MONDAY CONTINUING EDUCATION SERIES (PART 8)
Purchasing a handgun:
There are many factors to consider in purchasing a handgun. As previously discussed, a proper fit is most important !
Next, consider how you plan to use your handgun. Is it for home defense only or will you carry it daily ? Is the pistol going to be used only for target practice ? These considerations matter. It would be pretty difficult to carry a 6" .44 magnum in your waistband under your T-shirt, but it makes a great home defense or hunting pistol. If you're going to carry the pistol daily, HOW will you carry it ? In your waistband (with a proper holster of course) ? In your bra (yes there is a holster for that !) ? On your ankle ? In a purse ? Here again, size matters. If you're looking for a daily carry pistol it also needs to be comfortable to wear, and concealable. If it's not, it'll end up getting left at home and won't be there when you need it. This is where looking at several models really helps in the decision process.
For most of us, price is another important consideration. SHOP AROUND ! You may find prices vary widely. Don't be afraid of making an online purchase, the process is not difficult and may (or may not) save you money. In order to purchase a firearm from an online source, the firearm has to be shipped to a licensed dealer who will then complete the process and turn the firearm over to you. You will need to select a receiving dealer (known as an FFL at checkout or immediately after making the purchase. Check with your favorite local dealer and ask if they're willing to provide this service. Dealers charge a small fee for this service, typically $25-$35. One benefit to purchasing online is that the online dealer might have it in stock when it is not available locally. Another benefit is you typically do not pay sales tax for online purchases. Depending on the price of the gun you are purchasing this can be a significant savings, and may even more than cover the fee for a dealer to receive for you. The downside to online purchase is that you do not get to hold the firearm before you purchase. If it's used, you do not have the opportunity to inspect its' condition. You have to know what you're looking for when purchasing online. I suggest finding a good fit locally, then shopping around for the best price if you're making an online purchase. The big advantage to buying locally is customer service ! Excellent customer service is worth a few extra dollars. A good local dealer will sit with you and explain the features of the pistol and demonstrate how to take it apart for cleaning and put it back together. If you're new to handguns, this is VERY important ! Beware of the dealer who makes assumptions about you and steers you toward something he/she thinks you'd like (or that he/she would like to sell because it's been in inventory too long). Again, good dealers give excellent customer service and help you find what works best for you. If you live in North Carolina, you will need to have either a pistol purchase permit of a concealed carry handgun permit in order to take your pistol home. This is not required for long guns, but we're focused here on hand guns. A concealed carry handgun permit requires an 8 hour class plus a range qualification. It's important to find a GOOD instructor who will actually teach what you need to know. A pistol purchase permit is obtained from your local Sheriff's office and costs $5 for each permit. I always recommend you get several permits at once so you do not have to go through that process repeatedly. WARNING: Purchasing a handgun is like getting a tattoo. You'll soon want another ! Purchase permits are valid for 5 years. Once again, please feel free to ask questions. I'm always happy to help and to welcome new shooters to the world of hand gunning.