by Judi Anderson

  1. Do you have the required permits and identification to purchase in your state?

    • In Minnesota, you must have a valid Minnesota photo ID or driver’s license reflecting your current residence address along with either a permit to purchase - obtained from the county Sheriff’s Department where you reside or a Minnesota permit to carry.

    • To obtain a Minnesota permit to carry you must attend a training class. Once the class is completed, you take the certificate of completion to the Sheriff’s Office in the county where you reside to obtain the permit to carry.

    • Permits must match your residence address as shown on your current driver’s license. If you move, you must change the address on your permit just as you do with your driver’s license.

  2. Are you old enough?

    • (In Minnesota, you must be at least 21 to purchase a handgun.)

  3. Revolver vs. Pistol?

    • There is less of a chance for misfires or jams with revolvers than pistols, however, if you clean and maintain your pistol appropriately, misfires and jams are not typically an issue.

    • The rapid-firing ability of a semi-automatic pistol may be a trade off depending on the purpose of your purchase.

  4. Caliber?

    • Are you buying for home defense? Hunting? Do you plan to carry the firearm?

    • Caliber will affect the physical size of the firearm, take-down ability, weight and recoil of the firearm. Not a big deal if its in your bedside table, but definitely a consideration if you will holster or otherwise carry the handgun.

  5. Grip?

    • How does the grip fit your hand?

    • Does it have interchangeable grips?

    • If it doesn’t fit well, it may be more difficult to control the gun and manage recoil.

  6. Cost of ammo?

    • You may love the gun, but your love may fade quickly if the ammo breaks the bank!

    • Again, consider the purpose. Defense vs. target practice?

  7. Capacity?

    • Pistols and revolvers have varying load capacities. Some pistols are single load, while others have magazine’s allowing for multiple loads from four to twenty-two rounds.

    • If higher capacity is important to you, check to see if extended magazines are available. Typically sold separately.