One of the most commonly asked questions you’ll hear in gun shops and shooting ranges across the nation is – “what type of gun is best for my particular situation?” While this is a valid question, and one that should be answered, the best way to do so is to handle and shoot a variety of firearms to help solidify the decision. Once you have decided on the firearm that will suit your needs, you’ll need to invest some serious range time to ensure that you have sufficient comfort with and operational knowledge of your weapon. The following are four basic shooting tips that will help you to maximize your range time, increase comfort with your gun, and become a more proficient shooter.

Relax

One of the most important fundamental skills to remember when at the range is to relax and shoot with confidence – not aggression. Maintain proper breath control, try to create a comfortable shooting stance, create a grip on the firearm that minimizes unnecessary body tension, and hold your weapon naturally. Once you have found your preferred stance and grip you’ll be able to focus less on finding your form and more on muscle sense memory and refining your overall process.

Aim Small

While you’ll likely see tons of shooters at the local range using large, 24” x 24” targets during practice sessions, these larger targets may actually slow down your training. Think of it this way, if you only had to punch three holes in paper targets that measured 4’ x 4’ from a distance of 3 yards, how hard would you have to aim? How much technique would you have to employ? Shoot with small targets – no larger than a paper plate, and you’ll see tighter groups and better results than you would using larger paper.

Choose the Right Range

This one seems obvious, but the importance of selecting a shooting range that caters to your needs and provides appropriate facilities and training opportunities is key. You’ll want a range that offers a wide range of guns, ammunition, targets, and training classes. Professional instruction is important if you are truly looking to maximize your time at the range, as instructors can help you quickly overcome deficiencies and prevent you from falling into bad habits.

Shoot with Purpose

Are you shooting for defensive training, or taking your time and seeking the ultimate in accuracy? Whatever the mission, make sure that your training provides activities that will reinforce needed shooting skills. Defensive shooting, for instance, should take place at various distances – say, from 3 to 15 yards. No more than one shot per second should be taken to ensure effective sighting. Partner with a reputable training partner at a feature-rich shooting range for the best experience.