October 24th, 2014

Buying a First Handgun — The Rational Wheelgun Option

Smith Wesson 22 .22 LR Revolver model 63 17 617 wheelgun revolver cylinder

In recent years, the ranks of first-time handgun buyers have grown dramatically. Thousands upon thousands of Americans are purchasing their first-ever pistol. With so many handgun options available these days (from derringers to Desert Eagles) many first-time buyers have trouble making a choice.

A close relative recently contacted this Editor. Wanting to get started in handgunning, he sought my advice on purchasing his first handgun. “Should I get a Glock?”, he asked. “No” was my response. “Well how about an M&P?” he inquired. “Better ergos” I said, “but ‘No’ is still my reply.” “OK, how about a KelTec, they’re cheap…” “Absolutely not”, I replied.

I could tell he was getting annoyed, when he said “OK, Mr. know-it-all, so what handgun should I get?” Calmly, I replied: “Get a .22-caliber rimfire revolver. You will never out-grow it. You will learn sight alignment and trigger control. You can practice with inexpensive ammunition. A good .22 revolver will be considerably more accurate than 90% of the self-loading pistols you could buy. If you get a Smith & Wesson, you will keep the gun for the rest of your life and pass it on to your kids. If you or your heirs ever wear out the barrel or cylinder, Smith & Wesson will replace the parts for free, forever.”

Smith Wesson 22 .22 LR Revolver model 63 17 617 wheelgun revolver cylinder

Smith Wesson 22 .22 LR Revolver model 63 17 617 wheelgun revolver cylinder

Smith Wesson model 617 4 inchFirst Handgun Choice — A very good choice for a first handgun is a Smith & Wesson .22 LR revolver, such as the S&W model 617. The model 617 is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger (in single-action mode), and good sights.

You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable handgun, shooting inexpensive .22 LR ammo. The model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense. Below is a slide-show illustrating a S&W model 617 ten-shot, with 6″ barrel. S&W also makes a 4″-barrel version of this revolver. (See: Shooting Demo Video with 4″ model 617.)


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