If you are thinking of buying a gun, you are not alone. Because according to the FBI, June, 2016 was the 14th consecutive month of record gun sales in America. Consequently, over 2.1 million background checks were completed for new gun purchases; that’s the most since mandatory background checks became law in May, 1998. Clearly, something is driving Americans to purchase firearms. So, if you are thinking of buying a gun, you want to choose the right gun to buy. First you will need to determine the best type of gun based upon pertinent criteria.
Setting aside political rhetoric, this article tees up some issues to help you choose the right gun to buy. But who am I to say?
I’m just a regular guy with 50 years of experience with firearms. I have been a Firearms / Hunter Safety Instructor (now retired) for The California Department of Fish and Game and I sit on the Board of Directors for a major California city’s Police Foundation. I was a competitive ATA trap shooter and am licensed to carry concealed weapons. I have opinions to share with you.
Before we get into choosing the best gun for you, a word about responsibility. Because, owning and operating a firearm can be as safe as having a car, and just as dangerous. Once you fire a gun, you cannot call that bullet back. No mulligans. No do-overs. You must live with the consequences. So please take the time to get proper training for safe operation.
Reasons To Own A Gun:
When purchasing your firearm, you must decide on the type of gun to own; pistol, rifle, or shotgun. Consequently, your reason for owning a gun will be the biggest determining factor in what type of gun you choose to purchase. So, there are three basic reasons for civilians to own guns:
- Personal / Home Protection
- Shooting Sports
Rifles are the most powerful and longest-range guns. They come in a broad array of actions (configurations) and calibers (bullet sizes), from the classic .22 caliber for “plinking” (target shooting), to .50 caliber sniper rifles with ranges of over 1 1/2 miles. Therefore, the most common civilian uses for rifles are hunting (deer, elk, bear, moose, antelope, varmits) and target shooting. Yet, some folks choose semi-auto, short rifles (aka “assault guns”) for home protection.
With 12 gauge being most common, shotguns range from .410 gauge (smallest) to 10 gauge (largest). Shotguns have the shortest range and are most often used for bird hunting and shooting sports like skeet, trap, and sporting clays. Yet, some folks choose shotguns for home protection as their short-range knock-down / stopping power is most formidable.
The most under-powered type of gun is the pistol. Its compact size makes it perfect for personal protection and close-quarters combat. Like rifles, pistols come in a range of sizes from the small .22 caliber all the way up to .50 caliber. Pistols are also used for target shooting and some limited hunting applications.
In conclusion, after you choose the right type of gun to buy, (rifle, pistol, or shotgun), you can start reading up on all the different options about the type of gun you choose. Get smart about sizes, calibers or gauge, types of action, etc.
Your local gun merchant can be a great source of information on shooting ranges, training courses, and local laws you need to know. Another excellent resource is http://www.nrainstructors.org/Search.aspx . Just plug in your zip code to find information about classes in your area for safety, marksmanship, special classes for women, and much more.