If you’ve never owned a handgun but you want to buy one, perhaps for security reasons, it’s not easy to know what to look for.
One of the most important features is the gun’s grip, as you want it to be easy to control, especially if you don’t have any experience with shooting.
What about its size?
A handgun should be compact, too. This will ensure that you feel comfortable when using it. But, a gun that’s too small might be awkward to use if you have large hands, which is why you need to consider what gun would suit you the best.
With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best first handgun for beginners. We’ll start with a table that compares five of the best guns according to their weight and capacity. If you want to purchase a handgun, you probably want to find a gun that’s light and easy to carry, so you’ll probably move towards a gun with a really low weight.
But gun weight is just one important factor to consider when purchasing a handgun. Let’s check out the best first handgun for beginners and four alternatives to explore the most important features they have to offer.
Best First Handgun For Beginners – Reviews & Buying Guide for 2021
Best Overall: Springfield Armory XD-M
- Weight: 23 oz
- Rounds: 16
- Caliber: 9 mm
This gun has advanced features that you want, all neatly packed in a 9mm gun. It forms part of Springfield Armory’s XD series, which has an XD-M category – these are guns that boast an upgraded design from the classic XD pistol.
They’ve become a favorite gun for competitive shooters, thanks to their reliability and accuracy. Is the XD-M the right gun for you? Let’s see!
- As a beginner, you’ll likely want to ensure that you stay as safe as possible. This gun has an internal firing pin safety as well as a trigger safety.
- In addition to the above, it has what’s known as backstrap safety – this is useful for beginners because you have to ensure you grip the gun otherwise it won’t fire.
- This gun comes with a loaded chamber indicator that lets you know if it’s ready and cocked. This is one of the features that makes it the best first handgun for self defense.
- The gun’s made out of shock-resistant molded polymer. This keeps it light and easy to hold, while also making it durable.
- For greater comfort when you’re trying to learn how to shoot, this gun has an ergonomic design.
- The mag release button can be a bit stiff and difficult to use, so it will take some getting used to if you’ve never handled a handgun before.
Runner Up: Glock 43X
- Weight: 18.72 oz
- Rounds: 10+1
- Caliber: 9 mm
In case you don’t know, the Glock 43X is a blend between the Glock 48 and the Glock 43, so it’s meant to be one of the easiest pistols to conceal and it has been marketed as a gun that’s meant for concealed carry, so that’s its main feature.
However, there are other good reasons to purchase it. Here’s what you should know about this pocket pistol.
- While the 43X model is pretty much the same thing as the 43, it has a taller and wider frame. This helps to make it easier to hold and grip.
- This gun has front cocking/slide serrations. This makes it easy to grip the gun even when your hands are sweaty. No fumbling during emergency situations!
- It has been made with a nPVD coating. This is durable and prevents corrosion while also being able to tolerate chemicals without becoming damaged.
- The G43X has a height of 5.04 inches, while the G43 is 4.25 inches. That makes the 43X much easier to grip, especially if you’re a complete beginner.
- It has a beavertail design that helps to make it easier to control and aim it precisely on your target, increasing the success of your shots.
- The G43X can fit in the same holsters as the G43, and even with its extra weight this makes it easy to conceal in a holster and then put in your pocket.
- One of the things to bear in mind with the G43X is that if you already own a G43, its mags won’t be interchangeable with the G43X.
- The gun’s trigger is a little heavier when compared to other Glocks. Some people who have purchased this handgun have reported that it hurts their fingers when they shoot it. To combat the problem, you’ll want to seriously consider replacing the trigger with a different one. There are various compatible triggers with this gun that you could use instead.
Alternative 1: Kahr Arms CW9
- Weight: 15.8 oz
- Rounds: 7+1
- Caliber: 9mm
This Kahr Arms CW9 handgun is the best first pistol to buy if you want to increase your home security as it’s a solid self-defense weapon. Kahr Arms is a company that specializes in making small and mid-size semi-automatic guns, so you can be assured of their expertise. With that in mind, let’s see its features in greater detail.
- This gun has good grip, thanks to its textured appearance. It’s also been constructed with a polymer frame that makes it easy to pull out of your pocket when required.
- Its trigger has a long reset, which can be a little hard to get used to but it makes using the gun feel safer.
- It’s really easy to assemble and disassemble, so cleaning it will be a breeze, even if you’re a beginner.
