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Choosing the Right Gun

One of the most difficult decisions facing a new shooter in the modern world of sporting arms is that of choosing the right gun to suite your needs.

The decision will be based primarily upon what you want to use the firearm for. Home defense? Personal defense? Competition? Hunting? All of the above? After that, your current level of skill with the gun will also help determine your purchase.

While any type of firearm can be appropriate for any kind of shooting needs, the three main categories of firearms are:

Handguns:

Controversial due to the highly concealable nature of the weapon, handguns are the most common firearms considered for home and self-defense and competition. While the popularity of hunting with handguns is also on the rise, the majority are built for non-hunting applications. The two most popular types of handguns (also called pistols) are:handgun types 300x244 Choosing the Right Gun

  • Semiautomatic (single action or double action): Whether single action (cartridge is fired by a striker) and every trigger pull results in a subsequent shot, or double action (cartridge is fired by a hammer hitting a firing pin) and every trigger pull results in a subsequent shot, semi automatic handguns are fed ammunition from a removable magazine that is inserted into the handgun. An example of a single-action semi auto would be a Glock 17. An example of a double-action semi auto would be a Beretta 92FS.
  • Revolvers (single action or double action): Modern revolvers can also be single or double action, using an exposed hammer to strike a firing pin to fire the cartridge in either instance. The ammunition is fired from a rotating cylinder and in double action requires a long, heavy trigger pull to enable the hammer to swing all the way back and then slam forward to strike the firing pin. Firing in single action requires you to first pull the hammer back with your thumb, locking both hammer and trigger back into a rearward position, and then with a short, light trigger pull, releases the hammer to slam forward and strike the firing pin. An example of a modern single or double action revolver would be a Smith & Wesson Model 14 in .38 special.

Rifles:AR 15 M4A1 rifle 300x155 Choosing the Right Gun

Given the greatest consideration for hunting and sport target shooting, the modern rifle is also finding its place in the home defense market (but little if any for personal defense) with the advent of the modern sporting rifle (AR-15 platform). Long, heavier and with a vastly different action than a handgun, the rifle offers many options that can cross usage lines as well. They are less ideal than handguns, though, when it comes down to defending your home since it’s not very easy to hold a rifle when you have to open doors and move inside the house in order to find a potential intruder. Rifles are more suitable for big-game hunting.

Shotguns:

The oldest and original firearm, and as with rifles,the modern shotgun crosses many lines of usage from pump action shotgun 300x199 Choosing the Right Gunits original days as a tool for hunting and home protection. When it comes to home defending, they have the same disadvantages as the rifles. However, some people argue that shotguns are the best type of guns for home defense. It’s a rather controversial subject but in the end it comes down to personal preference. General use or purpose specific shotguns are created to fit just about any need and with the widest array of different types of ammunition, from tiny little bird-shot pellets to massive punching deer slugs, the modern shotgun is absolutely the most versatile firearm in the world today.

Now that you have a basic idea of which gun type you need, take a look at some of the best guns for that category on the review dedicate pages on the top of the page!