Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy a Firearm
Posted by John McClain on Jul 12, 2023 5 Minute Read
If you’re relatively new to the world of firearms, your first instinct might be to go to a gun shop and learn all you need to know from the experts. However, the downfall to this is that, depending on the person and where their loyalties lie – or their commissions, you could be convinced to buy something that doesn’t fit – all because the “expert” had your “best interests in mind.”
Unfortunately, there are salesmen who will say and do anything just to get product off the shelf. We’re here to answer the common questions and load you up with what you should know before heading to the gun shop.
Why Am I Buying a Firearm?
The first and most important question you should ask yourself:
- Are you looking to shoot the firearm as a hobby, or are you planning on concealed carry for self-defense?
- What’s more important, size and concealability or capacity?
- Would you like to have the option of attaching a weapon light or a laser?
All these questions can send you down a different line of firearms. This could be the difference between a…
Understand that everything has a give and take when it comes to these questions.
Before you go to the store, you need to know what’s important to you. If you want something that is easy to hide, then understand you may sacrifice some capacity. If you want more capacity, you're going to sacrifice some of the concealability. If you want to have the option to attach a light or laser, this may also affect the concealability. A single stack is going to be lighter and skinnier than a high capacity. A full size will give you a longer sight radius to make more accurate shots than a compact size. And to be perfectly honest, there is no perfect gun for everybody.
What Size Firearm Do I Need?
One of the biggest misconceptions is when people say that they want the “smallest gun they can get.” Now, the size of the gun matters but the caliber matters a little more. A Walther P22 is a very small firearm that shoots 22 long rifles. This makes it a great gun to conceal, and a fun gun to take to the range and shoot all day with low recoil for a brand-new shooter. However, the 22-long rifle is not the best caliber for self-defense in most situations, and it can have reliability concerns.
A 3.10 Baby Rock in 45ACP is a concealable firearm in a caliber that many would argue is one of the best for self-defense. However, if you give a 3.10 baby rock in 45ACP to a brand-new shooter, a .45 caliber in a smaller handgun can be snappier with more felt recoil, making it harder to manage and a less enjoyable experience to a new shooter.
Before you head to the gun store, don't go looking for the smallest firearm possible, rather look for how it feels in the hand, if you like the size, weight, caliber and capacity. A firearm that feels more comfortable to hold is a firearm you’ll be more willing to use and shoot.
Different Guns for Different Seasons?
When you think of buying a gun, the weather might not be something you immediately consider. But it is important. In the summertime, you may choose to carry a smaller single-stack style pistol, ideally because you won’t be wearing bulky clothes that make hiding the firearm more accessible. In the wintertime, you may carry a double stack type firearm because you will be wearing a sweater or a jacket, which would make hiding that firearm easier.
We have articles that break down ideal concealed carry wardrobe options for both male and female shooters. They cover everything from purse and bag storage to finding your optimal holster. Check them out and find your fit.
What Firearm Do You Want?
That’s really all it comes down to. Are you looking for something bigger or smaller, what do you need it for and what time of year might you use it most? Asking yourself these questions ahead of time is the most beneficial thing you can do – especially if you’re new to the world of firearms. Having these answers when you make the trip to the store will help you pick which gun is best for you.