Best Handguns For Beginners – 2020 Complete Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best handgun for a beginner can be tricky. If you have never used a handgun for concealed carry or target shooting, chances are you are not alone. But we are here to help you find the best one that will function properly and will last you a long time (among a handful of benefits).

If you are looking for a handgun, you may notice that there are a lot of them that are available on the market. But to make it easier on you, we hand-picked five of the best handguns for beginners. These are considered the best in the business for a multitude of reasons.

Before we get to the list itself, we are going to talk about whether or not any handgun can be used by a beginner and how to choose a handgun for your own use.

Comparison Chart of the Best Handguns For Beginners

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Glock G19X G5 9MM

  • The capacity of 17 + 1 rounds
  • Chambered to fire 9mm shots
  • Best overall handgun for beginners
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Smith & Wesson S&W M&P M2.0 Compact

  • 15 + 1 round capacity
  • Chambered to fire 9mm shots
  • Runner-up for best handgun for beginners
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Walther Arms CCP M2

  • Magazine capacity of 8 rounds
  • Best beginner handgun for the money
  • Made from steel and high-quality polymer
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Kahr Arms CW9

  • Contains 7 + 1 rounds
  • Best 9mm handgun for beginners
  • Grips made from textured polymer
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Springfield Armory XD-S Mod-2

  • Made from high-quality polymer
  • Best first handgun for home defense
  • Available in either 7 or 9 round capacity
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Can Any Handgun Be Used By Beginners?

The short answer: no. To re-iterate, not every handgun is newbie-friendly for a few good reasons. One, newbies may be turned off by some handguns that might have a consistent amount of sharp recoil. Another reason why some handguns may not be suitable for beginners may be due to heavy trigger pull or even trigger pull weights being a little heavier than most.

How to Choose a Handgun

Choosing a handgun will take some time and even a little bit of detective work. But rest assured, if you know of a few characteristics and features that will make a pistol stand out as interesting to you. Even as a first-time buyer, choosing a pistol doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are some things to look for:

Price

If you are looking for a handgun as a beginner, the price may be something to look at as a first-time buyer. Typically, most beginner-friendly pistols are affordable. But don’t confuse this as the green light for finding something cheap. Low in price may also mean cheap in quality. Find a pistol that has the best quality and performance that you can afford. 

Glock G19X G5 9MM

High Quality

Any pistol that will last you a long time and provides excellent reliability in the process can be connected to one common thing: quality. You’ll need a pistol that will be made from highly durable materials that will handle shot after shot including shock from recoil. Materials like aluminum and polymer are just a couple of examples of excellent materials to look for. 

Reliability

If there is one thing that you will absolutely need to find in a pistol, it’s reliability. In other words, you’ll want a pistol that will work to your advantage if and when you need it the most. This means a pistol that won’t jam or malfunction on you. Rest assured, these pistols on our list have better reliability compared to others that are not on the list. 

Quick Take - The Best Handguns For Beginners

These are our recommendations for the best handguns for beginners:

  1. Glock G19X G5 9MM
  2. Smith & Wesson S&W M&P M2.0 Compact
  3. Walther Arms CCP M2

Review of the Best Handguns For Beginners

The following is a list of the best handguns for beginners. As you go through each one, it’s important to note any features and characteristics that are interesting to you. You may have an idea of the kind of pistol you might find as “ideal.”

Using the features and characteristics will help you find out which one is close enough to fit your description. Close enough is always better than nothing at all. Now, let’s take a look at the “best overall” handgun for beginners:

Best Overall:
Glock G19X G5 9MM

Pros

  • Excellent reliability
  • Really durable and well-built
  • Accurate and precise shooting
  • It allows for excellent grip and control
  • Allows for easy attachment of additional accessories (flashlights, lasers, etc.)

