Things To Check Before Shooting Your New Gun

A sort of synthwave take on the FNH USA FNX-45.

Despite unhinged panic buying, “Out Of Stock” indicators everywhere, you’ve managed to square yourself away with a brand-new firearm and an allocation of ammo to feed it with. You grabbed some accessories, and some magazines. You’re finally ready to get down to business and run your new acquisition. So it’s off to the range…

But hang on - guns aren’t wrought by divinity. They’re made by people like you and me, people that sometimes make mistakes. You’ll need to check a few things before even one bullet leaves the barrel…

Modern production techniques have made manufacturing errors in firearms production rare for the most part. Even the ones that “make the news” only represent less than 1 percent of the total output. That being said, don’t take anything for granted. Check your weapon over. It’s not time-consuming, and it’ll save you a lot of grief and pain - even physical - down the road.

Here are a few important things to check on a newly-purchased gun, whether it’s new or used.

Brownells

Check The Contents Of The Box Or Case

If you’ve purchased a firearm new, check the contents of the case versus what the item description says. For example, a GLOCK 45 9mm pistol ships with 3 17-round magazines, the owner’s manual, a cleaning brush, and the (rather useless) cable lock.

If you’re purchasing at retail, the retailer can often supply something like a missing magazine with little to no problem. If you purchase used, make sure everything the seller says is to be included is included - if not, negotiate for a lower price. If he’s charging $600 for the whole kit and a magazine is missing despite his description, realistically you should only pay $580, for example.

Read The Fucking Manual - RTFM

I’ve been dealing with computers for most of my life in one capacity or another. We have acronyms for things. PEBKAC - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. ID10T Error - figure it out. HCF - Halt And Catch Fire. And my favorite - RTFM - Read The Fucking Manual.

Sure, it’s a (mostly male) conceit to just “wing it”, but like computers, most quality firearms will ship with a decent instruction manual. There’s a lot of answers contained therein, some of which are especially useful to the newbie Second Amendment Radical. One example I can think of is the procedure for taking down (disassembling) a gun. While taking down an AR-15 doesn’t vary much from manufacturer to manufacturer, in the world of pistols, everyone does it different. Just because you know how to take down a GLOCK doesn’t mean you’ll instinctively know how to take down a SIG Sauer pistol. Though grant it, Heckler & Koch’s VP9 is stupid easy to take down, even without a manual.

But yeah - read the damn thing. There’s useful stuff in the manual.

Gun shipped with a crappy one or none at all? Most manufacturers provide PDFs of their manuals these days. Worst-case, Duck-Duck-Go That Shit. DDGTS.

Check The Gun For Physical Defects

Sometimes you can tell a gun just isn’t going to go bang by looking at it. You usually see such glaringly-obvious examples of this when blue-city police departments trot out their latest “confiscations”. Sorry LAPD Rampart, it’s true and you should be ashamed of getting the sheep riled up.

Anwyays, the best time to do this is at the point of purchase, and before any funds are exchanged. Private or retail, any seller worth a damn will let you inspect the firearm. Check for rust, pitting, loose screws, strange rattling, and cracks. Even if something is slightly loose or cracked, don’t accept the firearm. Observe the four rules of firearm safety, and ask the seller/clerk if you can press the trigger a few times too.

A hairline crack on a pistol slide can turn into a major problem down the line. A missing cam pin on the bolt carrier group in an AR can spell disaster once you attempt to run it. A wobbly barrel on a shotgun isn’t a good thing really. Check for obstructions in any of the moving parts or barrel. Give it the once over.

Clean And Lubricate Your New Gun

Once you’ve accepted and paid for your new purchase, in theory you could just go to the range, load and make ready, and fire away. The gun will go bang, surely. But not for long. Most guns ship with only a light lubricant on them, mainly to protect against corrosion and the like. It’s not a true firearm lubricant per se. Take the gun down, clean and lubricate with a quality lubricant and cleaner, and re-assemble.

This doubly applies if the gun is a used purchase, of course.

AR-15 Barrels

Run A Full “Systems Check” - Dry Fire

Before you do any dry firing, verify the gun is unloaded, and that any ammunition or loaded magazines are not present. The goal here is to check all the firearm’s functions. Does the slide rack properly? Does the charging handle on your new AR-15 function as indicated? Does the safety go from safe to fire? Do the magazines load correctly? Run through a simulated course of fire, basically. If all is well, then it’s off to the range.

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