5 Essential Tips for Holding a Gun for the First Time

man at shooting range

If you are like most people, you have likely seen a TV show, or two, where the hero is wielding a handgun while nonchalantly taking on 50 baddies and never stopping to reload. While these action flicks are a great way to spend part of your day, they don’t reflect real-life gun use.

In a perfect world, no one would have to use a gun for self-defense. However, if the time arises and you find yourself in this situation, it is better to be trained in holding a gun and how to use it.

If you are new to guns or just need some refresher information, you are in the right place. Below are a few tips that will help you safely and correctly hold and fire your gun.

Safety First

Before diving into the meat of how to hold and fire a gun, it is essential to review gun safety rules. When you follow the basic gun safety rules, you can feel confident that you are keeping yourself and others safe.

Imagine the Gun Is Always Loaded

You should treat every firearm as if it were fully loaded. Even when you have triple-checked the gun, and you are sure there are no bullets in it, ack like there is. This is a smart precaution to follow each time you handle a gun.

Point the Gun Safely

Make sure your gun is always pointed in a safe direction. Consider your surroundings and then point the barrel in a direction where an accidental discharge won’t cause any physical injuries or property damage.

When you are at the range, the most logical and safest direction for pointing your gun is downrange. This is true as long as there is no one in that area.

Practice Good Trigger Discipline

Keep your finger off the trigger and on the outside of the trigger guard until you are pointing the gun at your target and ready to fire. Don’t move your finger from this spot outside the trigger guard to the trigger until you have decided to shoot your weapon.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Know your target, the backstop, and what is beyond both of these before you begin shooting off rounds. This is not usually a huge concern if you are at a gun range, as additional precautions are taken to ensure everyone’s safety. However, make sure your line of fire is always kept in mind.

The idea here is to be too cautious. This is going to help you prevent any potential mistakes that may occur when you are handling a gun.

Tips for Holding a Gun

Before you attempt to learn how to fire a gun, you have to learn the right way to hold it. You should try to forget about all the fancy gun stances you have seen on TV.

Instead, use one of the grips that are described below. Also, consider purchasing Hogue Grips as they will help prevent gun slipping or other issues while holding and firing your gun.

The “Teacup” Hold

With this grip, your strong hand is on the gun, and your support gun rests under the grip to cradle the strong hand. Many shooters learn this grip first because it is one of the easiest options. Military members are also often taught this grip method.

The biggest downfall of this grip is that you only have one hand on the gun. This means there is less support for any recoil. While you can shoot with this hold, many people don’t consider this a practice shooting method.

Thumbs Crossed Grip

If you are shooting a semi-automatic pistol rather than another type of gun, if you cross your thumbs behind the slide, it can be dangerous. As the slide moves back, the bottom edge may catch on the top of your thumb, cutting it open.

A better option is to stack your thumbs on top of one another on the same side of the gun. This offers good support, and it will make sure your fingers don’t get in the way of the slide.

If you have finger mobility issues, such as arthritis, there are ways to adapt this grip while keeping your thumbs free from injury. This may require you to point them up, instead of level with the slide.

Index Finger in Front of the Trigger Guard

It is important to remember that the recoil of a gun is going to travel the path that offers the least resistance. Having one of your fingers away from the grip is going to let the gun travel in that direction slightly.

Instead, wrap your fingers around your strong hand, beneath the trigger guard. This is going to help you have a tight grip all around the sides of the gun. It will also help to minimize the recoil.

Gripping Your Wrist

Making sure your wrists are firm and stable while shooting is crucial. However, gripping the wrist is not the best way to do this.

Both of your hands need to be on your gun. If you don’t do this, the benefit is virtually non-existent.

Unfortunately, there are many movies that use this grip, which makes many people think it is correct – this isn’t the case. Instead of doing this, use both your hands and place then on either side of your gun. This will help stabilize the recoil, all while reducing muzzle flip.

Perfecting Your Gun Grip

When you are holding your gun, it is essential to do so in a way that will give you more precision when you fire, thanks to isometric tension. What this means is that when you grip your gun, push forward with the strong, shooting hand and pull back with your supporting hand at the same time.

You also need to note the 70/30 role when you are holding a gun. The intensity you are squeezing with your supporting hand needs to be 70%, while your dominant hand can take care of the other 30%.

The supporting hand should create most of the tension, which helps control the gun’s recoil. This also lets your shooting hand remain more relaxed, which means you can focus more on trigger control.

If you give your shooting hand more squeezing power, then the muscles are going to be too tight. This will make it more challenging for you to press the trigger.

Tips for Firing Your Gun

Now that you know the most common grips for holding your gun, it is time to learn how to fire it accurately and safely. Always use extreme caution when you are holding a firearm. While this may sound repetitive, it is essential for your safety and the safety of others.

Your Shooting Stance

How you position your body when shooting a gun is a crucial factor to consider. There are two common stances:

  • The isosceles triangle
  • The weaver

For the isosceles triangle stance, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees to create an athletic position. Your feet and shoulders should be lined up.

Raise your gun and keep it close to your body, then extend your arms out and toward your target. Your feet and the extended weapon create the isosceles triangle.

For the weaver stance, your feet should be shoulder-width apart, but they should be staggered similar to a boxer’s stance. If you are right-handed, your left foot should be in front, with most of your weight on it. This stance was developed in the late 1950s in Southern California by Deputy Sheriff Jack Weaver.

Aiming Your Gun

Once you have your grip and stance down, you need to aim the gun. You should use your dominant eye for aiming.

Extend your arms forward and raise your gun to eye-level. This will allow you to see the sights and your target easily. Slightly bend your elbows, but don’t lock them, which lets you absorb the recoil.

Align your front and two rear sights. Focus on putting the front sight on your target. You can’t keep everything in focus so that the target may be slightly blurry. However, the front sight should always be clear.

Always Abide by the Gun Safety Rules

There are several things to consider when holding a gun. It can be a dangerous activity, so you must take care each time you are at the range and firing a weapon.

Make sure you stick to the rules and steps found in this guide. This will help ensure that you safely and properly hold and fire your gun.

Safety should always be your top priority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the range.