The Beginning Shooter

It doesn't matter if you are a beginning shooter, or simply a person riding the testosterone express (you think you know everything), we ALL need to understand the way to improve our shooting. Here are a few points for you to think about.

  1. Learn and follow the safety rules! It does NOT matter how good you look, but it DOES make a difference if you handle yourself and your gun in a manner that will keep you, your family and friends safe. Basic safety is essential to survival.

  2. Learn how your firearm works, ALL of it! This is actually an extension of basic safety. How can you be safe if you do not know how your gun functions and how to safely maintain it? An extension of that is DO NOT change sights, adjust sights, add accessories or modify the gun until . . after . . you have shot it. How do you know it needs fixed if you do not know if it is "broken"?

  3. Build confidence in your skills by using them.

  4. When you shoot/practice, focus on the job at hand. As Jeff Cooper used to say, "The purpose of shooting is hitting." Don't worry about the noise, don't think about the recoil, and keep your eyes on your sights and the target.

  5. As you train, take regular breaks. They help you learn faster and more effectively. DO NOT rush to finish a sequence or a session.

  6. Pay attention to what YOU are doing. Don't worry about people watching you. Don't worry about being slower or faster than anyone else. Don't compare your targets, times or calibers to anyone else's.

    If you want to compete, compete with yourself. Did you do better than last time? Were your groups more consistent? Were you more relaxed? By doing this, your "competition" becomes a training aid.

  7. Less can be more! Gabe Suarez in one of his books tells us to make every practice a perfect practice. He then quickly goes on to say that since none of us is perfect we need to work on ONE technique at a time. That will seem horribly slow at first, but as you work on one, then another, then another, you soon have made excellent progress, and have learned the techniques properly.

  8. It can be very helpful to keep a training journal. Nothing too intense or serious, but make notes about how your session went, especially about mistakes and "Ah-HA" moments. Do it the same day, or better yet, before you leave the range.

  9. Do EVERYTHING as if it were "for real", and not just training. This is how you build proper habits. Some dummies call it "muscle memory", but since muscles to not remember anything, you are building safe, effective habits, that will serve you well, no matter what the situation is.

  10. BE POSITIVE! What this really means is to be positive about what you are learning and when you "have a bad day", look for the MANY things you did right and reassure yourself that you ARE making progress.