Making Progress

Today I made my third visit to the shooting range. I can see where I am starting to make some progress, and today was the first time that I went to the range and didn’t feel like I wasted money and ammunition. As a quick recap, here are the targets from my first two visits at the range:



Nothing to really write home about. Really scattered, and embarrassingly amateur. Granted, I am a total beginner, but I went into this process with the thought that after having spent over half of my life immersed in training which is all self-control, breathing, timing and relaxation, I was sure I would be a natural and pick everything up fast.

It obviously didn’t work out that way.

But, today was another try, and I had received some detailed advice from some great friends, and I went in ready to give it another go.

When I got to the range, an old friend of mine was working there. He dropped some advice on me about the front sight and that it was important to focus on the front and not the rear sights.

Well, this was the result today:


Those shots that hit low and to the right were the first shots and drove me to the brink of giving up. Here I was following the advice of people who know very well what they are talking about, and know how to shoot and shoot well. They tried to help me and here I was, failing again at marksmanship.

Then I remembered what Joe told me about the sights. I reset and did all that I had been advised, I also sank my head lower, focused on the far sight (on my gun it is a red one), and never shot outside of the 9 again today. I even managed to tear a big hole out of the target too! That was something I have been wanting to do since I started this.

To be sure, finger position on the trigger makes a difference. Do not mistake my low skill as a sign of receiving bad advice. Doing better today was a result of listening to people who know more than I do, and putting it all together, and practicing.

Here is my initial mistake:

top incorrect

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, in case you can’t see in the photo that the gun is not loaded, and out of an acquired habit, I still safety checked to be sure it was empty before putting my finger on the trigger for the picture. Because of the size of my hands, it felt natural to pull the trigger with the middle of my finger. What did I know? Nothing. It just seemed things were designed that way. My friends who know what they are talking about saw where my shots were going in the first to photos and knew what I was doing wrong.

I won’t say correct, but I am comfortable saying, closer to correct is here:

top correct

The center of the fingertip is what is supposed to rest on the trigger when you are about to fire. Obviously, the finger should not ever be on the trigger unless you are about to fire.

Honestly, I still have a lot to learn, but this was the first of three visits where I felt I had made some progress. Time will tell. I have a very busy few weeks coming up, and so may miss some practice sessions at the range, but I do have a renewed confidence that I can learn how to do this correctly.

Just as with anything else, you need to be able to assume the beginner’s mind, and learn the lost art of listening to people who know more than you do and honestly want to help you. Everyone who has been offering advice, I sincerely thank you. Every bit of advice has been noted and used, and the results are actually starting to show. I hope I can make those who have been helping me proud!

One Comment

  1. brad says:

    I support your openness in trying new things before passing judgement. Yes more “practice” is what all responsible gun owners need. As in martial arts we must always try for improvement.
    Thank you, Brad


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