Experienced shooters and hunters practice with their guns and ammunition until their routine becomes second nature to them. They are able to quickly calculate their shots and take the appropriate physical actions. Their shooting becomes natural for them. When the strike drops, their shots go where their sight shows they will go. Learning to shoot like that is not a matter of luck or natural ability.
Learning to shoot accurately, quickly and smoothly is a matter of practice. Good shooters must practice to perfect their aim and other shooting skills. To enhance your firearm skills and performance, consider these shooting tips and tricks from other shooters who have found them to be useful.
Firearms Safety is your first priority. The first four things anyone new to shooting and using firearms must learn are vitally important. You want to always practice firearms safety when picking up a weapon, even before you fire it. Mistakes with a firearm can be lethal.
1. All guns are loaded. Even if the gun you pick up is not loaded, ALWAYS assume it is and treat it accordingly. Guns must always be considered loaded.
2. Your finger always stays OFF the trigger until you are prepared to shoot. ALWAYS keep your finger away from the trigger until ready to fire.
3. The muzzle of the gun must ALWAYS be pointed in a safe direction. NEVER point a gun at a person.
4. Be certain of your target before you shoot. This includes being aware of what is behind it. A fired bullet can travel over one mile. You are accountable for where it goes once you shoot it. ALWAYS be certain of your target and the area behind it. The decibels of sound a gun shot creates are loud enough to damage your hearing, sometimes permanently. Always protect yourself by wearing ear and eye protection when shooting.
Learn Your Eye Dominance
It is easy to assume that because you are right handed your right eye is your dominant eye. That is not always true. Some people have mixed dominance. They may be right handed but left eye dominant or conversely they may be left handed and right eye dominant. Eye dominance relates to how you aim your firearm so you need to know which eye is dominant for you.
One simple test of eye dominance is to:
• Extend you arms out fully in front of you.
• Cross your hands but leave a small hole to sight through.
• Look through that hole at an object on which to focus.
• Begin to slowly move your hands closer to your face.
• Once your hands reach your face, you will discover one eye will be looking at the object but the other one will not be.
• The one still focused on the object is your dominant eye.
Focus on Your Sight Alignment
Most sights are the “notch and post” variety. You look to make sure the front sight is visible through the rear sight’s notch. There should be an even amount of light, or gap, on either side of the front notch when viewed. Because the human eye is only able to focus on one thing at a time, you need to focus on the front sight. That is the sight that shows you where your shot will go. You want to be sure the top of the front post and the top of the notch are even (flush). If the front is higher, you will shoot high. If it is lower, your shot will be low. If there is gap to one side or the other, the shot will skew that direction.
Get a Proper Grip on the Firearm
Without a good grip on your gun, you cannot control where your bullet will go when you fire it. A good grip controls your shot accuracy. It also helps reduce recoil when fired. Getting a good grip is accomplished by holding the gun in your dominant, or strongest, hand.
Make sure the web of skin between the first finger and thumb is as high as possible on the weapon but will not get pinched by the gun’s moving parts when fired. Now put your weaker, or non-dominant, hand over the dominant hand. The tips of your fingers need to rest on the dominant hand’s knuckles. Lay your thumbs on top of each other with the non-dominant hand on top. Point your gun down at a 45 degree angle and then stretch out your arms. Close your eyes and raise the gun up in front of you. Without moving your gun at all, open your eyes. Look at where the muzzle is pointed. If the muzzle points off to one side or the other of the target, you must adjust your weak hand’s position.
1. When the muzzle points to your dominant side: Move the weak hand’s fingertips closer to the other hand’s knuckles.
2. When the muzzle points to your weak side: Move the weak hand’s fingertips slightly away from the other hand’s knuckles.
When you are able to raise the firearm with closed eyes and have your sights aligned when you open them, this is the position your hands should always be in when shooting. Practice this process until your hands learn to always take this position. Establish it in your muscle memory. Why is this important? Your hands work together to control your aim. Forty percent of the gripping power should come from your dominate hand. Sixty percent of the gripping force should come from the weak one. That is because the weak hand must control the gun while the dominant one pulls the trigger.
Control of the Trigger
Your trigger squeeze should be steady and even. If you yank it or jerk at it, your muzzle moves off target and your shot is not accurate. Place your index finger’s pad on the trigger without using its first joint. You want to squeeze the trigger smoothly and with an even movement. Once you have established your own shooting mechanics that work for you, achieving consistent accuracy is a matter of getting plenty of practice. Take your gun and ammunition to a shooting range or other appropriate spot and practice until sighting and firing become second nature to you.