tHE PERFECT PISTOL SHOT
The two following tips, properly applied, will immediately improve your handgun accuracy. A full explanation with additional tips and drills can be found in the book, The Perfect Pistol Shot.
1. Aim at a point which appears smaller than your front sight tip. In all my training classes, live-fire marksmanship instruction is conducted with crosses drawn on the backside of targets. The center of the cross is your aiming point. The arms of the cross may be extended for better viewing at greater distances and the thickness of the lines may be enlarged through the use of a bigger marker, but the crucible remains your exact aiming point. Think about it. Your driving benefits from your ability to look down the road and make steering corrections. Shooting is the same. You handgun was designed to shoot 25 yard groups no bigger than the bottom of your coffee mug. You will never realize that mechanical potential while aiming at a 12" bulls-eye or 24" silhouette. If you unknowingly fire to the right side of a giant bulls-eye on the first shot and slightly toward the top on the second shot, you will get a false reading when examining your target; you may have fired perfect shots but failed to anchor them to the same place and therefore fired a six inch spread. You can't shoot at pie plates, soda cans, and bleach bottles while expecting to learn anything from the experience.
2. Focus fanatically on the front sight tip. If you can't identify your used handgun from among a pile of the same make and model by examining the front sight tip, you aren't properly focusing on the front sight during firing. Every scratch, dent and ding should be impressed into your memory. The eye must tell the hand to make adjustments within hundredths of an inch. How can the eye do that with a casual glance. The front sight is on the end of the barrel. Wherever the end of the barrel is pointed at the instant the round leaves the weapon is where the bullet is going to travel. That's a scientific fact. Another scientific fact is this: control the front sight and you will control bullet placement. Every shooters says he knows about sight alignment and sight picture, but in my experience most shooters only know the purpose of the sights, not how to use them.
Master the above two skills and you'll be within the top ten percent of the world's handgun shooters.
1. Training session length: Marksmanship, that is the study of accuracy, requires an incredible attention to detail. It has been my experience that students over-estimate the amount of time they will be able to focus on live-fire training. When frustration and impatience set-in, training is done. Learning to waste shots is foolish for the sports shooter and potentially deadly for the defensive shooter. Successful training ends before fatigue begins. It's not a question of how much time you spend on the firing line, it's a matter of what you do with it. Ten perfect shots will develop skill; fifty hurried shots will diminish skill.
2. Dry-fire saves money, makes range time more worthwhile, and remains un-paralleled for marksmanship training. Each range session should be preceded by twice as much time spent on dry-fire. The shooter who has dry-fired during the days prior to rang time will notice an exponential increase in live fire improvement. Most average shooters won't dry-fire while most bulls-eye competitors will spend the night before competition doing nothing else. Dry-fire is free, why not use it?
3. Preparation and focus: If you wish to drink soda, then drink soda. If you want to eat, have a meal. If you like talking to friends, have a party. If you want to smoke, sit down and smoke. But if you want to learn to shoot, show up at the range without a belly full of food, without veins full of caffeine, and without a lung full of smoke. Then quietly concentrate on your purpose. You can't chat and concentrate at the same time. There is a physical aspect to marksmanship training that requires minimization of heart-rate and breathing. Go to the range slightly hungry and clear-headed. The mouth shuts when you step onto to the firing line.
Albert League is a former Marine Corps and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics. He is the founder of the Practics firearms defense system and author of the Practics book series.(www.practicsusa.com)