Whether you're a brand new gun owner or you've been shooting for decades, it's important to learn everything you can about firearms. Education is an integral part of being a responsible gun owner and continuous learning will help you improve everything from your gun handling to your mindset.
There's a lot to know about guns and shooting and trying to figure out what you need to know can seem overwhelming at times. If you're wondering where to start, you can take a look at these 5 things that we believe every gun owner needs to know.
Know and Understand the 4 Rules of Gun Safety
There's no such thing as being too safe when it involves firearms, all gun owners need to have the 4 rules of gun safety memorized. These rules apply in every situation - it doesn't matter if you're on the range or in your home. These rules are also the same whether your gun is loaded or unloaded:
Rule #1 – All guns are always loaded! Treat your firearm the same at all times, as if it actually had ammunition in it.
Rule #2 – Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy. Sometimes, this rule is explained as always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Rule #3 – Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target. Any time you are handling your firearm, but not yet ready to shoot your firearm, your index finger should be along the frame of the gun, not inside the trigger guard.
Rule #4 – Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. If you confront a bad guy in your hallway, make sure that a bedroom is not directly in line behind the bad guy. In a self-defense situation in a public area, you will have to make sure that an innocent bystander does not happen to be behind your target.
Get to Know Your Firearm
Getting to know your firearm inside and out is an important part of gun ownership, especially if you carry concealed. Familiarize yourself with all of your firearm's controls, including the magazine release, slide lock lever, and safety (if you have one).
You also need to know how to break down your firearm, clean it, and reassemble it. To get more familiar with your firearm, spend some quality time with it while unloaded and work all the controls, rack the slide several times, and insert and release an empty magazine several times.
Know Your Local, State, and Federal Gun Laws
Once you become a gun owner, the responsibility of knowing and understanding firearms laws falls on your shoulders. If you are regularly carrying a firearm, it's even more important to know and understand the laws that apply to carrying concealed. Make sure to study and understand all local, state, and federal laws that apply to firearms.
We know that's a lot of laws, so we recommend looking to sources that can help you get accurate information, such as at handgunlaw.us.
Understand How to Effectively Practice and Train
There's a big difference between casually firing a few rounds at a target and practicing. There's nothing wrong with having some no-pressure fun on the range, but you also need to set aside time to become a competent shooter.
When you're a beginner, it's a good idea to seek out training so you can learn the fundamentals of shooting. Once you have the basics down, make sure to head to the range regularly for structured practice sessions.
When you feel like have a solid foundation, you can use dry fire practice to improve your fundamentals (make sure to follow dry fire safety protocols). Dry fire is using your gun to practice shooting skills and techniques without using live ammunition. With dry fire practice, you can go through all the motions of shooting just like you would at the range, but without firing a shot.
Know What it Means to Carry Concealed
Making the decision to carry a loaded firearm with you is serious business. You will be out in public with a huge responsibility to yourself and to others around you. Not only that, but being proficient with your firearm is imperative. The last thing you want is to be in a situation where you need to draw your firearm and then realize you don't know to use your gun properly.
One very important thing to remember is that the decision to carry a firearm brings about a whole new set of circumstances and many more factors to consider than simply owning a firearm for home protection.
Before you decide to carry concealed, you need to ask yourself:
Will I have enough time set aside to practice with my carry firearm? Am I responsible enough to carry a firearm? Will I stay up to date with my local and federal gun laws? Do I have the financial means to purchase firearms, ammunition and accessories needed? Am I prepared to take the life of another human being if presented with a threat?
If you didn't answer "yes" to all of these questions, you probably need to wait to start carrying concealed. Give yourself more time to learn and train before making the leap to carrying a gun.
While this isn't a comprehensive list of what you need to know about firearms, this list will give you a good start. Once you have a solid understanding of these 5 things, you can do more research on your own.