Training Tips 101: Shot Groups

Nothing….and we mean nothing beats a day at the range!  As you continue to hone in on your marksmanship skills, one thing that you may want to do to assess your progress is to try and shoot for tighter and tighter shot groups.  Tight shot groups may be a clear indication of your proficiency with your firearm (all other things being equal).

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For the uninitiated, shot groups indicate the spread of shots on your target. The closer the holes in the target are to each other, the “tighter” the group.  The tighter the shot group, the better the shooting session!  If you own a gun…chances are you want to always get better at shooting it.  In this case shooting for tight shot groups may be one very simple way of getting better.

The most important key to producing better shot groups can be summed up in one word: Consistency.  Most importantly you want to make sure that your shooting techniques (stance, grip, trigger control, follow-thru, breath control, etc.)  remain consistent.  This will ensure that shooter error is eliminated as much as possible (assuming you can actually shoot!!!). Next….for consistency you want to make sure the firearm you are using remains consistent.  For example, you don’t want to use your Springfield XDs to get better with your Sig P238. Remain consistent.  You also want to ensure that range conditions, ammunition loads, and distances remain constant as well.  Consistency is key!

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Interestingly enough, PSA does not want shooting for groups to start with sending copious amounts of lead down range.  Actually, at PSA we teach our students to start with dry-firing drills.  Starting here will help you build a consistent trigger pull.  The shortcomings of your trigger pull will most definitely be identified in this phase of training and you can correct them without spending tons of money at the range.  During these practice drills, you can simply use a white sheet of paper, or a plain wall.  You don’t need an aiming point, just focus correctly on your front sight and your sight picture and squeeze.  If the front sight is disturbed, then you need to practice until it’s not.  Once this occurs you can head to the range to continue your training.

Initially, distances should be close (like 2-3 yards).  This will also help to focus on making sure that the techniques remain consistent from previous training sessions.  Make sure that the aiming point is just slightly visible under the front sight after you have a good sight picture.  Remember guys….we aren’t trying to shoot the aiming point off of the paper.  What you are looking for is the distance between shots.  Ideally, shots should touch each other (wherever they may land on the paper).  When you can consistently place shots that touch each other (strings of 5 or 7 shots is common), then you can back the target up (we suggest one yard at a time).   Understand guys…this isn’t a one session training.  You will have to consistently practice to get better!!

The best thing about shooting for groups is that if you remain consistent you will not only push yourself to get better, more proficient, and more effective with your firearm, but you can have tons of shooting fun too!!!

***  If you are unfamiliar with firearms and/or their accessories, and want to learn more, PSA strongly suggests that you find, enroll, and attend a comprehensive and reputable firearms safety course. Firearms safety is all of OUR responsibility.  

We want to thank you for taking out the time to stop by our lane at the shooting range!!  We hope that you enjoyed your stay and hope that you stop back by early and often to catch up on all PSA updates!  We truly hope that we were able to hit the target, and if you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to shoot them our way!!  We look forward to shooting the breeze with you soon again!!

And as always….remember to watch your six and stay low!!!

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