Locked & Loaded Blog


For many people today the thought of owning a gun is becoming more common.  Buying your first gun can be overwhelming and confusing.  With the wide variety of choices to choose from and with a little (or a lot) of research you can choose the right gun for you.  This blog is by no means a “rule book” to buying your first gun.  This blog is intended to be your first stepping stone in researching your options and discovering which firearm best suits you.  It is recommended that you research all your options, get firsthand experience with a couple of firearms and sign up for professional training before making your first gun purchase.


Before heading out to make your purchase, first you must determine why you want the gun in the first place.  Are you looking for a handgun or a rifle?  Many people today are seeking a gun for self defense in or around their home.  For beginners a handgun or shotgun can provide a great deal of protection for the money and requires less training to use than a rifle would.  A shotgun is also easier to secure and store around the home than most rifles.  Protecting yourself and your home are only a few reasons why people seek to purchase a gun.  A gun can be used for recreation, hunting, or for sport. 


The next thing to consider is whether to purchase a new or used gun.  If you are on a budget buying, used may be the best way to go.  You must also consider the purpose of the gun you wish to use.  A new handgun can vary in price from a few hundred dollars to a thousand or two.  Buying new or used is almost entirely a personal decision and will be dictated by your budget.  Many experienced gun owners recommend that buying a used handgun is a good idea for first timers.  The reason why is because a used gun is usually worn in and is easier to load and unload and take apart to clean.  A new gun is stiffer and therefore more difficult to take apart, clean and load. 


When it comes to what size and caliber gun to purchase, it becomes a bit more difficult to give a clear and definitive answer.  Let’s say that you are purchasing a gun for protection purposes. Ergonomics play a part on the grip size of the gun and caliber you end up with.  A full size handgun with a lower powered caliber can be easy to shoot; while a more compact gun with a large caliber can still have a strong recoil and feel uncomfortable.  So at one end of the spectrum you have a gun that feels comfortable to hold, yet it doesn’t have that punch you seek from a fuller size gun and it isn’t as easy to conceal on your person.  On the other end of the spectrum you have a smaller gun that may be just as easy to hold, yet it has too much of a punch and is easy to conceal on your person.  If you are not going to be carrying your gun on your person on a regular basis, then a full sized, high capacity handgun will suit you best.  The full sized handgun will be comfortable to shoot and will allow a higher ammunition capacity.  If you are planning on carrying a concealed gun on a regular basis, a compact, lightweight gun will be more comfortable.  A compact gun will have more of a recoil and will have a reduced ammunition capacity with less handle to hold on to.  Another thing to keep in mind when deciding on the size of the gun and caliber, a larger caliber provides a strong stopping power than lighter calibers.  In other words, a bigger bullet can stop an attacker quicker than several smaller bullets. 


The best way to get a feel for which firearm will be best for you is to go to a good gun store or even gun show to try out a variety of firearms. You can handle the weapons to determine which feels most comfortable to you. You may even be able to fire the firearms to get an even better feel for the weapons.

A good method of determining if a weapon fits your hand is to raise the gun up to a target. Notice how close the sights are aligned to the target on the initial presentation. On a well-fitted handgun, the sights should be close when raised to the target, requiring only minor adjustments. Some handguns may require elevation adjustments to get sight alignment on target; this is usually not acceptable. 

For the ladies, we suggest that you try out and pick out a firearm for yourself. If you want to feel as comfortable as possible with your handgun, do not let your man pick it out for you. 


A few other helpful tips before buying a gun are signing up for training with a certified and trained professional, testing out different sizes and caliber guns at a gun range and using the NRA website to gather more detailed information about becoming a new gun owner.  The NRA website can assist you with locating a local certified instructor that can assist you with not only learning how to shoot a gun, but also how to properly maintain your gun and also instruction on how to obtain your CHL. 


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