Buying a new gun should always be a process that involves research. You're not buying a toy - you're buying a weapon that needs to be used for a very specific purpose. Below are a few of the factors you need to test out before you buy a new gun.
This is one of the biggest things to consider when you're looking for a new gun. It's vital that you know that you're going to be able to hit what you're aiming at, so do some research (and, if possible, testing) on the accuracy of the gun. While there isn't a gun out there that is going to necessarily fix the problems with how you shoot, the right gun is going to ensure that the only problems with your shot are your own deficiencies of form.
One of the best ways to test the accuracy while minimizing human error is to get a machine rest. These will allow you to set up your gun and see just how accurate your gun can be. Alternatively, many people have found DIY solutions. Some people use sandbags or other weighted bags to brace themselves. You may also be able to find a machine rest available to rent while you test the gun you're considering.
Whether you're looking at a 9mm semi-automatic rifle or a home-defense handgun, you're going to need to know how the weapon kicks. Recoil is one of those big factors that, unfortunately, vary enough from person to person that the only way to figure out if the recoil is too much for you is by shooting the gun yourself. Your body size, fitness, and your comfort with recoil are all going to play a huge role here in how much recoil is acceptable.
The ability to adjust for recoil is a skill that takes practice. It’s generally recommended that if you’re new to shooting, you choose a gun with a lower recoil. As you get more comfortable with that level of kick, you can upgrade to more powerful weapons with more forceful recoil. There are some ways to help reduce the recoil, such as using a lighter bullet and a recoil pad. However, you still need to learn how to adjust for recoil whenever you’re shooting.
The weight of your gun matters quite a bit as well. While bigger guns are almost always heavier guns, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the weight of the weapon. If you can't comfortably lift it up to fire it, there's not much of a chance that you'll become an accurate shooter with the weapon. While going big might seem nice, make sure that you choose a weapon that isn’t too heavy for you.
You’ll also need to ensure that you have the hand strength for the gun you’re looking at. If you’re struggling to pull the hammer or the trigger, it might not be the gun for you. This is especially true if you are planning to use the gun for self defense.
The most nebulous, and often most important, factor at which you'll need to look is how the gun feels. To some degree, this is a function of how the grip is designed. It is, however, also a matter of personal preference. If you don't feel comfortable with how the gun feels in your hands, it's going to impact your shooting ability.
Don't buy a gun without knowing a little more about how it handles. Recoil, accuracy, and other factors all play a big role in your ability to use the gun so don't ignore them. Get out there and try to shoot before you buy. A little first-hand experience should answer most of the questions you have about any given gun.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.
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