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Tips For First Time Firearm Buyers

Posted by Sportsman's Den Staff |


Unlike most purchases, a firearm is an investment that provides security in hopes that you’ll never have to use it. Choosing the right firearm fit for you and knowing how to use / maintain it is very important. Take firearm ownership seriously.


ASK QUESTIONS: We recommend talking to a friend or family member whose opinion you value before even heading to a firearm store. They’ll offer insight that will be valuable knowledge to have going in. Then, when you’re at the firearm dealer, ask more questions! Dealers like Sportsman’s Den have people behind the counter who have a lot of firearm experience - which is a great asset when considering which firearm dealer to visit!


FIREARM TYPE: Generally speaking for home defense, you will choose from a tactical shotgun, pistol, revolver or AR platform rifle. Pistols are semi-automatic, so once the first round is chambered, a round will fire each time you pull the trigger. Pistol magazines can hold a large range of rounds, usually 6 to 17 per magazine, depending on the model of pistol. Reloading is also easier with a pistol. Revolvers hold fewer rounds, usualy from 6-8 and take longer to reload. However, they almost never malfunction and are much easier to maintain. Shotguns usually hold 3-6 rounds - and the maximum you can have loaded at once varies by state. Choosing a tactical-style shotgun with a shorter barrel and pistol grip will make it easier to handle, and shotgun rounds typically have more stopping power. If you only have time for one shot in a defense situation, this is a good option. An AR platform rifle has it’s own advantages as well. Magazines typically hold 20-30 rounds, and the adjustable stock is comfortable for a wide range of body types. Also, if you decide later to try hunting, it is also good for medium sized game, such as groundhogs and coyote.


SIGHTS: Sticking with regular sights is fine, but there are other options. The brightness of fiber optic sights - for example - can speed up target alignment. Also, night sights appear to glow in low light. In a poor lighting situation, that can come in handy. Lasers can also be helpful. There is considerably less aiming - where ever the dot is, that’s where the shot is going.


CALIBER/TYPE: The larger the caliber, the more stopping power you’ll have. However, larger calibers can have considerably more recoil as well. Try not to go too big on the caliber. If you have difficulty with the recoil, you won’t hit anything, and the larger caliber won’t do any good.

Also, you will want practice rounds you can use at a range. For pistols and revolvers in particular, you will also want defense rounds. This is important, because the regular rounds used for practice can go through a target, and a wall, and out to a surrounding area. Defense rounds differ in that the tip expands on impact so that the round stays with the target and has a much lower risk of hitting an unintended target.


COST: It is not a good idea to buy one firearm over another based solely on cost. Considering the pervious options, decide what is best for you, and stick with that plan. In a defense situation, you don’t need to be thinking about the model and option you preferred vs. the model you bought to save a few bucks.


STORAGE: Find a balance between keeping it stored and safe from falling into the wrong hands vs. ease of access in a pinch. Firearms come with a lock, but you’ll also want some form of pistol or gun safe for additional storage of your firearm and ammunition. It is an additional cost, but firearm ownership is a huge responsibility.


CCW: We strongly advise you to consider getting a conceal carry permit. There are many advantages. It helps in the firearm purchase process. In the required class you’ll take to get one, you’ll learn how to use and care for your firearm responsibly as well as rules and regulations concerning firearm ownership and usage. Even if you do not plan to carry, it is great knowledge and training to have.




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