One of my absolute favorite things to do is to shop for guns. No, I am not a gun fanatic. I have a friend that has an armory in his home with over 100 firearms and god knows how much ammunition. That’s not me. I don’t have that kind of budget, nor do I have the time to put so much effort into firearms. However, when I do get to buy a gun I really do enjoy the process. I like everything from doing my research to selecting a specific gun at the shop.
There is no right way and wrong way to buy a gun. However, there are strategies you can use to ensure you get a good value for your dollar. You not only want to like the gun you buy, but you want to feel like you got a good deal. You also want to feel like you did enough research to make an educated choice.
My father retired a few years ago, and I decided to buy him a turkey gun for a retirement present. I started looking over options and considered probably 30 different models. After finishing my research, I settled on a semi-automatic camo pattern Franchi 12 gauge.
When I got to my gun shop and held the gun, I liked it so much that I bought one for myself as well. You know you are confident in your purchase when you double down!
Related: 10 Deadly Mistakes That New Gun Owners Make
In this article, we will cover a few mistakes you may be making with your firearm purchases. Hopefully, we can help you correct these mistakes to give you more confidence when you go shopping for a gun
Buying Only on Price
It can be exciting to be looking at guns for $600-$700 and find a “deal” for $450 at your gun shop. Remember the saying that you get what you pay for? It has never been truer than with firearms. The cheapest option is rarely the best option. It is important that you get the gun that is going to work best for your needs.
If you can’t afford that gun, save up for a little while longer or consider financing part of it.
If you get your new purchase home and realize it is not reliable or does not have the features you need, the money you saved won’t matter. Firearms are not the type of purchase you want to regret.
Cheap guns are often not as functional as moderately priced guns, and sometimes they are even dangerous because of jams or misfires. If you are getting a rifle for $400, you should question why. Instead, save up to spend $600 to $800 and get exactly what you need.
Buying on a Whim
It can be tempting to walk into a gun shop or a gun show, do some looking, and walk out with a new gun. It is quick, it is easy, and it can be a bit of a rush. However, it is a gamble every time. You are much better off to research specific manufacturers and models before you ever set foot in a gun shop.
Reviews are one of the most important sources you have for evaluating firearms. Don’t just look at the overall score a firearm gets, but also read the specific reviews and how the company responds to them. This will give you more insight than the scores themselves.
For example, if a firearm has a 4.2 out of 5 stars and the negative reviews are little nitpicking complaints then you are probably okay. If the negative reviews say the gun is a worthless piece of junk and the company does not offer to try and make it right, you should probably move on.
You should also read buying guides for that type of firearm and ask questions in firearm forums. When you do go to see the guns in person, you will then know exactly what to ask for.
Thinking All You Need Is the Gun
While you can get by with just purchasing a firearm, most people are going to want some kind of accessories to make the gun more functional.
For example, AR-15 owners love the fact that they can be completely customized to your specific needs. However, add ons or swap outs like a scope or a better handrail do not come with the gun. They cost extra.
It may be that you want a different grip for your Glock or a different set of sights. Maybe you want a second clip or a larger clip. If you are going to carry your handgun, you will probably want a holster of some kind.
None of this comes with the package. If you want to be happy with your purchase, you should plan out and budget for accessories.
Not Knowing the Law
One of the most frustrating parts of gun laws is that they are different in every state.
Some states require a waiting period. Others require the length of your barrel to be 16 inches or shorter. Some will only allow your magazine to hold so many rounds. The list goes on and on.
It is very possible for you to purchase a gun that is illegal to use or own in your state.
The only way you know for sure is to do the research to know the law ahead of times.
Related: Self-Defense Weapons That Are Illegal In Your State
Jumping the Gun
I know. Awesome pun, right? What I mean by jumping the gun is buying a gun before you have the proper training to use it.
You should never just go out and buy a gun expecting to learn how to safely use it afterwards.
I suggest you take a general firearms safety course before buying any guns.
Then try out each model at the range before you buy it.
That way you are ready to head to the range straight from the gun shop.
Not only do you need to know how to clean your gun, but you need to be sure to buy a gun that is easy to clean. Any gun will have issues over time if it does not get cleaned, so make that a priority. If you do not already have it, buy the tools and products you need and try to clean your gun after every use.
Buying guns can be a blast, but you want the fun to continue. It is never any fun to regret a purchase. Just take a few minutes before you start shopping for a gun to run through this list.
Check each one off to be sure you are ready to go out and make that purchase. With just a little extra effort, your gun will be just as fun years from now as it is today.
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This is a prepper site – a prepper buying a firearm should have some totally different perspectives than say a homeowner just looking for some protection or a hunter getting ready for the big hunt ….
More than ever a prepper should be looking to the future – your choice of handgun most likely will become aholster EDC in a serious SHTF – your defensive rifle receiving as much abuse as an active combat weapon – even your hunting shotgun will receive more usage in a SHTF year than an entire lifetime of seasonal hunting >>>> in so many words – think about durability ….
