How long does it take to get decent at shooting firearms?

If you have recently purchased a firearm, you are probably excited to get out there and become familiar with how it shoots. Learning to shoot your new firearm requires confidence and plenty of patience. As with any sport or profession, the longer you practice and the more experience you have, the better you’ll become. It isn’t enough to just be decent, strive for proficiency!

Although it is difficult to put a timeline on it, these tips will help improve your shooting with a handgun. We recommend practicing with Snap Caps or Dummy Rounds before live ammo fire.

Once you’ve become familiar with the functions of your firearm, it’s time to work on proper stance, grip, sight alignment, and trigger control.

  • Start by bringing your non-shooting side foot forward 8-10 inches with toes pointed at your target. Next, move the shooting side toes out to a 45-degree angle. Slightly bend at the knees and straighten your back. This is known as the Weaver Stance.
  • For a proper grip, pick up your firearm with the dominant hand. Place the “V” of your thumb and index finger up as high and tight to the back of the pistol as possible, leaving less space for recoil. Be sure your fingers and skin are clear of the slide.
  • Place your index finger along the slide and wrap the rest of your fingers around the grip. Now wrap your support hand around the grip with thumbs touching, palm covering the side of the grip and fingers laid over the strong hand.
  • Rule of thumb for sight alignment is equal height, equal light. When you look through your sights, make sure the front and rear sights are at equal height. Once you have the height equal, find equal light (the space between the two sights) from right to left of your front and rear sight. This is known as a sight picture.
  • And lastly, we get to take that trigger finger off the home position on the slide and practice trigger control. Regulate your breathing and focus on your front sight. With your finger on the trigger and target in sight, slowly pull backward, the break should be a surprise release. Follow through with your shot, don’t move your head or release the trigger until you see the shot placement.

Dry-fire practice isn’t always fun, but it is cheap! First, make sure there is absolutely no ammunition in or around the firearm and area you are practicing. Put a target on the wall or pick a point of aim. Follow the proper stance, grip, sight alignment, and proper triggering control recommendations. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Woman shooting a firearm at a training class offered by Sporting SystemsIf you prefer live fire training, change up your drill routine by asking a friend to load your magazine and have them place a dummy round in there. This will show you if you’re flinching or anticipating recoil when you pull the trigger. Return to dry-fire drills until your comfortable with trigger control again.

In the end, the more practice you have and the time you dedicate to advancing your training, the better you will become. Practice different distances to improve depth perception, such as 25 yards and then 50 yards. Becoming a proficient pistol shooter requires a lot of repetition and a lot of practice.

Not sure what firearm is right for you and your purposes? Visit us at Sporting Systems today. We have a wide variety of pistols and rifles for sale as well as accessories for target shooting and safety. Have any other questions? Feel free to reach out at any time!


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