Many beginning shooters will buy what seems to be the best gear out there, featured on the covers of gun magazines. In the process they can drop substantial sums of money.
This is often done with the good intention of not buying junk, and simply “biting the bullet” and purchasing good gear from the beginning.
The trouble with this line of reasoning is a new shooter simply doesn’t have enough experience and the hours of practice to make a fully informed decision.
Simply put, you don’t know what you want yet, and the only way to find out what is the best gun and holster for you takes time. Time spent practicing holding, brandishing, dry fire and live firing, and holstering a variety of weapons is always time well spent. Time researching guns and gear online, at shows, and by talking to other people about the firearms, holsters and other accessories they have and prefer helps as well.
Peer information is actually one of the best sources of advice new shooters can tap into. Not to say there is a one-size-fits-all solution out there, but often many folks will like a given gun and holster combo for the same or similar reasons. If those reasons fit you, then that gun and holster combo may be a place to start.
Some of your shooting peers may let you strap on their rig and try a few draws and shots as well.
In these ways we can add to our knowledge and make a better informed decision about what we should purchase for ourselves. It’s all well and good to see a gun in a picture and read about it, but it’s another thing entirely, to actually hold and shoot that gun yourself.
Before cleaning out your savings to buy a brand new gun, consider that others who have been in the game longer might occasionally want to upgrade their gun, or simply get something different.
To fund this change in concealed carry weapons they might sell their old rig at a discounted price. If you can snap up one of these deals, it’s quite likely you’ll find yourself in possession of a nicely mated pistol and holster that while used, are completely functional.
And hopefully there is still money left in your bank account for ammo! This is a critical component to factor into your ccw budget, as pointed out by author Kathy Jackson on usconcealedcarry.com in her article “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: The Smart Skinflint’s Guide to Saving Money on Concealed Carry” which talks about the price of ammunition:
“No matter how much or how little you spend on your firearm, over its life you will spend far more to feed the gun than you did to buy it. Since filling the magazine will eventually cost more than buying the gun, smart skinflints factor ammunition costs into their purchase plan. That old Makarov might be a great bargain at the gun show, but how much does 9×18 ammunition cost these days, if you can get it at all?” (The full article, filled with tips for saving money on concealed carry can be found here)
Bottom line—when you are first getting your concealed weapons permit, don’t only focus on the immediate cost of your weapon. Layout a budget that you can live with, buy a weapon that you can reasonably afford—and afford to keep loaded.