The True Cost of Buying Your First Handgun

GLOCK 19 Gen5

(courtesy Heather Myers)

By Rob Aught

Sticker shock. Anyone who has ever shopped for a car knows what it is. I was somewhat surprised to find out it can apply to firearm purchases as well. Fortunately, when I went to buy my first firearm someone was kind enough to warn me that just buying a gun isn’t the end of what you’ll need and millions of new gun owners have been finding that out over the last few months.

If you’re an experienced shooter, this article may not be for you. You probably have all the whizbangs and doo-dads you need and going into a store to a store and coming out with a new firearm is all you have to do. This is intended largely for people who are new to guns and I’m going to provide a template for planning your purchase and give some specific examples.

More than one person has set out to spend $500 on a handgun and suddenly found themselves out $100 to $200 more than they expected.

I’ll focus on handguns because that’s the most common weapon purchased for home defense and concealed carry. There is a long, ongoing and lively debate over whether a handgun, rifle, or shotgun makes for the “best” home defense weapon. This article is not taking a stance on that unresolvable questioin. I am simply using a handgun as an example because it’s the weapon most new shooters will buy.

Here come the disclaimers. State laws can vary greatly and I am not looking at any additional costs for your area, including additional licensing, permits, or special taxes on firearms and ammunition. I live in Texas where the cost of a firearm is all you have to pay unless you’re looking at getting a concealed handgun license. Please check your local laws and regulations before you make any purchases.

Also, any shipping costs or FFL transfer fees are not included. If you’re buying a gun online, it’s best to be aware of those costs upfront. For this example, due to variances by area, I am assuming a 7% sales tax. This may be more or less than what you would actually pay, but I don’t want to leave it out of the discussion entirely since it can add a significant cost to the end total.

Also not included are any fees for going to a gun range or joining a gun club to practice shooting. Too much variance there for me to calculate. Furthermore, in all the following examples I will be presenting a range and then landing somewhere in the middle. In short, your costs may vary. The idea here is to give you a general idea of what you will need to spend.

Here are the essentials you will need when you make your first firearm purchase:

  • The firearm itself – Self explanatory.
  • A spare magazine – You should have at least one ready-to-go reload on hand whether you intend this for home defense or concealed carry.
  • 200 rounds of practice ammunition – You need to put enough rounds through your new firearm to get comfortable and accurate with it and learn it’s ins and outs.
  • A gun lock – Assuming you don’t already have a safe, you need some kind of lock to secure the firearm.
  • A full load and at least one reload of self defense ammunition – I recommend JHP’s, jacketed hollow points, for any kind of defensive use
  • Eye Protection – Don’t practice without it. Ninety-nine percent of the time you won’t need it, but if you’ve ever caught hot brass in the face you’ll be glad you have it.
  • Hearing protection – Guns are loud. Hearing loss is forever.
  • Cleaning solvent, gun oil, cleaning patches, and a cleaning kit – You need to know how to maintain your gun

I’ll break this down for you using a specific, very popular example, the GLOCK 19. I’m not a GLOCK lover, in fact I don’t care for them. However, I do have experience with them and they are solid handguns. There is a good reason the G19 is and has been one of the best selling handguns in the United States.

The GLOCK 19 is a striker-fired, semi-automatic, 9mm handgun with a standard capacity of 15 rounds. With a reputation for reliability, it is also accurate, and is generally not picky about what kind of ammunition it will shoot.

Here’s the breakdown:

GLOCK 19 handgun – $599
Demand and prices are up these days. There are both cheaper and more expensive handguns (and used guns, too), but as a default option the GLOCK 19 is essentially the Toyota Camry of handguns and a good benchmark.

Spare Magazine – $0
The G19 comes with a spare magazine and a magazine loader. Depending on your particular gun it could be anywhere from $15 to $40 for spare magazines, but about $25 is average. Most common handgun brands, certainly any brand I would recommend for home defense, comes with a spare magazine, but you can never have too many.

200 rounds of 9mm Luger – $13 to $21 for a box of 50 rounds
In general you’ll probably expect to spend about $16 for a box of 50 rounds. The problem these days is finding it. I recommend using brass cased bullets for new shooters simply so you don’t have to worry about the idiosyncrasies of steel casings. Once you get used to your weapon’s function and maintenance, it may be worth looking at steel cased ammunition for shooting “on the cheap” if your gun will accommodate it.

40 rounds of 9mm Luger self defense ammunition $21 to $30 for a box of 20 rounds
Again, supplies are thin these days. The cost here will hurt a little because of the GLOCK 19’s capacity. You’ll need to buy at least two boxes so you can fully load both magazines. But don’t just keep the extra 10 rounds on a shelf. I recommend shooting them at the range just to make sure the rounds you’ve purchased work in your gun without issue.

