Tag Archives: SHOOTING TIPS

SKILLS: 4 Dry-Fire Drills To Challenge Any New Shooter

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Learning to shoot better is from a balance of live fire at the range and dry-fire away from the range. Do it with a purpose to get the most from it! READ HOW

dry fire

SOURCE: Team SpringfieldPosted by Ivan Gelo

Dry-practice should be a fairly significant and useful portion of your training package — especially when learning a new technique or focusing on specific principals like the four below.

SAFETY FIRST
Let’s start with the basic safety rules for dry-firing:

CONDUCT with your full concentration — no distractions.
ENSURE the gun is unloaded — no magazine inserted.
VISUAL & TACTILE CHECK — With the slide (or bolt) locked back (via the ejection port) look into the barrel chamber and down through the grip area toward the magazine well to confirm that the firearm is unloaded and no magazine is inserted.
DOUBLE CHECK that all magazines are unloaded — no live ammo.
REMOVE all ammunition from the dry-fire area.
PLACE targets to use as specific aiming points.
CHOOSE a suitable backstop / direction, so that if a round was to discharge, your backstop stops the bullet and causes no injury and minimal physical damage.

Before doing that first trigger press — CHECK AGAIN that the gun is unloaded. Once you’ve gone through the safety checklist, you’re ready to start your dry-fire practice.

1. TRIGGER PRESS DRILL
This is a great exercise that focuses on keeping the gun as still as possible while learning to manipulate the trigger quickly:

Rack slide to set the trigger.
With the gun in your two-handed firing grip at full presentation, bring the gun back to your “natural handclap position” while maintaining grip pressure and hand positions. (I got this description from Ron Avery many years ago — thanks Ron!)

Focus your attention downward, where you are essentially looking over the top of the gun — you are primarily seeing the top of the slide. Press the trigger as you so deem necessary — imagine the type of shot you are trying to replicate, i.e. shooting a group at 15 yards.
As you work the trigger up to the point the striker or hammer is released, pay specific attention to how much left or right movement there is while looking at the top of the slide.

dry fire drill

Most new shooters will see movement to the left or right and/or down or up. This is typically caused by movement in the hands or by the trigger finger. No movement at all means you’ve done a good trigger press!

Repeat starting at Step 1. Once you are able to hold the gun still, increase your trigger press speed. Focus on the consistency and stillness of your hand/grip pressure as you increase the speed of your trigger press. Work up to the point where you are working the trigger quickly — one-eighth-of-a-second from start to finish of press. Minimal to no movement is the goal.

2. START POSITION VARIATIONS
At a match you will, and in real life you might, be drawing from positions other than standing, gun loaded and holstered, with both feet stable on even ground. Practicing varied positions can be extremely beneficial.

Vary your dry-fire start position:

Seated
Holding an item in your hands
Kneeling
Standing behind a wall
Facing “uprange”

You can also vary the gun’s start position:

Gun on a table
Gun in a box
Gun in a drawer

dry fire drill

3. MASTER MOVEMENT
Once you’ve practiced some of these different start “positions,” incorporate movement during your draw or after retrieving your firearm. Movement changes everything! Relocate yourself left, right, forward, back during your practice.

4. BEDTIME ROUTINE
At night, do you keep your firearm on a nightstand, in a drawer, or in a bed-mounted holster? If so, when was the last time you dry-practiced getting out of bed to retrieve your firearm from its location?

And in what condition is your firearm? If you keep your firearm “cruiser ready” or “condition 3” (magazine inserted and seated with the chamber empty), have you practiced racking your slide under duress?

In this situation, dummy or inert training rounds are invaluable! NEVER use live ammo at home to practice quickly loading your gun! Safety first — always.

When using training rounds, go through your safety checks very deliberately — again, remove all live rounds from the training area and check and then check again that all rounds are inert.

Hit The Range: a new shooters guide to etiquette and safety

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New to shooting? Whether you’re going with a friend to the range or taking a class, there are a few things you should understand before you take your first shots. KEEP READING…

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory, by Kippi Leatham

Here are first-timer tips and best practices for firearm safety and range procedures.

SAFETY FIRST — SAFETY ALWAYS
The first and most important thing to learn as a first-time shooter is safety. There are four basic rules of firearm safety. Read them, understand them and always follow them. You don’t want to end up getting the “attention” of the range safety officers – or worse yet, booted off the range for not following the fundamental, universal safety rules.

1. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED
Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction (more on that in rule number 2). Check — and double check — the condition of the gun BEFORE you continue with the task at hand.

Check that the chamber is empty and there is no magazine inserted BEFORE you clean, disassemble, store, dry fire, or put the gun on a table to walk down range, etc. This important rule applies also when you are getting a gun out of storage, whether from a safe, range bag, gun case, etc.

