Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, shooting a handgun with precision requires balance, technique, and practice. Even if you’re an experienced shooter of long guns, shooting a handgun accurately requires a different set of skills. Read on for a basic primer on handgun safety and accuracy. HOW TO USE SHORTGUNS

Part 1: Learning Basic Handgun Skills

1.Learn the difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol. 


These are the two basic types of handguns. The handguns you would see in a cowboy movie are revolvers. The cartridges in a revolver are loaded into a cylinder in the middle of the frame of the gun. A capacity of six is most common but some hold five and are designed to fit smaller hands. A semi-automatic pistol has a sliding mechanism at the top of the handgun and a magazine of pre-loaded ammunition in the handle. Operation of each type of handgun differ slightly so it’s important to clearly define terms before handling a gun.
  • Revolvers have a revolving cylinder for holding the ammunition. The ammunition is loaded into the cylinder, then the cylinder swings into the revolver and it is ready to fire. After a bullet is fired, the cylinder rotates and lines up the next cartridge in line with the firing pin. Most revolvers can be fired in a double action mode which is pulling the trigger which rotates the hammer until it falls and fires the cartridge. Additionally, the hammer can be pulled back into position before the trigger is pulled, this results in a much lighter trigger pull and improves accuracy. In order to retrieve the spent cartridges, the cylinder is rotated outwards allowing the empty ammunitions to be removed.
  • A semi-automatic pistol advances each cartridge into the chamber from the magazine. It then ejects the empty cartridge after it has been fired. The slide on the top of the gun is used to advance the first shell into the chamber, and can be locked in the back position with a button or pin on the side. The removable magazine is removed and loaded separately.

2. Choose the right handgun and ammunition for your need


Handguns come in many varieties with a seemingly endless array of ammunition options. Also, consider your body, hand size and purpose of your handgun.[3]

  • You probably don’t need a .357 Magnum to try out target shooting at the gun range. Avoid buying an overly large high-caliber gun if you’re interested in getting started, and instead get a small-caliber reliable gun, like a .22. Talk to dealers and others experienced with firearms for recommendations.


3.Protect your ears and eyes with proper safety gear. 



Headphone-style ear protection and earplugs will protect against the noise of the gunshots. Safety goggles will protect the eyes from flying shells, hot gasses and lead particles that are ejected from a semi-automatic handgun.
  • Wear safety goggles even if you already wear glasses. Safety goggles are designed to protect you in a way your glasses won’t.

4. Always handle a handgun safely.




When handling a handgun, always keep it pointed downrange. Do not use a gun range unless there is an appropriate backdrop and safety equipment.

  • Be careful of all safety consideration while at the range. It is not only important to practice good gun safety, you must be aware of what those around you are doing. Many beginners struggle pulling the slide back with a semi-automatic with just their thumb and forefinger, especially if the handgun has a strong spring or your hands are sweaty. If you need to use the palm of your hand (or your whole hand) to pull back the slide, turn your body sideways to the weapon and keep it pointed downrange.

Part 2: Holding the Handgun

1. ALWAYS check first to see if the handgun is loaded.


 ANY time you pick up a handgun you need to check to see if it is loaded. Even when you first bring it home from the store, check to see if it is loaded. If you got it out of the closet for the first time in ten years, check to see if it is loaded. If you just unloaded it, check to see if it is loaded. And, always check any gun that is given to you by anybody at anytime. Failure to do this can result in serious damage to property, injury to people and death!
  • With a revolver, release the cylinder and rotate it to the side. All the chambers should be empty. In a semi-automatic pistol, remove the magazine from the gun and pull the slide back to look into the chamber to make sure there isn’t a cartridge in the firing chamber. If there is, racking the slide should eject it.
  • Keep the slide in the back position while you practice holding the gun to be sure it’s unloaded and to get used to keeping your thumb out of the way of the slide’s action.