So are you one of the new gun owners that have joined our ranks this year? If you are, you're not alone because there are estimates that say there are millions of new gun owners this year.
Welcome to the club.
You may be getting some mixed signals about what to do next, or what your next steps as a new gun owner should be and that's what this article is going to be about. I'm going to make some basic assumptions though, which are that you bought a handgun and not necessarily a rifle or shotgun.
At least, that's what you got this time around, and that's totally fine because this website is called concealedcarry.com and our primary focus is usually handguns (though we do talk about the other types of guns, too).
Let's get started.
Familiarize yourself with your gun:
One of the most important things you can be doing right away is familiarizing yourself with your gun. This means you need to handle it in a safe manner (so, unloaded) so you can gain confidence with it. That confidence really is key.
The more you handle your firearm, again in a safe manner, the more confident you'll be with it. It's okay to practice racking the slide so you know you can do it, and it's also okay to press the trigger (again, as long as it is unloaded) in the safety of your own home.
In fact, this is called dry firing and is one of the ways we recommend practicing with your gun in your home (unloaded). You can rack the slide, get your proper grip, present to a light switch on the wall, and press the trigger.
Next, I urge you to read up on the four firearm safety rules to make sure you're really being safe with your gun.
Get a holster and carry around your house:
Again I'm going to make an assumption that you're reading this blog, concealedcarry.com, because you intend to carry your gun for self-defense. And, even if you don't you should have a holster for your gun in case you ever do.
I'll recommend this article next, discussing some of the holsters out there on the market. Then, practice carrying your gun around your house.
If you're not confident in your abilities yet, it's okay to leave it unloaded, with the thought that you'll get to that point at some point soon.
Next, read this article about why we recommend carrying a loaded gun.
Once again, the main goal here is to help your confidence level out while carrying your gun around your house, but also to get you used to carrying a gun. It'll be different for you in that it's less comfortable than you're used to.
Don't let that discomfort discourage you, however, because you will get used to it. I'm to the point now that I can get in my car and drive for hours at a time while forgetting that the gun is even there. This takes some time and practice, but most people do get there eventually.
You'll want to practice sitting down, walking, standing, laying down, jumping, or anything else you may find yourself doing on a daily basis.
Next, read this article about concealed carry vs open carry, to figure out what's best for you.
YouTube is your friend:
Well, sometimes it's your friend. Sometimes it's not.
What I mean here, is that it's a good idea to look up your specific gun on YouTube to see what others are saying about it, how they handle it, how they break it down and clean it, etc. Try to watch multiple videos from a few different people so you're getting the full story.
The more you can learn about your chosen firearm, even from watching other people handle theirs, the more your confidence will grow.
Now I do want to caution you about who you take advice from on YouTube because there is some bad stuff out there. Anything we put out is going to be top notch, but so is anything from my list of preferred creators. There are other good channels out there, but those are a few of who I recommend.
Go to the range:
After you've handled your gun a bunch in a safe manner and have watched other people on YouTube doing the same, it's now time to go to the gun range and take it for a test drive. If you can, go with someone who is more experienced and can walk you through what you need to be doing there.
If not, it is probably a good idea to take a class from someone to show you the ins and outs of shooting a gun. The goal here is to become proficient with shooting your firearm. Taking a class from a knowledgeable person is a good idea and should be a top priority if you've never shot a gun before.
Concealed carry permit:
The next thing you need to do is get your concealed carry permit. Again, I assume that because you're here reading this blog titled “Concealed Carry” that you're here for this reason.
The timing on this step is different for each state. If you live in a state that doesn't require a class to get a permit or license (I use these two terms interchangeably), then you should just get this taken care of even if you don't plan to carry.
Pennsylvania comes to mind for states that don't require a class, and there are others.
The reason why you want to get your permit is hopefully obvious and because you want to protect yourself when you're out and about. But even if you don't want to carry, I still recommend that you get your concealed carry permit.
The reason why is because it opens you up to a different set of benefits. For example, in some states it may be illegal to transport your gun unless you're actively going to the gun range or something similar.
However, if you have your permit you are automatically opened up to be able to transport your gun around because you're permitted to do so. This is great if you're on your way back from the gun range and need to stop and get milk.
Next, check out our Concealed Carry Fundamentals Course, to really boost your confidence levels.
Check out Guardian Nation
Finally, it's a good idea to get some sort of extra training from a trusted source and to ensure that you keep getting educated. Right now, continuing to learn from the comfort of your home is an excellent idea.
A few years back we put together a membership program designed to help educate people we call Guardians. Guardians are people who take their self-defense very seriously and continue to further their knowledge on how to do so properly.
Next, check out how to join the Guardian Nation, here.
What would you consider to be a good next step for a new gun owner? Let us know in the comments below.