29 votes

First-Time Gun Owner, Need Advice

I've never owned a gun and haven't really needed one. All of this has changed. I live in the country and have been here in the same house for 6 years now and have never had any problems. My house was burglarized yesterday. I talked to the neighbors today and one of them saw a car sitting in my driveway last night while I was sleeping. Tonight a pickaxe sits in the kitchen at the ready. Tomorrow, I will be borrowing an automatic 12-gauge with some buckshot. I really would like some advice on what to get, preferably something cheap but effective. I will be making a purchase next paycheck.

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I know i'm a little late

But, Get yourself a Taurus Judge Defender
You will not be disappointed. It fire 45 colt ammunition as well as .410 shotgun rounds (including slugs) Your best investment in my mind is something on the cheaper side that can serve you well in a number of situations. Its relatively compact size can be concealed, (unless your a scrawny guy like myself then it becomes a bit noticeable) Add to the the ability to use multiple types of ammunition and you have a fantastic purchase.


"What light is to the eyes - what air is to the lungs - what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man."
-Robert Green Ingersoll

crietmann's picture

Sometimes the subject just makes me post

Lots of good advice here, some bad and like a-holes everyone has one - I'm no exception.

I agree with Betty that you should have a minimum of three guns - a handgun, shotgun and rifle. That's just practicality - having the right tool for the job. In addition to a combat style rifle (AR, AK, SCAR, etc.) I'd add a .22 rifle (like a Ruger 10/22) for inexpensive practice and in the worst of times putting some protein on the table without destroying it.

In close quarters a handgun is tough to beat with the proper training. For wide open spaces in the home a shotgun is probably a better choice, again with a weapons light mounted. For protection outside the home (meaning yard to street), then I'd rely on an AR-15.

If you intend to carry a handgun, my two cents is this - you carry. A lot of my friends aren't as deliberate as I am, but unless I'm going through a metal detector I'm carrying. Glocks are great (I own them) but most new concealed carriers feel better with a physical safety. And look to semi-auto pistols as opposed to revolvers - more capacity can be a lifesaver when your adrenaline is pumping and you're in a high stress situation.

But, after your first purchase, the first thing to find is training. Yes, there are beginner classes, and more and more in my area are teaching a basic NRA class for the first half of the day followed up by a tactical training intro afterwards. Besides the hardware and ammo, training is absolutely your best investment. Learning how to pie corners, work with lights, clear rooms, work in teams, etc. are good, practical home defense tools for your toolbox. Someone mentioned mindset and that's how you build it up. Once you have decent training you'll know how to keep your skills up - you'll waste less ammo at the range and you'll learn to train around the home in a safe manner.

I bought guns for protection, and I'm glad I have them. I don't think anyone here would argue that a currency collapse is inevitable, and protecting family, hearth and home will be a necessity, not a luxury.

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I went to Academy today to

I went to Academy today to look at their gun selection. While I was there I decided to purchase a wildlife camera. Tomorrow I will put it in a tree and point it towards the driveway. I browsed the guns and really liked the Mossberg 500 Persuader. I'll take a closer look at the pistols next time. The gun that I borrowed today is a Remington 1100. It's probably 30 years old!! I familiarized myself with it and shot it. It's very nice. So now I'm thinking about the 870. I'm also considering getting a Blue Heeler.

Thanks for the suggestions!!!

You might want to get a few of those cameras, to cover

all sides and angles, not just the obvious ones. And make sure you really familiarize yourself with them, check 'em out early and get to know the settings, day and night, video VS photo, etc.. I keep mine on photo. Also, how and where you point them is very important. Can't have a street off in the distance to set them off every time a car drives by, etc.. Game camera's are like a gun, gotta get to know them to make them work for you. (Just another tool) My .02 worth. Good luck!

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

+1 on the 870, it is a fine

+1 on the 870, it is a fine shotgun and so is that 1100. Mossberg puts out a nice gun but if your looking at the pistol grip only one then I advise you to shoot it before buying. It is not user friendly IMHO.

