How to Shoot a Pistol in 10 Minutes

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Video Transcript

Lucas Botkin (00:00)
Handguns are one of the hardest firearms to master, but they're not as complicated as some instructors or institutions would have you believe. And I believe you should be able to teach anyone how to shoot a handgun in about 10 minutes.

Mission Impossible (00:10)
This is Beretta 92F. It's a very accurate close-range weapon. Don't point it at me. It's 15 rounds. When the mag is empty, the slide will lock back like this. To reload, push this button, the empty mag falls out. You shove the other in like the batteries in the flashlight in the kitchen. Then release the slide. Point, shoot. It's very simple. Point, shoot.

Types of Handguns (00:34)
So to start off with, there's three kinds of handguns. You've got revolvers, which are kind of outdated. Don't hold lot of ammunition and have limited application. You've got breech-loading guns, which also have very limited application. And then you've got your automatics—your Glocks, your CZs, your SIGs, and possibly your Glock 18s if they're fully automatic. For the sake of this video, we're gonna be talking about semi-automatics.

Sighting with Iron Sights (00:59)
Every reliable pistol is going to include a set of iron sights. And some handguns may even include the new red dot sights that manufacturers are starting to include on their pistols. Basically what you have going on—this is a stock Glock 19. You have your rear sight aperture, which has a valley in the center, and then you have your front sight post. And what you're gonna be doing is you're gonna be lining those up so that the front sight post is directly in the center of the valley. And it's flush with the top of the rear sight. It really is that simple. Now there's a lot of people that ask, "Hey, do I shut one eye? Do I leave both eyes open?" You wanna leave both eyes open. And what you wanna do is figure out which eye you're dominant with. I'm left-eye dominant. I'm right-handed, I'm gonna be presenting that eye center with my body, and I'm gonna be focusing on my front sight post. There's a time and a place to focus on the target instead of your front sight post. There's also time and a place not to even use your sights at all.

Die Hard (01:46)
Next time, you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate.

Lucas Botkin (01:57)
Sights are very important, obviously. They allow you to shoot very accurately, but if I'm two feet from a target, does that mean I have to use my sights? No, I don't. I can point, shoot and I can still get my hits just fine. So it's important to know how to use sights. It's also important to understand that sometimes the fastest way to get your shots off may be not using your sights.

Collateral (02:15)

Gripping Your Handgun (02:18)
Grip is obviously something that's very important as it allows you to shoot fast and also prevent certain malfunctions from taking place. So I've got my handgun. It's important to note that the recoil of this pistol is not occurring due to the explosion of the round in the chamber, but is due to the slide, reciprocating 20, 30 miles an hour, whatever it is. And then actually throwing the handgun up, picking up, ejecting this casing, picking up a new round, and then I'm able to fire. So as long as my hand is up high with the slide, I'll be able to control that recoil effectively. This just comes down to leverage and friction. If I'm gripping the handgun down low as this handgun reciprocates, that's obviously going to throw the handgun up in my hand, and that can cause a stove pipe and/or a failure to feed or failure to extract because I am limp-wristing the pistol.

So a big thing to keep in mind is I take my hand and I'm trying to grip the pistol as high as I can into the beavertail or tang of the pistol. This allows me to have good leverage on the gun itself. To have good friction for recoil management, I'm going to introduce my left hand. I'm going to be gripping high on the gun. Something that I like to do is take these support hand fingers and actually put them in the grooves of my dominant hand right here. This also helps prevent my hand from slipping in recoil. And if you feel yourself slipping in recoil that's because you're not gripping tight enough.

And I know people ask, "How tight should I grip my handgun?" You wanna death grip it, but you wanna relax your grip enough that the gun isn't shaking all over the place. But you don't wanna dead fish the gun and let it jump around like this because you can potentially cause a malfunction, but you're also not gonna shoot very accurately and you're not gonna be able to shoot very fast. So tight, high grip with your dominant hand, solid grip with your left hand, with your thumbs running forward like so. If they touch the slide, you will not cause a malfunction with my fingers, my support hand fingers, dug into my dominant hand. And that is my grip. And it should be consistent every single time that I shoot with two hands on the pistol.

Stance (04:21)
When we've got our grip established, what does our upper body stance look like? Well, I'm squaring up towards the target and I'm having a slight bend in my elbows and I'm bringing the pistol to my eyes. I'm not dropping my head. I'm not locking my arms out to my body. The issue with that is if I start to shoot on the move and I take impacts on the ground that go to my legs up to my core. If I am fully locked out, that is going to cause more dip and affect my sight picture on target versus having that slight bend in the elbows, which acts as a natural suspension system.

Trigger Management (04:52)
So you've got your sights, you've got your grip, and now for the most important, and that's trigger management. Something a lot of folks don't understand is the majority of missed shots aren't because of your sight alignment. And they're not necessarily because of your grip. It's because of improper trigger press. So let's go over it. You obviously have a couple different kinds of handguns. You've got your double-action. You've got your single-action guns like 1911s. Then you have your striker-fire pistols like this Glock. Where essentially what's happening is as the slide is reciprocating it's essentially pulling the hammer back, which is essentially internal. So all I have to do when I press the trigger is basically defeat a single-stage trigger.

So in this case, I have a five and a half pound trigger pull with the stock Glock 19. And what I have with the trigger, and this is for most handguns out there is you have your slack, which is a lot of play in the trigger before you actually get to your wall of resistance, where you start to meet that five and a half pounds, that four and a half pounds, six pounds, whatever it is that the manufacturer quotes for their particular handgun.

