Handgun Options

Compact concealed carry handguns (from left): Taurus .380, Beretta .32 and Smith & Wesson .38

Selecting a handgun

Choosing a personal defense handgun is not unlike choosing a car. Some of us have a brand preference, perhaps based on research, or on the advice of a friend or family member. But choosing the right handgun could mean the difference between life or death. Most of today’s mid- and high-priced handguns will serve you well. I would avoid low-priced handguns (say under $200) unless you find a bargain used gun that is still in good working order.

We can strongly advocate these brands of handguns (based on personal experience or research): Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Taurus, Heckler and Koch, Glock, Kimber, Springfield Armory, Kahr Arms, Tanfoglio, CZ USA, Dan Wesson, Beretta and most makers of 1911-style semi-auto pistols (Les Baer Custom, Clark Custom, Colt and a host of others).

For a list of small handguns you can try at our concealed carry classes, click the link below:

List of Wolf River Concealed Carry handguns you can try

Revolver or semi-auto pistol?

We can’t stress enough that a revolver remains the top choice for beginning shooters and even experienced shooters. When the chips are down, a revolver will typically not jam or fail. Thumb the hammer back on a double-action revolver (or pull the trigger on a double-action only style revolver) and you have another round ready to go. There is no confusion on whether the revolver is loaded. Open it and check the cylinder. There are no external safeties to worry about when you need to shoot fast. Research has shown that fine motor skills often fail when you are in a high-stress situation such as you would be when facing armed attackers. This means you may literally forget how to work the safety of a semi-auto pistol. The double-action trigger pull of a revolver is heavy enough that you will not normally fire the gun accidentally in the event of an intruder in the house and a face-off situation. If you choose a revolver, we recommend you practice in double-action mode (pull the trigger to draw the hammer back and fire the revolver, rather than cocking the hammer in single-action mode). Most modern double-action revolvers can fire in both single-action and double-action modes.

The biggest limitation on a revolver is the number of rounds. Most compact (snubnose) revolvers hold 5 rounds, although there are models available in 6 and even 7 rounds. Studies show most close-quarters gun battles involve just a few shots fired. If you make your shots count, you should not need more than 5 rounds unless you are facing multiple attackers. In the vast majority of attacks, no shot is fired…the mere presence of a firearm is enough to convince the attacker to leave.

If you are a beginner or want the ultimate in reliability, we recommend a revolver for your carry handgun.

The revolver is a bit thicker than many semi-autos, because of its circular cylinder, but very lightweight revolvers are available in polymer, aluminum and other materials.

The advantage of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC is that you can TRY OUR HANDGUNS and see which works best for you! You pay only for the ammo you use–there is no additional fee for using our handguns! Others don’t offer this option. We want you to find a handgun that is comfortable and reliable.

The semi-automatic or autoloading (also called auto) pistol offers many advantages for concealed carry. The reason police switched over from revolvers to pistols many years ago is because of the superior firepower pistols offer. Many pistols hold 10 to 17 rounds in their magazines (also called clips), and magazines make reloading fast and easy. Compact pistols may hold 6 to 10 or more rounds in their magazines. If attacked by multiple assailants, the pistol has the clear advantage over the revolver.

Because pistols have no round, bulky cylinder like the revolver, they can be made in a flat, compact size that is easy to conceal and carry.

Pistols in general tend to be easier to shoot than a revolver, especially for beginners. Do not assume that a pistol is more accurate than a revolver, however. Accuracy is the result of a combination of factors, including the experience and abilities of the shooter, type of sights (fully adjustable sights are preferable, but on defensive handguns, sometimes sights are simple blades and grooves with no adjustments), barrel length (in general, a longer barrel is easier to shoot accurately because of the longer sight radius between front and rear sight), recoil (larger calibers can be more difficult to shoot because of recoil), fit of the gun to your hand and whether you are shooting from an offhand position or you have support for your hands (using a door frame, sandbags or a shooting bench, for example). Some calibers are inherently more accurate than others, too.

Please click here to read about CALIBER SELECTION.