Hitting your target consistently when shooting a handgun requires solid fundamentals. Check out these tips for building a strong foundation, and watch the Ammo Insiders video on proper shooting form.
• Semi-Automatic vs. Revolver Handguns are generally divided into two primary groups—semi-automatic pistols and revolvers. Pistols fire one shot with each pull of the trigger and feed cartridges from a magazine. Revolvers hold cartridges in a rotating cylinder that moves into firing position with each pull of the trigger or when the hammer is cocked, depending on the specific design. The different categories often require different ammunition.
• How To Load How you load a handgun depends on the action of the individual firearm. For a semi-automatic, push cartridges down into the spring-loaded magazine on top one another until full. A speed loader device helps makes loading faster, with less strain on the shooter's fingers. Revolvers are loaded by slipping a round into each chamber.
1) Grasp the pistol with your dominant hand, keeping the webbing between the thumb and forefinger high on the grip, but below the slide (in a semi-automatic handgun).
2) Lay your thumb along the side of the pistol, just below the slide, and your index finger along the opposite side of the gun, off the trigger.
3) Wrap your other hand around your dominant hand, keeping your fingers below the trigger guard and your thumb slightly ahead of the dominant thumb.
4) Lay your dominant thumb on top of your weak-hand thumb.
5) Do not cross your weak hand thumb across the back of the gun.
• Stance When shooting a handgun, it's critical to use a proper stance. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, squared up to the target, with your center of gravity forward. This position gives you a steady platform from which to aim.
• Sights Handguns are equipped with front and rear sights. Shooters should keep both eyes open and line up the front sight so sits squarely between the posts of the rear sight, centered on the target beyond.
• Recoil Management All firearms produce recoil. The challenge for shooters, especially newcomers, is managing it. This requires a proper grip and stance, as well as practice. It's important to resist anticipating the recoil and pushing the gun downward to counter it. Rather, concentrate on holding the gun steady while focusing on keeping the sights on target, pushing the gun out toward the target.
• Trigger When shooting a semi-automatic handgun, it's important to press the trigger smoothly using the tip of the index finger rather than the meaty portion of the finger near the knuckle. This ensures a smooth trigger pull that doesn't pull the gun off target.
• Magazine—Not 'Clip' Semi-automatic handguns hold cartridges in a removable, spring-loaded sleeve called a magazine. These are often mistakenly referred to as "clips." Use the correct term—you'll win points with the seasoned veterans you bump into at the range.