Fire from the Wall (05:52)
What I wanna do when I shoot this pistol is I wanna shoot from the wall. I don't wanna shoot from the front of the trigger face like this because when I make the determination to fire, I'm gonna yank the entire thing and drive the pistol down. And I'm not gonna be able to time the shot very effectively. There's people out there that go, "You should let the shot surprise you." And the answer is no, you shouldn't. You should know exactly when you're pressing the trigger. Exactly when the gun's gonna go off, because you have a good understanding of where the wall of your trigger is, how many pounds you have to pull to actually get that pistol to fire.

So what I wanna do is I wanna fire from the wall. So when I present the pistol from compressed ready, or from the draw, I wanna take up all that slack and get to the wall. And because I dry fire, because I practice a lot, I know exactly where that wall is and I can press the trigger from there. And I can press the trigger from there in an instant. Now, some triggers have a little bit of mush. Once you get to the wall where there's a little bit more movement, and it's good to defeat that if you can. Otherwise, on most of my pistols, I just go to the wall and I press straight to the rear from there.

How and When to Press the Trigger (06:50)
I'm also pressing with the pad of my finger. I'm not using the tip of my finger as that can drive the pistol. And I'm not knuckling the trigger because that can also pull the pistol as well. I want to use the pad of my finger and straighten my finger out if I can. That helps me pull the trigger straight to the rear, straight to me, so I'm not deviating the pistol off to either side as I am shooting.

After you press the trigger, you obviously have the cycling of the slide, and then you have your reset, your sear engaging. And it's gonna have a audible click. Now, a lot of shooters when they hear that click, they immediately fire again. And they let the click dictate when they fire. This generally results in poor accuracy. What you should be able to do is even if you hear that click because you reset slowly, you don't let that dictate when you fire. You're able to come back to the wall, sit on the wall, verify your sight picture in relation to target size and target distance, and then take that shot from the wall when you need to. Slide reciprocates, I'm back on the wall, verify my sights again, and then I can take that shot again. I'm never letting the trigger reset dictate when I fire and eventually with training, what you wanna get to is able to reset the trigger and recoil so you never hear that click in the first place.

Recoil Anticipation (08:07)
One of the biggest issues that new shooters have when they're shooting is recoil anticipation. Something you can do to defeat this is dry firing, knowing exactly where the wall of the trigger is, and being able to time your shot effectively. But recoil anticipation—which is essentially when a shooter fires, they yank the pistol down at the last second, they drive their shots low—is not actually a bad thing. What it is is it's mistiming of the recoil itself. When I fire the pistol to control recoil effectively, I actually wanna drive the gun back on target. I don't wanna wait for the gun to come back and settle. Cuz that takes additional time. I actually wanna be able to fire and then drive the gun back on target as it's reciprocating. So recoil anticipation is just poor timing of this, where people jerk the pistol down right before they fire versus firing and then jerking the pistol down, back on target.

Dry Fire (08:54)
It takes reps to get better at that. Dry fire helps you become more aware of where your wall is in relation to you know, where the trigger actually breaks. So that's something all of you need to be doing is dry firing and figuring out exactly where your wall is and exactly when the pistol's actually going to fire.

Reloading (09:09)
Another thing you're gonna have to do for your handgun is you're going to have to feed it. When it goes empty, provided you have a modern handgun design and you have good magazines. The slide is going to lock to the rear. At which point you're going to dump the empty magazine onto the ground, hitting the mag release, which is usually located where your thumb is, insert your new magazine, and now at this point you can do one of two things. You can grab the back of the slide to drop the slide, putting it back into battery, or you can hit your slide release slide lock. There's some debate here. I personally use this. You can also go over the back and drop the slide, like so. An important thing to note though, don't ride the slide, pull it back deliberately and let go. If you ride it back, you can cause a malfunction depending on how dirty your gun is, depending on your ammunition. You wanna be deliberate with your pistol as you're loading it, drop the slide, hit the mag release and now your pistol's ready to go.

Malfunctions (09:59)
There are a number of different malfunctions that can occur to your pistol. And there's a lot of different, special ways of clearing them. But as long as you understand how your pistol works—how you can lock the slide to the rear yourself, how you can remove the magazine, how you can fully unload the gun and then fully load the pistol again—you can deal with most malfunctions on your own. And to be honest, they don't happen as much as some people think. And they're usually driven by the ammunition that you select, not so much the gun itself, especially if you pick a reliable pistol.

Discipline + Teaching Yourself (10:30)
So that's how to shoot a pistol in 10 minutes. Now, obviously, there's little nuances and other things here and there I didn't get into and little specifics on how to speed reload faster and target transitioning and shooting on the move. But those are the bare fundamentals and the bare building blocks to starting to teach yourself how to shoot.

And that's something that very few people talk about, but the reality is if you wanna become good at shooting or at least competent at shooting, that's something you can teach yourself. You don't have to go to the people in white lab coats. You don't have to go to professional instructors. You don't have to take 20 classes in a year to get good at shooting. All it takes is having the discipline to go to the range, try new things, study some stuff—there's a lot of free content online that's really good content. There's obviously some bad stuff out there too, but you can discern the good content from the bad based on what people are putting out there as far as the skills and the competence. So if you look for that, you start analyzing what people are doing and you simply go to the range and start putting rounds down range, you can become very good at shooting without doing what a lot of the institutions want to make you think you need to do.

So I hope that was helpful. We produce a lot of content on here. If you're interested in seeing more, as far as drills and other, some of the more finer techniques like shooting on the move and target transitioning. So if you're interested in that, stick around, check out some of our other videos. We're producing content all the time on social media and here on YouTube. And I hope this helps. Thanks so much.