Safety off, hold steady, take a deep breath . . . and fire! The metal clang of the backstop rings through the range. The firing dummy remains hole-free, and you’re pretty sure he’s laughing at you.
Don’t remove the bullet from the chamber just yet. Not every shooter is a Carlos Hathcock or an Annie Oakley. Even they weren’t shot out into life knowing their way around a rifle.
There are a few things you should learn before you’ll be able to hit your mark every time. Aim your sights on reading these 7 tips on improving your shooting accuracy.
1. Learning the Tools You Work With
Before setting foot in a range, you should be familiar with your gun. Know the ins-and-outs of your firearm. If possible, opt for AR-15 rifles as they are best for shooting.
Cleaning it or breaking it down is something you should do. Knowing how the parts operate with one another might not yield accuracy boosting results, but it’s almost spiritual. Be one with the gun.
The tip that’ll improve your ability is to practice with only that gun until you’ve proven better at shooting. Each gun has its own unique pattern of recoil (horizontal and vertical). Only practice can mitigate this physical property’s detriment on your accuracy.
After you’ve mastered a gun, try another one. We don’t suggest going from a handgun to an automatic rifle, as their spray pattern will be enormously different. Wade your way through the types of guns systematically.
2. The Trigger Pull
Amateur shooters often don’t consider this important. But that’s why they’re still amateurs.
Pulling the trigger on a weapon sounds like it’d be the easy part. The way you do it, however, dictates a lot of your accuracy.
You should try dry-firing your weapon a couple of dozen times to get the feel of your weapon’s trigger. Each trigger is made differently, even among the same makes. The poundage on the trigger will vary.
When pulling the trigger, it should be a confident and firm pull. Do not flinch or flail your wrists.
This is why it’s a detriment to be familiar with the weight of your trigger. Having a weak, uncertain pull will move your wrists and that will translate into poor accuracy.
3. Knowing When a Gun Is Too Much
A gun doesn’t maketh man. Try to remember that when you’re in front of a counter and pointing to a hand cannon.
Sure, some seasoned vets can pull off some decent accuracy with guns that can pierce tanks, but you won’t be able to. They have decades of experience behind their sights.
Pick a gun that you can responsibly handle. There is nothing wrong with using a weapon that you think others will find emasculating. People don’t care what you’re shooting (as long as it’s not them).
Plus, being able to properly shoot is far more triumphant than being unable to handle the recoil.
4. How Are Your Sights?
The iron sights at the end of your barrel aren’t infallible. They’re just a tool to guide you in the right direction. Sometimes those sights can steer you wrong.
People knock around their guns all the time, whether through transit mishaps or general irresponsibility. This will lead to decay of the accuracy of your iron sights. Metal is a rather malleable material, and even a slight deviation from factory default will result in substantial accuracy loss.
Every once in a while, you need to zero the iron sights. Zeroing is especially true if you’re using any type of scope, as they are much more prone to oscillation. Zero your AR scope mounts or sights at home frequently.
5. Try a Different Grain for Better Shooting Accuracy
Accuracy, not surprisingly, falls on an inverse relational slope with distance. As distance increases, accuracy decreases. To mitigate this, we use different grains of ammunition in conjunction with more powerful weaponry.
This may not apply to casual shooters at the range hitting dummies 50 feet away. But if you’re doing any longer-range riflery, you may need to check your equipment.
The further and further away from your target, the more substantial weight you’ll need in your bullet. You cannot feasibly shoot long-range with low caliber firearms. If you’re experiencing accuracy detriments, we suggest experimenting with a higher caliber bullet and rifle.
Be sure to zero your sights in preparation for this, too. Changing to a different grain will lead to different ballistic drops in the air.
6. Slow Down
A lot of accuracy issues can come from hastiness. As long as you’re not duck hunting or in imminent danger, you have all the time you need to fire.
Firing your gun should be an almost religious experience. It needs to be a slow, steady ritual if you’d like the accuracy gods to smile upon you.
A hasty shooter also typically has a very poor stance. They’ll get their guns out and pop off a few rounds while standing like a stiff board. That’s their prerogative.
However, you should take the time to steady your feet. Plant them so you have complete control over your firearm. Have your arms and wrists in complete control over the butt of your gun.
Take a slow, deep breath. And let loose. Going slow will yield some very impressive results.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
You’ve heard it before. And it’s always true.
Mastery doesn’t come without time and effort put into practicing your art. Nobody is born a skilled shooter – they become a marksman. You can’t expect any different results.
We suggest stopping into the firing range at least a few times a month to hone your accuracy.
By Golly, You Shot It
Shooting accuracy requires a certain masterful dance with your gun. There’s no way around it, you have to learn to become a great shooter.
Get to know your weapon and how it’s built, take particular care in learning your trigger, and make sure your sights are zeroed. Don’t overestimate yourself and get something too powerful – use the right tool for the job. Most importantly, practice being a methodical shooter.
Interested in learning more about guns, firing accuracy, and other weapon training? Check out our other articles.