And durability usually translates into $$$ – think about spending a few more bucks and jumping up into that next upper model tier or a better firearms manufacturer >> do your homework – just because a shotgun is priced right and gets the job done spending its life sitting in the back of the closet or in a squad car rack – doesn’t make it prepper righteous …
and seeing where our 2A Rights are headed and even the future availability of both firearms and ammo >> give thought to our future generations – what we purchase today could become generational heritage into the far future – your progeny thanking you for the wise & careful decision you made ….
Right on! We need to do everything possible that we can do now to protect our 2nd amendment rights. Assuring that future generations are the beneficiaries of what we do today is priceless.
If this article addresses first time gun owners,. Then the whole chapter on training and practice is missing. A gun you can’t operate is a $600 club.
Every good wish for a Happy Thanksgiving
As a Prepper – considering the future(CHAOS) may look a lot diff from daily life Now –
One of the primary considerations is Commonly Available & Used Ammo – NOW.
Exa “I” have only 9mm, 223/556, and 12 ga guns.
“All” – Ammo I am more like to be able to trade-for/FIND than most others.
In a SHTF WORLD – Upside Down.
How many people out there are going to be able to trade you 50cal pistol ammo ?
As a gunsmith of 30+ years, I can tell you that higher price doesn’t always translate to higher quality. A lot of it depends on the manufacturer. I have found even “cheap” guns from a reliable manufacturer – Ruger, Marlin, S&W, Colt, etc are very fine weapons. Don’t let people scare you into spending more money than you need.
The left wing loons here are trying to snuff out that vital skill set. One needs to leave the state for most types of training these days. That leaves the citizenry here, myself included In a very vulnerable position which we are working hard to turn around soon. It’s in the hands of the courts. It will effect us all. God help us.
I agree totally. I never buy high end weapons. Not necessary to have a solid and reliable weapon. I still have and use rifles and shotguns that my dad bought me when I was a kid. They weren’t pricey guns but good solid performers and they have never failed me and I’m 66 years old now. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good in doctors, lawyers, food supplies OR guns!
Even the dreaded…..
Dare I say it…..
I shot a Hi-Point carbine at a class not long ago. It was surprisingly not awful. I mean I would not buy one. The accuracy was not good. But we were putting A LOT of rounds down range and it kept on firing. There were a couple of guys with Hi-Point sidearms. The ergonomics were like holding a two-liter soda bottle filled with cement. But they kept on functioning. Not accurately, but…
Very good article with very good points of consideration prior to a firearm purchase. Not wanting to be “that” guy by nitpicking but as the above article is written in the context of handguns, the following quote is incorrect: “Maybe you want a second clip or a larger clip.” Magazine. Maybe [they] would want a second MAGAZINE or a larger MAGAZINE.
A clip is a device used to load a magazine whereas a magazine is a device or holding area where ammunition is fed into the chamber of a firearm. I know people used the two terms interchangeably but they really are two different things.
Thanks for that clarification, Woody. As a newbie, I appreciate all the help!
You sound like my husband. He is always shaking his head when even LEOs are in the news saying “bullets” when they mean cartridges, “clips” when they are referring to magazines, etc. He also sits and critiques the idiocy in movies. Now everyone can see that problem and its consequences in the recent events in Hollywood…
who cares you still get the point accross of what you want…. its a silly fudd moot point that only gets some people upset over.
As I was reading the article, I see he used the term “clip”. I quit reading as this individual really doesn’t know anything about guns. Good correction Woody.
I’ll add that anyone intending to use a gun for self defense should practice regularly. Shooting – especially handgun shooting – is a perishable skill. I shot Expert in the Army with an M9 pistol regularly. But 6 months of not shooting after retirement I couldn’t hit a barn from the inside. I reacquired my skills easily but reacquiring skills during a firefight is a losing tactic.
At a bare minimum gun owners should practice dry firing once a week and live fire once every three months. Such practice should include tactical shooting scenarios not just blasting away at targets. The greatest advantage an armed citizen can have over a criminal is training. Criminals don’t and often can’t train. Nor do they understand how they’d perform in a real firefight vs. a video game firefight. A granny with a meh pistol she’s been practicing regularly with for 30 years is a lot more deadly than a gang banger with a flavor of the month tacticool pistol bought out of a car trunk last Tuesday.
The downside is that even before the ammo shortage and corresponding inflation, that much training can be difficult to finance. So new gun owners need to not only stack deep for a SHTF scenario but a 2020 scenario where they’ll need to keep in practice but there’s no ammo to be had.
I haven’t shot for at least five years, then went out today with my carry gun and did well enough to be able to defend myself. First 3 shots would have seriously damaged an attacker, the rest would have stopped the aggressor cold. I agree we need to practice often…but thankful that my muscle memory is still there. Even at 78 yrs old LOL
Regular practice requires a LOT of dang hard to get and expensive ammo.
Not a bad article however if your going to buy a gun on the AR style platform you need more than one or to mags.10 -15 would be much better! People have got to understand that you can go thru 30 rounds in 15 seconds. With multiple attackers in a life threatening situation you are going to be in a bind with a couple of mags.” Hang on while I reload” is not an option! Have your mags loaded, 28 rds. is a good number so you don’t experience malfunctions. As far as optics,
I think a low power variable scope is best with optional open sights that flip up or down. Scope power 1 to 4, 2 to 6 something along those lines with good rings and bases. DONT GO CHEAP!
