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Practicing Your Aim: 4 Ways to Keep Your Gun Skills Sharp

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a shooting range greenhorn, regular practice is the only way to get and maintain proper shooting skills. Practice at home and visit the gun range to keep your skills as sharp as possible.

Practice Dry Fire

Most guns can be “shot” without any ammo; the internal mechanisms move, but there is no noise and no recoil. Dry fire saves ammo and lets you practice almost anywhere.

Always make sure that there is no ammo in the chamber before you start dry fire practice. You can conduct this practice in your home, but notify any family members or roommates so that they are not alarmed. Invest in a chamber flag to ensure that your weapon is empty; you should also store your ammo in a different room.

Stand in a stable posture facing a wall. Point the gun forward and pull the trigger; your front sight should not move at all. Once you have achieved a stable trigger pull, incorporate targets, draws, and different stances into your drills.

Prioritize smooth motions, a stable hand, and perfect trigger discipline. These skills will be relevant when there is actual ammo in your gun.

Hone Your Reload

In a real-world situation, you will not have much time to reload your weapon. Practice this motion to make it as smooth and fast as possible.

Keep your gun pointed at the target while you reload; bring the magazine to the gun, press the release, and insert the magazine. If you drop your gun, you may not be able to lift it in time to respond.

Always use practice ammo for reloading drills. Reloads can compromise the integrity of the magazine; if you use actual self-defense rounds, they may not fire when you need them to.

You can also invest in a dry fire magazine to simulate a reload. This will let you practice your reloading at home without wasting time at the range.

Get to Know Your Shooting Range

Your local shooting range may be able to help you improve your aim. Gun shooting range services often include training sessions, group classes, or even just friendly advice.

Have a trainer review your posture and shooting from a third-person perspective. You may not realize that your stance is strange or that your usual draw includes an unnecessary motion.

If you continually have trouble with a skill, ask someone behind the counter. They will usually be more than willing to give you a hand.

 Develop a Routine

Muscle memory is key to learning any new skill. Create a routine for your dry fire practice and emulate this routine at the range.

Man with Rifle
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Perform a safety check every time you use your weapon. Make sure there are no rounds in the chamber, or ensure that the magazine you are using is correctly inserted.

Start with dry fire exercises at the range to save ammo. Once you are warmed up, load a magazine and begin normal practice.

All practices should include a warm-up and a wind-down. Do not resume practice after you wind down; this is how you accidentally dry fire when there are still bullets in the chamber. Once you are done, stay done until your next session.

Practice with your gun regularly to keep your skills fresh. Make dry fire practice a part of your normal maintenance routine and visit the range on a consistent basis. You need your motions to be perfect if an actual situation arises.

About the Author:

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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