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were happy with the pistol for a few good reasons. For one, the reliability was what made this pistol a popular choice. Through 100 or more rounds, they were able to go through every shot without any malfunctioning or jamming. Furthermore, they were able to hit their shots with accuracy and precision, using targets ranging from 25 to 40 yards. One user said that his shots were so spot on he was more confident in himself in using this for a self-defense situation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s no secret that Glocks are among one of the best brands for handguns. If you are looking for a name that is associated with reliability, the Glock is the name you want to remember. Glock pistols are trusted among some of the world’s military and law enforcement. About 50 countries with armed law enforcement or military personnel will likely have a Glock of some kind as their sidearm. Why are they considered the best in reliability? The firing power is undeniably impressive and every shot is accurate almost every time. If you want a pistol that is a high-performing type that will be a sharpshooter right out of the box, you might find this pistol to be more your speed.

Who Will Use This Most

This pistol will in all likelihood be used by beginners who want reliability and accuracy in one pistol that might stand out as one of the premier pistols for self-defense and concealed carry. Make no mistake, this sucker has the firing power to propel each shot to hit the target faster than most pistols. And it’s guaranteed to work at the times when you need it most. Why wouldn’t you want a Glock as a concealed carry pistol?

Bottom Line

The Glock G19x G5 is the best overall pistol for those who are in search of a beginner-friendly pistol that will be accurate, reliable and certainly will be the go-to option for many concealed carry users who want a pistol that is a beast. No attacker or prowler would dare mess with someone with a Glock.

Pros

  • Easy to shoot
  • Durable construction
  • Excellent concealability
  • Super reliable even after 1000 rounds
  • Perfect for target shooting and concealed carry

Cons

  • May snag in some holsters
  • Trigger quality could be better
  • Trigger pull may be gritty at times

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users found this pistol to be super reliable and really accurate. This checks off the boxes of those who were looking for a pistol that did not jam or malfunction while leaving some seriously tight shooting groups from 20 to 35 yards. One user said that aside from being impressed with the functionality, he was able to conceal carry this pistol without any trouble with bulging or feeling uncomfortable with carrying the pistol itself. To add, he says that it’s a great pistol for appendix carry.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is yet another one of those that are considered the most reliable on the market. You can expect Smith and Wesson and Glock to duke it out throughout the years as to who might be one of the most reliable of the two. If you are looking for something that is a bit more affordable but still considers itself more reliable then you may want to consider a Smith and Wesson pistol. This one is one of the prime examples as to why it’s considered one of the best. It’s small in size, thus making it easy to conceal. If you want a pistol that will allow you to stealthy carry and not cause any discomfort among the people around you, this could be the pistol you’ll want to consider.

Who Will Use This Most

This might be a pistol that will be utilized by those who want a concealed carry pistol that is affordable, reliable, and will be accurate almost every time you pull the trigger. So yes, it’s on par with the Glock pistol in our previous review. But it will certainly give you a lot more than what you’ll pay for. If you want a pistol that will be easier to use for just about any beginner and guarantees superior accuracy, this might be a good option for you.

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact is a pretty solid pistol that you can get the job done in target shooting and concealed carry. Regardless of which application you use this for, you will have a pistol that is fully functional, accurate, and all-around dependable. Not bad for a runner-up pistol that might be 2nd behind a Glock (for now).

Best for the Money: 
Walther Arms CCP M2

Pros

  • Affordable for many budgets
  • Superior quality and durability
  • Excellent for concealed carry users
  • Easy to draw and re-holster
  • Simple to shoot, the trigger weight is not too light or heavy

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a good number of users were really satisfied with what they got with this pistol. And they got a whole lot more than what they’ve paid for. This included excellent accuracy, the ability to conceal carry without the bulging or exposing where you are carrying it. One user said aside from the concealability, he was quite impressed with the absence of recoil thanks to the amount of polymer that was used to manufacture this pistol. On top of that, he was also satisfied with having excellent control over the pistol because of the amount of shock absorption.

Why it Stands Out to Us

You may have heard about Walther pistols in some of the old school James Bond movies. But if you want a pistol that might be the closest to what 007 himself has used, this might be the pistol you’ll enjoy using. The concealability is pretty good because it’s at the right size. And it’s pretty solid and durable, thus giving way to consistent reliability. This will also have the potential of lasting you years or even decades (assuming you clean and maintain it on a regular basis). This pistol is compact, hardcore, and functions like a dream. You cannot ask for anything else in a beginner-friendly pistol.

