So you’re a new gun owner, Or maybe you will be joining the ranks or new gun owners. Great! Welcome to the fold! You likely clicked this link thinking hey, I don’t want to make mistakes. That’s the kind of attitude we like around here. I’ve owned guns all my life and got involved with the greater gun culture almost two decades ago. As such, I’ve seen lots of new gun owners come in and make the same mistakes over and over. Gun mistakes are costly mistakes, so hopefully, we can help you avoid falling into the common pitfalls of new gun owners.
Assuming Small Guns Are Easy Shooting
This is an easy mistake to make, and I see it happen all the time. You see a little gun and assume a little gun must be easy to shoot, right? It’s little, so how hard can it ‘kick’? Size is not a big indicator of recoil or muzzle rise with firearms. Sure, big guns like .454 Casull revolvers have lots of recoil, but so do micro-sized, pocket .380s.
Caliber is what tells the story, and often, the larger the gun is, the easier it is to shoot. There is a massive control gap between small guns when it comes to the caliber. For example, a Ruger LCP 2 in .22LR is both small and easy to shoot. A Ruger LCP 2 in .380 ACP is a hand-slapping handful. A J-frame .357 Magnum is small but also a handful to shoot compared to a similar gun in .38 Special or even .22LR.
Never assume a gun’s size makes it easier to shoot. A small gun can often be harder to shoot than a larger gun.
The Big Mistakes
On the flip side, you can go too big, at least when it comes to concealed carry. As a new gun owner, it’s tough to tell what guns will be easy to carry. A Glock 17 doesn’t seem so bad, right? That is until you actually strap it on with an OWB holster and have a giant bulge on your side. Let’s say you order a more effective concealed career holster and even a good gun belt. That makes it much easier to carry, but it’s still large and heavy.
It can be restrictive depending on your style of dress as well. There are certainly some folks who carry big guns every day, but they are a minority. Do your research a bit, and you’ll begin to see why guns like the P365 are perfect for everyday carry in nearly any situation and its popularity is no mistake.
Thinking a CCW Class Is Enough
The CCW class you took likely offered you a lot of benefits and helped you understand state laws as well as the basics of handling a firearm, but it’s not enough. It’s enough to get you a license, but training should continue. It’s easy for new gun owners to rationalize that once they have their CCW license, they are done training. Firearms training should be something you are constantly looking for.
This includes defensive tactics, one-handed shooting, shooting from inside and around vehicles, force on force, and so much more. This will make you licensed, armed, and effective. Training is critical, and beyond training with your firearm, you should look into medical training and de-escalation training. Not training is a huge mistake.
The Just As Good Mentality
Most firearms are pretty good these days but not all. The same goes for holsters, optics, lights, magazines, and more. People will strive to find a bargain, and that can often lead to purchasing something they believe is just as good as the more expensive competition. If you tell me Nikes are as good as New Balance, and I’m just buying a name, I’d agree.
If you tell me that a Jennings is just as good as a Walther, I’m going to stop you right there. The just-as-good mentality can be cancerous to new gun owners and will lead you down a bad patch to unreliable guns and gear. There is a reason why so many professionally armed people use the same gear over and over. Some gear just works better, and some companies just make better stuff. Don’t make mistakes just to save money.
Buying Lots of Mediocre Guns
After you buy one gun, it’s hard to not want to buy another. A lot of new gun owners, especially new gun owners, will get the bug. This often leads to a collection of okayish to poor-quality firearms. There is a “more is better” attitude. That money is better spent on a quality firearm, holster, spare magazines, ammo, training, and the like. Buying a firearm for concealed carry and another for home defense also makes sense.
Buying your third bargain bin handgun instead of one proven design with a good holster, belt, and quality defensive ammo is a mistake. Once you have your basics covered appropriately, then do whatever you want. However, I’d focus on obtaining more training over more guns. This is an expensive mistake I learned the hard way. Some guns are just mistakes all around.
Keep Cool and Carry On
New gun owners will make mistakes. It’s part of being new at anything. Hopefully, your mistake will be spending too much money or buying the wrong gear. Of all the new gun owner mistakes, I see the most common is not seeking out proper training. Get trained, educated, and capable of using your firearm. By doing that, you’ll easily avoid most other costly mistakes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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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