First-time gun buyer/owner as of today

This is a pretty big step for me, since my upbringing involved zero firearm experience and a large amount of knee-jerk, "guns are bad" influence from loving parents who just didn't know any better. To put it another way: when I was a kid, it was explained that people who had guns were either in the military, in the IRA, crazy, or farmers (which in fairness was not that far from the truth in 1980s Britain). But as it happened, I turned out to be the kind of person who wanted to understand the unvarnished truth of a thing, so I've spent quite a bit of time since then unlearning what I learned.

Fast-forward a few decades to today and I made a trip down to the Sportsman's Warehouse in PDX and walked out with a Smith & Wesson Shield EZ in .380 ACP!

It was a really interesting experience, made all the more surreal by the current COVID situation and consequent scarcity of models on offer. But I went in thinking the Shield was likely to be the one and after checking out seven or eight different options - in both .380 and 9 mm - it did indeed turn out to be the one. But man, I never expected it to take about as long as buying a car! On the plus side, though, it turns out that being boringly law-abiding, having an unusually-spelled name and being a naturalized citizen grants you a fast lane through the background check - mine came back clean in a few minutes. (The poor guy next to me was something like #4587 on the list and said he'd probably have to wait a week to ten days to complete his.)

Anyway, first impressions of the gun: very positive! The weight is good, the general "hand fit" is very nice and it turned out to be the only gun I tried where I could easily reach the mag release and the slide stop with my shooting hand. (I don't have big hands!) Also, the recoil spring is very forgiving and the takedown is about as easy as it could possibly be. The trigger is great too: a short, smooth pull up to very definite "wall" and then a crisp release followed by a short reset. Felt recoil is, apparently, quite a bit less on this model than on most .380's, since it's not a simple blowback design. I'm looking forward to trying it out on a range next week and signs are good that it'll be fun to shoot.

Now I just have to find the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow who's been hoarding all the ammo. These two boxes aren't gonna last long! ;)


Welcome to the forum and to the world of firearms! The next step is to get some training and range time. Most indoor ranges will require to purchase their ammunition to ensure it's within the design limits of the range. It will be a bit more expensive but at least it will usually "be".

As mentioned above keep an eye on the NWFA classifieds. Just be patient! There are also some online sources to keep an eye on such as palmetto State Armory and SGA. It's likely that you can find 380 easier than 9mm or other popular cartridges.


Sounds like you've done your research and picked up a gun with a good reputation that should serve you well. For your reference, here are some rules to keep in mind, including the four basics. I don't reiterate them here because I think you haven't researched them; but as a gun owner, these are rules I keep in mind and go through every time I pick up a gun. Familiarity breeds complacency and rushing through the process can lead to unintended consequences and unsafe habits.

In no particular order:
- ALWAYS treat a gun like it is loaded.
- NEVER point a gun at something you don't intend to destroy.
- Be sure of your target and what's beyond it (even through backdrops).
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you intend to fire. By that, I mean target already lined up. Not when you're approaching the shooting line. Not before you've got the gun pointed at the target. And when you're done firing, take your finger off the trigger before turning away or taking a single step from the shooting area. Trigger discipline is huge and poor trigger discipline (you'll see it in movies, news stories, and done by self-proclaimed firearms experts) is a good way to have a negligent discharge.
- When handing a gun to someone, receiving it, setting it down, putting it away, or cleaning it, always check that it is unloaded. In fact, I've always been taught to check three times. Sometimes people get in a bit of a rush and may rack the slide to clear a round before removing the mag, which chambers another round. Then, a gun they think they've cleared, is ready to fire.
- If someone you're with violates these rules, call them out on it. You can be polite about it, but failure to follow the rules is how people get shot unintentionally.
- Store your gun in a secure place where others cannot access it. Research gun safes thoroughly as a lot of them can be easily defeated, even by simply dropping them.

Other than that, keep an eye out for ammo, get some practice in (classes are a great way to practice and get familiar with your firearm with a skilled instructor providing guidance), stay safe, and have fun. If you intend to carry your firearm, a solid belt and a properly fitting holster are a must. Be aware of any clothing or items that could accidentally pull the trigger while reholstering.

Welcome to firearms ownership! With great power comes great responsibility. You've made a great step to ensure the safety of yourself and the ones you love.

Edit to add bonus content: If you wish to look at someone else's gun, even at a gun show or out shooting with friends, always ask first. The same goes for working the action and dry firing it (even if it is known unloaded by triple checking). Certain firearms can be damaged by dry firing, mostly rimfires, and it is good manners to ask.
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Welcome to the forum and as a gun owner. Selecting a firearm is a very individual choice but in my experience you selected a very good one. The number of people who have shot ours and then gone out and purchased one of the EZ's (either 9mm or 380) numbers about 10 now, including on this week. Hope you enjoy.

Echo what others are saying about safety, training, and just getting out and shooting the thing. Safely dry firing is great at getting you comfortable with the handgun; with the current ammo shortages it makes it a more viable option as well. Don't be shy with questions. You may get a variety of answers but not shortage of helpfulness here.


Nice! Hopefully it works well for you!

If you haven’t already, get your concealed handgun license.

Both the Oregon & Utah (non resident) is the best value for most Oregonians.

Utah covers carrying concealed in Washington State (plus a bunch of others).

Even if you don’t currently plan on carrying, you may wish to in the future. Also future laws may make it more challenging to get a CHL.
Nice! Hopefully it works well for you!

If you haven’t already, get your concealed handgun license.

Both the Oregon & Utah (non resident) is the best value for most Oregonians.

Utah covers carrying concealed in Washington State (plus a bunch of others).

Even if you don’t currently plan on carrying, you may wish to in the future. Also future laws may make it more challenging to get a CHL.
^^^^^^ This ^^^

I agree with applying for your carry license (OR & WA). Easily started online with your local county sheriff. Oh wait, are you in Multnomah County??? Sorry

Also I think your spouse should apply also just in case

Aero Denezol

Congratulations on your first! Fair warning: guns have a way of multiplying like rabbits.

I occasionally see Blazer .380 at Bimart, even now with all the shortages.
@OldPewPews Welcome to the board and to gun ownership. When you said "IRA" my first thought was this must be a Brit. Good to hear your name and immigration background pushed you up on the line for waiting! Next, up that will also help is getting your Concealed Licence (as others have said) Even if you don't plan on packing a gun, just get the license. Right now I hear most are taking quite a while to get so sooner the better. This way you never fall on the wrong side of the law for moving around with the gun. Also, there will be a time where you want to take it with you, camping, hotel overnight at the coast etc. Having the CCL just makes it far easier.

Empty .380 boxes are trophies for you. Make as many as you can! The more you shoot the more proficient you will be in all areas of gun ownership.

Again welcome....(now stop glancing at AR's and spend $ on .380 ammo for now...... :) , the first gun is the "gateway" gun before you know it your shopping for your 2nd safe and have 4 suppressors on lockdown waiting for your tax stamps to come in.:eek::D)


Free Firearms Safety Course (I-1639 Compliant)
Virtual Webinar (Zoom). Registration Link in the course description.
Seattle, WA, USA
Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Rimfire Challenge Dec 12th @ DRRC
Douglas Ridge Rifle Club
27787 OR-224, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, USA


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