The Path to Ac­cu­racy

7 Sim­ple, Proven Steps that Will Make You a Bet­ter Shooter


Seven solid, field-tested steps to mak­ing any­one a bet­ter shooter (this means you)

If you know me, or have read any­thing I have pre­vi­ously writ­ten, then you know I’m not the bright­est per­son in the world. My route through the ed­u­ca­tional process was pub­lic schools and state col­lege. I def­i­nitely did not get a higher ed­u­ca­tion based on my GPA. (If any­one asks, I will pro­vide my high school tran­scripts, but let me warn you that they are bru­tal.)

Re­gard­less, I have fol­lowed a path that has led to suc­cess. Through the great peo­ple I sur­round my­self with, I have learned a thing or two. I’ve taken some ab­so­lutely won­der­ful in­struc­tion from peo­ple who know far more than I will ever learn, and I have been able to gather a de­cent amount of in­for­ma­tion that has helped me through­out my life and ca­reer. Where this re­ally stands out is with shoot­ing.

I learned the ba­sics of firearm safety from my fam­ily, but I learned to shoot from oth­ers who taught me ac­cu­racy and con­sis­tency. I work off of a few ba­sic prin­ci­ples that I have been taught over the years, and I do my best to im­part that in­for­ma­tion on the peo­ple I teach, both civil­ians and law en­force­ment. The fol­low­ing high­lights are just a few of the dif­fer­ent ways I try to bring ac­cu­racy and con­sis­tency to the peo­ple who join me on the range.

I must say that I did not think of any of these ideas. Ev­ery­thing here is from peo­ple be­fore me. I cer­tainly re­spect these peo­ple, and I have learned plenty from them over the years. In no par­tic­u­lar or­der, the fol­low­ing are some of those tips.


“Do things cor­rectly, over and over per­fectly, and your times will be­come faster.”

We have all heard them. Some of us may ac­tu­ally use them while speak­ing with oth­ers, but do we re­ally know what all the sayings mean? Take this one: “Smooth is fast.” No, smooth is glass or a baby’s bot­tom af­ter a bath.

Fast is just fast, such as drivers at an Indy car race or or­der­ing the orig­i­nal burger at Mcdon­ald’s in San Bernardino.

Fast in shoot­ing comes with prac­tice. A lot of prac­tice and prac­tice done cor­rectly.

Don’t ex­pect to hear a say­ing, sit in your liv­ing room prac­tic­ing it and be able to go out to the range the next day and pro­fess that you are a prophet. Im­prove­ment comes with knowl­edge and ap­pli­ca­tion, and ap­pli­ca­tion is the key. Do things cor­rectly, over and over per­fectly, and your times will be­come faster.

02: GRIP

Per­haps one of my great­est mo­ments of en­light­en­ment oc­curred when I was shoot­ing with John “Shrek” Mcphee (for­mer SOF sniper). Dur­ing our ses­sion he talked about grip. I have size 4XL hands, and I learned that I was grip­ping my pis­tols wrong, some­thing I had been do­ing for most of my life. Within three shots, John had me change my grip so I was ac­tu­ally able to lock the pis­tol into my hands like I had never done be­fore.

What this al­lowed me to do was ac­quire a great sight picture. As a bonus, it showed me the gun wouldn’t move ei­ther. Even if I had a trig­ger press that was less than ad­e­quate, my rounds would strike the tar­get where I wanted. Grip is one of the keys to ac­cu­rate shoot­ing, so have a qual­i­fied in­struc­tor take a look at your grip.


I dry fire prac­tice a lot, and I mean a lot. Gen­er­ally this is some­thing I do every night. I started this while in the Academy, and I made sure that I had a com­plete and ster­ile area where I prac­ticed. I do the same to­day; noth­ing is dif­fer­ent.

When I do this, I make sure I have a small tar­get. How small is small? Right now I’m us­ing a peep­hole in a door that’s about 7 yards out. I make sure my sights are aligned and my grip is per­fect and I be­gin my trig­ger press. Move­ment is min­i­mal, and I make sure I get a clean break by watch­ing the front sight lock onto the very small peep­hole I’m sight­ing in on with every shot. A clean break is a clean break; any­thing else is a fail­ure.

I have found this prac­tice helps me with dis­tance shoot­ing as well as per­fect place­ment up close and in com­pressed time­frames.


