Learning to Aim the Proper Way

Aiming is not simply having your crosshair/iron sights on your target and pulling the trigger. If this doesn’t sound clear enough, then we inform you that there’s so much more that you must consider while aiming a firearm.

For example, adjusting your sights and pulling the trigger are two very easy things that you have to do in order to complete the aiming and firing process. However, it can take you up to ten – if not more – other steps to reach that point.

In short, while a firearm – be it a pistol or an air rifle – looks very easy to use, you will have a hard time learning how to aim it properly. But, as they say, with practice comes mastery. Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll look at aiming and at what you have to do if you want to improve your technique!


Sight Alignment

Before talking about all of the other things that influence your aiming, we must tell you everything you need to know about sight alignment. After all, this is one of the main things you have to get accustomed to if you want to aim the proper way.

The sight of a firearm usually has two components – the front and rear aiming pieces. These two must be lined up perfectly if you want your projectile to hit its target.

In short, you want the notched blade on the rear of the slide – the rear sight – to be aligned with the little post on the front of the slide – front sight.

The picture of the perfect sight is created by following these steps exactly:

  • The gun must be properly gripped and held at arm’s length.
  • The front sight post must be visually aligned in the rear sight notch.
  • The top of the front and rear sights should be on the same level.
  • You will also notice a gap of light that’s between the sides of the front sight, as well as on the inside vertical edge of the rear notch. This gap of light should be equal.
  • If you do all the above, then your sights should now be aligned with each other. All you have to do know is to place the sights on your target and, when you are ready, fire!

This is what you should practice before firing a firearm. Make sure that you know everything about your sights – namely, how they should look when you watch through them so that they can help you hit your target.

See also: How to Build a Shooting Range On Your Property? The Top Tips to Follow

Trigger Pull Technique

Next, we’ll be talking about the trigger pull technique. While sight alignment is an important part of the aiming process, a poor trigger pull technique will most likely render sight alignment useless.

This is because, while pulling the trigger, you can easily flinch or jerk – thus, you’ll slightly move the sights off your target. A proper trigger pull technique has the following basic steps:

  • The gun must be held firmly, using a proper grip.
  • Start by aligning the sights on your target.
  • The center of the first pad of your finger should then be placed on the trigger.
  • While trying to move anything as little as possible, slowly begin to press the trigger rearward, in a smooth manner. During this step, it is important that you do not move your hands or gun at all – or do it very little.
  • Given enough pressure, the trigger will activate either the striker, the hammer, or the firing pin of the gun. This will start the ignition process and the gun will fire.

When pulling the trigger, there’s also the chance that everything else surrounding it will move. Remember that this is one of the few parts of the gun you actively control. If nothing else but the trigger moves, then you will hit the target right where you wanted.

Hundreds of hours can go into perfecting your trigger pull technique. If you are a new shooter, you will have to remember not to pull the trigger fast, in an abrupt manner, and thus moving the gun.
Follow the good old rule of proper aiming – aim and squeeze the trigger slowly!

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Shooting Stance

As a new shooter, you will not be able to properly aim and shoot a firearm like they do in the movies. In order to learn and perfect your aim, you will first have to rely on a shooting stance.

When it comes to handguns, your shooting stance will change depending on the situation you are in. Precision will require a firmer stance, so to speak. On the other hand, if you want to quickly control and fire a handgun, you will most likely change your stance while firing.

On the other hand, rifles and higher caliber firearms will almost always require you to rely on a shooting stance, especially if you want to be as accurate as possible, no matter the situation or environment.

• Arm Position

Your arms should be fully extended – when and if possible – but not locked out. Avoid having your shoulders up around your ears. They should be relaxed and not tense – tense shoulders may cause you to flinch when pulling the trigger.

• Leg and Foot Position

There are two options when it comes to leg and foot positioning. The front-to-back option implies that the strong-hand side leg is placed rearward of the other leg with about 12 to 18 inches.

The distance depends on your strength, level of balance, and weight.

The side-to-side option implies a hip-width distance between each foot. This makes for a stable and comfortable shooting stance.

Knees can be either locked or bent, even though most shooters prefer bending them a little, for increased stability.

• Body Position

You should never bend backward at the hip, waist, or shoulder area. If you handle powerful firearms, such a position can even knock you back, not to mention that it will affect the way you aim as well.

Have your torso lean forward slightly with just a little amount of forward bending at the waist’s level. Moreover, your shoulders should always be forward of your hips .

• Balance

A gun’s recoil should never push you back as much as to make you get off-balance. Therefore, you should lean forward and have the upper part of your body forward to your hips as well.

Doing this wrong may not affect the first shot you take but will make it harder for you to re-align the sights and get back on your target. Proper body positioning means subsequent shots with little to no influence on your aiming.

• Grip

The last thing in terms of shooting stance is the grip. As you may already know, a tight grip is recommended – tighter than you think it’s necessary. New shooters often underestimate a firearm’s power and don’t grip it hard enough.

A soft grip will most likely make your sights bounce of your target before firing – and, when firing, you might find yourself with no gun in your hands or with its back hitting your face, depending on the gun you use.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind what we mentioned earlier – with practice comes mastery! Once you have all the basics we’ve talked about in check, you will notice that your aim is improving.

Also, whenever you fail to hit your target, check your sight alignment, trigger pull, and shooting stance techniques, in order to make sure that you are doing everything properly.

Remember that simply aiming is fairly easy – but getting the bullet where you want it to is quite difficult!

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