5 Mistakes New Gun Owners Make And How to Avoid Them

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5 Mistakes New Gun Owners Make And How to Avoid Them

Coming into any new venture presents challenges. Some of which fall into what could be categorized as rookie mistakes.

We've all been there. Every firearm owner was the newbie at some point. Thankfully, that means it's easy to recognize some common mistakes and provide education about what can be done to mitigate them. Here are five common mistakes new gun owners make so you can avoid them.

1. Buying the Wrong Gun

To be clear, this is not to say there's one correct gun. There is, however, a correct gun for you.

Why Does This Happen?

More often than not, the reason this happens is because the person got bad advice. They listened to the person at the counter, who may have been trying to sell something specific, or were simply just recommending an option because they're a fan of a particular brand. Sometimes it's as a result of input from a family member or friend and the person just wants to buy what they have seen others shooting. The end result is someone buying a gun that's completely wrong for their needs or preferences.

How Can it Be Fixed?

Do research. Look up information online and try out a few options at a range if possible. If that's not possible, don't be afraid to spend time at the gun store checking out various firearms. You want to see how a gun fits your hand, how heavy it is, and whether you like the sights, among other things.

Buying a gun is a process, especially if it's your first time. Take time to find a gun that you're comfortable with and that fits your needs. It doesn't matter what the Delta Seal Ranger Sniper behind the counter says; get the gun that's right for you.

2. Being Uncomfortable With the Gun

Examples of being uncomfortable with your gun can include, but aren't limited to:

  • Buying a gun only to let it sit without ever carrying it
  • Constantly fidgeting with your gun when you're carrying it
  • Carrying it only at certain times
  • Not letting others, like family, handle the gun
  • Being Scared to shoot the gun because of the kick or the power.

Why Does This Happen?

A few things cause this particular issue, but the underlying root cause is a lack of familiarity and ability. If you're uncomfortable with your gun, it's most likely because you consciously or subconsciously believe you're unable to use the gun correctly. Lack of ability comes from a lack of familiarity, and they both manifest themselves in discomfort.

How Can it Be Fixed?

Get training and practice. Lack of ability and familiarity can be eliminated by training. Think about it: The things you're skilled at are those you've done repeatedly. You hear people say it all the time: "I've done this a million times. It's no problem." That's because repetition leads to proficiency. Getting quality instruction and performing those same drills and techniques on your own increases your skill and makes you more comfortable with your firearm.

3. Being "Tacticool"

This is quite common. Every gun owner has a box, drawer, or shelf of some kind filled with gun related items they bought because they looked cool. Sure, we all thought these things would come in handy when we bought them, but they, of course, did not.

Why Does This Happen?

The gun industry is full of things that claim to help you, so it's only natural that as new gun owners, we get caught up in the excitement. Whenever a person gets involved in a new activity, there's an excitement that comes from the new and unknown. We want to absorb as much as we can and experience everything there is to know about this new activity. As a result, we can be susceptible to spending money on accessories simply because they look cool.

How Can it Be Fixed?

The best method is to avoid spending money on anything but necessities at the beginning. Buying extra magazines and ammo is never a bad choice. Holsters, slings, and protective or storage items, such as safes or lockable cases, can also be good purchases. Beyond that, it's best to save the money and spend it on more ammo and training. Once you've become more proficient with your gun and have more intimate knowledge of it, you'll be better able to discern which accessories can genuinely improve your experience and which are just gimmicks.

4. Not Knowing the Law

Anyone old enough to have ever watched the news can tell you that firearms and their ownership are one of the most polarizing and hotly debated topics in America. There are almost as many opinions on guns as there are guns themselves. Subsequently, there are a multitude of laws on the books. Unfortunately, many people don't know what the various laws are for themselves and the firearms they own.

Why Does This Happen?

One reason for this is simply being overwhelmed. There's so much information available that people get paralyzed with information overload. Another reason is that they mistakenly think they don't need to worry, because things don't apply to them. People often think, "I only have a rifle/handgun; the laws are for other things."

Many people also believe they learned all the relevant laws pertaining to them when they took their concealed or licensing class. Regrettably, this is not the case. As a result, gun owners can find themselves on the wrong side of an argument with police or the ATF.

How Can it Be Fixed?

Learn your laws. It's a simple solution that isn't simple. It takes some work and effort, but take the time to find out what the laws in your state and locality are.

The good news is there are many resources and organizations dedicated to providing information on gun laws relevant to you. You can even find out what laws might apply to you by looking at organizations that actively try to enact new laws so you can get a complete picture of exactly where you're at legally. One last piece of the puzzle in that regard is firearms attorneys. Many lawyers dedicate their practice to the gun world; you can contact them for information if you're concerned about the legality of your gun. Remaining legal is up to you; don't risk losing your rights because you were unaware you were breaking the law. Ignorance is never an excuse.

5. Being Unprepared

This ugly beast rears its head in numerous ways. Examples include not having enough ammo, not planning enough time on the range, not bringing necessities, and even not carrying a round in the chamber while carrying your firearm.

Why Does This Happen?

Fundamentally, this stems from thinking that once you've purchased your gun, that's it. It's the belief that you're automatically safer having purchased the firearm.

This mistake is rooted in the belief that you've done all you need to do. It's the feeling of being prepared to the point that you neglect actual preparedness. Sadly, a false sense of security is even worse than being completely ignorant, because you may make decisions based on the false security that you otherwise wouldn't. This can be dangerous.

How Can it Be Fixed?

Understand that owning a firearm is a serious matter that requires ongoing effort and attention. Buying the gun wasn't the end; it was the beginning. The sooner someone comes to that realization, the better. After that, the person begins to understand the true nature of firearms ownership. Owning a gun, while fun, is also a responsibility.

Buy the right gun for you, carry a round in the chamber, practice with your firearm, know the laws and make sure your gear is valid and in working order. Additionally, get medical training, as it could come in handy in the event of an accident or incident. Knowing how to address bullet holes is just as important as knowing how to create them.

Whether you've already made some of these mistakes or you're looking to avoid them from the beginning, keep this list in mind. Knowing some common issues new gun owners run into, where they come from, and how to correct them can help you avoid them yourself.

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Sancho Valdez
This is an excellent summary of what the new gun buyer needs to know and even the old timers needs to review. As a shooter killing his first dove at age 10, I have 60 years of firearm experience. I only have one regret of a firearm I bought, many regrets of firearms I sold/traded. I was going to end this here but I know people will want to know what the regrets are. Buyers regret: Taurus PT145 not a bad pistol, but it doesn’t have an ambidextrous safety. I am ambidextrous handgun shooter. For the list of seller regrets: Dan Wesson .357, electroless nickel .45 combat commander, Mk IV Govt model .38 Super, Mk IV .Govt model.45. I do wish I kept my 1914 Mauser 7.65 but it was reblued and I couldn’t understand why a 7.65 needed to be so large. Michael Cain carries one in the mid 60s movie The Ipcriss Files. Under a new boss he is required to carry a Colt .32 revolver. “But I like my automatic.” Was his response.