What to Consider When Buying Your First Gun

Buying a gun is a big deal any time you choose to do it, but the first time is something special. After all, what’s the point of having a license to carry if you don’t know what to carry? Well, luckily we here at GuaranteedMassGunLicense.com have got your back. So without further ado, let’s go over some of the most important things to consider when purchasing your first firearm.

A handgun is a common choice for first time buyers seeking to protect themselves and their home.

What’s the Use?

The first thing to consider when buying your first gun should be obvious. What are you going to use it for? Are you looking for a gun for security purposes, such as home protection? Is it for recreation? Hunting? Concealed carry? Whatever the case, it’s probably a good idea that you figure it out before heading off to your local gun shop. That way the friendly clerks and firearms experts won’t secretly make fun of you in the back when you’re not looking. Not to mention, they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction for your specific needs.

So what are first-time buyers doing with their guns?

  • 87.3% use their guns for in-home protection.
  • 76.5% report using theirs for self-defense.
  • 73.2% use theirs for recreational purposes

    Fortunately for you, you’ve already taken the gun licensing courses. These will have no doubt helped you acquire the knowledge necessary to pick out the right model for your specific needs.

    So let’s say you’re one of 87.3% of first-time gun buyers who plan to use your firearm strictly for home protection and self defense purposes. In this case, I would look into purchasing a basic shotgun such as the Remington Versa Max Tactical. As opposed to the pump-action shotgun, this semiautomatic has an eight-pound heft, gas-action, cushy buttpad, and gel comb insert, and it’s likely the lightest recoiling 12-gauge on the market. Although semi-autos are more expensive than pump-action, they’re more reliable and easier to fire, making them ideal for first-time self-defense oriented buyers.

How Much Ya Got?

The next thing you’ll want to do after deciding on your intended use is set yourself a budget. If you didn’t already know guns range from anywhere around $150 to $5000 depending on the model. The only person who can determine your budget is you. Which is why, if you’re opting for a handgun, you should set your budget between $400 to $800 assuming your finances allow. The reason for this is that within this price range it’s easy to buy a handgun that’s reliable, well designed, and has a solid warrantee from its manufacturer.

For shotguns, the price will depend on the action type. If it’s a pump, you’re looking at anywhere from $349 to $700. For semi-autos, it’ll run from $700 all the way up to $2000. Again, it all depends on your needs and how much time you’re willing to put into your gun.

Would You Like to Supersize Your Gun?

As a new shooter, you’re probably going to need every advantage you can get when operating your first gun. That means you should have a specific eye on a high capacity gun with low recoil. As you improve your skill level, you can graduate to larger caliber firearms. But for the sake of sensibility, it’s best to start simple. And again, you’ll want to refer back to your intended use when making a selection here. For example, if you’re looking to conceal and carry your first gun, you’ll want to look for something compact with a high caliber. A gun of this sort won’t be very pleasant to shoot but you’ll have little trouble keeping it concealed. On the other hand, if you’re looking for ease of fire, you’ll want to opt for a full size duty style gun chambered with a lower caliber. You’ll find this option more comfortable for shooting, and will surely enjoy its high ammunition capacity.

Whatever the case, make sure you consult your local gun experts, weapons trainers, and so on when making this most important decision. As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for so keep in mind that going on the cheap might not necessarily be the best option, especially if you’re looking for reliability and smooth functionality. Anyways, that’s all for this week. I hope you found this to be informative in all the right ways. Happy hunting, folks.

Original Bob’s: The Best Gun Range in Massachusetts

According to a federal study, Massachusetts had the lowest gun death rate in 2015. Much of that is attributed to the state’s tough gun laws. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there were 213 gun deaths in the state in 2015.

John Rosenthal, cofounder and chairman of the Newton-based Stop Handgun Violence, said of these statistics that “gun laws work to reduce gun violence.” But for those looking to further their gun training, a good place to start would be a gun range. So for your sake we’re bringing information on the top Massachusetts gun range straight to you. Original Bob’s Shooting Range and Gun Shop located in Salisbury, MA. Here are just a few perks of Original Bob’s that might entice new and long time gun owners.

Massachusetts gun ranges are few and far between due to strict gun laws, but Original Bob's offers the whole experience
Massachusetts gun ranges are few and far between due to strict gun laws, but Original Bob’s offers the whole experience
  1. Only Public Gun Range in Massachusetts – Boasting one of the only public gun ranges in Massachusetts, Original Bob’s offers gun enthusiasts a safe space in which to test out their firearms. They also rent semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, and rifles for $10 each, according to their website. Renters are able to choose from a solid array of guns with which to test out in the shooting lanes.
  2. On-Site Gun Shop – As well as touting one of the only public ranges in Massachusetts, Original Bob’s also has an adjoining gun shop with tons of diverse inventory available for sale. From semi-automatic handguns to revolvers to rifles to shotguns, prospective gun owners are often able to find the exact gun to fit their firearm needs. Their prices also appeal to buyers from all sorts of economic backgrounds, with costs ranging from as low as $316 to $1849.
  3. Gun Use Trainers – Are you a first time gun operator? Well lay your anxieties to rest at Original Bob’s where on-site gun trainers are there to usher you through the process of renting and firing the guns in the shooting range. These same trainers offer customers private pistol lessons and gun safety classes as well. Whatever level of skill you might have upon entering Bob’s, their staff of experts and seasoned gun users will assist you in satisfying your gun ownership needs, as well show you everything from loading to disassembling your guns.
  4. Options for Unlicensed Customers – According to Original Bob’s website, unlicensed customers may rent and operate a firearm. The only restrictions state that you must be in a party of at least two customers. Moreover, all shooters must be at least 21 years of age with valid government issued IDs (i.e. driver’s license, military ID, passport). If an unlicensed guest is accompanying a licensed one, they must be at least 18 years or older with a valid government issued ID.

    In a state of with such strict gun laws as Massachusetts, Original Bob’s Public Shooting Range and Gun Shop offers one of the most unique gun-related experiences in the region. Whether you’re looking to buy your first firearm or shoot one of the more tried and true rifles in your locker, Original Bob’s offers you a wide array of experiences and expertise to deepen your knowledge as you seek a Massachusetts gun license.

Do You Have the Training You Need? And How Do You Really Know?

Buying a guitar does not make you a rock star.  Likewise, buying a gun does not make you a Navy SEAL.  There are more than 100 million legal gun owners in the U.S. and I’ll bet less than half of us are properly trained to do what we think we can do with a gun.

What do you think you can do with a gun?  And how do you know?  Have you completed training prepared and presented by an experienced professional?  Do you have a gun licenseHave you visualized the scenario you think you can overcome so that your every move is already thought through, and when something does not work, you’ve visualized an alternate action as well?  Have you practiced enough that you can load, reload, clear a malfunction and reload again in the dark, operating entirely by feel because you know your gun so well?

Tom Gresham of GunTalk Media describes it in a way I like very much.  In my own paraphrase, he says we ought to be able to operate our guns with the same level of familiarity as we operate our cars.  When we get into our car, we buckle the seat belt, put it into gear and operate the steering wheel, accelerator, brake, clutch and turn signals all without ever looking at any of them.  We know it by feel and we don’t even think consciously about the actions we’re taking.  We just do it.  Can you operate your guns like that?  If not, perhaps some training is in order.

Chris Sajnog, Navy SEAL Firearms Instructor (retired), literally wrote the book, and the rest of the program, on firearms training for our SEAL Snipers.  He would tell you, again in my paraphrase, that top performance comes from completing an action correctly so many times that your neural pathways have created a groove so that when you take the action, your body follows that groove without having to think through it.  You just do it.

Consider the five training levels outlined below that follow a training path along the line of practical handgun shooting. If we define “functional” as able to perform consistently well without having to think about it, at which level do you start to think, “I’m not so sure I’m really functional at that level?”

1. Basic Firearms Safety: I am functional with a proper understanding of how my guns operate, I can properly load and unload, I understand proper storage of my guns and ammo, I know the four fundamental rules of safe firearms handling and practice them consistently.

2. Fundamentals of Shooting: I am functional with the key aspects of shooting; a proper stance, draw, grip, sight picture, breathing, trigger control and follow through. (Yes, all 7 count! And Chris Sajnog would add an 8th of sight refinement following sight picture!) I do dry fire training.  I practice visualizing what I want to accomplish with a firearm (the body won’t go where the mind has never been…).

3. Practical Handgun Shooting: I can identify a threat. I can identify cover and concealment (and know the difference).  I can move then shoot.  I am functional with tactical reloads. I am functional clearing a malfunction.

4. Advanced Practical Handgun Shooting: I can function when confronted with multiple threats.  I can shoot while moving to cover.  I am functional communicating with an armed team-mate during a gun fight.  I am functional shooting with my support hand.

5. Scenario Based Training: I have participated in live force-on-force training. I am functional in a number of practical shooting scenarios due to live training experience and/or visualization through scenarios such as; a mass murderer in a church sanctuary, a parking lot kidnapping, a home invasion by two armed would-be murderers and other life threatening scenarios.

At what level are you able to perform consistently well without having to think through each action?  Be honest. 

OK, now you know where you are.  Congratulations!  So, where do you want to go and how do you get there?  Since you’re reading this article you’d probably like to be a Level 4 or 5 shooter.  Let’s walk through the different training approaches to consider and then I’ll offer my personal recommendations for the best training material from Level 1 to Level 5.

Books, Videos, Live Instruction and the Discipline of Practice

Books & Videos

A lot can be gained from books and videos.  A well done book or video can teach the principles to help us “get it” when we enter a new territory of learning.  Please keep three things in mind however, when it comes to books and videos.

1. Someone who can do it is not necessarily a good teacher.  We need teachers who can help us understand and develop the skills we need.  A good demonstrator and a good teacher are not always the same.

2. Don’t be a YouTube Commando.  We can pick up some interesting tips here and there along the YouTubeisphere but much of what’s posted is just someone showing off.  That is not a learning event – it is entertainment.  Be cautious of the difference.

3. Books and videos by professionals are generally well worth it.  Amateurs post videos to share their knowledge (or entertain) but professionals write books.  Many professionals then also create videos to supplement their well thought out written material with helpful visuals.  Stick with the pros.

Live Instruction

While a lot can be gained from books and videos, nothing beats live instruction.  Where books and videos can help us understand a concept, live training makes it tactile and, let’s face it, shooting is extremely tactile.  Our level of functionality increases exponentially when we get our hands on the gear and have a professional observe and correct us.

That professional instructor does require more money than any book.  The financial hurdle of getting into a good training course affects most of us at some level.  With this in mind I have two questions for you.  How important is it to you to be fully functional in protecting your family?  Can you bear having to say, “Kids, I’m sorry I couldn’t protect your Mom.  I just couldn’t come up with the money to learn how to handle it any better.” 

Yes, I know that’s a painful and extreme scenario but our topic is extreme isn’t it?  Every time a murderer invades a home and takes a life, that above comment could be spoken by a survivor.  Don’t let that be your family!  Make the time.  Find the money. Instead of buying another gun, buy some training instead!

