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.
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.
- 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"?
- Build confidence in your skills by using them.
- 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.
- As you train, take regular breaks. They help you learn faster and
more effectively. DO NOT rush to finish a sequence or a session.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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