Have you ever wondered what one aspect of firearms training was the most important? Like if you could ask the best firearms instructors in the world, “What is one critical part of shooting that is either overlooked or that many shooters don’t understand the importance of to improve their shooting skills?”
Well, I wondered that myself so I decided to ask them! Here are the replies I received from some of the best firearms instructors in the world with backgrounds including: Army Special Operations, an Olympian, Top SHOT contestants, a Navy SEAL, world champions and more!
Most people have to pay hundreds of dollars and attend a course to get shooting tips from instructors of this caliber, but they were kind enough to share them with me (and you) for FREE!
Without further ado, here are the #1 shooting tips from the word’s finest firearms instructors…
Chris Cerino: Make the Sights the Mission
Owner, Chris Cerino Training Group
Most people understand what sights are for on a firearm, and almost everyone knows how to align them. Once aligned, they are placed on an intended target where we want the bullet to ultimately impact. Sight alignment and sight picture are easy concepts to understand. It’s the discipline to stay with that sight picture, through the break of the round, that gets people in trouble.
By trouble I mean, lack of discipline gets results other than what they want. If you can understand sight alignment and sight picture, you next need to build discipline and trust — trust in the weapon platform and trust in yourself. Trust that if you do your job the gun will do its job. Make those sights and sight picture the mission. It’s your mission to ensure that the sight picture remains until after the gun goes off. Don’t change your focus to the trigger finger to fire, or to the target to see the results.
Your mission is to see those sights with a target beyond them before, during, and (if there is time) after the shot breaks. Then and only then will you know if you hit or missed and whether you should move on to the next target or send another round to neutralize the target. Making the sights your mission will enable you to begin to learn not only what it takes to hit a target but help diagnose why you missed.
Kyle Lamb: Push Your Limits
Founder and President, Viking Tactics
Get His Book: Stay in the Fight!! Warriors Guide to the Combat Pistol
As a trainer, I am constantly pushing students to attain higher levels of performance. The first is accuracy, without it—we can’t continue to build. Once students have demonstrated the ability to shoot tightly when not under the stress of competition or the clock, we start to push them harder and harder. Ideally, we want to find the breaking point. How fast can you drive the gun and drive yourself before, as I normally say, “the wheels come off”? If you never push to your limits, you won’t really know your capabilities.
Some trainers always want students in their comfort zone, shooting tight little groups. This is great up until you enter a gunfight. When the cards are down, it is a race to put accurate fire on your enemy. The only legal way we can train for this event is by inducing stress into our training regimen. Always push your speed but don’t sacrifice accuracy. If you see accuracy start to fade, you may have just found your 101%. Push to bypass the breaking point. When you end up in a confrontation, hopefully, your 80% or comfort zone is 125% of the bad guy’s capabilities. Drive the gun, push the speed, and get good hits. This is a race.
jj Racaza: Trigger Control
World Champion Competitive Shooter
In my opinion, this is one of the most important and difficult skill sets to master. The way a person manipulates the trigger will greatly affect the placement and speed of shots. This is the most common area where shooters will lose their accuracy when applying speed. Just remember this, it is the last conscious movement (squeezing the trigger) that could potentially affect your sight picture.
In terms of gaining speed, the trigger is where you see a ton of inefficiencies as well. There are many techniques and styles on how to manipulate the trigger. Unless it’s really affecting his or her accuracy I focus more on the process. I simply ask my students to pay attention to when the gun is “ready” to fire vs. you being “ready” to fire after each shot. Gun being “ready” means the sights are back on target. The shooter being “ready” is when the shooter has the trigger “prepped” and ready to fire the shot with acceptable accuracy. The goal is to lessen the disparity between the two and once mastered, you will see how your speed will increase and you haven’t sacrificed your accuracy.
Gabby Franco: Learn From Your Mistakes
NRA News Commentator | Olympian & Firearms Instructor
Get Her Book: TroubleShooting
It is extremely important that at the range you have high-quality practice. While shooting, you need to be able to identify what you did wrong so you can avoid making the same mistake. Identify what you did right so you can repeat a good shot over and over again. Remember that our time is very limited for everything we do during our life, and for that reason, our practice time is very valuable.
Make sure that when you spend your time doing something, you do your best!
Chris Sajnog: Pave the Path to Perfection
My advice would be for shooters to go slow and practice every manipulation of the weapon perfectly. Each time you do something, right or wrong, you’re literally paving a neural pathway in your body and telling your body that is exactly how to perform that movement in the future. Your body doesn’t know if that repetition was right or wrong. It’s just laying down pavement to make that path smoother in the future. It also makes no difference to your neurons how fast you did the movement. So when you’re learning any technique — speed kills. Once you’ve done the same movements exactly the same way enough times, the path will be smooth and you’ll be able to drive the gun down that road as fast as you like.