An Important Tip When Purchasing A Firearm
An Important Tip When Purchasing A Firearm
Two important topics my partner Dan and I cover in our classes are: how does one go about purchasing a firearm and what type of firearm should I purchase? Even though these questions seem like they’re related, they require two completely different answers. They are asked not only by those who are new to the shooting sport, but also by experienced shooters who may not have purchased a firearm in some time. The first question is going to be discussed in this article, while the second will be answered in a future one.
Purchasing a firearm is not like buying any other item because once you pay for it, it’s yours. You can’t go back to the gun shop and return it, and expect to get your money back. Yes, you can sell it or trade it in, but in all likelihood, you will lose thirty to forty percent of your original investment. For this reason, and others to be mentioned in future articles, one must give a lot of thought before laying out the cash for a firearm.
Dan and I are range safety officers at the busiest, public range in Missouri, operated by The Missouri Department of Conservation. This allows us the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about the shooting sport in general, as well as why they chose the firearm they did. Approximately 55,000 to 60,000 people shoot or take classes at the range annually, so as you can imagine, we get many different answers.
When asked why they chose a specific gun, many said that was what the salesperson suggested. In the vast majority of these instances, the buyer was essentially inactive in the purchasing process. In other words, he or she was just sold the firearm. This usually happens when people haven’t done as much research as they should have. We try to impress upon our clients that it is extremely important to do some thorough research on the firearm(s) you’re interested in purchasing before you go to the store. This means that one should ask experienced shooters, look online for different reviews, or go to a range where you can rent firearms and actually try them out. By doing your research, it makes it much easier to be an active participant in the purchasing process.
Unfortunately, many new shooters, especially after spending a session at the range with their new firearm, are unable to hit the target with any consistency at seven yards. An older couple came to the range to shoot their .38 Special/.357 Magnum revolver. It was a Smith and Wesson that had a 2.5 inch barrel. It became apparent that they had not shot very often, as they hit the target no more than five times out of 20 rounds. After talking with them, they told me that their shooting experience was very limited and this was the first time they had shot their new gun. They knew they weren’t being successful and it was easy to see their disappointment and frustration. I asked them why they had chosen that specific firearm. They told me that the salesperson behind the counter had suggested it. Since they didn’t know any better, this nice couple bought the gun.
For situations just like this, I bring my Ruger Mark II Target, .22 semi-automatic to the range. It has a significantly easier recoil than their revolver and doesn’t make near the noise when shot. It also has a 5.5 inch bull barrel and is very accurate. With their permission, I brought the gun to their booth, showed them how to shoot it and supplied them with 50 rounds. What a difference! All 50 rounds hit within a six inch circle at seven yards. It was great to see the smile on their face. We spoke about how to purchase a gun, and two weeks later, they came to the range with their new Ruger Mark III Target gun. Yes, success breeds success!
Like most new skills, whether they are cognitive or physical, one must have the right tool for the right job. So, before purchasing a new firearm, do thorough research on the one(s) you are thinking about buying by asking experienced shooters, reading reviews on the internet, and going to a range where you can rent and shoot the firearms. Remember, be the person who is active in the purchasing process, not the one who is just sold the gun.
Missouri Personal Protection Academy