I deeply appreciate each person who writes in via facebook, our online form or my email address asking for a little advice in this otherwise overwhelming role of being a first time gun owner. I recently received this note from a woman who has clearly been though a lot. Check it out…

“I am a recent widow and feel the need for a gun, living alone. Today I bought a used Ruger LCR. I know nothing about guns. It cost me about $600.00 from [a gun store on] Long Island. it no longer has the 3 moon clips which, when I called the dealer, he said I don’t need. I am wondering if I made a mistake. I buy nothing “used” and I ask myself why this well-thought of gun was turned in. As it was put on my credit card – and I have to visit the PD before I can pick it up, I can still cancel the gun. What is your opinion? I sincerely appreciate any advice you may give me, as I am a novice. (I did not like the kind of gun that you have to pull on the top part to fire – I told you I know NOTHING!) Thank you for any advice you can give me!”
First, I’m so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. It sounds to me like you paid a little too much but I don’t really know the market in your area. Definitely do some comparison shopping. Seems like you should be able to buy that gun brand new for around that price. I always prefer brand new guns, but if they are used and checked by a gunsmith you are good to go.

The LCR is a good gun, though it is pretty small. And the thing to know when you are buying your first gun is that the smaller the gun, generally, the more you will feel it when you shoot. And the larger the size, the easier it will be to shoot. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Think of it this way- the more wood and/or metal on the gun, the more the gun will absorb the recoil. The less material on the gun, the more the recoil will go to your hands.

As for caliber, I’d recommend a .38 Special. It’s larger with more stopping power than a .22 but still very comfortable to shoot.

Lastly, and most importantly, please take a class. Get some instruction for your own safety. You might even find that it’s really fun! Once you get some good training, you’ll be much more confident with your gun. There are wonderful all-female gun groups out there that will help you perfect your aim, keep your skills up and perhaps make some new friends.

I hope that helps and please follow up with any other questions you may have.


“Dear Natalie, Thank you SO much! I did buy a .38 Special. I also got the name of a teacher/trainer. I am looking forward to doing all of it. It took more than a year to get my license here in NY. It is a tough town for getting legal guns. It is very easy to get them on the street. I love your site and appreciate you taking the time to write to me – and to extend your condolences. I am so grateful.”

I am equally grateful for your time and thoughtfulness as a new gun owner. We look forward to hearing all about your gun fun experiences soon! Please stay in touch.