Hold Your Shotgun Properly
Shotguns are known for having some of the hardest recoil of all firearms. Shouldering a gun properly is crucial for all long guns, but you likely want to get it right from the get-go with a shotgun
First of all, gun safety should be exercised before proper shooting techniques are even thought about. When you pick up a gun, always point it in a safe direction. This usually means down range. You want to check for yourself that it is unloaded. For a pump shotgun, simply pull the pump back and look into the chamber. On semi-automatic shotguns, pull the charging handle located on the bolt and check the chamber. You check the chamber on a break barrel shotgun by pressing the lever that “breaks” the shotgun. You should see an empty chamber. Whenever you are done shooting, make sure the firearm is unloaded before setting it down or handing it off to someone. Also, never place your finger on the trigger until you are about to shoot, even if you believe the gun is unloaded. For purely your own safety, make sure you have proper hearing protection.
The general rule when on the range is to treat firearms as if they are loaded. Be aware of your surroundings, engage in best practices, and everything should be smooth.
Don’t Hurt Yourself
The recoil on shotguns is significant, but it is manageable. If it isn’t managed correctly though, you can hurt yourself.
For a start, firmly rest the buttstock in your shoulder. The exact positioning will depend on what is comfortable to you, but in general you want it nestled in the fold where your shoulder meets
your torso. If you rest the stock on the top of your biceps, you can end up with bruised shoulders or arms. If it is not firm and stable, then the recoil will send it into your shoulder. Think of the principle like this: In boxing, MMA, and other combat sports, it is the punches you don’t see coming that rock you the most. This is because when you see a punch coming, you tense your body and brace for the shot. This allows you to absorb the impact better. When you don’t see it coming, your body is loose and is more readily knocked around which can cause unconsciousness.
It is similar here. You want your body positioned in a way to absorb the impact. Also, if the shotgun is not firmly pressed to your shoulder, it will fly into and smack your shoulder instead of being absorbed by it.
Make sure your hands are gripping it firmly. First time shooters will sometimes grip too loosely which can allow the gun to leave their hands. You don’t need to squeeze with all your might. Just make sure you have a firm and stable grip. It also helps with holding it if you get a shotgun that is sized well for you. When you go to the gun shop, feel free to try and shoulder different ones. Everyone has a different combination of height, arm length, and build, so it helps to make sure yours is a good fit. Also, pick a shotgun suited for what you need. If it is for home defense, you want something short and maneuverable. If it is for bird shooting, you probably want something long and steady. If it is simply for shooting on the range, it is basically up to what you enjoy.
This all may sound scary, and it may sound like shooting is a tight rope walk between safety and injury. It really isn’t so bad. You’ll realize how quickly you learn the right ways, and how quickly it all becomes second nature once you’re on the range.
Work on Your Skill
Learning to handle firearms safely and how to shoot with proper form are necessary steps but being able to hit what you’re aiming at is the real fun part.
Carrying on with the combat sports analogy, footwork is crucial. Your dominant hand will be holding the trigger and “pressing” the stock into you, and the other hand will be out in front supporting and controlling the front end. You also want to stand canted, with your dominant foot
behind your other, or “lead”, leg. Your feet should be around shoulder width apart, and your lead leg should be slightly bent at the knee. You want to lean on your lead leg, but only slightly.
Proper stance will make you stable. You can pivot your aim left and right and up and down while maintaining stability. When pivoting to change aim, try to keep your feet, arms, and upper body stable. Most of your movement when aiming at different targets should come from the waist.
Once the basics are down, it really comes down to practice. You can start with stationary targets. Try shooting at different distances. Eventually you can try moving targets, such as clay pigeons. Accuracy and speed will come with time and practice.
If you have friends who are experienced shooters, shooting with them can make learning more fun and a more efficient process. You can also take courses where you will learn form, safety, and how to become a better shot. Check in to our Concealed Carry class, NRA Basic Pistol training or our Weapons Craft for further courses.
Another tip is that you can start off with less powerful shotguns. You could try out a 20 gauge or a .410 where the recoil will be more forgiving, and then once you feel comfortable, move on to the 12 gauge or whatever you prefer.
Shooting is incredibly fun and valuable. It may seem like there is a lot to learn, but with the right advice and help, it doesn’t have to take forever to get there and you’ll have quite an enjoyable experience doing it.
Best Shooting Tips For Beginners - 7 Tips That Help Your Progress
While Hollywood may make it seem simple, shooting a handgun like a pro requires technique, balance, as well as practice. When it comes to shooting a handgun, even an experienced long gun shooter would have to learn different skills to shoot accurately and with precision.