Quite sim­ply, the video does not lie. It shows you ex­actly what you are do­ing cor­rectly and what you are do­ing wrong. Again, I learned this from John Mcphee, and all I had to do was see it for my­self when he showed me what my in­con­sis­ten­cies were with pis­tol shoot­ing.

Mcphee is a mas­ter when it comes to break­ing down the nanosec­onds of shoot­ing. He not only goes frame-by-frame to show you what is wrong but also cor­rects you along the way.

To­day, I still put up a tri­pod and at­tach an iphone to video what I am do­ing so I can see what I’m do­ing right and what I’m do­ing wrong. I learn each and every time how I

can get bet­ter by re­play­ing a draw, a dry fire or any move­ment that comes with shoot­ing. The video doesn’t lie.


I shoot a lot on the NRA bulls­eye tar­get. It is a pretty small tar­get that shows a black nine and an X ring. It also al­lows for a seven and eight ring in the white. I use this tar­get from 3 to 25 yards.

I use a hand­ful of dif­fer­ent drills. Ul­ti­mately, most of my rounds be­tween those yardages should land in the black. When they do, think about this: A fist-sized group in the black trans­lates to a head­shot or a tight chest shot each and every time. For ac­cu­racy, this training pays off.

I also use this tar­get with my carbine out to 50 yards. As long as I can place most of my rounds in the black, I am con­sis­tent.


I’m sure you’ve heard it. I imag­ine most ev­ery­one has. There is a lot of con­tro­versy about in­struc­tors and with whom peo­ple should train. Here is a log­i­cal, prac­ti­cal and ef­fec­tive way to ad­dress this.

When search­ing for an in­struc­tor, do your home­work. While on­line, check the “About Us” link on the com­pany’s site. Talk to them, too. Make sure the in­struc­tor you’re con­sid­er­ing pro­vides in­struc­tion that is con­sis­tent with your pri­or­i­ties (how you want to learn and the in­struc­tion they pro­vide). You know your en­vi­ron­ment; you also know what will suit you best. Be­fore you reach a con­clu­sion on an in­struc­tor, find a hand­ful of in­struc­tors who fit your cri­te­ria and talk to them be­fore you give your hard-earned money to any of them. Time is money, and time is also limited. Find who works best for you, and move into that arena.


I had an of­fi­cer ask me re­cently, “If I pass the FBI qual­i­fi­ca­tion course, will I be­come a bet­ter shooter?“My an­swer was no. I ex­plained to him that he will be a bet­ter shooter if he wants to be a bet­ter shooter and if he takes the time to learn to be a bet­ter shooter.

There is no golden ticket to be­ing a bet­ter shooter. You get out of shoot­ing ex­actly what you put into it. Learn­ing is dif­fi­cult at times. Tak­ing what oth­ers give you and putting those pieces to­gether is all about be­hav­ior and con­sis­tency.

Stress also plays a role in firearms training. You will most likely put more stress on your­self be­fore any in­struc­tor puts stress on you. How you deal with that will show in your per­for­mance at the end of the day. Fo­cus on the in­struc­tion, and main­tain your de­sire.


Ev­ery­thing dis­cussed here should help the av­er­age per­son be­come a bet­ter shooter. Keep in mind, how­ever, that this is not the be-all, end-all les­son on shoot­ing. This is merely a few items I hope to im­part on shoot­ers. Noth­ing is easy; there are few truly gifted shoot­ers in this world. Most of us have to work at peak per­for­mance to see our ideals on the range.

As I stated in the be­gin­ning, I am not the bright­est in­di­vid­ual in the world, but I seek to sur­round my­self with oth­ers who are far bet­ter and brighter than my­self. I learn from them, I open my mind, set my ego aside and go straight to Learn­ing 101. If you fol­low this path, you’ll also suc­ceed.

“you will be a bet­ter shooter if you want to be a bet­ter shooter, and if you take the time to learn to be a bet­ter shooter.”

A for­mer Spe­cial Mis­sion Unit sniper showed the au­thor the ben­e­fit of us­ing video. While watch­ing footage, Davis saw his in­con­sis­ten­cies and cor­rected them.

Dry fire is also part of Davis’ rou­tine. He does this five or six nights per week, and his tar­get is a peep­hole at about 7 yards.

To enhance his shoot­ing, Davis shoots the NRA bulls­eye out to 25 yards.

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