7 Habits of Highly Effective Shooters

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”


It’s happened several times now. I show up at the range to work with a new group of shooters who are supposed to be “past the basics” of shooting. Operators who the government trusts to move around confined spaces carrying automatic weapons.

As we start warming up, I’ll go down the line and make corrections on stance, grip, trigger control, etc. and find out that they nod their heads in agreement. But when I ask them about the technique, they say they don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the basics of shooting! The fundamentals of marksmanship that everyone with a gun in their hands needs to know to shoot well.

As a Navy SEAL these were ingrained in my head and repeated on a daily basis to achieve muscle memory. I know some people don’t like this term. I’ll say it and someone wanting to make themselves sound scientific will say, “Technically your muscles don’t have memories. You’re actually training your neurons and…blah, blah, blah.”

OK, thanks for the refresher on fifth-grade biology. I’m just trying to make you a better shooter and communicating it in a way we can all understand. Don’t muddy the waters with your technical nonsense.

Follow these 7 Habits of Highly Effective Shooters and your shooting will improve.

Breaking It Down

In this series of posts, I will cover each of the seven habits in detail. You’ll learn it the way I learned as a Navy SEAL and the way I taught it to my sniper students. These are the fundamentals of marksmanship that make good shooters either on a range at a competition or on the battlefield. Some instructors will say there are three, five or eight fundamentals. If it’s easier for you to take a few of them and integrate them in your mind, then do so.

Just be warned — leave one out when you’re shooting and the round will miss its mark.

The 7 Habits

  1. Shooting Platform: AKA Body Position or Stance
  2. Get a Grip
  3. Sight Refinement: Sight Alignment
  4. Sight Video: Sight Picture
  5. If you stop Breathing, you will die!
  6. Trigger Control comes from your eyes
  7. Get ready to shoot again: Follow -Through

In each of the posts in this series, I break down one of these fundamentals so they are not just a name or a term you need to remember. You’ll understand what they all mean, how to use them when you’re shooting and dry-fire training and why they are important in making you a better shooter.

Shooting is an art. If you want to be a good artist, you need to go to school…this is not a replacement for seeking out a good firearms training course, but it will help you understand what they are talking about when they try to make corrections or give you advice on the line.

If you have specific shooting questions on any of these skills, I’d love to hear from you and help you out. Reply in the comments section and we’ll do our best to get you hitting the X every time you squeeze the trigger. Ready to get started?




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