Helpful Tips From A Beginning Shooter
Helpful Tips from a Beginning Shooter
By Andi Dupper, Marketing Manager, G-Sight Solutions
I am sure that my inbox will be flooded with advice from people that have been shooing guns a lot longer than me, and I appreciate that. I think that in order to learn and grow in any discipline in life, you gather as much information as possible. I know that there are even times when the student becomes the teacher, maybe this is one of those times, who knows!
The continuous development of knowledge and skills is a lifelong commitment of every shooter. “Maintain a beginner’s mind” – this well-known phrase comes from Japan and serves as the cornerstone of martial arts studies. You should always pay the utmost attention when handling a gun and never let your actions become a dull routine.
Here’s what I have learned about shooting, discipline and getting better at shooting in my short two months shooting. I primarily choose to get my CCW for personal and home protection. But the more time I spend with a firearm in my hands and learning about different competition disciplines, my reason to own and train has broadened. I won’t even bring up the fact that I work for a company that has helped me and countless others become better shooters.
My first tip is knowing the reason for selecting your firearm. Is it for everyday carry, recreational shooting, home protection or even a collector’s piece? For me, it was about protecting life, health, and property. A gun used for personal defense must be reliable, safe, ergonomic, and easy to carry. For frequent or daily carry, a big and heavy gun may not be the most practical choice. A better option would be a smaller and lighter compact model with a plastic or polymer frame. But in some cases, gun owners would prefer an even smaller and lighter handgun, such as the many sub-compact models that are available.
Another important choice in a handgun is what cartridge it’s chambered for to ensure it has sufficient stopping power and adequate magazine capacity. Absolutely reliability and long-term durability are additional considerations, which are best delivered by well-known firearm manufacturers with proven track records.
My Second tip is making sure you have mental clarity when training. One of the most important assets a shooter can possess is mental clarity. The ability to see yourself executing the shot before he actually does. Some say shooting is 90% mental and 10% ability. In order to be successful, you first have to assess and control all variables such as timing, reading the wind etc. All before performing the physical skill of getting into position, pulling the trigger and following-through.
Shooting sports requires intense, short bursts of concentration in order to achieve good form. This is necessary to create a repeatable process that leads to consistent aim and good shot groupings.
During this process, the mind needs to block out all other thoughts and focus solely on the end goal. Correct finger placement on the trigger, adjusted position, slow and steady breathing. All of this is only possible if your mind is completely focused.
My last tip is adding a physical fitness routine to your training. There are many physical benefits to taking up shooting sports. Increased strength, stamina, balance, hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills are just some of the benefits.
I would encourage everyone to start doing some sort of exercise. Not only is it good for your body, but a fit person has a much better chance of successfully defending himself or herself should the need ever present itself. That is what all of this is about, right? Personal protection. But, let’s say for now, you’d just like to start with being able to effectively hold a gun.
Any type of weightlifting or exercise program you participate in will ultimately lead to more muscle strength and endurance and, more importantly, the ability for the body to efficiently and effectively recruit and fire motor neurons. The more you move, the better your body becomes at moving.
Run a lot, and you’ll be great at running; swim a lot, and you’ll be better at swimming; shoot a lot, and you’ll be better at shooting! This is because of the body’s amazing ability to adapt to external and internal stress. It’s almost like our bodies don’t want anything to be hard for us, so it reacts by getting fitter and stronger.
Make sure in your fitness training you are adding dry fire training at home to your routine! Yes, I said it. Practicing at home with my ELMS+ has been beyond beneficial. Not only does this improve sight alignment and trigger-pressing abilities, but it also strengthens my ‘gun-holding muscles”.
In addition to the practice of drawing an unloaded gun from a holster, pressing the trigger and reholstering, I use one of the G-Sight fun targets, and keep my gun pointed and still until I can’t hold it anymore. Rest, let the burning in my upper body stop, and then do it again and again.
In addition to dry-fire practice, any upper-body weightlifting exercises will help. But I’m talking about quick tips here. If it’s not practical or convenient to use actual weights or firearms, you can work on your ‘gun-holding muscles’ using just about anything: dumbbells, gallon jugs of milk, trashcans, puppies…yes I said puppies.
Anytime you hold your arm straight in front of you with a heavy object, you will be strengthening your muscles. Just get into a good shooting stance and hold. In addition to performing an isometric or static hold with your ‘object,’ try lowering it and raising it. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
When you get that milk out of the fridge, don’t just fill up your cup and put it away; use it as a weight to do some front raises and then put it away. Pretty soon your gun that feels heavy will be light as a feather.”
There they are a few tips from a newbie shooter. Mental clarity and physical strength are not independent of each other, whether it’s training to be a better shooter or just excelling at your day to day. I hope that my tips helped at least one person reading this.