6 Ways to Improve Your Shooting Ability

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Everyone talks about making sure you have enough guns and ammunition stashed away for the end of the world, but no one ever mentions making sure you have the skills to shoot your gun and hit what you’re aiming at.

In a survival situation, all the ammo in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t hit your target. Before everything hits the fan, here are a few ways to improve your shooting ability.

1. Drills, Drills and More Drills

One thing you’re going to hear a lot in this piece — practice is the most important thing you can do to improve your shooting ability, and that means drills. Drills help to create muscle memory for the shooting skills you’ll need in a survival situation. If you’re not sure where to start, the internet is your friend — there are dozens of sites that offer drill breakdowns for firearms training, so pick and choose the ones you want to work with.

Once you’ve decided on your drills, keep at it. They aren’t effective unless you’re practicing them regularly — and no, the skills you’ve learned in first-person shooter videogames will not serve you in a survival situation.

2. Change up Your Routine

If you’re standing at the range to shoot your pistol or sitting to shoot a rifle, that’s where you’ll be the most accurate. Unfortunately, in a survival situation, you won’t always be able to stand still or sit down to line up your shot, so start changing up your routine. If you normally sit to shoot a rifle, stand up, kneel or lay prone, depending on what your range allows. If you stand for handgun drills, try sitting. You might be surprised how much harder it is to change up your routine, but it will end up serving you well in a combat or survival situation.

Change up your location, too. We’re not saying that you should start shooting in your backyard, especially if you’ve got neighbors closeby. If you normally shoot at an indoor range, look for an outdoor alternative. Go hunting with a friend and get used to the idea of shooting at something other than a paper target. Firearms aren’t just good for protecting yourself from malice — if you can’t go to the grocery store, they can also help keep you fed.

3. Try Dry-Fire Exercises

You don’t always have to go to the range to improve your accuracy with your favorite firearm. Dry fire exercises give you the option to focus on your aiming and your breath without worrying about the bang or having to actually hit the target.

Start by removing all of the ammo from your weapon. Some instructors even recommend removing the ammo from the room where you’re going to carry out your exercises, just in case. Then aim at a target across the room and practice your breathing as you dry-fire the weapon.

Take a series of deep breaths. As you’re ready to fire, exhale about half of your breath and hold it until you pull the trigger. If you practice this enough that it becomes muscle memory, you’ll have more control the next time you take your weapon to the range or have to pull it out in a survival situation.

4. Aim for Real-World Training

You’re not alone when it comes to improving your firearms skills, and while accuracy is important, it isn’t everything. Do you know how you’d react if someone pulled a gun on you in a crowd? Could you respond in a controlled manner without any collateral damage? Real-world firearms training teaches you how to handle your weapon in these scenarios and many more, with your training overseen by an expert instructor.

Anyone, from beginners to experts, can benefit from real-world firearms training. These classes teach you how to respond rationally in any situation where you might have to draw your weapon.

5. Zero Your Sights Correctly

You’re only as accurate as the sights on your weapon, so if they aren’t zeroed correctly, you’ll never hit what you’re aiming at. Take the time to zero your sights or have them professionally adjusted to make sure everything lines up. Make sure you check your zero regularly, especially if you travel with your weapon or don’t use it as often. It’s not unheard of for a rifle to fall out of zero during transport.

Rifles aren’t the only thing you’ll need to adjust. Don’t forget to zero the sights on your handgun for accuracy as well. The goal is to make your rifle or handgun hit what you’re aiming at. In a survival situation, knowing how to adjust the sights on your weapons and keeping them zeroed could mean the difference between life and death.

6. Try a Slow-Fire Exercise

Slow fire exercises can be frustrating, but they can also be a lot of fun. The goal of the exercise is this: You put one hole in your target, and then have to shoot every other bullet in the magazine through that exact same spot without enlarging the hole. Sounds impossible, right? It isn’t, but it will put your accuracy and skill to the test. The goal here isn’t to accomplish this as quickly as possible. It’s to take your time and reset your aim after every shot, focusing on breath and accuracy. If you tend to flinch when you pull the trigger, this exercise can cure that as well.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When it comes down to it, the only thing that is going to improve your shooting ability is practice, practice and more practice. Spend so much time shooting that your favorite handgun or rifle starts to feel like an extension of your arm. Create that muscle memory that will take over if you find yourself in a survival situation and need to rely on your rifle or pistol to keep you alive. Preparation won’t just prevent poor performance — it might mean the difference between life and death.

