Bringing home a new firearm purchase is like Christmas! You spent weeks, maybe months, picking out just the right one…you filled out all the necessary paperwork and jumped through all the legal hoops…you shelled out hundreds of dollars to get exactly what you wanted…
And now, you get to open the box. At home. And what’s inside is YOURS. But, wait, you’ve got some responsibility in that box, too.
We keep over the counter drugs out of the reach of children, we teach our teens how to safely operate a car, and we baby-proof kitchen drawers…every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our loved ones. What if you could actually calculate the exact probability of disaster? Would you be willing to take a few simple steps to decrease those chances and keep your family safe?
Of course you love your family, and perhaps you even bought this new gun to protect them. It’s been a long process picking out just the right gun to meet your needs. How does it feel? If you’re like most people, you’re excited to get that shiny new firearm out of the box and put a few rounds through it, see how it handles. You’ll keep the manual in case you need it later, right?
You just brought home a finely tooled piece of machinery capable of hurling projectiles with deadly force literally through most metal objects and you’re going to assume you know what you’re doing enough to use it without reading the instructions?
Look, I know you’re an expert. In this business, EVERYBODY’s an expert. The thing is, even experts need a little help to keep up with all the new “safety” features the government, in all its wisdom, makes manufacturers implement on new guns…on the latest high-tech military-grade hooplah that keeps “revolutionizing” the market…on the strange little quirks some guns have that defy all explanation. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a few minutes, just you, your gun, and the manual, to make good and sure you know exactly what to expect on the range?
Seriously, guys, even if there’s only a 1 in 100 chance that something could go wrong and kill you because you didn’t read the manual, on what odds are you willing to gamble your life? Don’t you buy lottery tickets because there’s a small possibility that you’ll become a millionaire? If you skip the read-the-manual step, there’s a lot more chance than winning the lottery that you’ll make a deadly mistake. Are you willing to risk it?
So, step one after purchasing a new firearm is…
READ THE MANUAL.
Do this alone, in a quiet room with no distractions and no ammunition. Why? Because your life might depend on a single sentence in that little booklet, and distractions are no good. Why no ammunition? Let me tell you a story.
A person, we’ll call him Jim since it’s a nice, common name, was a long-time shooter and a generally intelligent fellow. He wanted to sharpen his shooting skills, and decided to do it with dry-fire practice, which is going through the motions of shooting a gun without actually loading it. Practice of this nature is a great way to improve accuracy and eliminate flinching, and it can be done indoors at any time of day, so Jim was sitting in his living room, aiming and dry-firing at all the political ads that happened to be crowding the airwaves during that time of year. After a while, he decided that was enough practice for the day, and he reloaded and re-holstered his weapon, then sat back to continue watching his television program.
Another political ad came on, and because Jim was in that distracted state we all get into when watching TV, he forgot that he had decided to stop practicing and had reloaded his gun. He drew his weapon, aimed carefully, and pulled the trigger. Instead of the soft ‘click’ he was expecting, the gun fired, taking down the television and scaring him half to death.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt (except the TV) in this situation, but it could have been much worse.
Now, you’re probably thinking that Jim was stupid, that you’d never do a thing like that, but let me ask you – have you ever walked into a room and promptly forgot why you were going there in the first place? Have you ever drank your can of soda and forgotten about it, then picked up the empty can with way too much force because you thought it was full? Have you ever realized as you were looking for your glasses that they were on your face? Driven to work and realized you don’t have any memory of the trip? Your brain is actually DESIGNED to forget routine information so you don’t get so bogged down thinking about mundane tasks you can’t function. The more you handle guns, the more routine it becomes, and the more at risk you actually become of making a deadly mistake.
If you’re going to be handling your gun indoors, especially if you normally carry a loaded firearm on a daily basis, do it without any ammunition in the room. When you’re done and ready to load, you’ll have to physically stand up and leave the room to get the bullets, which is not a routine action, so you’re much less likely to make a mistake like Jim. Again, a small chance, but what are the odds on which you’ll gamble your and your family’s lives?
Okay, so you’re going to take the few minutes to read a manual. What next? Step two:
TAKE IT APART AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER.
With the help of your manual, before ever firing a round, take your gun apart. Not only will this help you get acquainted with your new purchase, but you’ll also be much more likely to spot any factory defects that could potentially be deadly. Besides, you’re going to have to clean it later, so you might as well learn how to break it open now before it’s all covered in blowback and residue.
Once you get through all this, you’ll be much better prepared for a day at the range. Here are a few tips, from us to you, that will help keep you safe and happy:
–Go to the range regularly. Most people never even go through an entire box of ammunition, just 50 rounds, with a new gun. We can’t stress enough that if you’re going to have a weapon in your house, you should be competent enough to use it. In the unlikely event that you ever need to use it to defend yourself, you won’t have time to say “Excuse me, sir, but could you hold off a minute? I need to do some practice.” Ignorance is one of the most dangerous things you can have in your house, so if you’ve got access to a gun, you should have enough skill to use it without shooting things unintentionally.
–Keep it clean. Dirty guns malfunction. Malfunctioning guns can hurt or kill people. Every time you shoot, make sure you leave enough time afterwards to clean your weapons. How? Luckily, you’ve already read the manual, so you know how to do this.
–Don’t leave it lying around. Owning firearms is a lot of fun, but it’s also a big responsibility. It’s up to you to make sure your guns aren’t left in the reach of children, thieves, or irresponsible people. More guns are stolen from nightstands and car glove compartments than from anywhere else, so if you’re going to have guns, you should also have a gun safe. There are even safes for your car! If you’re using a smaller model, it should be bolted in so that it can’t simply be picked up and carried away; thieves will absolutely steal a whole safe. Ask us how we know…
–Know your local laws. Now, we can’t tell you the laws in every state, but we can recommend that you go to gunlaws.com and gunownersofamerica.com for resources that will help you stay legal and keep abreast of changes and government regulations that might affect you. Even if you do it accidentally, it’s possible that you could commit a felony and ruin your life without knowing you’re breaking the law until it’s too late. We don’t want that to happen to anybody, so do your homework!
All that being said, enjoy your new purchase. If you’re still in the market for that perfect sidearm, click here to visit us and take a look at our selection. We’d love to answer your questions and help you get exactly what you need. Happy shooting!