So you’ve decided to purchase a handgun. Hopefully you also made a few other decisions before the big purchase, as there are things you need to help you use, carry, and store your new gun safely and responsibly. For a detailed list of what should be in anyone’s first handgun starter kit, I asked Matt Canovi, a firearms trainer with a law enforcement and military background, for his advice. Canovi runs 4- to 10-day training courses at Canovi and Associates, based in Springfield, Mo. Here’s what he told me:
“You’d never buy a car without learning how to drive it first,” says Canovi, “so you shouldn’t make the decision to own a handgun without some training.” You can get training through group courses or via one-on-one instruction at a reputable range.
Courses differ, so decide (if you haven’t already) for what you’ll use the gun. Will it be for home defense? Do you intend to carry it for personal defense? Or are you buying it only for sport? If you’re not sure, some introductory courses can help you answer these questions. The National Shooting Sports Foundation can help you find shooting ranges that might offer training.
Remember, as you learn, that you’ll have to teach the four rules of safe gun handling to your family, roommates, and anyone who lives with you:
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