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Shooting Tips and Tricks

The new shooter is in a great position to learn the fundamentals of shooting, this article shows you some shooting tips and tricks. Being new you are a clean slate, whereas a person who has been shooting for some time may have habits that are difficult to retrain. 99% of the time the inability of the shooter to hit the target is just poor technique.

shooting tips and tricks

Usually a new person is willing to learn from their mistakes and take the corrective measures necessary to remedy the situation. Where someone who has experience is more likely to blame the problem on the firearm rather than themselves. You have heard that old chestnut “a poor tradesman blames his tools” well that applies to sport as well.

The first and most important thing when learning is safety! 

In the world of shooting you hear sad phrases like ‘accidental discharge’ all the time. I believe that there is no such thing as an accident, what there is in reality is ’cause and effect’. In over 25 years of shooting I have never seen a firearm discharge on its own.

With that said if you follow the four basic rules of firearm safety you will be able to enjoy your new firearm without problems.
The four rules are:

  1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction!
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot!
  3. Always keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot!
  4. Always treat every gun as if it is loaded!
  5. Always be certain of your target and what’s behind it!

If you follow these four simple rules I can almost guarantee there would never be another firearm accident! Firearms are a big responsibility and should be treated with all due respect.

Practice makes Perfect

The only way to learn to shoot well is to practice, practice and then practice some more!

To be perfectly honest the actual process of shooting a firearm it is pretty simple – aim the sights on the target and pull the trigger. However, theory is one thing but reality is another thing all together. The problem is that there are a lot of different muscle groups involved in the sight alignment and pulling of the trigger thus making it is very easy to miss your target.

Generic Shooting Tips

  1. Get instruction: While shooting itself is not a complicated thing having an instructor that can correct things that are being done wrong early will greatly help in obtaining accuracy and avoid having to try and relearn how to do something that has been committed to muscle memory.
  2. Where to shoot: While it would be great if we all owned a suitable piece of property to be able to go out the back yard and shoot safely the majority of us are not that lucky. When you take into account that a bullet can travel well in excess of a mile after it leaves the barrel this can pose problems for even those in remote locations. For this reason Most of us will have to shoot at either public or private ranges. We have our own range at Oaklands. View Oaklands on a Map
    shooting4fun - oaklands
  3. Safety: Before loading your gun, think about the safety rules. You are the one behind the trigger, you have the ultimate responsibility for handling your firearm in a safe manner, and you cannot blame anyone or anything else for an accident, (sorry) incident.
  4. Ear and eye protection: Like all top class ranges, here at Oaklands we supply ear and eye protection. 
  5. Eye dominance: There is a simple test that can be preformed to determine which eye is your dominant eye. I have covered this in detail, but here are the basic steps: –
  • Hold your arms out in front of you with your hands crossed leaving a small hole that you can look through.
  • Look through the hole and focus on an object.
  • Quickly move your hands level with your eyes keeping your arms straight. towards your face.
  • you should find that one eye will be looking through the hole and the other one will not be. (Sometimes it is possible to be equi-dominant)
  • The one that is looking through the hole is your dominant eye.

6. Sight alignment: This doesn’t relate to your eyes but to the physical sights on the top of the gun. Most guns use the “notch and post”                          type of sights. As you look along the barrel you should be able to see the front sight post through the rear sight block. Basically you want the front post to be sitting inside the rear block with an even amount of space around it, and for it to be level with the top of the rear block sight. Take a look at the diagram below.


gun sights

*NOTE* You wont be able to focus on both sights at the same time, so concentrate on the front post, keeping it at the correct position in relation to the blurred rear block. This sounds difficult but the human eye is an amazing piece of kit.

front and rear sights

7. Griping the firearm: Getting a proper grip is imperative for accuracy. The following steps list how to hold the gun correctly.

  1. Hold the gun in your strong hand pointed at the ground at about a 45 degree angle. If you are right handed your right hand will be your strong hand and if you are left handed your left hand will be your strong hand.
  2. The web between your thumb and first finger should be as high as possible on the gun but low enough that your hand will not come in contact with any moving parts.
  3. Place your week hand over your strong hand with the tips of your fingers at the knuckles of your strong hand.
  4. Lay your thumbs on top of each other usually with the weak hand thumb on top.
  5. Fully extend your arms.
  6. Close your eyes.
  7. Raise the gun in front of you.
  8. Open your eyes without moving the gun.
    1. If the muzzle is pointed off to one side you need to adjust the position of your week hand.
    2. If the muzzle is pointed at your strong side move the finger tips of your week hand closer to the knuckles of your strong hand.
    3. If the muzzle is pointed towards your week side move your fingers farther from the knuckles of your strong hand.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8 until you can raise the firearm with your eyes closed and the sights are aligned when you open them. This is where your hands need to be.

8. Trigger control:

Another very important aspect of learning to shoot well is the trigger action. How you treat the trigger will afffect the overal outcome of your shooting sucess or not. Much the same as with photography the trigger has to be squeezed, the pressure gradually increasing until the weapon fires. In photography harsh use of the shutter button results in blurred images, in shooting harsh use of the trigger results in missed shots. Remember to keep your trigger action: –

  1. Slow
  2. Smooth
  3. Even

Pull the trigger with the front pad of your index finger. Do not use the first joint as this reduces ‘feel’ and control over the trigger action.

9. The shooting stance: Once again I have covered this in detail here and am not going to regurgitate it again. Neeedless to say that stance is very important and differs according to which type of bird you are trying to shoot.


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