TALK about a shot to the heart! Before she was exposed as the mistress of disgraced CIA Director DAVID PETRAEUS, sexy PAULA BROADWELL was snapped shooting up a storm with a submachine gun.

The red-hot married mother of two turned up the heat while at a Virginia Beach, Va., shooting range in December 2011 – about two months after starting the scandalous affair – as these exclusive ENQUIRER photos show.

“She changed into those tight jeans and riding boots specifically to shoot guns at the firing range,” David Crane, owner and editor-in-chief of DefenseReview.com, told The ENQUIRER. “She looked very sexy shooting a submachine gun, so I started taking her picture. She was a decent shot and didn’t seem to have a problem hitting the targets.

“When I first heard that Paula was the woman connected to General Petraeus, I wasn’t surprised. He was all she wanted to talk about!”

Crane said that Broadwell was there to participate in a corporate documen­tary for the gun manufacturer Kriss USA, and he photographed her blasting away with an assault weapon that fires up to 1,500 rounds per minute. When she wasn’t shooting, he said she was busy texting and talking on the phone – and doing a lot of smirking.

“She mentioned she was writing a book about General Petraeus and that it required her to spend a lot of time with him,” Crane recalled. “She came across as well-educated, articulate, intelligent and highly professional.

“And being so sexy likely worked in her favor to gain access to the general.”