The GLOCK will likely function just fine with just about any self defense ammunition, but it’s important to shoot at least a few magazines worth of it to make sure. Self defense ammunition is usually easy to identify in the store and there are many manufacturers, but what you’re looking for is JHP (jacketed hollow-point). These bullets are designed to expand when they hit a target, doing more internal damage, while also being less likely to penetrate the inner walls of your home should you miss your target. For the end total I’m going to assume about $25 a box.

Gun Lock – $0
Virtually all handguns sold in the US come with some kind of basic gun lock. For the most part you won’t use it, but it’s a good thing to have around. There may be situations where you need to secure your weapon and if you don’t have a gun safe a gun lock is your next best option. While it won’t prevent a theft, it will at least prevent a negligent discharge.

I don’t recommend storing your weapon with the lock on as it will be difficult to deploy when you need it in an emergency. There are better, faster ways of securing a gun in your home and having it quickly available. However, there may be specific circumstances where it’s better to lock it down. Just don’t make that your default.

Eye Protection – $10 to $25
I’m going to go with $15 even though that’s the low end, simply because I can find decent shooting glasses at that price without a problem. There are some very pricey options out there, but for newbie shooters don’t go crazy. However, do invest in some. I literally have been hit right between the eyes with hot brass. You vision is too important to risk.

Hearing Protection – $12 to $20 for earmuff-style hearing protection
There are cheaper options like in-ear protection, but earmuffs are easy to use, difficult to put on incorrectly, and generally work well if you spring for something that is at least $15. Some shooter will double up with foam ear plugs and muffs over them. There’s sophisticated electronic Bluetooth-enables earmuff protection that runs north of $100, but for a new shooter, a basic set will do just fine. For our purposes let’s assume $20.

Cleaning Solvent – $3 to $5
Buy some purpose-made solvent for cleaning firearms. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it should be designed to dissolve common residue and fouling that occurs when discharging a firearm. For $4 you should be all set.

Gun Oil – $3 to $5
There is an average price of about $4. I am thinking specifically of gun oil that has a squeeze applicator similar to a standard bottle of glue instead of the spray on kind. Having an applicator allows easier clean-up and purposeful application at factory recommended lubrication points.

Cleaning Kit – $15 to $50
Although not common for all firearms, the GLOCK 19 at least comes with a bore brush and cleaning rod. In general, a decent basic kit will cost between $15 and $20. However, if the GLOCK 19 is your first and only gun there is no need to buy a 9mm handgun cleaning kit.

So what is our grand total?

$599 – Glock 19 Handgun, extra magazine, gun lock, cleaning kit
$64 – 200 rounds of 9mm brass FMJ practice ammunition
$50 – 40 rounds of 9mm JHP self defense ammunition
$10 – Eye protection
$20 – Hearing protection
$30 – Cleaning supplies (Patches, oil, and solvent)

Subtotal – $773
7% Sales Tax – $49
Grand Total – $822

As always, your mileage may vary. Shipping may be additional. You may choose a cheaper handgun, or a more expensive one. There are plenty of other options and accessories that I’m not covering here, mostly because they are not essential to the initial purchase, but might be good to have later.

A holster is always a good idea even if you don’t intend to carry. And a range bag is handy to tote your gun, ammo and gear to the range. The best thing to do is to walk through this exercise before you buy, do some research on your own, and be prepared.

Yes, that first purchase can be expensive, but once you’ve got all the basics you can add the rest a little at a time as your budget allows.

 

This article was originally published in 2013 and prices have been updated.

comments

  1. avatar Steve Eisenberg says:

    I don’t think a Glock or any other “half-cocked” gun should be anyone’s first firearm.

    1. avatar FormerDallasRenter says:

      I respectfully disagree — at least from my own experience. I actually think the lack of a safety makes new owners respect their guns a little more.

      I’ve introduced a good number of people to shooting and several had NDs within their first year of ownership. In all but one instance, it was a semi-auto with a manual safety. Full disclosure, the one instance w/o a safety involved a Glock. The rough overall numbers would be ~100 people over 15 years, ~10 had NDs within the first year. About a third of the 100 went with a Glock for their first gun. Never heard of one with a revolver, so maybe that’s the way to go.

      While anecdotal, this trend is reflected in my own life as well. I’ve had two NDs, both with guns with safeties that I got complacent with after years of use; (a shotgun and an MP5). Just my 2 cents.

      1. avatar BradB says:

        I just walked the in-laws through some basic handgun skills. I used a 1911 in .45 a Glock 17 (9mm) and a 9mm Sig P938. I tried to avoid making recommendations, just giving them the pros and cons of the two platforms. The Sig was only to illustrate the difference in recoil from large frame to small. They both shot the 1911 more accurately and comfortably than the Glock.

