After Buying…

You’re sitting at home with your newly purchased handgun…but not sure what to do now? In this portion of the Buyer’s Guide I will be hitting on a lot of information you may be curious about.

I will be hitting one things such as…what not to do when carrying a gun, what to do, how to properly store your firearm, and more.

If you think I missed anything major, be sure to message me on Facebook!


I’ll hit on the primary “do not”s of carrying a firearm first. A lot of this is really cut and dry, so I will try to keep this section as short as possible.

  1. Concealed Carry Badges. For some unknown reason someone thought it was a bright idea to create concealed carry badges. Just as unknown, the NRA pushes them in their magazines. These are no-no items. These badges have no legal bearing and they are not a carry permit. All it takes is one person to say you claimed to be a cop and you’re in legal trouble.
  2. If you’re carrying, don’t tell people you’re armed.
  3. Never use your firearm for the sake of intimidation.
  4. Carrying FMJs. There is a saying that goes “They all fall to hardball.” What that sentence is missing is: “and then it passes through and hits little Timmy.” Pass throughs with handguns calibers aren’t super likely on the torso, but they can happen. Full Metal Jackets increase that likelihood, as such it increases your possible liability. These are also not as effective as hollow points in defeating an attacker, which I will go into later.
  5. Carrying without a holster. Never carry your firearm without a proper holster. Carrying without a holster is extremely dangerous, especially when you have a round in the chamber.
  6. Carrying in other States. Before traveling with a firearm you have to check your permit’s reciprocity with the state you are visiting. You also have to see the laws for transporting in the states in between (if they don’t have reciprocity with your state).
  7.  Probably the most common sensical one here; Don’t drink (alcohol) and carry.


What do you do if you get pulled over:
Don’t Say: “I have a gun in the car.” “I have a firearm on my person.” Or anything similar.
Don’t: Move your hands towards the firearm. Unholster the firearm.
Do Say: “Here’s my driver’s license and license to carry.”
Do: Have your wallet off your body. Have your back and front driver’s side windows open.
Make sure to see if your state has a duty to inform. If not I have found it to be less stressful to not say anything for both parties.


A dying debate in the gun community is what to load in your defensive handgun. The answer is 100%, without a question, a jacketed hollowpoint or a round specifically designed for self-defense. There are a handful of reasons to do so.

The first is effectiveness. When it comes to stopping an attacker with a handgun you’re relying on two things. Either blood loss or a CNS (central nervous system) shot. A CNS shot can be difficult to achieve, so you are really left with blood loss.

A Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) pokes long thin holes, their wound channels look like a pencil. Where blood loss is concerned, FMJ’s don’t cause a lot of it. With the less blood loss happening your attacker has the ability to come after you longer.

Jacket Hollow Points (JHP) are designed to create large wound cavities by expanding or flowering. When a hollow point strikes a hydraulic surface, the bullet begins to expand. This begins to slow the bullet down drastically (decreasing the likelihood of a pass through), and causes wide wound cavities. These wide wound cavities equate to a lot more blood loss than with FMJs.

“What about barriers with hollow points?” Well, hollow point technology made some quick advancements since 1989. Back in 1989 there was the Miami-Dade shooting that left a lot of law enforcement officers dead… despite several shots hitting the shooters. This lead the FBI to not only want a new caliber that was more effective, but they created their own protocols for testing with the help of the IWBA.

These protocols were that the bullet had to:
Reliably expand
Get 12”-18” of penetration (preferred depths were 14”-16”); this penetration depth was set to account for skin, fat, and muscle tissue.
The bullets had to achieve this into 10% ordnance gel through the following barriers:
bare gel, Windshields, plywood, 4 layers of denim (winter clothing simulation), and 2 sheets of 20ga steel (thinnest part of a car door).
Anything that did not pass these protocols was not considered for law enforcement use.

Let’s discuss the gelatin that they used quick. Early 2000’s the IWBA (International Wound Ballistics Association) wanted to find the best medium for testing bullets. In this testing that shot anesthetized pigs in their thighs while using a highspeed X-Ray machine to capture what happened. Using this footage, they began to calibrate gelatin. The gelatin that they produced was made to almost perfectly mimic what they saw in the pigs.

After they were able to calibrate their own gel, they began testing the commercial offerings. In their testing the IWBA discovered that 10% ordnance gel best depicted what they saw not only in their gel, but in the pigs that they had shot.

In conclusion, carrying something that is certified for law enforcement use is what you should be doing. It has been thoroughly vetted by some of the best ballistics labs in the world and it’s being trusted by professionals to defend their lives with.

The most important thing to take away from this portion of the guide though… is train, train, train, and then train some more. Defensive training with a handgun is a perishable skill.  Whether you’re dry fire training, doing live training, or taking a course… do something to keep your skills sharp.

You cannot just buy a gun, get a holster, and be good to go. You must train, get your unholstering technique down, practice getting follow-up shots, and malfunctions. And always carry with a round in the chamber.

Thank you for reading this part of the First Time Buyer’s Guide to Handguns! Be sure to check out the other parts linked below!

Part 0: Stuff You Should Know Before Buying

Part 1: Handgun Actions Explained

Part 2: Handgun Frames Explained

Part 3: Handgun Calibers Explained

Part 4: Handgun Holsters Explained 

Part 5: Stuff You Should Know After Buying (Currently On)