Rental Fundamentals: How to Narrow Your New Firearm Search

  • Michael Hicks

A firearm is one of the few things in life that stands a reasonable chance of being in your family for 100 years. Few other things fit into that category – furniture, knives, and perhaps a pet tortoise

Still swears by the Martini-Henry – “now that was a warrior’s rifle, by gum.”

That was true back in the days of blued steel and walnut, and it’s even more true now, as composite and polymer technology and metallurgy advance at unparalleled rates. 

It’s almost impossible to break some guns. Take the Glock 17, for instance. It’s been frozen into blocks of ice, run over by tanks, and left on the ocean floor for six months, and still operates flawlessly. 

Courtesy of GLOCK

Bottom line: If you’re planning on purchasing a weapon, whether for fun on the range, home defense, or the line of duty, you’ll likely have it for quite a while. 

That’s why it’s important to make sure that it’s right for you. It needs to fit your hand. It needs to shoot well. It needs to be operated under stress and pressure. It needs to be something you can show to the guy next to you at a ballet recital without being embarrassed. 

A great way to try a weapon out before you buy it is to rent it first. Many firing ranges offer gun rentals for an affordable price, and you can try it out with different types of ammunition. It may be wise to narrow your selection down to two or three, and then put them through their paces. 

Try the weapon from a variety of stances. Present from holstered (if your range permits) and see how it does with groups at 5 or 10 yards. See if you snatch the trigger. See how the recoil treats you. A hand cannon won’t do any good if you can’t keep it steady. 

You might also consider different ammunition types – for instance, in a .357 Magnum revolver, you can try .38 Special, .38 Special +P, and .357 Magnum. Each load has a different function. You might want a high-density, low-velocity load for stopping power and low penetration in home defense, or a soft-point, high-velocity load for hunting. 

Don’t be afraid to chat up the range workers, too. Most are all too happy to share their own experiences and what works best for them. 

In the end, it comes down to what you’ll actually use. Make sure you don’t have a case of buyer’s remorse – rent first.

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