How to Test Your New Gun

How to Test Your New Gun
How to Test Your New Gun
How to Test Your New Gun
How to Test Your New Gun

Like a lot of gun owners, I get in certain “moods” where I feel like carrying one of my guns for a while, and when that mood wears off, I switch to another gun. For instance, I’ve been carrying my Glock 19 a lot lately and I’ve been neglecting my Springfield 1911.

But not anymore. Last week I decided it was time to bring out the 1911 for a bit, but before I did that I wanted to get some work done on the hammer and beavertail. I found a gunsmith in St. George, UT who could do the work and the gun will be ready to pick up this Friday.

But here’s the thing…

When I pick up my gun from the gunsmith I’m not going to immediately put it in my holster and start carrying it around. Nope. I’m going to treat it as if it was a brand new gun (because work has been done on it) and I’m going to test it out like I do each and every gun I buy.

In my opinion, it’s pretty foolish to buy a gun and start carrying it without making sure the gun works. I realize that many guns, especially Glocks, don’t need to be broken in these days and they’ll operate fine right out of the box. However, they’re still mechanical devices that can come flawed from the factory so I’m always testing mine out no matter what.

So here’s the simple test I do when I get a new gun and the one I’ll do when I get my 1911 from the gunsmith this week.

First, I simply look the gun over. I look it over for any cracks, any sharp edges or anything that would immediately scream “this gun has problems.” If I don’t see any problems then I go to the range and put about 200 rounds of full metal jacket ammo through the gun. I make sure the gun cycles properly and that there aren’t any problems. I also make sure that the sights are properly aligned and they don’t need any adjustment.

In addition, I also perform several reloads to make sure the magazines drop free and don’t stick, and that there aren’t any other problems I discover with the magazines.

If the gun works shooting the cheap ammunition then I introduce my jacketed hollow point ammo. I’ll shoot between 100-200 rounds to make sure my gun feeds this properly. I know that jacketed hollow point ammo isn’t cheap, but I really wouldn’t shoot less than 100 rounds when testing out a new gun.

After I’ve put about 400 rounds of ammunition through the gun I’ll take it home and clean it and look it over once again while the gun is apart. After I’ve done all this, then I’ll be comfortable enough to put the gun on my hip and start carrying it concealed. You may feel comfortable doing less or you may want to do more of a test, but whatever you do, don’t bet your life on a gun without first making sure it works.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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I’ve found it best to give any new gun a cleaning prior to taking it to the range for the first time. Worst case scenario I had was taking almost 4 hours to clean all the Brazilian cosmolene off my new Taurus PT709, including full disassembly of the two magazines that came with it.

Thomas Hartley

i always “carry” my hand guns around the house unloaded and handle them as much as i can, just to get really familiar with them. shooting a lot helps, as does the daily handling . and definately shooting your carry rounds to verify function/feeding……TOM


I am also a fan of putting any new gun I get “through it’s paces” which also includes a complete take down and cleaning then going to the range and test firing at least 50 rds of cheap ammo and then 2 mags worth of the expensive stuff. being on a fixed income I can’t afford to test with more of the “good stuff” I make sure though that my practice ammo is the same weight bullet as my carry stuff.


As soon as I receive a gun, I clean before shooting. I do not like burnt cosmoline or other oils (protectants) on my weapons. Then, as you, I go to the range and put at least 200 rounds through it to verify functionality.

T H Idema

All guns need to be fired. The more the better. A new Glock is stiff. It works, but you have to work it. Put fifteen hundred rounds through it and its a gem to use.

Mr Obvious

Oh please.


I bought a M1A National Match Rifle a short while back and checked the bore to insure it was clear, I went to the range with 2 boxes of Federal 150 grain FMJ to zero it. I set my targets up and my Spotting scope and looked the rifle over again. I loaded 3 rounds in the magazine and loaded the weapon. I got a good bench position, released the bolt, checked to may sure it closed and then took safety off. Anyway, when I fired I hit the Target, everything sounded and felt right, settled down for the next shot and when I pulled the trigger ,I heard a click. I waited a few minutes, got up with the rifle still tried to the small stand and waited. Decided to try again, lock and loaded another round and the rifle went click again. This time I checked the primers and saw that they were lightly hit. I was Small Arms Repair in the Army and started stripping the weapon on the tailgate. FIRST, I found the Bolt and Operating Rod were locked up.
Had to force the parts to open the bolt and and disassembly the thing. When I finally got the bolt out, THE BOLT ROLLER FELL OUT ON THE TAILGATE. Needless to say I call a certain company and told them their quality Inspecter sucked. The weapon was shipped to them the next day and I received it back on Wednesday with a splet Brass case in the Rifle case I sent the rifle in. Hopefully I will get to the range later this week or early next week.
Wish me luck David


Don’t buy cheap crap. “I have very good articles??”
Double duh.

Thanos Davakis

personally i first clean up the gun and then go for test-shooting at the range.
one important factor is that the gun should work with the intended ammo you carry.
so after putting a few rounds of cheap ammo through then you really need to try it with your preferred ammo. especially if gunsmithing includes change of springs or guide rod.


All this should be obvious, but of course I wouldn’t have thought of it! I do tend to run a few snap caps through the weapon before I even take it to the range, but that’s really not enough, is it? Great article, thanks.


Cleaning a new gun does a few things, you get to know the gun and looking it over for defects insures no break downs later.

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