How to Be a Better Marksman in 9 Steps
Russ Chastain 04.19.18
Shooting is a great activity, and hitting your target makes it a whole lot better. Most shooters would like to know how to be a better marksman, and accurate shooting is essential for self-defense and hunting. Here are 9 ways you can improve your shooting skills.
1) Know your gun(s).
Learn how your particular firearm(s) operate. You should know how to use every feature of your firearm, what type(s) of ammo will safely work in it, which load(s) it will shoot the most accurately, and how to clean and maintain it. This basic knowledge creates a good foundation for becoming a truly accurate shooter.
2) Control Your Breathing
When you’re aiming and preparing to fire, hold your breath. Either take a deep breath and let about half of it out, or just take half a breath and hold it. This will greatly reduce movement of the gun, its sights, your hands, and your body.
3) Trigger Control
Squeeze the trigger. Don’t pull it or jerk it. It takes practice to really ingrain this as a habit, but it’s well worth the time and effort. A smooth rearward movement of the trigger will allow your sight picture to remain much more consistent while firing, which will allow you to be much more accurate.
4) Don’t Flinch
If you flinch, learn to control this. Flinching is usually a forward push or shove of the firearm, generally intended to reduce the effects of recoil. This will always play havoc with accuracy; no bueno.
Always remember that you’re on the safe end of your firearm, and it’s not going to hurt you. Get rid of the flinch and your accuracy will increase exponentially.
5) Don’t Anticipate the Shot
When the shot is actually fired, you should be surprised by it. In other words, while you obviously know the discharge is coming, the actual moment when it occurs should not be anticipated. Anticipating the shot leads to flinching.
6) Use a Good Rest
You might not feel as manly or impressive when you rest your hands, arms, and/or firearm on something steady, but your accuracy will get a whole lot better. Stop worrying about what people think of the way you shoot, and concentrate on hitting that target every time.
7) Use a Rifle Sling
For shooting rifles, a sling can be a fine shooting aid. Wrap it around your left arm (for right-handed shooters) and pull the gun into your shoulder as you aim. Even grabbing the sling near the forend and pulling towards the shoulder can help steady your shooting.
8) Take Care of Your Guns
If you treat your firearm well, it will usually return the favor. Back in step one, you learned how to clean and maintain your shootin’ irons. So make sure you actually do it!
As long as you always stay safe, shooting your gun often can help. Just remember that practice will never make you perfect unless you change your ways as you go, to eliminate bad habits and hone your skills. If you’re having accuracy trouble, identify problems and address them — and then fire a bunch of ammo to help ingrain those good habits until they become second nature.
Remember: Have fun and improve a little more each time you go shooting. Don’t turn it into a job, ’cause that’s no fun at all. And before you know it, you’ll be a better marksman (or woman).