Learning to Shoot a Gun



  • Words for the novice shooter
  • When learning to shoot
  • Purchasing your first pistol



Gun Beginners Corner

Owning a gun is one of the more important responsibilities you’ll ever take on in your lifetime. Used properly a firearm is fun to use at the range, can save your life, can deter harm to life and limb to yourself and others, and provides you with a sense of security that nothing else can.

Improper use or display can get you killed or locked up for a considerable amount of time. Keep that balance in mind.

While providing instruction to new shooters there are a number of aspects to consider that should be reviewed that will save you time and build your shooting confidence.

  1. Introduction to firearms training and classes show a new shooter what the mechanics of the gun are and how it is used safely. This is generally well covered.


  1. The legal aspects of use are covered in some detail but in my opinion, not enough. The reason is that the trainer is not an attorney and does not offer legal advice.
    AFI recommends that each beginner get and read the local handbook on gun law. In Florida for example there is the Florida Firearms – Law, Use & Ownership by Jon Gutmacher Esq which goes into all aspects of our gun laws in readable detail. And when you’ve finished reading it you’ll be glad you did, as without it you leave yourself very exposed to prosecution if for instance you don’t know that you cannot walk into a bank with a firearm or have one within 1,000 yards of a school.
  2. Shooting at the range and choice of a weapon.

Many times we have all seen someone getting their first, second or third handgun shooting lesson and their shots are going wild, missing the proverbial barn door. Why? The simple answer is that they have missed two very important lessons:

  • First, learning how to shoot, and,
  • Second, how to choose a suitable handgun for themselves.
    Many times beginners are handed a 9mm or a Colt .45 and told to fire away and both trainer and trainee are baffled why they can’t hit anything. New shooters leave dejected and disappointed because they couldn’t control the cannon they were handed. Boyfriends are major culprits for this when they bring their girlfriends to the range for a shooting lesson. What works for a large guy will rarely work for a petite girlfriend.Some words of advice for the novice shooter
  1. Learn to shoot with a .22 cal pistol. Over time fire a 1,000 shots, fire 5,000, fire until hitting a target accurately at a distance of 7 feet, 25 feet, 50 feet becomes instinctive.
  2. The three rules of successful gun handling? Practice, practice, practice. Practice ingrains good habits that should have been taught to you by your teacher so that you can react predictably in a stressful situation. Remember, when the time comes to use your firearm in real life, you’re on you own.
  3. Learn to fire using triple taps. I was taught that two to the chest and one to the head was the best way of doing it given a straight on opportunity. I was also taught to keep shooting until the attacker went down even if that means emptying your firearm. Reload immediately.
  4. Choosing a caliber you’re comfortable with. As you progress in developing your shooting skills and confidence, investigate a larger caliber weapon that you are comfortable with. There’s no rush.On rim-fire ammunition (.22 cal), the firing pin crimps the side of the cartridge to ignite it. Center-fire ammunition has a disc in the center of the round which, when struck by the firing pin, fires the round. Center fire ammunition starts with the (more…)
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