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Preview – 5 Tips to better shooting

Taran Butler's Pistol Basics

Whether you just picked up your first pistol or are a ranked Grand Master shooter, it’s always a good idea to review the basics of handgun shooting. Pistol-shooting skills can perish if not kept up, and the gains made from practice and training can easily be lost. To receive a few pointers on how to properly fire a handgun, we took a trip to the shooting range with Grand Master and Multi-Gun champion, Taran Butler. Not only is Butler a multiple champion in competitive shooting, he also conducts classes on the skill in his spare time. We asked him to go over the basics of handgun shooting and how to avoid the common mistakes he sees in his students.

1 . Stance
A proper shooting stance is important for getting off an accurate shot. As with golf and so many other sports, your stance is the foundation of your game; it sets up everything you’re about to do, so make sure you have a good one. A proper stance will allow your body to absorb recoil, and efficiently keep you set for the next shot. A bad one makes consistent shooting difficult shot, and could throw your body off balance in the process.

Don't Do This
Butler said he often sees his students do what he calls “fishing.” Beginning shooters often don’t pay attention to their foot placement or body posture. They might stand straight up, or are leaned back with their feet too closely together. With your center of gravity high and to the back, the recoil from the gun literally pushes you back on your heels and can throw you off balance. In that position, your shoulders don’t brace your arms, and under recoil, the arms fly up and end up looking like they’re battling a swordfish while deep-sea fishing. This might be great for catching fish, but it is hardly any good for accurate follow-up shots, never mind for looking like you know what you’re doing at the range.

Do This
Put your dukes up and get into a boxer’s fighting stance. Square yourself up to the target, hunch your back a little, and roll your shoulders in. Your feet should be a little more than shoulder’s width apart with your left foot (for a right-handed shooter) forward about six inches. With your knees slightly bent, your weight should be equally distributed on both feet. Your arms should be in front of you with your elbows slightly bent, as if you were about to defend yourself in a fistfight. This stance stabilizes your body for when pull the trigger, and you’ll have much better recoil control. Your arms will act as shock absorbers, and your rolled-in shoulders as a brace. Absorbing recoil from a firing gun is like getting punched: It’s best to absorb the punch the best you can so that you can immediately respond, in this case, with a quick, accurate follow-up shot.

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2 responses to “Preview – 5 Tips to better shooting”

  1. Bobo says:

    No subscription rate and $8.99 per issue on the newsstand (which didn’t even get issue #2)? No thanks, your lifestyle magazine is not in mine. SIM, you can do better.

  2. Jason says:

    That photo shows perfect hand placement if you want a nice chunk of skin removed every time the gun is fired. Thanks for the great tips….

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