        Now I’ll let them stew and see what they do. I’m guessing we’ll shoot mine some more before they decide anything. That will give me a chance to introduce revolvers into the mix.

    2. avatar SoCalJack says:

      What do you suggest for a first handgun?

      1. avatar enuf says:

        Anything that begins with an “R” and ends with a “uger”.

        Tho there’s lots of good stuff from Smith & Wesson too, tobe fair.

        1. avatar Fed Up With Liberals says:

          ;R’uger is my first recommendation too.

      2. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        Right now, whatever the store still has that you can afford. 😉

        Joking aside, for someone who is only going to buy one gun I would a recommend a 9mm compact or sub compact, likely single stack, from any of the major name brands; Glock, S&W, Ruger, Sig, Springfield (cur the haters), Kahr, and a number of others.

        They work. Ammo, magazines, and holsters are available can be cheap or expensive depending on your taste. Recoil won’t be too bad. The gun will be useful in home defense and also be something you can carry easily and conceal without difficulty. If your state has or enacts a magazine capacity limit you will likely already be below it. The caliber is common and well known and most of the one shot stop difference between calibers that we all thought Evan Marshall had proved the existence of the 1990s turned out to be data artifact.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Your first pistol should be a compact or full size. Subcompacts are hard to master. Someone who has little experience with firearms isn’t going to start carrying right away. If it’s going to be one and done then a compact is the way to go.

        2. avatar Art out West says:

          The Shield 9mm is a good first handgun. It is small enough to easily conceal, yet big enough to be functional. They are also very reasonably priced.

          The S&W SD9 is also a good starter gun.

          The compact version of the Ruger Security 9 is also practical. A lot of people seem to like the Taurus G2C.

          I’d also recommend the Ruger SR22 for beginners if they are looking at 22s.

        3. avatar Dude says:

          “Right now, whatever the store still has that you can afford.”

          That’s the correct answer, but before the virus hit, you could pick up a Ruger for $300 or less.

        4. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          “Your first pistol should be a compact or full size. Subcompacts are hard to master.”

          Preach it. Especially striker-fired subcompacts…

      3. avatar Art out West says:

        My first handgun was a used .22lr revolver (NEF R92 6″ barrel, 9 shot, DA). I paid $115 for it about ten years ago. Fun inexpensive little gun.

        I might be kinda weird in that I started buying rifles about fifteen years before I got my first handgun. I started out with a .22 rifle for plinking, later added a Mosin, and then didn’t get any more guns for a long time.

        Over the last decade, I’ve bought a ton. The Democrats pursuaded me to buy a variety of pistols, carbines, shotguns, etc. Obama, Hillary, Biden, Pelosi, Feinstein, are excellent salespeople.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Ain’t they something. Now they’ve even got non gun people lining up at gun stores.

        2. avatar onestab says:

          My first handgun was (still is) a blued Model 35 Smith target sight 6″ kit gun in .22. My Dad knew a State Trooper who had it. My Dad took me and my paper route money to the gent and it was mine! It came with a hand carved floral pattern holster. Still my favorite woods outfit!

      4. avatar Dude says:

        For the first, I would say a 9mm that could double as a carry gun and home defense gun. Not too big and not too small.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          I might propose the noble Glock 48.

      5. avatar LarryinTX says:

        6-shot .357 revolver.

        1. avatar Tommy357 says:

          Bingo. Easy on the shooter with .38 special loads, fun to shoot with .357, and good way to learn trigger discipline in DA mode.

          S&W Model 19 was my first handgun purchase and it’s a great starter. Served as my home defense and deep woods hiking gun for decades, while the subsequently purchased G19 gathered dust until I moved to a state with more permissive carry laws.

      6. avatar Jacob says:

        Personally, my first handgun was a 500 magnum because I was an idiot. First round I shot out of the 500 magnum was a 750 grain, makes me even more of an idiot. I never, NEVER, load more than one round at a time. Bottom line… Dont buy a 500 magnum, stick with a 9mm/45

    3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I grew up with 1911s and the platform will always be my favorite.

      However, all my go-to gats are now Glocks. I like them and would heartily recommend them. They are, of course, a very different design than a 1911, but the comparison is like stick shift vs. automatic transmission. They both have their pros & cons, and not everyone is suited for a stick shift car. The 1911 has too many controls and things to think about for every newbie I’ve ever taken to the range. They’ve all preferred the simplicity of Glocks.

      I myself don’t like XDs and wouldn’t take one if you gave it to me for free, but I support whatever people choose if it works for them. After all, if I ever find myself in a position where I need backup and someone provides it, I’m not gonna care one whit about the type of gun in his hand…just how good his aim is. 🙂

      1. avatar Ing says:

        If anybody ever does give you an XD, please keep me in mind; I would love to adopt a couple more of them.

