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Handguns are the tools of choice for self-defense. Rifles are better for military combat. Shotguns are better for home defense. For self-defense, nothing compares to a good handgun.

Every adult should own and be capable of operating a handgun for their own defense.

The handgun should be at least 9mm (or .38 caliber, if a revolver). The handgun should be small enough for comfortable concealed carry.

You should practice with your handguns to ensure that you can use them competently. You should have a sufficient quantity of ammunition on hand to be able to use these handguns effectively in a conflict.

Visit the Gun Manufacturers page to review quality gun manufacturers.


Ruger GP100

Medium-frame double-action revolver.

Ruger SP101

Small-frame double-action revolver.

Smith and Wesson 500

The most powerful revolver in the world.

Browning Hi Power

One of the worlds most successful 9mm handguns.


The standard pistol of the U.S. Armed Forces. The military version of the Beretta 92SB-F.


The compact pistol of the U.S. Armed Forces. The military version of the SigARMS P229.

Rock Island Armory 1911

Get a piece of the rock.


Sig-229: A Utilitarian View

Handgun Manufacturers


Original manufacturer of the 1911 pistol.


Manufacturer of the Ruger GP100 and SP100 revolvers and the Mark series of .22 caliber pistols.


Manufacturer of high-quality revolver and semi-automatic pistols.


Brazilian manufacturer of quality and value-priced handguns.


Manufacturer of top-quality 1911 style handguns

Kahr Arms

Manufacturer of top-quality pocket pistols in 9mm and .40


Manufacturer of ultimate-quality 9mmm pocket pistols

High Standard

Manufacturer of .22 target pistols and 1911-style .45’s


Division of High Standard

Browning Firearms

Manufacturer of the Browning Hi-Power.

New England Firearms

Manufacturer of the Lady Ultra.

Beretta Firearms

Manufacturer of high-quality semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.

Fan Sites for Handguns

Full Auto Glock!

Convert your Glock to full-auto

M-1911 Pistol Home Page

H&K Mark 23 Owners Guild

Books on Handguns

Handguns 2006
Handguns 2006

This inclusive guide delivers the most current market information, along with extensive details about trends in the handgun trade and its history. Colt, Browning, Ruger and Smith and Wesson models are among the large selection reviewed in this recognizable and trusted reference. All the latest commercial handguns are featured in Handguns 2006. Each listing includes caliber, weight, barrel length, size, retail price and more. Articles bring readers the latest on gun tests, handloading, custom and engraved guns, self-defense and concealed carry, vintage and replica firearms and use of handguns in hunting. This user-friendly resource combines 500 photos with up-to-date specifications and informative pieces to create the most well rounded resource for using and collecting handguns.

Essential Guide to Handguns: Firearm Instruction for Personal Defense and Protection
Essential Guide to Handguns: Firearm Instruction for Personal Defense and Protection

“Essential Guide to Handguns” is written to ensure that every gun owner is prepared to safely meet the responsibilities that come with gun ownership. From choosing the right handgun and accessories, crucial tips for thorough firearm maintenance, tactical concealed carry options and safe storage, to expert guidance for training and instruction in armed defense tactics–both mentally and physically–this valuable guide will serve to ensure that you are prepared to enter the ranks of responsible, law abiding gun owners. The Second Amendment affirms the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms–in the event that a firearm may be necessary for personal protection. This book provides a one-stop-source of information for the new or experienced gun owner. It provides a comprehensive look at the modern defensive handgun.

Concealed Carry: The Shooter's Guide to Selecting Handguns
Concealed Carry: The Shooter’s Guide to Selecting Handguns

Once you have made the all-important decision to get a concealed-carry weapon permit, you face a dilemma – how to determine the perfect carry piece from the dizzying array of choices available in modern handguns. Before you invest your money in and trust your life to one weapon, get the opinion of an expert – someone who’s personally tested handguns from every major manufacturer and experimented with models, calibers and types of ammunition, all with the specific needs of concealed carry in mind. Contains in-depth analyses of small, medium and large pistols and revolvers by makers such as S&W, Glock, Colt, Ruger, Taurus and more.

Handgun Combatives
Handgun Combatives

This is a very good book about using handguns in combat. In the book, the author not only tells about the technical stuff (correct grip, stance and so on), but he discusses the tactis and mental aspects as well. The author has reviewed many established models of operation, and has found that the most common way is not always the best way to conduct business. … Spaulding also gives answers to questions raised, … In the book, Spaulding goes though the usual stuff of selecting the handgun and holster, but in my opinion, Spaulding gives advise that is a way above average. Usually, in similar books they only advise which guns and accessories are good, but Spaulding advises how to select gear that is good FOR YOU. In other words, he tells how to select gear that is both of good quality, but is also suited to your individual needs and physique. It is odd though that after the chapter on gun selection, there is seven chapters (about 50 pages) before Spaulding goes to holster selection. Spaulding does a good job of presenting proper shooting stances (actually combat stances, because shooting a gun in a range is a totally different ball game than shooting in combat), getting a good grip (he gives an interesting trick that helps you to determine the proper grip that was totaly new to me), and so on. He also discusses extreme close quarters shooting, shooting in the dark, the problems with automobiles and so on. He also stresses that your practice should reflect the conditions of real life, not those of a shooting range.

The Practical Pistol Manual: How to Use a Handgun for Self-Defense
The Practical Pistol Manual: How to Use a Handgun for Self-Defense

Drawn from the training course the author developed for the state of Connecticut for citizens desiring to obtain “concealed carry” permits for handguns, this book covers everything a person will need to know about using a handgun for self defense. Includes Chapters on safety, defending yourself in court, psychology, and when NOT to use a gun in self defense. More than twenty states now permit concealed carry so citizen education in the safe and effective use of handguns is essential.