Indeed, shooting a gun can be an exciting experience that may culminate in a lifelong hobby. No doubts, firing a gun is not an uphill task, but becoming proficient with your timing, speed and accuracy will take devoting quality time to achieve.
It doesn’t matter if you are using your gun for self-defense, competition shooting, or hunting, accuracy is highly required in firing a gun. And, the good news is that this post details techniques and methods that would help you improve yourself continually to become a better and skillful shooter. Keep reading to learn more.
Tip #1: Start by Choosing the Right Gun and Ammunition
Handguns are available in different varieties with a virtually vast array of ammunition options. Another important factor is to consider a hand-size, body, as well as what you want to be doing with the handgun. For instance, if you want to practice target shooting, purchasing a .357 magnum won’t be needful for such practice at the gun range. The best move is to speak with experienced firearm shooters or dealers about your shooting needs. Choosing and getting familiar with a handgun of your choice is a major step in learning to become a seasoned shooter.
Tip #2: Use the Proper Safety Gears to Protect Your Eyes and Ears
You need protection against gunshots’ noise and you can achieve this with earplugs and headphone-style ear protection. For your eyes, you should go for safety goggles that will shield your eyes from flying shells, lead particles, and hot gasses that a semi-automatic handgun emits.
You should still put on your safety goggles, it doesn’t matter if you are already having a pair of glasses on. Your regular eye-glasses won’t offer the perfect protection that the safety goggles would offer to your eyes while practicing shooting.
Tip #3: Keep Your Breathing in Check
When practicing to become a better shooter, you also need to regulate your breathing. Your unchecked breathing moves both your gun and your body up and down. Consequently, this will impact where your shot lands. One of the great ways to keep your breathing in check is to engage your natural respiratory pause. The simple technique is to inhale and exhale, then pull the trigger while holding your breath. While you need to steady and hold your breath, avoid doing it for too long so that the sight picture won’t get blurred. Also, when you have to fire more than one shot in quick succession, it is better to take shorter breaths. This will help you use your natural respiratory pause when you fire your gun. The respiratory muscles go into a more relaxed mode in the course of the pause so that you can easily stay on target.
Tip #4: Follow through after Pulling the Trigger
In essence, make sure you steady your gun while the bullet leaves the barrel. A great way to enhance your follow-through skill is to ensure your eye does not leave the target while the shot lasts. Keep your head still after pulling the trigger. The pressure should remain on the trigger after you have released the bullet. Do not let your finger bounce forward so that your gun’s point of aim will remain intact. If your gun is a fully-automatic rifle, the trigger should not remain pulled. Indeed, a good follow-through skill will help you identify the landing spots of your shots. Consequently, it’s easier to adjust your aim more accurately for the next rounds of shots.
Tip #5: Engage the Proper Grip to Hold the Gun Firmly
To accomplish a proper grip, get your dominant hand to rest high on your gun’s back-strap while using the other hand to cover the gun’s bottom portion and placing your strong hand’s thumb over the non-dominant thumb. Make sure both thumbs are pointing towards your target. Keep your trigger finger resting on the trigger guard’s side and remain in that position until you fire the bullet. Don’t hold the slide lock or the top of the gun to avoid sustaining grave injuries to your hands. Ultimately, using the correct grip to hold your gun is a great way to reduce recoil effects.
Tip #6: Become a Master of the Prone Position
Wondering what the prone position is? It’s simply aiming your shot while lying on your stomach. If you are using a rifle, the prone position is the most accurate as well as a natural position to master – much more effective than the standing position as well as other firing positions. If you wish to make meaningful progress with your long-range accuracy as a beginner, you should practice the prone position until it becomes second nature to you. Thereafter, you can move on to more difficult shooting positions. The right practice is to pick your gun from the ground while standing and not to stand up with the rifle. So, place the rifle on the ground first, then stand up and take the gun in your standing position.
Tip #7: Master Trigger Control
You should also practice to becoming a better trigger controller. For this to happen, you should learn to place the pad of the index finger directly at the center of the gun’s trigger. Press your finger steadily in a backward motion when you fire. Before you attain resistance, some level of slack should take place on the trigger. As soon as you fire a shot, do not take the next shot yet until your trigger moves forward and resets. Only your trigger finger should provide the pressure. Do not tighten your grip on the hand to pull the trigger. Finally, to become a better shooter, you should learn to adopt a proper stance. In essence, when you stand, your dominant foot should be positioned behind the
non-dominant foot – the distance between the two should be a hip-length. You should bend your trunk slightly forward, then prevent kickback by balancing on your feet’s balls. Ensure your shoulders stay in front of the hips.
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