Monday, March 28, 2016

A truly simple guide to being an accurate pistol shooter.

I've had some people ask me to teach them how to shoot, but most who ask do not actually follow through on the plans to go shooting. Many people are intimidated simply by how complicated some pistol shooters make it sound. I'm going to try to explain this as simply as possible. Shooting a pistol accurately IS truly a simple thing. If it's being made to sound complicated, then it's probably not being explained properly.

There are four things to focus on when shooting a pistol. You need to focus on stance, grip, sight picture and trigger squeeze, in that order.


Stance: Get into a comfortable and well balanced stance. The most important thing to remember about stance is "nose over toes", which means basically not lean backwards. Many people go into their shooting stance looking like they're getting ready to do the limbo. Lean forward slightly at the waist and hips. Shooting a pistol is an aggressive action no matter what your target is. So be aggressive and lean into it a little. Nose over toes. Get comfortable and don't lean backward.

Grip: Wrap your shooting hand around the grip normally and place your trigger finger straight alongside the slide, being careful not to put it inside the trigger well until it's time to fire. Your thumb should be pointing forward, not up or down. Your non shooting hand needs to be wrapped around the other hand, letting each finger fall into the "spaces" or "grooves" between the fingers on your shooting hand. Your thumbs should lie together pointing forward toward the target's general direction. Hold onto the grip as tight as you can. It's that simple. The tighter the better. Tighter equals less movement during firing. Hold your arms straight out toward the target and let your elbows point a little outward rather than downward. This elbow position is recommended but not vital.

Sight Picture: Sight picture is very important to getting a good shot. The rear and front sights must be aligned on the exact spot of the target you want to hit. The pinpoint location of where you are aiming is referred to as the "point of aim" (POA). The spot where the fired bullet actually hits is referred to as the "point of impact" (POI). You need to have a good sight picture lined up, because if the POA and the POI are not in the same spot, the difference can indicate exactly what type of problem you are having with the other steps. Again, the front sight needs to be well aligned with the rear sight and then placed on the center of the target. Try to focus your eyes on the front sight above all else. This will normally cause your view of the target to become slightly fuzzy, as the eyes can only focus on one of the two objects that are at differing distances. It is alright for the target to look slightly fuzzy. This will not make it harder to aim the (clearly seen) front sight at the center of the target. Focusing on the front sight and keeping it clear in your view will help you keep it steady.

Trigger Squeeze: The trigger squeeze sequence is where you need to practice the most. Getting the other three steeps right simply requires a bit of memory. The trigger squeeze is a technique that requires practice and patience. If you have a good sight picture, then you easily diagnose a bad shot with the trigger technique you're using. Someone who "anticipates the shot" will often have a low POI compared to their POA. Someone who "pulls" on the trigger instead of properly rolling the trigger smoothly back will often have a POI that is to the right of the POA. These are very common mistakes and take a little practice to overcome. Even experienced shooters will often notice a low-right POI, and they know that they need to smooth out their trigger squeeze and stop anticipating their shot. As a shooter, you should allow the recoil of the pistol to "surprise" you. Obviously you will not be mentally surprised by it because you are purposely firing the pistol, but the recoil should be allowed to physically surprise you. Bracing against or pushing against the expected recoil is a natural reaction you need to practice yourself out of. It's. It difficult, but does require some practice.


Those are the four aspects of pistol shooting. It can really be as simple as that.

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