- The trigger is curved and wide, which makes it extremely comfortable to use.
- The double-action feels smooth to use, even when you’re not wearing shooting gloves.
- Although it’s the more affordable gun in Kahr’s offerings, its slide is a little stiff at first, which could take some getting used to if you’re a beginner.
- Some people won’t like the textured design as it doesn’t have a sleek, higher-budget appearance that they might want in their first gun. This gun doesn’t have a magazine disconnect feature.
Alternative 2: Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ
- Weight: 18.5 oz
- Rounds: 8+1
- Caliber: 9 mm
In case you didn’t know, M&P stands for Military & Police. The Shield EZ is a type of M&P gun that’s all about user-friendliness, thanks to its easy-to-rack slide, a design that’s easy to clean, and a magazine that you can load in a breeze. It’s also easy to conceal and carry! Let’s see what else it has to offer.
- This M&P Shield EZ comes with a textured grip so that it’s easier to handle and more comfortable to use.
- It has an 18-degree grip angle. This makes aiming it feel more natural.
- It has an easy-to-rack slide, as mentioned earlier, and that’s because its spring is softer than what you’d find on other pistols.
- There are pull tabs on both sides of the magazine so you can easily load it, which makes it the best handgun for beginners.
- The barrel and slide are made of stainless steel to keep it strong and durable.
- It’s got good grip safety, especially when you worry about holstering your loaded pistol.
- The gun has a tactile loaded chamber indicator – this enables you to feel and see if there’s currently a round in the chamber, which is great for safety and ensures that the gun is user-friendly.
- Although it’s light and comfortable to carry, its barrel and slide are made out of stainless steel with an Armorite finish that’s resistant to corrosion.
- The gun’s front sight is not effectively designed. This is because the sight has a white dot that’s really a hole filled with material. It can collect dust and dirt, which will make the white dot difficult to see.
- Some people who have reviewed this gun have reported that the lever key that’s been included in the gun’s design to keep the slide in place is difficult to remove and put back, which can prove frustrating and time-consuming when you want to clean and lubricate the gun.
Best Revolver: Ruger LCR
- Weight:2 13.5 oz
- Rounds: 5
- Caliber: 38 SPL
LCR stands for Lightweight Compact Revolver, and the Ruger LCR is just one of the company’s LCR models that are focused on being innovative and small enough to conceal.
When shopping for revolvers you might find yourself hesitating because of how recoil is a common problem with these types of guns. The good news is that this gun helps to reduce it. Let’s check it out in greater detail.
- While light guns usually have a greater recoil, this one doesn’t have that because of how it has a rubber grip that makes it easier to control. It’s built with an extra rubber insert on the back strap to further help to reduce the amount of recoil that you feel.
- This gun is built to last. It’s got an aerospace-grade aluminum frame and steel cylinder that’s fluted to lower its weight. It’s also treated with PVD to make it even stronger.
- Its patented friction-reducing cam design enables a smooth trigger pull.
- You can replace the front sight by removing a roll pin, if you want to upgrade the gun or make it a little more visually appealing. This makes it versatile.
- It’s not a flashy gun and really easy to conceal, thanks to its 6.5 inches of length and 4.5 inches of height, so it’s the best first time handgun to buy if you want to be able to keep it under wraps.
- This gun only has five rounds, which is quite a bit less than what you’ll find in other handguns on our list of reviews.
- You’ll hear a click before the gun’s trigger is activated and reset. While you might think the gun has a problem, this is actually normal but it might take some getting used to.
First Handgun FAQ
Now that we’ve looked at five of the best first handguns for beginners, you might have some questions about handguns in general and how to find one that’s the perfect fit for you.
Let’s answer them.
What is the easiest handgun for a woman to use?
While a woman can use any handgun she pleases, if she feels that she doesn’t want anything too heavy to carry, then it’s worth looking for a compact, small gun as she might think that it will be the best first handgun for a woman.
A good choice is the Ruger LCR that is really small and compact, perfect for fitting into a pocket, purse, or handbag. You might also be interested in having a gun without a lot of recoil, as this will make it easier to use, especially if you’re a beginner.
A handgun such as the Ruger LCR that we featured in our reviews of the best pistol for first time buyer is a good choice because of how it’s designed to minimize recoil. This is as a result of its rubber grips and rubber insert on the back strap that decrease how much recoil you feel with every shot.
