We recently asked our social media followers the following question:
"What one piece of advice would you give to someone who's in the process of buying their first gun or just new to our 2A community?"
We received more than 100 very smart and thoughtful answers, and interestingly, most of our followers had very similar advice. Here's what they had to say, starting with the most popular answer and highlighting a few very insightful responses. Read every response on the post itself:
Try Out Several Guns Before You Buy
This is one of the best pieces of advice you can give to someone looking for their first firearm, so we're happy to report it was the most popular answer.
Stacy H. - "Guns are like shoes. You need to try several on and get the one the feels right in your hands."
Jessica K. - "Find a firearm that works for you. Don’t let someone else decide what you should have. Try out several at the range first."
vangallivanting - "Take your time. Pay attention to how the various guns for rent at the range feel to YOU. Don't buy a gun because your friend says they love that one. Find your own."
Start Training and Practicing Immediately
The advice to train, practice, and take classes came in a VERY close second. Some suggested training before purchasing a gun and a majority of those who gave this answer made a point to mention that knowing how to use your gun and shoot competently is the most important part of being a gun owner.
Doug M. - "Learn to use it safely. You don't necessarily need training, but it doesn't hurt. Bullets don't do "take backsies" and guns aren't magic wands that make bad people disappear. What gun you buy is unimportant compared to being able to use it responsibly."
aurora.isa.40_31 - "Learn safety and then train, train, and train some more."
Pamela H. "Be sure to schedule/purchase your training classes at the same time. A tool is no good unless you learn how to use it properly."
Know Your Local and State Gun Laws
There are (unfortunately) thousands and thousands of gun laws on the books across the country. Laws and policies restricting where or how you can carry your gun and what you're allowed to own vary wildly from state to state, so in addition to knowing and understanding federal gun laws, it's vitally important to study up on the laws in your immediate area.
Ling E. - "Know your area's laws on shooting intruders." (find out if your state has a 'Castle Law' or 'Stand Your Ground' law)
Several of our followers had advice that fit into more than one category. Here are just a few notable answers we'd like to pass on:
Amy R. - "Think about whether you’re really willing and able to end the life of another human being in order to defend yourself and/or others. Don’t buy a gun if you’re not willing to use it, train with it, carry it, etc. In today’s world, also understand that if you do have to use it, you may be arrested, guilty or not. Those are big personal choices to make. Being a gun owner is not for the faint of heart.
Melissa H. - "To be a responsible gun owner you need to know more than just shooting targets at the range. If you choose to carry a gun, take a "stop the bleed" class. You never know if the life you are saving is your own or your family. You are responsible for every round that leaves your gun. Train and remember you can't put a price on your life. Don't be cheap, reliability is very important. Know how to clear malfunctions under pressure. If you ever need to pull your gun, adrenaline will take over and training will kick in."
onemadpatriot - "I think before you invest in any gun, you have to know what you are getting in to. Owning a firearm is not just buying it and hiding it, you have to educate yourself and your family about firearm ownership and this education is not just about the firearm itself , but also about the laws in your area. Also, it can not become a safe or closet artifact; you must practice, practice, and practice again."
Feel free to share this list with anyone you know who just bought their first gun and let us know if you have any advice of your own to pass on to someone purchasing their first firearm!
Also in Getting Started: Choosing a Gun & Accessories
Buying a gun (especially your first one) is definitely a time to celebrate! It's also the time to get started on the path of becoming a safe and responsible gun owner. Here's a list of 5 things you can do after you purchase a firearm that will set you up for success.