Practice as much as possible before the world ends or you end up in a survival situation. Hopefully, you’ll never need those skills, but it’s better to have them and not need them than the other way around.

How to Become a Better Marksman

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Whether you are just getting your first gun and starting out or you have been shooting a gun for many years, these tips can help you become a better marksman. One of the main ways to becoming a better, more accurate marksman is having the initial understanding that there’s always room for improvement and that you will gain nothing from being overly proud about your past experiences. Acting like you know everything there is to know about being a great marksman and not being open to others helpful instruction can prove to be extremely detrimental to your ability to make strides to improve your skills.

Here are some helpful tips that will help you take the necessary steps to improve your marksman skills.

  • Control Your Breathing

Being able to control your breathing is something that you will need to get down before taking the next step in being an accurate shooter. This is because something as simple as breathing in (chest expanding) can cause the barrel of the rifle to rise, and exhaling can cause the barrel to dip. Being able to have complete control and awareness of each of your breaths can decrease the movement in your barrel and allow you to be accurate more consistently.

Some suggest that the simplest way to fix breathing issues is to take your shot between breaths. In order to do this, before you are about to pull the trigger, breathe in, breathe out and then in that natural pause between breaths, pull the trigger. You can practice this by focusing on your breathing and noticing the natural pause between each breath. Sometimes when people do this, they wait too long to pull the trigger, and this could cause your muscles to shake if you are waiting too long to start your next breath.

Others suggest taking a deep breath and only letting about half of it out, or take half a breath and hold it. Both of these tips can help you control your breathing, but practice both of them and see which one you like better. Decide on one technique that you will use in order to be consistent.

  • Have Control of the Trigger

The first step of controlling the trigger is to take note about what part of your finger that you naturally use to pull the trigger. Being aware of your original habit can help you make a conscious adjustment to pull the trigger in a way that doesn’t affect the lateral accuracy of your shooting. Most people have the tendency to pull the trigger using the joint of their first finger. This causes the bullets to be inaccurate in a lateral fashion because the gun is being moved to the side of the target by the pad of the fingertip. Ideally, you should be using the center of the first pad of your index finger to pull the trigger straight back.

Tip: Hold a pencil vertically and practice pulling back on it in both of the ways described to see how the placement of the trigger on your finger can affect the movement of the gun.

  • Don’t Anticipate the Shot

Being able to realize that the act of you anticipating the shot is what is causing your inaccuracies is not simple. Anticipating the shot can cause you to shoot a random pattern of bullets on the target. The act of the gun going off should surprise you because if you are anticipating the shot, it will cause you to flinch. In order to combat this issue, pull the slack out of the trigger before fully pulling the trigger.

  • Follow Through

Following through on your shot will help you maintain a good sight picture for when the sight returns to its original position after recoil. Following through means to hold the trigger in the back position after you pull it and then slowly release the pressure off of the trigger to return it to its normal position. If you do not do this, the gun will be more likely to jerk and cause the current shot or the next shot to be inaccurate.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

Consistently practicing the good habits that were talked about is the best way to becoming a better marksman. These tips will help you become more consistent and accurate shooter. However, please no practice your marksmanship skills if you do not plan to educate yourself about all of the safety precautions involved.

There are many ways and place to go to practice and perfect your marksman skills. There are public land areas that you can go to, as long as you are in an area that allows shooting. If you choose this option, be sure to respect and be aware of your surroundings and fellow shooters. Another option is to go to an indoor shooting range and practice your skills there. You can also become a member at a range to gain access to other perks and benefits.

Having a membership to a gun range provides you with additional benefits of obtaining range space, and you will always have the opportunity to work on the skills that we talked about. The membership gives you access to discounts on testing firearms, and special access to events. Belonging to a range also gives you access to different technologies that will aid you in perfecting your skills. Join a range or gun club today to become a better marksman!