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Some people are daunted by the prospect of learning how to properly operate their own personal firearm. However, this process doesn’t have to be arduous or difficult.

By starting out with the right firearm, a beginner gun owner can become proficient with a little practice time spent out at the range and a positive attitude. Getting the right gun from the get-go is essential for a beginner’s confidence.

If a beginner gets a large-framed .44 Magnum to start shooting with, chances are they will be turned off from guns pretty quickly. With the right equipment, an aspiring shooter can become deadly accurate and have fun while learning.

SIG Sauer P320

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SIG Sauer P320

  • Easy to shoot
  • Ambidextrous operations
  • Light trigger pull

With minimal recoil, a compact frame, and adjustable grip modules, new shooters can comfortably shoot and perfect their aim with the SIG Sauer P320.

Best Handguns for Beginners on the Market Today

Top 6 Best Handguns for Beginners: Starting Strong

1. SIG Sauer P320: Best Overall Handgun For Beginners

The P320 is a compact-sized pistol that is renowned for being one of the easiest to shoot handguns of all time. Every interior feature built into the P320 is made to bolster this gun’s ease of use.

Newcomers will feel confident and comfortable when they get their hands on the SIG Sauer P320. Combining power and minimum recoil is exactly what a first-time shooter wants from their first gun experience.

As well as being a great starter gun, the P320 also boasts numerous unique touches that really help it stand out against the rest of the semi-automatic pistols available on the market.

For example, the P320 has a threaded barrel, which gives it a unique look and also allows the barrel length to be slightly shorter and fit a compact frame. A compact-sized gun is one of the best options for someone learning to shoot because they are easier to carry.

Offering a smooth and crisp trigger pull, new shooters are not thrown off by excessive force required to squeeze the trigger, which helps produce a more accurate shot. The gun is also very modular, ensuring it is accessible to a variety of different hand sizes. The operation of this firearm is also completely ambidextrous, so anyone can use it.

Pros

  • Easy to shoot
  • Ambidextrous operations
  • Light trigger pull

Cons

  • No manual safety

2. Glock G43: Best Concealed Carry Handgun For Beginners

If concealed carry is your primary concern as a beginner shooter, the Glock 43 is the gun for you. The G43 is a subcompact pistol, its small size allowing it to virtually disappear inside a holster or appear completely innocuous if carried under clothes.

Still packing the same power and performance as Glock’s other, larger models, the only things you are sacrificing with the G43 is ammo capacity and grip size, but for a subcompact gun, the grip is still pretty decent.

Featuring a single-stack ammo clip, the G43 remains at just over an inch in width, making it one of the easiest and most comfortable guns to carry. 

The easy-to-handle frame may help ease the minds of new shooters who are intimidated by larger weapons. Glock’s signature reliability and accuracy will be sure to build up any practicing gun owner’s confidence very quickly as they become more comfortable.

The grip on this Glock is aggressively built, allowing for a high and tight hold on the weapon, ensuring its small size does not radically impact handling. A built-in beaver tail design also allows for more grip room. The grip itself is designed with a unique texture that helps negate the chances of the gun falling or slipping from the shooter’s hand. Just as tough as any other Glock model, the G43 is an excellent place to start for any new shooter.

Pros

  • Ultra-concealable
  • Durable
  • Accurate

Cons

  • Low ammo capacity

3. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield: Best Handgun For Beginner Women

The Shield is Smith & Wesson’s answer to the Glock 43. It is the subcompact model for S&W’s celebrated Military & Police line of handguns. The M&P line is one of the most successful and celebrated pistol lines in the modern gun world, so you can be sure that the Shield is a quality firearm and an excellent starting point for new shooters who are women.

Being a subcompact firearm, the Shield will never feel like too much to handle. The Shield strikes the perfect balance that many subcompact pistols fail to find. It is small and slim, yet also provides excellent handling and maneuverability. The one-inch profile also makes this gun easily one of the best firearms to use concealed carry. 

Chambered in 9mm, the M&P Shield does not generate excessive recoil allowing for easy use by any type of shooter and body type.

Providing excellent stopping power, carrying the Shield keeps gun owners feeling safe and secure no matter where they are. Having a reliable method of defending yourself is one of the most empowering things in the world, and that is one of the reasons why so many women stand behind their Shields.

The gun has had enduring popularity among female demographics, and for good reason. The Shield also has a slightly larger ammo capacity than most other subcompact pistols at eight rounds.

