First time gun owners or looking to buy your first handgun.

  1. Editor
    First thing to know about any kind of gun you buy is how to use it safely. Second thing is what kind of gun will best fit your needs that you can safely use.

    Safety is more safely learned by reading about it first than learning it by experience.

    The reason why is because learning by experience maybe too late for you or some others safety.

    When you buy your first gun there are at minimum two other things for you to buy or be sure you have. Besides the gun, you need have or buy hearing and eye protection.

    If you don't have hearing protection then expect your ears to possibly ring for a week after your first shooting of your new gun. Your eyes cannot be replaced so protect them from possible debris from a fired gun coming back at you. If you don't know what debris I am referring to then you definitely need gun safety training.

    Many may think this article is totally uncalled for but I know for a fact people don't always read the directions when they buy something and that includes guns.

    This is as much about what not to do with a new gun as what to do with a new gun.

    Let's talk revolvers since quite often revolvers are the first handgun a person owns.

    Often when a person decides they want a gun they go to a gun store and talk to the store clerk about wanting to buy their first gun. They might ask the store clerk what he suggests as a first gun. The clerk might ask what is your intended use of the gun going to be. If it is for home protection then a revolver might be suggested. The reasoning being is it is an easy to operate and use safely firearm.

    So here is how the buying scenario might go.


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    The clerk brings a revolver out from the cabinet and shows you how the gun functions. He will have you hold a gun to see how well it feels in your hand. He shows pull the trigger back and then put your finger in the trigger guard and pull the trigger. This is called single action trigger or SA. As you pull the trigger, which by the way takes very little pressure on the SA trigger to cause the gun to fire, you see the hammer quickly slam forward which the clerk explains is what causes the bullet to fire off. This is called single action trigger. It looks real simple and you nod your head showing that you understand the simplicity of how the gun operates.

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    Next, the clerk might show you what is called trigger double action if the gun is so equipped. Double action often referred to as DA is where you don't pull the hammer back but instead just put your finger inside the trigger guard and onto the trigger and pull or squeeze the trigger. The first movement of the trigger causes the hammer to move back cocking the gun. Then further movement of the trigger causes the release of the hammer causing the gun to fire the bullet. DA mode the trigger requires more pulling pressure and has a longer pull of the trigger. This is the main safety of a revolver protecting against negligent discharges.

    The clerk might show you how to use the sights on the gun and how to load bullets into the gun. He will probably show you the gun lock device and inform you there is a manual with the gun for you to read about safely using the gun.

    This pretty much explains how you might buy your first gun and you buy a box or two of ammo to take home with your new gun.

    At this point, you probably don't even know where you can shoot the gun as you probably have no idea where a gun shooting range is. Very possibly, you just put the gun in a drawer thinking you are safer now due to having a gun. Very possibly, you think you understand the simplicity of using the gun so you don't bother to read the gun manual that came in the box with the gun. You might have forgotten there is a manual in the box. You think what's hard to understand. The bullets go in here, I point it at something, I pull this thingy here, and it goes bang to protect me.

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    Rule number ONE. Read the gun manual before you ever think about loading the gun with ammunition or for that matter before you even shove the unloaded gun into a drawer or under your bed or pillow. The reason why is because there are safety issues to know first. It is best for any new first time gun owner to take a gun handling safety class or go your first time shooting with an experienced shooter. It would be a good suggestion to ask the gun clerk where you can get safety and shooting instruction classes.

    I just wonder how many times people have handed a gun to someone that perhaps has never shot that particular gun without explaining how to safely shoot it? Often people take for granted what they know that you may not know.

    Rule number TWO. In shooting a revolver, you can lose or severely harm your hand or fingers just by improperly holding the gun while firing it.

    Never hold a revolver so that your hand or fingers are beside the rotating cylinder where the cylinder aligns up with the barrel. There is a gap between the barrel and the cylinder so that the barrel can rotate when it has been fired to align the next bullet.

    This gap has a lot of pressure, flame and other debris shooting out from this gap. If your hand or fingers are next to this gap you could have severe damage to your hand or fingers from this extreme pressure and flames. Read your manual!

    Rule number 3. This rule applies to all guns. Never have your finger on the trigger or inside of the trigger guard till you are sighted on your intended target. Most any gun in single action {SA} mode the trigger takes very little pressure for the trigger to trip the hammer release. If you have your finger on the trigger and then you decide to get a better or different grip on the gun that movement can cause a slight enough finger pressure on the trigger to release the hammer and then "BANG". Oh crap where was the gun muzzle pointing? Oh, crap did the bullet hit someone or something? You can't recall the bullet. There are no 'do overs' once the trigger releases the hammer. Your finger must be OUT OF THE TRIGGER GUARD until you are ready to fire the gun!

    Until you are familiar with your gun such as how well you can handle the recoil then between shots get your finger out of the guard and best pointing forward. You may have been on target when you first fired the gun but due to the recoil, your gun may not be on target now. If you have your finger in the trigger guard, you may have a negligent discharge of your gun due to your improper or changing grip trying to get back on target, or unexpected reaction to the recoil. I have seen this done by experienced shooters. A so-called "HAIR TRIGGER" takes very little pressure to cause a bang. Slight movement of your grip can cause enough pressure by your finger on trigger to release the hammer.

    Rule number 4. Listen and be aware of the sound of your gun firing. The reason for this is if the gun sounded different, it may have what is called a squib. A squib is a bullet that for some reason got stuck in the barrel. If it goes unnoticed and you fire the next round the gun could literally explode sending shrapnel, which could cause severe injury to anybody near the gun. If you suspect a squib, then put the safety on and unload the gun to inspect the barrel for a stuck bullet in the barrel. Do not shoot the gun until the barrel is proven to be cleared and any possible stuck bullet is removed.

    Rule number 5. Never leave a loaded or even an unloaded gun where someone could get hold of it. Every gun should be treated at all times as if it is fully loaded. If you have children around then make sure the gun and ammo are secured without possibility of it being touched.

    Never hand a loaded gun to someone without that someone knowing the gun is loaded and they know how to handle a loaded gun. It is best to never hand over a loaded gun to anyone. Make sure it is empty by visually inspecting for empty chamber, cylinder, or magazine.

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    Rule number 6. As far as semi auto pistols go, they can be the most dangerous of all handguns. Read the gun manual repeatedly till you are sure you understand what it says. You must know how to safely clear a jammed gun. If you just are not sure, then take a gun safety class or get with a friend that is experienced with guns to show you how to use your gun correctly and safely.

    Reading the manual should always be first for new gun safety.

    If you bought a used gun that didn't come with a manual then go online to the manufacturer of your newly bought gun and download a manual from their web site. I have never seen a charge for these manuals.

    --Gary is a forum mod and advised that the above came together quickly as, "Been there done that which made this so easy to write. I wrote it hoping people new to guns could get off to a better start than I did. Safety is number one with guns since you don't get a do over after the bang."

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