What would you tell a 100% new shooter?

When I worked, briefly, for a local gun store and shooting range I would inevitably see a brand new shooter come in and purchase a hand gun for “X” reason, usually personal protection or home defense. They knew they needed one but aside from actually purchasing a firearm the had no idea where to go from there. I had a scripted response I would typically give them to at least set them on the right path, but what are some of the things you would tell them? Examples would be basic hand gunning course, where to go to start the CCP process (state specific), etc…

Thoughts? Discussion?


Stay safe, all.


ME: Are you a new shooter?
THEM: Yes.


When my far left wing pinko commy son finally decided he needed a gun, after hearing someone on the radio say “we need to attack left wingers” he called me, he lives in another state. I told him to get a hold of his friend, an Iraq war veteran, and ask him if you can try some of his firearms. I even offered to pay for the ammo. He did it, learned a lot from his combat vet buddy and ended up with a very nice .38 Spcl revolver. They go to a range with his friend couple of times a month and for the most part seem to love it.


Avoid the sub compact size, as you’ll have more recoil and less fun at the range. Second gun, no problem.


Put your finger on that trigger one more time, I’ll cut it off!


I wouldn’t tell them anything until they answer a lot of questions, first. How would I know what they need?


If you think a drug habit can be expensive, wait till you get hooked on this!




Do not point the gun at me!


I would and have asked them to look deep inside themselves and ask, why do I need to own a firearm, do I have enough knowledge, training, mindset, budget, am I willing to do what is necessary to save a life? Do you know your states laws on deadly force?
What would I tell a NEW shooter, DISCIPLINE and seek qualified training, before spending a penny! Do you own a safe, are you familiar with the four laws/rules of gun ownership?
Research and understand your rights. Practice, practice, practice!


Or anyone else you don’t intend to shoot.


It’s a hell of a responsibility you are taking on and don’t forget to train.


And muzzle awareness!!! I agree and im prior service Army. Heard my DS yelling at me immediately :rofl:


This is too broad and open ended to answer as a from-scratch hypothetical

Can you set the stage more?

Who are they, what kind of gun did they buy, what are their intentions for it, what is their training/knowledge background, or have they not bought one yet?

  1. Get a notebook. You should be writing a lot of things down.
  2. Learn the laws applicable to your state, city, etc.
  3. Before buying anything take a new shooter class (NSSF First Shots, for example).
  4. Define your purpose for owning a firearm (home defense, plinking, indoor target shooting, varmint control, carry).
  5. Learn what firearms are suitable for your purpose(s).
  6. Talk to a lot of people. Be cautious of their suggestions. Investigate. EVERYONE has biases (you will also after a while).
  7. Learn what the NRA, USCCA PDN, etc. Have to offer.
  8. Shoot as many different firearms as possible. You need to love what you end up buying. If you don’t love it you won’t want to shoot it, carry it, or depend on it to save yourself or a family member. You also are not likely to be able to return it (at least not without losing a chunk of your investment.
  9. Learn how to care for it, and properly store and transport it.
  10. If you live with someone else make sure they are on board with your plans.

** Time changed everything with gun ownership. Just a few decades ago most people I new grew up with firearms and we’re taught basic firearm safety rules. Firearms were used for hunting and recreational
shooting of some sort. >> Today less people are hunting and, more people are buying firearms for self defense so basic gun safety wasn’t instilled in todays shooter at a early age like it was back in the day.


Me: Do you text and drive?
Them: Texting while I’m asking them the question


I like your enhanced rules of safety. We did rule #7 a lot when quail hunting.

Rule #8 was expressed a little different when I was growing up: “If you shoot it, you have to eat it”.


Is that where the expression “eating crow” came from? :rofl:


Responsible gun owners don’t take lives they stop irresponsible gun owners from lawlessly taking them by doing what ever it takes. Learn to be a responsible gun owner.


@Larry130 's reply was more what I was going for. Sorry I was pretty vague with the topic, but I was thinking of the scenario where Millennial Brandon or Conservative Karen or Liberal Larry (etc…) walks in and purchases a handgun because they’re worried about the current situation in our country and have a subconscious awareness and desire to defend themselves. However, in their past they’ve never actually been around firearms so they’re really unclear where to go from here. The starting point of the question would be after they actually purchase the firearm. Larry pinged a lot of what I was thinking in regards to next steps such as basic training, safety and security of the firearm, and learning local laws about what they can or cannot do with the gun.

I hope that clarifies a bit and thank you for reading!


1 Like