5 Tips to become a better shooter.
Shooting, whether with a precision rifle, a handgun, or a home-defense rifle boils down to pressing the trigger without moving the sights off target. Yes, it is that simple, well in theory. Everything else that the shooter is doing, is to facilitate pressing the trigger without moving the sights. This includes proper sight picture, trigger control, comfortable body position, consistent dry practice, and competition which will breed excellence.
1. Sight picture:
Although aiming has gotten simpler over the years with the advancement in red dot sights and magnified optics; many people still do not know how to aim with their sights properly.
With open sights, which are common on handguns, cover your target with the front sight and align it with the rear sight notch. The target should look blurry, the front sight should be crystal clear, and the rear sight should be blurry. (Remember the saying equal height, equal light.)
The same concept as the open sights but cut the target in half with the front sight post.
They make aiming more natural for the human eye by keeping us target-focused. Simply superimpose the dot on the target and stay focused with both eyes on the target. Make sure the brightness is set correctly for the current lighting conditions.
Magnified optics make it much easier to recognize targets at further distances but they require a little more set-up. The eye relief or the correct distance from the ocular lens to your eye must be set per the manufacturer’s recommendation. The diopter/focus must be adjusted for your vision, if there is parallax adjustment it must also be adjusted to the distance you will be shooting to. Once those are set up properly you should see the reticle perfectly focused on a clear target.
2. Controlling the trigger:
Now that proper aiming is established you can press the trigger. This must be done in a consistent manner without disturbing the sight picture or moving the sight off the target. In general, no matter what type of trigger or firearm you are shooting keep it simple: press the trigger using the center of the first pad on the center of the trigger in an even motion. If it is a semi-auto firearm and you are continuing to fire, only let go of the trigger to the reset point to reduce motion in the gun.
A good body position will help with two important aspects when shooting: Natural point of aim and recoil management. Having a good natural point of aim will allow you to be comfortable when shooting. This will allow you to focus on the shot and not on straining your body to get on target. An excellent forward leaning position with good posture will also help facilitate absorption of recoil thus allowing for good recoil management and quickly follow-up shots.
4. Dry fire: Concentrated practice
No physical skill will manifest itself without practice; regular concentrated dry-fire training is key! Whether it is the trigger press, the draw, the pivot, or the presentation; it all must be practised dry until it is natural and effortless. The moment you step on the live fire range, hunt, combat, competition, etc you must have a subconscious ability to perform the skills required to press the trigger without moving the sights.
5. Competition breeds excellence
Once you have mastered the above, it’s time to take your skills to the next level: competition. Whether it is just among friends, a local IDPA match, or a run-and-gun. The competition will help you push your skills to the next level. It will keep you practising, on your toes, and most important HUMBLE.
Want to become a better shooter? Invest in your aim, trigger control, quality body position, and dry fire, and go out and compete! You will see your skills improve day by day month by month.