Last post, I discussed the reasons why I felt the need to own a gun. As a reminder, this post is for people who are interested in becoming responsible, first-time gun owners, and I’m not interested in engaging in a discussion about gun violence, gun control, or the myriads of reasons as to why one shouldn’t have one, so if that is your purpose for reading this post, please troll along.
Back to the topic of purchasing a gun, perhaps you’re overwhelmed with what to buy and where to buy one? First off, I cannot stress how important it is to note that when you do, it must be done so legally and according to the laws of your state. NEVER buy a weapon through a friend of a friend without going through an FFL (a Federal Firearms Licensee- in order to transfer firearms across state lines, someone who holds an FFL serves as the intermediary between the buyer and seller. Most gun dealerships and gun ranges have an FFL license, but it is always good to ask).
People have different reasons as to why they buy certain guns. Mine are the following:
A gun can range in the low hundreds to the thousands. I live by the motto that you generally get what you pay for, so I don’t go cheap with my weapons. My life and the life others may depend on it, and the last thing I want is a gun with cheap springs that may cause it to jam on me. With that said, I don’t want it to break the bank either. Generally, something in the mid-range price tag is what I look for, but it must serve certain practical purposes. That’s where practicality comes into the picture.
I usually ask myself the following questions. Can I shoot it, and if
Believe it or not, buying a gun for aesthetic reasons can be costly. Being able to grip it and handle the recoil (how the gun snaps from your grip when you shoot it) determines the accuracy of the target, so it’s important to feel comfortable gripping the weapon. Certain gun ranges will allow you to rent different types to try as well. I recommend doing that before you buy one. Last week, my husband and I went to the shooting range and I tried the following: Glock 19, 3rd generation (9 mm), Ruger LCP .380, a Sig Sauer P229 (.40 caliber), and a Glock 22, 4th generation (.40 caliber).
|9 mm Glock|
9 mm Glock: I have small fingers, so I found that the third generation Glock, which has a bulkier and wider grip, made the trigger control more challenging and shooting the target less accurate. 3rd Generation Glocks seem to have that issue for people with smaller-sized hands and shorter fingers.
|Ruger .380, a compact-sized gun|
.380 Ruger: This is a much smaller weapon, which works well for close range situations. It makes a great concealed weapon that can easily slip into one’s pocket, which I don’t recommend carrying there without a holster, but I had issues with the recoil. Because it’s so small and light weight, shooting it comes with a rather sharp snap. I have arthritis on my fingers and wrists, so during cold spells or temperature changes, using this little trouble maker, really takes a toll on my wrists.
|P229 Sig Sauer double action trigger|
The P 229 Sig Sauer: This has a double action trigger. Basically, the trigger is a little tougher to shoot on the first try but sensitive on the rest. It took a while to get used to that and gripping it made it difficult to take the first shot since the trigger is harder to pull back.
Fourth generation Glock 22 (.40 caliber): This is a full-sized
weapon, which is much bigger than the Ruger. I had an easier to
handle grip that felt less bulky than the third generation. Out of all the
others, I had better accuracy with this one and the recoil, or snap, was more
manageable when shooting.
|Glock 22, .40 caliber|
Once you find the caliber that you are comfortable with, buying it is the next step. There are brick and mortar stores or you can do so online. So perhaps you're wondering, what's the next step?
Brick and mortar stores
Pawn shops, Academy, Bass Pro Shop, or local gun shops you can Google in your area are good places to start. In Texas, generally all you need is your driver’s license and a form you fill out for a background check. Brick and mortar places ensure that the gun purchase went through the proper legal channels to acquire one. Be aware that each state is different, so it’s best to ask the store what the procedures are. Some states like California, for example, won’t allow you to purchase guns that hold over ten rounds of bullets. Thank God, for Texas, is all I have to say about that!
Be wary of buying a gun online. Unless you already know exactly what caliber you feel most comfortable with, it’s difficult to determine the condition and warranty of the gun when buying something you can’t physically see yourself. There is an online forum called the Sig Forum, which is a discussion board for gun owners, that also has a classified section in which gun owners will sell you their used weapons as well. Sometimes you can find some really good deals there if you know what you are buying. My husband frequents this forum the most, because it is privately owned, there are no ads, and people seem the most helpful when you have questions. A note of caution when purchasing online, please be sure to never accept a purchase from anyone wanting to mail you the gun directly, unless you want to get yourself in a heap of trouble with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). Today’s federal law requires a handgun to be shipped to an FFL licensee where you would provide the necessary credentials to accept it.
I hope this provided you some useful information on what type of gun to buy and where. The next part will include information about where you can learn to use and maintain a weapon. If you enjoyed reading this and would like to be notified when the next post goes live, please feel free to subscribe to my post.