ANSWERS: 4
  • The best kind is one that fits your hand, is comfortable for you to shoot, fits the level of training/practice you are willing to spend time doing, and has the biggest caliber your can stand. The best first handgun is a .22LR revolver. It has almost no recoil and ammo for it is dirt cheap, thus encouraging lots of practice. You can learn basic handling and marksmanship skills on it easily. Anything above that comes down to personal preference and the time you can spend keeping proficient. Sure, you could buy a .500S&W revolver on the basis that it is the biggest freaking caliber in a conventional handgun, but you will be practicing only between visits to your orthopedic surgeon. Now, to answer your questions in order: Easiest to shoot: Revolver are simplest to use since you do not have to worry about safeties, magazine seating, being able to work the slide, and clearing jams. Weak kickback: Anything in .22LR Small/easy to hold: This is all relative to your hand size and grip strength. Some folks think a Desert Eagle is too dainty. Other think a Detective Special is gargantuan. Accuracy: Most firearms made by a reputable company are pretty accurate. In fact, most people cannot use the full potential of the firearm they are using due to lack of time spent practicing. You didn't say what you want to use the handgun for. A handgun for smallbore competetions is a poor choice for hunting wild pig.
  • If all requirements are for just 1 gun, then a 2"-4"-6" .357 Mag. revolver shooting reduced .38 special loads would have little or no "kickback" still be accurate & could be loaded with "Shot Shells & Full Power .357 loads for defense when desired. Very light if made of Titanium, Safe, Strong & Dependable. John
  • As previously stated a revolver is a great choice as it eliminates many variables and is simple to operate. It's a point and shoot deal. I think a simple Glock 19 is an optimal choice as it's a relatively easy to handle 9mm in a reliable, tested and proven platform. Then again, whatever fits your hand and is easy to shoot is what you should practice with and trust. Go to a range and rent every gun they have until you find one you like. Then buy one and practice, practice, practice. Then... practice some more.
  • I've covered this in short, sweet terms before at this link: http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/3387721 Read that link first. Now, for the practical aspect: Many gun ranges have handguns you can rent to shoot. Check them out. Tell the rangemaster or clerk what you are trying to do (which is to find a suitable weapon for personal defense that YOU like). Handle several and see if they are comfortable to hold. Sight down the pistol sights: is it a natural, easy thing to line up the sights as you extend your arm? And finally, rent the ones you are interested in and spend some time on the range shooting it. Now, for the hard part: Almost EVERYBODY has an opinion as to what the absolute, ultimate, top-notch, can't-be-beat personal protection handgun is. But the real truth of the matter is this: YOU have to be comfortable with it and proficient with it. What does this mean? It means if you have a small grip and a slight build, then maybe a .50 caliber magnum ISN'T the ideal self-defense handgun for YOU. In general, the larger the diameter bullet, the better. And the more powerful the bullet, the better. But that only goes so far. If a gun is too powerful, the bullet simply doesn't stop after you shoot the bad guy. Not good if you live in a crowded apartment complex, or for the little old lady across the parking lot behind your attacker. Nope, not good at all. I will propose two rounds for you. Understand that there are MANY more, and some of them are quite good for self defense. But I will choose two for simplicity: .45 caliber acp. Commonly used in the .45 semiautomatic handguns. WHY? 1. It's a common round, available everywhere. 2. It's a large diameter, heavy bullet, which is bad news for the bad guys. 3. It comes in a large variety of types (various bullet weights, hollowpoints, personal protection rounds, target loads, etc.) 4. The standard velocity of 850 fps combined with the standard 230 grain bullet is an excellent combination of power without too much power. Deadly to an attacker, but the bullet is not as likely to completely pass through the bad guy and hit the little old lady. 5. Recoil is entirely managable even for people with a small grip. 6. LOTS of .45 caliber pistols are available to choose from, so you can very likely find one that will feel comfortable. 9MM, another very common pistol caliber. WHY? 1. It also is a common round available everywhere. 2. Though not as large and heavy as the .45, it is still enough to provide a very credible defense. 3. It also comes in a large variety of types (various bullet weights, hollowpoints, personal protection rounds, target loads, etc.) 4. The standard velocity of 1150 fps combined with the standard 115 grain bullet is an excellent combination of power without too much power. It is more likely to completely pass through an attacker than the .45, but if you use hollowpoints you seriously drop that possibility a lot. 5. Recoil is VERY easily managable, even for some of the smaller pistols. 6. LOTS of 9mm pistols are available to choose from, so you can very likely find one that will feel comfortable. That's it in a nutshell. There are a LOT of other very good calibers out there. But the really cool thing is this: At the gun ranges which rent a variety of handguns, you can try a BUNCH of different ones! And after you have gained some personal experience in shooting a variety of different pistols and ammunition, you will feel even more comfortable with possibly buying a gun you've never shot...based upon your decision on the caliber, how the new gun handles, and product reviews. Let's see now... Easiest to shoot: Many are easy. The easiest and most reliable are the revolvers, though. Greatest injury: Like I said before, in general the larger the caliber and greater the bullet velocity, the more potential damage you can do. Many factors affect this as well...like bullet design and how well you can handle the gun. Like I said above, a .50 caliber magnum is capable of causing TEMENDOUS injury...but if you can't effectively handle the weapon and shoot it accurately because it's too powerful, it's no good. Can't damage the bad guy if you can't hit him. Accuracy: I've never had a problem with weapon accuracy. Accuracy in my opinion is FAR more a matter of being proficient with your weapon. Practice, practice, practice and then go back another day and practice more...repeat as necessary. Best first gun? Right off the top of my head, if you want a credible self defense weapon as your first handgun go with a 9mm. They are cheaper than .45 for ammunition and light on recoil. I would seriously consider a .22 as a first weapon, though. You can buy HUNDREDS of rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition for the cost of even one box of 50 rounds of 9mm. So you can get a LOT of practice in! I hope this helps.

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