Who Will Use This Most

Indeed, there are pistols out there that are the best in quality and performance that you can afford. This is one of them. It hits all the sweet spots in what you need to look for in a budget pistol. It’s quality exceeds all else compared to other cheap priced pistols. And it functions as if it’s a pistol that might be considered expensive. If you want a pistol that definitely exceeds all your expectations at a price that you can afford, this is it.

Bottom Line

The Walther Arms CCP M2 is like it’s concealability, it’s an under the radar favorite that most beginners may lean towards for all the right reasons. It’s affordable, durable, and reliable. And that’s a sweet deal for the price that it’s going for. Don’t be surprised if this winds up being the only pistol that you ever own for years or even decades down the road. Just don’t forget to clean and maintain it from time to time.

Best 9mm Handgun for Beginners: 
Kahr Arms CW9

Pros

  • Excellent versatility
  • Smooth trigger pulling
  • Accurate, precise shooting
  • Great for concealed carry and target shooting
  • Super durable thanks to the polymer included

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users reported accurate and dependable shooting. They said that the shooting groups were consistently tight and were slightly tighter when they reached farther targets. They were happy with the pistol being able to work in applications where you can shoot targets casually or competitively and still be able to rely on it as a concealed carry pistol. One user said that the versatility and ability to use it for multiple applications is one of the major reasons why he was sold on the pistol in the first place.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you want a pistol that will be useful for multiple applications, this is the go-to choice. Yes, there are some pistols that excel in a self-defense setting and others that will be useful in a casual or competitive target shooting. But this will excel in any given situation. So you get accurate and precise shooting no matter what. And with one pull of a trigger, you get fast shooting that will put timing in your favor in a situation where your life might be on the line. If you want to be ahead of the curve against attackers or have an edge on your competition this might be the pistol that will be a no-brainer choice.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great pistol for those who want to start out with concealed carry or target shooting. Yes, it’s got the speedy accurate shooting. And it’s got the concealability that will allow for non-bulge carrying. It might be one of the better options for 9mm pistols out there that work best for beginners.

Bottom Line

This pistol may have a name that you may never heard of, but the Kahr Arms CW might be a pistol you never forget if you decide to purchase this and put it to good use. It’s got all the makings of being a really good pistol for newbie users. Whether you use it for concealed carry or target shooting, you’ll be seriously impressed with how awesome this pistol functions. And even better, it’s affordable for most budgets. So affordability is a plus for those looking for something that will give them a lot more than what they pay for.

Best First Handgun for Home Defense: 
Springfield Armory XD-S Mod-2

Pros

  • Concealable without any bulging
  • Excellent in quality, won’t rust or corrode
  • Ambidextrous mag release is easy to press
  • Perfect for self-defense purposes and concealed carry
  • Provides excellent stability and control, especially in bad weather

Cons

  • Trigger pull could be a bit lighter
  • The magazine may be tough to load at times
  • Some say it might be a little more expensive than expected

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were really confident in the ability of this pistol for a variety of reasons. For one, the firing power is pretty potent and it allowed for accurate, effective shooting with targets up to 40 yards. About half of the new users say they intend to use this for concealed carry while another half say that they intended to use this just for home defense purposes. One user who intended to keep it at home says that he was not ready to carry his pistol outside his home until he undergoes a CCW course.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is ambidextrous friendly, which means it will be beneficial for both lefties and righties. If you think it’s hard finding a pistol that will be useful for left-handed shooters, then here’s a rule of thumb: look for a pistol that is ambidextrous in use. This pistol is at the right size for concealed carry and might be what you need to get you through a CCW course. If you want to keep it at home, then that’s your business. Either way, it’s reliability and accuracy are just a couple of attributes that will exceed your standards if and when you purchase this pistol.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a simple to use pistol for home defense or concealed carry, then this is the pistol that might be useful to you. Whether you are a left-handed or right-handed shooter, this sucker will be easy to shoot and allows for stable and straightforward shooting. Even if you are not ready to conceal carry, keeping a pistol like this at home is a good start.

