Shooting a rifle for the first time can seem overwhelming. After all, you are holding one of the most dangerous tools ever designed by man, right? Actually, when using proper safety measures and good technique, shooting any gun is one of the safest hobbies you can participate in. The following guide will give you all of the information you need to know to get started!

Rifle Shooting


There a few basic materials you will need to shoot a rifle:

  • Rifle (duh!)
  • Ammuntion
  • Safety Glasses
  • Ear Plugs
  • Target (paper will work best for now)
  • Something to Hold Target (definitely not one of your buddies!)
  • A SAFE place to shoot

I would recommend starting with a .22 caliber rifle. They are great for beginners because of low recoil from the shot, ammo is relatively inexpensive, and they are easy to find at a gun store. Once you have your rifle and ammo, find a safe place to shoot. This is very important, because even with the low power .22 round, bullets can travel for several miles and seriously injure or kill a person. Make sure you are never shooting in the direction of other people, and always shoot into something that will stop a bullet (such as a large tree stump). Stand close enough to where you will hit the target. If you get too far back, you are likely to shoot over your targt and possibly cause an accident. I would reccommend no more that 10-20 feet for a beginner.



We've already touched on safety a little bit, but there are a few important tips to remember.

  1. Never point your gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  2. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Never load your gun until you are ready to fire.
  4. Always wear proper ear and eye protection.
  5. Be careful not to accidentally point your gun at somebody after shooting.

These are five important tips that will keep you out of trouble. They may seem simple, but don't take them lightly... it is easy to be careless and cause an accident. Just to reiterate, never have a loaded gun unless you are about to shoot and are in a safe location. One thing I do to be extra safe is I will always visually look at the chamber to see that there is no bullet when I am done shooting.

Shooting Positions


Now that you have everything you need and are educated on safety, you are ready for the fun part! The two most important things to do as a new rifle shooter are to relax and "squeeze" the trigger.

Rifle shooting is all about accuracy. The more you relax, the less your arms will sway and change where your gun is aiming. Also, on the first shot you take, you will be tempted to pull the trigger back as fast as you can. This is a bad habit you should break immediately. Pulling the trigger quickly causes you to flinch and will affect where you are aiming by several inches. To circumvent this, slowly and smoothly pull the trigger back when you are ready. Ideally, no extra body movement should be introduced by pulling the trigger. There are many other techniques to master, but these are two of the most fundamental tools a rifle shooter should have.

Now What?

Hopefully, with this basic guide, you were able to successfully and safely fire your first shot with a rifle. If you ejoyed shooting, it could be a good idea to look for a local shooting range or club to join. Here, you will find many experienced shooters who will most likely be willing to help you get better and enjoy your new hobby!

Want a more in-depth resource?

Check out this book for a wealth of information about rifle shooting!