tips for new gun buyers
September 20, 2022

So, you’ve decided it’s time to buy your first gun. Well, you’re not alone. Since 2020, America has seen a huge increase in first time gun buyers.

Whether you want to have some fun at the range, have a gun for personal protection, or want to take up hunting, our guide should help you along the way so you can decide what gun is the right choice for you.

We’ll go over the necessary steps you should take before you purchase your first gun so you can make an informed decision and be happy with what you bought.

Why Do You Want to Buy a Gun?

The first question you need to ask yourself is an obvious one, but is very important nonetheless. Why do you want to buy a gun in the first place?

The most common answers to this question is usually one or a combination of three primary reasons:

  • Personal protection/self-defense – You want to be prepared to be able to defend your life and your family’s life if it ever comes to it.
  • Recreational Shooting – You want to shoot for fun either at the range and/or in competitive shooting sports.
  • Hunting – You want to have a gun to take up the sport of hunting for a certain game species.

All these reasons are equally valid for buying your first gun, so don’t think that one kind of motivation trumps another. It’s your responsibility to decide why you want to buy a firearm.

Purchasing a firearm because you think you need to or because someone said you should is not enough reason alone.

Often, the reasons people own firearms is a combination of all these common motivations. Not only are guns a vital tool for self-defense and hunting, but shooting is also an incredibly fun activity.

Gun Type

Once you’ve decided on why you want to buy a gun, next is to decide what type of gun to buy. There are thousands of different types of guns and calibers, so this can be intimidating, but there are three primary types of guns:

  1. Handguns – Small handheld firearms. Best used for self-defense, concealed carry, and general target shooting.
  2. Rifles – Long guns that shoot rifle calibers for longer distance shooting. Can be used for personal protection, target shooting, and hunting.
  3. Shotguns – Long guns that can shoot different types of shot, which shoot multiple projectiles for a large spread. Best used for self-defense, target shooting, and hunting.

This is a general overview, but it will give you a great starting point. Depending on what your intended purpose is for owning a gun, it will dictate what type of gun is best for you.

For example, if you want a gun for self defense and concealed carry, a handgun will be your best choice. If you just want a gun for recreational target shooting or hunting, you’ll probably want to get a rifle or shotgun.


How much you’re willing and able to spend on your first gun will also be an important factor in choosing your first gun.

Some guns can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars, while others can cost thousands of dollars. For your first gun, you won’t want to spend too much of your hard-earned money, but it’s important to buy a quality firearm.

For this reason, we suggest first time gun buyers stay away from AR-15s because they can be expensive and require a good amount of experience to learn how to use and maintain them.

Instead, go with a revolver handgun, small caliber bolt action rifle, or 12-gauge pump shotgun. These types of guns are great for beginners and are very affordable.

Try Out Different Guns

If you can, the best way to figure out what gun you should buy is to try out a bunch of different guns and see which ones you like best.

Although you obviously won’t be able to try out every single firearm available, most indoor shooting ranges have rental firearms for a ton of different guns. This will give you an idea of what guns are comfortable for you to shoot, and you find easy to use.

Even better, if you have friends and family who own guns, ask them to take you shooting so you can try out the different guns they have. Everyone has different preferences due to things like hand and body size, so try out as many different guns as you can before you decide to purchase one for yourself.

Get Advice from Experienced Shooters

Last but not least, talk to experienced shooters and gun owners to get advice about what you should buy for your first gun. Discuss why you want a gun, your budget, and other considerations with them. Most gun enthusiasts will be more than happy to give you some recommendations.

Everyone has their opinions and preferences for one brand or style of gun or another, but talking to experienced gun owners will help you narrow down your choices. You can choose to talk with gun store employees, friends and family, or even seek out online forums for advice. The Weapon Depot Explore guest blog is a great place to learn from our community of gun enthusiasts and shooting experts.

Final Tip For First Time Gun Buyers

Choosing your first gun is no small undertaking. With the many different types of firearms and calibers, the choices can seem endless.

With a little though into why you need a gun and taking the time to consider your budget, tying out different types of guns, and asking advice from experienced shooters, choosing your first gun becomes much easier.