Whether it’s the English language or target practice, perfection takes practice. No one likes being a bad shot. There’s something unmanly about using guns with any kind of regularity but not having adequate skill in shooting them – marksmen are universally praised, so inversely, poor shots should be criticized, right? Well, that’s usually the way it goes, particularly in military circles. As someone who served in the military, I can safely say that there is a correlation between the respect and reverence a soldier receives and their abilities with a gun – chances are, a lousy shot won’t advance far enough in the military to find himself in an admirable position anyway. The point is, I’m here to tell you that you can in fact change your fortunes if you’re a struggling would-be marksmen, and it’s a relatively simple process to accomplish this.
The bottom line is and always will be this: practice makes perfect. There’s no substitution for good old fashioned practice. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the 10,000 hours of practice theory, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe that the logic embedded in the theory holds true – the more you work at something, the better you will get at it. It’s that simple. However, with that being said, there are still some measure you can take to ensure that your shooting improves, and ensure that your practice time is being utilized in the most efficient, best way.
Firstly, try out different drills with different guns. You’re not going to become a better shot with a shotgun or an assault rifle if the only guns you practice with are handguns, and you’re not going to become better from 30 yards if you’re only practicing your shooting from 10 yards. Make sure your practices are geared to suit your needs and wants – if you want to become better with a certain gun, or from a certain distance, don’t neglect to practice with that gun or from that distance.
Secondly, you’re going to want to make sure that your gun is optimized for shooting. For example, I was recently using a Glock 18 with damaged sights for an extended period of time – the adjustment that I made to compensate for the damaged sights legitimately influenced my shooting in a negative way. If you’re going to be using guns for extended periods of time, you need to make sure those guns are in tip-top shape so as to ensure that you are reinforcing the right kinds of habits and not the bad kinds.
Lastly, it is absolutely imperative that for the sake of improving your shooting, you absolutely must work on and perfect your form. Holding a gun sideways while shooting, or dual-wielding hand guns is a recipe for disaster. Make sure that from the start your form when shooting is on-point, as once again, reinforcing bad habits is going to hurt you in the long term as well as the short term. Taking lessons with an instructor or an experienced friend is always a good idea for beginner shooters or anyone who is using a new, unfamiliar firearm.