Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

So you’ve decided to purchase a handgun. However what’s subsequent? Opposite to what some folks declare, you can’t just walk into a store and buy a gun as easily as you can get bread or milk — however even when you could, there are still good reasons to take your time and think careabsolutely all through the process.

The primary query you could reply is „Why do I desire a handgun?“ Most people have one of three solutions: for self-protection, for leisure shooting or for hunting. Most handguns are designed primarily for one among these makes use of, and in the event you purchase one ill-suited to your needs, you’ll likely have a disappointing experience.

Self-defense handguns typically have good stopping energy (more on calibers a bit later), streamlined controls and either a high capacity or good concealability. Sporting handguns are usually small-caliber, affordable and mechanically simple, though organized shooting sport leagues can require all manner of handguns. Hunting handguns are generally heavy, giant-caliber revolvers that require confidence and expertise to handle correctly.

If you happen to take a while to get really clear on why you desire a handgun and what you want it to do for you, the research and shopping phases will be more productive and enjoyable, and you’ll be more happy with your buy in the long run.

When you live in the U.S., you must know and abide by federal, state and county firearm laws. In cases where laws from different jurisdictions contradict one another, the stricter law applies.

Step one in turning into a responsible handgun owner is to develop into completely familiar with these laws. Internet research is an efficient place to start, but it’s finest to cross-reference everything you discover against a number of different sources to ensure the information is accurate. Finally, we recommend checking with your native police department or sheriff’s office. They may help you make sure that you understand the law, and most will provide concise pamphlets or web pages that you may reference later.

Certain federal laws are pretty primary and apply to all gun owners in all states. With a view to buy a handgun legally, you should:

Not have a criminal file, with certain limited exceptions

Pass a strict background check (for those who’re shopping for a gun from a licensed firearm supplier; private sellers are not required to conduct background checks on patrons, however most do anyway)

Not suffer from certain mental illnesses that may impair your judgment

Not have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol addiction within the final 5 years

Be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant

Be at the least 18 if buying from a private seller or 21 if buying from a licensed vendor (note that in most (if not all) states, the minimal age to hold a handgun in public is 21. Also, there is no federal age restriction relating to rifle or shotgun ownership.)

Federal firearm laws don’t mandate any particular licensing or training, though many state laws do. Few states require licensing or training in order merely to own a handgun, though most require some form of license or permit as a way to carry one in public. Some state laws further distinguish between open and concealed carry, and will require licensing for one but not the other.

A small number of states (notably New York and California) will not difficulty permits to carry a handgun in public unless you can show proof of a credible threat towards your life or property. Though it is legal to carry a handgun in such places in very limited circumstances, for most individuals, it’s successfully illegal.

If you plan to purchase a handgun for concealed carry, know that there are a few different sets of laws that fluctuate by state. Also, you’ll want to read our guide on how to decide on a hid carry handgun for more information.

Constitutional Carry (or Unrestricted)

This is probably the most permissive concealed carry paradigm. If you can legally own the handgun, you can legally conceal it in public, no license or permit required. Nevertheless, acquiring a license could confer additional privileges. As an illustration, in Arizona, you may carry anyplace without a permit, besides in bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. Acquiring a CCW license means that you can carry in those places as well, with the owner’s consent. Note that a CCW permit doesn’t override property rights; enterprise owners are free to prohibit weapons on their property for any reason, if they so choose.


„Shall-problem“ jurisdictions are those in which the sheriff or other related creatority will problem CCW permits to anybody who applies for one, barring those who fail to meet basic eligibility criteria.


In these places, you might or could not obtain a permit if you apply for one. The government agency that makes these selections does so on a case-by-case basis and may or could not use objective criteria.


The most restrictive states effectively do not permit civilians to carry at all. Local sheriffs might issue a very small number of permits (usually to their friends and allies), but common citizens shouldn’t rely on getting one.

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