Tag Archives: First Time Gun Buyers

Hit The Range: a new shooters guide to etiquette and safety

New to shooting? Whether you’re going with a friend to the range or taking a class, there are a few things you should understand before you take your first shots. KEEP READING…

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory, by Kippi Leatham

Here are first-timer tips and best practices for firearm safety and range procedures.

SAFETY FIRST — SAFETY ALWAYS
The first and most important thing to learn as a first-time shooter is safety. There are four basic rules of firearm safety. Read them, understand them and always follow them. You don’t want to end up getting the “attention” of the range safety officers – or worse yet, booted off the range for not following the fundamental, universal safety rules.

1. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED
Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction (more on that in rule number 2). Check — and double check — the condition of the gun BEFORE you continue with the task at hand.

Check that the chamber is empty and there is no magazine inserted BEFORE you clean, disassemble, store, dry fire, or put the gun on a table to walk down range, etc. This important rule applies also when you are getting a gun out of storage, whether from a safe, range bag, gun case, etc.

Even if you’re positive the gun is not loaded, check again. You never want to have a negligent discharge and potentially injure someone because you “thought” the gun was unloaded.

2. NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
Muzzle direction is especially important, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded or unloaded (and it’s ALWAYS loaded, see rule #1). The muzzle must never point at any part of your own body, another person, family pet, or in any unsafe direction.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — AT THE RANGE
Most ranges are designed with a common firing line. That means all shooters are standing in a line next to each other, parallel to the backstop, shooting at targets downrange. You are allowed very little muzzle movement right and left (laterally) because of the shooters next to you.

From the moment you pick up your gun or draw it from your holster, the muzzle should point straight downrange, parallel to the ground. The muzzle should never point up (toward the roof, light fixtures, or sky) and it should never point down (toward your feet, shooting table, or the ground/floor).

When you finish shooting, keep the muzzle pointed downrange when UNLOADING the gun. Many right-handed shooters rotate the gun and muzzle to the left — pointing it at the person to their left — when unloading. Lefties do the opposite. Teach yourself to keep the muzzle STRAIGHT downrange. Rotate your body 90 degrees if you need additional leverage to unload the gun and/or lock the slide open.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — NOT AT THE RANGE
Want to show your best friend the new Range Officer® Elite you just purchased? You can easily do this when not at a live firing range. Here is the etiquette to follow:

Create a dry-fire line — facing in a safe direction — perhaps behind a table, counter, or workbench, pointed into a corner.

Make sure none of your family members — or the dog and cat — will be walking in front of your dry-fire line (downrange).

Take the gun out of the case, with the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger out of the trigger guard.

Ensure the gun is unloaded (no magazine and an empty chamber).

Lock the slide open so the empty chamber and empty mag well are visible to everyone.

Hand the gun to your friend, keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with your finger out of the trigger guard.

Continue to handle the gun as if it were loaded.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This is an extremely important safety rule to follow, but even many experienced gun owners put their finger on the trigger at the wrong time. This can unfortunately cause accidents.

Remember, your finger should be on the trigger ONLY when you have fulfilled the following criteria:

You are pointing the gun at the target.

You have made the decision to shoot the target.

At all other times, there is absolutely no reason to have your finger on the trigger. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) during ALL other times that you handle the gun, including:

When taking the gun out of a case, bag or safe.
When picking the gun up from a table.
When drawing the gun from a holster.
When checking the status of the gun (loaded or unloaded).
When loading or unloading the gun.
When reloading the gun or changing a magazine
When locking the slide back.
When putting the gun down on a table or bench.
When holstering the gun.
When clearing a malfunction.
When placing a gun back into its case, bag or safe
When disassembling the gun.
When handing the gun to another.

If you develop a good trigger finger habit, you will hopefully never have a negligent discharge, firing the gun when you are not ready to shoot. That’s a club you should want to belong to. #LifeMember

Being aware of your finger position is one of the best “safeties” on your gun. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t discharge.

4. ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT’S BEHIND IT
It is our responsibility as shooters to know what we are shooting at, what is beyond our target and what is between our gun and the target. We call that “the line of sight.”

TARGET — Always shoot at targets that are approved for the shooting range layout, and your gun and type of ammunition, i.e. paper, steel, clays, etc. Never shoot at glass or anything that could ricochet or leave dangerous remains on the ground.

BEYOND TARGET — Make sure you know what is beyond your target also, as the bullet doesn’t typically remain in the target. At indoor ranges or outdoor ranges with berms and backstops, this is usually not a problem. But if you’re not at one of these types of ranges, it’s your responsibility to know what is in the area behind your target (for several miles possibly), as bullets can and do travel a long distance.

LINE OF SIGHT — It’s imperative that there is nothing obstructing your line of sight. That means there shouldn’t be any objects between your sight picture and your target.

Follow these first-timer shooting tips to stay safe and have fun — whether you’re at home or at the range.

