You must learn to recognize an acceptable sight picture for the shot required. If the sight picture is not acceptable do not break the shot. To this I would add you also need acceptable trigger control for the shot required. “Acceptable” is the key word. Yes, at 50 yards you need near-perfect sight alignment and a flawless trigger break which adds no movement to the gun. But you don’t need perfect at three yards. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Recognizing what is acceptable defines your objective for the rest of your shooting career. Moreover, as your shooting skills improve, it changes for you. As your grip on the gun and recoil control becomes more consistent and your trigger control improves, your view of acceptable sight alignment evolves.

Jerry Barnhart, one of the great champion competitors, was asked what he saw when engaging targets at high speed. Jerry thought for a moment and replied, “I saw what I needed to see.” He wasn’t being flippant or ducking the question. What he saw was relevant only to shooters with equally developed consistency and trigger control, of whom there were maybe 10 or a dozen in the world. What you need to figure out is what you need to see.

When all else fails align the sights on target and press the trigger straight back. Whether in a match or on the street, it’s a great comfort to know you can hit the target. Good shooting is largely a mental game. Confidence is a big part of the mental game. Nothing builds confidence like knowing you can make the shot.

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