Before you purchase any gun, you need to be familiar with the handgun laws of your state governing who can own, possess, carry (in plain view) and carry (concealed) firearms. Ignorance of the law is no excuse when you go to court, and most states do not honor permits issued in other jurisdictions. Additionally, no one should own or carry a firearm until they have been trained in its use, proper maintenance, and safe storage. The best solution is to take a state certified firearms training class before you purchase your gun.
Because there are so many makes, models, and calibers of firearms available, in all price ranges, it is necessary to define what is meant by the term “best”. The best gun is one which fits comfortably in your hand and is suitable for your needs. Below are some handgun uses you might consider:
Reason to for choosing the best handgun
1. Target practice handgun. If your primary person for buying a gun is to become proficient at hitting a target, the weapon of choice would be a .22 caliber pistol with a six or eight inch barrel. The .22 is the smallest caliber of ammunition in common usage, and thus the most affordable if you are going to be firing a lot of rounds. Generally speaking, the longer the barrel, the greater the accuracy. For beginners, .22s have less recoil and are easier to learn to use.
2. Home defense handgun. Practically any pistol will fit the bill. The purpose is to hopefully frighten an intruder without having to shoot. If you have to shoot, experts concur that a larger caliber weapon using hollow point ammunition is the best way to stop an intruder, so a 9 mm or .45 caliber pistol would be a good choice.
3. Concealed weapon handgun. The purpose of carrying a concealed weapon is self defense. Smaller weapons are obviously easier to conceal, and a shorter barrel is harder for an attacker to grab. Over 75 percent of the time, just brandishing a gun will fend off an attacker, but if you must shoot you want the maximum number of rounds with reasonable stopping power. A .380 or 9 mm automatic with a 2 inch barrel would be the best handgun for this purpose.
4. All purpose weapon. When selecting the best handgun for all uses, you must realize that anything that is all purpose, will be less than optimal for a specific use. A reasonably concealable handgun with excellent stopping power but more affordable ammunition would be a 9mm automatic with a 4 inch barrel.
5. Investment. Gun prices usually just go up. What you might want today will cost more next year. Collectible pistols will go up the most, as an investment.