How do you choose your first firearm?

03 Mar

The White haired ShooterTHE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

This is a continuation of the January 13th post:  Are you thinking of buying/ carrying a gun?

In that post I shared my opinion that a decision to own/carry a gun should NEVER be acted on from a “knee jerk” reaction to something that has happened to you, someone you know, or someone you have read or heard about.

Fear, while a strong motivating force that may have helped you make your decision, must be “laid aside” and careful and critical thinking needs to be applied before acting on your decision. Owning and carrying a gun is a serious matter and needs to be given appropriate respect and consideration.

Like other important decisions in life there are some basic factors to consider as you begin the process of becoming an empowered, responsible gun owner.  Today’s post suggests a way to help you get started on that journey.

There is a lot of information published on the subject of “choosing the right gun,” and I will add some links that may be of assistance at the end of this post.

But first:

Choosing “YOUR” firearm

In my husband’s NRA Basic Pistol classes, I have seen quite a few women carrying around very nice firearms they are not comfortable with and/or have not been able to control or operate safely and effectively. Typically they have been provided/advised to get “w-a-y too much gun” by a well meaning husband, male relative or salesmen.

While you wouldn’t dream of walking up to a salesperson and blindly letting them pick out a purse or pair of shoes for you, a large number of first time (and particularly mature) gun owners want or expect someone else to make this very important and personal choice for them.

In this strange new world of firearms, most often “you” don’t have a clue about what “you” need. The very first step – before approaching someone to help you pick out a firearm- is realizing it is your responsibility to think through what your needs and abilities are FIRST.

A salesman at the gun counter can be very helpful, as can your husband, friends, firearms instructor, internet articles and magazines.  But basically it all needs to start with you understanding what “YOU” need.

What is your Primary need?

The first and MAIN factor in choosing your first – or fiftieth – gun is: what will be the purpose of the gun? You need to think about your life situation, the neighborhood you live in, where you go when you leave your home, and the situations you are likely to encounter.

Reducing the immense amount of information available down to a basic definition of the situation(s) where you most need a firearm will give you a solid starting point. In simple terms, do you need/want to:

A) Carry a firearm with you outside your home?

B) Maintain a firearm primarily to protect yourself in your home?

C) Both A and B?

Once you have made that determination, it is time to do some homework! You will need to research the different types of firearms best suited to your basic situational need. Afterall, once you remove the “fear factor” attached to guns, the purchase of a firearm is really no different than purchasing any other personal and/or major item. As women we have honed that skill.

Take some time to reduce the “mystery” of this subject, to learn the “language” and you will start to gain confidence and be a much more savvy shopper!

Remember to take into account your lifestyle: your choice may be very different if you drive your own vehicle or ride on public transit; do you live in shared quarters? an apartment? a house in the suburbs? or in a rural setting?

What are your physical abilities? What type of firearm would fit you best for your size, and if you have decreased hand strength, mobility or vision issues?

After taking an inventory of your situation, needs, strengths and limitations, and familiarizing yourself with some of your options, you will find yourself a bit more “grounded” and ready to begin your active quest to choosing your first firearm. Don’t rush it. Guns are a major investment, and ridding yourself of obvious and hidden fear factors- by gaining information – is a solid first step.

Financial considerations

As you continue on this journey, you may learn that one firearm cannot fit all your needs. That lightweight gun to carry with you will undoubtedly have more recoil to contend with than you want for target practice, but the heavier practice gun will not travel well with you.   Depending on where you live, you may be able to rent a firearm for practice. You may determine that a shotgun may be the safest and best choice for your home defense need. Ultimately, only you can decide which “need” is the greatest, and make the decision on what will be YOUR best first purchase.

Quite a few of the older women in the classes are on fixed incomes, and money can be in short supply. Past the initial purchase, there is ammunition, cleaning supplies, accessories to carry/store the firearm, range and training costs.   The decision to purchase a firearm is an investment.That will be the subject of another post…. until then….

Just a few links that may be helpful:

Happy and Safe shooting  –  Peggy


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