In recent months, Americans have been buying firearms in record numbers. The motivations behind these purchases are as diverse as the purchasers, and firearms play many different roles in Americans’ lives. You may decide to buy a firearm for any one of several reasons.
Recreational and Competition Shooting
Firearms sports in the United States involve many very different styles of shooting and many very different kinds of guns. You may enjoy breaking clay pigeons with a shotgun in Skeet, Sporting Clays, or Trap Shooting competitions. You might prefer dynamic, fast-paced practical shooting with modern semiautomatic firearms in IPSC, IDPA, or 3-Gun matches. Many shooters prefer the slow, precise character of long-range benchrest shooting. You can even dress up in old west costume and shoot “cowboy action” sixguns with the Single Action Shooting Society.
Hunting is a family tradition for many Americans, and it’s an excellent way to combine an interest in firearms with the joy of the outdoors, while simultaneously putting food on your table. You can hunt waterfowl and upland birds with a shotgun, or squirrels with a rimfire rifle. Larger animals like deer are usually harvested with a rifle or with shotgun slugs. Hunters looking for a greater challenge or a sense of tradition even hunt with handguns or old-fashioned muzzleloading rifles.
Firearms have been inextricably linked to history since their invention, and collecting historically significant guns is a common hobby. You might be interested in the bolt-action rifles of World War I, or in the guns of the Old West. You might want to collect the black powder rifles of the Civil War, or the firearms used in your favorite movie or video game. There are as many different themes of gun collections as there are gun collectors.
While people buy guns for many different reasons, the most common is personal defense. According to a 2017 Pew Research poll, 67% of respondents cited “protection” as one of their motivations for gun ownership. State laws vary widely, making it important to understand the regulations in your home state before carrying a firearm, but carrying a handgun for self defense is legal in the great majority of the United States. Even in regions that restrict concealed carry, Americans commonly own handguns, shotguns, and semiautomatic rifles for self defense in the home.
You may choose to have a personal firearm for any one or more of these reasons, and knowing exactly why you want to own a firearm can help guide your selection of an appropriate gun that best fits your needs and preferences. You may even find that the gun you buy for personal defense can also be used in competition shooting, or fit into a collection of guns that interest you for their history. No matter what attracts you to gun ownership, you’ll find many other people and clubs in the US who share your interests.