First Guns to buy and why

Hey all,

Thought I would spark some conversation about what and in what order you all think people should purchase for the first few Guns. I’ve included a blog post of mine that talks about what the very first gun I think someone should buy is.

The OP Blog - Part 1 First Guns to Buy and Why

This is considering that it would probably be the only gun a person would have for a while until the next purchase. This gun would serve as many roles as possible. Also that the buyer is not an untrained individual. I think we can all basically agree that in a perfect world everyone would learn on a .22LR rifle to nail down fundamentals to then upgrade. So unless your dead set on giving your daughter who moved out for college a ruger 10/22, let’s stay focused on capabilities, limitations, role management, and experience.

Happy discussing all!

For a pistol I would recommend a .380 or Makarov 9mm. People might as well try to get accustomed to shooting on a CO2 pellet gun as a .22. The fundamentals of trigger discipline and muzzle awareness is no more dangerous than a .22 and it gives more feedback, like recoil and percussion, so it is more like learning what they will experience with a larger gun, just less than a larger gun.
For a rifle someone needs to just step up to a real caliber-.30 cal, 30-06, 7.62x39 mm, even an AR. Playing with a tin can killer is pointless.

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First -12 gauge shotgun-ammo variety flexibility
Second-personal preference handgun -for carry
Third-battle rifle/ ex Scar17
Fourth -pistol in rifle caliber/ ex Papm92+ drum mag stock up in ammo
Fifth -Ammo hoarding for all the new stuff

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I started out with a .22 rifle when I was 10. Besides the basic fundamentals, I got to learn about maintenance, malfunction clearing and competition. If I could do it all over again, I would probably start with a pistol. I didn’t actually have a choice at the time but that’s another topic. Growing up in densely populated areas made it difficult to find outdoor ranges that had more than 100 yards to shoot at. As a result, I didn’t get to shoot as much as I wanted to. Most places were indoors and 50 yards max. With a pistol, I would have had more options to practice fundamentals that were appropriate for pistol shooting. If I could only have one gun and I still lived in NY, it would be a 9mm pistol as I could reliably find a place to practice and I could afford to feed it. Where I live now, I can shoot past 1,000 yards after a 10 minute drive from my house. If I could only have one gun where I live now, I’d take a rifle. Probably my AR since I’m so familiar with it.

If I was giving advice to someone for what gun they should be first, it would be wholly dependent on their circumstances.

1st Gun to buy: The 1911 (Full Size or Commander). I personally don’t care if it’s in 9mm, 45ACP, 10mm, whatever. The 1911 is going to likely be a great ergonomic fit in the hands for just about anyone who picks one up. Having this as a first gun is going to give you a weapon that has proven itself for over 100 years, has a great single action trigger, and it teaches you how to learn the basics of simple gun care. People usually run their 1911’s in my experience fairly wet, so you have to keep up on the maintenance to make them run. Great for someone who wants to learn the basics as they set aside some cash to get their next gun. On a plus side, the average person can conceal a commander size 1911, so you could hit 2 birds with one stone with this choice.

2nd Gun to buy: An AR-15 (DI, Gas Piston, Budget AR, Expensive AR - whatever). I tossed back and forth between getting a shotgun, another handgun, or an AR, and I decided to suggest the AR. Now that you have some fundamentals down with practicing with your 1911, you can start practicing shooting long distances in multiple positions and learn how to operate one of the most popular weapon platforms in the US and other countries in the world.

3rd Gun to buy: Striker fired handgun (HK VP series, Smith and Wesson M&P’s, Sig Sauer P320, Glock - whatever you want). Double Action/Single Action guns are awesome, and I love shooting a Beretta 92 any day of the week. But the world of the double/single action guns are IMO on the decline. Get a platform of a second pistol that features a bigger magazine capacity than your 1911 with the ability of potentially carrying easier than your 1911 (depending on what you decide to get and what you can carry). I say the gloves are off on this pic and it’s the shooters call - get a full size, compact, or subcompact striker fired handgun here - whatever you feel will work best with the skill set you’ve set practicing shooting between your 1st and 2nd purchases.

