Mistake #1: Inconsistent Trigger Control
The most important of all the fundamentals, and the one which most mistakes occur. You have a good grouping, but they’re all too far left or too far right – you’re using too much, or not enough finger. You hit the bullseye, but every other shot is spread throughout the target. (This is more of a sight picture thing) What’s happening? Probably inconsistent trigger control.
How to fix it: Regardless of which trigger mistake you are experiencing, the solution is the same: smooth, even, pressure applied to the trigger throughout the pull stroke. Think of a set of balance scales…one side has a 5lbs weight, and you are slowly pouring out 6lbs of sand onto the other side. Slowly, very slowly, the scales will move until, finally, it tips to the opposite side. Keep this in mind as you squeeze the trigger.
Mistake #2 – Flinching
Flinching is the act of anticipating recoil, noise, and/or flash of firing a gun. When you flinch, your hands dip forward and down as you tense your body in effort to counter the anticipation. Because of recoil, most don’t realize they are even flinching in the first place.
How to fix it:
There are simple, but great, tools to help diagnose and counter flinching…
Dry-Fire (or Dry-Practice) – this is the act of practicing the firing process with an unloaded firearm. This allows for the practice of all the fundamentals, but without the distraction of recoil, etc. In turn, this helps develop good shooting habits that will carry over to live fire at the range. Dry-fire practice requires adhering to all of the safety rules and should be done in a safe-setting.
“Ball and Dummy” technique – Inserting empty cartridge cases that have just been fired, or bringing snap caps, and mixing them randomly in my firearm’s magazine or cylinder. This will offer an element of surprise because you have no idea if the gun will go “bang” or not on the next trigger pull. This allows you to see an honest picture of your my fundamentals when pulling the trigger. So when you go to pull the trigger, if the gun goes “click” on a snap-cap or empty cartridge and the barrel dips, you know you are flinching.
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