Hey, I just turned 21 as of this month and was thinking about purchasing my first handgun in the near future.
I've been reading up, getting ready for my purchase.
Obviously I plan on taking classes and such. I'm going to be a smart gun owner. I was just wondering if there are any 'unwritten' rules about gun ownership.
I'm not talking about the obvious safety stuff, but the things that you should know as a gun owner. Things normally unsaid, but universally understood by all gun owners.
First thing: take a gun-safety class. Before you buy the gun.
Originally Posted by ShootToThrill
That will answer your question.
As long as you behave politely, and use your firearm in a safe and mature manner, you don't have to be afraid of making a social error.
Remember that concealed weapons are carried for defense, not offense.
Here's a couple, though these are related to safety as are most gun manners.
- When at the range do not load your gun off the firing line. It makes me real nervous when I'm on the line if there is someone sitting on the bench behind me loading up his weapon. Often this will be a posted rule at the range.
- Whether shooting with a buddy or looking at guns at the counter, it is considered good manners to pass the firearm with the slide or cylinder in the open position. Even at the counter where the range employee cleared the weapon before handling it to you and saw you did not load it, it is courteous to hand it back to him with the action open so he can see it is indeed empty. Plus, since he will almost for sure check the weapon when you hand it back, it saves him the step of having to rack the gun or open the cylinder.
-The above is also true when laying the gun down at the range. When I'm shooting my semi-auto, for example, my revolver will sit on the "flight deck" in front of me with the cylinder open. It just let's people around me know the gun is cleared.
Here's a couple that bother the crap outta me.
- Standing at a gun counter, waiting to have the salesman finish with another person, as they discuss his newest whizzbang pistol. Lo and behold, he just whips it out. Please don't do that, if you need to test holster fit, ask for one of their guns in the same make and model, or bring the gun into the store in a case, unloaded of course.
- When looking at a rifle in a gun store, please don't point it at people to check the scope out. You wouldn't believe how many times I've asked a person to not do that and they respond with " What? It ain't loaded, duhh" Ohhhh that chaps my hide!
- When at the gun range, make a courtesy check to see if everyone has their ear protection on before shooting.
- Blasting bullets down range with total disregard for accuracy is also annoying.
- Going gansta' style with two guns is also annoying.
- Make sure when shooting at indoor ranges that your target is positioned properly on the cardboard as to not have your rounds hit the ceiling or floor.
There's probably more, but that's a start I guess.
Whenever you hand a gun over to someone else, drop the mag, and lock back the slide FIRST.
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Wow, never have I been on a forum where everybody has been quite so helpful.
Thanks for all the info, keep 'em coming.
I've learned so much from this one website alone.
Just to gloss over a couple of basics:
-Always remember your manners, please and thank you get you a bit further along and make a good first impression with the range master.
-You're young, and speaking from experience, every now and then you'll find a range master or gun salesman that erm, treats you a bit less respectfully. Bite your tongue, no reason to get into a scene. If they outright trash you, find another range, or speak to their manager. [sorry to the older guys, but this is actually a reason I don't go to a certain range now. One of their rangemasters was a complete jackass to anyone under the age of 35]
-Something that always stuck with me from my hunter education courses back 16yrs ago now. You are an ambassador to the sport, so act appropriately. Approx 10% of the population is pro-gun, 10% is anti-gun, the other 80% of the population could swing either way. Act appropriately and politely to them. It is not your job to swing them. However, if they do ask about the sport, answer honestly and with manners, it makes a better impression.
-Along the lines of the previous thought, if confronted by anti-gun protesters, do not argue with them. Bid them a good day and walk away. The less fuel for the fire they have, the better, and by walking away, you take away that fuel.
+1 on this...you wouldn't believe the number of times I have seen someone hand a pistol to someone BARREL first with the mag still in and the slide closed...famous last words..."it's not loaded"...
Originally Posted by submoa
Reply to Shoot to Thrill:
Yeah, I would have to say as a newbie myself this is one of the best, most impressive sites I've come across compared to motorcycle, biking, outdoors enthusiast's sites, etc. Everyone is very helpful and pro. Thanks! Keep it up.
Last edited by m3coupe4me; 08-19-2008 at 03:54 PM.
Reason: newbie mistake
Most all have been covered. One thing I've started doing recently when looking at a pistol, is ask the sales-person if it's okay to dry fire it a couple times. 99.9999999999999999999999999% of the time they will not care and encourage you, but remember, it ain't your gun yet.
Also, when I do dry fire it, I always point it at the ground a few feet ahead of me.