Bottom Line

The Springfield Armory XD-S Mod-2 is a great first-time pistol for those who intend to use it for self-defense. Even if you do keep it at home initially, it will be nice to have on hand if and when you are ready to conceal carry outside of your house. But the way it functions will stay the same. Accurate, precise shooting with a pistol that will come through in the clutch whenever you need it most is exactly what you’ll get.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

It’s always good to make an informed decision. That’s why you need to consider some aspects before purchasing a pistol for your own use. Even as a beginner, you need to use this section as a guide so it will answer any questions you may have about owning a handgun. Here are the following things to mull over:

Is a CCW Permit Necessary for Owning a Handgun?

A CCW permit is used if you plan on conceal carrying. Most states will require you to have one if you intend to conceal carry a pistol outside of your home. You won’t need one if you intend to keep a pistol at home only for home defense. But it’s important to research your local, state, and even federal laws to determine if and when you are able to use a handgun in such situations like self-defense.

Should I Purchase a Holster?

If you do intend to purchase a pistol and utilize it for concealed carry, it is required to purchase a holster so you are able to carry your pistol. If you are in a state that allows open carry, then using a holster is optional. Once again, this is one of those situations where you may need to consult your local, state, and even federal laws for clarification.

Do I Have to Use it for Self-Defense?

Purchasing a handgun and not using it for self-defense is completely optional. You can use it for the purpose of casual and competitive shooting if you choose to do so. Using a pistol for self-defense is a daunting task and it comes down to your own decision in doing so. 

How to Clean a Handgun

As a beginner, you need to make sure that your handgun is cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure that it stays reliable and will last you years. Cleaning a handgun takes skill and a certain way to get the job done. Follow the instructions below so you are able to clean your handgun when the time is right:

  1. As a precaution, please remove any magazines inside the pistol. Also, check the chamber by pulling back the slide. Check to see that it’s clear of any rounds. Once you have the all-clear, you can move onto the next step.
  2. Make sure you have a cleaning kit handy with bore brushes, cleaning pads, cleaning rods, solution and oils, Q-tips (optional), and cloths.
  3. Put on nitrile gloves to ensure that you don’t get residue on your skin.
  4. Remove the slide and set it off to the side. You should easily remove the barrel after that.
  5. Apply solvent to one of the large-headed Q-Tips and swab the inside and outer part of the slide. This also includes the nooks and crannies that are hard to reach. Alternatively, get a set of forceps and a piece of cloth. Have the forceps hold the cloth together and wipe down the slide.
  6. Make sure you clean all the residue, carbon, and everything else from the slide, extractor and other small spaces inside the slide itself.
  7. Next, clean and wipe down the magazine with a cloth or large swab. 
  8. Wipe down the guide rod with a cloth with oil or solvent.
  9. Take the pistol’s frame and using a cloth, wipe down the lower half of the barrel or receiver. Do the same to the mag well. Make sure all the residue, dust, and other debris are no longer present after a few passes with a cloth.
  10. Consider cleaning your holster and keep it free from residue, debris, and dust. This way, it will prevent any kind of scratching or getting debris inside your pistol. If your holster is made from leather, be sure to apply some leather conditioner.
  11. Apply lubrication to the barrel and do a few pass throughs with a bore brush. Be sure that all the residue, debris, and dirt is thoroughly removed. Be sure to wipe down the feed ramp as well.
  12. Apply Go Juice or any kind of lubricant inside your slide prior to re-assembling your pistol. Apply lube to other areas like the pistol’s striker, mag well, and guide rail.
  13. Re-assemble the pistol. The instruction manual may have instructions on how you re-assemble your pistol (since there are different ways to do so and will depend on the pistol). Be sure to test the mechanisms and the trigger to ensure that the pistol is working. At this point, you’re done.

Conclusion

If you are a newbie and need a handgun that is beginner-friendly, one of these five will likely be yours. It’s important to choose one that will be reliable, accurate and will be easy to use. While you may never use it for the purpose of self-defense, it’s always important to be prepared just in case you need to defend yourself anyway. It may also be used for target shooting or competitions. But no matter your intent or purpose, your beginner-friendly pistol might just be one of the best things you’ve invested in. 

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