Even if you’re positive the gun is not loaded, check again. You never want to have a negligent discharge and potentially injure someone because you “thought” the gun was unloaded.

2. NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
Muzzle direction is especially important, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded or unloaded (and it’s ALWAYS loaded, see rule #1). The muzzle must never point at any part of your own body, another person, family pet, or in any unsafe direction.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — AT THE RANGE
Most ranges are designed with a common firing line. That means all shooters are standing in a line next to each other, parallel to the backstop, shooting at targets downrange. You are allowed very little muzzle movement right and left (laterally) because of the shooters next to you.

From the moment you pick up your gun or draw it from your holster, the muzzle should point straight downrange, parallel to the ground. The muzzle should never point up (toward the roof, light fixtures, or sky) and it should never point down (toward your feet, shooting table, or the ground/floor).

When you finish shooting, keep the muzzle pointed downrange when UNLOADING the gun. Many right-handed shooters rotate the gun and muzzle to the left — pointing it at the person to their left — when unloading. Lefties do the opposite. Teach yourself to keep the muzzle STRAIGHT downrange. Rotate your body 90 degrees if you need additional leverage to unload the gun and/or lock the slide open.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — NOT AT THE RANGE
Want to show your best friend the new Range Officer® Elite you just purchased? You can easily do this when not at a live firing range. Here is the etiquette to follow:

Create a dry-fire line — facing in a safe direction — perhaps behind a table, counter, or workbench, pointed into a corner.

Make sure none of your family members — or the dog and cat — will be walking in front of your dry-fire line (downrange).

Take the gun out of the case, with the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger out of the trigger guard.

Ensure the gun is unloaded (no magazine and an empty chamber).

Lock the slide open so the empty chamber and empty mag well are visible to everyone.

Hand the gun to your friend, keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with your finger out of the trigger guard.

Continue to handle the gun as if it were loaded.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This is an extremely important safety rule to follow, but even many experienced gun owners put their finger on the trigger at the wrong time. This can unfortunately cause accidents.

Remember, your finger should be on the trigger ONLY when you have fulfilled the following criteria:

You are pointing the gun at the target.

You have made the decision to shoot the target.

At all other times, there is absolutely no reason to have your finger on the trigger. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) during ALL other times that you handle the gun, including:

When taking the gun out of a case, bag or safe.
When picking the gun up from a table.
When drawing the gun from a holster.
When checking the status of the gun (loaded or unloaded).
When loading or unloading the gun.
When reloading the gun or changing a magazine
When locking the slide back.
When putting the gun down on a table or bench.
When holstering the gun.
When clearing a malfunction.
When placing a gun back into its case, bag or safe
When disassembling the gun.
When handing the gun to another.

If you develop a good trigger finger habit, you will hopefully never have a negligent discharge, firing the gun when you are not ready to shoot. That’s a club you should want to belong to. #LifeMember

Being aware of your finger position is one of the best “safeties” on your gun. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t discharge.

4. ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT’S BEHIND IT
It is our responsibility as shooters to know what we are shooting at, what is beyond our target and what is between our gun and the target. We call that “the line of sight.”

TARGET — Always shoot at targets that are approved for the shooting range layout, and your gun and type of ammunition, i.e. paper, steel, clays, etc. Never shoot at glass or anything that could ricochet or leave dangerous remains on the ground.

BEYOND TARGET — Make sure you know what is beyond your target also, as the bullet doesn’t typically remain in the target. At indoor ranges or outdoor ranges with berms and backstops, this is usually not a problem. But if you’re not at one of these types of ranges, it’s your responsibility to know what is in the area behind your target (for several miles possibly), as bullets can and do travel a long distance.

LINE OF SIGHT — It’s imperative that there is nothing obstructing your line of sight. That means there shouldn’t be any objects between your sight picture and your target.

Follow these first-timer shooting tips to stay safe and have fun — whether you’re at home or at the range.

A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Pistol Ammo

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Don’t get lost in the sea of cartridge boxes at the gun shop! This article will point you in the right direction. MORE

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Posted by Kyle Schmidt

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brilliant. The wording they used was so profound that it still has a tremendous impact on our lives today.

Sure, all people were created equal — but when it comes to ammunition, not so much.

THE AMMUNITION SPREAD
As a newer shooter, choosing ammunition can be a daunting task. Full-metal jacket, ball, hollow-point, wad-cutter, round-nose, flat-point, plated, coated, and the list goes on. These terms can seem pretty overwhelming, and these are just common types of pistol bullets.

So, how is a new shooter supposed to know what kind of ammunition to buy?

