Beginner Handgun Training

Training can be fun and educational.

Some people who are untrained with handguns may be afraid to even touch one, as if it would fire upon contact. This is far from true. Training to use a handgun can be an exciting experience, and importantly it can be done safely. Something for the beginner to remember is no one starts out as an expert.

Safety First

Learn the rules of gun safety.

When it comes to any firearm training, safety is paramount and will begin whatever handgun training you receive. The National Rifle Association has three basic safety rules: always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot and always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to shoot. These rules are a good foundation for being a safe handgun user.


This is an example of a revolver.

You will want to learn the features of your handgun. There are two types of pistols, revolvers and semiautomatic. Revolvers are simple to learn. There is a cylinder that holds your bullets, and it turns counterclockwise when the trigger is pulled. Usually, a revolver holds five or six bullets. The lever to allow the cylinder to slide out to the left is located on the left side of the weapon. This allows you to load and unload the gun. Revolvers do not have safeties.

Semiautomatic Handguns

This is a semiautomatic pistol.

A semiautomatic pistol may have a safety. It has a “slide,” which is on the top of the gun and moves forward and backward when the weapon is fired. This movement ejects the shell casing of the bullet just fired and places another bullet in the chamber. When the last bullet is fired, the slide locks back. Semiautomatics handguns are loaded using a magazine. To load the magazine, you push the bullets into it and press them down and back. When the slide is locked back, you will need to push the magazine release button, located on the left side of the weapon. The magazine will drop out of the bottom of the grip. Replace it with a loaded magazine and push down on the slide release button, also located on the left side of the pistol and about one inch above the trigger. The slide will move forward and chamber a new bullet from the magazine. Depending on the caliber and type of pistol, a semiautomatic may hold as few as six bullets or as many as 17.

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Proper aim is required to hit your target.

To fire accurately, you must place the sights of the gun on the target before pulling the trigger. The rear sight is on top of the gun and is shaped like a “U.” The front sight is above the end of the barrel and is a single post. To correctly aim the pistol, the front and rear sights need to be leveled with the target, and you should see the same amount of space between the sides of the “U” and the front sight.

Getting a Concealed Handgun License

Getting a license for a concealed handgun could add to your safety.

If you are planning to get a concealed handgun license, expect to spend some time in a classroom, take a written test and also pass a range qualification, according to the Texas Concealed Handgun Association. The classroom portion will explain laws in your state regarding carrying a handgun, places where no handguns may be carried, situations where using a handgun is appropriate and other legal information.