PIS­TOL SHOOT­ING FUN­DA­MEN­TALS

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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.

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