Are you discouraged from going to the range over and over and seeing little or no improvement? How do you keep your skills sharp when you can’t shoot as much as you want to? Here are 3 tips that can help improve your handgun accuracy. We will assume you have already determined your dominant eye and have properly sighted in your handgun.
1. Dry fire drills
The first and most important thing to remember during dry fire drills is make sure the handgun is unloaded. Second, since we still always assume every firearm is loaded, aim in a safe direction, ensure there is a proper backstop, rack or cock the pistol (if desired), and slowly squeeze (don’t pull or jerk) the trigger until the hammer or striker falls. You can use these drills to practice your single or double action trigger pulls, drawing and “firing” from a holster, learning where the trigger break and reset occur, or simply getting proper muscle memory ingrained. Consciously practice these movements slowly and they will become more natural.
2. Dummy rounds
If your handgun is properly sighted in, and you are using proper trigger technique but your rounds are still hitting low, you may be anticipating the recoil or “pushing” the handgun down. You can use a combination of live and dummy rounds in your magazine during range practice to see if this is the case. It can be even more surprising, and more effective, if you go shooting with a friend and load each others magazines. If you prefer revolvers, you can simulate the same thing by leaving one or more chambers empty. If you find yourself anticipating recoil, remember that the round has already left the barrel by the time you feel it. Stop, take a deep breath, slow down, reacquire the target, and squeeze the trigger to fire the next round.
3. Smaller caliber practice handgun
This tip is last because it costs a little more than dry fire drills and dummy rounds. Buying ammo can be expensive, and trying to put a couple hundred rounds through your pistol each range session can be a little painful. One thing you can try is practicing with a smaller caliber handgun. This recoil discussion provides a good starting point for calibers to consider. If you can afford it, purchase and practice with a smaller caliber handgun to work on technique and slowly add your larger caliber pistol into your training a little at a time.
Hopefully, one or more of these tips will help you improve your accuracy. Check out this Law Enforcement training syllabus for discussions about the seven fundamentals and some additional techniques to work on.