Firearms: Everything You Need to
Know About Firearms
How many guns do Americans own?
American civilians own at least 265 million firearms. That means the United States has the highest gun ownership rate, worldwide! If you’re thinking about buying your first gun, we can help.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the gun buying process, as well as the top safety tips every gun owner needs to know. So take a look! Before you know it you could be firing off your very own handgun.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about buying and shooting a firearm.
Firearms Purchasing Process
A lot of people think that to own a gun, they have to get a federal firearms license, or take a special class. However, becoming a gun owner can be a fairly quick and easy process, that doesn’t require any type of licensing.
Bring a Government Issued I.D.
The only license you need to buy a gun is a copy of your government-issued identification to prove you’re of legal buying age. The identification you bring needs to reflect your current address.
You can bring in IRS tax documents or DMV printouts, to verify your current address. However, you’ll still need a government-issued photo I.D., to prove you are who you say you are.
Prepare for a Waiting Period
Plan to spend a few days waiting to be able to take your gun home. The state you live in will determine how long your waiting period is. For example, in California, there’s a 10-day waiting period before you the dealer can release the firearm to you.
There’s also usually a limit as to how many handguns you can purchase in 30 days. The limit will depend on what state you live in.
If you are planning on buying more than one gun, the gun dealer will likely have to send a purchase report to the Bureaus of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or ATF. The ATF will then use the report to investigate any possible gun trafficking cases.
You'll be happy to know there isn't a waiting period for firearm accessories. You can even shop online at Strike Industries to get the parts you need. Of course, if you're looking to buy an actual gun, you'll need to visit a local dealer or attend a gun show.
Purchasing at a Gun Show
Are you planning on buying your first firearm at a gun show? Every firearm purchase and transfer made at a gun show is only possible through the help of a licensed gun dealer. The dealer then has to follow the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process.
As part of the DROS process, you have to complete paperwork. Next, depending on where you live, you'll participate in a Safe Handling Demonstration, with the dealer. During the demonstration, you'll be using dummy rounds.
Gun Safety Rules
Since you’re about to buy your first gun, you’ll need to brush up on your gun safety knowledge. Firearm safety is hands down, the most important thing to learn as a gun owner. The first golden rule of gun safety is to always treat a gun as if it’s loaded.
The Gun Is Always Loaded
Whenever you’re holding a gun, even if you know for a fact there’s not ammunition, pretend like there is. That means not pointing the gun at any people, and handling the gun with extreme care. Instead, always point the gun in a safe direction. Ask yourself, if the gun accidentally went off, would anyone get hurt?
If an accidental discharge could cause injury or harm, the guns not pointing somewhere safe.
Instead, have your gunpoint somewhere that’s free of people and objects, like the ground. It’s your job, and no one else’s, to always be aware of what direction your gun is pointing in.
Know Your Target
Before you fire a handgun, you must first be certain about what your target is. You also need to know what’s in the space between you and the target or your line of fire. If you’re going to a professional gun range, you won’t have to worry too much about people or objects coming between you and your target.
However, when you’re shooting your gun on a friend’s private property, you have to be extra vigilant about your surroundings. For instance, when you’re not at a gun range, you should always know what’s behind your shooting target.
Are there any houses, or walking trails? Never fire your gun until you’re certain about the target, the backstop, and beyond.
Keep Your Finger off the Trigger
The first time you hold a gun, it’s likely that your finger will naturally find it’s way to the comfortable trigger position. However, your finger should never touch the trigger of your gun, unless you’re about to take a shot.
Keeping your finger on the trigger is dangerous because all it would take is for you to stumble, and you could accidentally fire off a fatal shot.
Instead, the trigger is for firing off shots, and the handle is for your hand to rest. When you’re holding the gun, let your finger rest just outside the trigger guard. To remember you can tell yourself, “Handle the handle and trigger the trigger”.
More Trigger Tips
No doubt you’ve heard the popular phrase, “pull the trigger”, when someone’s talking about firing a gun. However, when you shoot a gun, pulling is a bad thing!
Instead, you should focus on squeezing the trigger, in a controlled fashion. By carefully squeezing the trigger, you’ll be able to avoid messing up the alignment of your sights.
Simply begin applying constant pressure on the trigger, that slowly increases, until the weapon fires. Be careful to only apply pressure to the front of the trigger, leaving the sides alone. The idea is to squeeze the trigger until there isn’t any more slack in it, and instead, you should feel a slight resistance.
If you want to shoot like a pro, stop anticipating when the gun will fire. When you anticipate the gun firing, you’re more likely to tense up your muscles or hold your breath, which can make you miss your target. Instead, it’s best if you’re slightly surprised as to the exact moment the gun discharges.
Finally, our last trigger tip is to practice shooting with your gun, instead of practicing with someone else's gun. The more familiar you are with your weapon, the easier it’ll be for you to use it safely.
Get a Good Grip
Once you’re certain you have a safe shooting environment, you can prepare to fire your gun. As a beginner, it’ll be safer and easier for you to start off using a two-handed grip.
Take your dominant hand (also called your gun hand), and place a firm grip high on the gun’s backstrap. A gun’s backstrap is the backside of the grip. By placing your hand high up on the back end of the grip you’ll be able to have more control over the recoil.
Next, place your non-dominant hand (also called your support hand) on the part of the grip that’s still uncovered. You’ll want to firmly press your non-dominant hand against the grip. You should be able to fit all 4 fingers on your non-dominant hand, under the trigger.
Use the Extended Shooting Position
After your hands are in the right place, the next step is to position your feet. Go ahead and spread your feet until their shoulder’s distance apart. Take a moment to align your hips, and your shoulders, so that you have good posture.
Next, slightly bend your knees. When you can safely do so, raise your firearm, pointing it at your target. Allow your arms to extend out fully in front of you.
With your arms extended out in front of you, double-check your grip on the gun. If you’re sure you’re set up correctly, use your dominant eye to aim.
How to Find Your Dominant Eye
Aiming with your dominant eye will increase your chances of hitting your target. Are you unsure which of your eyes is the dominant one? Don’t worry, it’s easy to figure out with a simple self-administered eye test.
Take your thumb and index finger and make a circle. Hold the circle out so that it’s an arm’s length away. Next, look through the circle, at a faraway object, until the object is in the center of the circle.
Keep both of your eyes wide open, and slowly begin bringing the circle towards your face. Your hand will naturally begin pulling towards 1 eye more than the other. The eye your hand gravitates to is your dominant eye.
Become a Responsible Gun Owner
There you have it! All of our top tips for buying and owning firearms. We’re glad that we could introduce you to the ins and outs of firing a gun safely.
For more articles like this one, explore the rest of this site.