I'll be turning 21 on the 13th of March, 2008.
While turning 21 has a lot of legal implications, such as being able to purchase alcohol and getting a driver's license with a horizontal orientation (Instead of an underage one with a vertical orientation that makes you look and feel like a complete retard every time you take it out of your wallet -- Most US states do this so it's easy to determine if you're underage), there is one that takes my interest above all others.
21 is the minimum age required by federal law for the purchase of a handgun. I don't consider my self a gun nut to any extent, but I have taken sincere interest in owning one simply under the premise that one should be educated on the safe and effective handling and operation of firearms. In addition, the state that I live in grants concealed carry permits without too much of a fuss. I figure that if I'm going to get a handgun, I might as well take the extra step in going ahead and getting that permit.
Don't get me wrong here. Firearms are nothing to be trifled with, and if I purchased one, the very last thing I'd want to do is have to shoot somebody with it. Ideally, this situation would never happen, but it sure would suck ass to be a gun owner who needs it when it's not there. As the saying goes: "Any gun is better than a gun at home".
With that said, I've been doing plenty of research, looking at different types of guns, watching videos and lectures on operation and safety, and etcetera. I think I may have come to a decision on what gun I'll buy.
Enter the Para-Ordnance M1911 .45 ACP. See below.
I'll spare you all the boring gun talk (I'm not much of one to discuss guns, anyway). To put it in a concise manner, it's a pistol that means business. Overall, it just seems to be the most powerful pistol while still being reasonable in terms of ability to conceal, accuracy, dependability, and just downright looking neat. Although this type of gun takes a little more training to use than other pistol designs, it sounds like it'd be absolutely worth the experience.
There are many models available, ranging from those built for high capacity to those designed for concealment. That's a detail I'd have to work out later when I'm able to do more hands-on research.