Everyone has an opinion on guns, and they often conflict. Even so, there are more than a few things we can agree on.
One is that any purchase worth making is only worth making when you’re fully informed.
So, what do most gun owners wish they knew before they bought their first gun?
Here are five questions I wish I’d asked before I made my first purchase all those years ago.
1. Can You Pull the Trigger?
The biggest challenge that any first-time gun owner will face is something you hope you never have to experience.
You need to know whether or not you’re capable of using it.
The goal, ultimately, depends on the type of gun you purchase and what you’re planning to use it for, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
But you need to know whether or not you’re capable of pulling the trigger.
A good rule of thumb is to never point your gun at something you don’t want to destroy.
If you’re faced with the prospect of having to defend yourself, can you do it?
If you reach a point where you’re looking to purchase a gun, you need the answer to that question.
2. What Are You Using It For?
Next, you need to take a closer look at the kind of gun you want and what you’re planning to use it for.
Handguns are generally considered the best choice for self-defense and everyday carrying, but they aren’t the sort of thing you’re going to take on a hunting trip.
Beyond that, you start getting into semi-automatic rifles.
Some people use them for hunting, but there are some states where it is illegal to hunt with semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, so make sure you double-check with state and local fish and wildlife officials before you invest in a semi-auto rifle for your next hunting trip.
3. What Do You Need vs. What Can You Buy
Searching the internet for information on what to look for in your first gun can be overwhelming.
There are so many options out there, and every website or seller you look at will tell you that you absolutely need “this” gun or “that” accessory to be a smart and savvy gun owner.
It’s easy to empty your bank account trying to keep up with everything they say you “need.”
Start by answering the first two questions.
Figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a gun and buy only what you need — the gun itself, your ammunition, and the cost of any classes or permits necessary to own a firearm in your state.
If you decide you want to turn a single firearm into a collection in the future, that’s entirely up to you.
But instead of emptying your wallet at the beginning, start with one option and work your way up.
4. Can You Test It First?
Buying the perfect gun isn’t as easy as walking into a department store and trying on a pair of jeans.
Depending on where you purchase your first gun, you may have the option to “try before you buy” to find the best option.
This is usually only an option for retailers attached to a shooting range, but it is often available in these settings, so make sure you’re asking what your options are.
If you aren’t buying at a shooting range, consider talking to your friends who already own guns.
They may be willing to let you try out their guns, as long as you’re willing to supply your own ammo.
5. Can You Keep It Safe?
Finally, before you bring home your first firearm, you need to be able to keep it safe.
The exact requirements will vary from state to state, so make sure you’re reading up on local regulations regarding gun storage.
This isn’t just important to keep you compliant with regulations.
It can also be a literal lifesaver if you have kids or anyone in the household doesn’t know how to use a firearm safely.
Don’t leave your guns unattended. Make sure they’re secure when not in use.
Conclusion: Buying Your First Gun
Buying your first gun can be the start of an entertaining, if expensive, hobby. But it’s not something we suggest approaching lightly.
Instead of jumping feet-first into the deep end, do your research and be sure you’re purchasing the right firearm and for the right reasons.
You don’t need a semi-automatic rifle for everyday carry and you don’t need a .50-caliber handgun to protect your home.
Be smart about your purchases and make sure you’re storing them safely.
What questions do you wish you asked before buying your first gun? Let us know in the comments section below!