First-Time Handgun Owner’s Guide

By Paul Carlson
Posted in #Skills
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First-Time Handgun Owner’s Guide

May 1st, 2020

9:19 runtime

Being a new firearms owner can have a steep learning curve. For some, the seemingly technical nature is one of the aspects that drew them to firearms. For others, that seemingly critical attention to technical details stood as an obstacle. The reality is that guns are deceivingly simple. Modern semi-auto handguns like the Springfield Hellcat are small, reliable, easy to carry and very easy to shoot. Beyond a solid understanding of responsible gun handling and a way to responsibly store your handgun, there is very little knowledge that should keep you from becoming a gun owner.

If you are a first-time gun buyer, the ins and outs of a semi-auto pistol can seem really confusing at first.

The Details

Many gun owners revel in knowing all of the nitty-gritty details about the guns that they own (and just about any other gun as well). Firearms ownership can be a fulfilling hobby for some. For others, owning a gun is nothing more than owning a tool to get a job done. There is nothing wrong with either approach.

Tools actually make a solid comparison to firearms in some ways. You don’t have to know the difference between a set of channel locks and a set of diagonal cutters to use them properly. At the same time, understanding some tool vocabulary can help to get the job done.

Learning how to take down your pistol for cleaning is not as tough as it first may seem.

I’ve worked to teach my children some tool terminology. It never fails that when my body is wedged under the washing machine I discover that I need a 10mm deep socket with a ¼” handle. It is a lot easier to ask one of my munchkins to grab the tool than to Houdini myself out and back into the workspace. To complete their task, they need to have some rudimentary vocabulary in tools.

Understanding the parts and controls of a new handgun is a must, but it is easier than you think.

I feel that the same example applies to guns. At some point all new gun owners have questions. When they do, communication is much simpler when the question is posed in understandable terms. It also makes sense that a gun owner that understands important terms is going to more easily understand the answer given.

The Springfield Armory Hellcat has a easy-to-use loaded chamber indicator just to the rear of the ejection port. Note how you can see the rim of the chambered round through the hole.

Is your gun vocabulary critical? Nope. Can it help you learn and communicate with others? Absolutely.

Hands On

Beyond knowing the proper terms, you also need to know what the parts of the gun are and what they do. Do you know what a frame and a slide is? How about a slide stop? Do you know how they work? These are important points to understand, and can be daunting to a first-time gun owner.

In the video at the top of the page, I worked to try and compress what I thought was helpful terminology into my overview of semi-auto handguns. My goal was to provide you with a set of important terms that you can use to help bolster your gun vocabulary as well as an understanding of what that terms actually mean. The result is that you will have the terms you need to be able to communicate effectively about semi-auto handguns so that you can continue your learning with your new handgun.

The sights of the Hellcat are the excellent U-Dot sights, made up of a U-notch rear and a tritium/luminescent front dot.

Also, feel free to click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to chime in with questions or join the conversation at The Armory Life Forum. I am certain that there will be lots of knowledgeable and patient experts willing to welcome you into The Armory Life!

Join the Discussion

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson is the owner of Safety Solutions Academy, LLC, a professional defensive shooting instructor, content creator in the firearms industry, and most importantly a husband and a father. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of critical defensive skill courses in more than a dozen states annually. When Paul’s not traveling to teach and work in the firearms industry, you can find him with his family, either on the range or in the mountains.

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