Olympic Arms OA-93 Pistol

It's light and has a lot of firepower. Great home defense weapon when paired with a 100-rd beta-c magazine.


LOL, it's a first time gun-owner...

An AR-15 pistol is a little ahead of the OP's curve I'm gonna guess... Not to mention probably out of his/her price range...
Oh, and you're gonna need a pistol permit to purchase in most states.

Besides... who needs a 100rd mag. for home defense?
Unless you plan on taking on the SWAT team...

Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

"who needs a 100rd mag. for home defense?"

Every citizen of these united states! RPGs and SAMs would be nice too, but we need to legalize them first. Sigh... maybe one day US citizens could have the same freedom to own/bear arms enjoyed by the people of Afghanistan.

Not saying not to have 'em, sayng it's not very practical for...

...first time gun owner...

Expensive... for starters...

I never said you shouldn't, or couldn't have one, I'd like a few rpgs myself... That was not my point, but whatever...

You should check out this thread I started...


Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

Related question

Where does an absolute beginner start? Are there classes for people who don't yet own a gun, or must a student bring his own? I would like to own one at some point, but 1) I don't want it in the house until I have some basic knowledge and skill, 2) I wouldn't begin to know which one to get, and 3) I still have a temperamental teenager in the house and even once I know what I'm doing, it might be better to just keep practicing at a range for a while than have a weapon at home.


attend a handgun course.
They are widely available. They will teach you about bullets, magizines, how to load a magazine, how to put the magazine in the gun, how to safely handle a gun, how to aim, and how to fire.
And its all pretty simple.

there is a recipe for rabbit stew. step 1. catch a rabbit.

people are a LOT less temperamental around weapons. they just have this calming effect.

just pick one and buy it. you don't even need to buy any ammo. you don't need to take it home either. keep it in your storage room, your sisters place whatever.

simple ownership will teach you volumes.


There are classes you can take, and most will provide the gun...

Depending on the state you live in, you either can go buy a pistol/hand gun at a local gun store, or you will need to get a pistol permit before you purchase.

In SC for example, you can buy a pistol there and then, at the store or from a private party, no permit needed, no wait.
In CT for instance, you must have a permit to purchase a pistol at all, anytime. And even if you are only getting a long gun (rifle/shotgun) you have to wait two weeks before you can pick it up, unless you have the pistol permit, then you can bring home same-day as purchase.

So, first, look up the laws in your state.

I would suggest you get a shotgun, for first time. Just to get familiar with having a firearm in the house. Pistols require a greater degree of skill, training, money... pretty much everything. And they can be more accident prone, especially if you are not confident in your own (or someone else's) ability to handle them.

When I was young, my mother was terrified of having guns in the house. She didn't even trust having a BB gun. Well, after the first shotgun purchase came and went, and no one died, she became more comfortable.
We then got another... and another rifle... and some more... and pistols/hand guns...

Now she loves to go shooting. Our Messianic Rabbi is also a shooting instructor, who has helped teach her a bit... she really enjoy shooting now...

Do some more research, figure out what you think will be practical for you/your family...

Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

Some may disagree,

but it's hard to beat a flame-thrower for personal defense.


Just call 911 instead

You don't need a gun to protect yourself, just call the police. They are the ones that are supposed to protect us.

Quick multiple choice test

Are you

a) Being sarcastic
b) Lost
c) A troll

Purple font = sarcasm

See here about the sarcasm purple font code --


Ah. Well then they pass the test.

And I think I managed to fail :/

Life is a ride, not a test

Have a good time while you're on it

LOL, ask five gun owners

LOL, ask five gun owners their opinion and get twelve answers. There is a plethora of choices and none of them are bad. If you have friends that have guns have them take you shooting or go to a range and rent a few firearms to see what feels most comfortable. Whatever you decide on, practice with it and then practice some more, and a little more.

You also need to consider target hardening your home. Making a burglar of thief expend time and generate noise increase the chances they will get caught and make your property unappealing. Window frame locks and a "kick plate", a L shaped piece of metal 3-5 feet long that is mounted inside the door casing are the most effective in my experience.

