In the near future, there will be many first-time gun owners buying firearms thanks to the recent increase in the number of concealed-carry permit holders. If you grew up surrounded by firearms and are a long-time shooter, the idea that purchasing a gun can be intimidating might be hard to imagine. After all, one of the activities that’s most enjoyed by seasoned shooters is actually buying a new gun.
If you have never purchased a firearm or perhaps never been in a gun store before, the task of choosing and buying a firearm can be quite challenging. People obviously don’t like the idea of looking stupid, which is understandable, but they also want to make an informed purchase and not end up buying the wrong firearm. Here are 5 tips guaranteed to help you find and purchase the firearm that you are looking for:
1. Do Proper Research
On the Internet, you will come across a lot of information. Some of it will be good and some of it will be bad. It is advisable to stick with trusted online resources such as American Rifleman, Shooting Illustrated, or their print counterparts as a first step. Alternatively, you can buy any one of the numerous books or eBooks written about concealed carry.
It is not always a must to know the model you would like to purchase when you walk into the gun store, but it is good to have at least a rough idea of the type of gun (semiautomatic or revolver) as well as the caliber you want.
2. Find a Gun That’s Right for You
You should avoid asking other people (especially seasoned shooters) about what type of gun they carry. Some love how a semiautomatic feels in their hand as well as how it is easy to conceal. On the other hand, others prefer the revolver and all its simplicity. Some people prefer laser-equipped guns while others prefer white or fiber-optic iron sights.
That said, there’s a reason for the popularity of concealed carry guns. Guns such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, the Walther PPS, the Ruger 10/22 rifle, and the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers are an excellent starting point when preparing a list of potential purchases. If the gun store has a range where you can safely shoot the gun, that’s even better.
If you are looking to purchase firearms, the NRA Annual Meetings provide one of the best opportunities for doing so. The great thing about those meetings is that all major gun manufacturers are in attendance and you can have access to experts who will answer any questions that you might have and are not simply trying to sell you guns.
If you speak to those that have attended such events, they will tell you that the experience provided them with the information that they needed to make an informed purchase. If your friends already own firearms, you can ask them whether it’s okay if you tag along when they go to the range. Guns are an investment, and just as is the case with other kinds of investments, it is important to have as much information as possible beforehand.
3. Pick the Right Gun Store
If you are seeking advice regarding the type of firearm to purchase, you have to be careful about who you trust. A good option would be an individual that owns a gun shop and guns are their livelihood. The person should preferably have grown up around guns, is passionate about them, which means that they can offer you great advice when it comes to choosing one.
If you choose to make your firearm purchases at a large retail store, however, you cannot be too sure about their level of knowledge and service. While you will obviously find people knowledgeable about firearms in such stores, not all stores have such a person. You might find an employee manning the gun counter today after they have spent the last 3 years selling golf clubs.
Stores such as Cabela’s and Bass Pro are the exceptions here since firearms are an integral part of what they do, but a person behind the counter at a large retail store might not be the best person to offer you a sound recommendation. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask a person about their previous experience with firearms.
You should also never feel that you have to purchase a firearm at the very first shop that you enter. It is always advisable to spend time shopping around to ensure that you get the best price possible.
4. Opinions Don’t Equate to Rules
9mm aficionados will say that the .45 ACP is obsolete while .45 aficionados will claim that the 9 mm is not ideal for personal defense, and .40 S&W aficionados will claim to have the best of both worlds. People familiar with guns are able to engage in such debates while separating fact from fiction. To new shooters, however, it can sound like they will always be wrong no matter which gun they end up choosing.
When it comes to self-defense, there are several different calibers that are all quite good as long as you have the proper ammunition. However, the .40 S&W, 9mm., .38 Special, .45 ACP, and .380 have all proven themselves to be effective defensive cartridges. You will come across brand loyalists that will fight for their favorite firearm passionately, but the reality is that there are numerous gun brands and designs that are great for defense.
The critical question you should ask yourself is how comfortable you actually are with your chosen firearm. Is the firearm accurate? Are you able to fire it comfortably after pulling it from concealment? Are you familiar with the gun’s operation and are you able to carry, store, and handle it safely?
It can be a good idea to seek the advice of a seasoned shooter, but even more important is that you should find a gun that you love to carry and shoot.
5. Spend Lots of Time at the Range Before Making Your Purchase
Buying a membership to a shooting range before actually purchasing your firearm might seem somewhat odd, but it has its benefits. Whether you are shooting with your friends in your back yard or you enroll in a top-level shooting course, the more the trigger time and experience you have, the better equipped you will be to tell what you like and don’t like.
The vast majority of shooters feel the need to immediately purchase a firearm after obtaining their CCW permit, but rushing to buy a firearm based strictly on other people’s opinions isn’t as valuable as spending time shooting different types of guns and finding the one that works best for you.