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Each of these guns have their own respective uses with some crossover. When purchasing a gun you may want to consider your needs for a weapon against what each of the strengths of each of these styles of guns to find the one that will meet you needs the best. I am convinced that for most people one gun will not do the trick, but if you are new to the sport choose a gun that will meet as many of your needs as possible.
I frequently get asked what gun should I purchase and the needs of the person are: target shooting, home defense and concealed carry. The usual suspects of weaponry this person is debating between are usually include a shotgun and a hand gun. While both styles are good for target shooting the shotgun is the superior home defense weapon but is severely lacking in the concealment arena. The hand gun would be the better choice even though it is not as effective for home defense.
One thing that I learned after I started purchasing firearms is the more I purchased and the more I shot them the better understanding I developed of what I wanted in a gun. So don't worry if you don't feel you have all the answers, guns have become a commodity and have risen in value so if you buy the wrong one you should be able to sell if for at least what you purchased it for.