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Understanding the mechanisms of the reactions at transition metal sites is a key component in designing synthetic methods, developing industrial homogeneous catalysts, and investigating metalloenzymes. These mechanisms are therefore an essential part of undergraduate chemistry courses. This primer provides a broad-based, systematic guide to the fundamentals of transition-metal mechanistic chemistry, including substitution, electron transfer, and reactions of ligands. It serves as an ideal text for undergraduate students with a foundation in basic inorganic chemistry but who are new to inorganic reaction mechanisms.