Many people put so much effort into getting their first handgun, that they forget about all the other important stuff that may be needed. In addition to budgeting for the firearm itself, you also need to consider the ancillary expenses that are critical to success with that firearm. Here are 10 things you need to buy with your handgun:
1. Gun Safe:
When you get home from the store where are you going to put that gun? It's not usually a good idea to buy a firearm unless you can lock it up in a secured gun safe.
You always want to have ammunition in the house for every firearm; especially a firearm you intend to use for self defense. Buy at least a hundred rounds to have in the house and another hundred rounds for your next two training sessions. Remember to always rotate your ammunition, using the oldest ammo first.
If you intend to use this firearm to defend yourself you should invest in at least one quality holster. Most concealed carry permit/license holders have a box of holsters we have invested in that we no longer use. Sadly it is the kind of thing you have to try for awhile to know if it works for you. Shop around and get one that is high quality. Be prepared to find something else if it doesn't work for you.
4. Cleaning Kit:
Every time you shoot your firearm you should clean it. You should also clean it (regardless of use) about every six months. It's a good idea to get a kit that has the right stuff to clean multiple calibers of firearms, making it easier as you expand your gun collection.
5. Storage Case:
There will be days when you want to transport your firearm. Perhaps from the home to the range or in your checked bag on an airline, or through a state that doesn't recognize your permit. In these situations you will want a good and strong portable case in which you can transport the firearm. Most, but not all, firearm manufactures sell the firearm in one of these cases. However, a lot of the time the ones that come with your handgun are not strong enough for travel, and you should have a sturdier one for this purpose.
6. Spare Magazines / Speed Loader:
Both for convenience in training and sport, as well as for self-defense situations, you will want extra magazines for your semi-automatic. Most handguns only come with one. If you are purchasing a revolver see if you can purchase a speed loader for it.
I always recommend a good light as a near required accessory to any firearm. The need to identify your target and to actually be able to know where the target(s) are is so critical that a good light is super important. Handguns often have rails that fit universal accessories like lights. Some firearms require a more custom product.
8. Safety Gear:
If this is your first firearm purchase you may also need some other required gear like safety glasses, ear protection, and a range bag. It is absolutely essential to have eye and ear protection, to the point that many gun ranges won't allow you to shoot without them.
When you buy a firearm you need to budget for and plan to obtain some training. Firearms training turns into a lifelong endeavor for most of us who take self-defense seriously. Seek out a local course near you. If you have already taken a course consider the next step by researching available NRA courses in the area, and even taking an advanced course in self-defense.
Perhaps the most important part of purchasing a firearm for self-defense use is the need to budget one's time to train with it. Commit yourself to a schedule to train regularly and block the time out on your calendar. And remember, each time you go to the range to train, could be the last time you do so before you need to use your weapon in self-defense. Therefore, train appropriately.
To offer our readers a one-stop shopping solution, especially if you're getting home from your FFL with your new gun and forgot some of the things we mentioned here, we stock most of the products mentioned on this list in our online store, with the exception of time, of course.
What do you recommend first time gun buyers get in addition to their gun? Let us know, in the comments below.