Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Marksmanship Part 1

ImageTo shoot a firearm accurately you have to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship: Aim, Hold, Press, and Follow-Through. In addition to these fundamentals you use the proper stance, arm position, and grip, but these things are subject to change according to the situation. In a fight you may not be able to acquire a textbook stance. The arms may not be indexed in the ideal position. You could be firing with only one hand. But anytime you’re firing a shot the four fundamentals still apply – even more so when the other basics are compromised.

When you fire a shot it should be with predictable results. You aim, hold, press and follow-through to ensure accurate shots. Just keep in mind that accuracy is defined by distance and the size of the target. The speed you can cycle through the four fundamentals depends on the accuracy necessary for the shot you’re attempting.

Aiming basically means getting the weapon pointing in the right direction, but it’s a little more complicated than just pointing. Very few things required to fight effectively with a firearm are instinctual. Under stress we are programmed to visually focus on the source of our problem. When faced with a threat we shift our focus to the person, then begin visually assessing to determine how big the problem is. Normally this means watching the hands to see what they are doing. Do they have a weapon? Are they responding to our commands for them to drop the weapon, or did their hands start out empty and now there is a weapon. Watch the hands. It’s also a good idea to watch their feet. The feet will predict what movement a person is about to perform, often even before the suspect consciously realizes what they’re about to do.

When the situation turns to the point that we have to use our weapon, it’s time to shoot, our focus should shift to the point on the threat that we want the bullet to go. With the eyes focused on this point we bring the weapon up so the sights intersect our line of vision. Now we have a sight picture, the alignment of the weapon’s sights between our eyes and the point of impact, where we want the bullet to strike. This is much more efficient than seeing the whole target, bring the weapon up and lowering the head down to find the sights and then having to align all that onto the target.

The precision in the alignment of the sights between the eyes and target is dictated by the accuracy needed. To put shots into the chest of a target five feet away you can get by with just having the front and rear sights close to actual alignment. To hit a four-inch plate from twenty-five yards the sight picture is going to need to be more precise.

Once you have a sight picture it’s time to go to step two, holding the sights steady. We’ll discuss that in part two of this series.

December 4, 2012 - Posted by | AR-15, Auto Pistol, General Training

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