Safety and Training

10 Questions About Guns

Society for Asking Stupid Questions

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.

20th Century Fox Television
Image credit, 20th Century Fox Television

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.

Society for Asking Stupid Questions

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.

DC Comics
Image credit, DC Comics

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.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (14)

  1. I have a Mass CCL and anticipate getting Florida non-resident CCL. Mass has a prohibition on AR style long guns. Can I buy an AR with my Florida license without breaking any laws?

  2. Can someone answer this. My step-son want to purchase one of my handguns . He owns shotguns in his name . I helped him puchase his first ar15. He is 19 . I’m a ccw holder. . But I didn’t know if could . Is this considered a straw purchase . Or straw deal. . He resides hear at my address. . Thanks . If anyone could help me out.

    1. State and local laws would apply. To give you a proper answer, we would have to know your city/state.

  3. I bought a model 70 Winchester classic in .375 H&H second hand. The rifle was manufactured in 2012, but appears in new condition. In examining the rifle it appears the barrel has been screwed into the receiver slightly past vertical as indicated by the front and rear sights and barrel band stud. I mounted a scope on the rifle and tried to sight it in, but it fired only one of four rounds. The primer had been struck in the centre of the firing pin, but perhaps not strongly enough. My friend fired the same shells in his pre 64 model 70 and they fired without issue. The rifle does not seem to be tampered with in any manner. What is happening and would this be a warranty issue? Thank you for your consideration.


  4. Hello everyone I am looking to put a scope on my 8mm mauser.

    I have a terkish 8mm mauser I believe it is model 98. It has 1938 stamp on the breach. The bolt handle is not the tear drop design. If this is not a model 98 please let me know.

    Like I was saying I would like to mount a scope on my mauser. I do not want to drill or tap this gun. I want to keep this gun as close to as factory built. I hate the idea of changing a old gun. It looks like there are some scope mounts that fit into the back sight mount.

    Are there any scope mounts that I can use with out drilling and taping this old gun. Any help would be great and useful.
    Thank you

  5. I am going to be laughed at but I may have a dumb question. It is something that is bugging the crap out of me and I have no idea what the problem is. Ok here it goes.

    I shoot my semi-automatic 9mm in my backyard and it is not level. I can set up my target and move back 10 yards and put out some great groupings on the target. The land at the 10 yard mark is pretty much on the same plain/height as where the target is sitting.

    I move back to the 15 yard mark which lies in a small rolling ditch. Not a significant change in elevation but I can see that I am no longer on the same plain/height as the target now. I can’t hit diddly from there. Dusting all around the target mainly low in front of the target as well as either left or right of it.

    It gets even better. Now I move back to the 20 yard mark which rises back to the same plain/elevation as the target and once again I can get some great groupings on the target.

    So my question is when it comes to pistol shooting what role does the lay of the land play into accuracy or does it matter?

    All I know is something is happening at my 15 yard mark that is throwing me off somehow and it is really bugging me. Maybe I have developed a 15 yard phobia or something. I don’t know but I would like to find out why I can’t get near the target shooting from that one specific place in my yard. Any insight would be appreciated.

  6. You mentioned the general rules for transporting a gun to the range in a car but not in a truck. I asked a local sheriff about the preferred way to transport in a truck. A locking glove box is fine for the ammo but not much room in the glove box. Next acceptable is to use a locking bag for the ammo separating it from the guns. Any other possibilities other than throwing them in the bed of the truck if it has a locking cover?

  7. My grandfather used to be a police officer and when he retired from the force they let him keep his two .38 revolvers (short and long, off-duty and on-duty respectively) and I am the only one in the family that has any interest in shooting. These revolvers have not been shot in years. A conservative estimate would be 30 years. a) will I have to prep it somehow to make sure it fires safely, b) is it even safe to fire a revolver that has not been shot in that long, c) is there a safe way to test it without putting myself in harms way? Thank you!

  8. You have answered the question about shooting in your own land. However, are there any minimum acres requirements before you are allowed to shoot your guns on your lot? How big of a lot do you have to own?

    1. Arizona does not require a carry permit other than permission from local law enforcement given by means of a carry card hand out by local law enforcement.

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