Firearms Wiki

I am creating this wiki for the guns forum, /f/guns, so that people can contribute to it and we can eventually have a solid resource on firearms information.

  1. Handguns

  2. Firearm Manuals


My first handgun purchase was a Taurus snub nose revolver. It turns out it wasn't the best choice for me, for a few reasons. The grip was so small I could only get two fingers on it, and the trigger was akwardly positioned, so that my finger was overly bent and it was difficult to have a consistent trigger pull. The sights were very difficult to see in the dark, and they were un-adjustable fixed sights. Unfortunately there was extremely limited availability of other grips and the only feasible one I could find was blocking the ejection of one of the rounds from the cylinder. It was chambered in .357 and even .38 in it had a kick discouraging for a beginner to practice with.

I learned a few things from this mistake obviously. I encourage anyone purchasing a handgun to research and think about it beforehand extensively. This includes making sure it is ergonomically friendly for you to use, reliable enough for your situation, and making sure you practice with it.

Trigger Pull

Handguns are greatly affected by a bad trigger pull and grip. When I first started shooting them, my shots consistently landed down and to the right of the target, because I was pulling the trigger very quickly and unevenly, and because I was anticipating the shots when I was pulling the trigger. Your trigger pull should be a slow, steady application of force until the firearm discharges. You should be surprised when the firearm goes off. Practice slowly at first until you get the concept and then start pulling the trigger more quickly, but make sure it is still that steady increase of force. Finger placement also matters, and the trigger should be about in the center of your pointer finger's tip.

One way to realize the mistake of anticipating the shot is to fire with a gun that you do not immediately realize is empty. A revolver is a good choice, just make sure not to count the shots. When the hammer drops you might notice you push the nose of the gun downward a bit, because you were anticipating the shot. Don't do that, just let it surprise you.

A way to do this exercise with a magazine-fed handgun is to use snap caps. They're dummy rounds that are the same shape and size as a regular round that have a spring inside of them to absorb the strike of the firing pin. Load a magazine with a mix of live rounds and one or more snap caps in random order. If you're shooting with a friend, have them load your magazine so you don't cheat. This will also teach you to clear failure-to-fire and failure-to-extract malfunctions.

I also realized that I was anticipating the shots so much, that I would occasionally have flyers that were way off target. This was partly because I was practicing at first with a heavy recoil revolver, and I encourage beginners to practice with a cheap .22 handgun to get the basics down and then start practicing with a practical handgun that you intend to use.

Grip and stance

The hand pulling the trigger should be as far up the grip as is comfortable and possible. The best way I've heard a good handgun grip described is that the hand pulling the trigger only pulls the trigger, the other hand does all the work.This will make more sense after I describe the weaver stance.

Although there are other stances, the weaver stance is very simple, practical, and it is what I use. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your right foot should be slightly back, with the toe even with the heel or the arch of the left foot. Your right arm should be straight, and you should bring the handgun up to your eyes without moving your head. Your left hand is placed in front of your right hand, almost gripping it like a baseball, and you put pressure back towards you on your right hand while bending your left elbow straight downward and rotating your left and right shoulders forward a bit. There should be constant pressure from your left arm/hand which helps absorb recoil. Make sure your right arm is kept straight.

Also make sure that you are gripping the handgun firmly enough that it doesn't slip in or even out of your hands, but not firmly enough that you are shaking, ruining your accuracy.

In case you are still confused this is Wikipedia's description of it:

The Weaver stance has two main components.

The first component is a two-handed technique in which the shooting hand holds the pistol or revolver while the support hand wraps around the shooting hand. The shooting arm's elbow is slightly bent (almost locked out) while the support elbow is noticeably bent straight down. The shooter pushes forward with his/her shooting hand while the support hand exerts rearward pressure on the firearm. The resultant isometric tension from the support hand is intended to lessen and control muzzle flip when the firearm is fired; allowing for faster follow-up shots.

The second component is the positioning of the feet in a boxing stance, with the non-shooting side foot ahead of the shooting side foot. A person shooting right-handed will have the right foot angled out to approximately forty-five degrees to the side and to the rear at shoulder length. Most of the shooter's weight will be on the forward foot, with the forward knee slightly bent and the rear leg nearly straight. The shooter's upper torso should be leaning forward at the hips, aiming the shoulders towards the forward foot. The rear foot will help catch the force of recoil, as well as allow for rapid changes in position. Both of the shooter's knees should be slightly bent and the shooter should be bending forward at the waist as if preparing to be pushed backward.

Other stances include the isosceles:

Gunsmithing/Reloading: Gun care/cleaning:

Firearm Manuals

Smith and Wesson: