Finally, an update to the series. Quick recap:
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into what is probably the last installment in this series. What is left to find out before buying a gun? Well, not a lot, really. Mainly just track record.
In fact, reliability should be the first thing you look for in a gun. If it doesn’t go bang when it needs to, it’s an expensive brick.
If you purchase a gun for defensive use, you need to be able to trust it with your life. Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. This doesn’t apply to just an EDC carry pistol, either. This applies to every gun you plan on using defensively. A defensive weapon (be it gun, knife, sword, baseball bat, etc.) is something that you are planning on using when your back is against the wall and all other feasible options are gone. Deciding to attack another human with lethal force is something that is only justified when not doing so will reasonably result in your injury or death or that of another nearby.
When it’s time to “go to guns” as they say, you cannot afford for anything to fail. The number one thing to keep in mind when purchasing a gun is reliability. If the gun isn’t reliable, you won’t trust it. If you don’t trust it, you’ll have doubt. When you are in a literal life or death situation, doubt will only slow you down, and that’s if the gun doesn’t malfunction in your time of need. Don’t buy the cheapest gun in the store, get a quality weapon. Your are purchasing last-ditch life insurance, treat it as such.
So, what gun should you get specifically, assuming you’ve already nixxed all the unreliable options? If all your options are of the correct size, caliber, and utterly reliable? At that point, it’s really down to personal preference. Smith & Wesson, H&K, CZ, Beretta, FN USA, Ruger, there is no shortage of options out there. Even though there seems to be a pretty strict set of prerequisites to be considered for this role, there are tons of companies out there trying to fill it, and more than a handful that actually do.
Of course, Glock is the elephant in the room. A person cannot go wrong purchasing a Glock as their first gun, though I personally advise against it. Not because they aren’t good guns, but because of the tunnel vision they create. There’s something about a Glock as a person’s first semi-auto handgun that gives that person tunnel vision.
There are literally millions of people in the US who have only ever owned Glocks and see no reason to try anything else. They walked into a gun store as a newbie and the guy behind the counter sold them a Glock and they’ve never seriously tried anything else in their life, and now they spout the same rhetoric to everyone who asks them what they should get. These guys don’t even know what else is out there. Imagine if the only food you’ve ever eaten was a dry bologna sandwich. You’d never tried anything else in your life because the bologna was all you’d ever eaten, and when your friends ask you “what should I order?”, you always reply, without hesitation, “dry bologna on white”. What a sad, boring, uninspired life.
In contrast, people who primarily shoot stuff that aren’t Glocks seem to be much more open to the idea of shooting other brands’ guns. Of course, every brand has it’s fanatics. There are some people who only shoot Ruger pistols. Some people honestly believe that H&K guns imbued with kraut space magic. Some guys are diehard CZ shooters. I’m partial to S&W guns myself, but I see a lot of good stuff from other companies as well. Every company has it’s ‘fanboys’, but with most companies they are a rare exception. With Glock, such owners are the majority. I’ve seen internet gun guys who used to be firmly in the Yeager-esque ‘ALL GUNS SHOULD BE GLOCKS, AND ALL GLOCKS SHOULD BE 9MM!!!!’ camp who were given guns to review from other companies and ended up going off the deep end, getting into Berettas and FN and CZ pistols. Yet, I’ve never seen someone who started off shooting some other good quality polymer framed guns, shoot a Glock and become a convert to the Church of Gaston.
In conclusion: As long as you are purchasing a reliable gun with a proven track record, and doesn’t stray too far from the guidelines laid down in the previous posts, just get what you like. And avoid buying a Glock when possible.