By GJWHG guest contributor Joe Bradley
The following article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the publication’s.
You’ve tried “plinking” with someone else’s gun at targets. You’ve tried out pieces at gun shows. And now you’ve decided that it’s time. You’re going to buy your first gun!
But as with many other major first purchases in life, buying a firearm shouldn’t be taken lightly. The wrong choice could mean a gun that never gets used. Even worse, the wrong choice could lead to an accident with tragic consequences.
There are many factors to consider in gun purchasing. The major ones that you need to look at are:
- Purpose of use
- Ease of use
But there are other issues to consider in gun buying that aren’t as apparent as these. To disregard them might mean the wrong gun for the wrong person. At the very least, it could mean a gun that’s not much fun to use!
So continue reading to learn from other novice gun buyers’ mistakes, and make sure that your first one is a purchase worth keeping.
1. The Buyer Isn’t Prepared For Paperwork
Every gun purchase you make should be accompanied by paperwork. This is true whether the seller owns a gun shop or is your buddy from the target range. Run, do not walk away, from any transaction that involves a “no paperwork” gun sale. Likewise, never agree to purchase a firearm for another individual.
There’s nothing wrong with offering pointers to a pistol buying pal, however. All of you should start by becoming familiar with the requirements of an area governing the purchase and possession of firearms.
Applications for firearms should be carefully read and filled out. If an applicant realizes that an error has been made on the paperwork after it’s been submitted, they need to contact the seller. If regulating agencies think that mistakes have been deliberately made or that information has been intentionally withheld, the results can range from no gun to prison time. Any paperwork surrounding firearm sales should be taken very seriously.
2. The Buyer Isn’t Familiar With The Gun In Question
If only real world firearms were like the ones we see on television and in the movies. In those universes, guns seemingly weigh as much as water pistols, are as easy to sight and use, and do about as much damage if something goes wrong.
In the real world, a mismatched gun and owner can result in consequences that are physically painful, embarrassing, and sometimes lethal. A working firearm that its purchaser intends to load and use should never be purchased for its looks or coolness factor alone. How can a prospective buyer tell that he or she has found “the right one”?
Try before you buy.
Handle and fire the gun before purchasing it. Will you be using it at the range? At matches? For hunting? Try to handle and fire it under conditions as close to real life as possible.
Do your homework.
Beware the aggressive seller who seems determined to sell you anything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to consider alternate options if the seller thinks “Mach XXX” is a little more gun than you need. And read up on that gun that you’re interested in before even visiting that seller. Gun magazines and online forums are fine places to start.
Know what you’re looking at under the hood.
Never mind all of the bells and whistles just yet. Can you identify everything on this gun? Do you know how to use it? Also, are you comfortable with loading, cleaning, and maintaining this firearm?
3. The Buyer Doesn’t Appreciate The Importance Of The Right Accessories
No, you can’t shoot anything with a holster. But plenty of gun owners have shot up property, innocent bystanders, or themselves because they had the wrong holster, a “homemade” one, or no holster at all. And as important as holsters are, they’re far from the only gun accessory that you’ll need. Accessories that you should consider getting:
- Hearing and eye protection
- Cleaning fluid and equipment
- Gun case (for transportation)
- Gun case or locker (for storage)
- Scopes and other sighting items
- Appropriate ammunition storage
4. The Buyer Thinks Buying A Gun Makes Them A “Gun Expert”
The person most likely to shoot an inexperienced gun owner? That would be themselves. The second most likely person? A child or inexperienced adult who has access to that gun.
There are certainly bad people out there that a gun owner may have to confront. But statistics indicate that gun owners are more likely to accidentally injure themselves or be injured by others using the owner’s gun.
Fortunately, this can easily be fixed. New gun owners can start by realizing that proper gun ownership requires practice, proper storage, and even classes to help owners become comfortable with their new purchase.
Everybody makes mistakes. But with advance care and practice, first time gun owners can avoid some common ones all together.
Buying your first time is an exciting experience, and one that you should not have to worry about. If you use some common sense and always follow gun safety rules, you will be just fine!
Have you given a first time buyer some pointers on help them buy their first gun before? If so, what tips did you give them?
Joe Bradley is the editor for smokingbarrelusa.com, which is aimed at promoting responsible gun ownership as well as debunking myths about guns and gun owners.