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Published On: Tue, Jan 23rd, 2018

How to Improve Handgun Accuracy

Everyone reacts differently in dangerous scenarios. If you ever find yourself in a situation where the use of deadly force is the only way to protect your life or the lives of others, could you imagine aiming, pulling the trigger and missing your target? Many people don’t think about the real life application of self-defense with a firearm, but they should. If you carry a weapon for personal protection, it’s just as useless to you as a squirt gun if you can’t properly engage the target. The only way to improve your defensive is to practice your shot.

Not everyone who wants to improve their marksmanship is someone who practices concealed carry. Many sport shooters are concerned with improving their accuracy in order to master their hobby. All shooters will benefit from practicing the fundamentals of marksmanship regardless of the intended use of the skill. The more you can practice these skills, the more consistently accurate you will become, whether you’re at the range or walking into a high-stress, real life situation.

The Fundamentals

Marksmanship can be broken into two areas of mastery: aiming and trigger control. The military teaches these two skills in a repetitive manner, turning them into instinctual reactions through muscle memory. The key to consistent shot placement is immobilization; a shooter must remain as motionless as possible while aiming and firing their weapon. Less movement means less disruption of the sight picture and tighter groupings downrange.

To aim properly you should practice shooting with both eyes open. Many people chose to close one eye to help them focus on the target but unless you have a visual disadvantage, closing one eye is actually hurting your accuracy more than helping it. The eyes work as a team, constantly sending the brain visual information through the perception of your eyes, if you close one eye the brain only receives half of the visual information it’s accustomed to, and that lack of peripheral information can significantly affect your accuracy.

Once accustomed to shooting with both eyes open you should shift your focus to trigger control. The process of pulling the trigger is both a mental and a physical one; it might sound simple but it’s quite challenging to pull the trigger without any excess movement of your sight picture. The goal is to adjust your grip so that your finger is in the correct position to pull the trigger directly backward without disturbing your aim.

When practiced regularly, aiming and firing begins to feel more natural and less controlled. You’ll find your own rhythm and consistency from the repetition of the basics and as your marksmanship skills increase you will notice your own preferences and shooting styles taking a shape of their own. Eliminating tension by paying attention to your body and conforming to your natural point of aim will lead to naturally consistent shots regardless of setting or scenario.

Range Time

There are so many ways to practice the sport of shooting, from range visits, simulated weapon training courses, outdoor spaces and more. If you want to improve your shot for self-defense purposes it would behoove you to cultivate a varied practice. Expand your shooting experience to improve accuracy across the board. Those of you who are sport shooters might not find it beneficial to shoot off the range, but then again, a varied practice could be equally as helpful when returning to the basics of marksmanship.

Regardless of where you shoot, you should always put safety first and be a conscientious, responsible gun owner. It is your responsibility to ensure your firearm is in a safe place and/or being handled safely. If you are on the market for a new firearm, there are plenty of handgun options in the 2018 lineup.

2018 Beginner and Expert Handgun Options

Glock 17 – A great full-size option for both beginners and advanced shooters.

Glock 19 Gen 4 – If you plan to conceal carry, I’d suggest the Glock 19 Gen 4 over the 17.

S&W M&P M2.0 – Another great option for both beginners and advanced shooters.

H&K VP9 – The “light pull” trigger system is an impressive improvement for this striker-fired handgun.

To improve handgun accuracy quickly, it really boils down to practice. The more you shoot, the more you’ll see positive results and feel more confident in your ability to adjust accordingly. If you’re already a practiced shooter but aren’t getting the groupings you want, return to the basics and work on any areas of tension that might be working against your ability to aim and keep an eye on follow through with every shot. If you’re a new shooter you now know the best place to start is with the fundamentals of trigger control and aim, practice these skills until they start to feel instinctual and you will see an increase in overall accuracy.

Author: Carol Trehearn

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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