Often times, when diagnosing grouping issues at the shooting range, we find ourselves in a struggle with what we think we’re doing, versus what’s happening on the target.
Too often, we can’t seem to figure out why “our gun keeps hitting low and left.” Even after we’ve made adjustments, we’re getting the wrong results.
A realization that we must force ourselves to accept is that the bullet is telling the truth. The gun is right and it’s us who are not shooting straight.
Like any other activity tied to human muscle coordination, focus, and consistency, shooting firearms is far more an art than a science. We must seek to control our conscious and even subconscious habits in order to create a process that we can repeat with success and refine over time.
It’s hard work, to be sure. But there are a few common mistakes that are flat out easy to spot and fairly easy to eliminate.
1. Trigger Timing
Instructors have different ways of describing how to pull the trigger. Typically, it’s a variation of the old “squeeze with your whole hand until the gun fires.” Then they add this little trope, “it should almost surprise you.”
For new shooters especially, this advice may seem incomprehensible, terrifying, and even mildly irresponsible. After all, if you’re going to send a lethal projectile through the air, shouldn’t you be in complete control?
That’s probably why nearly every shooter begins with a very jerky trigger pull. It feelslike you have more control this way. Funny thing is, you don’t. And the bullet holes on your target will tell you so.
Inexperienced shooters will typically try to keep their sights hovering over the target field, then pull suddenly when their crosshairs pass over the bullseye. They try to time their shots perfectly. It’s a natural part of most physical activities.
The problem is that when you jerk the trigger, no matter how perfectly on the bullseye you are, the movement of your finger jerking will inevitably pull you off target.
That’s why the best trigger pull is slow and deliberate as you focus on keeping the sights as steady on the target as possible.