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How Should I Choose my First Pistol for Conceal and Carry Use?

How Should I Choose my First Pistol for Conceal and Carry Use?

Sep 27, 2019

Carrying a concealed weapon is no joke! You need to be aware of exactly what object you’re carrying and how to use it for your own or someone else’s protection. This means that when you’re buying a conceal and carry weapon, you need to keep quite a few things in mind.

Here’s what you should do if it’s your first time selecting a pistol for the purpose.

Do Your Homework

Amidst all the controversies and debates regarding gun laws and firearm sales, it’s crucial that you do your research before you select a weapon for conceal and carry. Look up websites and contacts for handgun manufacturers to check out a considerable number of options, and compare their products to get a fair idea of what would be best for you.

For instance, you need to know what type of concealed carry gun you need to get, why certain cartridges are more popular than others, and how much they cost.  Keep in mind the purpose you’re purchasing the pistol for, and make an informed decision regarding your choice of purchase.   

Gauge the Grip Size

When it comes to choosing your first pistol, you can’t just let anyone pick it out for you without holding it yourself. Grip size is extremely important to gun safety and usage, and needs to be exactly according to the user’s needs.

If the firearm fits seamlessly in your hand, it’s a perfect match! Individuals with larger hands may find it difficult to grip and operate a smaller gun, and vice versa. This can defeat the purpose of having one in the first place, making the pistol difficult and even dangerous to use. Make sure you’ve weighed in the grip size for your desired firearm before you buy it!


Assess the Cleaning Ability

One thing first-time gun buyers tend to forget is how they’ll be cleaning their pistol after use. In fact, some people dismiss this factor entirely not realizing how critical gun cleanliness and storage is.

When you’re buying your first pistol, you want to make sure that the handgun is easy to clean. Ask the person selling you the firearm to show you the basic elements of gun cleaning, and don’t forget to purchase a cleaning kit alongside!

Attend NRA Events

What’s better than having expert advice and recommendations by the NRA itself? One of the most resourceful things you can do before you choose your first ever pistol is to attend exhibits and events held by the National Rifle Association to learn more about the different types of handguns.

The “Annual NR Show” is a particularly great opportunity for you to get a good understanding of the several types of firearms available, and hear out the nation’s top gun manufacturers. Don’t miss out!

Before you proceed to buy your first handgun, you need a concealed carry permit! The Carry Academy can help you with this. We also offer online concealed carry courses that are fully compliant with state laws.

Visit our website for more details!


What people ask about our concealed carry course

  • Which states recognize this course?

    The Carry Academy course meets the requirements for many different states, most of which through the reciprocity of a VA nonresident concealed handgun permit. See the state list.

  • How does The Carry Academy fulfill the necessary training requirements in so many different states?

    The majority of these states allow you to carry a concealed weapon by obtaining an Virginia Nonesident Concealed Handgun Permit. If you live in Iowa, Oregon or Virginia; you can apply for a Residents Permit as this course fulfills their necessary training requirements.

  • What is the process for obtaining my Virginia resident and nonresident concealed handgun permit?

    Virginia Resident Concealed Handgun Permits are issued by the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. You can obtain your application form by visiting the Resident Concealed Handgun Permits page on the Virginia State Police website. Non-residents will need to visit the Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits page on the Virginia State Police website.

  • Am I guaranteed CCW permit approval if I live in one of your approved states?

    Unfortunately, we are not able to make such a claim. Even though many states honor the reciprocity laws of Virginia, we have found that some jurisdictions do not abide by these laws. We recommend, for all those interested, to first contact your local municipality or sheriff's department and explain that you will be taking an online course and applying for a VA nonresidents concealed handgun permit and ask if they will accept, prior to taking our online course.

  • How do I receive my certificate?

    Your certificate will appear on your screen, in your My Account area, upon passing the test. You may print or save it for later printing. An additional copy will also be emailed to you for your convenience. If you do not receive an email, be sure to check your Junk Mail folder. If marked as spam, mark it as "Not Spam" to help ensure safe delivery of any future emails from The Carry Academy.