KEY COMPONENTS
Centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition are made up of four components:
Case
Primer
Powder
Bullet
(NOTE: I often hear people refer to a round of ammunition as a “bullet.” Although this is generally accepted slang for some, it can be confusing when discussing ammunition. For the purposes of this guide, when referring to a “bullet,” I am referring to the individual component that is a part of a single round of ammunition, which is also called a “cartridge”.)

pistol cartridge parts

Generally speaking, the two biggest variables in ammunition come from the powder and the bullet. The type and quantity of powder will predominantly affect the velocity of the bullet. The bullet design has a significant affect on accuracy and performance once the bullet impacts the target.

PURPOSE
When determining what ammunition to choose, the first question to ask is, “What’s it for?”

Ammunition is designed with a variety of purposes in mind — hunting, target shooting, competition, and personal defense among them.

HUNTING & PERSONAL DEFENSE
In general, ammunition made for hunting and personal defense is designed to have a higher velocity, a heavier bullet, and a bullet designed to expand when it strikes the target. Commonly, this type of ammunition is sold in containers of smaller quantities and often comes with a higher price tag. This ammunition generally has more felt recoil, which is more commonly referred to as “kick.”

defensive ammo

COMPETITION
Ammunition made for competition is usually designed with the specific requirements of a given type of competition in mind. Some competitions are heavily designed around extreme accuracy, while others may be more speed-oriented. Because some events require a great deal of accuracy, this may lead to an expensive bullet design and a higher cost. But it’s typically still less expensive than hunting ammunition.

Generally speaking, competition shooters look for ammunition that has less felt recoil. So, keep in mind that many competition shooters modify their guns so they will work with ammunition of different lengths and with ammunition that requires less energy to function the gun. Be cautious when purchasing ammunition designed for competition, as it may not function all firearms.

match handgun ammo

 

 

TARGET SHOOTING
“Target ammunition” is a general-purpose term. This is the ammunition you might see in bulk packaging at the sporting goods store. The bullets and powder used vary significantly. Unlike competition ammunition, this ammo is generally designed to function a wide variety of firearms reliably but does not have the same high level of felt recoil as the hunting or self-defense ammunition. This ammunition is probably the most common type purchased by the typical shooter for practice. This ammunition also gives shooters the most “bang” for their buck, as it can be the least expensive option.

bulk ammo

Most importantly, the ammunition you purchase needs to safely and reliably function the gun.

JUST REMEMBER — When purchasing ammunition, there are a couple of other things to consider before filling your home with a new type of ammo.

Quantity — Start in small quantities when purchasing new ammunition. Most places will not take ammunition back, so if you find out the ammunition does not function your gun and you just purchased thousands of rounds of it, you’ll be stuck with trying to sell it to someone else.

Function — Some guns just don’t like some ammunition. The ammo may work fine in one gun, but cause constant malfunctions in another.

Accuracy — Some bullets shoot better out of some guns than others. Even if you buy the latest, greatest new ammunition that your favorite YouTube video depicted to be the most accurate ammo in the history of the galaxy, it may not shoot well out of your barrel. Conversely, you may find that a particular bullet shoots well out of your gun that your know-it-all buddy says is terrible.

Manufacturer — Consider the source. I have seen numerous problems with ammunition over the years, including ammunition that did not have any powder and ammunition that had way too much powder. Occasionally, I have seen ammunition destroy a gun. I have even seen this happen with ammunition from well-known manufacturers. However, they have been responsive when paying for repairs or replacing the gun if needed. That same expectation may not be realistic for the small, garage-based ammunition companies.

ASK YOURSELF
At the end of the day, the ammo questions you need to ask yourself:
Will you shoot it?
Does it meet your reliability requirement?
Does it meet your accuracy requirement?
Does it meet your felt recoil requirement?
Does it meet your cost requirement?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you probably shouldn’t purchase the ammo, as you likely won’t enjoy shooting it. If you don’t enjoy shooting it, the ammunition will just stay in the box and you won’t get any practice. If you don’t get any practice, you definitely will not get any better. And if you don’t get any better, you won’t ever get to experience the great enjoyment that comes from being a competent gun owner.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.

You’ll find all you need HERE!

HUNTING: The 26-Yard Hunting Zero

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Unsure of the correct zero range for different shots out in the field? Here’s an idea to help end the confusion! Read all about it…

riflescope

SOURCE: NRA American Hunter, by Jeff Johnston

Much has been written on the ideal distance to zero a hunting rifle. There is no best sight-in range for everyone, because the range at which hunters expect to shoot their quarry differs considerably. For example, if you hunt exclusively from a ridge top that overlooks a food source that is 150 yards away, you should zero for that distance. But if you hunt various terrain that offers both short- and long-range shots, here’s a technique that’ll allow you to hold the crosshairs on the vitals of deer-sized game or larger and keep your bullet inside the vital zone out to 280 yards, give or take a few yards depending on your caliber. It’s called point-blank range, and to maximize it you should alter your sight-in range for a particular load, rather than letting your traditional sight-in distance dictate your rifle’s zero.

