FAM2 = Fit & Function, Ammunition Caliber, and Manufacturer
First, the foremost consideration with firearm selection is Fit & Function.
First, understand that firearms are ergonomically designed to fit securely in the hands of the user. The firearm grip can be engineered with many different angular dimensions and widths. In years past, singular grip designs had limited appeal for many shooters. Today, however, many manufacturers produce firearms with interchangeable backstraps that can tailor the fit, appealing to a broader range of interested shooters.
Finding a firearm that fits your hand well is the primary consideration when selecting your handgun. Fit also includes easy use of your firing hand to manipulate controls such as the Trigger, Slide Lock, Magazine Release and Safety Lock, if available on your gun.
Fit directly contributes to your ability to index [point] the firearm properly and attain correct sight alignment consistently. If you are a left-handed shooter and are considering firearms not designed to be ambidextrous, you must also determine your ability to manipulate controls with slight modification.
Once you determine that the firearm fits your hand well, the ability to operate or function the slide to full battery is essential. You may find it difficult to retract the slide fully to chamber the first cartridge. Often this is due to limited dexterity or physical strength. Retracting the slide is an important function because it is a necessary step to ensure that the firearm is clear of ammunition and safe to handle.
Next, consideration is given to Ammunition Caliber.
The second consideration for gun purchase is ammunition caliber. Keep in mind that ammunition manufacturers continue to build on technological advances with production methods and bullet design, as well as use of innovative raw materials and cleaner burning propellants that improve co-efficiency and ballistics. These components come together to produce ammunition engineered for peak performance and energy transfer when delivered to soft tissue targets.
Quality manufactured ammunition will perform reliably as designed delivering terminal ballistics sufficient to stop personal security threats. You should select a caliber where the felt recoil is most manageable, and the ammunition meets the expectation for intended usage.
Whether you elect to carry a firearm chambered in .380 ACP, 9mm, .45 ACP or any other common offering, modern ammunition is engineered to do the job for which it is designed. The crucial key is that you must be able to effectively manage your firearm and deliver hits to your intended target. This finite principle emphasizes the importance of focusing on the first step and selecting a firearm that fits your hand and physical ability.
And finally, consider your personal preference for Manufacturer.
After you have selected a firearm and caliber, you move on to selecting a Manufacturer. Following this objective decision-making process will help you to narrow your selection. Selecting a manufacturer involves considering your familiarity with the company, style and aesthetics, warranty and customer service reputation, price and availability.
The important point to note is that—with very few exceptions—well-known firearm manufacturers all produce models that are reputable and offer reliable performance by industry standards. Therefore, your personal preference and affordability are the final pieces that factor into the firearm that you purchase.
Remember: FAM2 = Fit & Function, Ammunition Caliber, and Manufacturer
Keeping these three primary considerations in mind when shopping for your first or next firearm will help to ensure that your investment will be one that you are happy with for years to come.
Contributor: Kent R. Jones, WFTC Training Coordinator