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I’m 75 and bought my first handgun at age 16, it was a Smith model 53 in a caliber lots have never heard of….a .22 Jet. Google it up, very interesting. Like charlestdemay said self defense was not on my radar, but hunting rabbits and squirrels was ! No telling the number of snakes and armadillos that fell to that gun.

i guess my first self defense handgun was an S&W Model 10 in .38 special. After that, as Shipwreck said, there’s been a plethera of handguns over the next fifty years or so. My current carry pair are an S&W Shield plus and a Taurus GX4. The more I shoot the Taurus, the more I like it. The Taurus of today definitely ain’t the Taurus of yesteryear !

I’ll echo everyone elses advice, shoot as many as you can before making a decision, your life may depend on it. If I were carrying openly, weight and size be damned, I’m carrying my G20. I can actually carry it in an IWB holster about as easily as anything else, it does go bang every time, but most of all, I can shoot it !
It appears that you are looking at SELF-DEFENSE the right way. When you find a pistol that YOU like and feel comfortable with SHOOT, SHOOT AND SHOOT some more. YOU need to be CONFIDENT and not UNSURE. When something BAD comes up MOST PEOPLE FREAK OUT AND THEIR BRAIN DOESN'T FUNCTION PROPERLY which is NOT what you need in a PANIC STITUATION. YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR WEAPON FORWARD AND BACKWARDS. IN YOUR MIND YOU MUST BE THINKING "IT'S GOING TO BE A BAD DAY FOR YOU" (PERPETRATOR).😯😁👍
 

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My 1st handgun was also a Mdl 10 S&W .38 cal. It was issued to me in 1966 as the standard handgun for NYPD. After retirement inn1986, I decided to go for a semi-auto, as times were changing. I bought a stainless steel .380 Walther Stainless Steel PPK .380 cal. Carried that for a few years and a few years later, I bought a .38 Taurus 5 rd snub nose ,Ultra Light. Easier to carry concealed on occasions, because it's smaller & lighter. When S&W came out with the 9 rd Shield 9mm , they were going like hot cakes. I managed to latch onto one and continue to carry that as a main choice to carry even today. But not all the time. So, as you can see, various times call for various self defense carry situations. Concealability, weight etc all go into what is the right carry gun for the right occasion. The S&W .38 , mdl 10 is used as a Home Defense weapon. I find it heavy and large so it stays home. So too the .380 most of the times, not because of weight but I now prefer 9mm over the .380 . The .38 Taurus is easier to carry concealed but is mainly dedicated to my wife's choice of defense when I'm not around. The others are a bit much for her shoot.., So you will find that as time goes by, you'll probably be increasing the type of handgun that suits your various situations. The secret in shooting is too practice with the one you currently own , achieve a level of perfection with the handgun you presently have and then you may decide to acquirer another style ,down the road of life. Good Luck.
 

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When anyone mentions new to handguns I always recommend the same things. Get a couple but first, A .22, either a SW revolver or Buckmark. Learn basic shooting fundamentals. Next gun a 357 mag SW 686 for instance. You can start w 38s, shoot different round variations and when truly comfortable move to the magnum rounds. The trigger will be better than a semi, the sight picture longer. You’ll shoot it better. It’ll be safer too.
If in time you want to go for a bigger type semi than go for it.
 

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That ACTUALLY very good advice. It's like when you first learn to ride a bicycle, you start with a small one maybe even with training wheels depending on how young or small the person is and then as you get more comfortable and confident you move up to something bigger. I've taught a few people (men and women to shoot pistols. I started them with my Beretta 71 Jaguar (GREAT 22lr pistol) because of less noise, recoil and it's the CHEAPEST TO SHOOT.😯😁👍
 
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