A lot of training is actually quite affordable anyway.  For those of us in New England, the go-to place is Sig Sauer Academy.  Have you ever heard the rumor, “Oh I’d love to go to Sig Sauer but it’s like $1,500 for a course.”  I’ve heard that one many times and it is complete bologna.  They have multiple practical shooting, concealed carry, close quarters combat courses, and others, in which you can spend a day with an instructor in a small class for $500 or less, including the ammo!  If you want to spend a week you can go from Level 1 firearms basics on Monday and by Friday you’re doing advanced drills.  Now that will take you to somewhere closer to $1,500 but you blaze through multiple levels in a very short time.  Personally, I think it’s better to take a one or two day course at a time because you will learn things that you need to practice before moving on to another level.  This brings us to the final portion on the discipline of practice.

The Discipline of Practice

“Pave your Path to Perfection” is the concept and slogan we hear from Chris Sajnog for those of us who are familiar with his training material (and if you’re not, you should be!).  When we have practiced our draw correctly and perfectly so many times that a physical pathway is developed in our neural system (sometimes referred to as muscle memory) we become functional as defined above; doing it correctly and smoothly without having to think through it.  We need a functional draw, a functional sight picture, a functional trigger pull, etc.  Becoming functional in these actions requires the discipline of practice.

I recently took a practical handgun, one-day course at Sig Sauer Academy and came away with a couple key things I knew needed improvement; grip and tactical reloads.  Using the concepts I learned from Sajnog’s book, Navy SEAL Shooting, I worked through the disciple of practice:

Bought hand grips to strengthen my hands and forearms and solidify my grip.

Dry fire practiced with a perfect hand placement on the holstered pistol up to presentation with a focus on grip and support hand placement.

Did the above with my smart phone video at the range so I could see from an objective point of view exactly what was happening and make corrections.

Completed many slow and perfect repetitions from draw to presentation.

That was my range session that day.  No ammo fired.

The next week I did all the same things but the focus was on tactical reloads.  Again, just slow perfect repetition.  For this I did use ammo only because I wanted to include the slide lock in my neural pathway development.

The next week, I brought out the targets and ammo to confirm my improved grip and reload skills, having also continued to strengthen my hands with the grip exercises.  As expected, I experienced massively improved accuracy!  I now “naturally” grip my every-day-carry pistol with greater control and stability than ever before.  I don’t even think about it.

This is not a “hooray for me” boast but only an example of the effectiveness of disciplined practice under the guidance of a professional. If I can do it, believe me, anyone can do it!

How to Get There

I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as advanced firearms training, only the basics mastered and applied to different situations.  I agree with this.  However, for the purposes of clarifying training recommendations at increasing levels of experience, I am going to organize recommendations into 5 levels anyway.  The below resources are personal favorites and I am confident you will find them just as valuable as I do.

Books & Videos Live Instruction Discipline of Practice
Level 1 New Rules of Marksmanship Basic Firearms Safety

Live Shooting w/Instructor

Handgun Orientation

Memorize the 4 rules

Learn your gun’s locks and levers blind folded (no ammo of course!)

Level 2 Navy SEAL Shooting

New Rules of Marksmanship

Chris Sajnog.com

Basic Practical Handgun Skills Dry fire the 7 steps slowly and perfectly


Level 3 Navy SEAL Shooting

Fighting with the 1911


Practical Handgun 103

Practical Handgun 104

Dry fire the 7 steps slowly and perfectly

IDPA competition


Level 4 Navy SEAL Shooting

Concealed Carry 1&2


Concealed Carry Dry fire the 7 steps slowly and perfectly

IDPA competition


Level 5 First Person Defender

Target Focus Training Videos

Close Quarters Combat, Low Light, more…

Martial Arts: Sport fighting is not combat but it will bring most of us much closer to where we need to be. Join a club!

Visualization of personal scenarios in YOUR life.  For three days at the top of the hour ask, “What would I do if I were attacked right where I am now?

Level 5 scenarios include knowing how to fight without a firearm.  We all need to know how to fight for protection purposes when a gun is not available.  If it’s not in your hand, it’s not your primary weapon!  This is another scenario I believe rightly fits into Level 5.

