Three (Cheap) Steps to Being a Better Shot

Everyone wants to be a better shot, but few of us have the time or money available to shoot all the time. No worries. I have your back with a plan guaranteed to work, and it won't break the bank.

Plus, you don't have to leave your house.

You do have to make a modest investment. Part of that may be money, but you certainly must invest time. This will take 10 minutes a day. That's all. 

1. Get a blue gun. 
How can you be a better shot by using an inert "dummy" handgun? Simple. You get better at drawing from your holster, from concealment, and getting the sights on the target. Why not do it with your real carry gun? Safety. Far too many televisions have given their lives as a result of using "unloaded" guns. 

There's probably a blue gun (http://www.blueguns.com) which duplicates your carry gun. If not, substitute an airsoft version. 

This drill is simple. Slowly (I said SLOWLY) draw, bring the gun straight up out of the holster, rock the elbow of your shooting hand/arm down (this raises the muzzle), marry your two hands into a firing grip while the pistol is right by your pectoral muscle, and extend your hands while you *actively* get a hard focus on the front sight and put the sights on the target. 

After 500 (no less) drills at slow, then medium, then medium-fast speeds, add in movement. Move WHILE you draw, not after. Take one, two, or more steps. Slow down the draw again for the movement parts. Several thousand reps of this will greatly improve your shooting with your carry gun.

2.  Shoot. A lot. At home.
You can probably shoot an airgun at home. In the garage, in the back yard (check local regs), or even down a hallway, as march 7 tom pieceI have done many times. You need a good BB or pellet trap. I don't recommend using one of the high-powered airguns. Some of them have the power of a .22 rimfire. For somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, you can get a high-quality air rifle or pistol, which you can shoot for pennies

Big game hunters can get a lot out of this by practicing what usually happens on hunts. Simply bring the rifle to your shoulder and try to get your shot off quickly. Take a few steps forward, then stop and shoot. Practice going from standing to sitting or prone positions, and taking the shot quickly.

Many deer and elk owe their lives to hunters who couldn't get the rifle up and fire accurately in a few seconds. One thing to work on is to just allow the sights to wobble. It's okay if the sights are not perfectly still. Just fire. You'll discover that your shots are just fine. Hunters who have fired their rifles only from the bench tend to insist that the crosshairs or the sights stop moving. Not going to happen. Just keep pressing the trigger. This kind of practice will make a huge difference in your ability to bring home the venison.

3.  Shotgunners -- Work on that mount.
American shotgunners are amazingly bad at mounting their shotguns and that causes many misses. Watch a top sporting clays shooter and you'll very little movement, and absolutely no jerking.

Done right, it's almost magical. You move first, then mount the shotgun to the shoulder WHILE moving, and slap the trigger when the butt hits your shoulder. The target breaks or the bird falls.

A good wingshooting school can make all the difference, but these tips can help.

With a confirmed unloaded shotgun, you do this at home.

First, hold the shotgun with the stock lightly against your body as elbow height and the muzzle forward, below eye level. The shotgun mount is a lift with two hands. If your muzzle dips down when you begin the mount, you are not starting with the right position. It's wasted motion to have the muzzle go down, then stop, then back up, then start moving to get ahead of the bird. 

Some experienced wing shots actually tape a line on the wall in the garage, but you can use the seam where the wall meets the ceiling. 

This is going to sound dumb, but trust me. It's going to work.

Again, with an unloaded gun, stand back 10 feet or more from the wall. Hold the shotgun so that the muzzle points slightly below the wall-ceiling line. The goal is to lift the gun to your shoulder without seeing the muzzle jerk in any direction. 

The first move is not the mount or the lift. It's a sideways movement. Look over the end of the muzzle and move the barrels sideways, keeping the muzzle lined up with your tracking line. Do this a number of times without mounting the gun.

Do all this very slowly. You are working to learn the feel of a good gun mount, not trying to do a fast gun mount. 

Next, while moving the muzzle along the tracking line, push both hands forward and lift the gun to your shoulder. If your forward hand moves too quickly, the muzzle will rise. If your stock hand moves too quickly (the most common error) your muzzle will dip. Bring up both hands at the same time, while tracking the line so that the muzzle stays right on it.  Look at the line, not the muzzles. Don't look at the barrel of the shotguns. You don't have to.

Most wingshooters I see mount the gun, then start tracking the target. It's much better to MOVE, MOUNT, SHOOT, in that order.  

Do this for 10 minutes a day, practicing to groove the feel. Then take it to the skeet field (where you know exactly where the target will go) and do the same thing. Move, mount, shoot.

It does require some trust, and it's difficult to unlearn what you have been doing for decades. Honestly, you have to be willing to miss, or at least take the chance you will miss, in order to discover that this system works.

Note that this mounting drill is not something you do for a month, then you have it. If you want to hit more quail, doves, grouse, woodcock, ducks, and geese, you'll do this drill two or three times a week. It's money in the bank, and it puts birds in the bag. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.

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