Firearm Fundamentals

This is a guest post by Scott Sylvesterfirearm fundamentals

No matter how great of a shooter you are… or think you are, the one common thread that determines success on the range is a solid understanding and practice of the 7 Firearms Fundamentals.

One drill I practice when there is range space is the “Moon Walk,” or “Distance,” Drill. Load up your magazines and pockets (about 50 to 100 rounds) and start at the 10 yard line. I recommend a steel target for this drill so you can get instant audible feedback when you make hits. For new shooters use a steel torso target and more advance shooters, use a 9” steel plate.

Starting at the 10 fire one shot until you make a hit and get the audible ring. Then take a step backwards and shoot again. Continue “moon walking” backwards firing one round at a time keeping all your rounds on the plate. If you miss, stay where you are and shoot again, if you miss a second time, step forward… you can’t move backwards until you make a hit. Keep going until you reach the 100 yard line.

I know that 99% of gunfights occur within 10 feet and most shooters believe it is impractical to try and shoot much past the 25 yard line, but being able to do so allows you as a shooter and potential gun fighter to build confidence in your abilities and to fine tune or iron out the fundamentals.

When talking about the fundamentals I break them down into the following categories:

  • Stance
  • Grip
  • Sight Picture
  • Sight Alignment
  • Breathing
  • Trigger Control
  • Follow Through

When shooting at close range (>10 yards) you can almost ignore the basics and still get good hits on a silhouette or man size target. Being a bit off balance or nit breathing at close range will result in very little variance against a man size target. When you increase the distance, the fundamentals are indispensable. To make sure the crucial skills necessary to win at close range are at your disposal, you have to step out of your comfort zone and start increasing the distance.

You’ll start to notice at the 25 yard line that trigger control, breathing and sight picture really start to effect where you hit. If you are 1/10 of an inch off at the 25 yard line you could be almost a foot off target after you fire. As your distance increases, your sight alignment becomes important because now a level rear sight which is often ignored on a handgun at close range can mean shooting over or under the target if misaligned. Past the 25 yard line your front sight will likely start to cover the target and past 50 yards, you will have to start adjusting your aim slightly so the tip of the front sight is at the top of the target.

When you finally start making hits at longer ranges you’ll start developing your follow through. Follow through is nothing more than maintaining the fundamentals you used prior to shooting, after the round goes off. Just because the firearm discharges, you should not abandon any of the 7 fundamentals. After the shot goes off maintain your stance, grip, and breathing, reestablish your sight picture and alignment and control the trigger to the reset point (taking up any slack).

Once you start making good and consistent hits at distances I guarantee you will notice an improvement in your shots at close range as well. Next time you hit the range load up your pockets and start “moon walking,” and applying the 7 fundamentals. Not only will this improve your shooting over all, it will also increase your confidence in case you end up in the 1% of gunfights where you have to make a long distance shot. You might have to use deadly force to save a life that is not close to you and when seconds count, the bullet will close the distance faster than you can.

Have fun, start training and build a good foundation!

Scott S – One Weapon Any Tool

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