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Avoiding Common Shooting Mistakes

Shooting a handgun accurately is not as easy as it looks on TV. It is indispensable that a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of marksmanship is attained to be proficient in shooting. Sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control are important fundamentals of marksmanship needed to achieve handgun accuracy. Here are some important things to keep in mind to avoid common shooting mistakes.
1. Align your handgun’s sights. Sight alignment deals with the front and rear sight of the handgun. It becomes more important as the distance between you and your target increases. According to Dave Spaulding, the founder of Handgun Combatives, if the handgun alignment is off even by just 1/16th of an inch at 20 feet, the distance between the point of impact and intended target can go as far as 4.5 inches.To align your handgun’s sights, it is important that you see to it that the top of the front sight is at the same level with the rear sight’s top. This is to allow proper elevation, making your aim not too high or too low. Do not forget to also align the sights horizontally. How do you know if the sights are properly aligned? Check if the distance between the front sight and either side of the rear-sight notch is equal. If you see that there is more gap on the left side, it means that the pistol is pointing more to the direction on your right. Adjust accordingly. Remember that dry-fire practice can improve sight alignment significantly

2. Attain a proper sight picture.
Sight picture involves the superimposition of the aligned sights to the target. To achieve a proper sight picture, it is crucial that you place those properly aligned sights over the intended target. Maintain a proper aim while firing your handgun to ensure that your point of impact will be near to your point of aim.   If you encounter scattered rounds, it is better to bring your focus onto the front sight rather than on the target. You have to slightly blur the target and rear sight and instead, focus intently on the front sight, when the trigger is depressed. Instead of focusing on the entire front sight, a useful trick would be to look for a tiny imperfection (or make one by making a tiny dot on your front sight using a permanent marker or nail polish) on the front sight and then keep your focus on that. 

3. Master trigger control. Trigger control is the depression of the trigger to the rear until the breaking of the shot. It is very crucial that there is steady and smooth rearward movement of the index finger in firing the pistol. A helpful way to master trigger control is to engage in the so-called “penny drill”. You simply have to put a penny on the front sight of an unloaded pistol. After getting a proper sight alignment and sight picture, apply a steady rearward pressure to the trigger until the shot breaks. Your aim is to have the penny remain atop your front sight.
March 31, 2013 by