Thinking of buying your first gun? How exciting!
No, seriously. I still get so excited when people talk to me about buying a gun. And it’s not just because I’m hoping they will later ask me on a range date to show off their new purchase.
I mean, not that I would say no if they asked…
If you’re getting into the world of guns and ready to make your first gun purchase, here are 7 things you should know before you head to the store and make your choice.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
The only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked. But sometimes we—both guys and gals—want to make it seem like we know more than we actually do, and so we don’t ask questions when we don’t understand something.
There are a lot of terms and acronyms tossed around in the world of guns, so it’s easy for a newbie to be lost before they’ve hardly got started. Once you start asking questions you will find that the vast majority of the gun community wants nothing more than to teach you everything they know in order to help you succeed.
2. Don’t be totally clueless about what you’re looking for
Do some amount of homework before you go shopping. If you walk into a store seeking out your first gun and you don’t know the difference between a rifle and a revolver, you’ve got a bit more research to do.
It’s okay to still be learning. We’re all still learning more about guns everyday. But do yourself a favor and arm yourself with some knowledge about what you’re looking for. It will make the experience more pleasant for you.
3. Don’t shop where the salesperson doesn’t talk to you
I’ve rarely experienced this, but it has happened. We’re talking guns, and the salesperson talks directly to my husband and never to me—even when my husband directs the questions at me.
We have two local indoor ranges that also sell firearms and both of them are amazing to work with as a female shooter. They employ both male and females, and I think they’ve honed in on the fact that sometimes females just feel more comfortable talking guns or asking questions of another female. I’ll talk to either, but it’s pretty awesome to talk to a female salesperson who has actually used the holster that I’m looking to buy and can answer questions regarding the cut of jeans or how things work in a dress from actual experience.
4. Don’t choose a gun by how it looks
A gun is not a fashion statement.
When buying my very first handgun, my husband took me to a local range and we rented several guns just for me to try. In an epic plot twist, I discovered that most of the guns I thought I would like, I didn’t. I ended up going home with the gun that by looks, I wasn’t a fan of—but man, was it nice to shoot!
So, yes, that Tiffany blue shiny thing you’re looking at is gorgeous. But you may actually hate the way it feels in your hand or, worse yet, when you shoot it.
I know many people who have purchased a gun because they liked the way it looked—it was small, it was pretty, it looked bad-ass—and then got it to the range and realized there was something they really didn’t like about the actual function.
5. Don’t choose a gun without shooting it
The last thing you want to do is drop several hundred dollars on something you don’t enjoy shooting. I can’t stress enough the importance of putting some rounds through a gun (or at least a gun of the same kind) before you buy it.
Visit a local indoor range that rents guns and try out what you’re looking to purchase. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or acquaintance that owns a gun similar to what you’d like to purchase, ask if they’d accompany you to the range and let you put a few rounds through it.
If your friends are anything like my friends, they will not turn down an invite to the range.
6. Don’t rush the purchase
Choosing a gun can be exciting, but don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal. If the store you’re at has the gun you want without laser sights (and you really want laser sites) be okay with waiting until you can get to the store that has the one you actually want.
Walking into a store, seeing a gun, and proclaiming I want that one is rarely a good choice for a beginner. Or, you know, for anyone.
7. Don’t go shopping without knowing the law
Federal guidelines require you to be 21 to purchase a handgun and 18 to purchase a long gun. And unless you have a permit to purchase/permit to carry, there may be a waiting period before you have that gun in hand. Which means you’re not walking out with that gun on the day you walk in to buy it.
Be aware that certain states have made rules above and beyond what the federal guidelines require, so it’s important to know the laws for your particular state.
Shopping for your first gun is exciting.
…and that’s an understatement. But by being prepared with these seven tips, hopefully the excitement involved with your first gun purchase will be all positive.