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Before you begin shopping for a new or used handgun in the state of Maryland, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws governing handgun purchases.

The legal purchase of a handgun requires taking an HQL course and registering with the state.  Absolute HQL makes the process easy with a one-stop solution that includes training, fingerprinting, and submission to the state for your license.

How to start:

The first step in purchasing a handgun is completing required HQL training, LiveScan fingerprinting, and paying the licensing fee to the state of Maryland.  After you are trained and licensed, it’s time to purchase your handgun.

Find the Gun that Meets Your Needs

What is the purpose of your handgun purchase?  What are the characteristics that you need?  A handgun purchased for home protection may be larger than a gun you would buy for concealed carry.  Think about the functionality you need and focus your search on those attributes.

Semi-Automatic or Revolver?

Two of the most common handguns used for self-defense are semi-automatics and revolvers.  Semi-Automatics are in higher demand; however, they can also be more complex to operate.  There are various types of semi-automatics, and many people prefer them as they have a larger cartridge capacity and are faster to reload. Beginners may have a longer learning curve to become proficient with this type of handgun.  Revolvers are by design more straightforward and easier to use.  A single-action mode (hammer manually cocked and released by a light trigger pull) or a double-action (a single long and heavy trigger pull to cock and release the hammer are utilized to shoot a revolver.

Caliber Selection

Selecting the proper caliber is key to ensuring your purchase the handgun that is best for you.  The gun’s caliber will determine the effectiveness of the handgun for defense and the amount of recoil from the weapon.  Caliber is also a determinate in the size and weight of the handgun.  Choosing a gun that offers a recoil and weight that you are comfortable with when shooting is vital for your safety and defense.

Visit Gun Stores and Firing Ranges

Visiting gun stores to handle the handguns that interest you is a good step in your shopping experience.  However, before you purchase a gun, you should test-fire your top choices.  Apply the lessons you have learned from your handgun licensing class to determine if the weapon is safe for you to operate.  Are the safety or decocking levers within easy reach and easy to operate?   How does it handle for you, and will you be comfortable using it under the conditions in which you intend to use the gun?  Also, consider whether the gun meets your needs as either an in-home defensive weapon or a concealed carry.