New Gun Owner

i’ve solved the “mystery” of how to get a gun at 19 in Arizona. my friend (whom would be committing a crime by buying a gun for me) knows private sellers who are willing to sell guns to 18+ year olds (which, for those who are unaware of AZ law, is completely legal).

i am wondering, what should i do before buying it? training-wise. i am going to be a completely new, first time gun owner, and i want to know what to do to make sure i have as much training as possible before bringing a weapon into my house.

any suggestions for material i should study? gun parts? etc.?


Not sure I’m with you here Liam. You can legally be in possession of handguns with supervision at 18, hunting or target shooting unsupervised, and possession and carry of long guns as I understand the law without restriction at 18.

A gift of a firearm, even a handgun is not unlawful to close family or friends, but straw purchases for profit or for those legally ineligible is a crime.

We don’t seem to have to sign any more at least under federal law for “pistol ammunition” like we did for many years but I believe you can’t technically, legally buy ammo for a pistol unless you are 21 or over at least under federal law but what AZ state law says would require some research.

I’ve had a horribly long day and my brain is kind of flat, hope I’m not sounding too convoluted or like I’m dosing anything.

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at 18 and older you can buy a pistol from a private seller, just not from a licensed dealer. i’m not getting anyone to buy anything for me. the idea would be, i buy a pistol from a private seller. by the time i purchase it i’ll be 20 years old, so above the legal age to own and open carry a pistol in Arizona.


You actually made me go look. It seems the ATF rules have changed at some point and I honestly missed it.

May an individual between the ages of 18 and 21 years of age acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who is also a resident of that same State?

An individual between 18 and 21 years of age may acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who resides in the same State, provided the person acquiring the handgun is not otherwise prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A Federal firearms licensee may not, however, sell or deliver a firearm other than a shotgun or rifle to a person the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under 21 years of age.

There may be State or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Contact the office of your State Attorney General for information on any such requirements.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1)]

It seems you are correct as long as it’s not done through a straw purchase. This may sound crazy but I actually learned something here today and I appreciate it.


Go ahead and make your purchase. Once you have it you will want ammunition and training. I’m willing to bet some of those folks you’re looking at buying from would be willing to give you basic instruction with it as well. Don’t be afraid to ask, the gun community is usually really friendly and helpful towards newcomers.


Even after decades of shooting, instructing/teaching, I try to schedule at least one or two instructor level courses annually.

You should stop learning five minutes before dying then you get to learn what happens after clinical death.

I hope I’ll lead a good enough life to go north rather than south.

At worst I end up worm food and get recycled.


@Liam glad you’ve solved the purchase mystery! sounds like you’ve got a plan. Do you have a particular gun in mind?

As a first-time purchaser, you want to make sure you’re getting a good first-gun choice for you. Things that make it a good first gun for you are:

  • are you comfortable shooting it?
  • are you naturally accurate with it?
  • are the sights naturally where you expect them to be? (you don’t have to hunt for them or re-position the gun a lot to find them)
  • is the recoil manageable?
  • can you do all the normal manipulation easily (rack, reload, set or remove the safety, break it down for cleaning)?
  • is the ammo priced in a range that you can afford, so you can practice?
  • is it the right caliber for your purpose (self-defense, plinking, etc.)?
  • is it easily concealable (if you mean to do that)?
  • is it fun to shoot?

If any of those things aren’t true, it might be that the gun doesn’t fit you well… and there are a LOT of guns out there that might be the “right” first gun.

One of the best ways to figure that out is to go to a range that rents guns and shoot a bunch of them (you may need a buddy or a member to go do that). That’s what I did, and I ended up shooting almost 60 different guns before I decided (Ok, I’m fully obsessive, I admit it).

My “right” first handgun was not what most people would recommend, especially for a woman… its the Glock G21 .45 double stack, full sized frame… it’s a big caliber, big frame, fat grip. :woman_shrugging: Nonetheless I like shooting it, I’m naturally accurate with it, and the sights are always right where I expect them to be.

Other things I think you might want to do before you buy, or very soon after (it’s a longish list :wink: )

  • take some lessons with a professional instructor, just to get started on building your knowledge and confidence
  • watch some video reviews or read up on the gun you’re thinking of getting so you know if there are any quality or function issues, things you need to watch for when buying, and how other people like it
  • absolutely shoot the one you mean to buy before you buy it (same model anyway)
  • ask folks on here - someone here probably has one and can answer questions about it.
  • take a basic pistol course
  • take a CC course or defensive pistol course
  • learn your state and federal carry laws by heart (where you can carry, what you can/can’t do, self defense laws, must-inform laws, castle doctrine,
  • explore how you might want to carry (if you’re going to)
  • get a safe or gun box and get it installed in your house
  • get a gun box and get it installed in your car
  • get a cleaning kit for your caliber
  • get a range bag
  • get your eye and ear protection

Hope that helps you get prepped and do your homework :grin:


A YouTuber “influencer” and member of the gun community, who shall remain nameless, said on his channel that it does not matter if the gun one is buying feels right or comfortable in your hand as long as it goes, “Bam!” His comment left me scratching my head because I wanted my first gun’s grip to feel right and comfortable while grabbing it/holding it and especially shooting it.


i have a bit to do then :slight_smile:

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One thing to understand is that every gun is different. It’s going to feel different, it’s going to align with your eyes different.

