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In the United States, 44% of households have one or more guns, many of us grow up with them.
If you’re living on your own or with your family and want to get a gun, buying a gun can feel overwhelming. There are hundreds of different choices, and terminology you might not be familiar with. Don’t get discouraged, buying a gun should be a fun, interesting experience.
Here are 7 tips that might help you enjoy the process of purchasing your first firearm.
1. Why Are You Buying a Gun?
The first question to ask yourself is, why am I buying a gun? For some people, it’s self-defense or home defense. Others want to own a gun so that they can go hunting, and still, others want to have something they can take out for a fun day on the gun range.
The reason why this matters is that each one of those categories may find you with another choice. If you want to have something to shoot targets with, a .22 might be the best choice. A .22 will not be the best choice for defense, and it is a limited hunting caliber.
When you’re choosing a gun, purpose means everything. If you want to deer hunt, you’re going to want to buy a bolt action rifle in a caliber that is legal and can get the job done. If you’re going bird hunting or skeet shooting, you will want to consider shotguns.
In the case of self-defense and home defense, all of the options are on the table. To prevent possible harm to neighbors, most people choose a pistol or shotgun. These are both great options, depending on your circumstances and what you are comfortable with using.
2. Find the Best Price
For those who aren’t familiar with purchasing a gun, it can come as a surprise, but not all stores have the same price. The firearm market is one that you do need to do some shopping around, find out who offers what and for how much. This is true with both used and new guns.
You will find a larger difference between the prices of used guns. You may find that you can get a great deal at a pawnshop, gun store, or gun show. If you are going with a used gun, be careful because the condition will have a big impact on the price, you may not want the cheapest option.
There is less variance with new guns, but it is still possible to find specific deals depending on where you go. Some of these deals are promotional, and some are because the store has purchasing power which helps them out. Other stores have deals with specific manufacturers that may keep their prices lower.
3. Get a Feel for It
There’s nothing worse than buying a gun and finding out that it doesn’t work with your hand. This can mean that it won’t sit right, doesn’t feel good to hold, or is too wide. A lot of this will depend, the larger you are and the bigger your hand is the less trouble you will have.
If possible you’ll want to test-fire the gun before taking it home. If that isn’t possible, find out if you have a friend or relative with the same brand or type of gun. If you can borrow their gun, try it out at the range and see how it feels for you.
Experiment with various calibers in order to find one that feels the best in your hand. Each caliber will have a different level of recoil. You may find that a 12 gauge shotgun has too much recoil for your comfort, so you could go with a 20 gauge instead.
4. Stick With Common Calibers
When it comes to the size of ammunition you can find an amazing variety. While it may be interesting for those who have experience, odd calibers won’t serve you well for your first gun. Pick something that is chambered in a caliber that you can find cheap, plentiful ammunition in.
Modern 9mm ammo is considered to be among the very best for anyone, those with experience and those without. It is versatile, comes in a variety of configurations, and can take care of any threat to your person short of a large Alaskan grizzly bear. Another common and effective round is .45 ACP.
If you’re unsure what a common caliber is, ask the salesperson you are working with. Most of the people in the gun store with you will know the answer. Look for weapons chambered in .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9mm, .22 LR, .380 ACP, .38 Special, these are just some examples of common pistol calibers.
For rifles, you can choose weapons chambered in .223, .243, .308, .30-06, and others. Shotguns are easy, as any shell for a 12 gauge, 20 gauge is going to be common, with smaller and specialty shells less so.
5. Do Your Research
The firearm industry is full of folklore and common sayings that don’t always turn out to be true. Even people with years of experience handling and using guns fall prey to these stories, so don’t feel bad. Make sure you research and find credible information about anything you are considering.
Another source of misinformation is historical data about weapons and their function. You may find a lot of stories about how AR-15s are unreliable or jammed often, even though modern AR-15s are among the most reliable of weapon platforms. These stories last for decades and pass through generations.
Instead of believing everything you hear, look for government test data, and other real-world testing information. You can find that on websites, YouTube, or other sources. If something doesn’t “sound right” to you, the best thing you can do is double-check it.
While some of the folklore you’ll hear is not correct, a lot of it will be. There are reasons why certain companies and brands develop reputations among gun owners. Don’t be afraid to ask about the gun you’re thinking of buying before you do so.
6. Get Advice
Despite the wealth of misinformation about guns and ammo, the best sources of information you will have near you are others who own guns. They can tell you from their own experience what works and what doesn’t. Use this to your advantage when you are going out to buy your first gun.
Choosing a gun isn’t something you should hurry, and you may find reliable information that isn’t correct for your area. If you live in the country, for instance, it may be hard to get 7mm rifle ammunition, whereas someone in a more populated area won’t have that trouble. These small specifics can cost or save you a lot of money.
If you decide that you don’t want a new gun, and go with an older, used model then make sure to seek out advice. Used guns can be great deals, but they can also be a problem for those without the experience to deal with issues. Ask someone you trust about brands and models, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
Gun culture in the United States is full of some of the best, most helpful, and friendly people you will meet. Many will go the extra mile to help you get the best deal you can. If gun owners share one thing, it is strong opinions and willingness to give advice.
7. Gun Options
There are two schools of thought when it comes to gun options. One school says that you shouldn’t avoid having gun accessories and new furniture, and the other says a brand new gun owner should avoid it. There are good reasons for both points of view, but only you can decide what works for you.
If you’re willing to be adventurous you can find options that aren’t out there for others. Cheaper ways of putting together your first gun, by buying components separately for instance. A great place to start would be to purchase a pre build AR-15 complete upper.
Putting together your own rifle can save you a ton of money and provide you with a superior product. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, ask around with your gun-owning friends, they may be able to help save you money. Most people who own guns will be more than happy to help a new gun owner get into the culture.
Buying a Gun
When it comes down to it, the reason you are buying a gun will have the single largest effect on what you choose to get. Be mindful of the differences between calibers, their ability to penetrate targets, and the cost of training with the gun of your choice. You don’t want to end up with a beautiful gun that is too expensive to shoot.
Don’t rush buying a gun, take your time and weigh your options. If this article was helpful, please take a moment and check around our website for more information.