If you're a first-time gun owner or brand-new to the AR platform, you may be learning how to shoot an AR for the first time. An article cannot take the place of in-person training from a qualified instructor. However, we hope to guide you in the right direction and provide you with some safety tips for shooting your AR-platform rifle or pistol.
Shooting an AR-15: Rules for Safe Gun Handling
If this is your first time shooting an AR-15, following the four basic rules of safe gun handling can help you ensure a fun, safe day on the range. Practicing safe gun handling is a must anytime you pick up a firearm — whether you're a novice or an experienced shooter.
Before firing your AR-15, know these rules:
- Always treat the AR-15 as if it's loaded — no exceptions.
- Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, and never aim at something you don't intend to shoot.
- Until you are ready to fire, keep your finger well away from the trigger.
- Always be aware of your target and what is behind it.
Shooting an AR-15: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now let's look at how to shoot the AR-15.
- Visually confirm that the chamber and magazine well are empty and that fire/safe selector is on "safe."
- With the bolt closed or fully forward, firmly insert a loaded magazine until you feel it engage.
- Strike the bottom of the magazine to ensure it's locked in, then give it a gentle tug to confirm.
- Pull the charging handle back toward you for its full travel. The bolt moving back will force the dust cover open.
- Release the charging handle. The bolt will travel forward under spring pressure, stripping a round from the magazine and chambering it.
- Keep the AR-15 on safe and your finger away from the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
- When you're on target, flip the fire/safe selector straight up to "fire." Take a calm breath, exhale halfway and give the trigger a steady squeeze.
- Whenever you come off the gun and stop shooting, return the firearm to safe.
- Once the magazine is empty, the bolt should lock to the rear. The simplest way to make sure the bolt is locked back is to rotate the AR-15 so you can get a good view of the ejection port.
- Confirm that the bolt is locked back on an empty magazine. Now, press the magazine release so that it drops free.
- If you want to keep shooting, press the bolt release after inserting a new magazine. The bolt will move forward and chamber a round.
- If you're done for the day, ensure the firearm is on safe and store it securely.
Improve Your Skills and Equipment with Wing Tactical
The AR-15 is based on an incredibly versatile platform that the military has used for many years. When you're ready to build or upgrade your AR, get your parts with lightning-fast shipping from Wing Tactical. For more how-to guides on shooting and firearm care, be sure to check out our blog.