Concealed Carry Concealed Carry: Buying Your First Carry Gun -

Published on June 21st, 2016 | by Nate Granzow


Concealed Carry: Buying Your First Carry Gun

So your concealed carry permit just arrived in the mail and you’ve got a few hundred dollars in your bank account just begging to be spent on a new carry piece. Before you rush off to your local gun shop or sporting goods store, consider a few ‘do’s’ and ‘do not’s’ of purchasing your first concealed carry firearm.

Do: Your research.

Invest in a subscription to a gun magazine, sign up to become a member of a firearm forum online, and cruise some of the online gun auction sites. These all help to give you a better sense of what the going prices are for new and used guns, what recommendations the leading industry experts have for guns on the market, and in the case of the Internet forums, a healthy dose of what guns to steer clear of or what experiences other enthusiasts have had with certain makes and models.

Do not: Rely on the sporting goods salesman to select the right gun for you.

This has a lot to do with the previous tip. Do your due diligence before you walk through the door of the gun shop. Though there are a lot of helpful folks out there, no one—not even the most knowledgeable salesperson—knows what will work best for you and your needs but you. Go into the store with a firm idea of what models you want to look at and what you’re willing to pay for them.

Do: Shoot as many guns as you can before making a decision.

Research can carry you far when it comes to purchasing your first carry gun, but there’s no substitute for time spent on the range. If you have a friend with a handgun, ask if you can go with them to shoot sometime. Another option: Many ranges offer firearm rentals—an inexpensive way to get a feel for a gun before you buy. You may otherwise end up with a great price on a quality gun and still find that you absolutely hate how it shoots or feels in your hands.

Do not: Fall into the trap of “Grandad carried a 1911 back in the war, so that’s what I’ll carry.” Pick the right gun for you.

New gun buyers are often entranced by the idea of a particular gun rather than its practical fit for their needs. That Sig Sauer P226 that the Navy SEALs carry? It’s a great gun. But is it the right gun for your concealed carry needs? If you’re a fan of tee shirts and shorts during the summer, good luck finding a place to tuck that heavy, full-frame, wide-gripped handgun that won’t look as though you’ve sprouted a tumor. You may, instead, want to consider a compact or sub-compact pistol designed less for warfare and more for practical civilian carrying.

For those who carry, what other tips do you have for first-time buyers?

Featured image courtesy of Ralph D. Freso.

About the Author

A magazine editor and novelist by trade, Nate has spent years collecting and shooting antique, relic, and modern sporting arms, competing in cowboy-action and long-range blackpowder shoots, shooting trap/sporting clays, reloading, and hunting. He's a staunch believer that the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution is the foundation upon which all other rights are predicated, and is a strong proponent of concealed carry. Check out his novels at

  • peter3101

    You cover most of the points well, great post, I would add maybe considering some first shots type training before your CCW course to get basic safety and gun handling experience, I would then treat shooting like most sports, get good qualified coaching via advanced firearm training  and shooting courses. Talk to experienced members of the gun community and help develop your own needs. I totally agree about prior fact gathering, if you just walk into a gun store or listen to your better half you run the risk of getting a gun that suits them not you. Also try before you buy, we test drive cars, rent guns at the local range and see what caliber suits you and what gun size, compact, full size etc. We as a gun community have a responsibility to help and support those new to our sport, if we are at the range and see someone struggling or doing something wrong we should offer help if we can, its called a community for a reason.

  • JoeFabeetz

    Research research research…and then when you are done, research some more.

  • CK5150

    Great article.  I think you are preaching to the choir for a lot of us, but hopefully enough people will read this and heed your good advice.

  • Muskrat

    Good post. I think you covered the basics very well.

  • I think you bring up some excellent points for new concealed carriers. I don’t think you can think too much about what you’re going to concealed carry.

  • Nate226

    Hey i like my Sig MK25 lol it spends most of the time in the safe, my first carry was my S&W M&P 45 compact, its a pretty good carry gun just a little heavy after a full day of carrying, new fav is my Glock 27, cant wait for my crossbreed for it
    had a friend once tell me his first carry was going to be a M9
    also be sure you know how to clear a malfuction, stove pipe, fail to feed, it could mean life or death,  might recommend  a revovler for first time carry, plus with a revovler you can fire it through a purse, with a semiauto’s slide could jam in the purse
    anyone remember your first day carrying? felt weird, like your doing something wrong lol

  • @peter3101 We took a gun basics/safety class and have been renting at the range. Now we have a solid idea of what we want. We’ve still yet to guy a gun yet, but it’s on the horizon. We do want to take a CCW class too. A friend is getting her CCW and I can’t believe the hoops she’s having to jump through and we live in a gun friendly state, but she’s in a non-gun friendly county. 🙁 (we’re in neighboring counties and thankfully mine isn’t so restrictive)

    • JoeFabeetz

      southernbelle peter3101 In my state, you can take the CCW class in any county.  Once you obtain your class certificate showing that you passed, you can apply for your CCW in either your own county or in a neighboring county.  I chose to apply in a neighboring county since, like your friends, mine is a bit non-gun friendly.  You may want to check your state laws and see if your friend can apply in your county.

      • JoeFabeetz Man, if that’s the case in Georgia, my friend is gonna be TICKED!! LOL southernbelle peter3101

    • NateGranzow

      southernbelle I saw this when it came out and was A.) Pleased and surprised to find it in the news, and B.) proud of this veteran for his selflessness.

  • NateGranzow

    Nate226 That sensation of doing something wrong is a pretty common one, I think. I certainly experienced it, as have most of my buddies. As for the revolver idea—I’m a big-time wheelgun fan. There’s something to be said for simplicity and reliability.

  • NateGranzow

    Muskrat Thank you sir.

  • NateGranzow

    CK5150 That’s the tough part about writing for gun owners—we’re so diverse in our experience and knowledge!

  • ibclink

    I carry a Kahr PM40, and I like it quite a bit for size and the way it fires.  I  just wish it carried more rounds.

  • hartcreek

    New gun owners need to not fall into that macho mentality of having to have a calibre as large or larger then their friends.  I think that this is mainly a guy thing……
    If I did not hunt and fish and have a cabin in bear and cougar country I would not have my Smith 624 in 44 Special or my Ivar Johnson Cattleman in 44 Magnum.  Even with that 18 inch barrel my magnum loads are punishing but I have been out in the Winter and seen cougar tracks over top of mine to many times and the idiot campers strew ther garbage all over and bring the bears down from where they should be up on the mountainside munching on bunch grass and berries.

  • Cannonbahe

    My first day of carry was the day the boston marathon bomber was found in that boat about a mile from where I work. I felt very calm not knowing what was going on

  • The first thing that struck me was bad trigger discipline in the picture… sort of sad I guess

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