I can still remember the day that I got the call, my LTC was in and I could come pick it up at my local police department. I remember getting the phone call I had been waiting for. I knew the LTC was complete, I just needed it in had, and then I could finally go and purchase the gun I knew I wanted. I wanted the HK P30SK. Now wait, you’re probably sitting there and thinking “whoah whoah whoah why that?” Well, guess what, that particular firearm was the gun that fit my hand like no other. Being able to customize the back-straps to perfectly fit my hand? Even better. I ordered that gun, and I remember being kinda sad that my local range didn’t have it in stock. Hell, I ordered the holster I wanted for it before I even ordered the gun. I was parked at a burger shop on the way to the gun shop and was like “shit I am going to need a holster” and ordered an Alien Gear 3.0 on the spot. So long story short, did I make a mistake? Nope. I will never ever consider this purchase a mistake, and to this day it is my favorite pistol that I own. But, that being said, I took a huge risk, and there are things I would change on how I purchased a first firearm or a new EDC weapon. So that is really what I want to talk about here, because right off the bat, this purchase could have been a $800 mistake just as easily.
Try Them All. Right when you start looking at getting your LTC (CCW or whatever your state calls it) anyone you know who is into guns is going to start suggesting guns that you might like, but what they are really telling you are the guns that they like. If you’re anywhere other than Massachusetts, people are going to be shouting for the Glock brand from the rooftops, and even here they do even though you pretty much have to buy used, and the prices are blown out of proportion on them. My suggestion is to go to a gun shop that allows your to test fire any of the pistols you might want. A local range here charges you $10 per gun you test fire, and then you get $10 off on a gun you buy. Rent the gun you think you might want, but hold them all. Large, small, single stack, double stack, everything. Gun preferences are as personal as tattoos honestly. Everyone might like a certain thing about a gun, but at the same time hate different things about that gun that makes it not for them. So go try every gun, see how they fit in your hand, and see how you like firing them.
Be Prepared. Now I am not talking about being prepared as in being prepared to carry the gun. Be completely trained. Be ready to spend hundreds of dollars training at the range. I want you to be prepared to spend the money on the gun you choose. That is the biggest thing that might deter someone from a certain gun, price. For example, the HK P30SK I got was $800 after taxes. I knew that going in so I was ready. If I hadn’t known what gun I wanted, and knew that that was the gun for me, I probably wouldn’t have picked it just due to the price. I would have said something about how I don’t need a gun that cost that much, and made excuses not to try it in fear that I would like it, but luckily I tried it and fell in love with it before I knew the price tag.
Check For Holsters. Now this is something that I didn’t check, but luckily unless you get a really weird gun you wont have issues with finding a holster for the gun of your choosing. My biggest thing though now is buying a quality holster. I’ve switched between carrying AIWB (the primary way I carry currently) and IWB at the 4 o’clock position. They both have their place for my lifestyle, but when I first carried, I dismissed AIWB without reason, and when I finally tried it with a quality holster (I highly recommend Tier 1 Concealed’s holsters for AIWB) it was way better than I ever thought. I tried a lower quality holster at first, and it never fit right and was slightly bulkier. Today there are tons of custom holster manufacturers, so I highly recommend doing your homework on the brand you’re considering, and if you need any help, feel free to shoot me a message on instagram or Facebook and I would be glad to help you out doing the research.
Take Your Time. My biggest tip, take your time. Don’t rush into picking out the gun of your choice. Maybe start looking before you even get your LTC, granted I think most people really do this already, but don’t be afraid to go spend the money to rent the gun at a range and shoot it. At least here, you don’t need an LTC in order to rent and shoot at ranges, so that is a good way to get some range time in, and really see if you like the gun you think you do.
So now you know that I don’t think that I made a mistake when I picked out my first firearm to carry, but more importantly now you know my four tips to make sure that you don’t risk making a mistake when you pick out your first firearm.