To choose the best first handgun, one needs to consider the pistol’s role, which can be either for sports, self-defense, or skill-building at the gun range.
Knowing how to shoot gives one an edge while buying a home defense handgun.
The following list has been compiled based on the firearms’ ease of use, durability, reliability, the intensity of recoil, and noise.
Other factors considered include comfort and concealment.
Find out what’s the best handgun for the money when looking to become a shooter.
One of the most important pieces to finding the best first handgun for you is choosing the right size.
Our recommendation for your first handgun is to get a full-size handgun, meaning close to five-inch barrels.
Having a full-sized handgun will make it easier to shoot because there’s a larger area to grip, more mass to absorb recoil, and a longer sight radius.
However, if you plan on using your gun for concealed carry in the future and don’t want to buy more than one gun, then it’s okay to try out a compact size.
With a compact gun, you will lose some sight radius. But, it frees up some grip space, making it more concealing.
When choosing a compact gun, you want to make sure that there is still room for your pinky and that it’s not left hanging.
Safety: Should You Have One?
Surprisingly, many people recommend not having an external safety for your first handgun.
Well, in the heat of the moment in a self-defense situation, you could forget to disengage the safety.
This takes out a few possibilities, like the 1911, which is a bit complicated for a beginner shooter.
The best first handgun will, without a doubt, include night sights.
Most self-defense situations occur in a dimly-lit location, so night sights are a crucial feature.
Best First Handgun Options for a Beginner: Top 10
Here are our top 10 choices for the best first handgun for any beginner.
10. Sig Sauer P250
|Manufacturer||Sig Sauer, Inc|
|Capacity||12, 15, 17|
|Barrel Length||3.5”, 3.8”, 4.7”|
|Weight||24 oz, 25 oz, 28 oz|
This semi-automatic pistol has been on the market since 2007.
The first model was .22 chambered, followed by a .45 ACP compact and a full-size model in 2009. Its overall design is user-friendly, created for first-time shooters.
The P250 aims to offer mild recoil and sports the locking system signature of other SIG Sauer guns, where chambers lock into ejection ports.
Some of the best features that make this an excellent first handgun recommendation is its firing pin for safety and self de-knocking trigger system for ease of use.
Also, this popular gun has a threaded barrel, which means the noise is minimal, and interchangeable grips.
9. Glock 26 Gen 3
Glock 26 Gen 3 was designed for concealed carry, as reflected by its small frame and reduced barrel which can be hidden anywhere on the body.
Besides its small size, the 9mm gun offers the power of 10+1 rounds. Its width, however, is similar to a full-size Glock, which gives the shooter comfort while shooting.
Its best features include a strong nylon-based polymer body and a low slide profile.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the best first-time handgun, the Glock 9mm could be a good option. Its design aims for durability, comfort, and accuracy.
8. Ruger SP101
|Manufacturer||Sturm, Ruger & Co.|
The SP101 is a double action revolver designed for first-time as well as experienced users.
This small-framed, all-steel gun can fire effectively from 100 feet but can stretch to even 1,600 feet.
To this end, the Ruger revolver is a handy tool for hunting, fire range, and self-defense. Having been on the market since 1989, the gun has undergone numerous evolutions to include several features to become one of the best handguns you can find.
The 357 Magnum revolver has a transfer bar safety features and fixed or adjustable sights.
Additionally, it features either a spurred or spurless hammer, reduced recoil, and a checkered grip.
That not only makes it possibly the best handgun with Magnum ammo but also a great first handgun.
7. Smith & Wesson 640 Pro
|Manufacturer||Smith & Wesson|
The 640 Pro has been on the market since 1995. It is a .357 Magnum chambered gun designed to deliver a full-sized punch.
Smith & Wesson have integrated modern gun features with original specifications and features to make this top revolver easy and comfortable to use for beginners, intermediates and pros alike.
