Choosing a new handgun?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by CampingJosh, Dec 30, 2010.

Which factor is most important as you make a handgun purchase decision?

Poll closed Jan 14, 2011.
  1. Feel in your hand (ergonomics)

    27 vote(s)
  2. Size/weight/appearance (physical characteristics)

    8 vote(s)
  3. Reviews/referrals/company reputation

    5 vote(s)
  4. Style (revolver vs. auto) & cartridge

    10 vote(s)
  1. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Every person has different criteria for determining which firearms "fit," and no two people are just alike. However, the decision to purchase a new handgun will almost always come down to five main factors:

    1) Feel in your hand (ergonomics)
    2) Size/weight/appearance (physical characteristics)
    3) Price & value
    4) Reviews/referrals/company reputation
    5) Style (revolver vs. auto) & cartridge

    In a perfect world, the price wouldn't matter, and we would all be able to purchase exactly the handgun we wanted the first time, every time. For this reason, "price & value" was omitted from the poll. (I had to drop one of them. :eek:)

    However, in order to get a real feel for how everyone else makes their purchase decisions, I'd really like to hear how you guys rank these five factors in order of importance to you (and also include anything else that weighs into your decisions).
  2. ALR

    ALR New Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    St. Peters MO

  3. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Here's how I decide:

    1) Ergonomics. If it doesn't fit me, nothing else can ever make me like it (except maybe a price tag that reads "free" :D).
    2) Price & value. I wish I were able to purchase just whatever I want, but I'm not there yet. Working really hard to be able to retire that way, though.
    3) Reviews/referrals/company reputation. I take magazine reviews with a grain of salt (I've never read a negative one), but I tend to listen to friends, both in person and on here.
    4) Size/weight/appearance. This one only matters to me when I'm looking fill a specific "job opening." My "everyday pocket carry gun" can't really be full-size SIG, even though I would really like to have a P226.
    5) Style & cartridge. This is generally the least important to me. I like both revolvers and autos. Many guns are available in multiple calibers, so this is usually the easiest to fix, too.

    But that's just me. I want to know how you guys make decisions.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  4. huston_farms

    huston_farms New Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    For me, ergonomics and feel are huge. If it doesnt fit then its not going to be accurate in my hands. creating muscle memory for safeties or controls can be accomplished, but ive found that if it doesnt "feel right" im not going to be able to fire with any reproducable accuracy. My second biggest factor is the materials that make up the weapon. I like certain parts to be made out of certain materials that are strong and fitted well. As far as price is concerned it seems that you get what you pay for. cheap firearms and accessories tend to be cheap in other ways as well.
  5. I would suppose, in my case, the primary concerns are weight, caliber, fit, and price, in that order. The more I experience light weight handguns the more I like em. In my 20's my back up handgun when big game hunting was a 6" carbon steel .357 but these days its a Charter Bulldog (original) 3" 44spec. Of course in my 20's my deer rifle was a sporterized 03A3 with a 24" bbl, MonteCarlo stock, and 3-9x40, and today its usually a 6.5 Sweede that I built with size and weight specifically in mind. It has a 17" bbl, is set in a blind magazine Choate stock, and wears a 3-9x32 in alum rings and bases, and weighs in @ 6.2 lb with full mag and sling.
  6. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    i've been burned so many times because i went with looks and feel rather than a good solid review. i now count on reviews 1st and then go with feel. one example comes to mind. the amt back up in 9mm looked good felt good performed poorly, s&w sigma felt good in the hand looked good and performance was less than acceptable
  7. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    I'd say they're all important, but someone else's review or referral of a handgun makes a big difference. Especially when it's other shooters like you guys on here that have used the product firsthand. After that I'd go by ergonomics. If I don't feel comfortable shooting it, I will hate it.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  8. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    12435....... just because Billy-Bob likes it is no sign that I will. If it doesn't feel "right", I"ll never shoot it enough to become proficient with it... in which case I'll pass.......... I don't even wear shoes that are not comfortable.
  9. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    IMHO, all 5 choices are important. I on the other hand I choose a caliber first. I don't like much out there that doesn't start with a 4. I like the .44's, and .45's, so once I decide which caliber I want I then decide if I want a wheel gun, or a simi-auto. Once I've got that far, then your 5 choices come into play.
  10. tcox4freedom

    tcox4freedom Well-Known Member

    Thanks for saving me some typing CJ.

    I choose my guns pretty much the same way. Though, my next HG purchase will most likely be a 9mm or a little 22lr plinker. (Caliber 1st)
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    reputation and style are the main factors for me. gun has to look good to the eye and not be known as junk

    the only gun i know that doesnt feel right in my hand is glock 19/23. desert eagles dont feel great but not bad.
  12. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2009
    Ohio NRA Member
    I would have to say all 4 have to go hand in hand with me. If the "feel" isnt there for me, It wont work and I cant be "at one" with it and my intrest isnt going to be there.
    The reviews is a good plus as to it's already been around the block a time or two.
    The cartridge has a lot to do with it as well, bullet caliber-barrel ratio goes into play big time as well.
  13. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    i really dont care much about caliber. the gun has to be reliable though
  14. blackspyder

    blackspyder New Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Ergonomics, Size, Cal., Reviews/Personal experience, in that order. I don't want to own guns that are too big or small for my hands, I'm not CC'ing a Desert Eagle or attempting to hit bulls eyes at 50 yrds w/ a 2 inch barrel, and I prefer to get most guns in calibers I already have (good selection to choose from). Reviews rarely play a part in the decsion making process but if the gun feels cheaply made I wont buy it.
  15. MoreGuns

    MoreGuns New Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Well, I guess I'll be the contrarian here (no flames please). The first criteria in choosing a handgun is the purpose that it will serve. Is it a self-defense gun? A concealed carry gun? A special purpose target gun? A plinker? An interesting addition to your collection?

    Once you've made the decision on the purpose (or purposes) of the gun, then you can start to think over the other factors. For example, if the primary purpose is self-defense and the user has relatively little handgun experience, I'd probably recommend a revolver over a auto. Likewise, this situation demands a caliber that will effectively do the job, so a .22, although better than nothing, would not be my first choice.

    So, in terms of the factors listed, my rating of the factor might change depending on the ultimate use of the gun.
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