Articles Safety Articles

Handgun Basics

26 Jan 2018
Learning how to fire a firearm is not so intimidating if you know how to do so properly. By taking time to learn how to shoot a pistol, you are creating a safety net for you and anyone around you in case, one day, you have to pull the trigger.

Guns are just tools. They do not cause evil and they are not the root of evil. Humans are the true source, but that does not mean everyone who owns and knows how to properly shoot a gun is evil.

Guns are great tools for self-defense, and by knowing how to properly use a firearm, you are one-step closer to defending yourself, your family, and your friends.

You must know and understand the four rules to firearm safety:
1. Assume all firearms are loaded, and treat them as such.
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to shoot.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
Basics to Shooting a Gun

I would suggest starting with a smaller, more accurate caliber pistol, because larger calibers are more powerful and heavier, making them harder to learn on and shoot.

Whether the range is indoors or outdoors, it is vital that you understand and follow the four firearm safety rules. Accidents happen when people become overly confident and complacent around firearms. Sign up for a safety class and memorize the four firearm safety rules because once you shoot the gun, you cannot bring the bullet back.

Get used to and completely understand the pistol you are shooting in training. It is very important to have some mechanical understanding of the gun in your hands.

Proper Stance and Grasp

Proper Stance for Shooting a Gun

· You will want to establish a firm, high grip on the gun, making sure to keep your fingers and hand out of the way of the slide.

· Make sure to space your feet about shoulder width apart, try to lead off with your trigger finger hand with your arms extended.

· As you progress, adjust your firing position to what works best for you. You may want to face the target straight on.

· Do not hold the gun sideways or you will more than likely miss the target.

Proper Grasp When Holding a Gun

· You want to grasp the gun with your dominant hand, opening it to expose the web between your index and thumb.

· Take the gun in your other hand; insert the grip of the pistol into the web of your dominant hand.

· Make sure to grip the gun firmly with your finger outside of the trigger guard.

· Make sure your non-dominant hand is around the left side of the frame, aligning both your thumbs to point down-range.

· Make sure you keep a firm grip, leaving no air pockets between your hand and the gun.

· Make sure you keep your thumbs clear of the slide or hammer.

· Make sure you keep your fingers pulled straight back and not angled.

Sight Alignment & Sight Picture

Sight Alignment is an essential element to shooting accurately. You want to aim the gun so the front-end sight is aligned to the rear post, ensuring the front of the gun is on-line with the rear. Otherwise, if the front post protrudes over the rear sight you will likely shoot high, and if the front post is lower than the rear, you will likely shoot low.

Sight Picture is another essential element you will want to develop. Essentially, sight picture means to place the sights within an area of the target. You want to aim for the largest section of your target, which is typically the center of it.

While establishing your sight picture, you do not want to focus on the target. If you do, you will more than likely shoot around the outside of the target, so make sure to focus on the sights and align the pistol so the target is slightly unfocused behind them.


Both trigger control and your grip on the pistol affect the accuracy and travel of the bullet to the target. When firing, remember to squeeze, not jerk or pull the trigger. You will want to gradually increase direct pressure with your finger until you reach the breaking point, where the hammer is released and hits the firing pin. Take note of how much pressure it takes to reach the "trigger break." Eventually the exact position will be subconscious with your muscle memory.

Controlling your breathing is also critical to accurate shooting. Start taking deep breaths before you get into your shooting stance. When you steady your breathing, you will want to fire at the end of your exhale. When you breathe, your chest expands which moves your arms, causing the gun to rise and fall, so you want to make sure, when firing, your chest is not moving.

Make sure that you do not hold your breath.

Shooting off Target

· If your rounds are hitting the target low and high, but not center, refocus your breathing and fire at the end of the exhale.

· If your rounds are hitting the target left to right but not center, you are probably jerking the trigger instead of squeezing to the trigger break point.

· When you anticipate the recoil by pushing the front of the weapon down to keep the gun from kicking up into your hand, causes you to fire low.

· Pulling occurs when you are trying to move the gun up to lessen the recoil, causing you to fire high.

Learning the basics of firearms is fun and easy. Remember handling of guns is governed by the four rules to firearm safety, which, together, insure that no one would be hurt by accident. Be a responsible gun owner and lead your friends and family members to gun ownership by example.
Last Modified: Sunday 24 February 2019 16:42

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