It features a stainless steel body, front, and rear night sight, and moon clips cylinder.
Additionally, it has a concealed hammer and continuous P+ user rating.
Though the Smith & Wesson revolver has all the features above, plus low noise, comfortable grips, and low recoil, it is heavy for a concealed carry gun.
6. Taurus Millennium G2
It is light, comes with a polymer frame, thin and offered as an excellent concealed carry gun.
Ideal for first-time, intermediate and experienced users, the Taurus Millennium G2 comes with high profile sights, textured grip, easy concealment and melted edges for comfort.
It features a firing pin block and transfer bar for safety, in addition to the frame mounted safety lever.
What makes it a good 9mm first handgun is the minimal recoil as well.
Though this is an ideal 9mm pistol for sports and home defense, it is relatively hard to assemble. Therefore, you may need to learn its intricacies before you use it for the first time.
5. Beretta Nano
Beretta Nano is a semi-automatic micro compact pistol designed for first-time and experienced shooters.
The gun is handy in shooting games, hunting expeditions and for home defense.
The Beretta 9mm pistol is low profile, snag free and smooth with replaceable grip frames for comfort.
With a user-adjustability three dot sight system and a reversible magazine release, this could be a best first handgun due to its versatility.
Additionally, its design aims for easy carry, draws, assembly and disassembly, and comfortable concealment.
4. Springfield XDM Compact
The XDM Compact is a small-sized, easily concealable, semi-automatic handgun with an easy-to-grip handle.
These features make the gun comfortable to use, especially for beginner and intermediate shooters. The Springfield gun comes with a Melonite finish, which is corrosion resistant.
A short trigger travel and short reset enhance faster and perfect shots. Features that make this a best first handgun include a match grade barrel, safety assurance trigger mechanism, and a hard storage case.
Also, it has an excellent rugged finish, and it’s amazing for sportspeople and those seeking home defense.
3. Colt M1911 Pistol
|Manufacturer||Colt Manufacturing Company|
|Capacity||7 – 10|
M1911 is a single action recoil operated semi-auto pistol designed for .45 ACP cartridge.
It has been used since World War I and has since then escalated in popularity. The Colt’s 1911 initial design was for combat.
However, new models have been tweaked to accommodate sports and home defense. It comes with a firing pin block for safety and without fasteners to ease assembly and disassembly.
That makes it possibly the best first time handgun for those who want something low maintenance.
Additionally, it has low noise and low recoil.
First-time users who want to find the best first handgun will fancy the simplicity of this firearm. However, experienced shooters may see it as lacking in modern features.
2. Browning Hi-Power
Browning Hi-Power is a single-action, handgun that fires 9mm calibers.
Its design is perfect for its handling balance, firepower, and size. The Hi-Power pistol is compact and concealable, simple to disassemble and assemble, shoots effectively for up to 50 meters and comes with a magazine disconnect mechanism.
It is a great weapon thanks to its ease of use, low recoil, and durable finish. It’s robust, which makes it perfect for both home defense and recreational purposes.
However, while one of the best home defense weapons, the pistol is heavy for a concealable firearm. It’s easily one of the best compact 9mm pistols under 500 dollars you can find.
1. Walther P38
|Manufacturer||Carl Walther GMBH|
Walther P38, also referred to as Pistole 38, is a semi-automatic handgun model from which other models have developed.
It is a handy hunting and recreational sports tool and also great for home defense.
It sports standard features such as safety pins, front and rear sights, runs on 9x19mm Parabellum and can fire effectively at 50 meters.
First-time shooters will have an easy time using the P38 handgun. Even more, experienced users will fancy its wide range of features, making it the best first handgun for anyone.
Making The Right Choice
The best first handgun should feel comfortable on the shooter’s hands, should be easy to use, reliable, easy to assemble and disassemble to meet everyone’s needs.
Plus, it must offer a lot of value for the money. Let us know in a comment below what was your experience with your first handgun like!