So what will you do now?  You know where you are in this 5 level structure, you have multiple resources laid out for you.  It is up to you to decide what is the right level for you to pursue and then to take a small step toward gaining that training right now.  Click a link and buy a book or sign up for a training class.  Get started right now!  Go for it!

Stay safe and enjoy the training journey!

Rob Eggeman

Compelling Reasons Why Gun Ownership and Right-to-Carry Should be Reconsidered

Numerous people are still advocating and pushing for a “constitutional right” to own and carry a gun, believing that more guns will result in fewer incidences of crime and violence. While the debate on this issue can be exhausting, it is best that feelings and assumptions be set aside when discussing this matter but an objective reasoning is used instead. Below are reasons why gun ownership and right-to-carry should be carefully reconsidered:

More Guns = High Rate of Gun Violence

Statistics reveal that in 2015 alone, the following gun-related violence have been recorded in the U.S.:

School shooting – 64 incidences, including occasions where no injuries were reported after a gun was fired.

Mass shooting (defined as a single shooting incident which results in the killing or injuring of four or more people) –  372 incidences, killing 475 people and injuring 1,870.

All shootings – 13, 286 people were killed and 26,819 were injured by firearms, which is approximately 1.4 million individuals.

It is important to note that the number of gun-related violence instances described above are so much higher compared to other highly-developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. In fact, from all the cases of murders in the U.S., 60% were carried out using guns, compared to only 10%, 18%, and 31% in the UK, Australia, and Canada, respectively.

Strong Correlation Between Household Firearm Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates.

A study published in American Journal of Public Health in 2013 revealed that the number of gun-related deaths from homicide is grossly higher among states with higher rates of gun ownership; implying that gun ownership is an effective predictor of firearm homicide rate. Specifically, the rate of gun homicide increases by almost 1% for every percentage increase in gun ownership.

Other countries that shifted to a highly-restricted gun-access, like Australia, experienced a dramatic decline in the rate of murder.

When Australia introduced highly stringent gun control laws, including making the use of firearms in self-defense a crime, the said country’s gun homicide and suicide rates dramatically declined as well as the rate of murders and robberies. 

The reasons above are not mere suppositions but verifiable facts. Ultimately, it is best that the public base their opinion on hard facts rather than what “feels” or “seems” right, particularly if it means life and death of someone. If you do choose to own a gun, in the very least make sure you have a license to carry your gun in whatever state you reside.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Is a Weapon of Violence Able to Stop Violence?

For many years, pro-gun advocates have continuously encouraged and fought for the “right” of citizens to carry handguns, asserting that this will deter the occurrence of crimes. They believed and tried to convince the public that owning a gun will scare off criminals and help law-abiding citizens to protect themselves as well. In other words, they are contending that more guns would stop the violence especially if people take a gun license course to properly understand firearm safety.

These messages have resonated for years resulting in numerous people believing it. Nevertheless, it is important to note that just because this mantra has been accepted by many, does not automatically make it true. How can the mass availability of guns, a tool meant to injure, prevent the occurrence of crimes and violence? Objective studies and specific numbers should back up this claim.

What do the numbers say?
There are research studies that have been carried out to ascertain if gun ownership (including right-to-carry or RTC) is effective in deterring crimes and violence. While the results of early studies have remained inconclusive, new data collected in more than a decade revealed compelling results about the effects of RTC.

In general, the comprehensive study showed that the implementation of RTC laws is positively associated with the increase of violent crimes. Specifically, it was found that the 33 states in the country which adopted RTC laws experienced a significant increase in the rate of violent crimes. A careful analysis of the records within the 10-year period of RTC implementation versus the years wherein RTC laws have yet to be adopted showed that the rate of violent crimes increased by as much as 19% during the years of RTC implementation.

Does this support the claim that allowing citizens to carry guns will make for a more peaceful environment? No. At the end of the day, numbers do not lie. This means that it is critical that instead of believing the rhetoric and creative soundbites, people should look at existing facts and numbers.