First-Time Gun Owner Guide
For someone entering the gun community for the first time, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Each new door you open can lead to another rabbit hole for you to tumble down. Eventually, these rabbit holes turn into exciting new avenues of your hobby for you to explore. When you’re new to the world of guns though? It can all seem a bit overwhelming.
But we can help with that. If you’re a first-time gun owner or looking to pick up your first gun, learn the ropes with our first-time gun owner guide.
What Type of Gun Should You Buy?
The first step toward becoming a gun owner is making the decision to purchase a gun. This decision alone raises a ton of questions: What kind of gun should you purchase? Is it for sport shooting? Home defense? Concealed carry? It's easy to see why this could seem overwhelming.
Developing a road map for your first gun purchase does more than answer questions, though. It helps you navigate all of the things that go along with gun ownership. Remember that you're buying for you and not someone else. No matter how highly recommended a gun is, if it isn't for you, then it isn't for you.
Only you can know what fits your needs. You're the only one who can decide what feels comfortable to you and what fits within your budget. Things like that are definitely questions you may want to consider asking yourself when determining what to buy.
How to Buy a Gun
Buying a gun is different from other shopping experiences, and there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. One of the biggest differences is that of the legal paperwork. This can vary by state, as each has its own requirements. At the very least, you will have to fill out the federal paperwork for the ATF and get a background check. This process can vary — again, each state is different — but all of the federal regulatory guidelines are universal.
Depending on your state requirements, there may be permits to apply for, safety classes that must be taken or a required waiting period. You may or may not end up leaving with your gun on the day you go to purchase it. This process can vary depending on whether you're buying the gun from a dealer or an individual.
Ammo, Accessories and Peripherals
Of course, you can't buy a gun without buying ammunition. It won't do much good sitting empty. The type of ammo you get is largely dictated by the type of gun you purchased and what your intended purposes for it are. For instance you may use FMJ rounds for practice, but use Hollow Points for self-defense or hunting.
Then there are holsters, slings, protective cases and a plethora of personalization options available for your purchase. Not to mention other peripheral equipment, such as reloading supplies, protective equipment and the tools needed for maintenance and modifications. Admittedly, many of these items are not necessities, although some may well be depending on your intended uses.
Storage for Your Guns
Which brings us to another important piece of the pie: Where are you going to keep all of this? Even if you plan to carry the new gun with you all the time, there will be times you need to not have it on you. You're probably not going to bathe or sleep with it on, for example.
When considering storage, ask yourself: Will it be long-term or short-term storage? Is this your primary defense weapon? What about the ammunition and accessories?
You'll have to take into consideration how you plan to store your guns. Whether they are for defensive purposes or you got them for hunting or sport shooting, each type of usage has unique storage needs. This can vary by the type of gun too. Handguns and long guns obviously require different types of spaces.
Storing ammunition is also something to consider. Depending on the plan for storing your gun, you may want to store some ammo with it and some in another area. There are considerations to be aware of for maintaining the health and lifespan of the ammo just as with the guns.
Suffice it to say that storage is a very large part of gun ownership.
Training and Using the Gun
Now that you have your guns, ammo, a few accessories, and a safe place to store them all, it’s time to practice. At the very least, you'll need to find somewhere safe to shoot your new gun. However, if you have the ability, taking a gun safety course from a trained professional is the best way to get acclimated to your new weapon.
Unfortunately for some people, the buying of the gun was the end of the road. Sometimes people buy a gun for self-defense purposes and think that's the end of it. It isn't. Simply owning a gun is not a magic cure-all for safety. In order to be able to defend yourself, you have to actually be able to use the gun. That requires training and/or practice. Preferably both.
Rights and Responsibilities of Gun Owners
There are also certain responsibilities and legal concerns that go along with gun ownership. In fact, this is an often overlooked, but extremely crucial component of gun ownership. There are legal issues to be aware of when traveling with a gun. There are legal issues to keep in mind with selling or transferring ownership of a gun. There may also be regulations for how to store things, accessibility requirements, or even limits of what can and can't be done; as well as state and local restrictions on certain types of firearms, magazines, and ammunition.
As a gun owner, you have a responsibility to protect not just yourself and your family, but others as well. This applies to defensive usage situations as well as understanding legalities. Exercising your rights also requires knowing them, so it's in your best interest to keep yourself educated and informed.
Legality is a never-ending issue with gun ownership, especially given the way that legislation is passed and repealed. What is legal today may not be tomorrow and vice versa. A gun owner has a responsibility to keep themselves informed at all times because ignorance of the law is no excuse.
As you can see, each question about guns breeds new questions. Use this guide as a jumping-off point to ask yourself the right ones, and your experience as a new gun owner will be much smoother. This beginner’s guide is a platform from which to launch out into the exciting world of gun ownership. Welcome to responsible gun ownership!