it will travel through walls and common structures with ease. Which makes the caliber of a more risky choice for home defense. The last thing anyone wants to do is try to defend themselves and harm an innocent in the process.

If you are in need of a self-defense handgun with a good deal of stopping power, a 45 can be a great choice. So you should choose a caliber based on your body type and the environment you’re in. When you are purchasing rounds for your new handgun, consider hollow point rounds for self-defense. They are very effective at stopping criminals, and less effective at traveling through walls.

Consider the type of handgun

Semi-automatics are faster to reload than revolvers. Being able to reload a prepared clip saves time when you need to use more rounds at a faster pace.

Revolvers are better suited for heavier defensive loads. If stopping power is your ultimate concern, then revolvers are the proven choice. Also, many new gun owners and first time shooters like the feeling of more control and safety that revolvers provide. Reliability is something that also tends to make revolvers a choice. They have much fewer moving parts.

Calibers determine how much recoil you feel more than anything else, but the use of internal pressures as gasses by semi-autos does seem to reduce the feeling of recoil to some degree.

Popular calibers in the gun industry are very different from handgun selection for grizzly bear defense. Larger handguns may be the best choice from some responsible handgun owner, but for defense guns intended to be used for home or self-defense, most are served by a more accessible firearm. The firearm type you choose should fit your needs well. Take some time to learn a little handgun terminology as you start to shop for your handgun.

The size of the caliber matters 

Shot placement is more important than cartridge power. It is more important to hit your target than it is to destroy the target utterly. Stopping power is certainly a consideration when the other party is armed, or when they are in an altered mental state that allows them to ignore pain and reality. Even criminals tend to retreat when they hear and experience gunfire, especially when they are hit with the first bullet.

SemiAutomatic or Revolver

Semi-automatics use a single action to load and fire each round. Revolvers use two actions to load and fire each shot.

Revolvers are easier to operate because there are fewer parts.


Semi-automatics use gas pressure to load the next round into the chamber.

Most pistols hold six to eighteen rounds.

Semi-automatics require some manual effort to reload.

They don’t work well with high-caliber bullets.


Revolver is a type of firearm used to shoot multiple rounds at once.

Single-action revolvers require you to cock the hammer before every shot.

Double-action revolvers use less effort to fire.

The Caliber

Caliber determines how much force the bullet exerts on the target. The larger the size of the round, the more force that can be brought to bear on your target.

Bullets with greater calibers are stronger. Just remember to consider the location you intend to use the weapon in most, and your purpose. This will help you choose the best handgun and the best ammunition for that weapon.

A good defensive weapon should have a reasonable amount of recoil and stopping power. This is a matter of personal choice, your intended use, and your environment.

Ease in Maintenance

It’s important to clean and oil your gun before shooting, and after target practice or use.

Some guns are easier to maintain than others. Revolvers are easier, but with today’s modern gun cleaning kits and tools, all are easy to do.

Try before you buy

You should try out multiple guns before buying one. This sounds crazy coming from a company that sells guns online. But we do want you happy with your purchase. Find a local gun range that rents handguns and try a few out. This can help you choose between semi-autos and revolvers. Once you have that decided, it makes your gun purchase easier, and more informed.

Test your gun with 50 rounds of defensive ammo. Or share 25 rounds in each handgun type if that is helpful. 

Semi-automatic handguns should be tested for reliability. Some have a tendency to give owners trouble, especially when not well maintained and cleaned after every use. 

Revolvers tend to feel more comfortable to clean, and from a safety standpoint to me. Maybe it is because semi-autos fire rate is so impressive. Or it may be because when opened to clean you can see that the revolver is clear of ammunition. In something like a 9mm, you need to check the chamber to assure that all is clear after removing the clip.

Safety should always come before shooting. Make sure you know how to use the weapon safely. This may mean taking a gun safety class, and gun safety should always include a trigger lock and proper storage of your new weapon.

Owning a defensive handgun is a huge responsibility, but it can give you peace of mind. Just knowing that a handgun is there in case you need it can literally help you sleep at night. Life can bring us many surprises sad to say that violence is one of those. So having a handgun can provide you with a great deal of peace of mind, especially when you practice and train with the handgun often.

Considering the price for your first handgun

Consider the price of the firearm before buying it. Shopping at Top Gun Supply is a popular choice because we offer great prices, and the best customer service.

When buying a handgun online, remember to read the product details carefully. Understand how the handgun calibers will impact your buying decision.

Also, know that when you purchase a handgun from Top Gun Supply, we follow all Federal firearm laws. We will need to send your newly purchased handgun to a licensed firearms dealer through the FFL transfer process.

As a new Gun Owner you need to learn the firearm fundamentals and practice gun safety. Whether you purchase a handgun online or offline at one of our local stores in Florida or Ohio, you should receive some level of training and spend time on an indoor range, or outdoor range practicing with the new handgun.

Having an effective firearms training regime is as important as your safety selection, the safety mechanisms of the gun you select, and the bullet weight or caliber of the weapon itself. Understanding the basics of your gun, like the firing mechanism, firing pin, and how to prevent accidental discharge, are critical for you as the gun owner. 

Whether you choose a 6-shot,.357 Magnum revolver,.45 auto, 9mm, or another handgun, do consider receiving professional training from a proper agency firearm instructor. Searching for the term Firearms Academies in Google or your favorite search engine will produce local results near you for training. 

Before carrying your handgun in public, handgun owners should familiarize themselves with the handgun laws in their area. A great free online resource for local handgun laws can be found here.