It could be because it’s my birthday in just a few days or maybe it’s because I haven’t personally purchased a firearm in a while (define that as you will), but I thought it would be fun to discuss what to do now that you’ve bought a gun. Well, in my opinion, you might as well be thinking about what your NEXT gun will be!

I know I’ve confessed this to some of y’all before, and I don’t mind putting it out there again, but at one time, when I was still new to the world of firearms, I actually asked my husband why we would need another gun. I really didn’t understand how different guns can be. Oops! I certainly learned my lesson on that. And I went from my first purchase of a Springfield Armory XD-S (9 mm) with a 3.3-inch barrel to my next gun, a Smith & Wesson 629 Performance Center (.44 Magnum) with a 7.5-inch barrel. That was kind of a giant leap there. But I had my reasons! I wouldn’t recommend that, exactly. So, to narrow things down so this post doesn’t take up thousands of pages, I am going to share two categories for the decision-making process. Could there be more factors involved? Oh, yes. But for now, let’s consider if you’d like to be more practical or more spontaneous.


Since the majority of folks are purchasing guns for personal and home defense, practicality dictates that your next gun should be for that same purpose. And to be really sensible, you could select something in the same caliber as your first gun. Then you don’t have to start buying and storing up multiple kinds of rounds. Unless, of course, you purchased a .22 LR. Then go ahead and try a larger caliber! You don’t have to move from a Glock 44 to a 1911 in .45 ACP, but you could certainly take a smaller step up to a .380 or a 9mm. Or maybe you can just look for a handgun with a larger capacity. There’s nothing wrong with having spare magazines, but practice can be more enjoyable without having to reload so often. And having those extra rounds in the gun is a big selling point for many gun owners.

Along those lines, if the first gun you bought is meant for everyday carry, how about looking for a home-defense gun next? The guns I choose to carry for personal protection look a lot different from the firearms I have at home. They are smaller and more compact, for one thing, so I can conceal them effectively. But since I don’t have to worry about that for my home-defense handgun, my SIG P226 is decked out with some extras, like night sights and a weapon-mounted light. You could also use red dots or lasers or whatever gives you the advantage and makes the most sense to you.

On the flip side, if you bought your first gun for your house, then it might be time to look at something you could comfortably and confidently carry on body. Or maybe it’s time for a backup gun! Just note that with that, you’ll need a good, reliable holster too. So be prepared for double the shopping! And remember that smaller guns aren’t easier to shoot, so frequent training will be imperative.


If you feel a little emboldened or maybe just unsure, your next gun purchase could be something you hadn’t even considered before. Competition shooting, anyone? Race guns are fun to shoot, and all the customization possibilities make competition guns very unique and interesting!

Or let’s say you bought the revolver already. Then there’s no question: Try a semi-automatic. Or if you bought a long gun, now you should focus on a handgun. Or if you purchased the pocket pistol on round one, let’s go for the AR-15! Sporting rifles are extremely fun to shoot. But they are also relatively easy to use and can be a great addition to your home-defense plan. (Oops! Sorry — that may be too reasonable; we’re supposed to be talking about more impulsive choices!)

Another spontaneous course might be to scour the newsfeeds to see what firearms are new to the market. This could be a great starting point for ideas for your next purchase. Or try looking at an online marketplace like for just about anything and everything. Want a muzzleloader? A collectible firearm? Pick a price point … and try not to get lost for days in the seemingly endless listings! Better yet, make a target with different gun models or types written on it, and use your first gun to determine what firearm comes next! Let the most holes or the best groupings dictate your decision.

Just remember that if you can’t decide between practicality and spontaneity, you are more than welcome to choose both. After all, your next gun never has to be the last one!

About Beth Alcazar

Author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth Alcazar has enjoyed nearly two decades of teaching and working in the firearms industry. She holds degrees in language arts, education and communication management and uses her experience and enthusiasm to share safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage with others. Beth is certified through the NRA as a Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for multiple disciplines. She is also a Certified Instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.