        1. avatar JG says:

          I can always add a free XD to my collection.

      2. avatar Dave G. says:

        Haz:
        I’m only replying to you because newbies are reading this stuff, and they ought to see another opinion about Springfield XDs. I have two of them: an XD-9 subcompact Mod. 2 and an XDs-9 Mod. 2. I like them both, especially because of the grip safety. If you wrap your hand around the grip, you’ve released the safety.

        The XD-9 subcompact Mod. 2 is a tack driver, since I had a Powder River trigger job installed in it. But it wasn’t bad before that. And it is a double stacker with good capacity. However, to me, it’s just a little too bulky for concealed carry. Also, the trigger job I had put on it made it just a little too easy for me to touch off resulting in an occasional unintended double tap. So, if I ever carry it again, I’m going to have a stiffer trigger spring put into it.

        The XDs-9 Mod. 2 is slimmer than the XD-9 Subcompact Mod. 2 and, therefore, easier to carry, but being a single stacker, it doesn’t have the same capacity as the XD-9 Subcompact. But it does work well for me IWB.

        Both are easier for me to shoot than the Ruger LC9s I used to carry, because I can hang on to them better than I could the Ruger. However, the Ruger is a good pistol too, and another person might not have the same problem with it that I have.

        Finally, try it BEFORE you buy it, IF you can. That’s something I have not always been able to do and have occasionally been stung thereby.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Yep, I personally someone who swears by his EDC XD compact, and as I said…I support whatever people choose for themselves. ‘Murica.

          But if I ever find myself as the recipient of one, I’ll probably use it only to learn how to become an amateur “armorer” on it, and then it’ll be relegated as a SHTF gun and put into a hidden cache container somewhere along my bug out/in route. Or kept as a barter gun.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question (and apparently a problem proofreading) says:

          Ugh.

          “I personally know someone…”

        3. avatar Geoff "Trolls, the other white meat" PR says:

          “Ugh.”

          You really have a bug up your ass, as usual.

          I had no problem whatsoever understanding what he was saying. So, we should all submit our comments to you for your personal approval before posting them?

          That’s what a Fascist would like, you know.

          Good thing we cleared that up, I’d say… 😉

        4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          @Geoff,

          Was your reply meant for me, or for Dave?

          Sorry if I gave the impression that I require submission of others’ comments to me for my approval (like a Fascist, as you said), but I’m confused as to how it seems that way.

        5. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I second Dave’s comments on the XD, particularly the grip safety. I’ve been doing this for over 50 years, and I contend the Glock trigger is FAR too light and short (stock) for a gun with no manual safety. I have had an unintentional *triple*-tap at a training course with the instructor’s loaner Glock! And then geniuses take them to smiths to make the triggers lighter and shorter! So far it is not my EDC, but I have a XDM 3.8 Compact which seems awful nice, comes with one 13-rd mag and one 19-rd mag, pretty darn extreme capability spread! I have difficulty even imagining how a Glock can compete in any way.

      3. avatar Mark H says:

        I can think of no good reason to drive an automatic instead of a stick-shift. I hate those things almost as much as I hate striker fired guns with triger-dingus “safeties”.

    4. avatar enuf says:

      Agreed. Bad idea to suggest a foot and thigh shooter like a Glock as a first gun.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I’ve never shot myself with a Glock. Finger off the trigger. The SD9 is a lot like a Glock (with a heavier trigger). Maybe that would be better for a new shooter.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Finger off the trigger provides zero protection against “twig through the trigger guard reholstering”. Or holster strap, or backpack strap, shirttail, and on and on. To each his own, a grip safety does not interfere in any way, unless your goal is to live dangerously.

    5. avatar Arc - the annoying one says:

      My G19 is my first personally owned pistol, but I played with all kinds of weapons before it. Nothing wrong with a Glock / striker fire being a first timer’s pistol if they aren’t stupid.

      Two of the reasons I picked a Glock, #1 is cheap and reliable, #2, no training required for family members who might need to use it. No thumb safeties which will just cause more panic if the gun isn’t working when they need it to, its pick up and shoot, or rack the slide and shoot.

      Anyone can figure that out just from hollywood.

    6. avatar Curtis in Illinois says:

      I sold my Glocks to buy other guns that I liked better, but the fact is Glocks are simple to operate, simple to disassemble, clean and reassemble, rock-solid reliable and more accurate than 99% of the people shooting them.

      They come with three (3) magazines, a cleaning brush and a cheap lock, and a nifty plastic carrying case.

      If a new shooter told me he was buying a Glock as his first gun, I would not try to dissuade him.

      1. avatar Arc - The annoying one says:

        Three? Mine only came with two… 🙁

    7. avatar frank speak says:

      share your opinion about glocks…[no safety]….first handgun should be as simple as possible…[revolver?]…secondly: you get what you pay for….

