I've owned guns since I was a teenager.  Mostly rifles, a few shotguns, and a hand me down .22 revolver.  I'd always wanted to buy a handgun for personal protection, and to bring to the range.  For a long time it was hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on one, but the time finally came.  I was ready to start my search. 

So what do you do?  You start asking friends and people you know about "what's a good gun?"  And then...

1.  "Gun people" are really passionate about guns; handguns especially.

One person will tell you a Glock is a piece of junk, and another will tell you it's the best thing ever made.   One person will tell you a 9mm is too weak of a round, and another will tell you a .45 is overkill.  You really need to weed out a lot of the information, and learn to spot facts from opinions.

2.  Prices for the exact same gun can vary GREATLY.

Usually when you go buy an item, you can get it relatively the same amount of money at another store.  I was shocked when I was pricing out guns that some stores could be HUNDREDS of dollars more for the same gun.  It really pays to shop around.

3.  The right handgun will pick you.

Probably the best piece of advice I got when looking for a gun was to buy something that's comfortable.  I tried out several handguns before I found one that just fit right.  It just felt comfortable.  It was like it picked me.  Luckily I had a friend who had the same model I was looking, so I could go out and shoot it to see if I liked it.  I did!  It's always nice if you can try out a certain model and save a lot of money making a mistake.

4.  Some people react strangely to your purchase.

I was talking with a shooting friend at work about my purchase, and a few other people overheard me.  They asked, "Why do you need a gun?"  "Oh, I didn't think you were that kind of guy."

What's that mean? Plus, they know I'm a hunter and I own several other guns.  What's different about a handgun?

5.  It is actually kind of different.

My wife was saying it was going to take a little bit of time for her to get used to the gun being in the house, even though I have it locked up safely.  I assured her there was no difference between having that and a rifle in the house.  But then it occured to me.  There is a difference.   Kids tend to play with handguns more.  You see crime and violence associated with a handgun more.  It is a little different.  I just make extra sure I'm being smart and safe with it.

And in case you were wondering, I ended up buying a Glock 23.  I feel I've made a good choice and so far I love it.