The First Time Handgun Owners Must Have Guide

So you’ve purchased your first gun. What now? Well, I’ve put together a handy little list for new shooters of potential purchases they should make. There is some assumption that the person who purchased the firearm did so for defensive purposes. There are lots and lots of handguns on the market for numerous purposes, but let’s assume your gun is for defensive shooting. That’s the inspiration behind this list of must-haves for first-time handgun owners. 

What A First Time Handgun Owner Needs


Well, this one is a bit of a duh. Handguns need ammo, like remote controls need batteries. Ammunition is obviously what makes a firearm tick, and you need to find the right ammo for training and defensive use. First-time handgun owners need as much ammo as they can get. Training ammo can be the cheap stuff, the FMJs, the range, and practice ammo you can find at any outdoor store. 

Defensive ammunition is specifically designed to excel in stopping a threat. Defensive ammo is a bit more expensive, often at least a dollar a round. It’s referred to as jacketed hollow points. JHPs penetrate and expand. Not only does that help eliminate the threat, but this prevents the round from over-penetrating and harming someone else. 

A Good Holster 

A first-time handgun owner needs a holster, like a foot needs a sock. I don’t just say that because I’m working for a holster company. A good holster allows you to safely carry your firearm. A cheap, junky, nylon piece of trash can be downright unsafe and cause issues with retention, protection of the trigger, and more. 

You want a holster molded specifically for your firearm. This creates better retention and makes your weapon easier to draw. There are lots of holsters out there for tons of different purposes. If you want something for concealed carry, you need a concealed carry holster. I’m a fan of the Rogue, which allows for deep concealment and total comfort. 

A Good Belt

Guns and ammo weigh more than you think, and to keep both your gun and pants up, you need a good belt. Your normal department store belt just won’t do. You need a gun belt. A belt that’s tough, capable, and supportive of the weight of your firearm, ammo, and more. This one might be easy to ignore, but a good belt is a must-have. It makes a huge difference in comfort and support and makes concealed carry oh so much easier. This is a purchase a lot of first-time handgun owners will ignore, but eventually, you’ll figure out the difference a good belt makes.  

Storage Solution 

When I say storage solution, I mean a safe means to store weapons when it’s not in your control. A safe is optimum, and they make gun safes in a wide variety of sizes, from dozens of guns to just a single handgun. You can also use a gun lock to disable it or a simple plastic case that can be locked. These are not optimum solutions, and a safe is best, but this is a real must-have to ensure your gun is properly and carefully stored away. 


A Basic Cleaning Kit 

First-time handgun owners might get a little anxious about the cleanliness of their firearms. In reality, modern guns are not picky and don’t require constant care and maintenance. You can get a gun quite dirty, and it will stun run reliably. However, you should look to purchase a basic cleaning kit that allows you to maintain your investment. A simple kit designed for handguns is all you need, and there are plenty of them vying for your money. Get a basic one and a lubricant that also cleans and protects. 

Hearing and Eye Protection 

To keep you safe, invest in a solid set of protective equipment. Your sunglasses or reading glasses aren’t likely enough protection and cover for a firearm. Safety glasses are fairly cheap and should be ANSI Z87 certified. For your ears, you can get away wearing the little orange squishies, but I suggest a nice set of electronic hearing protection. Electronic hearing protection, like the Axil Blu muffs, provides excellent protection and also allows you to hear your environment. 

These modern hearing protection blocks out all loud noises but allows you to hear conversations. This is perfect for hearing range commands and instructions. They can be a little pricey, but seriously consider them as an investment. 


I saved the best for last. If you are a first-time handgun owner, one of the most important things you can do is to get some training. Learn how to use your firearm and receive professional instruction. You’ll learn to safely handle your firearm and be a better shot. A little training can go a long way and will ensure you can very effectively and safely use your firearm. Find some training, get some range time in, and learn how your investment functions. 

Purchasing Power 

People used to say you can’t buy skill, and that’s very true. You can’t purchase skill through gun upgrades, new uns, or even fancy ammo. You can purchase the things that make it easier to carry your gun, to shoot your gun, and to build your own skills. A little bit of money can go a long way, and if you are a first-time handgun owner, these purchases will make life much easier. You can also produce your own from an 80 lower. 

Does our knowledgeable crowd have any additional thoughts? If so, share them below. 

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.

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