+1 on Spartan's tip. Let me just stress to not sweep anyone when handling a gun in a store, range, or wherever. This means not just the salesman/range officer in front of you, but anyone, even on the complete other side of the store/range. Ergo, keeping the gun pointed down is good practice.
When putting a gun back on the counter, even with the mag out and slide locked open, the barrel should be pointed in a safe direction, not facing the clerk.
Really this stuff is not an unspoken rule, but one of the BIG 4. It's just amazing how often you see this happen though.
Many great thoughts already posted. Some points I'd like to add:
Join the NRA. Although you may not always agree on their stance on certain points, they are a strong voice for gun owners in D.C.
Take great care in and of your firearms. There is always going to be the inevitable handling/usage wear but blatant neglect is inexecusable. Take care of your guns and your guns will take care of you.
Never ask to "borrow" someone's gun, i.e. a deer rifle for the upcoming deer season. If they offer, that's fine but make sure you return it in better shape then they gave it to you. It would also be nice to give them a box or two of shells. If it gets damaged in your posession, pay to have it fixed.
Never loan your gun out.
Never ask to shoot someone's gun whom you don't know while at the range unless they offer first. If they have a .500 S&W and let you shoot a cylinder full, slip them $5 for the ammo cost. Most likely they'll refuse but it shows consideration on your part.
Never degrade someone's choice of brand of weapon. The person with the Hi-Point was just as proud as the person with the Wilson when they bought it. This also applies to scopes and calibers.
Do not go shooting or hunting with people who are unsafe, even if they are your best friend.
No alcohol/narcotics before or during shooting.
Never slam the slide of a semi-auto pistol shut on an empty chamber. This also applies to rifles and shotguns.
Never snap the cylinder of a revolver shut. Never ease the hammer of a revolver back and spin the cylinder on someone elses gun.
Do what you can to introduce people to shooting and safe gun handling. It's also not cool in any way to "over gun" a new shooter. Don't give your 105lb girlfriend/wife a Desert Eagle .50AE to shoot her first time out to prove your machismo.
Don't make bogus claims regarding marksmanship. I had one guy that told me he shot a deer running uphill at 600 yards offhand. He couldn't hold a 4" group off a bench at 100 yards. Yeah, right.
Don't believe everything you read on the internet. There is a lot of good info out there from reputable people but there is also a lot of crap as well.
Congratulations on your 21st birthday and becoming a gun owner. It sounds like you're going about it in the right manner and you will be an asset to the community. Take care and safe shooting.
[QUOTE=JagFarlane;130982]Just to gloss over a couple of basics:
--You're young, and speaking from experience, every now and then you'll find a range master or gun salesman that erm, treats you a bit less respectfully. Bite your tongue, no reason to get into a scene.
Excellent advice, even for the not so young.....
i am just getting into hand guns at the late age of 50 something.....
when going into a gun shop, i always wait for the owner to finish his current buisness and ask if he can help. since i am looking for advice and opinions i often get more opinion than i think appropiate.
since i don't react in a objectional way, the owner usually calms down and starts providing usefull information.
I learned a long time ago, keep you mouth shut and listen, you will learn more than starting an argument with someone that knows more than you do.
Just learn and observe the 4 Universal Rules of Firearms Safety and you will keep your backside out of "pooh-pooh" and all other unnecessary legal jams and will definitely will not offend your fellow shooters.
True but on the other hand you may not know that someone knows more than you do (unless of course you know nothing) until you start an argument.
Originally Posted by johnr
All excellent advice here. I'll add a couple more that go beyond just firearm courtesy.
1) No matter what your age, 9 to 90 and beyond, there is no excuse whatsoever for discourtesy.
2) Wait until the shop keeper is finished with the other customer. You would expect no less for yourself, why should he or she serve the other person badly just because you are there?
3) If somebody is being a wise guy and you suddenly discover that you have a clever comeback, stifle it, smile slightly, walk away.
4) Never argue with an idiot. People passing by may not be able to tell the difference.
WOW! All you people make me proud to have discovered and become part of this forum in the last couple of months! You are truly a group of gentlepeople. I don't think that I read anything new here tonight but being a relatively new shooter myself (4 mos.) even though I'm 62+ years, everything (everything!) said that I have read was invaluable to me as reminders. And to treat a young man who wants to learn as you have is truly applaudable.
That's true RevDerb, we are pretty great.
That is fantastic advice and funny as heck. That really should be in someone's signature line or something. If it is O.K. with you, I am going to use it at work with my employees.
Originally Posted by dannyb
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