In my last post I discussed Jared Silverman’s article, Rethinking Gun Control. I wanted to follow up on that with some recommendations on what a new Jewish American gun owner might want to buy after getting some training.
In my opinion, the most versatile gun that one can own for defense is a handgun, for the simple reason that it can pull double duty as both a home defense weapon and one that can be kept with you when you’re out and about. A gun is like a fire extinguisher, it’s only useful if you have one available (and know how to use it, of course).
Luckily for the modern American gun owner there is a wide choice of handguns available for self defense. For new shooters, I recommend buying one with the following characteristics:
- Firing the 9mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO cartridge
- Made of stainless steel or have a good rust-resistant finish
Semiautomatic pistols are those which fire one bullet per pull of the trigger and which are fed from a detachable magazine which holds the ammunition (with the exception of some antique designs we won’t consider here). Common examples of modern semiautomatic pistols are the Glock 17 and 19, Springfield Armory XD-9, and the Smth & Wesson Military & Police 9. All of these have plastic frames with metal parts made of either stainless steel or finished with an anti-corrosion treatment.
I’m recommending a semiauto as opposed to a revolver because they are easier for new shooters to fire accurately, plus they hold more ammunition, which would be important if dealing with a group of assailants. They are also easier to maintain, and modern designs handle abuse and neglect better than revolvers.
I recommend choosing a pistol which fires 9mm ammunition because the 9mm is widely available, affordable, effective, and does not recoil very much, so it’s easier for new shooters to become proficient with.
The stainless or rust-resistant finish is important because it reduces (but does not eliminate!) the amount of maintenance the owner must perform.
Don’t rush into buying a self defense pistol. It’s an investment of several hundred dollars, so if at all possible, try to handle a variety of guns and see which one feels most comfortable in your hands. If possible, go to a range where you can rent and shoot them to see which one you like best.
For example, the pistols I mentioned above are all high quality, reliable designs. However, I’ve found that Glock don’t fit my hand well (which is a shame because they are extremely reliable and relatively inexpensive). When I decided I wanted a modern, polymer-framed semiauto pistol I shot my father’s Smith & Wesson M&P-9, and then handled one side by side with a Springfield XD-9, an example of which I’d fired before. After handling the S&W and the Springfield next to each other I decided to buy the Springfield because it felt just a little bit better in my hands. I’ve been very pleased with it.
Part of the training you need to take is making yourself familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction regarding the use of deadly force.