Things to Know When Choosing the Right Firearm for You

Twenty-five years ago, when I was thinking of buying my first gun, I didn’t know anything about weapons. So naturally, I turned to my friends and family for advice. After consulting with more than two dozen people and hearing just as many different opinions, I was no closer to reaching my final decision.

I ended up making a big mistake and purchasing the Desert Eagle 50 just because it looked cool. But this gun had no real practicality; it was like carrying a paving block, and shooting it felt like firing a bazooka. Additionally, it had an extremely slow cycle rate and a blinding muzzle flash, even in broad daylight.

I don’t want you to make the same mistake if I can help it, so I’m writing the article I wish I had read 25 years ago.

The most important factor to consider when choosing the right firearm for you is its purpose. Do you need a firearm for:

  1. Home defense
  2. Concealed carry
  3. Hunting
  4. Target shooting

Let’s break down each of these categories.

Home Defense

Typically, for home defense purposes, you will need a reliable weapon that offers great stopping power.

If you opt for a handgun, make sure you go above .22 and 32ACP caliber. One of the most popular home defense guns is a 9mm Sig Sauer P226, but you can explore your options with other manufacturers and calibers, like the .40 Glock 23 or the .45ACP Beretta PX4 Storm.

A shotgun is another commonly used weapon for home defense. If this is your weapon of choice, go for a 12-gauge shotgun like the Mossberg 590A1 or the Remington 870 and load it with 00 buck rounds. This type of shotgun shell has enough stopping power but is less likely to penetrate walls, so you won’t have to worry about killing or injuring an innocent bystander.

As far as rifles go, the AR-15 is simply irreplaceable. This rifle is lightweight, accurate, and produces low recoil. It is easy to move it from room to room, and one shot is enough to stop almost any human.

Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 is one of the best AR-15 rifles money can buy, but there are other, more affordable options that can do just as much damage, such as the Smith&Wesson M&P15 Sport II or Palmetto State Armory Complete AR-15s.

If you are looking for a weapon to protect your home and your loved ones, make sure you have shooting supplies in stock so that you are prepared for worst-case scenarios at all times.

Concealed carry

Here is what you need to consider when buying a handgun for concealed carry:

  1. Weight – you need a gun that you can carry comfortably, so go for lighter and thinner options, like Glock G43 or Taurus G2C.
  2. Reliability – your gun of choice should be able to withstand everyday practice shooting and still operate properly when you need it for defense purposes.
  3. Trigger – make sure you test the trigger before you purchase the gun. Typically you’ll need a gun with a trigger that is not too soft or too hard but go with the one that feels the most natural to you.


Typical hunting firearms are rifles and shotguns. But what kind of weapon, in particular, to choose for hunting will largely depend on what type of game you are going after – small, medium, or large.


A .410 shotgun like the Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I is a perfect choice for shooting small game animals like squirrels or rabbits. Anything bigger will blow your prey to pieces.

When it comes to rifles, the optimal caliber for small game hunting is .22LR. Many rifles from many different manufacturers chamber this type of ammo, including the Ruger 10/22 Takedown and Smith&Wesson M&P15 – 22 Sport.


If you want to go after a deer or feral hog, you’ll need a 12-gauge or 10-gauge shotgun; anything smaller puts the animal at risk of an unfatal wound and unnecessary suffering. Some of the most popular choices among medium-game hunters include Remington 870 Express, Winchester Sx4 Cantilever Buck, and TarHunt RSG.

If you want to go after your prey with a rifle, you will have many caliber options to choose from, including .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmore, and many more. Consequently, your rifle options will be almost endless – from vintage Winchester 94 to a more modern rifle like Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint.


You can use a 12-gauge or 10-gauge shotgun for hunting larger animals like bears or elks, but from closer range and with slug shells.

If you prefer long-range big-game hunting, you will need a rifle that can chamber .300 Winchester Magnum bullets, such as Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range or Savage 110 Hunter.

Closing thoughts

Buying your first firearm can be both exciting and overwhelming, but ultimately, you only have to make sure that you choose the weapon that fits your intentions and feels the most natural when you hold it in your hands.

I hope I’ve managed to transfer some of my experience to you and help you buy a firearm that will satisfy all your needs and expectations.

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