I spent several years working with Boy Scouts, Teaching them to use rifles and shotguns according to the courses set up by the NRA and the Boy Scouts of America. These kids were better shots than a lot of adults that had been shooting all of their lives. They were all starting new with no bad habits. I was able to teach them the fundamentals of accuracy and they listened, They were also very competitive and would practice until they couldn’t shoot anymore, just to be the top of the class. This made for very long and entertaining days, however they all had fun.
Accuracy is a learned and practiced thing, every day I hear from someone telling me that their gun doesn’t shoot strait. I bring it in to the shop and go shoot it, I would say about 90% of the time either I shoot the gun or my Assistant Gunsmith shoots the gun, we find that there is no problem with the gun, This always comes back on us because the customer refuses to believe they are the problem. Usually it’s a new gun to the customer or a gun that gets shot once a year.
I know that all shooters are experts, and all gun owners are former Police, Navy Seals and special forces experts, Which explains exactly why the gun won’t shoot strait. I Learned to shoot from my adopted uncle. He at the time was a police officer, He learned the old fashioned way too. Several years later my father and I decided to try our hand at competitive shooting, One of the pre-qualifications at the time was that we had to take a class on competitive shooting, All of a sudden we were learning that everything we were taught was wrong, but how could that be. We spent the next several weeks going through the NRA courses to become better shooters.
I have found that most of the time that with training and PRACTICE anyone can improve their shooting skills, however it must be done correctly, Training with a certified NRA instructor is extremely important. Certified instructors have the latest information. You can also spend time with an instructor one on one, which will help you find the problems and fix them. Bad Habits can destroy your accuracy.
Pistol accuracy comes down to several variations. one is your grip, if your grip is not right then you are not going to be accurate, The proper grip will not only change your accuracy but how much you enjoy shooting the firearm. The next would be your trigger finger, are you using too much finger or too little. are you pulling the trigger smooth and slow or are you jerking the trigger, are you pushing or pulling the trigger from side to side. This is something you are best to have an instructor evaluate. The fundamentals of trigger pull are very important. Now you get to the anticipation which also fits in with the grip. are you “palming the gun” meaning when you pull the trigger are you also gripping the gun tighter with your palm or with your other fingers. You can essentially pull or push the gun up or down during firing with a very small movement. These are just a few of the issues you may face.
Rifle accuracy is entirely different. oh wait, no it’s not, it’s the same fundamentals. With rifles you need to pay close attention to position, your shooting position needs to be solid, if you are moving around with the gun you are not going to be very accurate, Also Breathing, You want to time your breathing with the beating of your heart, . It takes a lot of work but you can achieve it. You need to pay close attention to your sight picture and your trigger squeeze. That’s right I said Trigger Squeeze. Don’t Jerk the trigger, Don’t pull the Trigger, Squeeze it. slow and easy. Let me say that again. SLOW AND EASY. You want the shot to surprise you at first. After you get used to it, then you will know where it’s at and what kind of pressure you need to achieve it.
Primarily you need to pay attention to the fundamentals taught by the NRA. They are right. More than anything, Enjoy yourself. The shooting sports is about fun, It’s a sport. Take your time and show the guy next to you up. I always love that.
Just a thought directly from the gunsmith.