There are a lot of good reasons to own a gun, including hunting, safety, and recreation. In today’s Coastal 101, we’ll cover some of the basics of owning a gun, including a few of the main types of guns, ammunition, and a safety overview.
In the simplest terms, a gun is an object that launches projectiles at high speed. There are a lot of parts to a gun, which we won’t cover here, but one of the first things we do need to share is the difference between a bullet and a cartridge.
A cartridge is an individual shell, which includes a bullet, casing, powder, and a primer. The bullet is just the part of the cartridge that is shot from the gun.
Types of Guns
The three types of firearms you’ll need to know as a beginner include pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
Pistols (handguns) are fired with one hand (or two), are not supported from the shoulder, and have a barrel of fewer than 16 inches.
Rifles are fired with two hands using the shoulder as a brace. Barrels are over 16 inches long.
Shotguns are fired with two hands using the shoulders as a brace, but can fire a variety of ammunition from a barrel that is over 18 inches long.
There are a lot of ammunition options, with typical caliber types including: .22LR, .45, .38, .357, .30-06, and 12 gauge. At Coastal, we do our best to ensure the ammunition you need is in stock, including smaller and larger calibers.
Coastal tip: a caliber refers to the internal diameter of a gun barrel measured in hundredths or thousandths of an inch. Need an example? A .45 caliber firearm’s barrel diameter is 0.45 inches.
Get a Gun Safe
Even if you just have one gun, be sure to get a solid gun safe. It will protect your investment and keep others from getting a hold of your weapon. Plus, a really good gun safe can even offer fire and water protection.
See our article How to Pick the Perfect Gun Safe for more.
Learn More about Guns
You’ll find information about Oregon and Washington gun laws, including restrictions and requirements online. Looking for a hunter safety course? Both Oregon and Washington offer youth and adult classes in areas all over the state.
Know the 5 Rules of Gun Safety
Our very own loss prevention and firearm regulatory compliance expert, Ed Boyd, has been with Coastal for a number of years, ensuring we’re able to meet the needs of our customers and stay within the letter of the law when it comes to gun and ammunition sales. He’s a longtime law enforcement professional and the expert behind our 5 Rules of Gun Safety.
Rule #1 – All guns are Always loaded – Always. This simply means you must always treat every gun as if it’s loaded. Always assume that every gun you come into contact with is loaded until you have physically verified it for yourself. Don’t ever rely on anyone’s word for it. When you hold a gun in your hand, you are responsible for it and anything that occurs while in your possession. If you don’t know how a gun works, leave it alone and find a knowledgeable person to show you.
Rule #2 – Never point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to shoot – Ever. You must always be aware of where your gun is pointed at all times. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. This is the rule that saves lives. You MUST exercise due caution and diligence when handling a firearm.
Rule #3 – Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. Always keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target, and you have made the conscious decision to shoot. If you have your finger on the trigger and you are startled in some way, your brain will react with a primitive response that will tighten every muscle in the body, including the trigger finger.
Rule #4 – Be sure of your target and what’s beyond and around it. The hand that holds the gun is responsible for whatever is done by that gun. If you fire a gun, you are responsible – no matter where it lands or what it hits. You must know where your shot will go when you fire it. You must know what it might hit if you miss your intended target. And you must know what it can go through and still have enough energy/power to kill or hurt.
Rule #5 – Always lock up your guns. Whether you use a trigger lock, handgun safe or a cabinet safe, always keep your firearms locked. As a responsible gun owner, you know that your gun is always loaded (refer to Rule #1), but not everyone is aware of these rules. Children are naturally curious and there’s always a chance someone could find your firearms. Keep them locked and away – it’s smart, and it’s easy.
Coastal Knows Firearms
Our firearm specialists at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal are here to answer your questions about our wide range of pistols, rifles, targets, gun cleaning kits, accessories, ammunition, and other gear.