    8. avatar Donttreadonme says:

      To each his own. Proper fundamentals is the key to safe firearm handling.

  2. avatar SpeleoFool says:

    The most expensive part of buying a gun is your next 5 guns.

    1. avatar ChoseDeath says:

      Ah yes, one of my people 😃

    2. avatar BradB says:

      I’d cite a source but I forget who said this. The thing that drives the artist to create the next masterpiece is the dissatisfaction with the last one.

      Example: I love my new (fill in the blank) in 9mm. Got a .45 and a 9 now. Hmmmm… Maybe I should pick up one in .40. Full size or mid? Maybe I should get a .40 in midsize and a 9 in compact.

      Or should I go for a 10mm?

      1. avatar enuf says:

        The answer to all the above questions is “YES”.

        However, you did not mention “Should I get this in a .22 just for the fun of it?”

        Also a “YES” 🙂

        1. avatar Dave G. says:

          Never had a .22 handgun, so a .22 is going to be my next purchase. It will either a Ruger SP101 or a S&W Mod. 63. I’m still on the fence…

        2. avatar Dave G. says:

          either BE

          Dammit. Where’s the edit button???

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        That used to be my thinking as well for years. Then I realized I had so many, in multiple calibers, so I finally streamlined the handguns to 9mm for main use and .22LR for plinking. My life became so much easier.

        1. avatar BradB says:

          I’m not there yet. I own most of the mainstream calibers. It’s a trade-off between streamlining or having something in the safe for whatever ammo you can find. I tend to err on the side of being prepared. In a long ammo drought, if I suddenly find a box of .357 Sig or .44 Magnum, I’m back in business. Besides, I have lots of grandkids and everybody is going to get a gat or two from their ol’ pa. That’s when I’ll streamline.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Congrats on the grandkids. Good that you have plans to gift them some of the gats.

          I myself would love to have a lever carbine rifle + revolver combo in .44 Mag. That would be my preferred exception to my “streamlined” rule.

        3. avatar BradB says:

          Haz, Maybe we should start a fundraising charity. I think we’ve hit on a catchy name. “Gats for Grandkids”.

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        No .357 Sig?

        1. avatar BradB says:

          And .38 Super! I forgot that one too. Thanks for the reminder.

    3. avatar enuf says:

      Truth! Justice!! And The American Way!!!

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        LOL, I was **just** singing the Krypton theme in my head about an hour ago.

        French horn begins at marker 0:50 in this special version from the opening of Superman Returns.

        1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          What a raw deal Chris and Dana got. And their only kid was an orphan at age 12…

    4. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

      Dude! You stopped at five? I have more than five 9mm handguns, Then there are the revolvers and the rifles and the shotguns. Don’t forget the reloading gear, holsters, slings, cleaning stuff….

    5. avatar Ing says:

      You ain’t kidding. The most expensive part of this whole gun ownership thing is paying for all the FUN you’re going to want to have.

    6. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Five ????? ……Slacker

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        All he said was that the next 5 could be counted as a cost for the first one. After #6, you need to realize the next one has nothing to do with the first one, any more.

  3. avatar David Bradford says:

    Don’t forget $20 to $1020 and an empty drawer for however many holsters you have to buy and try before you find one that works for you. 😉

    1. avatar enuf says:

      I have a large clear plastic box in my closet, the sort with the two interlocking lid panels, which rather resembles that remark….

    2. avatar S R says:

      I guess I got lucky. I only had to buy about five holsters before I found one I really like for concealed carry. Enough of it rides outside the pants that it looks dorky. But I already look dorky. The important thing is it’s comfortable and it works.

    3. avatar Hoodlum says:

      Amen

  4. avatar Fingers04501 says:

    Great article for the beginning shooter. I just walked my Brother-in-Law through his first rifle purchase. Got an unfired Ruger American in .308 for a song. Luckily I had some spare stuff (cheap bipod, sight-in targets, etc) to give him and he already had eye/hearing protection from our pistol shooting, but he didn’t factor in ammo, case, scope, rings, etc. He was plenty surprised to find his first trip to the range with it cost around $600 when all was said and done, and only about half of it was his rifle! He’s hooked however, so now I’ve got a range buddy!

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      When advising new shooters, I tell them their first few years are the most expensive because of all the capital costs.

      In my part of the world, you need to have approved storage which must pass inspection. When asked about safes, I ask how many guns? I’m usually told 3 or 4. I tell them to spend the little extra and get a safe that will hold 10-15. Why? You will always buy more.

      And then eye and hearing protection, ammunition (which often turns into reloading equipment), ammunition storage, cleaning kit, range bag, shooting mat, spotting optics, and more.

