What Makes a Good First Gun? Tips for Buying Your First Gun

Owning a firearm is a beloved American tradition that hearkens back to the earliest days of the Republic, yet many Americans are unfamiliar with the complex work of guns and uncertain of what they should do when it comes to purchasing their first firearm. Guns are wildly diverse, with handguns and revolvers alone presenting a huge array of choices to a prospective gunowner, and that’s not even taking into account shotguns, rifles, and other firearms that you can legally get your hands on by following the right steps.

first gun purchase

What would be a good first gun? Every shooter is different, and various circumstances call for different firearms, but a number of helpful examples and recommendations can help you ensure that you ace your first gun purchase.

Begin with handguns

Most people are highly advised to begin with handguns, as they’re widely considered to be the most manageable of firearms. They’re also incredibly diverse and usually quite cheap, to boot, making a handgun an excellent starter firearm for any prospective gunowner interested in exercising their 2nd amendment right to bear arms. There are so many handguns out there that it can be tricky to find the right one for the job, though, and many newcomers to the world of firearms are facing option-paralysis that’s preventing them from bringing home a gun for the first time.

While it’s not necessary, it’s recommended that you purchase a solid 9mm handgun, as such rounds are relatively common in most places around the United States, relatively affordable, and pack an effective punch without being overkill for your first firearm. Popular options that some law enforcement officials utilize include the Sig Sauer P226, which features a standard 15-round magazine that ensures you’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve your amateur aim during your first range outing.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 9 is one of the most popular handguns on the civilian market, so it’s worthy of your attention if you’re looking for a nice starter gun that will prove effective without forcing you to break the bank in order to acquire it. This handgun is regularly on the list of best-selling firearms in the United States, though don’t believe that such a statistic means that you need to become a gun guru in order to utilize it. It’s popular for a reason – it’s easy to use.

Don’t think that you need to stick with 9mm for your first purchase, either, especially if you find a reliable and affordable option and if you’re someone who doesn’t need too much firepower. Lower caliber rounds can still pack a huge punch and keep you, your property, and your family safe. Sturm, Ruger, the leading American manufacturer of guns, has a famous Ruger LCP that’s a subcompact .380 ACP pocket pistol that – as the name implies – literally fits neatly into a pocket holster.

Sturm, Ruger’s LCP pistol is perhaps the most popular handgun in America, though that highly-coveted title is malleable as consumer trends shift and new weapons are introduced to the market. It’s indisputable that the Ruger LCP is at least one of the most popular guns, however, and in recent years it’s been identified as a or the top seller across the United States. They’re usually quite affordable, have a sleek and attractive design, and stand to introduce you well to the world of firearms.

What about shotguns?

While it’s highly advised that you stick to a handgun for your first good gun, some future gun nuts are doubtlessly asking “what about shotguns?” Really, who could blame them? Shotguns, sometimes informally called scatterguns, are some of the oldest and most effective firearms around and can be used for a diverse set of purposes. Everything from home defense to target shooting to hunting, for instance, can be tackled with the help of the right shotgun for the job. Newcomers to the world of firearms are likely hesitant to purchase a long arm without doing their homework first, though, so it’s worthwhile to review potential starter shotguns.

There’s perhaps no finer shotgun in the world than the Remington 870, an immensely versatile weapon that’s affordable, effective, and a true classic in terms of its design and function. Remington isn’t the only famous forger of shotguns, though, and there are other options you can rely upon which will serve you well. Benelli’s Nova Tactical Shotgun is highly lauded amongst beginners thanks to its immense durability – this gun seriously won’t quit, regardless of how much you try to break it down. It’s pump-action reliability may make you feel like a gun-toting hero, but be sure to wield these hefty scatterguns responsibly and to seek out proper training and maintenance advice before your purchase.

What’s a good starter gun for my kid?

Some gunowners know everything they want to about which firearms they prefer, yet they’re uncertain of how they should go about introducing their child to the world of guns. Children across the United States safely use firearms all the time – whether it’s hunting with dad to put food on the table, defending the family farm, or merely enjoying some target shooting in a city or suburbs, plenty of American kids from across the rolling fields of the Republic have some experience shooting.

If you want your child to join the ranks of the well-armed, it’s important that you take their age, size, and firearms expertise into consideration before purchasing your first gun for them. There are literally mini firearms explicitly created with the intention of helping smaller people and children shoot, so don’t think that you have to splurge on an adult-sized weapon for your teenager as they’re entering the cusp of adulthood.

The Mossberg 510 Mini is a popular youth shotgun that packs a solid wallop while still being manageable for smaller shooters like children or teens. There are different gauges to choose from, too, with the .410 gauge being recommended for smaller shooters because the recoil won’t be as fierce. .22 rifles are also famously popular amongst younger shooters and beginners, as the low-caliber round is immensely cheap and features only a mild kick that almost anyone can handle. The Cricket .22LR has a tiny barrel that’s been scaled down for younger children to use, though older and more experience teenage shooters can be introduced to the heftier (and pricier) Marlin XT-22 Rimfire Rifle, which is essentially the Cricket .22LR on steroids without being a full-blown adult firearm.

Think about the long-term consequences of your purchase

Whichever gun you end up choosing for your first, it’s important to think about the long-term consequences of your purchase before you initially buy. What caliber round this gun will be shooting, for instance, is something you’ll want to be familiar with unless you want to run out of ammo or find yourself stranded in a region of the country that frequently runs out of certain rounds.

Similarly, you’ll want to consider any accessories, where you’ll be shooting your gun, and what hobbies or events in the future that may call for a different type of firearm than the one you’ve selected. Don’t be afraid to head to your local range and ask for some advice, as gunowners usually love to help each other out and offer friendly tips to one another.