Buying a new handgun can be an expensive ordeal. In addition to budgeting for the weapon itself you also need to consider the ancillary expenses that are critical to success with that weapon. Here are some of the most important things to consider.
1. Gun Safe. When you get home from the store where are you going to put that gun? Never buy a weapon unless it can come home and go straight into a locked and secured gun safe.
2. Ammunition. You always want to have ammunition in the house for every weapon; especially a weapon you intend to use for self defense. Buy at least a hundred rounds to have in the house and another hundred rounds for your next two training sessions. Remember to always rotate your ammunition, using the oldest ammunition first.
3. Holster(s). If you intend to use this weapon to defend yourself you should invest in at least one quality holster. Most concealed carry holders have a box of holsters we have invested in that we no longer use. Sadly it is the kind of thing you have to try for awhile to know if it works for you. Shop around and get something of quality. Be prepared to find something else if it doesn’t work for you.
4. Cleaning Kit. Every time you fire the weapon you should clean it. You should also clean it (regardless of use) about every six months. Often you can get a good kit that has the right stuff to clean multiple calibers of weapons. This will make it easier as you expand your collection of weapons.
5. Storage Case. There will be days when you want to transport your firearm. Perhaps from the home to the range or in your checked bag on an airline, or through a state that doesn’t recognize your permit. In these situations you will want a good and strong portable case in which you can transport the weapon. Most, but not all, firearm manufactures sell the weapon in one of these cases.
6. Spare Magazines / Speed Loader. Both for convenience in training and sport, as well as for self-defense situations, you will want extra magazines for your semi-automatic. Most handguns only come with one. If you are purchasing a revolver see if you can purchase a speed loader or even extra cylinders.
7. Light. For me and my students I always recommend a good light as a near required accessory. The need to identify ones target and to actually be able to know where the target(s) are is so critical that a good light is super important. Handguns often have rails that fit universal accessories like lights. Some firearms require a more custom product.
8. Gear. If this is your first firearm purchase you may also need some other required gear like safety glasses, ear protection, and a range bag.
9. Training. When you buy a weapon you need to budget for and plan to obtain some training. Seek out a local course near you. If you have already taken a course consider the next step by researching available NRA courses in the area. If this isn’t your first handgun you may at least set aside some time to watch some decent YouTube videos that review and break down the weapon.
10. Time. Perhaps the most important part of purchasing a firearm for self-defense use is the need to budget one’s time to train with the weapon. Commit yourself to a schedule to train regularly and block the time out on your calendar.