So, you’ve been thinking about getting a gun, or giving the shooting sports a try. But where do you even start? In this article, I hope to help you figure out how to figure out what firearm you should get and make it a little less intimidating.
Where do I even start??
Let me start by saying that if you are brand new to guns, I’m going to assume that you do not own a gun yet.
The first place you should start is by getting your hands on and shooting as many different guns as you can. If you have friends or family that enjoy shooting, they would probably be more than happy to take you out shooting. If you don’t have friends or family that have guns you can try or that don’t have a big selection, many ranges have rental guns that you can try out. Why do I recommend trying them out? Well, finding the perfect gun for you is alot like finding the perfect pair of shoes. You want the gun to fit your hand. If the grip is too big or too small, you won’t be able to control the recoil as well, and it won’t be as enjoyable to shoot…and if you’re going to own a gun, you must practice with it, so you want something that you can enjoy shooting.
As an example, I have shot a Smith & Wesson M&P340 that, in 1 cylinder of ammo, left me with a blister on the thumb of my strong hand. Now, I don’t consider myself a recoil sensitive girl, or a girl with a weak grip, but that gun was NO fun to shoot. Chances are, if that was my gun, I wouldn’t practice with it enough that I should carry it. The gun fit my hand great and felt comfortable to hold prior to shooting it. It wasn’t until I shot it that I realized I hated it.
Shoot as many different guns as you can. This will help you decide what you like and what you don’t like and that will start to narrow down the selection.
Educate yourself about gun safety
You MUST educate yourself about gun safety. You should start BEFORE you even get your hands on a firearm. You are responsible for your safety and for every round you fire. The basic safety rules are simple and can prevent a devastating accident from occuring. They are:
1. Every gun is loaded. When someone hands you a firearm, ALWAYS assume it is loaded. Check it. Just because you took the magazine out, doesn’t mean there isn’t a round still in the chamber. Check it again. It doesn’t matter if I just saw my Husband unload a pistol, when he hands it to me, I check it again. It’s not that I don’t trust him. It’s that I want to be 110% sure that the gun is unloaded.
2. Never put your finger on the trigger until you a ready to fire. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun will not go off. Plain and simple. For example, if you put your finger on the trigger while you are pulling a pistol from your holster, you could very easily shoot yourself. Talk about a bad day. In fact, in the following video, this DEA agent didn’t follow rules 1 or 2. Remember, he’s a professional. Check out what happened.
3. Never point your gun at something you are not willing to kill or destroy. Don’t point your gun at your friend, your friend’s car, etc. Not only is this grounds for a butt-kicking, but if you happen to have your finger on the trigger (because if you’re being this disrectful of a firearm, chances are you’re not following ANY of the safety rules), you could hurt or kill someone, or destroy property. True story – I know of an instance where a young man “jokingly” pointed a gun at his girlfriend’s head, and pulled the trigger because he was told the gun was unloaded. He “accidentally” shot her. This young woman lost her life because of his horrible decision, and I’m sure he will never forgive himself.
4. Know your target and what it beyond it. You must always be aware that any round you fire may go through your target. If you’re shooting paper targets, make sure there is nothing behind the target. If you’re hunting, you probably don’t want to shoot something that is in front of a vehicle. If you are in a self defense situation, you must know if there is an innocent person standing behind the bad guy. You are responsible for every round you fire.
Ok, so I’ve decide on the gun and I know the safety rules. Now what?
GO BUY IT! Well, ok, maybe not yet. I recommend doing some research on the firearm that you have decided on. If you google it, you will find reviews from other people who own the gun that could be very helpful. If you find out that the firearm you have chosen has trouble feeding a particular brand of ammunition, that could save you frustration at the range. Or, you could find enough negative reviews that you decide not to spend your hard earned money on that particular gun. Research is your friend.
If you like what you’ve read in the reviews, then it’s time to go buy it. There are several ways you can buy a firearm. You can just walk into you local gun store and purchase it, you can buy one used from another individual in person, or you can buy it online (through a dealer or a site like gunbroker.com). I plan to write an article at a later date about buying a gun online to explain the process. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and can often save you money.
So you’ve got your gun. My next suggestion is that you find a firearms instructor. That could be a certified firearms instructor, a class, or even someone you know that is a safe, experienced, responsible shooter. The first few times you shoot your new gun, you are going to be a little nervous. It’s a good idea to have someone with you that has experience in case you have questions, or malfunctions with the firearm. Plus, it can be a ton of fun to go shoot with other people.
As you get more experience, you will get more comfortable shooting. ALWAYS remember the safety rules and that your safety is your responsibility.
Do you have any other tips that I missed? Did you find this article helpful? Leave me a comment below!