All that aside what really concerns me is this. I have been a peace officer for quite a while. So far in my career I have only see three true cat burglars (burglars that enter at night while the occupants are sleeping). Two out of the burglars only took womens underwear and the third specifically took wallets from womens purses. I know three isn't much of a study but it's worth noting.

I'm in your boat too

I had never fired a gun and grew up afraid of them (i was even afraid of a loaded clip!-lol) until I attended a 3 day hand gun course.

I can't believe how unfounded my fears were.

I'm not an expert now, but a Glock 19 handgun doesn't take an expert to use. A very valuable tool.

And to all the anti-gunners: You are self evidently correct that operating power tools without training can be hazardous. Be it a planer saw, a car, or a glock 19.

Get a dog and get to a handgun course. Then practice once a quarter.
The glock 19 seems idiot proof.

I agree with you on the glock

I agree with you on the glock with one exception. Glocks should never be carried without a holster that is hard like kydex especially in a purse. The safety is integrated into the trigger and if something gets wedged into the trigger guard the gun can easily fire. I have carried a Glock for many years and believe it is one of the best handguns to get although I think the S&W M&P is a serious competitor. Enjoy your Glock it will not let you down:)

Mossberg MP500 pump shotguns

Mossberg MP500 pump shotguns are used by most police forces.

I would consider a pistol. Glock makes great guns, you can get a sub compact, which is easy to hide and easy to wield. Shotguns are bulky and could be difficult in a home defense situation. The new Glock Gen4 .357 sub compact is about $599 and will hold more rounds than a standard shotgun.

Of course, ideally you would have both. But if I had to choose one for home defense, I would choose a pistol.

It is also important to learn the proper techniques when it comes to entering rooms. Never lead with the muzzle of your gun going through a door, someone could easily hide and snatch the gun from your hands.

Finally, I also agree with considering a dog. Don't get a little yippee dog that barks at its own shadow. But do get a dog with a little gumption, who will bark when its appropriate. I love my, you might be able to guess, black lab.

I agree with the poster who

I agree with the poster who said that first you need to wake up if someones in your house. A dog, motion sensors, geese, cornflakes spread on the floor, something.

A friend of mine protects his vegetation with a hand held laser. He says that he could easily blind someone with it and has warning signs up that read, Warning: Do not look at laser with remaining good eye. These things are not toys, these could easily permanently blind someone so keep out of childrens reach and immature adults.



Plus criminals will have to

Plus criminals will have to wonder if that lazer is attached to the side rail mount of an AR-15. Definately not something they will want to stick around and find out...

We all share this eternally evolving present moment- The past and future only exist as inconsequential mental fabrications.

If you just want to protect yourself and your property

and have no tenancies towards the bunker mentality that myself, Verrater and AnCapMerc subscribe to I would buy the H&R Pardner 12 ga.


It will accomplish what you are going for and the price is right. Just please take the time to be proficient with the weapon.

Best Home Defense Weapon is

Other than having an alarm system on the house, the next best thing is a 12 guage shotgun. Setup for rounds is 1st fired round as bird shot, 2nd round as buck shot and then 3rd is a slug followed by more buckshot.

How can a gun help?

If you slept through a burglary without a gun, how could having a gun help? What you should consider is either a security system or preferably a German Shepard. That dog will prevent the burgles from even bothering in the first place, plus give you the few seconds you will need to wake up. Then you can have the gun ready, if it's needed, for protection in case of an assault.

The burglary happened during

The burglary happened during the day while I was at work. They came back later that night but didn't come in.

Home invasions will become more prevalent as the economy

continues to decline. The knee jerk reaction is to get a gun, but most of these robberies are done by kids, who wants to kill some neighbors brat kid?. That's not to say there aren't hard core criminals who mean to do you harm out there too. Most robbers want to take the path of least resistance, get in and out quick. In my opinion a good watch dog is the best deterrent and early alarm you could have. My German Shepard is well aware of anyone within 50 feet of my house, I don't know how he does it, if he can smell, hear or somehow just tell it. That little bit of alert time is just enough to either scare off the invader or to get to a gun and be ready if need be.