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6 Tips for the new firearm owner

Updated on April 22, 2014

#1 Safety

I am taking away from my normal shenanigans, and writing today about something a little more serious.

I cannot stress enough how dangerous firearms are. The level of danger can range from low to high, depending on the training, and self discipline a new gun owner has.

A new gun owner has not yet learned the respect and due regard of what a firearm represents. Firearms, will kill you. There is no other way to say it. You will die, or others will die, if you do not take the necessary precautions when using a firearm.

Treat all firearms as if they were loaded. Even when the slide is locked back, your firearm is to be considered loaded.

If you are at the firing range, your barrel should ALWAYS be pointed down range. Even when you have secured the ammunition, magazine, or have the slide removed from the gun for cleaning. TREAT IT AS IF IT WERE LOADED.

While Operating firearms, you need to have proper ear and eye protection as well.

Your finger should be off the trigger and secured against the side of the trigger guard or on the slide until you are ready to fire.

Fire the gun always with the receiver facing up, never tilt it to the side or fire the gun upside down. It may look cool, but it can cause you to lose control of the firearm and hurt yourself, or someone else.


When cleaning your firearm, make sure that the ammunition is secured away from your firearm. Check the receiver, several times before cleaning any parts of the firearm. Deaths from Accidental Discharge were in the 5-6000 range in the last few years. While accidental deaths are in the decline from years past. We should not overlook the potential of danger when cleaning our own firearms.


Considering what type of firearm you will buy for the first time is a tough decision. Though it can be easy, if you know exactly why you need this firearm.

For this blog, we are assuming you want to purchase a firearm for home or self defense.

For your first firearm, and full time defense weapon, you want to choose something that will cater to your needs.

For instance, if you are wanting to carry this firearm concealed, you will want to buy a firearm that is on the smaller scale. Most of all this firearm needs to fit comfortably on you. Comfortably, either with an inside holster or an outside holster. Or.. for you awesome ladies out there, something that can fit in your purse, or in a bra holster.

Outside holsters, for concealed carry, need to be high enough on your waistband to be easily concealed by a shirt. If you are overweight, I would suggest an outside holster, and a big shirt.

Inside holsters, come in many safe variations, but can be dangerous for the untrained concealed carrier. For a first time carrier, I suggest an outside holster, a firearm with a safety, and / or additional grip safety. Nothing says oops like a gunshot to the thigh.. Revolvers are good too for a concealed carry.

#2 Open Carry

In many states, open carry is legal. Many states allow open carry, but frown on it as well. You need to check your state regulations on Open Carry before doing so.

There are many pros and cons to openly carrying your firearm. Here are a few:

In the Time of need. In the absolute need of reaching for your firearm, you have little to no obstacles in grabbing your firearm, aiming carefully, and firing.

Deterrence. Often times, coffee shops, and donut places will offer free coffee and or donuts to police officers. The reason being, the police will frequent those establishments more often, providing crime deterrence. This is also where police get their title of "donut eaters."

Openly carrying a firearm, can deter someone from committing a crime near you or against you.


Big ol Target. If a criminal is going to do something bad, he or she is going to look for the biggest threats first. You could be blind sided with a bullet to the head, strictly because you have painted a target on yourself with a firearm strapped to your side.

Bulky. It will take some getting use to, an outside holster plus a firearm is bulky. Protecting it can be a hassle. My first few days of openly carrying, I banged it into doors, and more importantly against my car. You will eventually get the "arm hang" from prolonged open carry. When you are not openly carrying your arm will automatically hang loose from your body as if it were there. Police off duty sometimes do this.. It's pretty funny.

Dangerous Fingers. When it's out in the open, usually kids, usually boys, see it, and want to touch it. This is very dangerous, you need to be aware of children and random touchers. You need to tell them, it is not a toy, it is loaded, and it can kill them. Keep firearms away from children. Even if you have the highest of quality holsters, an accidental discharge can still happen, and can land you in prison with manslaughter for neglecting safety precautions.

  • Red - Does not allow Open Carry
  • Blue - Requires Permission to Open Carry
  • Tan - Allows open Carry
  • Green - Requires a License to Open Carry


Safely Drawing your firearm.

#3 Conceal Carry

A man 21 feet away, can kill another man carrying a gun, with a knife.

Conceal carry is legal in many states with a conceal carry permit from your local sheriff. Some states require you to go to a firearms safety training course before being able to do so. I suggest you take all the classes necessary, and then some. Pretending to "know it all" about firearms, can and will get you killed.

