How To Use A Firearm

How To Use A Firearm

The gun is the necessary and appropriate weapon of choice when confronted with white supremacist violence, toxic masculinity, colonization, and state militarism.

No other weapon is more effective in eliminating the threat posed to the people. Because of the inherently violent nature of oppression and its reactionary response to resistance, when people of color answer by picking up a gun it is always a form of self defense. As Robert F. Williams noted in Negros With Guns: "The Afro-American militant is a 'militant' because he defends himself, his family, his home, and his dignity. He does not introduce violence into a racist social system - the violence is already there, and has always been there."

Because violence is the only language the oppressor can respect and understand, the gun has been used throughout history in nearly every successful anti-colonial movement to bring an end to colonization. The armed phase of anti-colonial struggle becomes a necessity when in its last throws of life, the empire resorts to the lowest forms of barbarism.

The gun is used in cop-watch initiatives, guerrilla campaigns, large-scale revolts, and peoples war. When the people are sufficiently armed and educated in the correct ways to handle their weapons, they are an unstoppable revolutionary force. As Huey P. Newton once said: "Any unarmed people are slaves or subject to slavery at any given moment."

Step One: Handling The Gun

Begin by picking up your gun with your dominant hand keeping your hand on the grip and your index finger off of the trigger. Guns should always be handled carefully as if they are fully loaded, even if they are not. Your index finger should rest in the space above trigger in what is sometimes called the "index point" or over the trigger guard. The only time your finger should be on the trigger is when you have pointed the gun at your target and are ready to shoot. Some guns have a safety feature that is either located on the grip of the gun, on the barrel, or on the trigger. If applicable, the safety feature should always be on until it is time to shoot. You must hold the gun with two hands, using your less dominant hand to support the grip. The gun should always be pointed in the safest direction, away from your comrades or innocent people. Usually, pointing it towards the ground until it is time to shoot is the safest bet. 

Step Two: Loading The Gun    

You will want to always make sure you have the correct ammunition for your gun model. If you do not have the correct ammunition the result can be dangerous and cause damage to you and your gun. When you have the correct ammunition, hold an empty magazine cartridge with your weaker hand and with your dominant hand begin inserting rounds one at a time making sure the back-end of the rounds are facing the back of the cartridge. Make sure that the rounds are seated properly in the magazine. You may need to use your index finger to make sure things are properly aligned. Once you have filled the cartridge you are ready to insert the magazine into the magazine well.

For handguns, there should be a magazine release button located on the side of the gun above the grip. The release will eject a magazine cartridge out of the gun and allow you to insert the magazine. You will want to also make sure that there isn't a round already in the chamber of the gun. For most hand guns, you can do this by slowly pulling the slide all the way back, which will eject the round out of the ejection port. Use the slide lock to keep the slide back while you inspect the chamber to make sure there are no rounds still in there. Always press the magazine release button first before pulling back the slide. Insert the loaded magazine up into the well until you hear it lock in place. Then, pull back the slide again to insert a round in the chamber.

For shotguns, again determine if you have the correct ammunition. 10, 16, 12, and 20 gauge shells are common. Hold the shotgun with your dominant hand and insert the shells into the magazine well usually located under the barrel. Make sure that the shells are inserted with the brass end of the shell facing you and the "business end" pointed toward the end of the barrel. Push each shell into the well until it is secured in place. Repeat until the magazine well is full. A more immediate way of loading a shotgun is to insert a shell directly into the chamber and slide the pump forward.

Revolvers are smaller guns that have cylinders instead of magazine wells. Push forward the small lever located above the grip to push out the cylinder. Insert rounds directly into the cylinder. Then push the cylinder back in place.

Bolt-action rifles usually require rounds to be inserted directly into the chamber. To do this lift the bolt up and slide it back to open the chamber. Then, slide the bolt forward to push the round into the chamber. Some bolt action rifles do have magazines, in which case you fill the magazine normally and use the bolt to slide rounds in or out of the chamber.

Assault rifles use magazines. To load them, fill the empty magazine cartridge the way you would normally. Insert the magazine into the magazine well. Pull back the rod or "charging handle" located either behind or on the side of the barrel. If there are rounds in the magazine, the charging handle will usually snap forward, placing a round in the chamber.

Step Three: Aiming The Gun

When your weapon is fully loaded you are prepared to aim at your target. Remember that your finger should still be off of the trigger. Your index finger must remain on the side of the trigger guard or on the index point. If you haven't already, use the slide operation on your gun to put a round in the chamber. Most guns have two bumps located on the opposite ends of the barrel. These are called the "front sight" and the "rear sight". The front and rear sights are used to aim the firearm at the desired target. Using your eye coordination, align your sights with the target. Hold the gun steady with both hands. You should also use your better judgement to determine what is behind the target.

Step Four: Shooting The Gun         

When you are ready to shoot, remove the safety off of your weapon. Spread your legs apart and bend your knees for balance. This is to brace yourself for the force of the recoil. Keep your hands steady and take controlled breaths. This helps with your accuracy and alignment of your sights. It is advised that a brief pause in breath while shooting increases your accuracy. When ready, squeeze the trigger in a controlled fashion. You should begin to feel resistance against the trigger. Continue applying pressure steadily until the gun fires.

Automatic weapons are "automatic" because they continue to feed rounds into the chamber and fire as long as your finger remains on the trigger. Semi-automatic weapons shoot one round at a time and automatically feed another round into the chamber. Your finger will need to keep squeezing the trigger in order to keep shooting. Manual weapons like some bolt-action rifles require you to manually place a round in the chamber in order to continue firing. You should keep extra magazines or rounds on you so that you can easily switch out ammunition and reload as necessary.

Step Five: Maintenance

Keeping your gun clean allows for optimal efficiency and prevents jamming and malfunction. You can clean the barrel of the gun using a cleaning rod.