Thanks for reading!


I agree with @boringusername. A 1911, an AR, and some sort of striker-fired or SA/DA hammer-fired handgun. For younger shooters, a .22LR rifle, such as a Henry Classic Lever Action or Ruger 10/22 first, then move up as they get older. For most women, typically I have seen women prefer .22LR handguns first, then move up to .380 or 9mm. But for your average Man just getting into shooting, a 1911 (Rock Island is HIGHLY Recommended by me), an AR (something along the lines of a S&W MP15, or a DPMS Oracle, or Core 15 M4 Scout), and then a SA/DA or Striker-Fired pistol (Glock 17/19, Sig Sauer P320, CZ P09, Sig Sauer P226 or SP2022, etc.) is a good firsts list.


Thanks @EagleWings698 , glad we have great taste :slight_smile:

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I get the concept of owning a .22 for cheaper practicing and such, but 9mm, 762x39 or .223 is all cheap enough to make time spent more of the limiting factor with jobs and lives and range travel distance. They do make decent yard shooters if you have enough property, without bothering the whole valley.

I think the main inhibitor to newer gun owners is a gun being too complex to learn yourself (youtube&here have helped us greatly) and a gun being not fun to shoot, i.e. a C308 is never fun to shoot, whereas the caliber can be elsewhere. The user is certainly the key, If you are a hunter, I’m sure a shotgun or bolt gun would be ideal. I’m assuming the most generalized sort of new gun owner who is looking for home defense, conceal carry and/or fun.

  1. A compact 9mm pistol for versatility like a PZ-07, G19, M&P Shield striker or hammer per handlers preference.

  2. I say keep an open mind and dip into the surplus market and get an M1 carbine. It’s fine for home defense, works well against common critters like a rabid racoon and it’s very fun and easy to shoot. I don’t disagree with the whole AR or AK purchase, but aside from 2008 prices, they’re easy to get any time. The M1 has the same practical function, yet it’s something you will proudly pass down and it will constantly be increasing in value like most (all?) surplus guns.

I think any age or gender type user would be satisfied with those initially and could branch out as they choose without being intimidated.

Based on the referenced blog, I agree that the Glock or Canik would be a good first pistol. Basic, inexpensive, and reliable. Especially the Canik. The torture tests I’ve seen that pistol go through and it still runs is darn impressive. The 1911 is a great pistol for a little more money but don’t go too expensive. The best performing models tend to not like dirt much because they are so tightly fitted.

Based on other comments, I would go pistol, shotgun, and then an AR. One can’t beat a good pistol for personal defense nor the versatility even a basic pump shotgun provides. An AR just adds gravy to one’s situation, especially if it’s in a versatile caliber good for many hunting applications like 6.5 Grendel. It can still be used in an AR15 and gives more performance than 5.56/.223. Of course, 5.56/.223 is more available but if one is looking for the most versatility our of the first few guns, that would be how I would point people. After that, things can gets fleshed out better.

My personal view, the first of:

Revolver: S&W 66/686 or Ruger GP100 in a 4"

Pistol: CZ SP-01 Tactical or 75 BD add Kadet .22LR conversion

Rifle: Semi-Auto - AR15 and Ruger 10/22, Bolt - CZ527 & CZ455

Shotgun: Pump - Remington 870, Semi-auto - Remington 11-87, O/U - Browning Citori Lightning

What do you need a shot gun for? A rifle can do everything a shot gun can, and more. Personally, I have zero use for shot guns. They’re just dead weight.

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While you might think little of the shotgun. In reality it, and not the Winchester Repeating rifle or the Colt Peacemaker, was the gun that tamed the West.

If a rifle can do everything that a shotgun can, it’s only logical that a shotgun can do everything that a rifle can.

The question was first guns and why? Others made the points, I just add which I would purchase first.

