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Copyright © 2014 by Level 1 Firearms Safety and Training · Boise, ID · Meridian, ID · Nampa, ID · Caldwell, ID · E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Choosing a firearm is a personal decision - there’s no “right or wrong” firearm to purchase. If there is such a thing, you might want to characterize the “right”
firearm as one that meets your needs, one you are comfortable using and can handle effectively. A “wrong” firearm would be the completely opposite-bulky,
hard to use, does not meet your needs, spends its time in the safe, rather than with you!
That said, there are two “stereotypes” assigned to gun purchasers when they begin their quest for the “perfect” firearm. If you’re a man, the firearm salesperson
has you fitted with a 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol or a Glock Gen 2 before he's even introduced himself to you. If you are a woman, you’re going to need
the smaller, less powerful, less complicated, .22, .32, .38 caliber revolver. The truth of the matter, you won’t know what to buy because you can’t shoot it first to
If you do not own a firearm-don’t buy one until you have attended a firearms safety class. Tell the instructor you need to rent a gun, you want to fire different
models, calibers, makes, and models. At Level 1 Firearms Safety and Training, we’ve found many woman prefer the same caliber as men and they typically
choose a semi-automatic pistol over the revolver.
How will the Gun be Used?
Will it be used for both? If you choose to carry and conceal the firearm with you while away from your home, you’ll need to decide on a carry preference-
holsters, purses, backpacks, and fanny packs are just some of the options available. If you choose a holster or larger concealed carry device, you won’t need to
worry so much about the size of the gun. If you want to carry a small firearm in your pants pocket or a fanny pack, then the size of the firearm will have to be
At Level 1 Firearms Safety and Training, we have a saying:
“If it’s not on your person, it’s locked in a safe!”
We’re going to assume you’re considering the purchase of a firearm for personal protection while away from home as the primary purpose of the gun. We’re
The larger the gun, the more difficult it is to carry concealed
A larger handgun can be taken away from you easier than a smaller gun
A larger gun will have less recoil than a smaller gun
A smaller gun is easier to conceal and carry in public
A smaller gun is harder to take away from you
A smaller gun requires a bit more strength and dexterity to keep it under control
The caliber of the gun is based on the size of ammunition it will fire. The smaller the caliber, the less recoil it will have and the size of the projectile will be small.
The larger the caliber, the more recoil you will experience but the size of the projectile will be larger. This section of our site is dedicated to choosing a firearm;
if you want additional caliber information, please read our about ammunition page.
In general, any gun is better than no gun. Most “experts” agree a .22, .25, .32 caliber handgun isn’t powerful enough to stop an attacker, especially if they
are under the influence of a drug or alcohol. That’s all well and fine, but anyone getting hit by one of these bullets will eventually feel it! If you can’t pull the trigger
on a larger caliber gun, by all means use a smaller caliber gun!
We suggest you choose the largest caliber firearm you can safely and accurately use.
Choosing a Colorado Firearm
The Semi-Automatic Verses Revolver Debate
Revolvers have been around for a very long time; they are a tried and true proven performer. Revolvers are less
complicated then semi-automatic pistols, have less moving parts, will never jam, and will consistently deliver a
projectile whenever you pull the trigger. They consist of a rotating cylinder which holds the ammunition in place, As
the trigger is pulled (or the hammer is cocked with single -action revolvers), ammunition is rotated behind the barrel
and in front of the firing pin. Revolvers have a longer, harder trigger pull which assists in preventing unplanned
discharges but can also be a deterrent if you are weak or hurt. Revolvers can only hold 5-6 rounds of ammunition
which is quite limiting in a gun fight-especially if there are two or more bad guy’s. Revolvers have “speed loaders”
which are designed to load the revolver quickly-they are the equivalent to a semi-automatic pistol magazine.
Revolvers come in a variety of sizes. “Experts” will recommend a caliber of .38 Special, .357 (which also holds
.38 special ammunition), .40 S&W and .45. The larger the caliber, the heavier the gun, the larger the recoil.
Single-action revolvers do not load ammunition when the trigger is squeezed, requiring the operator to pull back the hammer before each firing event. In
a life-threatening situation, this is probably not the best type of revolver to have to protect yourself.
Double-action revolvers perform two steps simultaneously-they “cock” the hammer and rotate the cylinder at the same time. A double-action revolver will
continue to rotate the cylinder, provide a fresh round of ammunition to the gun, and complete the firing sequence with one complete pull of the trigger.
This is the type of behavior you’ll want when faced with a life threatening encounter.
Double-action only revolvers don’t have a “hammer” to cock. They rely on an internal firing mechanism and therefore, cannot be “manually cocked”. Aside
from this exception, the double-action only revolver behaves in the same fashion as the double-action revolver. One benefit with double-action revolvers
is the missing “hammer”, which makes the gun somewhat led likely to “snag” on clothing during presentation.
The Semi-Automatic Pistol
The one used by James Bond, 007 and our United States armed forces, populated on nearly every TV show and movie, the semi-automatic pistol is
show cased more often than any other gun.
Semi-automatic pistols are in many ways, the complete opposite of the revolver. They have an external magazine which holds the ammunition-with the
ammunition capacity as high as 15 or more rounds, magazine-style semi-automatic pistols are faster to reload, they rely on the pressure of a discharged
round of ammunition to reload, they expel the shell of the ammunition, have an easier trigger pull, many need to be “racked” (the slide pulled back and the
first round loaded into the chamber), and some allow you to carry “hot” (racked and loaded, one in the chamber, “battery-ready”) with a hammer design
similar to a revolver.
On the down-side, semi-automatic pistols are more likely to experience miss-feeds and other related functional problems that require the operator to
know how to clear those malfunction quickly, especially during a life-threatening encounter. This should not deter you from purchasing a semi-automatic
pistol because, with the correct amount of training and practice, jams, miss-feeds, and other mechanical problems are quickly resolved.
Cleaning a semi-automatic pistol is far more difficult than a simple revolver. Most semi-automatic pistols can break down into many small parts, making
the new firearm users a bit intimidated by the entire process. Don’t let this deter you-after a few cleanings you’ll wonder why it was so difficult the first
The best advice is to go out and shoot different caliber makes, models, revolvers, and semi-automatic pistols. Once you have settled on a personal
preference and have purchased a gun, you’ll need to learn how to use it safely and efficiently. Don’t just fire it once and place it in your safe! Practice
with your gun at least every 3-4 months, take lessons, target practice, train.
To schedule your next class or Home Safety Inspection
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