Suppose you’re a new gun owner or looking to enter this
world, welcome! Becoming an arm bearing
citizen is an exciting time and can come with a lot of baggage (no pun
intended). Many of us, myself included,
have fallen victim to getting a bit overzealous with procuring what one may or
may not need as a gun owner. Like
holsters, accessories can pile up and eventually end up in a storage bin of
stuff that was presumed needed. I think
a few things are essential and others that will only enhance your life. The point is, identifying the things you need
out the gate.
The “buy once, cry once” concept needs to be adopted here to
an extent. I say that because there are
so many lines of thinking when it comes to firearms, firearm accessories, and holsters. You’re going to get as many
opinions as there are people!
The big obstacle here is knowing what is going to make you
cry or not. Previously, there was a post
about what you should take to the range with you: RANGE BAG CHECKLIST. There is a lot of good advice in this
article, so be sure to check it out.
Many items that are NEEDED are covered but in the context of going to
Barebones minimum, what do you NEED as a brandy new gun
- A firearm.
This should be a given. Hopefully,
you went through the paces of selecting a high quality, reliable gun that works
- Storage solution. When you have your firearm at home, you’re
inevitably going to have to store it in one manner or another. From ”EVERY
FIRST-TIME GUN OWNER SHOULD IMMEDIATELY DO THESE THINGS,” a good tip is given to help overcome this obstacle
when you’ve arrived home with your new pistol: “If you haven’t bought your safe
yet, consider locking it in the manufacturer’s case and using the included
cable lock until you find a storage solution.”
- A system to transport your gun to the
range. AKA a range bag. This is where things can start to get out of
control. The rhetoric is almost par for the
course with so many people, for example, my own experience: Tooling around a sporting goods store or gun
shop and then there it is, the awesomeist range bag! This is
what I’m going to use with my new gun, and it’s going to be great! And then, sure, I’d use the system or bag
for a while to eventually abandon it for another awesomeist range bag I run
into at another store. If you can, use
what you already have until you figure out what your needs will be. An old backpack or abandoned gym bag that
you’re willing to surrender to the cause might do the trick when you are just
- A gun cleaning kit. There are so many commercially available gun
cleaning kits that are one-stop shops, and you can go mad trying to pick
one. My recommendation here is
twofold. Buy a small kit that will
accommodate only the one caliber or gauge of firearm you have. The kit should include a solvent, lubricating
oil, rod, rod attachments, and some patches.
Don’t go crazy with the biggest badest cleaning kit that will cover
every single caliber and gauge known to man.
Get what you need—bare bones. The
one place to not skimp is a quality one-piece rod. That is an item you can always go back for
once you figure out how deep into this world you are going. If you get another caliber down the line, all
you need to get are the attachments for that particular size. Or, then you can
consider getting a smaller accessory kit that has multiple jag and brush
sizes. Given that, get what you need at
the time, some solvents and oil, caliber-specific patches, and some lint-free
soft rags. Set yourself up to build on
the system, so there is not much crying down the line.
- Gun rugs, cases, etc., are items that you may or
may not need. When you put your firearm
into your range bag, it’s going to have to be in some sort of container to
protect it. The majority of commercially
available guns come with a hard, lockable, plastic case. You can always resort to using that. If you’re worried about messing up the box
because of resale intentions down the line, then get a comparable hard or soft
case. You decide on what you think will
work best. Like a range bag, gun cases can
pile up quickly.
- Personal protective equipment. You need to have quality protection for your
eyes and ears when engaged in shooting activities. Make sure you get impact-resistant glasses
and hearing protection with a good noise reduction rating (NRR).
Whether you need training and target ammunition or ammunition for
self-defense, you’re going to have to make some decisions. Ammunition selection is a whole other topic
entirely. No matter what you’re looking
for, quality, name brand, factory loads, with a good reputation should be what
you use. All the other criteria take trial
and error as well as research.
Those are a few ideas of what I’d consider the bare minimum
for a new gun owner. Figuring out
storage solutions early on is essential, so think about what you need at the
time and what you may need going forward.
A big safe might be what you need or want. Or perhaps a smaller quick-access lockbox. As for range bags, gun socks, gun cases,
cleaning kits, and the countless other accessories out there to get, first dip
your toes into this world before buying everything you see. Get acclimated and understand what a need
versus extra stuff is, then commit to buying the quality item to meet your
needs. Things like screwdrivers, mag
loaders, specialty targets, desiccants, etc., will fall into place. Pair this list with what you need to bring to
the range, put in some thought, talk to some friends and shooting buddies, and
figure this out, so you buy once, cry once.
It’ll minimize the size of your storage container!
Stay safe out there and think before you do!
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer,
writer, author of “Decoding
Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use” and USCCA
certified instructor, NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor
living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional
gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com
on Twitter at @johnpetrolino,
and on Instagram @jpetrolinoiii