An Article for Your Non-Gun Owning Friends: Is Gun Ownership Right for Me?

While the right to keep and bear arms is a right recognized by the Second Amendment, it’s not a right all will choose to exercise. Despite the recent wave of interest in Second Amendment, self-defense, and guns as a means toward the protection of life, many are still on the fence as to whether to become a gun owner. Not sure if you’re ready? Here are some ways to determine whether gun ownership is right for you.

The answer is “no” if you simply cannot or will not be comfortable owning a gun. But let’s explore why that’s currently the case. Your reluctance is due to something: maybe the result of limited experience with guns; a bad experience with guns; the complexity of paperwork and/or gear required to purchase, own, or carry a gun; or the myriad negative media reports about guns.

Limited experience with guns?

It’s okay to admit you have limited experience with guns. At some point, we all were in that condition. But a gun is only as dangerous as the person handling it. In other words, proper training and professionally-guided introductory experiences can bring a level of understanding and comfort to gun ownership and use.

Bad experience with guns?

A bad experience with, well, anything certainly can affect your view of and approach to it, and understandably so. But one way to overcome the anxiety of a bad experience is to replace it with a healthy experience. Also, a bad experience with a gun usually requires someone breaking one of the rules of gun safety or breaking the law. This doesn’t detract from the difficulty of the experience but there may be some comfort in knowing and appreciating that bad experiences are the exception, not the rule.

Complexity of purchase, ownership, carry?

Background checks, permits to purchase, and long-form applications add significant complexity to gun purchases—and these can vary from state to state. Add the sometimes conflicting laws or statutes about gun storage, transport, and private sales and the level of complexity just goes up.

Finally, buying a gun usually includes needing a secure means of storage or transport, a wide range of ammunition choices, cleaning gear, and on and on. These things may seem to make gun ownership so complex that it just doesn’t seem worth it. But it’s not insurmountable. Yes, it requires care and yes it is complex. But lots of resources exist to help navigate all of these things.

Myriad negative media reports?

Anecdotally, people often say they can’t read the news without reading about another shooting. The key here is simply to make sure you are getting a truly balanced reporting of gun news. Moreover, your responsible ownership and safe use of a gun actually contribute to a safer society. Do a bit of research on gun ownership in the U.S., the number of firearms-related accidents and/or crime, and make some sound judgments about what is actually the problem. And consider how you can be a part of the solution!

Ready to Buy?

You can find new and used Smith & Wesson revolvers like this model 686 on GunsAmerica.

Let’s say you’re ready to buy your first gun—a handgun you intend to keep in your home for basic self-defense. You don’t intend to carry it concealed (at least not yet) but want something reliable, simple to use, and affordable. A great first gun that meets these criteria would a revolver chambered in .38 Special.

Reliable. Depending on the manufacturer, revolvers are some of the most reliable handguns made. Yep, they look “old school” and yet they’ve been around for a long time; and reliability is one of the main reasons for that. Compared to other handguns, they also require minimal care and cleaning to maintain peak operating capability.

Simple to Use. While virtually all police and military handguns are auto-loading pistols, these types of guns are also more complex to operate. They require additional skills for managing magazines and reloading, slide functions and clearing, and some may have external safeties to contend with. All skills that can be practiced and mastered, yes. Just more complex. If simplicity is your goal, it’s hard to beat a revolver. To shoot a loaded double action revolver, just squeeze the trigger. To keep shooting, just keep squeezing. Don’t want it to fire? Don’t put your finger on the trigger.

Affordable. You can find used revolvers in excellent condition at your local gun stores or on GunsAmerica. Also, .38 Special target ammunition is relatively inexpensive. And since a revolver likely holds five or six rounds (some hold seven or even eight), requiring you to stop and reload, you can stretch your time on the range.

Another solid option for first-time buyers is this hammerless Ruger LCRX. Listings on GunsAmerica have them priced between $350-$550.

