Everyone wants to be able to shoot better or question why they are having problems, in many cases it is blamed on the handgun. Though there can be defects in a handgun that could affect the accuracy of your shots, most of the time it either comes down to two main areas of concern, the first being ammo. Now you might be saying why the ammo, so this is a perfect opportunity to mention that depending on the ammunition you are shooting you can get variations in each round that will cause you to shoot high or low. Some of the factors in ammo that can contribute to these variations are amount of powder in each shell, and even how much of a crimp around the bullet is applied to each round when loaded. A ballistics expert could point out a wide range of various issues. We just want to note that when first sighting in your handgun it is good to start with quality ammo to eliminate any possible issues.
Once you have eliminated the ammo as a contributing factor the last and most common problem starts with the shooter. Now you might say not me, and you very well might be a good shot, but you wouldn’t be reading this article unless you wanted to improve your talents as a shooter in some form. Now how can we help all shooters new or experienced, by getting back to the basics of shooting. In the following we will list the top steps to improving your shooting and tightening your grouping.
It is important to note that you should start by selecting a range you are competent in and feel you can effectively shoot accurately. Once you perfect your shooting at this distance you can step up your game and move it out further to take your skills to the next level.
Shooting basics can be broken down into several simple steps. If you evaluate each of these one by one you will find your shooting accuracy will improve exponentially.
Step One: Proper Sight Alignment
Using proper sight alignment is critical to hitting what you’re actually aiming at. Your firearms sights are properly aligned when the front sight is aligned perfectly between the rear sight blades. The very top of your front sight should be even with the top of the rear sight. A high front sight will cause you to shoot high, and hitting the target to the right of the bullseye is caused by the front sight being too much the right between your rear sight blades (leaves). Perfecting proper sight picture is step one to improving your shooting accuracy.
Step Two: Focus
As you work on improving your sight alignment with every shot, another key component to knowing where the sight is pointed is to focus on the front sight. By focusing on the front sight you will more readily be able to discern whether you your sight alignment is incorrect. If you focus on the target or the rear sight you will find it much more difficult to determine when your sight is improperly aligned and find yourself struggling.
Step Three: Trigger Control
You can completely throw off your perfect sight picture without proper trigger control. When squeezing the trigger improperly you can pull or push the front of the gun in different directions. Proper trigger control is achieved by centering the trigger in the middle of the pad on your finger so that you are pulling the trigger straight back. Using the front portion of the pad closest to your finger tip will cause you to push the trigger causing you to push the barrel. Or using the crease of your finger will cause you to pull the trigger sideways.
Step Four: Breathing Control
Once we have perfected the art of sight alignment and trigger control that can affect sight alignment as you pull the trigger. The next step is to improve your breathing control to adjust movement of the gun as you hold the handgun out in front of you. This is an old basic that is handed down from father to son and daughters across the country, however so many times it is forgotten. Simply take a breath, let half the breath out and then hold while you squeeze the trigger, focusing on the follow through of making the trigger touch the back of the trigger guard or grip. By doing this it will help you steady the gun and the follow through will help with trigger control.
Step Five: Hold Control
If you are exercising proper breathing control this should be easy! As you squeeze the trigger you should hold your body completely still. The most minor of adjustment in your body can cause you to miss your shot. That is why it is always more effective to use a gun rest when sighting in your gun to eliminate your movement as a factor that is affecting the shot.
Though each of these steps seems simple and you may be thinking you have heard this many times, getting back to the basics is essential to improving your shooting. Our shooting styles and how we operate is essential to our accuracy. I highly recommend you take each one these steps and work to perfect them one by one in the order listed. AS you work on proper sight alignment and become confident you then move to focus which directs your attention to the front sight there by improving your sight picture even more.
Once you have perfected these skills you will find it much easier to change things up from increasing your shooting distance to even practicing shooting from drawing your handgun from your holster, whether open carry or concealed. Happy Shooting!