  5. avatar Randy Jones says:

    Dude, You left out range time, more practice ammo, a CCDW class, other training material and classes, the cost to join a decent 2A group. A decent cover garment for winter, fall/spring and summer rig… This could go on for days…

    The there is the other handgun you need to get, I believe the proper name of it is “The Next One”. because that’s all I need; the next one.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That’s nearly all I have ever bought. “Nearly”, because when I switched from .380 to 9mm, the concept that if I ever used it the cops would take it struck home, so instead of “the next one” I went shopping for, and bought, “the next pair”. Keep an identical spare in your safe, with an identical spare holster. Wearing an identical laser.

  6. avatar d says:

    How about training?????????????????????????????

    Every gun owners NEEDs to know the legal aspect on the use of lethal force and how to deploy it.

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Reminds me of the old saw on how much does that first cord of firewood cost.
    50-60 thousand depending on the truck, trailer, saw, gloves, chaps, medical bill deductibles, etc.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Doing it the hard way is lots cheaper and it warms you twice.

      (I tried splitting wood once. *Once*…)

  8. avatar Trever says:

    The biggest surprise for me when I started out was how much I’d be spending to actually go shooting. I’m just a “two boxes on the weekend” recreational shooter, but that first year, my $400 handgun cost me almost $2,000 once all expenses are figured in.

  9. avatar balisong says:

    200 rds? Ha! 2000 rds, MAYBE, if you’re a fast learner, with $1000 more spent on a good coach, lots of reading and video watching about “how to”. lots of dryfire and Airsoft. Half of it can be a .22lr conversion unit or trainer .22 like your “duty” gun, but it’s still going to cost more than the gun, considering ammo prices these days. you have to learn one handed stuff, flashlight, night fire, hitting moving targets, hitting while YOU are moving,hitting from awkward positions, proper use of cover, fast draw from open wear, then ccw fast draw. Then you need as much more time and money spent on hand to hand training, so you dont get your gun shoved up your ass.

    1. avatar PRoM says:

      You don’t need to pass the Q Course to be able to defend yourself. Most of the stuff you mentioned will never be needed in an average DGU by an average person.
      All these classes are just a way for instructors to part high-speed operator Kyle from his hard-earner money that his parents earned (hat tip to Dom).

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Misses the point! The courses are FUN, and you wind up a little better. You’re paying for a good time!

    2. avatar Red in CO says:

      Why does a new gun owner “need” all that? Don’t get me wring, I do all that stuff and I love it, but the vast majority of gun owners just need to be worried about some thug trying to take their stuff. Very, VERY few criminals possess any degree of ballistic sophistication (hence why they are almost always outshot by cops whose required training is usually a joke). Sure, advanced shooting techniques definitely aren’t a BAD thing to possess and I would ALWAYS advocate for someone to get more “training” (air quotes because you don’t need to spend thousands on some bullshit wannabe high speed low drag weekend course; you’re arguably better off with some good online tutorials and then a shitload of practice while filming yourself), but in the VAST majority of private citizen DGUs those skills you mention are irrelevant. Statistically, very few of us will ever have to fire our weapons at another person, and in those already relatively rare instances, some basic proficiency is sufficient. There’s a thousand things that are more likely to kill you than not being able to effectively engage multiple tangos at 100 yards

  10. avatar Texican says:

    Need a holster as well. Even if you dont carry outside the home.

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      Yeah, that seems like a pretty significant omission to me. Frankly, I wold put that above cleaning supplies in terms of priorities. The whole point of a handgun is that it’s a weapon of convenience over firepower. That convenience is reduced quite a bit without SOME sort of holster

  11. avatar David Bradford says:

    In a quick and dirty, paper napkin calculation I figure in the last 3 years I have spent roughly equal amounts on firearms and goods for them (ammo, lights, lasers, glass, suppressor, storage, range gear…) + another 25-30% on fees/services (CPL, FFL transfers, range time, 2A org memberships/donations, Tax stamps, insurance, Gun Trust…) No wonder I’m broke.

  12. avatar enuf says:

    About practice ammo. Worked thru a 1,000 rounds of Blazer 9mm aluminum cased that I’d bought cheap off a GunBroker auction. Not all gone yet but time to order a new case and this time the cheapest non-steel case available was Herters at $8.49 a box of 50. That’s a bunch cheaper than I keep hearing people claim.

    Herter’s is now a house brand of Cabela’s/Bass Pro.

    All I do is watch the ads, they come in the email. Sign up for Cabela’s and Bass Pro email sales and order online. Select Free Ship To Store, pick up for me is about ten or so miles away.

    Even if I had to pay shipping it’d still be cheaper than these “$13 to $21” a box claims.

    Final point, doesn’t matter if they run out as both stores fill backorders at the price when ordered. I’ve had deliveries come in from one to thirteen months after a sale ended, the sale price was always honored.

