A beginner's guide to gun buying: 6 things to consider

With a plethora of guns to choose from, Guns.com brings you some tips on what to consider when buying your first firearm. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Purchasing a gun for the very first time can seem like a daunting task. With countless options available, it can be overwhelming and even difficult to determine where to start in the process. Guns.com is here to help, though, bringing our readers a list of areas to consider when buying a first gun.

1. Application and Use

One of the most important steps in the pre-buying process is to carve out which area in your life the gun will fill. When starting, think about what the intended use of the gun is. If you’re looking to go hunting a shotgun or rifle might be better suited for the challenge while those looking to concealed carry should gravitate towards pistols.

What the firearm will be used for often dictates what style or platform a potential gun owner should choose. A rifle will serve different purposes than a pistol for concealed carry. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Taking the time to really evaluate what you’re looking to do with the firearm will help focus your search and eliminate unnecessary items. Also, determining the gun’s use will aid in fine tuning other areas in the gun buying process such as caliber of the gun, required accessories and additional training.

2. Budget

Another crucial aspect in the pre-buying decision making process is to evaluate your budget. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend will narrow down your gun search and eliminate pricey items that might strain the wallet a little too much. It’s also imperative to consider what accessories and gear you might also need with the gun. Factoring in the cost of holsters, extra magazines, cleaning supplies and ammunition will help avoid any sticker shock at the gun counter.

Reliability and performance are also factors to consider. Can the firearm function well clean? How about dirty? (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

In addition to setting a budget just for supplies, it’s also a great idea to set aside some funds for training. Each firearm platform is filled with its own nuances that a certified instructor can help bring to light. Investing in good training will ensure gun owners get the most out of their preferred firearm.

3. Local Laws and Compliance

When evaluating potential firearms, it’s crucial to also have a good understanding of local laws. Certain states place restrictions on the types of firearms, magazines and even ammunition citizens may own. Additionally, each state has their own regulations dictating concealed carry, home defense and even hunting as well as transportation of firearms. Prior to buying, gun owners should gain a good understanding of what is and is not allowed in your state to avoid any potential jail time or trouble.

4. Reliability and Performance

After the previous steps have helped narrow down the list of potential guns, it’s time to take to the web and do a little research. When determining the best options, reliability and performance are two areas to focus. A good gun will be one that operates as intended — meaning it goes bang reliably with few malfunctions. Researching, reading reviews and even talking to people at the local gun range will showcase which models rise to the top of the pack. Though everyone has personal preferences that might dictate which specific brand they prefer, areas like reliability and ease of maintenance are important factors that should remain consistent regardless of brand.

5. Aesthetics and Ergonomics

There are certain aesthetics and ergonomics that set each brand of gun slightly apart from another. Prior to throwing down money on a gun, evaluate what makes each brand unique and see if that fits your preferences. Placement of controls, trigger construction, sights, grip texture and other small details can often play a part in how comfortable a gun is to shoot and manipulate.

Local laws often determine what kind of gun a consumer can buy. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

During this step in the buying process, it’s important to get some hands-on time with the guns you’re considering if possible. It’s highly encouraged to find a range that offers gun rentals and get some actual time behind the firing line with the gun. Experiencing first-hand the recoil, ergonomics and firing mechanisms will help shape a more well-rounded opinion. Consumers who try before they buy tend to have less buyer’s remorse in the end.

6. Securing it

You’re thinking of buying a gun, but have you thought how you’ll store it? As important as the gun is itself, a safe means of securing the firearm when not in use is also invaluable. While you’re weeding through the arsenal of guns the gun world has to offer, it’s also a good idea to consider safes and other storage devices. Gun storage doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is a must for responsible gun ownership.

Having a plan to secure the firearm after its been purchased is also important when going through the gun buying process. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a first firearm doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. By evaluating your own needs and researching potential platforms, the road to buying can be simplified. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong gun so long as the buyer finds the specific one that fits his or her needs.

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