Target Shooting for Beginners

When learning the basics of shooting a firearm, the best time to learn is as a beginner. Seeing an instructor to learn is even better! Through practice and instruction every shooter can improve his skill. An experienced shooter may bring old habits, which can be difficult to correct by even the most skilled instructor. A beginner may have some advantages as they may be more open to the instructor’s advice. Hitting the target is truly about skill, the shooter cannot blame the firearm for missing the target.

target-shootin-04

The most important rules are those about safety while handling firearms. The four basic rules are:

  1. Be sure to keep the muzzle safely pointed at all times.
  2. Until ready to shoot, keep fingers off the trigger.
  3. Certain or not, treat every gun as if it were loaded
  4. Be certain of the target and its surroundings.

 

Other important safety measures include eye and ear protection, to protect from any fragments and the high decibel level of the gunshot.

 

A firearm is a huge responsibility and should always be respected in that sense. Accidents happen when people are not responsible with their firearms.

 

After understanding the basic safety around a firearm, the next step is to learn how to use it. The best places to shoot are ranges, which often have instructors at the ready to ask for help. Utilize instructors when available! Keep in mind that a bullet can travel about a mile after firing, this is why ranges are the best place to shoot.

 

First, a shooter needs to know the anatomy of the firearm they are handling. Seek the manual, if available, as a shooter should be familiar with the firearm. For example, a semi-automatic pistol consists of these basic parts: front sight, slide, and take down notch, slide stop notch, slide stop lever, rear sight, internal lock, grips, frame tool, magazine release, trigger, and the rotating take down lever. It is important to know the anatomy of the firearm being handled.

 

Second, a new shooter needs to establish a comfortable stance and grip on the firearm before shooting. An instructor can help with this as well, but this is one way to find a comfortable grip.

  1. Using the dominant hand, hold the gun towards the ground at a 45 degree angle.
  2. The hand should be low enough that it will not be hit by moving parts, and the web of the hand between thumb and first finger should sit high as possible.
  3. Place the non-dominant hand over the dominant hand holding the gun, the tips of the fingers should touch the knuckles of the dominant hand.
  4. Lay thumbs comfortable on top on another.
  5. Fully extend arms. This is important in case of a severe kickback.
  6. Close eyes and raise the gun in front, parallel to the ground.
  7. Now, the next step is to open eyes.
  8. Muzzle pointed to one side: position of weak hand needs to be adjusted.
  9. If the muzzle points to the dominant side, move fingertips of the non-dominant hand closer to the knuckles of the dominant hand.
  10. If the muzzle points to the non-dominant side, move fingers farther from the knuckles.
  11. Repeat this process until finding a proper grip. The goal is to have the sights aligned by the time the gun is raised.

While holding the firearm, remember that the dominant hand is for using the trigger, while the non-dominant hand supports 60% of the weight. This is not the only way to find a comfortable grip, however it does work.

 

The easiest stance for a new shooter is the “Weaver stance.” There are thousands of resources outlining stances while shooting a firearm, but this is basic and a stable stance to start with. This stance consist of standing with feet shoulders width apart and staggered, so that the shooter can accommodate force from the kickback of the firearm. Find a comfortable stance and use it.

 

The next step after raising the gun is to find the sight alignment, this skill enables a shooter to fire accurately and hit the target. A new shooter will want to establish which eye is dominant too. This is often misunderstood, as it is not necessarily the same as the dominant hand. This is a technique to find the dominant eye:

  1. Hands crossed, thumbs creating a hole to look through, raise arms in front of the face.
  2. Look through the hole, try to focus on an object in the distance.
  3. Slowly move hands towards the face.
  4. By the time the hands are touching the face, the dominant eye will the one looking through the hole. The non-dominant eye will be covered.

Shooters with same side dominance will be able to learn and adjust to shooting more quickly, as the motions are more natural same side dominant.

 

Once the dominant eye is establish, it is time to learn how to use the sight alignment to shoot the target.

The concept of using the sights is simple, however it can be frustrating at first. The proper way to align the sights is to align the front sight post with both sides of the rear sight, keeping it flush with the top. Position the firearm so that the front sight post lines up with the bullseye. This will allow for a straight and accurate shot. Varying the front sight post’s position between the sides will change the direction of the shot.

 

Actually firing the gun is the easy part! A new shooter will want to remember to be slow, smooth and even when squeezing the trigger. This will apply even pressure until the trigger breaks, allowing the firearm to go off. Always use the pad of the index fingertip, never the joint of the finger, the pressure will not be even. Sometimes pulling the trigger can be scary, use mental distractions like counting to combat this.

