Some Thoughts on New Guns (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: March 29, 2020

Suddenly we all have been tossed into uncertain times, and this uncertainty has caused many around not only Montana, but also the nation to look to firearms ownership for protection of self, family, friends, and neighbors. 

I am a Federal Firearms Licensee and a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. As an NSSF member I receive a lot of information concerning the firearms industry including the number of background checks run through NICS. Last week, the NICS volume increased 300% over the previous period in 2019. This has created a huge backlog at the FBI and has caused innumerable delays in folks being able to take possession of their guns. 

While I am elated that so many Americans have decided to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights, as an NRA firearms instructor I have a few suggestions for those who are or soon will be firearms owners and users. 

First, if you are contemplating purchasing a firearm and have no experience with guns, get some advice. I strongly suggest you seek the council of a recognized and certified instructor. Most instructors I know would be happy to help you choose a gun for your needs. Some may even be willing to go to the gun store with you or have guns you can “try on.” A family member or a trusted friend may also be of help if they are familiar and experienced with the type of gun you are interested in. 

It is important that you “try on” the gun you intend to buy. Be sure you can operate the all the controls, and that the gun, especially handguns, fits your hand. Most of the folks you find at gun counters are fairly knowledgeable, but you may on occasion find someone who is only interested in selling what they have in stock. Beware of the dude with the attitude; it will do you no good at all if you buy a gun you can’t get a good grip on and is chambered in a caliber you cannot shoot effectively. Here is a link to a very good article for new gun owners:

If you are looking for instruction, I’d suggest one or more of the many NRA approved firearms courses. Here’s a link to the NRA’s class search:

It may be a little difficult at this time to find an NRA Basic Firearms course until the Covid-19 crisis has passed, but I strongly recommend the NRA Basic Pistol Course-Blended. The first part of this course is an online presentation designed for shooters of all experience. I recommend it for everyone. When finished you will receive a certificate that will allow you to complete the review and live fire portion of the course with an instructor near you. Here’s the link:
The cost is $60 and well worth it.

For those of you who love to hunt, the NRA has an experienced hunter education course. This course is not for state certification, but it can be a refresher course for all of us; best part, it’s FREE! I suggest that everyone with a gun take the course regardless of experience. Here’s the link:

If you are a new, novice, or experienced gun owner and have any questions, I’d be more than happy and willing to try to answer them. If I can’t give you an honest and factual answer, I’ll find someone or someplace where you can get the information you need. Send me an email at:
Just put the word “question” in the subject line.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore

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