When you’re shooting a gun at a range for target practice, you want to see your skills improve over time. When you’re a first-time shooter it’s common to have some teething problems with your aim and gun control, but these soon disappear with practice. The more work you put in, the better the results, and it’s common for your skill level to increase exponentially in the early stages.
But it’s equally possible to form bad habits when you’re just starting out, which can make it difficult to get to where you want to be. Your muscle memory takes over and your continued bad habits become permanently instilled into your body. The longer you use poor form, the harder it will be to make corrections. For this reason, as soon as you notice mistakes or regular inaccuracies in your shooting, you should attempt to fix them. The best way to do this is to get to the root of the problem and determine exactly what is causing your shooting issues.
One of the most common mistakes amateur shooters make is pulling their handgun to the right or left when target practicing. It’s normal for shooters of all levels to occasionally miss the target, but if your shots are consistently landing off-center in a similar spot, it’s likely there is an issue with your form that needs to be corrected. There are several reasons this might happen. Here are some of the most likely causes, and the steps you can take to fix them.
The most likely reason a newbie shooter might be pulling their pistol to the left or the right is that they are flinching every time the gun is fired. If you have still not gained sufficient comfort with your firearm, you might be nervously anticipating the loud noise and the recoil that comes from every shot. And this can happen without realizing it. Your body tenses up in anticipation, and once you pull the trigger, your body flinches involuntarily. No matter how good your stance and form are, this movement will take your shots off-target every single time.
The solution to this is simply to increase your comfort level during firearm training. It’s a good idea to practice dry firing your pistol to get used to the feel of the gun in your hands. When you progress to live rounds, make sure you have good-quality ear coverage to protect your hearing and practice consistently. Given enough time, you will become more comfortable with your firearm and your accuracy will improve.
To shoot consistently, you need to have the exact same grip on your pistol for each shot. In particular, the way you put your finger on the trigger should be the same every single time. Consistent trigger control will equate to consistently accurate shooting. Using the pad of your finger will give you ultimate control, as opposed to the fingertip or pushing your finger in too far. When you have nailed the correct finger placement, make sure your pullback is smooth when you take the shot. If you pull too quickly, you’ll jerk your pistol and the shot won’t land where you want it to.
In any sport, whether you’re hitting a baseball, swinging a golf club, or kicking a football, you are told you need to follow through with your strike. And the same is equally true for shooting. If you release the trigger the second the shot is fired, you’re not benefiting from this follow-through. The second you release, you lose your perfect stance, hold, and breath control instantly, compromising the accuracy of your shot. Make sure you follow through with each shot until the gun has been fired and returned to its original position.
If you’re pulling your pistol, the issue might be with your stance. The perfect shooting position will balance your body perfectly, allowing for more accurate firing every time. It also makes you comfortable, enabling you to maintain good form for longer without breaking down. Lean forward into your shooting position with your nose directly over your toes. This gives you a positive center of gravity and will help to give you more control of your firearm by countering the effects of the recoil.
Next time you hit the range for a spot of firearm training, use these four points as a mental checklist. With the correct stance, follow-through, trigger control, and comfort, you will increase your accuracy and reduce the risk of pulling your pistol.