What training should new gun owners do first?

I remember my first days of owning a handgun. 357, short barrel, many moons ago (in my early 20’s), many moons,I am sure the revolver was stolen, shame on me for the purchase. My background with firearms? None. Did my Dad hunt? No. Did he own a gun? Single shot .22. Did I have any training? No, had a box of ammo, that is it. The recoil was horrible. I was a gun owner, darn proud of it. How many times did I fire it? Two or three, recoil was horrible. When I married my first wife, her family was avid hunters, and I became a novice hunter. I watch her family and how safe they were with firearms. Training? No.

Skip ahead several years. My current mrs came from an avid hunting family, safe with firearms. I told the mrs, we need to exercise our constitutional right, and get our concealed weapons permits. Since glocks were popular, that is what we came home with. Now we needed to fire a few rounds before we took the concealed course, as Idaho law requires firing 99 rounds for concealed. We received our permits. Boy howdy we exercising our constitutional rights. We as a couple decided to take some classes as we cannot hit any target with any good accuracy. Yes siree we took a couples class, AND TO FIND OUT HOW LITTLE WE DIDNT KNOW!!! Scary! That started our journey to train, shoot often, and finally after lots of training, lot of shooting, etc., we decided to become instructors, and to teach others about our journey and what we have learned. And of course stumbled into the USCCA. Should have stumbled into the USCCA earlier in our journey, but they didn’t exist. The Schmidt dude was slacking…

The point being, is how little we didn’t know. How many firearms have we been thru before finding the perfect EDC? Many. How little we didn’t know and how scary we were for carry??? We are not perfect in any way today, as we still train, and seek more training. Our journey continues to learn!

New to firearms??? TAKE CLASSES!!! TAKE TRAINING!!! The info the USCCA has is invaluable!!!


Knowledge? Safety. Functionality.

Training? Use. Accuracy. Practice.

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Kat Ainsworth has written a good article addressing this:

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I feel like a moron, because I read the thread title and my first thought was “how to clear your firearm.” Get that down first.

Second, work your way through the owner manual until you know it without reading it.

Don’t take that Barney Bullet out of your pocket until after that, no matter how many guns you’ve owned.

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I’m right there with you! I think a lot of us are. How do we ensure that new firearm owners take the responsibility seriously?

Please do not feel that way, @Ouade5! I think clearing a firearm is vital - and part of safely handling a firearm.

Remember, new firearm owners may be reading these threads and anything we can give them will be helpful. And as longer-term firearm owners, getting back to basics for a refresher is always helpful.


Without legislating it? IDK. This is why I’m a fan of training being legislated for CCW. If people choose to remain untrained/uneducated at home, that’s their right. But if they expect to carry in public, they have to take training. Their right to protect themselves should not supersede the potential public safety concern. IMHO

I just think of all of the high school classes I had to take and how little I remember of those classes… Do you remember geometry, @Aaron25? At least this is something people want to learn, right?

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If it is mandatory it is no longer a Right.

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The NRA jumps into this opportunity:


Hunter safety is the model for accident reduction I’d like to apply.
In 1964, there were 27/100,000 hunting accidents (read that as people getting shot). Hunter safety started in 1967. Blaze orange was mandated for deer hunting in 1980, and accidents fell to 14.7/100k. Mandatory hunter ed began in 1985. The accident rate for the decade ending in 2013 was 4.05/100K. https://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/2017/06/Safety.PDF
Hunter safety has actually had to change their focus–accidents from tree stand falls are more likely than gun related incidents, thanks to the training.
Decreasing cardinal events by this degree is an outstanding example of efficacy.
From the USCCA’s perspective, if training was able to decrease the unjustified use of force through education to that degree, would we (CCW holders) be better off or not?
I think that every time someone is unjustified in their use of deadly force, it reflects on all of us and makes us easier targets for the very antagonistic media. The last thing I want to do is have people on the pro 2A side doing the damage to our cause.


Definitely safety first!
In fact for a perspective first timer, I’d recommend taking some instruction before buying that first gun.

A typical trip to the range with a newbe…
Me; Do you know the the four basics of firearm safety?
Them: The what?
Me: The four basics… here they are…
Them: Ok can I see the gun now
Me: Not until you can repeat them back without help.
Them: Really
Me: Yup
Them: What were they again?
(Insert iterative learning loop here)
Them: Now can I see the gun?
Me: Yup, but first we need to make sure you can ensure a complete safe weapon. This is the slide catch / bolt lock…bla, bla, drone, mumble, and eventually we start to make loud noises and put holes in paper