One thing this year has shown us is that there are many people taking an interest in firearms ownership. In fact, according to the NSSF, almost 5 million Americans bought their first firearm this year! If you are one of those new firearms owners, or considering buying your first firearm, welcome! Lets talk about some of the things you need to consider. This will be a brief overview, and we’ll get more in depth on each topic in future installments. Are you ready? Let’s dig in.

The gun. Maybe you are shopping for your first handgun. If you are, the demand is making supply a bit limited, but there are still many guns to be had. There are so many different choices out there, you’re bound to find one right for you. How do you do that? Read reviews. Ask friends. Ask Cold War Concealment, we’ll help as much as we can. Educate yourself BEFORE you walk into the gun store, more on that in a second. When you find the one you think you want – get one in your hand at your local gun store. See how it fits your hand. Can you physically manipulate the slide? Do you understand how the controls work? Buying a gun is like buying a new car — if you don’t like it after you get it home — there’s no take backs. You may be lucky enough to have a shooting range near you that has rental guns so you can “try before you buy”. Hopefully whoever you are working with in the gun store is knowledgeable and helps you understand the different models. The reason you need to do some research before you walk into the gun store is some gun store folks will think they are being helpful by only showing a new shooter a revolver because it is easy to load. Or only show a woman a little bitty gun because its cute. Their recommendations may or may not suit you, but they shouldn’t pigeon hole you into certain choices just because you’re a new shooter. If that happens to you – you may want to find another place to shop.

Ammunition. Without it, a gun is just an elaborate chunk of metal you can throw at or beat someone with. Ammunition is currently difficult to find, and prices are up. Hopefully that normalizes soon. Ammunition is a very broad topic, we’re going to keep it very simple and just break it down into two categories: Practice ammo and defensive ammo. Practice ammo is also called “ball” or “full metal jacket / FMJ”. This type of ammo is less expensive, and the bullet is round and smooth. Defensive ammo is also called “hollow point”. Hollow point ammo is designed to expand when it hits the target. This does two important things. The expansion creates a larger wound, and also greatly reduces the chance of the bullet passing through the target and injuring someone behind the target. We have one more type of ammo to touch on really quickly, rim fire. For our purpose here we are going to limit it to 22 Long Rifle. This is a small caliber that all of the “experts” will tell you is totally worthless for self defense. Yes, it is small, no it doesn’t pack a big punch, but I’m not volunteering to get shot with it! Despite its limitations, 22 Long Rifle has its place in the self defense world. It has less recoil, so for many new shooters it is easier to shoot well. A well placed shot of 22 Long Rifle beats a miss with a 9mm any day. Also, as of the time I’m writing this, 22 Long Rifle is fairly easy to find and the prices aren’t jacked up. Typically, any modern gun can use any modern ammunition as long as you are using the correct caliber! Never use a different caliber than the gun was made for, even if it seems to fit. All new guns will have stamped on them someplace – either on the barrel or the slide – what caliber they are made for. Please go to a shooting range and practice with the ammo you plan on using before you start carrying your gun!!

The Concealed Carry Permit. The laws covering concealed carry permits or concealed weapon permits vary dramatically from one place to another, and this is something you really need to be aware of once you get your concealed carry permit! It is your responsibility to know the laws. Keep in mind there could be changes in different jurisdictions within the same state.

We’re going to wrap it up for now, next time we’ll discuss guns themselves a bit more, and get into actually talking specifics about concealed carry. Cold War Concealment, be ready when your personal cold war turns hot