Babbs in the Woods: Pistols Go Bang! So Think Fast!

Learning to shoot a gun can be an overwhelming thing, especially for some students in the National Rifle Association’s FIRST Steps pistol class that I teach. When I can see the sweat start to pop out on their foreheads as they practice putting together the six fundamentals of shooting at the firing line, with either unloaded or dummy guns, I remind them that learning to shoot is a lot like learning to drive. A lot of things are going on at the same time, but just like they learned to put all the steps together in order to operate a motor vehicle, they can learn the fundamentals required for a good, safe shot.

Dian Cooper and Barb Baird shortly after becoming NRA-certified pistol instructors. Photo by Jason Baird.

My NRA instructor pal, Dian Cooper, and I decided we needed a mnemonic in order to remember the order of the fundamentals, to  help us pass the NRA instructor’s qualification test a few years ago.

We called it … Pistols Go Bang! So Think Fast!

Pistols: Position

Go: Grip

Bang!: Breath control

So: Sight alignment

Think: Trigger squeeze

Fast: Follow through

If you’d like to hear me tell you more about it, check out the contribution I recorded on this topic at Urban Shooter Podcast. It was featured in episode #206, “Respect Yourself.” 2_22_11 1_04 PM

And, if you’d like to join me on the firing line, check out my shooting website:



  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


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