Pros

  • Trusted by women
  • Higher ammo capacity
  • Great handling

Cons

  • The slide takes a little more force

4. Glock 19 Gen 5: Best Handgun For Beginner Home Defense

When it comes to home defense, you want the best weapon possible, and that’s the Glock 19. The G19 is a compact-sized 9mm striker-fired pistol. Its compact size allows for ease of use and makes it an easy gun to learn quickly.

Glock is known for its reliability and accuracy, and those features have never been more prevalent than with the G19. This gun truly represents the best that a home defense handgun can offer new shooters.

A compact-sized handgun is optimized for beginner shooters and home defense scenarios. It offers the best control and maneuverability, which is incredibly important for home defense. Combat inside a home requires clearing rooms and corners, which is why handling is so imperative. 

flared magazine well also makes reloading much quicker, even under the most stressful situations.

The G19 has been worked on and improved to reach pinnacle performance with the Gen 5. Internal modifications have done what many thought was impossible, which is making the already incredible G19 even more accurate and reliable. Other redesigns include eliminating finger grooves, allowing shooters to find their perfect grip uninhibited.

Rough textured frame surface design bolsters the user’s hold on the weapon and ensures a firm grip, even with sweaty or wet hands. An integral accessory rail also allows for tactical attachments like lights and laser targeting.

Pros

  • Superior handling
  • Tactically optimized
  • Simplicity

Cons

  • Not as optimal for concealed carry

5. Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0: Best Semi-Auto Handgun For Beginners

While this handgun may be a full-sized model, what makes it great for beginners is that this gun is the pinnacle of achievement for S&W’s M&P line. Every gun that came before it led up to the M&P 2.0. Decades of research removed any kinks and distilled a number of winning features into one fantastic firearm.

Undoubtedly Smith & Wesson’s most high-performance gun, the M&P 2.0, brings a level of assurance to new shooters when they know that they have the best of the best in their hands.

With practice at the range, a new shooter can master this full-sized handgun in a short matter of time. 

It just shoots so nicely there is unlikely to be a factor that complicates things for someone who is unfamiliar with guns.

Another winning factor for new shooters is the gun’s modularity. It has four interchangeable grip swells which allow it to fit a wide range of hand sizes, offering the perfect grip for better accuracy.

When talking about the M&P 2.0, one would be remiss to not mention its durability and endurance. This gun is a worthy investment as it will last you for the long haul and never decline in performance. The reinforced stainless-steel chassis protects the gun’s internal workings from whatever collisions and trauma the gun might encounter out in the world.

The metal components of the gun are coated in an Armornite finish, effectively protecting them from corrosive elements allowing the gun to function in any environment.

Pros

  • Easy to learn quickly
  • Versatile
  • Modular

Cons

  • May initially be harder to handle

6. HK VP9: Best 9mm Handgun For Beginners

While this may initially seem like an unconventional choice for beginners, the HK VP9 could be just what a shooter in training needs to build their confidence and become an effective firearm wielder.

The primary reason for this is Heckler & Koch’s unique “light pull” trigger system. This trigger model offers near-effortless shooting, allowing beginners to get a simple taste of the power behind this excellent gun. The 9mm rounds are also perfect for starters, as it provides ample power while also not generating that much kick.

This gun is also expertly crafted and designed with impeccable precision. 

The cold-hammer-forged barrel is constructed from cannon grade steel, ensuring that the shooting life of this gun is going to be long and high-performance the entire way through.

The polygonal bore profile also increases muzzle velocity, allowing for the bullet to travel even faster toward its intended target.

Another major bonus for beginners is that the VP9 addresses one of the most common issues that new shooters encounter, which is having trouble racking the slide backward. The VP9 includes rear-mounted charging supports that make slide racking much easier and quicker, resulting in fewer fumbles and less energy expended.

The gun is also fully ambidextrous, allowing for a broad range of shooters to experience what the VP9 has to offer.

Pros

  • Easy slide
  • Light trigger pull
  • Expertly crafted

Cons

  • Potentially challenging grip texture

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SIG Sauer P320

SIG Sauer P320

While all these guns are excellent choices, the SIG Sauer P320 takes the cake as the best gun for beginners of all time. It is simply the most versatile option. Part of what makes the gun so widely accessible is the P320’s modular capabilities and low recoil. It is also crafter for use by both right- and left-handed shooters.

The threaded barrel allows for a smaller overall barrel length and frame, making this a great choice for shooting and concealed carry. The crisp trigger pull makes the P320 one of the smoothest-shooting pistols for a beginner to learn their aim. Whether you have small hands or large hands, the P320 is made to fit comfortably in your grip.

With all of these features, the SIG Sauer P320 is sure to be a favorite of beginners and seasoned shooters alike.