5 Tips To Better Shooting

Hitting with a handgun is simple in theory. In practice? Not so much …

By George Harris
(Excerpts from the 2017 American Handgunner Personal Defense Special Edition)

How to shoot accurately is simple to explain. In reality there are only two things necessary: (1) Stabilize the muzzle in the proper perspective to the target, and (2) release the shot without affecting stability. Of course in some circumstances you may have to take into account distance, atmospheric conditions and other influences that affect the flight of the projectile on its way to the target.

As simple as this sounds, it is difficult for most people to do consistently. “Easier said than done” comes to mind.

Whether it’s competition, combat, personal defense, recreational shooting or otherwise, the ability to hit the target is paramount. One of the most valuable natural attributes you have is eye/hand coordination. Wherever your eyes look, your hands follow and fingers point.

This natural ability helps to orient the muzzle of the firearm toward the target.

1. Gun Fit

The fit of the handgun helps refine the position of the muzzle in relation to the target. When gripping a handgun in the web of your hand aligned with the extended thumb and index finger, the gun tends to have its muzzle pointing much like an index finger. It is an ideal fit when the muzzle points where the index finger points.

2. Float The Dot, Shoot The Shot

Here, the shooter is preparing to float the dot of the front sight in the center of her target as she releases the shot for a center hit.

Conventional teaches us to focus on the front sight, ensuring you see equal amounts of light (or space) on either side of the front sight as viewed through the rear sight notch with the top of the front sight and the rear sight on the same plane.

To simplify matters, you can use a technique capitalizing on the eye’s natural ability to find the center of objects in space. It is beneficial to have an easy-to-see dot on the front sight. It should be positioned below the top of the front sight so it can be seen easily through the rear sight notch when the top of the front sight and rear are in alignment. (Get the entire concept in the 2017 American Handgunner Personal Defense Special Edition)

3. Pulling The Trigger

The trigger is the gas pedal of the gun. Move it like you would to smoothly accelerate and accelerate. Smooth, fluid motion without creating additional movement to the muzzle is the objective.

4. Merging Sight Focus And Trigger Pull

Envision a connection between the front sight and the trigger where the trigger movement “pulls” the front sight toward the eye, through the rear sight notch, maintaining alignment until the shot. This technique blends the two most important parts of accurate shot delivery and ensures follow-through — keeping the muzzle on the target until the bullet has left.

5. Follow-Through

Keep your eyes open and still focused on the sights when you fire. (Get the entire concept in the 2017 American Handgunner Personal Defense Special Edition)

The shooter’s eyes are open to see the smoke and flash just in front of the front sight as the bullet exits the muzzle. This validates follow-through and makes “calling the shot” possible.

Final Thoughts

Shooting can be a complicated process if we allow it to be. Simplifying it by understanding how to perform the clean and consistent execution of the foundational skills will serve the purpose for the great majority of shooters.

Without the foundational skills firmly in place, all the glamour and glitz of the “high-speed, low-drag” techniques are of little use if you’re not hitting the target.

Get the entire article, supporting gear suggestions plus additional photos with helpful tips in the 2017 Personal Defense Special Edition available at the link below.


4 thoughts on “5 Tips To Better Shooting

  1. Spudnut

    That concept of ‘drawing the front sight back through the rear sight with the trigger pull’ is genius. I’ve just tried it with a few dry-fire presses and it really makes a lot of sense. Great way to envision it!

  2. MzAnnthrope

    “I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I aim with my eye.

    I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I shoot with my mind.

    I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
    I kill with my heart.”
    ― Roland Deschain, Gunslinger

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