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One of the most common reasons that purchasers look buy a firearm is for the purpose of self defense. With the growing popularity and availability of conceal carry licenses, and a desire for home defense in general, defense enthusiasts looked to create a hobby group of their own to focus on just that – self defense. The International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA) surveyed close to 335 competitors in IDPA events and compiled a list of five of the most popular pistols used by IDPA members. Below, we’ve highlighted a few points of each of those six pistols.

Glock 34
Used by 16.2 percent of those surveyed in both the stock and enhance service pistol divisions, the 9mm Glock 34 reigned supreme due to its better sighting and extremely manageable recoil. Other popular pistols in this category included the S&W M&P Pro model and the Glock 17.

.45 ACP 1911
Moving into the custom defensive pistol category, the top used firearm is the .45 ACP 1911. More than 25 percent of all participants in this category chose the 1911 as their competition work horse. When it comes to specific manufacturers, Kimber, Springfield Armory, STI, Wilson Combat and Nighthawk 1911s are most popular among competitors.

S&W Model 625
When looking at participants in the enhance service pistol division, the S&W Model 625 in .45 ACP is the hands down choice. Designed specifically to handle big bore loads with fast unload and reload moon clips, this revolver is an obvious choice for self defense enthusiasts who want to pack a big punch in a smaller frame.

S&W .357 Magnum/.38 Special
The stock service revolver category division was more evenly split among competitors when it comes to pistol preference. The two most popular revolvers are the L-Frame S&W .357 Magnum and .38 Special. With more weight and less recoil, these two L-Frames were most preferred, with the Ruger GP100 coming in as a close third.

S&W Shield 9mm
While the back-up gun category is still new and undergoing some tweaks when it comes to IDPA competition, the Shield 9mm and short barrel .38 Specials were most preferred among those surveyed participants.

The real benefit of the pistols listed above is that they are all readily available through online classified and auction sites like For the most part, the IDPA categories also require that few custom modifications are made with the exception of the enhanced or custom divisions. Because of those requirements participants can find used firearms more easily than highly customized firearms used for speed or target shooting.

For more tips on buying and selling firearms online, see our posts on the top websites to buy and selling firearms online, inspection tips for buying a used revolver, and protecting against fraudulent federal firearms licenses.

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