Are you thinking of getting your first gun? This is always an exciting time for buyers, whether you are old or new to wielding guns. Having your own gun means that you have to choose one that complements you. The right shooting companion will make you feel ‘at home’ when you hold it.

Owning a gun is a big responsibility. If you are sure you are up for buying firearms, you will need some guidelines for selecting one. This first-time buyer’s guide has eight helpful tips for choosing your gun.

  • Select a Purpose

Why do you need a gun? That is the first question to ask yourself when choosing firearms. You can want one for recreational purposes. There are mainly three uses of guns when using them for recreation.

After visiting an indoor or outdoor shooting range, you may have decided to get one. Or you went skeet shooting and ended up loving the experience.

One of the most popular uses of guns is hunting. If you love hunting games, you would want your own hunting rifle.

Hunting is often considered a way to manage wildlife as it keeps a healthy balance within a contained habitat. It is used to maintain the population to stay compatible with human activities in the area. 

If you feel unsafe, you might want a gun for safety. Or you might want to build your own gun collection. Each purpose requires a different gun. Once you figure out the purpose, you can find the right gun for the job.

You can also get a gun to be prepared for any eventuality. There are a lot of factors to consider if you need guns for that. But generally, here are the weapons preppers need. This resource is great starting point.

  • Learn About Gun Laws

Buying a gun is easy, but doing so legally is the hard part. You can get a quality gun from any federally licensed and legal online gun shop. But, doing so without learning about the gun laws is risky and irresponsible.

According to the second amendment of the United States, people have the right to own and bear arms. However, each state has different gun laws, which the federal government does not control. Get in-depth knowledge about your state’s gun laws before buying a gun.

Most states require you to have a permit for carrying guns, except a few like Mississippi, Kansas, and Arizona. Only fourteen states need you to get a permit to purchase firearms. A few states require firearm registration.

  • Figure Out Your Eligibility

How do you know if you are eligible for owning firearms? Even if your state laws are relaxed about gun ownership, you still have to be eligible for one.  For starters, you have to be at least 21. Even though some states allow people over 18 to buy hunting guns, most states agree on selling guns to full adults.

One deciding issue when it comes to owning guns is your criminal record. Have you ever been convicted for committing a misdemeanor or a felony?

If you have received a restraining order or reported for sporting threatening behavior, you can’t buy a gun. Being indicted for a crime is enough to ensure that you never become eligible to own guns. So, if you are a fugitive, you cannot own firearms legally.

People who have been dishonorably discharged from the military are also prohibited from buying or owning firearms. Having a record of alcohol or drug abuse also prevents you from it. Lastly, if you have a history of mental illness or have been involuntarily committed, you can’t own a gun.

  • Choose the Right Gun

The first step of finding the right gun is knowing the purpose. If you are looking for a gun for hunting, you will need a rifle.

The most common guns for small game hunting are .22 caliber hunting rifles. Caliber is the diameter of a gun barrel. If you are looking for a hunting rifle for home defense from bears, you need a larger caliber. A .308 caliber hunting gun is ideal for big game.

If you are looking for a larger gun for home safety, opt for shotguns or carbines. Some prefer revolvers or semi-automatic pistols for home defense. They are also great for carrying in person if you are worried about your safety.

For skeet shooting, people use clay shotguns. Gun ranges can have various options, but the most commonly found firearms are pistols, rifles, and shotguns.

  • Understanding Ammo

Most people mistakenly call one unit of ammo a bullet. Bullet only makes up the part of the ammunition that propels out and shoots the target.

A cartridge is the entire unit of ammunition along with the bullet, shell, primer, and propellant. When a bullet is shot, the leftover materials fall out of the gun.

Different types of guns use different types of ammunition. The Federal law doesn’t state any regulation for buying or possessing ammunition, except that you have to be 18 to purchase shotgun or rifle ammo and 21 for pistols.

Ammunition is available in any gun shop and most local superstores. You can also find them online, but an attempt to return them can be taxing. Since ammunition has gun powder in them, they fall under a different category of shipping policies.

Even though there is no limit to how much ammunition you can buy, bulk buying can make the government track you.

  • Try Before You Buy

As a beginner, you are only getting introduced to guns. Don’t know which gun will suit your needs and would be comfortable for shooting? You must try out a few before buying.

Visiting a shooting range is an excellent idea for getting a taste of various guns. If there are any particular guns you would like to try, find a shooting range that has them.

You can visit them and ask if they have the gun you are looking for. Sometimes their websites also have information on which items they have.

If you are thinking of buying a used gun, ask the seller to bring it to a shooting range. Trying it out will give you a good idea of whether it is in good condition and will suit you.

Don’t buy a gun that looks rusty or in poor condition. Also, do a background check on the past owner and make sure that the firearm is legally purchased and registered.

  • Receive Training

Whether you want a gun for defense or a hunting rifle, you will need the training to use them. Using firearms without knowing how to use them can be dangerous. If you are not trained properly, you can make a mistake that can threaten your life and that of others.

These days we have plenty of professional trainers who are knowledgeable and experienced. Getting training from a licensed instructor will help you understand the basics and ensure you don’t make life-threatening mistakes.

Learning from a seasoned shooter means you can harness your capabilities and hone them to perfection. Your trainer can help you understand how to use your gun the way it is meant to be used. They can teach you the proper techniques and guide your learning in a safe environment.

But, getting trained is not enough. You have to get enough practice to become an intermediate learner.

  • Practice Gun Safety

How important is gun safety, you might ask. The answer would be ‘very’. As a newbie, you must learn the basics of gun safety. Try to use safety equipment that protects you from “side effects” of gun use for starters.

Guns are loud, so all the shooting ranges provide ear protection. Consider buying some for yourself if you plan to use your gun more frequently. You should also consider using eye protection, as shards and bits from the cartridge can go into your eyes and cause significant damage.

A golden rule of using a gun is that you should never point a gun at someone as a joke. Even if the safety lock is turned on, don’t point it at people.

Don’t load your gun until the moment you use it. Keeping it unloaded ensures that it doesn’t go off by accident. Unload it before putting it away when you are done using your gun. Make sure your personal safety gun has a light accessory.


We hope this first-time buyer’s guide can help you find the right gun for you. You must learn about the gun laws and figure out whether you are eligible for gun ownership. These helpful tips for choosing your gun can ensure you make a sound decision about your gun choice.

Your purpose for gun use will be the deciding factor for the firearm you choose. Enjoy the thrill of shooting safely! Practice gun safety and get trained before buying one.