As the saying goes, “there are no stupid questions” and when you are learning how to shoot, it is better to ask than be sorry. And don’t worry, I get it. I’m afraid to look like a complete idiot as well. So here is a list of questions and answers to those questions that you may have been wanting to ask, but was just too embarrassed to ask.
Do I shoot with one eye open or both eyes open?
It is best to learn how to aim and shoot with both eyes open, but if you are a horrible shot that way, close or squint one eye. Red dot sights are designed so that you keep both eyes open when you aim.
How do I know which way the bullets go into the magazine?
Stand your magazine up on a solid surface. Whichever way the magazine is leaning is where the bullet goes out, toward the lean. The bullet is at the tip of the cartridge.
Is it okay to ever look into the barrel of my gun?
Only, and ONLY after you have triple checked to make sure the gun is completely unloaded. If you need to inspect the barrel of your gun, remove the magazine and make sure there is no round chambered. Open the bolt of your gun and stick your finger, a cleaning patch, or a bore light into the chamber, then you can safely look down the barrel. If you use your finger or a patch, aim a flashlight into the chamber so that you can see the barrel clearly.
How do I get my gun home? How do I get it to the range?
Each state will have different laws regarding the transportation of firearms. Check your local laws before transporting your gun. As a general rule, it is okay to transport your unloaded firearm in the locked trunk of your car. Unload your gun and put it in a case. The point here is to have the gun inaccessible to the driver and passengers in the car.
Do I have to register my gun?
Every state has their own laws regarding firearm ownership. Check your local laws before purchasing a firearm. Some states require you to obtain a permit before purchasing a firearm. Some states require you to register the firearm. And even still, some states require a purchase permit and registration. Other states, like Texas, there are no permits or registration required. The dealer you purchase from will know if you need to register your firearm. States that require a permit before purchasing a handgun are Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina.
What is the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic? If I buy a semi-automatic rifle, will it fire really fast? I want an AR-15, that’s a fully automatic rifle, right?
A semi-automatic handgun or rifle fires one round per trigger pull. A fully automatic gun will shoot all of its rounds per one trigger pull. A semi-automatic will shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger. The AR-15 you will probably want to buy is a semi-automatic rifle. A fully automatic AR-15 is restricted and you would have to get a special license to own one. We have an article about how to own a fully automatic gun. You can read it here.
Do I have to clean my gun before I shoot it?
Not necessarily. However, many firearms, especially imported guns, can benefit from being cleaned and properly lubed before their first use. In the case of surplus guns that have been in long-term storage it can actually be very important to clean the gun first before use. Failure to do so could prevent the gun from functioning properly or could even be dangerous.
I inherited a gun. How do I know what ammunition to use in it?
The barrel of your gun will have the caliber stamped on it. If you are not sure, ask a gunsmith.
I have a lot of land; can I shoot my gun on it?
If you are not in the city limits and on private land, you more than likely can shoot your gun. Remember to make sure you have a good backdrop, like a dirt mound to stop the bullet.
Can I carry my gun with me?
In most states, no. You cannot carry your gun on your body or in a purse, or a backpack, or any other type of bag without a license to carry a firearm. There are only three states that do not require a permit to carry, concealed or open: Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont.
Do you have a dumb question you would like to ask? Post it here and we’ll help you out! We promise not to tell.