You should love your first handgun; I know I did. Both my first handgun shooting experience and my first handgun purchase were pure joy.

The first handgun that I ever shot was my father’s Smith & Wesson model 27 in .357 magnum. We were out at my grandpa’s farm and my dad was wearing that Smith in a classic “Miami Vice” type shoulder rig. Dad looked over and asked, “do you want to shoot it?” My eyes lit up with anticipation as I responded in the affirmative. It seemed like a crazy question to me; “who in their right mind wouldn’twant to shoot it?” was all I could think. We set up Pepsi cans to shoot off fence posts that had a steep hill behind. I remember that day like it was yesterday; I remember the safety talk, my dad’s demonstration, and my impatience as I waited eagerly to finally put that gun in my hands and fire it.

I was one bad-to-the-bone elementary school kid when I came back to the playground with those bragging rights. I won’t tell you how young I was because some of you will surely think that I was way too young, and I wouldn’t want you casting a disparaging glance at my dad. Let’s just say that I had a long time to wait between the time I fell in love with handguns and the time that I could legally purchase my own at age 21. When that time did come, man was I ready! As a recently married college student working three jobs, I probably had no business dropping hard earned dime on that Springfield XD .40, but I did. If I was living a “Ground Hog Day” life, that’s one choice I’d make the same every time. Oh, I might buy different guns, but I’d buy a handgun every time.

I wouldn’t want to keep you from experiencing the same kind of moment. Shooting should be shared. Purchasing your first handgun can be amazing, but there are a few land mines that I’d like to guide you around.