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How To Improve Your Shooting Accuracy As A New Shooter

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If you are new to shooting or a novice looking wanting to improve your shooting accuracy, here are some tips on how to perfect your aim.

Stance & Grip

Your feet should be on solid ground, about shoulder-width apart. Lean slightly forward. A tight grip can help control the recoil and help you get your muzzle back on target quickly with the sights lined up.

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Instructor assisting men aiming hand guns at firing range


You don’t have to fire your gun to improve your marksmanship. Dry-fire is “shooting” without live ammo. Check the manual to determine if an empty chamber is okay or you need a dummy round. Anticipating recoil can cause shooters to flinch.

Dry-fire can help you expect trigger-pull instead of recoil and eliminate your flinch, or avoid developing one.

Trigger Control

Avoid jerking the trigger. Press it slowly so that it almost surprises you when it “breaks.” Slower presses develop accuracy. You won’t feel recoil with dry-fire, but you’ll know the exact pressure you need for the trigger’s full press.

You’ll build muscle memory and proper mechanics. So you’ll be steady and accurate when you shoot.


You need to see your target and focus on the gun’s sights. Keep your eye, or both eyes, open and focus on the front sight. When you’ve lined up the target, front sight, and rear sight (slightly blurry), press the trigger slowly and steadily.

Related: Is Shooting With One Eye Open or Two More Effective?

Control breathing

There are four ways to breathe while shooting.

  1. Inhale, pause, and fire when your lungs are full.
  2. Exhale, pause, and fire when your lungs are empty.
  3. Inhale, exhale about halfway, pause, fire.
  4. Do not pause. Shoot while breathing.

Breathing while you shoot can reduce accuracy because your chest’s movement causes the sights to move while on target. Fortunately, breathing follows a natural and predictable cycle of inhaling (expanding the diaphragm) and exhaling (relaxing the diaphragm). So it is controllable. For many shooters, the best time to control breathing is during the natural pause at the end of exhaling. Pushing the air out of the lungs causes your chest to contract and the muscles to relax. Don’t force it. You want relaxation. It is easier to stop breathing after exhaling than after inhaling because the muscles are relaxed. I recommend this method.

However, one approach may not be right for everyone. You should experiment and find the way that works best for you.

Use a shot timer

A shot timer can help you measure your skill and your progress. Timers work in two modes:

  1. Comstock – good for live ammo at a shooting range.
  2. Par time – good for live-fire at the range or dry-fire at home.

Comstock Mode

A timer beeps to tell the shooter when to start and then listens for shots. When it hears a shot, it records the elapsed time from the starting beep. It can also tell you your split time (the time difference from one shot to the next, or how quickly you get back on target and fire a follow-up shot).

Example: After the beep, you take one second to fire. Your next shot is 1.5 seconds after the beep. The timer records both.

Elapsed time: You have fired two shots in 1.5 seconds.

Split time: The time difference is 0.5 seconds.

You also can set the timer to begin a random number of seconds after you push the start button. You can’t anticipate the clock, so you start when the clock says, “start.”

Par time

You set a time limit to perform a task. The timer beeps to start and to finish. You begin after the first beep and finish before the second.

Example: Your goal is to get five shots on target in five seconds. Set a five-second timer. With the first beep, begin pressing the trigger slowly and steadily while keeping the sights on target.

As your skills improve, set faster times.

You can do this with live ammo at the range or as a dry-fire exercise.

Shot timers take up room in a range bag and may be expensive. So, you may want a shot timer app. You can find apps for Android or iOS devices.

Shot timer apps have limitations: speakers and microphones in phones are meant for conversational sound levels, not for gunshot blasts. Also, other shooters nearby may confuse the app.

On the bright side, however, these apps are free and easily portable.

Competitive Games

You can hone your skills with fun and competitive games, as well as standard target practice!

Texas Shoot ‘Em

The Range 702 is in Vegas, baby! So why not start off with a casino-style game! First, you need a deck of cards — one that you won’t mind shooting up! Each shooter starts with two cards and they have their backs to the targets. When the timer goes off, turn and fire at the other five cards to complete your best five-card hand.

winning poker hands

Trivial Pur-shoot

A moderator asks gun-related questions. Whoever answers correctly gets to shoot an opponent’s target. The last person standing wins. This game requires some advanced knowledge of guns, obviously, but try switching it up and go with subject matter that is relevant to the group of people you are shooing with — pop music trivia, Star Wars trivia, Greco-Persian history maybe — get creative!


This one is fairly easy, and will get your quick-draw skills up!

Start with guns on the table. Each shooter takes a turns and when the timer sounds, the shooter fires as quickly as possible at the center of the target. The winner is the shooter who gets closest in the shortest time.

Balloon Shoot

Hang balloons of different colors in the target area. Shooters begin with their backs to the targets. The moderator calls out a color, and the shooters turn and fire at balloons of said color. The shooter who hits the correct balloon the fastest is the winner.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When you need to get some shooting practice in to improve your aim, come on down to The Range 702! We’ve got plenty of fun shooting experiences to get your shooting accuracy on-point.

We also offer a range of training classes for people who are serious about getting better at handling firearms as well.

Read More: Improve Long-Range Accuracy

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