  • What is reciprocity?

    Many jurisdictions have established arrangements where they recognize or honor permits or licenses issued by other jurisdictions with comparable standards, for instance in regard to marriage or driver's licenses. This is known as Reciprocity and is based on U.S. Constitution "full faith and credit" provision. Due to the nature of gun politics, reciprocity in regard to weapons carry permits or licenses has been controversial.

  • What is a concealed carry permit?

    A concealed carry permit is the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in close proximity.

  • Where do I find resident application links for my state?

    Please refer to the State Laws page.

  • What is the test like? Am I likely to pass?

    The test is 20 questions that are multiple choice and true/false. You must answer 15 questions, correctly, to pass. Although 99% of our students pass the first time, if you for some reason do not pass, you may go back and review the material and take it again at no additional charge.

  • Do I not need to shoot a gun to qualify for a concealed carry permit?

    No. Virginia, Iowa and Oregon law do not mandate live fire for meeting the training requirements for a concealed carry permit.

  • Do I need to watch the video all at once?

    No, although we recommend watching the video in one sitting, it can be paused and resumed at a later time. Please note; however, the session may expire after a certain amount of time. If that happens, you will need to restart the video when you log back in. We recommend watching the video in one sitting.

  • Are there places where you cannot conceal carry?

    While generally a concealed carry permit allows the permit holder to carry a concealed weapon in public, a state may restrict carry of a firearm including a permitted concealed weapon while in or on certain properties, facilities or types of businesses that are otherwise open to the public. These areas vary by state (except for the first item below; Federal offices are subject to superseding Federal law) and can include State and Federal goverment facilities, political events, educational institutions, hospitals, churches and others.

  • I am having issues with the video loading or it keeps stopping, what should I do?

    There are numerous factors that could cause the video to load or play improperly. Make sure that you are using a modern web browser. If problems persist, trying using a different web browser or device.

  • What training requirements are needed in order to obtain a CCW?

    Some states require concealed carry applicants to certify their proficiency with a firearm through some type of training or instruction. Certain training courses developed by the National Rifle Association that combine classroom and live-fire instruction typically meet most state training requirements. Some states recognize prior military or police service as meeting training requirements.

  • How much is the Firearms Safety Training Course?

    Our course is currently available for only $49.99. You can register here.

  • Where do I find more information about my states laws including reciprocity/traveling information?

    Please refer to the State Laws page.

  • What are the training requirements of Virginia?

    Virginia recognizes eight specific training options to prove competency in handgun handling, ranging from DD214 for honorably discharged military veterans, to certification from law enforcement training, to firearms training conducted by a state or NRA certified firearms instructor including electronic, video, or on-line courses. While any one of the eight listed options will be considered adequate proof, individual circuit courts may recognize other training options.

  • What is the process for obtaining my Virginia, Iowa or Oregon residents permit?

    Please refer to the State Laws page.

  • Is this class accepted for both resident and non-resident permit?

    Yes. Please refer to the State Laws page.

  • Will this class be accepted for the renewal of my permit (for states where this is necessary)?


  • Is my credit card information safe?

    Yes, credit card information is processed and then safely discarded. Our site is also guarded behind a firewall and 128-bit SSL, for your protection.

  • Is my information confidential?

    Yes, our privacy policy states that all your information is kept confidential and is never sold to a third party agency.

  • How long do I have to watch video after signing up?

    Once you have signed up for the course, you have 30 days to watch the video. If video is not watched within 30 days, we charge a $9.99 fee to reset the expiration.

  • What is your policy on refunds?

    Refunds will only be issued in the event that you are unable to access the Resources through no fault of your own (i.e., due to an outage or other non-functionality of The Carry Academy websites) for a period forty-eight (48) hours commencing with the time that you register and pay for access to the Resources. No refunds will be issued once you receive a Certificate of Completion.