Beginning your venture as a responsible gun owner may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. This beginner’s checklist is a guide that every new gun owner or anyone considering a firearm for self-defense should review.
Treat Every Gun as If It’s Loaded
Before you even touch a gun, nothing terrible will ever happen if you treat it like it’s loaded. On the flip side, accidents sometimes occur because people are unsafe and incorrectly assume they’re handling an unloaded gun and pull the trigger.
Always Ensure You’re Pointing Your Gun in a Safe Direction
As long as your gun is pointing in a safe direction, nothing bad will happen. You can imagine what would happen if you didn’t observe this rule and pulled the trigger while pointing your gun at objects you don’t mean to target.
Don’t Put Your Finger On The Trigger Until You’re Ready to Shoot
If you keep your finger away from the trigger until you have a target and you know you are going to fire, nothing will happen. Conversely, if your finger is on the trigger and you’re not meeting that criteria, something terrible could very well happen.
Know Your Target and What’s Beyond
Let’s say you’re aiming at a bad guy, but little Johnny is standing right behind the bad guy. If you miss the bad guy, you’re responsible for hurting anybody with that round. Keep in mind that you are responsible for every round that comes out of your gun.
In addition to the basic gun safety rules, here are some other recommendations for success.
Learn The Self-Defense Laws
New gun owners are responsible for learning about the self-defense laws. Those who don’t can find themselves in trouble very quickly. Don’t assume you know when shooting someone you perceive as a threat is okay. Resources that can help educate you include the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), U.S. Law Shield, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Educate Your Family
Having a gun ready for armed self-defense is vital. But equally important is keeping it away from unauthorized users. Teach your kids and everyone in your home about firearms safety. A healthy education program paired with a safeguarded storage plan is the safest strategy.
Understand How Your Gun Works
Understanding how your gun functions reduces a new gun owner’s chance of accidents. There are plenty of good videos on YouTube about the functionality of different firearms. One example: On a semi-auto pistol, if you don’t drop the magazine out first, then unload the chamber, it is still loaded—even if you think it is not. That’s a potentially deadly situation.
Use The Correct Ammunition
If you have a 9mm pistol, only 9mm ammo will work. Additionally, not all ammunition is made the same, and new gun owners should understand that full-metal jackets perform differently than defensive rounds. Fiocchi USA has a great tool to learn what bullets are used for what purposes.
Other Gear Checklist
Holsters, spare magazines, and handguns are essential components of a shooting kit. Good quality hearing protectors and eye protection are mandatory for range work. Don’t go too cheap — you’ll thank yourself later for purchasing the best you can afford.
You’ll need at least three magazines. Be sure to keep them on your body — one in the pistol, one on the belt, and one resting. Some firearms include two or three magazines, others only one. Factor this into your budget.
A quality holster is essential. A cheap, relaxed fabric holster does no good. A sturdy strong-side belt holster is well-suited to range work. Most of us will want a quality inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster for concealed carry.
Clipdraw Gun Clips, Trigger Guards, Charging Handles
Clipdraw’s comfortable, slim, and secure design replaces bulky and uncomfortable holsters, making it the most discrete way to carry. Our patented, universal gun clip fits all pistols, regardless of make or manufacturer. The Clipdraw gun clip includes all parts and easily installs on either side in minutes.
The Clipdraw pistol charging handle helps overcome the difficulty of racking your slide and offers relief for weak, tired or painful hands and fingers. Its ambidextrous design means both right-handed and left-handed gun users can utilize the handle’s functionality for quick and confident one-finger charging.
With a protective shield that safeguards your gun’s trigger, Clipdraw’s pistol trigger guards maximize safe usage and prevent accidental discharge. Our pistol guards include a trigger sheath that covers the pistol’s trigger and length of quality paracord to avoid unintentional discharge when carrying concealed. The trigger sheath paracord reaches full-length when the gun is drawn and removes itself. No added steps — draw your weapon naturally!
Some of the items listed require a purchase, while others stipulate education and practice. If you’re a new gun owner, take the time to review this checklist. It will save you a lot of time, money, and embarrassment — and could even save your life.