Tanner's Gun Reviews

   By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

Rangemaster Handgun Shooting Tips

The following are handgun shooting tips and techniques learned from range masters at the shooting range. This is information taught by certified handgun instructors who teach handgun and self defense courses.  


Glock 19 Pistol
Glock 19 Pistol


How To Shoot Books

Parts & Magazines

Laser Bullet for Gun Training

Learn About Shooting Fundamentals

Stance Grip Aiming Trigger Breathing Flinching Gun Safety
Stance Grip Aiming Trigger Breathing Flinching Gun Safety


Why Place Your Hand As High Up As Possible On The Handle Of A Handgun?

The main reason for the high position of the hands on the gun is improved leverage. Placing your hands as high up on the gun as possible will give you more leverage to control muzzle flip. The higher up you get on the gun, the less the muzzle will flip upwards. It's just physics. Getting your hands as high up on the back of the gun as you can with your strong hand will lessen the effect of recoil. Experiment for yourself at the range. Start with placing your strong hand in the highest possible position and fire off a few rounds. Then move you hand down a little and fire a few more. You should notice an increase in muzzle flip the farther down you go.


Is It Bad To Dry Fire Your Gun?

My range master recommends dry firing your guns as much as possible at home to improve aiming and trigger pull techniques. Most modern center fire guns are not damaged by dry firing (though some of the old guns may be). Dry firing is not recommended for guns that shoot rim fire ammunition as damage to the firing pin may occur. My range master tells me to practice dry firing while watching television. He said there are a lot of bad guys on TV that need to be shot.


Should You Tilt Your Hand When Shooting Single Handed?

I saw a video on the internet that showed the "proper" way to hold a gun single handed was to tilt the gun slightly when aiming and shooting. I asked my instructor about this. He told me to point at the target with my index finger, then asked me to look at the position of my hand. He said for me top point the gun in the same way. The way that is natural for me. It is different for each person. Whatever comes naturally and instinctively to you is the best way to hold a gun.


Heavier Gun Means Less Recoil

It's not the Recoil that makes you shoot bad, it's the fear of the recoil. Learning to shoot with a powerful handgun can cause you problems that may take a long time to overcome. Fear of recoil and anticipation of recoil. For a long time I was somewhat hesitant to shoot a .45 semi-automatic pistol. I was afraid the recoil would be too much for me (I have a weakened right hand from minor nerve damage in my arm).

My first handgun was a .357 magnum revolver. Looking back, that was probably a mistake. It was a pretty lightweight gun and had a little kick (recoil) to it when I shot it. I shot .357 magnum, 38 special+p and 38 special caliber ammunition through it. Another mistake I made was shooting the powerful .357 magnum and 38 special+p ammunition. I should have learned using the weakest ammo that I could find. Learning this way gave me an apprehension and "fear" of the recoil, even though I knew that the physical recoil that I felt was no problem and I could handle it easily. Teaching my mind that the "big bang does not mean big pain" was difficult to do and took many hours and many rounds down range to overcome it.


Can You See A Bullet?

Can you see a bullet as it flies through the air? A few weeks ago I thought that was impossible until I saw it for myself.  Can You See A Bullet?


When You Shoot With Your Right Hand Should You Aim With Your Right Eye? What About Left Hand?

Per the range master, aim with whichever is your dominant eye.


Point Shooting For Defensive Shooting

My range master teaches self defense and only teaches point shooting techniques for defensive shooting.


How Do You Adjust The Sights Of A Gun?

I asked my range master about adjusting the sights of my revolvers and pistols. He replied that he knows that I only point shoot (and don't use the gun sights) so why bother? He then said "wait a minute" and walked away to retrieve an item from the front desk area. The item he retrieved was a laser bore sighter. It turned out to be a handy (and cheap) little laser device that you stick into the barrel of your empty gun for adjusting your sights. With the bore sighter putting a red dot on the target you simply adjust you sights accordingly. Since you are not shooting your gun there is not recoil expectation to through you off. The nice thing about this device is that you can adjust the sights of your gun at home and not waste valuable range time.


What Is The Proper Trigger Finger Position On A Handgun?

Please read Gun Trigger Finger: Proper Position & Technique.


How Do Ear Muffs Help To Reduce Recoil?

A good set of ear muffs will help take the "scare" out of recoil by reducing that annoying loud band when you pull the trigger. It will make it less intimidating as well.


How Hard Do You Squeeze Or Grip Your Hands When Shooting A Handgun?

You have to adjust your grip to what suits you best. When I first began shooting, the range master noticed that I was gripping my handgun such that my hand was turning white and was shaking slightly. He told me to grasp the gun firmly, but not to the point of shaking.

I think the best answer to this question is for each person to experiment with different grip strengths while shooting at the range. Start off by gripping the handgun very hard and see how well you shoot. By starting off "hard" you don't have to worry about the gun flying out of your hands. Loosen your grip a little and fire off a few more rounds to see if that feels better or worse. Continue until you find the right grip for you.


You Smell Of Gun Powder After Shooting At The Range!

This is something to remember. When you go to the range for a shooting session you are impregnated with lots of gun powder residue. It gets into your hair, on your skin and penetrates your clothing. You may not smell it, but others do. For example, a few days after I went to the range I went the grocery store and was wearing the same shirt (I thought it was clean when I put it on). A couple walked paste me in the aisle and the guy said to his girl friend "I smell gun powder". That surprised me so I approached the couple and told the guy that it was probably my shirt and that I had gone to the range earlier. He said he has a sensitive nose, loves the smell of gun powder and that it makes a good "man cologne". Now I wondered how many other people could smell me. I got a little paranoid and kept my distance for the rest of my shopping trip. They say a skunk can't smell his own smell.


What is Point Shooting? How Do You Point Shoot?

Please read What is Point Shooting?


How Do Your Store Your Guns At Home?

I asked the range master how he stored his guns at his home. He replied that he stores them loaded and ready to shoot.

Glock 26 in holster

I have somewhat of a more conservative approach and store mine like this.


What is a Range Master?

A Range Master is the "guy in charge" at the shooting range or gun range. He is responsible for ensuring that all gun safety rules are followed at all times.


What is that smell from the gun range?

That's the smell of "shot" gun powder. Not all gun powder smells the same. The smell varies with each manufacturer and type of gun powder.


What paper is used for target practice?

I like to use cheap paper place for target practice at my range. Paper plates make good target because they are cheap, easy to see and require no time to download or print from the computer. Tacking the paper plate target to the backstop with the "bottom" of the plate facing you seems to work best. It creates a small gap between the plate and the backstop which makes it easier to see the bullet holes that you make. It is also a good idea to draw a brightly colored bulls eye on the plate with a marker to give your eye a focus point for
better shooting.


What is a good distance to practice self defense shooting?

My instructors at the range always tell me that most self defense shootings occur at distance of 5-8 feet so practice at 5-8 feet. They also tell me that in such circumstances you are not going to aim your gun your are just going to point it and shoot it. So practice point shooting at close distances for self defense at first. You can always move the target further back as your get better.


Which finger is on the trigger of the gun?

Your trigger finger is your index finger (the one next to your thumb).


What is a Shooting Range?

A shooting range or gun range is a specialized facility designed for firearms practice.



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MIKE COVIELLO is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.