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.
In the final post of this series, you finally get to purchase your firearm. You’ve learned the rules,
done your research, tried things out, and now it is time to make a budget, choose a store, and buy your new firearm!
Make a Budget
Ok. Here’s some real talk. Guns aren’t cheap. As you’ll learn reading this blog, I have more than a few expensive hobbies (knitting, lipstick, Asian Skin Care, etc) and shooting is probably the most costly. Do not let that deter you. You can limit what you spend but you’ll need to set a budget and stick to it. Good news, I have some pointers!
By this time, you should have your choice narrowed down to a few firearms you like and want to own. Now for more research! Find out what the guns cost. You’ll want to know what the Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) is and also what people are selling them for at this point in time. Sometimes they are selling for lower than the MSRP and sometimes a hard to find or very popular firearm will sell for more. Sites like Gun Broker are your best friend in this case. If you know you could buy it online from a seller for $400, you’ll likely not want to spend $600 for the privilege of buying local. So be armed with information.
Also, determine if you are willing to buy used. I’ll confess most of my family’s firearms were purchased new. However, we have a few great items we purchased used and we’ve had no issues at all. Do some research (I know, I know…the R word again) on what to look for if you see a used version of your dream pistol, rifle, or shotgun. Most importantly, really look at it. Make sure everything looks like the photos you’ve studied and the one you tried at the range. Look out for obvious signs of wear, improper handling, rough treatment, or just lots of dirt. If you like to keep your firearms clean you don’t want to start off with something that isn’t. There’s a time and place for rehab but your first purchase isn’t it.
So once you know what you are willing to pay for your choices new and what you’ll pay for a good used one (if you are willing to buy used, it is time to pick a store.
Choosing a Store
There are a few factors here and this might take some phone calls and mouth talking (sorry). I recommend going to an in person store. That way you can ask those questions I mentioned and actually hold your new purchase before buying. Plus, ordering through an online auction is a next level experience including finding someone with the appropriate licensing to receive the firearm so you can then go pick it up. In most, if not all places, you cannot just order a pistol and have it shipped to your home. You’ll need to coordinate through someone with a Federal Firearms License. It’s not hard but it can be stressful. Better to go in person and have the whole experience.
I likewise wouldn’t recommend a person to person sale for your first transaction. Each state has different regulations for these types of sales and you don’t want to make a mistake. Better to let the pros sell it to you this time and in person.
If you have a nearby big chain store like Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop, it might be worthwhile to see if they have what you are looking to buy. If they don’t have it, you can likely have it shipped to the store, which is also convenient. They also have good deals, frequent sales, and make the process really easy.
If you don’t have a chain or you know someone at your Local Gun Shop (LGS), that’s a great choice too. It’s always good to have a relationship with some people in the business. I love going to our two local LGS! You might want to call first to see if they have any of your options. If they don’t you can usually also order through them. It can take awhile, depending on what you get, but most stores are willing to help. If you have several stores nearby, call a few. I’ve never called a store where the people weren’t extremely helpful and friendly. Just don’t call at noon on a Saturday. I like to call in the mid afternoon on a weekday. That way they won’t be slammed and will have time to talk to you!
Go to the Store and Buy Your Gun!
Once you know what you can spend, how much you should be spending, and where you want to go to spend, it is time to FINALLY buy your gun. So go forth and buy it! Make sure to pick up any accessories you need like extra magazines, ammunition, and cleaning supplies.
I hope this series has helped you to gather your thoughts, pick a firearm, and has inspired you to finally make that purchase. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please let me know. You can find the other installments of this series here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.