    Works for me.

  13. avatar GunnyGene says:

    All a first timer needs to do is get a short piece of 2×4, carve it in the general shape of a pistol, paint it black and write Glock on it with a magic marker. It will get them arrested or dead just as fast as a real one, and they’ve saved $700. 😉

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    Good overview for a beginner’s needs. Everything’s on hold as I get my vision fixed(I hope!) I’ve spent far more outfitting & shooting my AR. Happy I had it during the recent riots and looting!!!

  15. avatar Bortan says:

    Reading through all the comments I have to ask: “Am I the last revolver fan here?” Does no one consider them viable first guns?
    Hint: if you don’t, you’re wrong. In case you were wondering.

    1. avatar Curtis in Illinois says:

      I would not try to dissuade someone from buying a revolver as his/her first gun. I would, however, steer them away from the lightweight 2″ snubby .357 Magnums that are apt to inflict pain and jump out of your hand with every shot.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        The upside on that is, pawn shop Airweights tend to have very few rounds through them…

    2. avatar jwm says:

      I am a great revolver fan. The truth is a k frame is all the handgun most of us will ever need. If the person in question has no desire to be a POTG and just wants a gun for peace of mind then I still recommend the k frame.

      But if that person shows a desire to dip more than a toe in the gun world I recommend something in 9mm as a first gun.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        A Model 10 with a 4″ barrel is a wonderful thing.

        1. avatar Bortan says:

          I bought my first model 10 about 6 months ago.
          Really liked it. Put in Wolfe springs.
          ABSOLUTELY FELL IN LOVE.
          On hunt for second one. Just in case the first needs a rest or something.

    3. avatar Red in CO says:

      Revolvers are fantastic! But the inherently long and heavy trigger pull takes quite a bit more practice to gain proficiency with than any halfway decent semi auto trigger. Also, at this point, the only practical advantage of revolvers is that they can shoot magnum rounds without a fundamental (and expensive) redesign, and they still have some value for deep concealment. For new shooters, magnum rounds are likely to be too much, and snubbies have quite a bit of felt recoil and are pretty tough to shoot well without large amounts of practice. Personally, I’d be leery of recommending a revolver to any new shooter who isn’t planning to become a POTG and just wants something they can stash in a drawer “just in case”

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I’d happily recommend a revolver for a non-gun person to stash in their dresser. Just make sure it has a steel frame, a 3″ or longer barrel, and is chambered in . 38sp (or .357 running 38 ammo). A 4″ Model 10 would be perfect. A cheap Rossi model 68 would work if they were poor.

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        you point it…you pull the trigger…it goes BANG!…..[every time]….and that’s all these newbies care about…no need to complicate things…in most cases they’re not really interested in more than that….they don’t really share your enthusiasm…..

  16. avatar kevin says:

    For a first timer, I’d add 500rds of practice ammo $150, a training course $150, a lock box or safe $100.
    In Calif. For a first time purchaser, don’t forget the firearm safety certificate: $25.
    If you want a CCW: $100 application, $110 livescan, CCW training (required) $200, holster $50

    Rule of thumb: Cost of the gun and double it, give or take.

  17. avatar jwm says:

    Let’s not forget the cost of a safe. Bought one. Filled it up. Declared myself done buying. Lied to myself. Bought a second safe. Declared I was done. Lied to myself yet again. Bought…….

    It’s a worse addiction than crack cocaine.

  18. avatar Hoodlum says:

    Holster and belt.

  19. avatar Kendahl says:

    If you are brand new to handguns, your biggest afterward expense is likely to be a training class that teaches you how to handle your gun safely and shoot it accurately. Other than that, you need a cleaning kit and some way to keep the gun out of the wrong hands. As long as you can get it through the frame, a bike lock attached to your house is adequate. Ammunition is a recurring expense.

  20. avatar Wayne says:

    Now do a story on the cost of learning to use is safely since there are millions of new gun owners out there. Buying your first gun is like buying your first leer jet. You need to learn how it works.

  21. avatar Someone says:

    Only one load and one reload of defensive ammo? How are you going to find out if your new gun will work reliably with your chosen JHP rounds?
    You know, those jacketed hollow points that don’t shoot through inner walls if you miss…

    Yeah, I know that GLOCK brand GLOCK will most likely eat anything, but I would still not call the GLOCK 19 a Toyota Camry. Corolla, maybe. G17 is a Camry and G21 is Avalon. Only much less comfortable. 😛

  22. avatar Red in CO says:

