how to buy a firearm

How To Purchase A Firearm – 6 Essential Tips For New Buyers

Are you looking to purchase your first firearm? Let’s get a gun in your hands and find out how to buy a gun legally.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part that protects the right to keep and bear arms in the United States Bill of Rights. There are many anti-gun organizations trying to take that right away from the people. Here are some tips on how to purchase a firearm and buying your first rifle or gun.

Consider your intentions

Before you consider purchasing a firearm, you should ask yourself what you are going to use the gun for. Self defense, hunting big game, recreational shooting?

What gun should I buy for deer hunting?

If your intention is to go hunting for wild game, then you will need to purchase a long rifle or shotgun that has some knockdown power. I recommend a Benelli Supernova 12 Gauge if you’re wanting to buy for waterfowl or turkey hunting. The guns are rock solid and can take on a lot of mud and water when in the swamps.

Recommended reading: If you’re wanting to go duck hunting, here’s a few ducking hunting tips to get you started.

If you’re needing something for longer ranges, then check out the Remington 700 CDL. It’s a beautifully crafted gun and can knockdown a target from far away. These are used for big game such as deer, elk and moose. My favorite and go to ammo for years is 30-06 for deer hunting.

What gun do I need for self defense?

If you are looking to purchase a gun for self defense and something that you can take with you and conceal easily, then you should look at buying a .9mm pistol.

My wife also just recently got me a slimline Ruger 9mm that I’ve enjoyed keeping in the truck as well. I have also have a Springfield XDS 3.3 .9mm and it feels good in my hands. Both are an all around nice handgun for starters.

Recommended reading: I created a video on how to clean the Springfield XDS.

Visit your local gun shop

There are many different brands and models on the market today. It’s best if you talk to a gunsmith or someone who knows a lot about firearms in general and ask if they will help.

One of the gunshops in my town, Whittakers, is very knowledgeable about firearms and hunting.

If you’re not sure where some of the gun shops are in town, just search online for ‘gun shops’ in your town and drop by sometime. It’s easier to talk to the owner of a small shop one-on-one rather than a salesman at one of the big boy stores.

Avoid the corporate mess

As of 2023, there are over 134,000 federal registered firearm dealers (FFL) in the United States today. It’s not very hard to acquire a gun. I’ve had far better customer support experiences at some of the smaller gun shops in town, plus it supports the local economy. Especially after seeing the arrow through hand incident at Bass Pro Shops, I don’t think I want to purchase a firearm or hunting bow from them.

Display of shotguns on shelf

Research federal and state gun laws

There are federal gun laws and then there are state gun laws as well.

How old do you have to be to buy a gun?

Federal law says an individual 21 years old or older may acquire a handgun or pistol from a licensed dealer in the US.

If you’re a gun collector or enthusiast or just want a handgun for your own personal protection then you must be 21. An individual 18 years old or older may acquire a rifle or shotgun from a licensed dealer.

When purchasing any firearm from a licensed US dealer, a background check must be run and you must have a photo ID. The process usually takes about 15 minutes depending on how busy the place of purchase is and the background check phone lines.

Also, if you’ve been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence criminal offense then you can say “bye bye” to purchasing that firearm.

Can you buy a gun from a private individual?

Under federal law, it is legal to purchase a rifle, shotgun or pistol from someone of the same state as long as the purchaser is 18 years of age or older. Most times you must transfer the gun to an authorized dealer in another state if you are wanting to purchase over state lines.

Unlike most myths, purchasing a gun from a private individual is legal. You usually get the gun for a better price anyway!

Attend a gun show

It’s very easy to go to a gun show in the US and acquire a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check. I’m not saying it’s the recommended thing to do, but it is very easy to acquire a weapon of such sort at gun shows. Going to gun shows are also fun whether you buy a gun or not. You usually come out with a bag full of stickers, hats and other goodies.

Here’s a listing of all the gun shows in the US –

These must know tips should help you purchase the firearm that you’ve been wanting to buy or need. What other tips do you have for purchasing a firearm?


  • Hey folks! I'm Trey Copeland, founder of Made To Hunt. I'm from Kentucky and love the outdoors. I've been hunting or fishing in many states including KY, MO, MS, AR, TN and FL as well as Mexico and Costa Rica. For more updates follow me on Twitter.

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