Trigger control/management is critical. This is often defined as putting constant pressure so you don’t disrupt your alignment or sight picture before firing. However, this isn’t a matter of speed. It’s a matter of controlling your trigger based on the size of your target, and the distance it is away from you. Feeling for the reset is a wasted effort. Instead, fire every round from the pressure wall. This is much more efficient in judging target size, distance, and amount of time left (and acting accordingly).
Many times in classes new shooters are taught to assume a certain stance. This is to get them used to positioning themselves so the firearm doesn’t knock them over. However, the “stance” goes out the window in a life or death situation. That’s because shooters may find themselves standing, kneeling, and in other unconventional positions. And in that situation you can’t afford to miss just because you’re not in the stance. The trick is simple: keep your weight forward, and the gun in front of your eyes.
It can be easy to get caught up in the energy and adrenaline in a dangerous situation. As a result, shooters often hold their breath, or stop breathing altogether. This is a bad idea, since depriving yourself of oxygen can negatively affect your organs (including your eyes) in just seconds. This is why shooters sometimes complain of having blurred vision while aiming. It’s crucial to be mindful of your breathing in order to become a great shooter. One of the best ways to do this is to remember the acronym BRASS-F. This stands for Breathe, Relax, Aim, Stop, Squeeze, Follow-through. Breathe through the stress and follow the steps in order to hit your target.
Many shooters think they’re done once they’ve fired the bullet. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you manage to hit the target, it’s important to be hyper-aware of your body, as well as your surroundings. This includes scanning your environment, breathing deeply, and returning to your sling/holster. Be aware of any/every threat that could come at you once you’ve shot. By being situationally aware, you’re much more likely to be prepared if another threat comes into your environment. There are four more fundamentals you absolutely must be aware of. According to Gun Buzz, these include:
5 – Grip
Grip applies to long guns as much as it does to handguns. How you hold a gun has everything to do with your ability to manage the recoil. Likewise, your ability to quickly fire multiple well-aimed shots has everything to do with how well you manage recoil. Suffice to say that if you’re not using muscular and skeletal alignment in your grip, you aren’t operating to your greatest potential. High thumbs forward means high to the axis of momentum, thumbs forward toward the target.
6 – Draw / Presentation
The entire idea behind this fundamental is to get the weapon into the plane of vision — between your eyes and the target — as quickly and efficiently as possible. Draw and presentation include how you initially grip your weapon as well as how to deal with retention devices on holsters. More than just pointing a gun at a target, the draw is not a 1-2-3-4-5 process. It may be taught that way initially but fluid economy of motion is the key here.
7 – Sight Alignment / Sight Picture
For years I have combined the two because properly aligned sights mean nothing if you don’t know how to place them on a target. Simply defined, sight alignment is the front sight viewed through the rear sight with them (iron pistol sights) equally spaced and even across the top. Sight picture is those properly aligned sights placed properly on the intended target. Know the sights, know what you need to see, and have some reference to it while firing. Never disregard the idea of subconscious sights.
8 – Follow Through
One of the most important and least adhered to, follow through means maintaining all of the fundamentals through the break of the round. Staying with the sights and following them into recoil. Follow through is easiest when you have a solid platform, good grip, and an understanding of the importance of sight alignment and sight picture. Most people skip follow through and quickly look at their target to see how they did. They usually shoot low, and then wonder why. If you know what your mission is, your body will comply.