A good sling and a light. Did I mention training? Lots of good training.
Anyone giving advice on guns, but calls a magazine a clip, loses a few credibility points in my book. However, the author does have a few good points, such as, do your own research ahead of time. Very few employees at gun counters will take the time, or know how to help you.
Take the time to take a concealed carry and/or hunters safety class (depending on your purpose of gun ownership). Join USCCA for insurance if you plan on carrying a firearm. Not only will you have legal representation if you need to use your gun or any other weapon for self defense, USCCA also has helpful resources for choosing a gun, knowing whats legal to carry in your state, and other helpful information.
Cynthia, you are absolutely correct! As I read the article, I got to the point where the term “clip” was used, and at that point my thought was, “anyone who calls a magazine a clip doesn’t know squat about guns”, and almost stopped reading. And even though I later found the word “magazine” in the article, I still had the view that I’d finish the article just to see what else might be wrong.
Makes one wonder how prohibited people are going to get guns and practice.
They too have a right to self defense.
Squirrel: Most I know learned as kids or in the military. Yes, 100% yes, they should have the right to self-defense. Mojados that just jumped the border get more respect. niio
Define the purpose- i.e. Hunting, house-gun, carry-gun, etc…
Do your research. Get reliable advice. Compare price & Service.
Familiarize yourself, to the point of safely retrieving, loading, and handling in the dark.
Finally, practice, practice, practice … first with an unloaded gun, then to the range.
Good Grief! Ranting over a word(magazine/clip).Sounds like something the Illini Weirdo would do.
Training, handling and practice are great and important. That said, I shoot for sport, maybe twice a YEAR. I’ve long since given up the hunting sport ($$$). But, I HAVE guns and I HAVE ammo. If I’m confronted with a gang of thugs you can bet your bottom dollar those skills will come instantly !
Just saying…… Research, practice et all is great, yes. But don’t overthink it. Most of us don’t have the time or $$$ to expend, but still want that “ability” to defend ourselves.
If you’re out of practice…….shoot em twice!
Has anyone heard from Left Coast Chuck?
Very concerning. Sure hope his wife and himself are still OK.
Anyone have. Way to contact him? Claude?
Please post if anyone hears from him.
I was also thinking about LCC. I am worried. I hope he is just having a wonderful break from us and a great Thanksgiving.
Don’t know if it’s been mentioned in the comments, but 1 thing I think that gets overlooked is spare parts,
as well as Ammo adapters ( never tried one only seen them so I’ll call myself out on it) – Luke being able to fire a 20 gauge or 45 out of a breach action 12 gauge for 1 example…. Or different caliber upper receiver as opposed to 5.56
We are actually going to the range tomorrow… I know it is Thanksgiving. But why not? We like to go twice per week. Once for long guns (including shotguns) and once for pistol. My husband did a trigger job (he is a gunsmith) on a Sccy last year. I had to have one. The color combos are so cool and… it was about $250. I have had it 16 months and I have beat the mess out of it. I even had to use it as a hammer once while back backing. I prefer hammer over striker fire, but my Sccy is now my backup gun. It is light and fits in my ankle holster and it is so cool looking. PLUS it is cheap. My husband has an old vz24 that was his grandfather’s. I think it is dated 1926 or near that. The husband shoots it often. He hits 250 yards open site.
My point to my ramblings is… price is not an indicator of firearm quality. I bought my first P-01 in 2001. $300. I have put MANY thousands of rounds through it. I shoot a couple of hundred rounds per week through it. I have had it for 20 years. I am afraid to do the math. It still fires like it’s 2001. Don’t get me started on optics. 🙂
Most people can use a basic ar15 sig romeo5 red dot and back up irons, 5 mags and some ammo and be pretty dang useful…
Kyle had a lot less then that and killed 3 commies
I think Kyle actually killed two of the criminal commies, the 3rd one survived and testified at his trial.
And testified for him. niio
One of the pictures printed in this article is particularly reprehensible for an article for first time gun buyers. That being the picture of a pistol in the hand of an individual with the finger on the trigger and pointed directly at someone else’s hand. That picture violates three of the primary tenants of firearm safety. 1) Treat every firearm as if is loaded. 2) Do not put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire the gun. 3) Do not point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy.
It may be wise to talk about firearm safety before discussing the purchase of firearms.
A “clip” is something that’s used to secure and load cartridges into a magazine. A magazine is what holds the cartridges that the weapon fires. Magazines can be integral or removable. Rounds can interchange with cartridges but clips do not interchange with magazines. Terminology sometimes tends to be important. People need to know what they’re actually talking about in forums such as this one.
Why would you care about the “laws” Last i checked Shall not Infringe was pretty damn clear.
If I were to buy a gun that will be used for my hinting activities and since the price is quite high, I’m thinking of applying for a loan instead. Thank you for sharing the importance of comparing prices first. I also agree with you that it will be wiser to read online reviews about the prospective gun.
You.csn get a savage for under 400 with optic in many calibers