Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Whether you are a new gun owner or even if you have a gun but rarely practice with it, there is so much information you should know when buy and owning a firearm. I decided to write this because as a Firearms and conceal carry instructor, I repeatedly see students that have an overwhelmed feeling of where to start. Even gun owners that have good experience can learn something new, having the right mentality is being a professional student and never stop learning. So where do you start?
There are many reasons to own a firearm, it can be for sport shooting, hunting, self defense, collection, exercising the 2nd Amendment right, and all of the above. So each person needs to ask themselves what is the primary use of the firearm they purchase. For example if an individual is buying a handgun for self defense, then they should get the appropriate gun for that purpose. You wouldn't buy a handgun for duck hunting! Once the purpose is clear, there are some options for the next step.
1st step, I would recommend taking a class, there are basic classes for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Any Basic class will cover 1st and foremost the firearms safety rules, the parts and features, handling, operation, and proper shooting fundamentals.
Taking a class from a professional is the best way to learn the right way and not create what we call, in the industry, training scars. Training scars are things we learn that we must retrain to correct. In this photo I am demonstrating how to safely check and clear a handgun while keeping the firearm in a safe direction.
I see many people pick up a firearm carelessly and do not give it the respect of what they are capable of. That is why it is so important to get the proper training.
I offer basic to advanced classes that are available on my website. www.gstworkshop.net/ Taking a class will also help select the right size and caliber that fits the individual.
The 2nd step after taking a class, now is the time to hit the shooting range and rent guns to try out. Everyone is different in body type and some firearms will fit or feel better in the hands than others. Some guns will feel different even when shooting the same caliber, so be sure to try as many as you can before pulling the trigger on a purchase, pun intended! If the firearm is for self defense the less bells and whistles, levers and extra safetys, is generally better. In a self defense situation to be able to use the firearm fast, when milliseconds count is everything!
The 3rd step Once you have your firearm, go the range and practice! I recommend at least once a month even if you only shoot 20 to 50 rounds at a time. This way you can still get to the range and get the training in. Shooting a lower round count makes it a little easier on your wallet. When I go to the range I limit my rounds to about 100 to 200, sometimes I only shoot 50 rounds. I will train on something different each time. For example I may do holster work, drawing and shooting. Next time I will do 5 to 6 shot strings as fast and accurately as I can. I will change up what I do each time to stay fresh with each set of skills. So keep in mind many ranges will not allow you to draw from the holster so check your local range.
The 4th step is to get more training to help guide you as your skills develop, we want to avoid training scars. Remember training scars are hard to undo so be sure to take a class now and then. The 5th step should you choose to except the responsibility is to take a training course to get your conceal carry permit. The more responsibly armed citizens that are out there, the safer and faster we are to stop an armed threat.
We can all play a part to help prevention of any kind of violence but prevention can only go so far before we turn our country into a "police state" where the very freedoms we have are gone. So when prevention fails, and it will, how do you stop a threat? In the instance of an active shooter, people can only rely on themselves, because the police are minutes away when seconds count.
In the "Run Hide Fight" scenarios often times the order will cause more fatalities than if the order was changed and taught to fight first. This is a photo from the training in a school in Indiana using simunitions. Hiding didn't help in this situation. The distance a person is from the threat should really dictate the order of "Run Hide and Fight" training that is currently taught. Training needs to improve.
The 6th step depends... whether you carry a gun concealed or not, serious thought should taken in getting legal protection. I myself joined USCCA because what they can offer and they are affordable. Legal protection is just one part what USCCA offers, they also offer education and training through books, videos, and training courses. If interested click here USCCA
The next Optional step would be to join a shooting club, get into the shooting sports, and join 2nd Amendment rights groups. It is a little weird to me to call some of these groups 2A groups. The NRA, FPC Firearms Policy Collation, and CRPA California Pistol & Rifle Association are just a few, but the reality is they are for protecting everyone's rights. So they are really the Bill of Rights protection groups.
Lastly... this is not a step but something I will have a whole other article on "The pitfalls on guns" So I leave you with this. If you get to a point where you are looking to buy another gun, Stop yourself and think about this, get training instead. With the cost of the average firearm you can take 1 or 2 training courses and the benefits out weigh buying another gun. So keep an eye out my next article. Please share this article and thanks for reading!