Things to Know Before You Buy a Gun

With the world around us changing daily, we are acutely aware of our physical safety. As human beings, our safety is vitally important. When times are good, most people do not give their safety a second thought. When our day-to-day lives get disrupted by an unexpected event, safety jumps to a higher place on the list of priorities.

The number of calls and emails that I have received during the COVID-19 disruption regarding firearm ownership have skyrocketed. This is not always bad as it forces an honest evaluation of your personal safety plan. It can, however, introduce panic induced decision making that can actually make you less safe – particularly when it comes to firearms. Look at the news today and you can see the throngs of people rushing to buy a firearm during this time of uncertainty. Although speculation, I can surmise that not all of these are wise or well thought out purchases. Maybe I can help.

Disclosure on Buying a Gun

Before providing my tips, I want to clarify a few things. First and foremost, I am not espousing firearms ownership for everyone. The choice is personal and may factors have to be considered. My advice is meant only to assist you once you have made the decision to purchase, not to help you determine whether or not you should. Secondly, firearms are tools. Like all tools, there are a variety of choices in type and functionality. If you have a desire to integrate a firearm into your personal safety plan, you can find a suitable option that meets both your needs and your personal philosophy.

Safety Above Everything Else

As I said before, owning a firearm can make you and your family less safe. There are many well intended people who buys guns and end up hurting themselves or someone they care about accidentally. In many states, there is not a requirement for training before getting a firearm. Even in states with extensive background checks, you can buy a gun without learning how to use it. This should never be the case. You should know the fundamentals of firearms safety as well as maintenance and operation of your specific firearm.

Choose a firearm that suits you and your needs

As I said before, buying a firearm is a very personal decision. Aside from the obvious philosophical differences, there are practical differences. Weight, size, grip angle and caliber are just some of the criteria that you will need to decide on when making a purchasing decision. Find something that works for you and that you are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with the firearm, you will not practice, you will not be proficient, and you will be reticent to use it if necessary. Many ranges will let you try different guns and I highly recommend doing this before making a decision. The more that you try, the better idea you will have of what is right for you,

Take advice but make your own decision

Gunowners are a generous group when it comes to advice, but as helpful as they can be, they can be extremely opinionated. They have extremely rigid views on things like the best caliber, the best manufacturer and the perfect type of gun. A lot of their advice may be true for them, but not necessarily for you. I always say the power of why works well here. If they have an opinion ask them the basis of that opinion and then integrate it into your decision process.

Have a plan to practice

Do not buy a firearm and lock it away for the time you are going to need it. You should practice once a month at a minimum. Not only will this get you more comfortable, but frequent range time will decrease the likelihood of technical issues like jams. With most firearms, this will be a rarity, but it does happen. You need to know how to quickly and effectively deal with these issues when they arise.

Have a storage plan

A safe is relatively cheap. You can pick one up at Harbor Freight, for example, for under $50.00. There are also a significant number of similar options on Amazon or other online retailers that you can fund with a simple search.  This is not only essential for safety purposes, but many states are making it a requirement to have a secure storage location to avoid liability. This is just a part of gun ownership and you need to accept this as one of the facets of responsible gun ownership.

I cannot stress enough that you should not take the decision to own a gun lightly. I know we are in uncertain and scary times – but a firearm may or may not be a good decision for you. It is a lethal tool that can make you safer, but it can also have the opposite effect when done the wrong way. Your choices are incredibly impactful. You need to take it slow and make it a deliberate process to figure out what choice is right for you. Once you have done that, follow the essential steps to train with and maintain your firearm. With a little common sense and good judgment, you can achieve your goal of greater safety and security.

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