One of the most popular pages on my blog is this one about correcting handgun shooting problems.
The page is popular due to the targets, but I’m not sure how well the targets actually work for folk. Sure it tells you what you’re doing wrong, but it doesn’t tell you how to fix it.
Based upon what I see in my stats, I don’t think many are clicking through to the Rangemaster 2009 Newsletter article that has not just “here’s what you’re doing wrong” information, but also suggestions on how to fix those things you’re doing wrong!
If you still don’t want to click, here’s a few suggestions to help you hit the bullseye:
- Slow down. Don’t take forever to get off the shot (fatigue, oxygen deprivation if you’re holding your breath, eye strain, etc. can all set in and make it harder to get the shot), but don’t rush. Don’t go faster than you can get good, successful hits. No unacceptable hits allowed!
- Think about your grip. While there are better and worse ways to grip a gun, most people will generally do better by ensuring whatever grip they use it is consistent in terms of hand placement and grip pressure (both the crush of the grip and any lateral forces your grip places on the gun AND that your 2 hands place against each other). For some more grip tips, watch this video with champion pistol shooter Todd Jarrett.
- Slow, smooth trigger press. This goes along with point #1 – slow down.
- Follow through. Don’t worry about checking the hole in the target — it will be there 5 seconds from now, it will be there 5 minutes from now. Finish the shot all the way through. You have sight picture, slow smooth trigger press, gun goes bang, your eyes don’t move, gun recoils and comes back to where it started, and you regain your sight picture as if to take a second shot. To take a second shot doesn’t matter, follow through on the first shot as if you will take another. Once you have that second sight picture, THEN you can set the gun down and look at your target.
- Slow down. Seriously.
- Have you slowed down yet?
- If you’re still having problems, make sure it isn’t the gun. Are the sights loose? are the sights properly zeroed/aligned? Is the gun not too big nor too difficult for you to handle, either in terms of things like improper gun fit thus reaching/pressing the trigger are difficult, or perhaps too much recoil and it causes you to flinch. Here’s a great article on gun fit. If you’re still working to master fundamentals, try shooting a handgun chambered in .22 LR. It has minimal recoil, not a lot of noise (relatively speaking, for a gun), and can help you master fundamentals. Sometimes it’s better to take a step back so you can later take two steps forward.
- If you’re still having problems, consider seeking formal training. Having an knowledgable eye watching you could shed more light on and do more towards correcting problems and helping you succeed.
The bottom line? It’s all about fundamentals of sight alignment, trigger control, and follow-through. Even the top shooters in the world still have to practice and apply these fundamentals.