For people new to shooting sports, basic fundamentals can immediately help them become more proficient. However, the first step with anyone new to firearms, is to learn and practice proper gun safety. These 4 cardinal rules of gun safety should always be observed.
- Always treat a gun as if it is loaded
- Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy
- Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
Next, introduce the weapon and make sure the shooter understands how it functions and operates. Using a smaller caliber firearm, such as a 22 LR, can assist in helping the new shooter form good habits from the beginning. Larger calibers often induce flinching and hesitation when introduced too early and can lead to anxiety and withdrawal from the sport. Once the beginner is comfortable with the weapon allow them to fire several rounds downrange to get used to the feel of live fire. Once acclimated, the shooter can start working on the fundamentals as shown in this infographic.
It should be said that these are just a starting point. Depending on what the shooter’s preferred style, goals and interests in the shooting sports are, they may find themselves modifying these fundamentals. For instance, depending on what division or activity they are competing in, will determine where they aim at the target (Bullseye vs. SASS). Breath control may take time to get right and can also be modified if needed. The shooter may need to let more air out of your lungs to feel the most comfortable and accurate. Some instructors will even tell students to fire at the bottom of their breathing cycle, this works well for bench shooting, but can make things more difficult tactical and self-defense training.
With that said, if these fundamentals are used early and consistently, accuracy and confidence with increase. As the shooter becomes more comfortable and proficient, there is a good chance they will continue in the sport, and that is good for everyone. Be safe out there and don’t forget to keep your powder dry.