Selecting the Right Firearm for You

September 8, 2015

Choosing the right firearm isn’t quite as easy as going to the store, picking out the same Smith & Wesson 29 revolver you saw in the movie “Dirty Harry,” and then going home ready to fight off the bad guys. Finding the right gun takes a little bit of time, research, and practice! And since you’re reading this article on selecting the right firearm for you, we know that you’re serious about getting armed—with information—first.

Whether you’re looking to protect your turf from criminals or want to be the predator on a hunting trip, after reading this article you’ll be able to execute your gun buying mission flawlessly!

Know the Gun Laws

The first step before you bear arms is knowing what your state’s law says regarding your second amendment rights. Here in Arizona you can openly carry a handgun as long as you’re 21 years old, or older. You don’t even need a gun permit! The law is different from state to state though, so if you’re going on a hunting trip outside of Arizona check the state’s profile to make sure the state recognizes your home state’s gun laws.

Though it’s not required, there are a few benefits to obtaining a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit here in Arizona. For example, you won’t have a wait period when purchasing your new gun. Taking a CCW course that teaches basic handgun safety and marksmanship will also help you get familiar with CCW laws across the country, restrictions, and prohibited carry areas in Arizona, interacting with law enforcement, and may even include practice on a shooting range. Before you get excited by your brand new, shiny firearm, invest in getting trained on how to use it!

What’s Your Firearm Budget?

A gun isn’t something you should cut corners on—it’s an investment in your safety and the safety of those around you. That being said, only buy new firearms if possible. You don’t know the history of a used gun, and most of the time there’s no warranty on it. Buying brand new, with a manufacturer’s warranty, will give you peace of mind.

A good quality gun, plus accessories, can cost up to $1,000 (and sometimes more) depending on the type, and brand, of firearm. Keep in mind when buying a hunting rifle that you will also need to budget for optics. You’ll need a scope on your gun so that you can see your target.

What you spend on your gun and accessories is up to you. Just remember that you may want to upgrade down the road as you get more experience—so choose your first firearm wisely!

Types of Firearms

When you walk into your local Shoppers Supply, you may be overwhelmed by all the different shapes and sizes of guns to choose from. Determine what type of firearm best suits your needs and style before you go to save time.

Here’s a quick tip for when you’re testing different guns at the store: make sure the middle of the pad on your trigger finger rests easily against the trigger of the gun when your hand is relaxed. When you’re locked and loaded on that deer, you want a gun that’s reliable and easy to shoot—one fumble could mean a missed shot.

Now let’s take a look at the different types of firearms and caliber options available to you:

Pistols

Looking for a gun to tote around town? Pistols are easier to conceal than other guns. Semi-automatic pistols can hold twice as much ammo as revolvers do. A semi-automatic pistol isn’t the best choice for a novice, however, because it’s less reliable and harder to handle.

Caliber Options

The smaller the caliber, the less recoil you have with each shot—which means faster and more accurate shots. As a newbie you’ll want to stick with a small caliber such as the .380, 9mm, or .38 special.

Revolvers

Everyone who’s watched a John Wayne movie knows about the revolver, which gets its name from the cylinder block that contains cartridges and revolves after every shot. Its simple design makes it more reliable than a semi-automatic pistol, and it’s a great choice for new gun slingers. Revolvers are typically too bulky to fit in your pocket, but may be a good choice if you’re a woman and want to keep a gun in your purse for protection.

Caliber Options

Planning to buy a mid-size or large revolver? Go with a .357 Magnum caliber, which can also shoot the popular .38 Special. Considering a small revolver for concealed carry? Stick with the .38 Special.

Shotguns

Shotguns are the most versatile type of firearm out there. You can choose from single shot, pump, double barrel, over and under, or semi-automatic. Semi-automatics have a much faster shot cycle, but are more expensive and prone to malfunction. Check out a single shot, double barrel, over and under, or a pump—they’re strong and perfect for hunting.

Caliber Options

For your first shotgun, we recommend starting with a 12 or 20 gauge because they’re larger and easier to handle; plus ammunition is easier to find (and less expensive) compared with other gauges.

Rifles

Rifles are made for distance shooting and/or self-defense. They’re a great choice for game hunting.

Caliber Options

As with the other types of firearms already mentioned, rifles come in many calibers. Here’s a “quick and dirty” guide for choosing the right one depending on the game you will be hunting:

  • Squirrel: .22 Long Rigle (LR)
  • Rabbit: .22 Magnum
  • Deer: .30 or 7.62
  • Bear: .300 Magnum

The .22 LR is the most affordable and a great gun to learn with. And rifle experts say that a shotgun or AR platform rifle is one of the best options for a self-defense weapon.

Fit and Comfort

While trying out different weapons at the store, hold as many guns as you can to get a feel for what you like and are comfortable with. Which gun fits your personality, style, and needs the best? Test a few finalists at the shooting range to narrow down your list. Then, picking a winner will just be a matter of which best fits your budget.

Don’t Forget Firearm Accessories

When you buy your new gun, you’ll need other basic accessories too! Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Safety glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Optics (for hunting)
  • Holsters
  • Magazines
  • Targets

Keep your gun in good shape by heading to the shooting range for practice on a regular basis. Don’t just put it away and forget about it! Neglecting your gun for a while could cause it to be unreliable when you need it most. Field-strip and clean your firearm often to keep it working right.

Next Steps: Pull the Trigger!

Now that you know the basics of selecting the right firearm, it’s time to “pull the trigger!” For an extensive selection of firearms and accessories, including hunting accessories, head over to Shoppers Supply in Apache Junction or Chandler. Our firearm experts will help you find the best gun for you!