How to Buy Your First Gun


How to Buy Your First Gun

Buying a firearm is a major life decision, one that should be given a great deal of thought and research. Becoming a gun owner comes with a heightened level of responsibility that each individual needs to understand. This higher level of responsibility is multi-faceted within the key elements of safety, training and mindset. As a firearms instructor and educator in the firearms industry, I am often asked the same question, “How do I buy a gun?” The answer, although detailed, is not complex – but it does require more than simply going to a local gun store and picking out a firearm. The options to choose from can be very overwhelming, especially for a first-time gun buyer. Fully understanding what your needs are prior to purchasing a firearm will help you zero in on specific options.

1. Understand Your “Why”

Fully understanding the reason why you are buying a gun determines what gun you will need to purchase. If you are wanting a gun for personal defense and something that you will carry, obviously your choices are going to be among handguns alone. If you are looking for something that will be for home defense alone, your options are now open to rifles and shotguns as well.

how to buy your first gun

2. Determine Your Training and Range Time

The firearm you “need” to buy may be different than the firearm you “want” to buy. Guns require training to build your shooting and gun handling skills. Each platform requires specific training. Someone may desire a high-end handgun, however without knowledge of how the gun works or the required maintenance you could possibly lessen its dependability. For those who do not plan on spending time at the range —choose a revolver. A revolver is a simpler firearm to use if you’re new to guns. The gun you purchase needs to coincide with the amount of self protection training you are willing to commit to.

3. The Reality of “Fit”

Your firearm should become part of you, or an extension of you – something that fits you well that you are able to comfortably control and shoot. This is specific to each individual and does not align with the gun myths that we often hear. For example, fitting a woman with a small gun because she has smaller hands so it will be easier for her to shoot, is not accurate information. The reality is that most smaller guns tend to have a higher amount of recoil than larger guns. Most people who have been directed in this manner end up not enjoying their shooting experience. Because the gun does not fit them well and is more difficult to control. When you do not enjoy the gun you are shooting, you will go to the range less often and then your training suffers.

“Guns are hand specific, not gender specific.”

When purchasing a firearm, it is crucial to take your time in finding which one feels the best when utilizing proper grip. Once you can select a few guns that fit you well, you can then live-fire test them. Taking the time to actually shoot the firearm is the most beneficial way to find which one works best for you. There are many gun stores that will allow you to rent a firearm to shoot at their range. 

4. Understand Your Gun Laws

Sadly, gun laws and regulations are not the same across the board. In addition, they are always changing and can be difficult to keep up with. Prior to buying your firearm it is imperative to research the gun laws and regulations associated with where you live. Some states have laws that differ when it comes to concealed carry, open carry, vehicle carry and having a firearm in the home. The way you transport your gun and ammunition may be impacted on whether you have a concealed carry permit or not. This is important to know, especially when traveling to the range for training. In some states if you do not have a concealed carry permit, you must have the ammunition and gun separate from each other in your vehicle. In addition, if your gun is for self-defense purposes you must understand your local gun laws when it comes to utilizing a firearm for self-defense. Researching these laws ahead of time will help you determine how to buy your first gun.

As stated earlier, becoming a firearm owner comes with a higher level of responsibility. More importantly, it requires training. Understand the reasons you want to own a firearm.  Commit the time and attention to educating yourself on the process of purchasing a firearm. Solid education, proper training and acquiring safe gun handling skills are important to becoming a responsible gun owner.  We hope this article helped you learn more about how to buy your first gun.


Karen Hunter

By Karen Hunter
Karen is a firearms instructor, industry consultant and contributor to GetZone, Athlon Outdoors and BRCC. Follow Karen on Instagram and Facebook or visit her website at




More to explorer

Enter Your Email For A Chance To Win Free Protection For A Year

No Purchase Necessary - No CC Required

2A Shield Self-Defense Concealed Carry

Thank you for subscribing!