Try dry firing a few times, this may lessen the anxiety a new shooter has about the ammunition. A dry fire is just a shot fired without a bullet. The instructor may use this to demonstrate the force of the firearm. Many modern firearms are not damaged by dry firing and can be a solution when a suitable place to fire is not available. The gun does not have to be loaded to practice sights, stance and grip.

 

When trying to improve shooting skills, the best way to do that is to practice and practice some more. Though the motion of squeezing the trigger is simple, the responsibility and full body involvement that goes along with firing a gun can be challenging. Though a new shooter may be discouraged about lining up sights to hit the target, the skills can always be practiced to become better. Practice, practice, practice.
Hopefully this gives a little insight on how to begin target shooting, good luck and enjoy!

Keeping kids safe around guns: Best gun safe 101

NOTE: This article was written by my aunt who wants to reiterate the importance of proper gun storage. I definitely agree so I decided to share this with you guys.  -Michael

I was enjoying the company of two friends of mine (a married couple) at my favorite restaurant. One of them turned to me and asked, “As a gun owner, how do you keep your kids safe around guns?” The question left me stunned for a few seconds. Our casual conversation suddenly became serious.

My husband and I have four sons. At this time, their ages range from seven to thirteen. They are the typical kids. They are curious and full of energy. We have owned guns for most of their lives.

I have a theory when it comes to keeping the children safe around guns in your home. I believe their safety should come in two solid layers. In this article, I will cover the first solid layer of safety: keeping guns out of the hands of kids.

I learned a very important lesson several years ago. It was imperative for me not to fully trust “child proof” features. My sons learned how to climb out of their cribs without my help. They also learned how to get pass cabinet locks. A cabinet lock may slow down an adult, but it rarely stops a determined child filled with a spirit of adventure.

My sons are regular kids and they will do almost anything that seems intrigues them. This is the primary reason why my husband and I decided that we had to take measures that would prevent them from gaining access to our firearms. I had to find a method that would not depend on locks. This method had to give me a peace of mind as responsible parent with a registered firearm in the home.

safe-guns-01

Securing Non-Defense Firearms

We took the first step by placing all weapons we wouldn’t use as an emergency first line of defense into our gun safe. An exceptional gun safe is designed to protect guns from grown men with power tools. We knew that our gun safe would keep our kids from getting their hands on our guns. As an added measure of safety, we made sure that every gun in the safe was unloaded. We kept the ammunition in another sturdy safe.

Let’s discuss safes for a quick moment. A top of the line safe can protect firearms from fires and burglars. The price of a top of the line safe depends on its features.

Safes are rated for burglary resistance according to how long it can hold up to entry attempts made by burglars. Some safes are torch and tool resistant on all sides. These types of safes tend to be more expensive. It is imperative for you to remember that a safe is normally compromised when it is picked up and taken away by a burglar. This is why it is important to bolt your safe to the wall or floor.

safe-guns-02

The price for a fire and burglar resistant full sized safe starts at $900. Without fire protection, be ready to pay at least $500 for a dependable floor safe.

There are other options you can consider if you cannot afford a dedicated safe. Franzen makes bore locks, cable locks, lock boxes, and many other creative devices that can lock your firearms with ease. For example, the “Armloc II” will keep your gun safe. The Armloc II is a sturdy gun case that has a three number programmable combination lock and key lock. It is vital that you hide your keys from your children!

Another option is the “Life Jacket”. The Life Jacket is a leading gun lock that nearly covers the entire gun, or clamps over the action of a long gun. It can be carried around or mounted on the wall. The price of this firearm safety measure starts at twenty dollars.

Before investing in a gun safe, we used a beautiful antique trunk to hide our guns. The trunk was old, but it had an exceptional lock. Our second layer of defense was purchasing locks for each gun. The cable locks made it impossible for our firearms to be loaded and fired.

As a general rule, two layers of defense should always be implemented when you cannot afford a gun safe. This will make it virtually impossible for your children to gain access to your firearms.

Storing a Defense Gun

I felt confident about storing our guns safely, but I had my concerns when it came to having access to a firearm if a thug decides to break into our home. A defense gun is the only logical choice for this scenario. You can buy a quick access safe for a defense gun, but you may not be able to access your gun in time. I decided to keep my loaded gun on my hip. This may seem radical, but I feel that it is the best option. A handgun under the strict control of a responsible adult is a good safety measure.

My husband and I have also been considering getting the best biometric gun safe. If any of you has one, please message me as I’d like to hear about your experience.

safe-guns-03

Disarming Kids Curiosity

Keeping the children safe around guns in your home is a serious subject. With a reliable defense gun on my hip and firearms in the gun safe, I began to feel confident that my kids were not in harm’s way. I also had to consider the fact that my boys enjoyed spending time with their friends. It would probably be out of line for me ask their friend’s parents if they own a gun. I think it is important for me to teach my boys how to behave responsibly while visiting their friends.