A couple other notes about that first handgun: Revolvers have varying barrel lengths. A three- or four-inch barrel is a good compromise between a six inch or longer barrel (more suitable for hunting or target shooting) and a two inch or snub-nosed barrel (more suitable for concealed carry). You’ll get very good accuracy from a four-inch barreled revolver if you do your part in aiming. Revolvers also come in a variety of calibers. .38 Special is a good medium-duty cartridge. If it’s too much for you to handle, you can downsize to lesser rounds. The key is to find a caliber you can shoot very well and most people can handle the .38.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • W. Ricks September 17, 2020, 9:59 am

    Pretty good article. I agree with most of the comments. However the revolver is not a Ruger. It appears to be

    a Smith & Wesson or a copy, probably from South America.

    • Mark Reino January 15, 2021, 9:33 am

      The first revolver is a S&W. The logo is clearly visible as is the escutcheon on the grip of the second which is a Taurus. Just an observation.

  • Bill September 11, 2020, 6:55 am

    Asking people to do research is hardly the way for them to get a clear view for newbys, unless they also have some pointers on what to look for!

    I’d add look for John Lott’s articles, cases of self defense and home defense, and articles separating justified as opposed to unjustified shootings. Many statistics do not separate them, or gang or criminal on criminal shootings!

  • David M Salik August 30, 2019, 5:48 pm

    Every adult in this country should know how to handle and make sure firearms are safe. Not being able to do this simple task is irresponsible due to how prolific firearms are here. I don’t care how you personally feel about things. Cowards need to man-up and take time to learn how to handle this issue. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

  • Mr. Sparkles June 22, 2019, 8:57 am

    Thank you for addressing this topic. One question I do have is in regard to the picture and description of the second handgun; I believe that what is shown is an LCR. It is my understanding that an LCRX has an exposed hammer.

  • Michael J June 21, 2019, 10:28 pm

    It does pay to have a knowlegable mentor in regards buying your first gun, but everyone seems to be an expert on guns these days. The question I hear most ask is “What do you intend to do with it?” Well, how should they know? Before buying one, try shooting one. That will determine if gun ownership makes sense. Its not just about possession, it’s safe easily accessible storage and able maintanence. Next is being proficient to use that weapon responsibly, accurately and safely. My first gun purchase was a revolver, a beauty and I was hooked. But what made me buy that gun was not self-defense or even target shooting, it was government infridgement saying there should be gun control and limits for citizens to own them. This ongoing threat was instrumental in the many panic purchases of both firearms and ammunition. Each time a democrat exploits a tragedy or tries to limit my 2nd Amendment Rights it has literally incensed me right to the gun store. In California, the 2nd Amendment is weighed down with so many obstacles to discourage buying a gun, it has turned a right into a privilege by a stroke of a politician or bureaucrats pen. My first gun, I remember it fondly, it’s still my favorite.

  • Pseudo June 21, 2019, 11:21 am

    While the author has some good points, I disagree his comments to some degree. If one is obtaining a gun for defense purposes, the one item they need to give much thought to is, can they shoot someone. I tell anyone I encounter to give shooting someone very serious thought as they will probably have less than two seconds to decide if action is needed when within 20 feet of someone intent on harming them.

    If they cannot or hesitate it will probably be to their demise and not the criminals.

    The other thing is to totally learn gun, safety, to me there is no such thing as the gun went off while cleaning.

    Practice, practice, practice!

    People kill, a gun is just a tool used by people to kill.

  • Eugene Scorse June 21, 2019, 9:27 am

    I find that the people who do not like or want a gun have no knowledge of a gun and do not want to learn anything about guns. I find that is just unbelievable because they do not know anything about guns they do not like them.

    • j. davis September 12, 2020, 7:00 pm

      Eugene Scorse: I could not agree more. But yet they seem to be open to learning reams of information from BLM, MSNBC and anyone else that is against gun ownership. Simply amazing.

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