Making the First Pistol Purchase Count

My first experience shooting handguns came with my dad. We were out collecting firewood, and he asked if I wanted to take a shooting break. For a kid looking to get out of work, the shooting break sounded great. He pulled from the old white Chevy, a PT45. It was after I’d taken my lumps with the .45 that I began to think about the moment I’d buy my first pistol.

I obtained my CCW and my first handgun, a Springfield Armory XD, in 2001. When I’d saved enough money for the purchase, the cash practically set my britches on fire. There are a million reasons as to why someone lands on gun purchases, especially a first handgun. Here’s what it boiled down to for me and why I’d buy that gun 100 times over.

The reason I chose the old XD can be summed up with one word, research. I’d taken no more than 20 trips to the xdrange to test a wide variety of pistols, and I kept landing on the XD. I would enter the range and try out three guns during the outing. At first, I cast a wide net, testing out numerous pistols. Each time I’d go to the range, the list shrunk. By the time my birthday arrived, I'd made my decision.

At that time, the XD had everything a first-time concealed carrier should possess to feel comfortable carrying. It also had a loaded chamber indicator that I found extremely useful as a fledgling carrier. The grip safety was a huge positive, and the fact that I shot the gun great helped. The XD platform was designed for daily use, and the company continues to implement that into every new gun that leaves the factory. A recent launch of the Springfield Armory Hellcat proves the company continues to provide a carry platform for new and old shooters. The biggest mistake first-time handgun buyers make is the lack of research and shooting.

I've bought many guns off folks who simply took their buddy’s word for it. They didn't bother going to the range or shooting a gun before making the purchase. Look, my ergonomics isn't the same as the next guy. Unless I can shoot a gun first, I won't make the purchase.

Springfield Armory continues to pump out XD pistols to this day, and yes, I have sent quite a few rounds down range with these updated models. The three-inch sub-compact Defender Series is a new-found favorite. It’s a small frame, which holds 13+1 rounds of 9mm. But don’t take my word for it. Start the testing process now so you can make your next pistol purchase count. ~ KJ

Kevin Jarnagin
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.