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What is the best gun for beginners?

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What is the best gun for beginners?

Colt Walker Reproduction

Photo by Older Firearms, Creative Commons License
Question: What is the best gun for beginners?
A lot of people who are new to gun collecting want to know which gun they should buy first. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, here are the things to consider when making your first gun purchase.
Answer: The first thing to consider is the purpose your guns will serve. Do you want to collect showpieces to display in a case? Are you interested in guns for home defense? Are you planning to carry your guns on your person? Perhaps you want build a collection of guns for hunting. Or are you interested in some combination of these things?

Once you can identify the purpose of your gun collection, the next logical step is to decide if you are interested in any particular sub-category of guns. For example, if you plan to collect guns to display, perhaps you want to focus on Civil War era weapons or limited edition guns. If you want guns to carry, you might have a special interest in law enforcement firearms. While narrowing down your interests can give your collection focus, it's also perfectly common to collect guns of all types.

Once you have decided to narrow your focus (or not), here are some suggestions for guns that would make a great start to any collection. If possible, visit a gun store or firing range to see the guns you are considering in person. Simply holding a gun in your hand can help you to determine if a gun is right for you.

Handguns

  • Springfield XD -- The XD is an ideal personal defense weapon. It is a semi-automatic that is used by many law enforcement personnel and civilians, alike.
  • Model 1911 -- This semi-automatic pistol is so reliable and accurate that the United States Armed Forces used it as their official sidearm for several decades.
  • Glock 19, Glock 26, or Glock 36 -- The quality and reliability of these semi-automatic handguns is undisputed. Choose your particular model based on size and caliber preferences.
  • Sig Sauer P226 or P229 -- These semi-automatic pistols are in use by law enforcement officials and military units all over the world.

Hunting Guns

  • Remington 870 -- This pump-action shotgun is the best-selling shotgun of all time and is considered to be a basic essential for any gun collection.
  • Ruger 10/22 -- This .22 caliber rifle is popular for both hunting and plinking and is easily customized to fit the owner's needs and wants.
  • Marlin 336 XLR -- Many deer hunters own a Marlin 336 and it is one of the best selling high-powered rifles in the United States. Although it is considered by some to be ideal for a beginner, hunters of all capabilities appreciate the quality and dependability of the 336.
  • Browning T-Bolt -- This rimfire rifle is extremely accurate and easy to load, making it a good choice for small-game hunters.
  • Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 -- This bolt-action rifle is a popular choice for deer and big-game hunters. Weatherby is known for making high quality, but somewhat expensive, firearms. The Vanguard is the company's budget line of guns but as long as you stick with the Series 2, you'll still be getting a quality Weatherby at a lower price.

Showpiece Guns

  • Colt Walker -- This single-action revolver was the predecessor to the Colt Dragoon. The Walker was designed in 1846 and only 1,100 of the guns were manufactured. Authentic Colt Walkers have gone for as high as $1,000,000.
  • Colt Baby Paterson - This extremely rare pocket revolver was produced in the 1830's in limited numbers. Depending upon the specific model and its condition, a Baby Paterson can range in price from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Kentucky Pistol or Kentucky Rifle - These guns were made individually by hand in the 1700's and later came to be known as Kentucky Pistols and Kentucky Rifles. They are beautiful firearms with wood stocks and brass details. Many of them are true works of art. Depending upon the age and condition, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for one.
  • Queen Anne Pistol - These flintlock pistols were produced in the early 1700's. They are unique in that the barrel can be unscrewed from the gun for easy loading. These beautiful guns are sometimes adorned with decorative silver or brass, making them ideal for display. Depending upon condition, you can find one for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
  • Henry Deringer Pistol (a.k.a. Philadelphia Deringer) - These pocket guns were produced in the 1800's and have been duplicated by many manufacturers over the years. For a true showpiece, though, seek out an actual Henry Deringer derringer. These can range in price from around $1,000 to several thousand dollars.
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