PISTOL SHOOTING FUNDAMENTALS
01 SIGHT PICTURE
Either with iron sights, a red dot, or a magnified optic, you need to know how to use your sights properly. Getting the correct sight picture is essential to accurate shooting. For a notch-and-post setup found on irons, the rear sight should be fuzzy, the target should be slightly fuzzy, and the front sight should be crystal clear. For a red dot or magnified optic, focus your eyes on the target and allow the reticle to be slightly fuzzy.
02 SIGHT ALIGNMENT
For a notch-and-post sight setup, all you have to do is put the post in line with the top of the notch and put an equal amount of space of light on either side. Most notch-andpost sights will have dots to line up or a line and a dot to help with vertical alignment. On a red dot or magnified optic the reticle will vary depending on model, but generally you want to center it as much as possible.
03 TRIGGER CONTROL
This is one of the most difficult fundamentals to master, especially if you started with bad shooting habits. Sight picture, sight alignment, and even the recoil of the gun are mental; trigger control is the only truly physical part of shooting a gun. Everyone, including a grand master shooter, has an innate aversion to sharp, loud noises, which is exactly what a firearm produces. Two steps to practice at the range are to take the slack out of the trigger before actually breaking the shot and to press the trigger directly to the rear as smoothly as you can.
04 FOLLOW THROUGH
No different from swinging a baseball bat or a golf club— all you have to do is to make sure you hold the shooting position for a half second after the bullet fires from the gun. Holding the position is important because mentally your mind will try to make you drop the pistol or move the pistol while you’re pulling the trigger. Two steps to remove any bad habits are to keep the sights aligned with your intended target after you take your shot, and a controlled release of the trigger back to the forward rest point without losing hold of it.
05 BREATHING CONTROL
Breathing control can vary depending on the type of shooting you’re doing—mainly with respect to distance. If you are trying to either shoot your best grouping or shoot at longer distances, the amount your chest moves while you’re breathing can affect your shot by as much as an inch. Holding your breath while pulling the trigger can be the simplest fix. You can hold your breath on the way in or all the way out—whatever’s most comfortable for you. One way to go about breath control is to inhale normally, exhale half of your breath, and hold it until you break the shot. This way your muscles aren’t working to hold in too much air.