Everything You Need to Know Before Purchasing Your First Gun

If you’re considering purchasing your first gun, there are several things you need to know before making the decision. Guns can be a powerful tool for self-defense, hunting, and recreation, but they also come with a great deal of responsibility. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know before purchasing your first gun, from understanding the different types of guns to knowing the laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership.

1. Types of Guns

Before purchasing your first gun, it’s important to understand the different types of guns that are available. The three main categories of guns are handguns, rifles, and shotguns.


Handguns are the most common type of gun and include pistols and revolvers. They are typically smaller and more easily concealed than rifles and shotguns, making them a popular choice for self-defense. However, they are also less powerful and accurate than rifles and shotguns.


Rifles are long guns with a barrel that has grooves on the inside, which helps to spin the bullet and improve accuracy. They are typically used for hunting and target shooting and come in a variety of calibers and styles.


Shotguns are also long guns, but they have a smooth bore and fire shells filled with small pellets, called shot. They are commonly used for hunting birds and other small game, as well as for home defense.

2. Laws and Regulations

Before purchasing a gun, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership in your area. Laws can vary widely from state to state, so be sure to research the laws in your state and any local ordinances that may apply.

Background Checks

Federal law requires that all firearms dealers conduct a background check on anyone purchasing a gun. This includes a criminal history check and a check for mental health issues. If you are purchasing a gun from a private seller, you may still be required to undergo a background check depending on your state’s laws.

Waiting Periods

Some states have waiting periods between the time of purchase and the time you can take possession of the gun. This waiting period allows time for a background check to be completed and is intended to prevent impulsive purchases.

Licensing and Registration

Some states require gun owners to obtain a license or register their firearms. This process typically involves a background check and the submission of fingerprints and other personal information.

3. Safety and Training

Owning a gun comes with a great deal of responsibility, and it’s important to understand the basics of gun safety before making a purchase. Additionally, proper training can help ensure that you are able to handle and use your gun safely and effectively.

Gun Safety

The four basic rules of gun safety are:

  • Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Always point the gun in a safe direction.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Following these rules can help prevent accidental shootings and other incidents.


It’s recommended that new gun owners seek out training from a qualified instructor. This can include both classroom instruction and range time, where you’ll learn the basics of shooting and gun handling. Training can help you become more confident in your abilities and can also improve your accuracy and safety.

4. Maintenance and Storage

Proper maintenance and storage are important for keeping your gun in good condition and ensuring that it operates safely and reliably.


Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent malfunctions and prolong the life of your gun. This can include cleaning the barrel and other parts, oiling moving parts, and checking for wear and damage.


Guns should be stored in a safe and secure location, such as a locked safe or cabinet. Ammunition should be stored separately from guns, and keys or combination codes should be kept out of reach of children and other unauthorized individuals.

5. Choosing the Right Gun

When it comes to choosing the right gun, there are several factors to consider, including your intended use, personal preferences, and budget.

Intended Use

The type of gun you choose will largely depend on your intended use. If you’re planning to use your gun for self-defense, a handgun may be the best choice due to its ease of use and concealability. If you’re planning to hunt, a rifle or shotgun may be more appropriate depending on the type of game you’ll be hunting.

Personal Preferences

Personal preferences can also play a role in choosing the right gun. Factors such as grip size, weight, and recoil can all affect how comfortable and effective a gun is for you. It’s important to handle and test different guns before making a purchase to ensure that you find one that fits you well.


Guns can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the brand, model, and features. It’s important to set a budget before making a purchase and to consider the cost of accessories such as holsters, ammunition, and range fees.


Owning a gun can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Before purchasing your first gun, it’s important to understand the different types of guns, the laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership, basic gun safety and training, and proper maintenance and storage. By taking the time to learn and prepare, you can ensure that your first gun purchase is a safe and successful one.