Five Tips for Choosing the Right Handgun for You

Knowing how to choose a handgun can be confusing, especially if you are new to shooting. To help you, Bristlecone Shooting, Training, and Retail Center, an indoor shooting range in Lakewood, Colo., has put together the following tips to guide you through the process of choosing the right firearm for you.

  1. Determine how the firearm will be used and your purpose. Will you use it for target shooting at a range or for self-defense? Will you conceal it, or keep it at home or in your car? The type of gun you choose will need to match your purpose.
  2. Set a budget for how much you will need to spend. Again, your purpose or goal with owning a firearm will impact the kind of firearm you will buy and you’ll need to budget properly for it. Don’t forget to also budget for ammunition and appropriate storage for your new handgun. You can talk to our experts at Bristlecone to get an idea of how much these things will cost.
  3. Consider caliber and size. Caliber refers to the bullet size that you will use in your handgun. You’ll need to refer back to your goal/purpose associated with the purchase here. Larger caliber guns are bigger and heavier.  How much capacity (number of bullets the gun can hold in its magazine) do you want or need?  If your goal is to have a handgun that you can conceal, you may have to sacrifice some capacity.  If you are purchasing a handgun for home defense and it will largely live in a safe in your home, you can increase the caliber and capacity, since you won’t have to carry it on your person.  The 9MM is the most affordable and readily available caliber, and is appropriate for home and personal defense if you’re considering a semi-automatic handgun.
  4. Choose wisely for comfort, too. Whatever firearm you select, it will need to be comfortable for you to handle. You should be able to operate all of its mechanisms correctly and smoothly. If you aren’t comfortable using it, it won’t be something you want to practice with and is probably not the right option for you.
  5. Get trained properly on how to use your firearm. This last step is one of the most important ones. It makes good sense to get trained on how to use your firearm safely and efficiently.  You’ve gone through the trouble and expense of selecting a handgun, so you should make sure it’s something that you know how to use if you need to.  Establishing the proper muscle memory associated with firearms skills takes practice and time.  Firearms skills are also perishable.  Once you learn the basics, you will need to plan for a regular practice or range time schedule to keep your skills fresh.

Bristlecone has a full retail store and indoor range and gun rental program, two gunsmiths, firearms instructors and regular classes, as well as competitive matches and two shooting simulators all geared towards helping you with select and practice with your firearms. Bristlecone caters to shooters of all skill levels and abilities. To learn more about Bristlecone or our membership services, range, firearms training classes, or retail store, visit Bristlecone at or call 303-985-0989.