As a manager and coach at Bellevue Club, I have to say this is probably the most common question my team and I hear aside from “where’s the restroom?” Choosing your first gun can be a daunting task, and this is even more the case if you’ve never shot before, or had any exposure to firearms.  We see customers all the time that have gone through traumatic experiences that have made them realize that a firearm, like a fire extinguisher, needs to be present before it is ever needed.  Imagine the genuine fear:  you’ve just gone through a terrifying event that has seen you or a family member in jeopardy, and you’ve made the firm decision to not be a defenseless victim.  You walk into a gun range and are suddenly surrounded by what seems to be an endless array of different tools in all shapes and sizes that share the one ability to launch bullets at the target downrange. It can be overwhelming. If this is you, traumatic event or not, there are a few things you must consider and ask yourself before investing $600-$800 in a firearm.

Concealed Carry? Home Defense? Competition? Mission dictates gear. You must understand the pros and cons to all these given situations when making your choices.   Example: A smaller gun is easier to conceal, but harder to shoot, so there’s no reason to have a small gun if you’re buying strictly for home defense.  If you’re buying a gun hoping for a future in competition, it’s important to understand the disciplines you plan to become proficient in: Action shooting like IDPA or IPSC?  Cowboy Action shooting?  A pure target sport like long-range rifle, or bullseye shooting?  These are all questions one should have a reasonable idea of the answers for before even walking into the gun store.  Take a moment and ask yourself, “what is my mission? Why am I buying this gun?”  Dialing in this information will invariably help the instructor or person on the other side of the counter give you the right answer to your needs.

Understand going into it that you will need training. Don’t buy something extremely exotic, complicated, or difficult to accessorize as your first gun. Something widespread, commonly issued and adaptable (Glocks, HK, SIG-Sauer, etc.) will provide a much smoother training journey, and will be far easier to obtain supplemental gear for.  When you buy a gun, you’re also buying the holster, the ammo, the cleaning tools and training. Imagine buying a Lamborghini as your first car with no concept of how expensive and time-consuming maintenance can be.  Let your first gun be the reliable commuter car, as it were, and branch out to more specialized firearms later, as your interest in the hobby grows. 

Ironically enough, this could be all you need to do.  What might be the hardest part of the journey is simply accepting what you don’t know. Humility can be hard to come by in many technical fields, and the firearms community is no exception. This is a heavily critical demographic with a lot of opposing opinions and a fair degree of ego.  Recognizing solid criticism is crucial for growth.  For most people this isn’t about making holes in paper but being prepared should they ever have to protect themselves and their loved ones.  Isn’t it heartbreaking when you see someone realize they’ve been doing something wrong for 5, 10, 15 years, or even worse, seem not to care they’ve been in that pattern?  Seek guidance from professionals; you might not agree with all the information they are passing on to you, but hear them out. It might not change your decision, but it could alter your perception on the most important matters.  Buying a gun is only the first step on a long road. Know that when you do, for whatever reason, you join a community of like-minded people at the most important core level.

Train hard, Be Kind…Prepare, Protect, Prevail.

By:  Josh Sandoval – RSO Manager at Bellevue Gun Club

Josh Sandoval – LinkedIn

If you, your family or organization is interested in private or group training please contact us.

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