The 7 Best Handguns for a Beginner Shooter


For those of us who have been shooting firearms most of our lives, the simple act of using a rifle, shotgun, or pistol is not that big of a deal. For the beginning shooter, it can be extremely intimidating until he or she actually does it. Handguns offer the beginning shooter a level of confidence that can’t really be explained, but it can be enjoyed. More beginners become hooked from shooting handguns than you’d think possible, and there are some great choices for shooters of all levels available. Here are just a few of the best starter guns including some of the best .22 pistols on the market.

Ruger Mark III and 22/45

ruger mark iii

Ruger’s .22 LR rimfire pistols come in many variations that fit plinkers, hunters, and competitive shooters perfectly. They’re simple in design, yet technologically advanced. The Mark III and 22/45 pistols have a lot to offer. Holding one in your hand will make you want one. Without a doubt this is one of the best .22 pistols and shooting one will make you not want to put it down.

Ruger rimfire revolvers

rimfire revolvers

These rimfire revolver classics from Ruger bring that same feeling as Henry rifles—you’re holding something in your hands that ties you to the heritage of the West. Rugers may have not won the West, but they certainly feel like it. With single-action style and variations on how many rounds the cylinder holds, finish, and grip configuration, there is a Ruger rimfire revolver that will undoubtedly stir something in you to make you want one. The single-action style is also a perfect tool for teaching the beginning shooter the basics of handgun safety and shooting.

SIG Sauer Mosquito

sig mosquito

It’s no coincidence that many law enforcement agencies choose SIGs for their duty guns. They are accurate, reliable, and dependable. The Mosquito offers everything that makes the legendary Sig P226—but it’s 90-percent of the size and in an economical .22 LR chambering. Beginning shooters are drawn to it as a chance to train and practice with the same basic version of a handgun they may choose to carry. It’s also just a whole lot of fun to shoot.

Browning Buckmark

browning buckmark

The Browning Buckmark is another one of those classic, time-tested designs that a ton of shooters are drawn to. Buckmark pistols are known for their accuracy and reliability, and are built to exacting tolerances. They start with a solid block of 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum and CNC machine the receiver from there. With many variations, there is a Buckmark for every shooter. They make outstanding hunting, target, and competition pistols and are a great way to introduce a beginning shooter to the legendary Browning name.

Ruger LCR

ruger lcr

Revolvers make for great carry guns, but they generally have one flaw—weight. Ruger solved this with the LCR line, taking the bulk out while keeping all the things that make a revolver great. The Ruger LCRs are all five-shot, compact handguns. They are available in a few variations of easy-shooting .38 Special, 9x19mm, and, for a little more bite and bark, .357 Magnum. You can even get a .38 model with laser grip sights. Even if the handgun will never be used for concealed carry, the Ruger LCR a great option for the beginning shooter.

Ruger LCP

ruger lcp

With most states now allowing folks to carry concealed, there has been a wealth of handguns designed just for that purpose. Ruger’s LCP was one of the first of a new wave of lightweight, compact pistols to hit the market. Chambered in .380 ACP, the LCP is very small. So small in fact that it can easily be concealed in a purse or pocket holster. Available in a few sight options, including a Crimson Trace laser, the LCP is a great choice for the shooter looking for a compact carry handgun.

Smith & Wesson M&P Compact

mp compact

The M&P line from Smith & Wesson quickly gained popularity for the legendary brand by being an all-around great handgun for shooters of all levels. The compact series takes all of the outstanding features of the full-sized handguns and sizes them down for easier-to-carry models. Stainless-steel components on a Zytel polymer frame means these pistols will last a long time. They come with a factory-set 6.5-pound trigger pull and are available in several configurations and in 9x19mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. If you’re looking for a bigger handgun that can be carried, take a look at the M&P Compact line.

This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.

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