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The Power of the Owner’s Manual!

The Power of the Owner’s Manual!

Few people get excited about buying a new firearm and immediately dive into the owner’s manual like it was a New York Times Best Seller. Simply put, owners manuals are perhaps the most under appreciated and neglected tool for a new device. They are admittedly a dry read, have zero sense of humor, and can be pretty intimidating for those not naturally technically inclined. The excitement of the new investment takes over, and people dive into tinkering with upgrades or utilizing the gear even with little or no prior experience or knowledge. Neglecting the owner’s manual for a product such as a cell phone may not be such a big deal. However, with a firearm, ignorance about the equipment can lead to mechanical problems or, worse, a physical injury.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Resist the temptation to dive right in a start shooting that new gun. Many firearms manuals recommend a thorough field strip and lubrication before initial use. Even optics come with a preparation for use section in their manuals explaining how to prep your gear and gun for a correct install, cleaning, or battery replacement. Rather than risk damaging the equipment, slow down, breathe, and comb through the manual first. Even for seasoned shooters familiar with similar gear, the owner’s manual illuminates the nuances specific to that product.

Manuals not only outline the how-to’s of essential operations but list the accessories included with the product. Too often, a little bag of screws or custom wrenches is hidden under a foam liner in the packaging and wholly overlooked. These little tools may be the key to customizing, zeroing, or fine-tuning and are sometimes unique to the gear itself. Another example may be the additional accessories needed to complete an installation, such as specific types or sizes of scope rings for certain rifle optics.

“I’d like to talk to you about your warranty….” Warranty information will be clearly outlined in the products manual, and any updates from the manufacturer can typically be found on their website. In the world of firearms, customizing gear to fit unique interests, applications or needs is standard practice and can be a game changer in increasing both performance and overall safety. Before diving in and making drastic changes, it is vital to understand if any modifications may impact the product’s warranty. The manual will explain what is and is not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty so that any upgrades are made from a well-informed perspective. Not all gun shops or gunsmiths are fluent in the dozens of brands, accessories, and gadgets-specific warranty details. The responsibility lies with the individual to do the necessary homework, which begins with the owner’s manual.

Keep in mind these mini manuscripts are not intended to be captivating reads. They are written specifically to inform and explain everything the owner may need to know now or in the future. Most manuals have an invaluable section titled “Troubleshooting,” typically located towards the end of the book. This is arguably the most frequented chapter.

Why? Perhaps because very few individuals have spent the time to read through the preceding pages.
Other tantalizing topics covered can include:
Warnings and cautions
Characteristics
Controls and Indicators
Operation
Cleaning and General Care
…and more

Owner manuals are worth their weight in gold! Many manufacturers have fantastic how-to videos about their products available online. If you are a visual learner or someone who prefers to follow along in real-time, these videos are an excellent way to learn about your equipment. A few brands such as Walther Arms and Sig Sauer have converted to digital manuals providing a scannable QR code for quick access on and with the firearms themselves. The owner’s manual is the first go-to resource and shouldn’t be discarded or begrudged. Hang on to these precious little handbooks, or the links to access them, and add them to your digital and litteral shooting library. They most certainly will come in handy over the lifetime of your gear!

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