Shooting a Handgun – The Complete Breakdown

| August 4, 2013 |

How To Shoot A Handgun

Shooting a gun is something most of us have seen on TV and in movies somewhere in the tens of thousands of times by the time we enter adulthood.  Ironically, however, most people will never shoot a gun at all.  A few will do it once or twice, for the novelty and just to say they have.  And even fewer will do it enough that they actually know what they’re doing.  This article is going to focus on safely and accurately shooting a handgun.  Shotguns and rifles are, in general, more intuitive in that most people instinctively know how to brace the barrel with one hand while firing with the other, after that it mostly comes down to aiming.  Handguns, on the other hand (no pun intended!), tend to get people into trouble because they don’t take the time to safely line up a shot like they would with a long-barreled weapon.  Most of this comes from the fact that sidearms are generally small and light, and it is easy to rush things.  After reading through this article, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of most people.

Safety:  Safety always comes first, and that’s why it’s at the top of our article today.  Especially when first practicing, wear eye and ear protection every time you fire your weapon.  Nobody cares how cool you think you do or don’t look, you’ll prefer it to being deaf or blind.  When you first pick up your gun, take special care to keep your fingers outside of the trigger guard, even if you think the safety is on.  Always point a firearm downrange or at the ground away from yourself.  When firing, hold your arm fully extended to keep the sound of the shot far away from your ears. 

Grip:  This is likely the part about gun use that people know the least about.  When gripping a gun, always use your primary hand and squeeze tightly around the handle with your thumb, ring, and middle fingers.  Your pinky will rest underneath the others to help with stabilization but will not squeeze in tightly.  Overlap your non-dominant hand over the one holding the gun and squeeze firmly.  Ensure that both thumbs are clear of the hammer mechanism at the top rear of the gun – this piece pops back sharply on most guns and can injure a misplaced thumb.  

Ready, aim, fire!  When lining up your shot, raise the gun to eye level (again, keep your arms fully extended).  Ensure your grip is tight but not so tight that the gun shakes, and look down its sights.  You’ll want to line up the front sight of the gun with whatever target you’re aiming at.  You’ll notice the target is out of focus, while the sight is clear and in focus.  Breath in deeply, then slowly exhale as you squeeze the trigger.  Apply even, steady pressure to the trigger until the gun goes off, and don’t be surprised if you’re a bit startled the first time or two you discharge the weapon. 

Practice makes perfect, so if you want to become good at shooting, make sure you make regular trips to a shooting range and become proficient before you find yourself in a heat of the moment situation where you need to act hastily.



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Category: How To Guides

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