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Tyler, Professional Researcher & Musician
Category: General
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Experience:  B.M & M.M.. Skilled at in-depth research. Former police officer.
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History Im a 75 year old recent widow. Im strong,

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History: I'm a 75 year old recent widow. I'm strong, energetic and healthy. My children and grandchildren are concerned now that I am living alone and have suggested I purchase a handgun for self-defense.I've had some experience with guns, but that was forty years ago. Okay, now finally my questions:
1. What would you suggest? 2. Is it possible to legally purchase a used gun? Any way to find out the approximate prices before I go to a gun shop? and finally 4. What questions should I ask...I am concerned as a near-novice I will get taken because I don't know what to expect.
I am so delighted to have found a web-site that offers help. Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Tyler replied 6 years ago.
Hello Kitti! Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question!

I will be happy to assist you with this. I am a former police officer and dealt with these kinds of things all the time. I can tell you, it is most certainly legal for you to buy a used gun--it just has to be purchased the right way. Because of state and federal laws, handguns need to be purchased through a licensed gun shop. Since these laws are so strict, I'd be surprised if you could open up the yellow pages and find a gun shop that was NOT licensed. Local law enforcement and the ATF keep a close watch on these folks to make sure they're legitimate. That said, check your yellow pages and take a look at some of the bigger shops you find. Guns are often also sold through pawn shops. As with any other important purchase, make sure you find a place to do business with that you feel comfortable with.

Now to your other questions! I would suggest a smaller weapon, simply because of your age and experience. That means you should go with a 9mm at the largest, and also consider a .38. Those are common sizes for handguns and will make it easier to obtain ammunition and have a greater choice in guns. I wouldn't suggest something as small as a .22 caliber, as a round fired from this gun would have very little stopping power. Also keep in mind the size of a handgun. You may think it's better to go with a miniature gun because it's smaller, lighter and easier to handle, however as guns get smaller, so do their barrels and you will end up sacrificing accuracy at medium to long range.

As for approximate prices, you can get a quality, used, full-size handgun for between $250-$450 depending on the brand. There are also some smaller, less well known guns that are less than $200 new. I used to carry a small 9mm pistol off duty that was only about $150 new. It was a solid and accurate gun. In your shopping, find a gun broker who will give you the same kind of informative, caring customer service you would expect from anywhere else you made an important purchase.

Here are some questions to ask. Some of these will also deal with your own personal preference, but actually holding the different guns and finding out more about them will answer some of these questions as you shop.

1. Should I get a semi-automatic gun or a revolver?

2. Should I get a gun with a safety?

3. Does this gun jam often or have any other common issues?

4. How easy is it to maintain this gun?

5. Would you (the gun broker) keep this gun in your house to protect yourself?

There are so many different gun choices, and most of them are good. Most gun brokers are good people whose passion is guns and they will help you find one that fits right for you! I'd be happy to answer any follow up questions you may have. Best wishes!

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