As this strange year of 2020 comes to a close, a few things are certain. Everyone owns more than 1 mask, carries at least 1 bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and has a stash of toilet paper hidden somewhere in the house. We’ve also seen a record number of first-time gun owners. Are you one of those new firearm owners? Are you trying to figure out where/how to begin your journey into the world of firearms? The following suggestions will help you on your way.
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1 Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
2 Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3 Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you make the decision to shoot.
4 Be sure of your target, back stop and beyond.
Find an in-depth explanation of the 4 safety rules from A Girl and A Gun here.
All new firearms arrive with an operator and safety manual. This manual usually begins with information on safe firearm-handling skills. Then, through diagrams, photos and bullet points, it explains these important items: the parts of the gun, how it functions, how to field strip, care and cleaning and more. This is a great first resource if you ever have any questions about your new firearm. Note: You can also find firearms manuals online, in case you misplace yours.
With no ammunition in the room, take an UNLOADED firearm that you’ve checked and double checked and begin handling it. Manipulate the slide, press the trigger, work the safety. Take the time with this safe, unloaded gun and get to know it. Depending on the gun you choose to carry, you may find some useful information in my article, Know Your Gun’s Condition and How you Will Carry it.
In most cases, do not fire a .22 caliber gun, though, as you could damage the pin and breech. Follow the manufacturers’ instruction in regard to dry firing.
Knowing how and where you’re going to store your new firearm is important for the safety of your family and all those who enter your home. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) offers many suggestions for safe firearm storage with their Project ChildSafe initiative. Find more information and resources on their website here.
Understanding firearm-related terms is a great way to get ahead of the game before you attend training. It also helps to know these terms if you have to ask questions at a range or in a gun store. My article, Speak Like a Gun Scholar: Firearm Terms You Need to Know, contains many of these words to help get you started.
Owning a firearm is very serious business, especially if you plan on using it for self-defense purposes. Having proper training, under the tutelage of a competent instructor, helps improve your gun handling and shooting skills. Read some tips for your initial training in this article, What You Need Before Your First Pistol Class.
Those are just some of the steps, the beginning steps, you should take as a new firearms owner. Once you own a firearm, keep learning, practicing and training. Talk to other firearms owners, read and ask questions. Whereas owning a firearm is a huge responsibility, protecting your family and those you love is even bigger.