In this multi-part series, I will go into great detail about what I think a woman should know before, during, and after buying her first firearm. Over the next several weeks, I will share with you my tips and advice. Today, we will discuss the need to rent a gun and try it (or, more likely, several guns)
Of course, the unspoken tip is to wear lipstick, if you want to wear lipstick.
It can seem intimidating to walk into a gun store, particularly if it is your first time. The good news is, there are ways you can prepare. Here are some of my suggestions. Ladies (and the men who love them) please sound off in the comments if you have other ideas on how to make the gun buying experience as pleasurable as trying on jeans at Macy’s. Ok. Maybe that was a bad analogy.
Tip 4: Rent a Gun and Try It!
Where Should You Go?
Most areas have at least one range where you can rent a gun and put a few magazines through it. If you are anywhere near Pennsylvania, I highly recommend Sunset Hill Shooting Range. If you aren’t find some place like it. You are looking for a range that specializes in helping inexperienced shooters get a feel, or just try out, different types of firearms.
If you can’t find a place that offers one on one help from a Range Safety Officer, it is really smart to take a friend who has some experience. If you aren’t used to the general rules of the range and add nerves on top of it, you might make an innocent mistake and get yelled at by someone who is there to keep you safe (usually called a “Range Officer”). They are just doing their (critically important, and incredibly stressful job) but there is something very rattling about being chastised and I like to avoid it at all costs.
Find a shop with several of the options on your list or several shops with a few options on your list. And go try them. I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. Many ranges have a list of the guns available on their Web site. If you want to try something pretty new or are unsure, give them a call.
You Found a Range! What Now?
Go! Try shooting as many things on your list as possible. You might even try some things that aren’t on your list. Ask the people at the range if there is anything else they think you should try. This won’t be a cheap endeavor but it is an important one. You’re about to plunk down at a minimum, several hundred dollars on a firearm.
The very worst thing that can happen is you buy something and just don’t like it. Trust me, even the highest rated firearms can feel wrong in your hand. You want to know you like it. And while I know my experience is not the same as everyone’s, I have always known within a few rounds if I like a firearm. For example, as I mentioned in this post, the moment I shot a Walther PPQ Navy, there was no doubt we were destined to compete together.
The bottom line here is don’t buy something you haven’t tried. You’ll be much happier if you know what you are getting. So take your time. Try things. But keep in mind these shops usually don’t clean and maintain their rental guns as well as you will your own. You might get an occasional issue with one. Hopefully, the one you buy yourself will only be better than the one you test.