Saturday, February 12, 2011
How to Make Your First Firearm Purchase
Certainly, there are decisions one has to make. Let's start with the easy questions. What do you intend to use the weapon for? If your answer is plinking or target shooting, this can drastically narrow the field. Consider the length of your normal range. Will you be shooting at other ranges that offer a longer distance to shoot at? Will you use the weapon for hunting? Is it primarily going to serve for self-defense or home defense? Are you intending to defend your home against ground squirrels or the inevitable zombie apocalypse?
Each caliber has features that make it desirable for a specific purpose. A .22 or .22 long rifle (lr) has very low recoil, is readily available, and quite inexpensive. The firearms that shoot .22 caliber are also very inexpensive. In addition, there are modification barrels and actions available for many other firearms that allow a shooter to convert their firearm into something that can shoot and cycle .22 lr for practice purposes. Large calibers or what I will call specialty calibers like the .338 lapua magnum, or the .50 BMG, might be attractive for intimidation factor alone, but can cost nearly $7/shot. The firearms that shoot these calibers often start at over $5,000. Cost alone might deter someone from even considering these firearms for any legitimate use.
Then there is the consideration of recoil. Larger calibers have more stopping power in most instances, but along with stopping power comes a heavy recoil. For a small person, recoil can be a very strong deterrent from the desire to purchase, "too much gun."
Largely, a firearm decision comes down to your personal decision about what you will use the firearm for. For a first purchase, a shotgun is an excellent choice that allows for hunting, home-defense, and target practice without breaking the budget. Different barrels make it possible to hunt waterfowl as well as large game and the sound of cycling the action on a pump shotgun is understood in every language as a sign that the person behind the weapon means business.
Don't be afraid to lurk firearms forums and see what experienced shooters like and don't like about specific manufacturers. Like anything else you will get what you pay for and there's probably a reason that discount .45 auto loader is only $100 while the one beside it costs ten times that. In the end, it's up to you what you will go home with. Make sure you get what you want by asking yourself the right questions before hand.