Conceal carry, is one of the most dangerous things in the world for the new firearm owner. Choosing a holster, where to carry that holster, and drawing techniques are the pivotal moments that decide whether you live, or whether you die.

I spend hours at the range, with thousands of rounds of ammunition for each of my firearms. Just in the small chance, and last resort situation, I need to use my firearm. Before carrying your firearm on you concealed. You need to spend at least 30 hours at the range before carrying it on your person. Reaching for a pistol, is dangerous. Especially if that pistol is concealed on your person. Obstacles including shirts, belts, holsters, weather, etc, can effect your ability to safely operate your firearm. You need to be aware of these obstacles, and know exactly your movements in reaching, acquiring your target, and firing safely.


#4 Clean After every Use

Cleaning your firearm is the best way to ensure that your firearm is in the best working condition. Nothing can get you killed faster than drawing a firearm on a target, and misfiring.

You should know your firearm inside and out. You should be able to field strip it, in any condition. Remember keep that muzzle down range.

Knowing the essential parts of your firearm are key. The essential parts on any firearm are these:

  • Receiver (Where the bullet goes)
  • Firing Pin (How the bullet fires)
  • Trigger (How to send one down range)
  • Barrel (How the bullet comes out)
  • Safety (What keeps the bullet from coming out)

Cleaning these areas are simple in some cases.

The receiver can be taken apart, on many separate firearms with slides. Revolvers have cylinders that act like receivers. These receivers need to be well lubricated and cleaned. They need to be clear of any obstructions that can cause an accidental discharge, misfire, or jam.

The Firing pin, ever so often needs to be disassembled and cleaned as well. Prolonged use of a firearm can result in small burrs of brass and lead. These small burrs can cause your firearm to misfire or jam as well.

The trigger assembly should be cleaned on a regular basis, gunpowder can corrode the small inner workings of a firearm. Keeping powder residue off of your metal parts is a good thing. Rust is a firearm's worst enemy.

The Barrel should be cleaned at least once after every use. You can buy barrel snakes that will allow you to clean your firearm at the range, right after you shoot. It's quick, and easy.

Ensure that your safety is in working condition each time you clean your firearm.

Make sure the first thing you do before cleaning your firearm, is unload, and remove all ammunition, powder, and casings from your cleaning area. Preferably across the room.


#5 Ammunition

Choosing your ammunition type is also on your to-do list. You need to know the proper ammunition to carry for your firearm.

Concealed I carry both, 9mm and .40 cal at any given time. Sometimes I even carry both. I almost never carry openly anymore because of the Target factor.

I choose to carry home defense rounds in my 40, and regular full metal jackets in my 9mm.

At the range, I use mostly Lead Heads. They will gunk up your gun something fierce, but they are cheap and able to be reloaded.

For home defense you will need to select from a broad range of ammunition types. It is really your preference when it boils down to it.

Although, Home Defense rounds are NOT RANGE AMMUNITION. You need to at least fire a few rounds so that you know the difference between hollow point flight patterns and dead heads. Not that you will at first.

Just imagine a bumble bee next to a honey bee. Bumble bee being the home defense, and the honey bee being the dead heads.

They do have different flight patterns, and when they hit obstacles they have different reactions. A hollow point will fan out in flight in most cases. Whereas a dead head will fly and often tumble before and after impact.

Regardless, both types of ammunition have one purpose. To Kill. That's where you come in, with your training, and your discipline. The bullet and firearm cannot do it alone, shots need to be well aimed, and need to count. This discipline and training, can be the deciding factor whether you live or die in a crucial situation.

#6 The Last Resort

This last tip is the most important below safety.

You may never have to use your firearm against another person or animal. Using your firearm though, needs to be the absolute only way out alive. You need to be sure, that you are not going to survive, that you are going to DIE! if you do not use your firearm.

Do not show your pistol off to people. It is not a toy, you do not need to make threats to people using your gun as a medal to go flashing around. We are talking a matter of life and death.

You are a new gun owner. You have a responsibility now. You HAVE to be an adult. This is not Call of Duty, there are no respawns.

Be careful, and remember what I've told you today.

Safety, is always first.

Use your firearm only as a last resort.

Keep your firearm clean, and in working condition.

Take training seriously. We do not fool around when it comes to operating firearms.


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