Six Things You Should Know Before Purchasing Your First Firearm
Welcome to the oft misunderstood world of firearms! In the first part of this three-part series, you will be introduced to the basics of firearms ownership. Part two will introduce you to the art of selecting a gun and assist you in understanding what kind of firearms training you should seek. And lastly, we will review an array of handguns that could be considered for those of you wanting to carry concealed.
* So, where do we start? Let’s explore what you need to know before actually purchasing a firearm.
Addressing Anti-Gunner Rhetoric
The truth is there are so many misconceptions and preconceived notions regarding firearms that guns and the gun culture may be one of the greatest enigmas of modern times. For example, it’s important to remember the saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It does not think; therefore, it can’t point itself at a human being, nor does it have the ability to pull its own trigger. When used in self-defense, a gun is a non-living mechanical tool of last resort.
Prior to purchasing a firearm, do your own research and educate yourself. Keep an open mind; alleviate your apprehension by engaging firearms owners, instructors, and your local law enforcement communities. This will help you weed out fact from undocumented fiction and guide you down the path best suited for you on your journey into firearms ownership.
It should be noted that being ignorant to all applicable laws you must follow is not an excuse. Stay apprised of the laws that govern firearms purchasing, ownership, and concealed carry. Check federal, state, and local municipality websites to keep apprised of new and updated laws; this is your responsibility, ignorance will not cover your derriere.
Reasons For Buying a Firearm
You must decide why are you buying a firearm. Is it for protecting you and your family while you are home? Is it for hunting your first deer, rabbit, or wild boar? Do you want to join your spouse when s/he goes to the range for target practice? Or do you want a firearm for concealed carry? Once you nail down your purpose for buying a gun, then you need to take a deeper dive.
Go to a gun shop and range. The first time you don’t need to shoot if you are uncomfortable, just observe. If you go onto a range with another person, even if you choose not to shoot, you are still required to follow all of the rules of the range! So get familiar with them. I have listed a few of the rules below, but for more info you can go to the NRA website and peruse a more in-depth review of range rules.
Although going to a gun shop with someone you know who is a gun enthusiast is a great idea, a better idea is to go onto the range for the first time with a firearms instructor or range safety officer. These men and women have been trained and are more experienced to provide instruction to a new shooter.
Finding an Instructor
So now you’ve visited a gun shop and range. What’s next? Find a reputable instructor. Your local range can refer you to one of their classes or to a private instructor who can train you either in a class or in a private one-on-one session. Instructor rates vary, but always keep this question in mind: “How much is YOUR LIFE worth?” Can you place a dollar amount on your life? Remember, the cost of training with the proper instruction is priceless!
Being a firearms instructor, I’m going to suggest private one-on-one training sessions to get started. This will provide you, as a new shooter, with the most thorough instruction for your needs.
When you first contact a reputable instructor make sure s/he will cover the following elements of training:
Time in the Range
Now that you are ready to step onto the range, follow your instructor’s direction. As mentioned above, here are a few rules of engagement you must follow when on the range:
**Rules of safe and responsible firearms handling include the following:
Now, you are ready to take your first shots! Part two will give you an overview of what to expect from your instructor and your training, and how to differentiate the best fit firearm for your needs. Stay tuned!
*The information provided is a brief overview for responsible, safe, and practical gun ownership. It does not however substitute for actual firearms training. Visit your local range, engage a Certified NRA Firearms Instructor, and read as much information as you can before making any purchase or training decisions.
**The rules listed above for handling firearms, is NOT a replacement for Basic Firearms training with a professional firearms trainer, or, at a minimum learning from an experienced shooter. It is a starting point of considerations to those new to shooting and firearms ownership.