Fundamentals of Using a Shotgun


When it comes to taking a shotgun out into the field, you need to know what you’re doing. The fundamentals of using a double barreled shotgun are simple, but they’re also crucial. If you don’t know how to handle your gun properly, you could end up hurting yourself or someone else. That’s why we’ve put together this guide—so that you can learn the basics and enjoy hunting safely.


Test your shotgun pattern.

To test your shotgun pattern, you need to know two things. The first is the distance between the two widest points on your pattern’s shot string. This is called “spread” or “pattern size”, It will be specified in inches or centimeters on your shotgun’s box and/or manual. The second thing you need to know is the choke size of your shotgun. Choke describes how much of the shot string travels straight downrange before dispersing outwards into its circular pattern.

The spread number tells you how far apart these two widest points are relative to one another. Larger spreads have more distance between them than smaller ones do.

Guns are only as safe as the people shooting them.

In order to be safe with a gun, you must first be familiar with it. You should know how to handle the weapon safely and clean it properly. Always make sure that you are using proper ammunition for your shotgun and follow all of the manufacturer’s guidelines for safety when using this type of firearm.

Know your target.

This is the most important thing to understand before taking a shot. The first thing you should do is ensure all the people around you are accounted for and that no one is in harm’s way. It’s also important to be aware of what’s behind your target, especially if it’s something large like an animal or bush that could reflect your shot back at you. Also, know where your target is in relation to yourself, as well as its direction. If there are multiple targets, determine which one needs to be taken out first so that others aren’t hurt by crossfire or run into by stray bullets.

Know when you can shoot and when you can’t.

If you are going to shoot a shotgun, it is important to know when you can shoot and when you cannot. Whether you are hunting, shooting clay targets, or just having target practice in your backyard, there are laws about where and when it is legal to fire a gun. In general, the rules of shooting in public places are less restrictive than those that apply when hunting on private lands or shooting on private property with permission from the owner.

Learn proper gun etiquette.

When you go to the shooting range, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are a lot of rules. This is because shooting firearms is dangerous, and accidents can happen. So, they want to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Here are some things you should know before handling a gun:

  • Always treat guns with respect and care.
  • Make sure all ammunition is stored away safely when not in use, so children do not have access to them unknowingly.
  • Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection when using firearms.
  • Never consume alcohol or drugs while shooting.

Always handle a gun as if it’s loaded, even if it’s not.

Always handle a gun as if it’s loaded, even if it’s not. This is the most important rule of all when handling a firearm and will help you avoid an accident. It also helps to keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, which goes hand-in-hand with always keeping your gun unloaded until you need to use it.

Making sure that your shotgun is unloaded before shooting is crucial—don’t ever point at anything while pulling the trigger on an empty chamber.

Learn your gun’s safety features.

Learn your gun’s safety features, and practice them. There are three main types of safety mechanisms:

  • Manual safeties—two buttons or levers that must be pressed in order for the gun to fire. The first is often located near the trigger guard, while the second is usually found at the back of the receiver.
  • Automatic safeties—mechanisms built into some shotguns that prevent an accidental discharge in certain situations. These can include drop-safety systems and magazine disconnects that prevent your shotgun from firing when it’s not loaded correctly. Make sure you know how these mechanisms work before using your gun.

Be prepared when going out with a shotgun

A shotgun is a very versatile weapon, but it requires some preparation before it’s ready to be used. Make sure you have the right ammunition and that the barrel and chamber are clear of any obstructions. Check that all safety features are in places, such as a safety lock or trigger guard. You should also wear proper clothing for your hunting experience, including gloves and pants made out of heavy material like denim or canvas.

Lastly, make sure you have a good grip on your gun so that it doesn’t slip from your hands when aiming at an animal target.



Hopefully, this article has helped you learn about some of the best practices for using a shotgun. Remember that a gun is only as safe as the person shooting it, so always practice safe handling and handling etiquette. Also, if you’re ever in doubt about whether or not you should shoot something at all (like an animal), then don’t do it!