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With Rise in Handgun Sales, Many First-Time Buyers Look for Guidance

Don’t look now, but handgun sales continue to increase month over month. There’s been a massive surge in handgun ownership in the U.S. over the past 18 months, and experts anticipate this is only the start of a steady increase in the midst of uncertain times. But as first-time buyers begin looking for guns, many are left wondering how to choose from the thousands of different options on the marketplace. Read on to discover some useful tips for making informed handgun purchase decisions.

First-Time Handgun Owners On the Rise

Todd Cotta, who owns a gun store in Hanford, California says his store has never seen a surge in buyer activity quite like this. He calls it an “avalanche of new gun buyers” – something that’s further intensifying political issues, social unrest, and other hot button issues.

Interestingly enough, the profile of the average handgun owner is expanding. It’s no longer predominantly white evangelical conservative males who are buying guns. You have black, white, Latino, and Asian buyers from both ends of the political spectrum. And while they all have unique experiences and backgrounds, they all share one thing in common: fear amidst uncertainty.

“Gun sellers across the country said the pandemic and civil unrest over the past year have pushed customers to feel they must take control of their families’ protection,” NPR reports. “Fears of Congress passing new gun control legislation in the wake of a rash of mass shootings since March are also adding fuel to the buying craze.” 

According to publicly available FBI data, six of the top 10 days for background checks have occurred in the previous month. And a deeper dive into the data shows that the week of March 15-21, 2021, was the top week for background checks since 1998. A total of 1.2 million firearm checks were conducted that week. That amounts to roughly two background checks/gun purchases every second.

The good news is that there’s also been a surge in the number of Americans taking gun ownership classes. This indicates a rise in responsible gun ownership, which is something that will benefit supporters of the Second Amendment in their pursuit of protecting the right to bear arms.

How to Look for and Buy the Perfect Handgun

As gun purchase activity has increased over the past couple of years, one thing has become abundantly clear: Most first-time handgun buyers have no idea what they should be looking for in a purchase. But as intimidating as it can be, this doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Purpose. Always start with your purpose for buying the gun. Firearms are a lot like shoes – they all serve the same general purpose, but they come in a variety of shapes and styles for every occasion. Based on whether the handgun is for home defense, concealed carry, competitive shooting, or hunting game, you’ll want to pursue different types and styles.
  • Comfort. How does the gun feel in your hand? If permitted, try it out on a shooting range to learn what it feels like when fired. Every gun has a different recoil, sound, and tactile experience.
  • New vs. used. You can purchase a firearm new or used. There are obvious pros and cons to both, so you’ll have to decide which option makes more sense. If you’re going for a budget-friendly option and simply want something that can be used in a home defense capacity, there’s nothing wrong with a quality used option. But if you’re more interested in a long-term option for daily use, you might opt for a new model.
  • Budget. Handguns can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. You can significantly narrow your options by choosing a budget and sticking with it. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality handgun. A budget of $500 gives you a long list of reliable models.

Making the Right Decision

Every firearm owner is a first-time handgun buyer at one point or another. But if you take the time to study the basics and understand what exactly it is that you’re looking for, the process becomes much easier and less intimidating. 

Use this article as a starting point, then be sure to consult with the right people for advice that’s tailored to your specific wants and needs.

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