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GUNS 101: The Beginner’s Guide

If you still haven’t gone to a shooting range or had the chance to hold a gun, there is no need to be ashamed. However, there is a need to read our GUNS 101 – the Beginner’s guide so that you are ready for your first endeavor with firearms.

What Are Guns and How Do They Work?

You probably know that the gun fires projectiles at high speed, but you probably do not know how they work. Each gun has “cartridges” which contain a primer, powder, casing, and a bullet. You first ignite a primer which leads to a tiny explosion and that causes the powder to burn. That is how enough pressure is created so that the bullet (projectile) is launched from a gun. The loading mechanism then inserts a new cartridge and throws out the used casing.

Anatomy of a cartridge

There are three types of guns to consider – shotgun, rifle, and pistol. If you are firing from a rifle or a shotgun, brace the firearm against the shoulder and fire two-handedly. A pistol, on the other hand, has a short barrel and can be fired one-handedly. As for the bullets, you should know that a caliber measures the barrel (bullet) diameter. Some common calibers include .22LR, .25ACP, .380 ACP, 9MM, .40 S&W, 7.62x39MM, .308/7.62x51MM, and 12-gauge.

Types of guns

Take a look at the safety types you always need to keep in mind when handling a gun:

  • A gun is loaded at all times – this doesn’t have to be true, but you should assume it for everyone’s safety
  • The muzzle should be the focus of your attention – bullet exits at the muzzle and you never know when an accidental fire will happen. That is why you should always pay attention to where the muzzle points. Always point it somewhere safe and NEVER point it at people
  • Sight on the target first and then fingers on the trigger – another rule that prevents accidental fire
  • Be 100% sure about your target – identify it and make sure that you can’t inflict any damage to anyone and anything apart from the target when you pull the trigger

Shooting Stances

The first thing you want to do when you come to a shooting range is to have the right stance. There are several you can try and see what fits you the best:

  • Isosceles –place your feet shoulder-wide and toes facing the target. Completely extend your arms, bend the knees a little bit and lean forward slightly. Place the firearm in the center of the chest so that it makes an isosceles triangle as in the photo (longer sides should be exactly the same for those that skipped geometry)

Shooting stances - front, top

  • Weaver – this stance requires you to put forward the non-dominant leg and lean it slightly. Point the toes to the target and extend the shooting-side arm. Bend the supporting arm a little bit and use the so-called “push-pull” the push with the shooting arm and pull back with the other one

Shooting stances - side, front

  • Modified Weaver – similar to the previous one, except that you should completely extend the firing arm

You might also pick the shooting stance depending on your dominant eye. To test this, extend arms forward and make an opening between hands. Next, look through the opening into a distant object and bring hands back to your face. You will notice that you aligned the opening with the dominant eye. In most cases, it will meet your dominant hand.

Pulling the Trigger

This is the sweetest part, isn’t it? Aside from that, it is also the crucial element of firing a gun. First of all, remember that you want to make as little movement as possible so that you don’t miss the target. Grab the gun in your hand and place your index finger on the trigger. Once you positively identify the target, slowly press the trigger. Make sure not to let go immediately after squeezing it and then slowly return it forward until you hear a clicking noise.

Pulling the trigger stance

Now, repeat the process with your next shots and enjoy your time at the shooting range, but do not forget to keep everyone’s safety as top priority. If you visit the Gun Range or another shooting facility, you will probably be required to wear eye and ear protection and follow house rules. Make sure to carefully read and comply with all these rules and listen to the range officer at all times.


Check out our 2nd part here: GUNS 101: The Beginner’s Guide – Part 2

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The Gun Range​
3479 Orange Grove Ave.​
North Highlands, CA 95660​
(916) 972-1484

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