Written by Guest | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Our goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
Guest Post by John McAdams
Thinking about purchasing a new rifle, handgun, or shotgun? That’s great news! However, before you purchase a new firearm, you should also know that there are some other important items you’ll need to purchase in order to safely use, store, and maintain your firearm.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed though. Most of these other pieces of gear won’t cost too much, and they’ll likely last a long time as long as you take care of them. Here are a few of the most important things new gun owners need to buy with a new firearm:
1. Carrying case
First, you’ll need some sort of carrying case. Brand new firearms normally come in a box, which is great for shipment and long-term storage at a retail location. Unfortunately, that box isn’t the most user-friendly choice if you’re taking your new gun to the shooting range or out hunting.
For that reason, a padded carrying case should be one of your first other purchases after buying a new gun. The good news is that just about every sporting goods store will have a wide selection of reasonably priced padded gun cases that are well suited for just about any rifle, handgun, or shotgun.
If you don’t plan on flying anywhere with your new gun, then all you’ll need is a soft carrying case. You can get a good gun case for around $20–$30, and it will work perfectly to protect your firearm on drives to your local shooting range or out to the woods for a weekend hunting trip.
However, if you plan on doing some more serious travel involving an airline flight with your new gun, then you’ll need a hard-sided and lockable case. These cases are usually larger, heavier, and more expensive (say $100–$200) than soft cases. That being said, these cases are also more durable and will provide more protection to your firearm while you’re traveling.
2. Different types of ammo
When you pick up your new gun, I also recommend buying a couple of different kinds of ammunition as well. Even though they’re produced to almost identical specifications, it’s still not unusual to see gigantic differences in performance when using the exact same ammunition in two different firearms of the same model.
For instance, not all .308 Winchester ammo is created equal, and many different companies produce a wide variety of ammunition for that cartridge. Some rifles prefer Winchester ammo, but others perform better with ammo from Remington, Nosler, Hornady, or some other manufacturer. The same goes for bullet weights; 150-grain bullets might shoot the most accurately out of one rifle while 168-grain bullets might work best in another rifle.
The only way to know for sure what brand and load of ammunition functions the most reliably and shoots the most accurately in your firearm is to test out a couple of different loads and see what sort of results you get.
3. Ear and eye protection
Next, make sure you have good ear and eye protection. Permanent hearing loss can occur after exposure to just one gunshot if you’re not protecting your ears. The same goes for your eyes.
Fortunately, hearing loss is 100 percent preventable, and all you need to do is wear ear protection while you’re hunting or shooting. Ear plugs are a lot better than no protection at all, but ear muffs often provide even more protection than ear plugs.
There are also several reasonably priced electronic ear muff options out there that block loud noises, but amplify all other sounds at the same time. Not only do they protect your hearing, but they improve it at the same time. Indeed, these ear muffs can even help you carry on a normal conversation with another person while you’re wearing them.
When it comes to eye protection, do NOT just wear regular glasses though! In the rare event of a ricochet or other high energy impact, regular glasses can shatter and actually present more of a hazard to your eyes than no protection at all. When you’re shopping for eye protection, make sure you buy shooting glasses that are ANSI Z87.1 rated at a minimum, though glasses that meet the more stringent military (MIL-PRF-31013) standard are ideal.
Once again, these things don’t cost very much: a few dollars will buy a whole box of ear plugs, some basic ear muffs go for about $20, you can get a good pair of electronic ear muffs for about $50, and you can buy a set of high-quality eye protection for $5–$50.
Finally, buy an additional set of ear and eye protection to have on hand in case a friend or family member wants to join you at the range.
4. Gun cleaning kit
A quality firearm will last for many years as long as you regularly clean and maintain it. For that reason, a gun cleaning kit is another essential piece of gear to buy with your new gun.
At a minimum, you’ll need a cleaning rod, cleaning patches, cleaning brushes, cleaning solvent, and some gun lubricant/gun oil. Just about any sporting goods store will have a big selection of basic gun cleaning kits that include all of those items I just listed in the $20 range. My recommendation is to buy one of these kits at first, then add additional items to it in the future to build your own custom gun cleaning kit.
5. Safe storage
Finally, let’s talk about storing your new gun. Safe and secure storage is an important tenant of responsible gun ownership. Exactly how you go about doing that depends on your security concerns though.
Safe storage can be as simple as a locked closet or cabinet, which will help prevent children and/or a casual thief from accessing your firearm. You can also purchase a small handgun safe that helps keep your pistol secure, but still easily accessible if you need it for $50–$100.
Going up from there, you can buy a basic metal gun safe that is bigger and provides a little more protection for $100 or so. Extremely security-conscious gun owners can buy a very sturdy, fire-resistant safe that only the most determined thief can access, but these safes can go for well over $1,000.
That might seem like a lot of stuff to buy all at once. However, you should keep in mind that even though you’ll need to make a big initial purchase, most of these items (like ear and eye protection, cleaning kit, etc.) will work for multiple guns and will last for a very long time as well.
Additionally, buying a firearm is a big responsibility and you should give it the respect it deserves. For those reasons, you should treat all of those items as an investment that will help you get the best performance out of your new firearm for many years to come.
John McAdams is a proficient blogger, long-time hunter, experienced shooter, and veteran of combat deployments with the U.S. Army to Iraq and Afghanistan. John started The Big Game Hunting Blog in 2012 in order to help others fulfill their hunting dreams. John’s articles have been featured in outdoor publications like Bear Hunting Magazine, the Texas State Rifle Association, Texas Wildlife Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces.