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Learning to Shoot a Gun: The Basics Explained

Did you know that, in 2022 alone, Americans bought a staggering 17.4 million guns? Fast forward to the first quarter of 2023, and they bought another 7.1 million firearms.

While controversial, there’s no denying that gun ownership is every American’s right. However, for many, it’s more about being able to defend themselves.

So if you’re also considering buying a firearm, then learning to shoot a gun should be a top priority. You want to be able to protect yourself, not cause an accidental shooting.

This guide covers proper and safe gun use fundamentals, so read on. 

Follow the Golden Gun Safety Rules

Believing a gun isn’t loaded can lead to unintentional shootings. Indeed, nearly 2 in 10 accidental gun deaths result from such assumptions.

That’s enough reason to treat all firearms you handle for the first time as loaded. Once it’s in your hands, verify whether or not it has ammunition. After this, engage the gun’s safety switch and keep it that way until you’re about to shoot.

You should also keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. If you aren’t yet, point the muzzle in a safe direction where it won’t hit anyone in case of accidental discharge.

Only raise your gun if you’ve confirmed your target. Ensure you have a clear line of sight to your mark without any visual obstruction.

You must also know what’s beyond your target. This can help keep a stray bullet from harming anyone or anything if it penetrates and exits your mark. 

Consider Professional Instruction

The best way to learn how to shoot a gun is through a certified shooting instructor. They can instill in you the proper, most effective, and responsible use of firearms.

During your firearm instruction, your instructor will likely cover the following topics:

  • Gun safety rules
  • Types of guns, their parts, and correct and safe operation
  • Types of ammunition and proper selection
  • Shooting fundamentals and marksmanship
  • Firearm inspection, maintenance, and storage

Since professional training can be one-on-one, your instructor can focus on you. They can immediately correct your stance, handgrip, sight, and trigger pull mistakes. They can even advise you on buying a gun that best suits you. 

Practice at a Gun Range

The U.S. is home to nearly 12,000 shooting ranges. Consider heading to one of them to train and find a professional instructor.

Most firing ranges offer rental firearms, so you only have to choose which one you want to learn. They also sell ammunition but at a higher price than retail.

If you’re on a budget, you can buy gun ammo in bulk to get discounts, according to the guide on this site’s homepage. However, ask your chosen firing range first if they allow customers to bring ammo. 

Be Responsible When Learning to Shoot a Gun

When learning to shoot a gun, always prioritize your and other people’s safety. Listen to everything your instructor tells you, and practice what you learn at a range. All these can help you become a responsible, safe, and effective gun owner and user.

For more advice on proper and responsible firearm use, browse our recent news and blog posts!

Jeff Campbell