No I said it can do more than a shot gun. But the weight is equal or more than an AR-15. I understand the question, I was just curious why would you want to buy a shot gun at all? I’d look at an AR first and foremost, if you live an Constitutional Carry State that is. Then a hand gun and bolt action hunting rifle, and that’s pretty much it. You cannot carry more guns anyway. You need to be able to move and sustain yourself on foot if need be. Being prepared for the absolute worst case scenario is a good thing. Collecting is fine but I’m a practical man and guns are just tools to me. YMMV. I don’t need more than 3 guns (pistol: 1911, fighting rifle: AR-15, hunting rifle: Winchester 70). I got rid of everything else a while ago, used to have tons of guns.


First, make sure the person is really interested in guns. I have saw people buy a gun just because their friends had some, then eventually traded it off for a three legged one eared dog.
This first gun needs to fill several categories, such as defense, hunting if so inclined, target shooting, and be cheap to shoot.
If it’s a girl, it needs to be lightweight and with little recoil, a boy or man might step up to something a bit larger.
I would not jump in with a weapon costing $1000, or a big bore, just because it’s what the big boys have and use.
It should also be simple to operate, and not prone to malfunctions.
For each weapon I could list, there would probably be 3-4 more that would work just as well, so I will pass on listing any.


You can avoid mentioning specific brands or models, but your advice is sound.

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Everyone ready to continue the discussion?

The OP Blog - Part 2 First Guns to Buy and Why is published. Let me know what you all think on the second gun i was thinking for a beginner and if the reasoning makes sense. Also if you all have something to add comment so we can provide more for our readers. Thanks all.
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I agree with the shotgun being the second purchase after a pistol in a caliber that the individual can operated and shoot well. The ammunition choices and the prices of a decent shotgun is hard to beat. It can be used for home defense, trap, skeet, small game, and big game hunting. Very few other firearms types have the versatility a shotgun provides, especially at the price point one can get a decent shotgun at. Granted, it’s not a long range firearm but that isn’t the main issue at hand. What would make the next, most “bang for the buck” versatility is. If all a person can afford is one or maybe two fire arms, a shotgun would be in there. I don’t necessarily agree that a 9mm pistol would be the best first pistol but a pistol should be the first purchase if the individual is old enough to own one or have one in their possession. From a self defense perspective, a pistol offers the most versatility for that purpose, whether it be a semiautomatic or a revolver in an effective round.

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Everyone ready to continue the discussion?

The OP Blog - Part 3 First Guns to Buy and Why is published. Let me know what you think about the third firearm being anice AR15. It talk mainly about the versatility of the platform and the many roles it could fill for someone new to guns. Thanks all.

I agree on the general concept. Which one to get and in what caliber is going to be very situational and geared toward intended use. 5.56/.223 is a bit light for deer hunting but it can be used. Where you live is going to dictate if an AR is going to be a practical home defense weapon. Like you mentioned, over penetration or a missed shot potentially exiting your residence and entering the neighbor’s could be a concern, especially in an apartment or condo. I live in a suburban community, so it’s a concern for me as well. Thus, I stick to pistols and shotguns for home defense. The pistol is a Judge with 000 Buck and the shotgun is a 12 Gauge with 00 Buck. Carry is a 45ACP semiautomatic. The chances of any of those entering another’s home is less likely, especially with the buck shot. But I’m wandering off the topic. In the right area, an AR would be a good home defense choice but it will be situational.

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Your first gun should be the one that makes you the most happy. No need to go worrying about ultra tacticool situations that way. Just, what gun makes you have a good time shooting it, cleaning it, and generally owning it?

I never recommend ARs to folks because they never spoke to me. I don’t enjoy them. However, I do love some guns that are objectively worse such as the SKS. However, an AR will speak to some folks and not others. Also, I’ve found that when you like a gun, you tend to shoot better with it. Not because of pure willpower or anything, but I think generally when someone likes a gun it’s because something abut it interfaces with them as a shooter. Of course, I think that is within reason- I doubt you’ll find many shooters who can hold equal scores with an SKS as they do to an AR. If they do though- more power to them.