A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Pistol Ammo

Don’t get lost in the sea of cartridge boxes at the gun shop! This article will point you in the right direction. MORE

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Posted by Kyle Schmidt

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brilliant. The wording they used was so profound that it still has a tremendous impact on our lives today.

Sure, all people were created equal — but when it comes to ammunition, not so much.

THE AMMUNITION SPREAD
As a newer shooter, choosing ammunition can be a daunting task. Full-metal jacket, ball, hollow-point, wad-cutter, round-nose, flat-point, plated, coated, and the list goes on. These terms can seem pretty overwhelming, and these are just common types of pistol bullets.

So, how is a new shooter supposed to know what kind of ammunition to buy?

KEY COMPONENTS
Centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition are made up of four components:
Case
Primer
Powder
Bullet
(NOTE: I often hear people refer to a round of ammunition as a “bullet.” Although this is generally accepted slang for some, it can be confusing when discussing ammunition. For the purposes of this guide, when referring to a “bullet,” I am referring to the individual component that is a part of a single round of ammunition, which is also called a “cartridge”.)

pistol cartridge parts

Generally speaking, the two biggest variables in ammunition come from the powder and the bullet. The type and quantity of powder will predominantly affect the velocity of the bullet. The bullet design has a significant affect on accuracy and performance once the bullet impacts the target.

PURPOSE
When determining what ammunition to choose, the first question to ask is, “What’s it for?”

Ammunition is designed with a variety of purposes in mind — hunting, target shooting, competition, and personal defense among them.

HUNTING & PERSONAL DEFENSE
In general, ammunition made for hunting and personal defense is designed to have a higher velocity, a heavier bullet, and a bullet designed to expand when it strikes the target. Commonly, this type of ammunition is sold in containers of smaller quantities and often comes with a higher price tag. This ammunition generally has more felt recoil, which is more commonly referred to as “kick.”

defensive ammo

COMPETITION
Ammunition made for competition is usually designed with the specific requirements of a given type of competition in mind. Some competitions are heavily designed around extreme accuracy, while others may be more speed-oriented. Because some events require a great deal of accuracy, this may lead to an expensive bullet design and a higher cost. But it’s typically still less expensive than hunting ammunition.

Generally speaking, competition shooters look for ammunition that has less felt recoil. So, keep in mind that many competition shooters modify their guns so they will work with ammunition of different lengths and with ammunition that requires less energy to function the gun. Be cautious when purchasing ammunition designed for competition, as it may not function all firearms.

match handgun ammo

 

 

TARGET SHOOTING
“Target ammunition” is a general-purpose term. This is the ammunition you might see in bulk packaging at the sporting goods store. The bullets and powder used vary significantly. Unlike competition ammunition, this ammo is generally designed to function a wide variety of firearms reliably but does not have the same high level of felt recoil as the hunting or self-defense ammunition. This ammunition is probably the most common type purchased by the typical shooter for practice. This ammunition also gives shooters the most “bang” for their buck, as it can be the least expensive option.

bulk ammo

Most importantly, the ammunition you purchase needs to safely and reliably function the gun.

JUST REMEMBER — When purchasing ammunition, there are a couple of other things to consider before filling your home with a new type of ammo.

Quantity — Start in small quantities when purchasing new ammunition. Most places will not take ammunition back, so if you find out the ammunition does not function your gun and you just purchased thousands of rounds of it, you’ll be stuck with trying to sell it to someone else.

Function — Some guns just don’t like some ammunition. The ammo may work fine in one gun, but cause constant malfunctions in another.

Accuracy — Some bullets shoot better out of some guns than others. Even if you buy the latest, greatest new ammunition that your favorite YouTube video depicted to be the most accurate ammo in the history of the galaxy, it may not shoot well out of your barrel. Conversely, you may find that a particular bullet shoots well out of your gun that your know-it-all buddy says is terrible.

Manufacturer — Consider the source. I have seen numerous problems with ammunition over the years, including ammunition that did not have any powder and ammunition that had way too much powder. Occasionally, I have seen ammunition destroy a gun. I have even seen this happen with ammunition from well-known manufacturers. However, they have been responsive when paying for repairs or replacing the gun if needed. That same expectation may not be realistic for the small, garage-based ammunition companies.

ASK YOURSELF
At the end of the day, the ammo questions you need to ask yourself:
Will you shoot it?
Does it meet your reliability requirement?
Does it meet your accuracy requirement?
Does it meet your felt recoil requirement?
Does it meet your cost requirement?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you probably shouldn’t purchase the ammo, as you likely won’t enjoy shooting it. If you don’t enjoy shooting it, the ammunition will just stay in the box and you won’t get any practice. If you don’t get any practice, you definitely will not get any better. And if you don’t get any better, you won’t ever get to experience the great enjoyment that comes from being a competent gun owner.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.

You’ll find all you need HERE!