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What To Consider When Buying Your First Gun

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Now is as good a time as any to purchase your first gun. Gun sales are at an all-time high, and for good reason. There’s violence and unrest in the streets, and many people are arming themselves to keep themselves and their families safe. If you’re thinking about buying your first gun, you probably have many questions. What caliber should I get? How many rounds do I need? Here I will help you answer those questions and assist you in determining exactly what kind of gun you should purchase.

Why Do You Want A Gun?

The great thing about our Second Amendment is that you don’t need a reason to exercise it. You can buy a gun for any reason or no reason at all. You will never be asked why you’re buying a gun as a condition of the sale. But it is a good question to ask yourself before making your first purchase.

Some of the most common reasons for buying a gun include hunting, home defense, personal defense, and sport shooting. Some types of guns can be used in different scenarios. Narrowing down exactly what you will be doing with your gun will help you decide which type to buy.


In the United States, the two most popular types of hunting are game hunting and bird hunting. Rifles are the best for game hunting, while shotguns are more effective for bird hunting. The reason is that game hunting (deer, coyote, rabbit, etc) is usually done at greater distances, 100 yards or more. A scoped rifle is accurate at long range and can take down game animals up to several hundred yards away. Birds are generally drawn close to the hunter using calls and decoys, and the shot is taken at much closer ranges, usually less than 50 yards. Because most bird hunting is done on the wing (flying), shotguns are better for hitting a moving target.

There are many rifle calibers to choose from, depending on the size of the game you are hunting. If you’re looking for a good all-around cartridge, the .243 Winchester is a classic for deer hunting. If you’re looking at something a little bigger, .30-06 is a great multi-purpose round.

Shotguns come in several gauges as well. 12 gauge is the most common, with over 50% of shotguns sold in the United States chambered for 12 gauge. 20 gauge and .410 are also popular shotgun calibers.

Home Defense

Home defense is one of the most popular reasons for someone buying their first gun. There are many factors to consider before keeping a gun in your home. If you have children, be sure to secure your gun when not using it. If you don’t want to purchase a gun safe or gun vault to store it in, at a minimum you need to purchase a gun lock. This is a device that either locks the trigger or the barrel, effectively disabling the gun until the key or combination opens it.

Handguns and shotguns are the two favorite guns for home defense, although rifles can also be used. All three have advantages and disadvantages.

Handguns are small and easy to access quickly in an emergency. They can be safely kept locked in a gun vault next to your bed. Handguns can be equipped with accessories to help you in a home defense scenario, such as flashlights or laser sights. Finally, handguns can hold many rounds, and extra magazines are easy to store and carry as well. If you’re new to guns, a revolver might be a better choice over a semi-automatic pistol. They are nearly impossible to misfire, they don’t jam or misfeed like semi-automatics sometimes can. But revolvers usually have a much smaller capacity than semi-automatics. Most revolvers hold either five or six rounds, while a full-sized Glock, SIG Sauer, or Smith & Wesson can hold up to 17 rounds. Another debate is about which caliber is best. The most popular are 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Honestly, use whichever you prefer. You will get a few more rounds of 9mm, but .45 ACP has better stopping power. So it’s a trade-off.

Shotguns are also popular home defense weapons because they are very easy to fire effectively and require very little aiming to be deadly. A shotgun can be fired from the hip and still be accurate because the shells spread after being fired, hitting anything in their path. Shotguns can have different capacities, but they are usually between 4-10 rounds. Birdshot and buckshot are the two most popular loads for home defense. Birdshot is small pellets, which usually won’t kill a person when they’re shot. Buckshot has larger pellets and can be deadly at close range.

If you plan to use a rifle for home defense, you need to be aware that high-velocity rifle rounds have a tendency to penetrate walls and keep going, and could potentially injure people on the other side of a wall. AR-15s are the most common rifles to be used for home defense because they have 30 round magazines standard.

Personal Defense

When you’re talking about carrying a concealed weapon (or open carrying), handguns are the only real choice for personal defense. Some people open carry rifles, but that’s mostly for show. Many states still require special licensing to carry a concealed handgun, although more and more states are switching to “constitutional carry” laws.

How you carry your handgun is an important decision. There are many different types of holsters made, there’s one for just about any situation you can imagine. Inside the waistband holsters are the most popular for concealed carry. They hold your gun securely inside your pants, which helps to conceal it. Outside the waistband carry is also popular. It’s more comfortable for the wearer, but often harder to conceal. If you have a small handgun, you can carry it in a pocket holster. These go in either your front or rear pocket and are easily accessible and concealable. For those looking for additional alternatives, you can get a shoulder holster or ankle holster. Belly band holsters are great if you’re wearing athletic apparel such as gym shorts.

The biggest debate for concealed carry enthusiasts is the 9mm vs .45 ACP debate. More rounds, or more stopping power? Generally, the smaller the caliber the more rounds you can carry. The bigger the caliber, the more stopping power. So you can make this decision for yourself.


If you’re looking to buy your first gun, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what you intend to do with your gun. Once you have defined your intent, it makes your decision much easier.

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