New or second-hand? From an auction or from a dealer? We answer some of your questions ...

Where’s the best place to buy a first gun?

The best way is from a gun shop. The employees there will be experts and able to answer all of your questions, as they will have a vast amount of knowledge between them.

A dealer will check you for gun fit and make key suggestions. The type of shooting you’re planning on going in for is also highly relevant, as is how often you will be going out. All this helps the dealer to build up a picture of you and your needs – after which he will suggest the right model for you and your budget.

Furthermore, the dealer will also be able to help you through all the legalities of being a gun owner – advising on getting your shotgun and firearms certificates, how to keep and transport the gun and the etiquette of gun ownership.

Don’t delay on applying for your shotgun or firearms certificate. It can take a while for it to come through, depending on where you live in the country.

Should you buy a new or secondhand gun?

Well – that depends on several things, not the least of which is budget. There are advantages to buying a new gun and advantages to buying a secondhand one.

Beretta Silver Pigeon

The Beretta Silver Pigeon is a popular first choice

Why you should buy a new gun

  • If you invest in a new gun you will get a guarantee from the manufacturer or importer so you can have confidence in knowing that it is going to turn in a certain level of performance. Spare parts will be easier to order
  • You don’t have to worry about the gun being mistreated by a previous owner

But …

  • A new gun will be more expensive than a secondhand one. Besides the gun itself, you’re going to have to apply and buy a shotgun or firearms certificate, invest in a secure gun cabinet and have some lessons. All this adds up.
  • A new gun depreciates quickly
  • You might want to upgrade to a new gun after a year or so of starting shooting – particularly if you have bought a beginner’s gun.

Why you should buy a secondhand gun

  • You’ll find more choice of guns to fit your budget
  • A dealer won’t sell you a bad gun
  • It’s illegal to sell a gun that’s unsafe
  • A well-chosen gun will hold its value for a few years

But …

  • You almost certainly won’t get a guarantee with a secondhand gun
  • It might be hard to get spare parts

What about buying a gun privately?

  • It’s worth thinking about because you might be offered something special
  • But take an experienced Shot with you to check the gun out to see if it is safe (and worth the money)
  • Make sure the seller holds a certificate
  • Tell the police if you make a purchase

Read up on guns

It’s worth reading several gun reviews before you start going out shopping. You’ll find a comprehensive list of gun reviews here on Shooting UK and can search by manufacturer and/or price

Finally – the legal part

  • Keeping to the letter of the law with gun ownership is crucial
  • A dealer will help you apply for your new certificate
  • A shotgun or firearm certificate doesn’t limit the amount of guns you can own
  • The police must be kept aware of every purchase you make