The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Handgun in Personal Defense

A well-researched, common sense guide to carrying concealed firearms. It’s a good resource for the armed citizen.

Effective Handgun Defense
Effective Handgun Defense

Personal protection is a hot issue in today’s changing world. Currently, 42 states have some form of concealed-carry legislation. Now holders of concealed carry permits, law enforcement officers, security personnel and anyone interested in real world defensive tactics can find all the historical, safety and legal information they need in Effective Handgun Defense. Beginning with an exploration of the history of self-defense handguns, the book gives readers a thorough understanding of how the guns have been used through the years. A detailed discussion of today’s most popular concealed carry handguns and holsters follows, aiding readers in selecting the best handgun for their personal needs. Additional chapters cover safety recommendations, fighting calibers, service revolvers, 9mm pistols and the 1911 pistol.

Complete Guide to Service Handguns
Complete Guide to Service Handguns

Gene Gangarosa is one of the comparatively few gun writers with the integrity to call it like he sees it. You will not see Gene rating guns based on how “cool” they may be perceived to be by others. Thus this book reviews guns based on their quality, features, and performance, regardless of who made them. Gangarosa is well qualified to write on this topic, and although all reviews of anything that anyone writes is subjective, including this one, you will find an even-handedness in this book, as well as the companion volume, The Complete Guide to Compact Handguns which is also available on Amazon or from Stoeger Gun Books, the publisher. First of all, these trade-size paperback books cover defensive handguns. Competition, hunting and plinking guns are not what these books are about. Service Handguns covers revolvers and pistols in the 4″ to 5″ size, guns which are normally carried in a belt holster. The companion Compact Handguns volume covers shorter and smaller version of defensive handguns. The books are organized into four basic sections, classic revolvers, classic semi-automatic pistols, modern revolvers, and modern pistols. The sheer number of models reviewed is staggering. Guns are all photographed in B&W, and fired for function and accuracy. With gun companies that make multiple versions of the same basic model a representative one or two might be fired, but all are discussed.

The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry, and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense
The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry, and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense

Intended to provide instruction on using handguns to prevent gun owners from becoming the victims of a criminal or terrorist attack, this comprehensive handbook contains information on current state regulations, beginning and advanced shooting instruction, and updated safety advice. Advice for selecting and buying a handgun, discussions of the importance of self-protection, and methods of concealing weapons accompany a discussion of the mental attitude required in case of an armed encounter. In light of the current problem of violence in schools, this edition also offers detailed instruction on how to avoid violent encounters entirely. Information on the psychological consequences of shooting in self-defense is included, as are actual stories of incidents of concealed handgun self-defense.

The Gun Digest Book Of Semi-Auto Pistols
The Gun Digest Book Of Semi-Auto Pistols

No semi-auto shooter should be without the essential tips, techniques and advice featured in this book. One of the newest members of the Gun Digest family of authoritative reference books, The Gun Digest Book of Semi-Auto Pistols contains informative and entertaining articles by some of the nation’s premiere semi-auto experts, including Dave Workman, Chris Christian, and Kevin Michalowski. From target models to personal protection guns, from rimfires to large-bore centerfires, The Gun Digest Book of Semi-Auto Pistols contains everything the informed shooter should know when contemplating a purchase: current offerings, chamberings, retail pricing and used-gun values. Also includes a comprehensive manufacturer and resource directory.

Gunsmithing: Pistols and Revolvers
Gunsmithing: Pistols and Revolvers

In his book, Pat takes the time to explain to the beginner all the basics most books assume you already know. It’s an easy read, and supplies the reader with all the essential information needed to buy used guns, to send guns out for repair, welding, or finishing, and to clean and work on firearms at home. Even gun owners who never plan to try their hand at smithing will benefit from a better understanding of how guns work, what improvements are available, and what modifications should be avoided.

Firearms Assembly: The NRA Guide to Pistols and Revolvers
Firearms Assembly: The NRA Guide to Pistols and Revolvers

If one owns, collects, or works with firearms one needs to be able to take them apart and put them back together. A surprising large number of handguns, rifles, and shotguns can be found within the covers of this NRA publication. The book includes exploded views which show precisely how parts fit together, and some basic instruction on disassembly/reassembly. Despite the amazing amounts of negative publicity NRA gets in the news media, this is what they do best, provide unquestionable authority on firearms. If you need step by step instructions complete with photos you would be better served by the multi-part Gun Digest series on Firearms Assembly/Disassembly by J.B.Wood. But as outstanding and helpful as those books are, they simply can’t cover the sheer number and variety of guns that you will find within the pages of this book from NRA. After all, they’ve been covering this topic in-depth for a long time. It shows.

Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard
Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard

At a time when the semiauto pistol has become the issue handgun for our police and military and the handgun of choice for a lot of citizens, the snubby holds its own. It is available in a wider range of calibers, weights and finishes than at any time in its history. It continues to serve as a dependable backup weapon for the police officer, and it is a highly popular choice with the legally armed citizen. In this book, former CIA operative and longtime Combat Handguns columnist Ed Lovette pays homage to the short-barreled revolver, or snubby, holding it up as the timeless standard in concealed carry, backup and extreme close quarters (ECQ) defensive weapons. He also addresses the four most common complaints about the snubby – grip, front sight, trigger and ammo capacity – and presents viable ways to remedy those issues based on his personal experience. Lovette devotes the second half of the book to defensive tactics, running the gamut from basic personal defense to strategic planning for extraordinary situations such as surveillance and carjackings to considerations specific to the use of the pocket revolver. This book is a must for anyone seeking objective, practical insight into the snub-nose revolver’s enduring value.