Almost half of the United States population lives in a household where at least one gun is present. As the second amendment comes under increased fire in today’s polarized political environment, we’re seeing stories about people stocking up on their favorite sport and self-defense weapons.
While owning guns is well and good, what’s even better is feeling confident firing your weapon so you can hit your targets in sport and safety situations.
Therein lies the purpose of this post on shooting skills.
Improving shooting skills and marksmanship comes down to feeling comfortable with your gun, environment and self when firing. Below, we share 8 tips that can help you take your gun game to the next level.
1. Don’t Anticipate Recoil
We don’t have to tell you that firearms kick when they’re fired. The bigger the gun, the more recoil that you’re likely to experience.
Every novice gun user finds recoil uncomfortable to some degree and many anticipate it so much so that they tense up before firing which ruins accuracy and increases recoil’s effects.
Our advice to you is to do everything that you can to let your gun’s recoil surprise you. You may be able to do this by exhaling while firing.
Whatever works for you, if you can make it so you’re less focused on kickback and more focused on your target, your shooting skills will improve.
2. Wear Your Eyes and Ears
Wearing proper safety gear when firing guns for sport not only protects your vision and your ability to hear but it will also keep you more focused on your target. The less that you have to worry about your ears popping or a stray shell hitting you in the eye, the better your time at the gun range is going to be.
3. Know Your Environment
As we mentioned in this post’s introduction, being comfortable is paramount to honing your shooting skills. If you feel timid firing a gun at a location because you’re not sure what hazards exist, your focus is going to be divided between what you’re firing at and a million other factors.
Whether it’s getting to know a spot in the woods well or your local shooting range, develop comfort with the terrains that you fire your guns in most often. If you do, you’ll embolden your ability to fire confidently.
4. Use Your Own Gun
Every gun handles a little bit differently. That’s why it’s hard for people that are trying to build their skills to get the momentum that they’re looking for with rented and borrowed guns.
If you’re serious about guns for sport or self-defense, buy your own firearm and work with it as much as possible. As you do, you’ll get to know its intricacies and it’ll eventually become an extension of you.
5. Run Through Safety Checks Whenever Possible
Being at a gun range is serious business. There are safety officers that may be less than kind when reminding you of what it is you need to be doing to best ensure your safety and the safety of others.
The more confident that you feel in gun safety procedures, the less likely it will be that you’ll get chewed out on the range and the more focused you’ll be on your firearm.
The Firearms Industry Trade Association has an excellent post on safety basics that you’ll want to brief and re-brief yourself on as often as possible.
6. Keep Both Eyes Open
Different people have different styles of shooting. If you find that you hit your targets most often by closing one eye when firing, by all means, stick to what works.
What we’d suggest though is that if you haven’t tried shooting with both eyes open, you give it a whirl. Shooting with both eyes open gives you better depth perception which can improve your accuracy substantially, particularly if you’re trap or skeet shooting.
7. Participate in Drills
If you become a great target shooter at a gun range, those skills may not translate into other, real-world situations as much as you think they would. In safety situations, you may be required to hit moving targets, targets that pop out from behind things and may need to draw a lot faster than you would in a controlled environment.
The best way to hone a wide breadth of gun skills safely is to participate in drills that your local range may offer or that you can set up for yourself on public, gun-legal lands.
8. Practice, Practice, Practice
At the core of improvement in all things, including shooting skills, is practice. When you pick up your firearm and push yourself out of your comfort zone by going to the range more often than you’d like, you find out why practice is important, improves your confidence and is the fastest way to get where you want to go.
Give regular practice a try and believe us when we say that you’ll love the results that you get.
Now That You Know How to Improve Your Shooting Skills, Start Shooting
Honing your shooting skills isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s something that you have to work at for many years and keep working on for the rest of your life.
Fortunately, if you’re a true lover of guns, practicing with your firearm regularly and being curious about its intricacies is something that you’ll find isn’t as much of a chore as it is fun!
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