Your first purchase may not end up being correct only because later you may find something that’s even better. That was my case when I purchased my Springfield XDs. It was great, until I found one that was even better. I started looking at 9mm handguns for extra capacity and cheaper ammunition, found the M&P 2.0’s and it’s been amazing ever since.


I love the M&P 2.0. Great gun; Comfortable grip, little recoil and very accurate.


my friend said his friend’s sell mainly glocks. any particular patent of glock that’s better than another?

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You hit on a good point Zee, the price and availability of ammo can be a big factor for a whole lot of folks.

The .357 Sig is one of the best handgun rounds ever developed for many reasons but the limited availability and price of the ammo are big negatives.

As much as I like it I’m seriously considering picking up some .357 Sig barrels for a few of my XD/XDM’s. Thinking being I can practice with the .40 S&W and still have a superior round for daily carry.

I’m a gun nut though and will spend what’s necessary to have what I want where most people can’t or won’t.

Good list.

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Glock’s are really very generic. Other than caliber and magazine size the only real differences are in barrel length and single/double stack configurations.


I’d scratch him off of my list of reliable sources if I were you.

The most important characteristic for any defensive handgun to have is that it goes bang every time you pull the trigger for sure, but if it doesn’t fit you properly you’ll never be able to control it and thus accuracy will be a serious issue.


@Liam - the Glock construction and way of shooting is pretty similar from model to model. If you’re looking for concealability, you may want a compact or subcompact model. Keep in mind the subcompacts are going to be a little harder to shoot because there’s just less “gun” there to manage the recoil or the grip.

If you are not looking to conceal, take a look at the full size frames as well as the compacts.

I like the .45s :grin: My hubby shoots the .40 cals, my granddaughter shoots the 9mm. I think we’d all like to shoot the 10mm. :star_struck: Don’t buy the .45GAP - its not that common a round so it’s not practical. I’m probably going to add a 9mm to my stable soon because it’s cheaper to practice with than the .45 (BTW, even my 100lb granddaughter shoots my husband’s .40 with ease and accuracy, so you really can choose what suits you.)

You probably don’t need the MOS - but… fancy optics :smile: :thinking:

Grip width matters a lot to how the gun fits you, so if you can try both double and single stacks, and the standard vs slim frames, that will help you decide what works for you. I like the fat doublestacks. My granddaughter likes the slim grips. My hubby shoots all of them with a grin.

Generation is another thing to consider. We’ve had Gen 2, Gen 3, Gen 4.

You’ll have a hard time finding anything that’s a Gen 2, so skip that one. My hubby has had several, but there’s not that many on the market anymore.

The Gen3s are solid and capable and probably going to be a bit cheaper, I’ve had my G21 .45ACP Gen3 for over 20 years, and it still shoots just as reliably as when I got it.

The Gen4s have some additional features like interchangeable backstraps for the grip so you can adjust the size. The stock grip fits me just fine, so I don’t need that, but for some folks it’s a boon. Look at the Gen4 options and see if they’re things you care about.

Gen5 differences include differences in the finger grooves on the grip and different grip stippling, ambidextrous options, standard night sights, and some internal changes. IIRC the mags are not interchangeable between the Gen5 and earlier gens, so we’ll probably stay out of the Gen5s.

You can compare the different models here:

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Oh, also, if you’re looking at the sub-compacts, you’re probably going to want to get some mags with the extended base - your little finger will want to have a home somewhere on the grip, and for that you’ll need the extended mag base.

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Absolutely I agree with you. When I purchased my first gun (XD9) and picked it up, handled it and shot it for the very first time, I knew then and there it was for me. Now I am in the market for a Glock 19 Gen 3 and a Sig SP2022-- two guns I’ve shot and feel amazing.

P. S. The so-called influencer blocked me when I disputed his assertions. Oh, well! :man_shrugging:


would anyone recommend/condone the usage of the sig p365? subcompact and i believe 10+1 capacity sounds like a good bet. i’ve watched reviews and people shooting it on youtube and for a personal defense/CC gun it seems dope.

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dope: really cool/nice

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