Well, you had better respect the skill and knowledge that you should learn before using a handgun. I have a few suggestions:<quoted text> ... Until last week I have never owned a gun. Now I am a proud owner of a beautiful handgun that was recommended to me by my neighbor who is retired special forces. Not going to post what it is as it is no one on here's business. Can't wait to get it out on the range and use it. Before this I have been an avid bow user. Always enjoyed the skill that goes into using a bow.
1. Have someone tell you how to properly take care of and use a handgun. Perhaps your neighbor will help you. Study. Study. Study. Practice. Practice. Practice.
2. If your handgun is a caliber larger than a .32, I suggest that, when you fire it the first time, you only place one round in the gun, meaning ONE in the chamber and NONE in the magazine. You will probably be surprised at the amount of recoil, and your hand will possibly move upwards. If your gun fires with an small amount of trigger pull (like a Glock), you might find yourself shooting the roof of the firing position (or worse).
3. Know and observe the rules of the firing range.
4. Wear hearing protection at the range. If other shooters are there, before entering the area.
5. Be sure you know the laws and get a permit before concealed-carrying on the street. You are not Wyatt Earp. Or George Zimmerman. Just because you have a gun, you do not have a badge, or immunity from manslaughter.
6. Once the bullet is fired, it will hit anything in its path. Don't ever shoot at a "bad guy" when there are "good guys" behind him. I am going to guess that your neighbor suggested a large-caliber handgun, like a .45. Remember that some rounds will go through a man and can strike people behind the "bad guy."
7. Keep in mind that the paper targets do not shoot back at you at a firing range, like the "bad guys" will do in a real situation.
8. Also keep in mind that you will probably lose some of your fine motor skills in a real-life situation, meaning that you probably will not be able to fire your weapon as accurately as you could at a firing range.
9. Have your neighbor teach you how to protect yourself by, for example, shooting from behind a substantial object. Study defensive tactics. Again, you ain't Wyatt Earp, and this ain't no showdown at the OK Corral.
(And if you are ever in Texas, do not "open-carry." All the Old West cowboys are gone now -- but the cops aren't.)