    Another thing I would add: bigger is better. There’s a trend I’ve noticed among people who aren’t 100% comfortable around firearms (particularly among women, although not exclusively) to gravitate toward small, lightweight handguns because they seem like they’d be easier to handle. All else being equal, the smaller the handgun is, the more difficult it will be to shoot in every way. Less to hold onto, shorter sight radius, more felt recoil due to lighter weight, etc. I would VERY STRONGLY advise anyone looking to take the plunge to buy something at least the size of a double stack compact, if not a full size handgun.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Started my bride with a .25 Beretta. She couldn’t hit shit with it, neither could I. Took me a year to get her to try my Python, complete with hot .357 loads, and she discovered I am not a god, she could fire it and hit what she was aiming at, too! Probably an error. Ah, well, that was 55 years ago, now she tells me when I get a new Python, she wants one, too. I think she’s a keeper. Finally sold that .25 around 10 years ago, still couldn’t hit anything, and if you did hit something the BB would bounce off. But sold it for over 10X what I paid new. A HIT!! Finally a hit!!

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I love playing with those pocket pistols. Great range toys. But I normally carry a slightly bigger gun.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      they’re not going to use this thing unless they absolutely have to…which means point-blank range when there is no alternative….it’s all most of them are looking for…..

  23. avatar Daniel S. says:

    And you never added a cost for training class, or at the minimum firearm range time. Of course there are places outdoors (depending where you live) that you can go practice. But seriously, at least a beginner class is good to take, if you are new to shooting. As for maintenance, that is something you could also have done by a gunsmith at a local range or gun shop that offers the services. Not everyone will want to maintain there own weapon, but it is certainly well worth knowing how to; as you made need to know how to disassemble to a degree for a variety of reasons. As the writer stated; the cost of the firearm is just the beginning. Shop around for ammo, you can find better prices on good product that what was listed as the range of pricing here.

  24. avatar Jeffrey Epstein says:

    With a Glock all you really need is some cleaning patches, a 4 oz bottle of CLP, glasses and ear muffs.

    A brass brush and a real cleaning rod is better, but you would be ok for a while.

  25. avatar Christopher Erickson says:

    I did not read through all 72 responses, so forgive me if it was mentioned above…add to the cost for a holster and belt!!!

  26. avatar Kap says:

    only problem is accessories, {ammo) especially in the summer around July; we have a family get together Except this year! anyway we bring our favorite weapons, and do some shooting; usually 2k rounds each weapon is about right! caliber range from .22 to 44 mag, in pistols, .22 LR and .223 rarely anything bigger occasionally a 12 ga

  27. avatar tommy2fer says:

    Guns are worse than Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The HD originally stood for HUNDREDS of DOLLARS….any more it’s THOUSANDS of DOLLARS….for all the expenditures after the motorcycle purchase.
    Always thought they should give you the bike, because of the expenditures afterward….sorta like a drug pusher giving out the first fix.
    I’ve found guns to be the slipperiest of slopes……unrestricted access to the internet…….zero adult supervision in my life. AW, but then, life is good.

  28. avatar Darkman says:

    After taking the time to read all the comments. The most important thing needed after buying a firearm. Is something that costs nothing. Something One should have before buying a firearm. The correct mindset. If you’re buying it for plinking and going to the range that’s one thing. If you’re buying it for protection. That requires a a whole new thought process. Killing paper targets requires safety and practice. Killing a person is a whole new ball game. Can I really Do It? Shoot someone…That’s a question that Must be addressed and answered long before the time comes to Shoot Someone. Be Safe Out There and as always Keep Your Powder Dry.

  29. avatar onestab says:

    ALWAYS a good quality double action revolver for your first handgun. ALWAYS.

  30. avatar adverse6 says:

    I did not buy a firearm to make me safe, I bought one because I knew how to use it to defend myself, or others, if ever needed. It is not a range toy, it is not to intimidate, it does not make me a better man, it does not make me a potential hero. It’s a tool, to be used when all else fails. It’s a responsibility, not to be taken lightly.

    1. avatar PMinFl says:

      adverse 6: That might be the best comment today, at least in the top three ! Thank You.

  31. avatar GPM says:

    So… As I am trying to purchase my first gun, the best suggestion is a Glock?

  32. avatar Hal Eckersly says:

    What should be included in the cost is actually RENTING/SHOOTING THE GUN BEFORE BUYING.

    That will probably be another $100.

    Why would anyone invest $800 in a firearm they can’t shoot straight?

    Over 3 million idiots, uh, first time gun buyers have entered the ranks of the armed the past 3 months. It was scary just being in the gun store with these idiots, uh, first time gun buyers. That being said, these idiots, uh, first time gun buyers got an education in California Gun Laws: 30 day waiting period…starts when the gun store actually RECEIVES your gun because they need to enter the gun serial number on the registration. BACKGROUND CHECK for ammo at the cost of $20 if you haven’t bought a gun since 1990, $5 otherwise. Pass a “gun safety test”…$25.

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