If you’re a woman who has no experience with handguns, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ is a good choice because of how it’s so focused on being as user-friendly as possible. It has safety features and you can load its magazine easily.
Best of all, if you’ve never disassembled a gun, you’ll be able to do so with this one without a problem whenever it needs to be cleaned. This makes it the best first handgun for men and women who want a gun that’s powerful, practical, and simple.
What is a good handgun for small hands?
If you have small hands, you’ll want to be careful not to carry a gun that’s too big or bulky as that can make shooting it uncomfortable. It can even lead to hand strain and injuries. That said, you also don’t want anything too small as that could make you fumble with your gun.
When choosing a handgun that’s suitable for small hands, you should look for some important features. These include good grip so that you feel that you can control the handgun easily, and a trigger pull that’s not too heavy as that can be very uncomfortable and awkward if you have small hands.
Some of the best handguns for people with small hands include the Glock 43X. This is an upgrade from the Glock 43 model, mainly because of how it has a wider and taller design. This makes it a lot easier for you to grip, so it’s ideal for small hands as you won’t feel like you’re fumbling for your gun when you pull it out of your pocket or its holster.
Another example of a handgun with excellent grip is the Kahr Arms CW9 handgun as it has a textured design. This means that you’ll be able to pull it out of your pocket really easily when required so you won’t waste time during an emergency situation, such as if you need to defend yourself. Those seconds count!
Another good reason why the CW9 handgun is perfect for small hands is because of how it has been designed with a wide and curved trigger. This makes it comfortable to use.
What is the best pocket carry gun?
If you want convenience and ease when transporting your gun, you want to invest in a gun that can be put in your pocket without a problem. This is especially important if you want to carry your gun on a daily basis.
Pocket carrying your gun is great for days when you’re in a hurry and want to have your gun accompany you to wherever you need to go, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s always a good idea to ensure you have a holster for the gun.
Not only will this make it easier to grip the gun when you need it, such as for personal self-defense reasons, but it ensures that you carry your gun responsibly, mainly because of how a holster keeps your gun secure.
Now that that’s out of the way, you’ll want to know what handgun is the best pocket carry gun to buy. You’ve probably heard that the Glock 42 is a good contender, and it really is! This is because of how it’s one of the smallest guns you can find on the market.
However, the Glock 43X that we featured on our list of reviews is a valuable contender when you’re looking for a pocket carry gun – and not just because it’s easy to slot into your pocket, thanks to its low weight and slim design. It also offers 10 + 1 rounds of fire, which is more than what other guns on our list have on display.
This means that while you can quickly put it inside your pocket, it’s also the best gun for daily use because of how it will give you a decent amount of rounds whenever you need to protect yourself. Ultimately, it’s both light and powerful enough to be the perfect self-defense weapon that you carry in your pocket.
What is the lightest handgun?
If one of the most important features you look for in the best handgun for first time buyer is how light it is, then you’ll want to get your hands on the Ruger LCR. It’s the lightest handgun on our list, coming in at just 13.5 ounces.
That said, it’s worth noting that a common drawback of handguns that are light in weight is that they can suffer from recoil, which can also negatively affect your shooting accuracy. The Ruger LCR is the perfect example of a handgun that avoids recoil while not compromising on its lightweight construction because it has a rubber grip included in its design.
If you can better control your gun, then this will help to prevent recoil from making you miss your shots, giving you the best of both worlds: an easy-to-hold gun that’s accurate!
Another good choice for you if you want a lightweight gun is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ. It’s only 18.5 oz in weight and it’s been designed to be thin, which makes it easy to have within reach whether you’re in bed and it’s on your nightstand, it’s in your pocket, or it’s in its holster. As a bonus, it’s got good grip so you don’t have to worry about fumbling for your gun when you need to use it.
Buying a handgun for the first time can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s not always easy to know what features to look for so that you get bang for your buck.
It’s therefore good to know what some of the best guns are on the market, but don’t worry – we’ve done the hard work for you! In this buying guide, we’ve looked at five of the best handguns for beginners, looking at their pros and cons so that you can find the best one that’s easy to conceal and easy to use.
We’ve also answered some important questions you might have about the best handgun for beginners, such as when it comes to the best gun to carry in your pocket and the best gun to choose if you want a handgun that’s light in weight and super-compact.