Handgun Shopping

Catherine Kim

I love guns.  While some girls enjoy spending their money on shoes, I like to slowly build my armory and gear to appease my many hobbies.  I don’t limit myself to one brand, but I do have my favorites.  Although my collection is not enormous, it is growing and each addition is special in its own way.  I get quite a number of messages through my FaceBook from girls who want to purchase their first handgun, so I thought I would share my journey.  The important thing is that YOU feel comfortable handling and shooting it.  I can’t even count or recall all the handguns I have shot throughout the years, but as you continue shooting you will start noticing immediately what features you like and dislike.

Catherine Kim

Finding that “right” feeling “out of box” handgun was a bit of a struggle for me.  I started out with the Glock because that was the brand I heard the most about and let’s face it… it is inexpensive.  It shot good and it was lightweight, but one of the things I did not like was the way the grip felt.  With my tiny hands it felt so bulky and it was hard to get a grip with the huge hump on the backstrap.  However, a benefit to Glock was the customization potential and its durability.  There are many third party companies that develop add-ons and replacement parts to customize not only functionality but aesthetics as well.

Next I shot and fell in love with the Sig P226 at the range, so I went ahead and bought one.  It shot smooth and felt a little better in my small hands.  The only problem for me was the long double action trigger pull on the first shot. During that time I started dabbling in competitive shooting, and getting that first shot off was more time consuming than a striker fire.  After taking an IDPA class with my Sig P226, I knew I would have to find another gun if I wanted to dabble in competitive shooting (production class).

Someone brought to my attention the Smith & Wesson M&P series that had interchangeable palmswells for the backstrap. So I went and held one with the SMALL back and it felt amazing.  It was the best fitting “out of box” handgun I had ever felt for my tiny hands. It felt controllable, which is extremely important. Especially for women, if the gun isn’t very controllable, you will be constantly adjusting your grip.  Plus it was a striker fire so it was super easy to use and shoot.

Smith & Wesson M&P

So, I went on a hunt for a M&P 9L, which has a 5″ barrel for a little more accuracy and has a longer sight radius with an overall length of 8.38.”   The stars must have aligned because I found ONE (literally one) available in another state through Armslist.  The previous owner had installed a fiber optic front/black wide notch rear sight combo for faster target acquisition.  Although, the stock three dot Smith & Wesson sights are pretty good and personally I think better than Glock.  Every M&P comes with all three sizes of palmswells- small, medium, and large.  It is really easy to change out and does not require tools. Another aftermarket enhancement my M&P 9L came with is an upgraded trigger.  The stock M&P trigger is not very smooth. That’s the only complaint I have ever heard about them, but that can go for many other stock handguns as well. I have the APEX Competition AEK (action enhancement kit) which gives me about a 3lb trigger pull, and they also offer the Duty/Carry AEK which gives you about a 5lb pull. Both have a super crisp and short reset.

Smith & Wesson M&P

Gun shopping is kind of like shoe shopping.  If you are going to purchase an expensive pair of heels, #1. You want to try it on and walk around, #2. You want to make sure it fits, and #3. You want to make sure it’s comfortable. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  Happy shooting.  😉

Smith & Wesson M&P

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