Offhand Challenges

Most shooters have to test their gun the old-fashioned way — by hand. There are right and wrong ways to do this. Let me start with the worst way, which is unsupported (offhand).

Things can go poorly when shooting unsupported. One day at the range a shooter in the bay beside me said he recently bought a new gun, and it shot terribly. What did he mean by terrible? He said it was shooting about 3 to 4 feet low at a distance of about 10 yards. Maybe the gun’s sights were off, he thought.

He asked me if I would shoot it to confirm his suspicion. I sat down, rested the gun on the bench and shot at a rack of falling plates at about 10 yards. Three shots, three plates went down. He was speechless. It turns out he was shooting offhand. He was flinching so much the bullets were hitting several feet below the target.

Any flaw in technique can show up on the target. It’s harder to apply perfect technique shooting offhand, and any flaws, such as flinching, can be grossly magnified.