“Point-blank” range defined is the range of distances at which you can hold your rifle on the center of a bullseye and never fall in or out of your target’s kill zone. The point-blank range for a deer, for example, is generally regarded as six inches. In other words, if you hold dead center on the vitals, your bullet can be 3 inches high or 3 inches low before it misses the vital zone. An elk’s vital zone is larger of course — we’ll say 8 inches. But I like to stay with the 6-inch rule of thumb because is allows for some shooter error, an occurrence that you’d be naive to assume doesn’t happen while in field positions shooting at wild game.

So many hunters zero their rifles at 100 yards that it’s almost become standard practice. But the following examples will illustrate why that’s not a great zero for a rifleman who wishes to be able to take shots quickly, without calculating, from point-blank to nearly 300 yards.

As an example, let’s use a common hunting round, a .270 Win., loaded by Remington with a 130-grain Premier Accutip boattail bullet that has a .447 Ballistic Coefficient (BC). It’s got a muzzle velocity of 3,060 fps. Ballistically, it falls in line with a whole class of moderately fast calibers. The scope (line of sight) is mounted 1.5 inches over the center of the bore. Zeroed at 100 yards, the bullet will impact 0.76 inches low at 25 yards (this is just fine for hunters), and will be 2.98 inches low at 203 yards. But after 203 yards it falls below the 6-inch vital zone. (That’s missing the 6-inch circle, 3 inches below the center, or point of aim.) At 250 yards, it will impact 6 inches below the point of aim, (3 inches out of the vital zone.) So, with a 100-yard zero, a hunter can simply aim at a buck and expect to hit it in the vitals anywhere from 0 to 203 yards.

Other riflemen who routinely hunt areas where shots of 300 yards or more are common sometimes opt for a 200-yard zero. This places that same .270 bullet 0.4 inches low at 25 yards, 1.41 inches high at 100 yards, 2.51 inches low at 250 yards and finally slips below the 6-inch vital zone at 257 yards. So with a 200 yard zero, a hunter can hold dead on from 0 to 257 yards and kill the animal, assuming he does his part and fires an error-free shot. As you can see, the 200-yard zero is very effective, and if your target range will accommodate it, great. But many hunters don’t have the luxury of zeroing at 200 yards. No worry, there’s a better zero anyway…

Using ballistic software downloaded from Remington.com, I manipulated the zero range input data until it was optimized for the greatest point-blank range. I found that by zeroing my rifle in at 26 yards, the .270 will deliver its bullet 2.81 inches high at 100 yards, 2.80 inches high at 200 yards and 2.12 inches high at 250 yards before finally falling out of the 6-inch vital zone at 310 yards. This means that with a 26 yard zero, I can hold dead-center of a deer’s vitals and kill it cleanly from 0 to 310 yards without adjusting my hold.

Of course, this is an on-paper estimate, and until you actually shoot your rifle at those distances, you can’t be sure, but I’ve found it to be pretty close. For most rifles, a 25- to 28-yard zero (depending on the caliber’s velocity and bullet’s BC) will maximize its point blank range. My technique for shooting is to zero at 26 yards (if using the .270 noted above), then shade slightly low (an inch or two) when shooting at 100 yards, and hold slightly high at 300. This increases my margin of shooting error, while allowing me to not have to calculate or hold off the animal at 300 yards. I simply see the animal, range it and shoot — out to 310 yards. Any further than that, I can either use my scope ballistic reticle, or know my caliber’s ballistic data and hold over appropriately.

If you choose to employ this 26-yard technique, beware that when zeroing at close range, you must strive for perfection. Place a dime-sized spot on the target and do not deem your rifle “good” until the bullet actually punches that dime on a consistent basis. If you are an inch high or low, or to the left or right, you will be way off at longer range, and it defeats the whole purpose of zeroing in at such a specific range. If you can’t hit the dime at 26 yards, it indicates that your rifle (and/or you) probably isn’t accurate enough to be shooting at long range anyway, because if your rifle is grouping 1-inch at 25 yards, for example, it will likely be 4 inches off at 100 yards and off the paper at 300. But with the technique mentioned above, you can simply aim for an animal’s vitals out to 300 yards and concentrate on a smooth trigger pull.

The Data

100 YARD ZERO
.270 Win. at 100 Yards:
This graph illustrates that with a 100-yard zero, your bullet is on at 100 yards, then starts falling rapidly, and is 3 inches below the point-of-hold at approximately 200 yards.
26 YARD ZERO
.270 Win. at 26 Yards:
The graph shows that your .270 Win. bullet, when zeroed at 26 yards, angles above the line-of-sight 2.81 inches at 200 yards, crosses the line of sight (zero) again at approximately 275 yards, before falling beyond 3 inches low at 310 yards. Therefore, with a 26-yard zero, you can hold on the target and expect to hit a 6-inch vital zone from 0 to 310 yards.

 

 

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