Deciding to become a gun owner is a big and deeply personal decision influenced by a lot of factors. The reasons people buy guns can be as varied as the people themselves.
We wanted to know what motivated our social media followers to purchase their first firearm, so we asked them a straightforward question: "Why did you buy your first gun?" We also gave our followers a short list of possible reasons to choose from: 1. self-defense, 2. competition, 3. recreation, or 4. ???.
The responses we received revealed a diverse range of motivations, showcasing the many reasons why people decide to become gun owners. Here's a ranked list of answers, along with some personal stories and insights from our respondents.
1.Self-Defense: Safeguarding Personal Security
Not surprisingly, self-defense was the most popular reason given. Several people answered they purchased their first gun "for protection." Some provided details of the situations that made them take the leap - one of our respondents said they bought a gun because they were being stalked, and another said a bad divorce resulted in a situation where their family thought they might have to defend themselves.
Owning a firearm can also be about finding the empowerment that comes with being able to protect yourself. Jessica explained, "Mine was needing to find myself and take back some control in my life. Taking my LTC course and learning to shoot and buying my own first firearm was so empowering and helped my confidence a lot. 12 years and 7 purchases later, I've also taught my daughters that a restraining order is a piece of paper." 2.
2. Recreational Shooting is a Big Driver for New Gun Purchases
Recreational shooting was the second highest answer given. Whether it's the camaraderie of a day at the range or the thrill of hitting targets, firearms offer a source of relaxation and fun. Of those who answered "recreation" as the reason for purchasing their first gun, several of them also said self defense was a factor:
Dottie answered, "first was for recreation, then competition in high school and college, and continuing as an adult. And then self defense.
Kristin replied, "I've been shooting my Dad's guns since i was really young. Mostly just for fun but after my neighbor was murdered, I bought my first gun for protection.
3. Competition Prompted Some to Buy Their First Gun
Competitive shooting ranked a little lower among the motivations for firearm ownership, which makes sense since most people find their way into competing after they've been shooting for a while. These gun owners were drawn to the thrill of competitive shooting, and found themselves taking the next step by purchasing their first firearm to pursue their passion for competition.
Not on the List, but Very Popular: Hunting
Plenty of people got into firearms because they have a passion for hunting. It's one of the big reasons why folks decide to buy guns because hunting offers a unique way to connect with firearms. It's not just about hitting the range - it's about heading out into the wild, tracking game, and experiencing the thrill of the hunt.
We didn't get as many detailed answers here, but Eric said, "My first gun I bought was a .22 rifle for squirrel hunting. I was 13."
All of the Above!
If you had multiple reasons for buying your first gun, you're not alone! Dana, Jeani, and Tommy, among others said "all of the above," which shows that the motivation for buying a gun include a wide range of factors. This answer also underscores how firearms can serve various purposes in people's lives, and reflects the versatility and importance of these tools.
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.