Reply To: Accurate Shooting Tips for Struggling Shooters – UPDATED ON 2/11/2016
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That fictional character’s name pictured in my avatar is Bullseye. He exists in the Marvel universe as one of Daredevil’s nemeses and likes to proclaim that he never misses. He has the uncanny ability to hit anything he aims at using whatever he has at his disposal as the projectile. The only foe he has ever missed a shot attempt on though, according to Marvel canon, is… well… Daredevil. After all, he is the good guy. Since Bullseye is a fictitious shot-expert though, perhaps there may never be a person on Earth having such marksmanship perfection to ever exist. Should there ever be, I believe that will be the day when cows could talk too. If Bullseye is able to hit a tiny-sized object with extreme accuracy using a card as his projectile, imagine his skills behind the trigger of a gun!
Of all the techniques I stated in my articles, the most critical one to pull off (no pun intended) in precision shooting, in my opinion, is trigger control. For the uninitiated or casual shooter, pulling the trigger may seem like an easy operation. Pulling perfect trigger-pull, however, is something else entirely. Unless you are Bullseye, if you ever tried shooting targets the size of a pea at thirty yards or the thin side of a playing card at fifty yards, you know how difficult it is to hit them, even in perfect conditions… on the first shot. And I am certain in saying that it was never the fault of your gun or pellet when you missed. I like to think that as long as a pellet is not unstable in flight or spiraling, the mistake is downright shooter error if the result is a missed shot.
Every gun, whether it is powered by air or powder, will always exhibit recoil. The more powerful the gun is the greater the recoil it exhibits. It is as simple as that. The motion from recoil is so quick it begins right before the projectile is ejected out of the barrel. Neglect any part of or being off just a bit on proper shooting technique and you can bet that your pellet is going to land elsewhere other than what is behind the crosshairs. A millimeter of movement during a shot cycle will translate into wide grouping particularly at greater-than-decent distances. This is why consistency in everything during the process of lining up a shot is crucial to accuracy. From getting into a shooting position all the way to follow-through, being consistent is essential if you want to hit what you are attempting to hit. It is so that the barrel moves to the same position every time during a firing cycle.
Movement is non-preventable during recoil. However, we want to make sure that the movement of a rifle is straight backwards for it is the preferred movement. At least this is what I believe. One way of letting a rifle move straight rearwards is through perfect trigger technique, and thus is the topic of this article. Trigger control is one aspect of shooting that can make or break a perfect shot. The beauty of perfect trigger pull is that even if you are a bit off in your shooting position or natural-point-of-aim (NPA), at its worse, the pellet will land very close to your aim point or sometimes exactly on it, granted everything else was done right and that the trigger broke exactly when the crosshairs were directly superimposed on the target.
It is impossible to prescribe a method which every shooter should adapt to because every shooter has his/her unique way of pulling the trigger. Moreover, every shooter’s hand size and finger’s angle-of-pull is different from others. However, I must say that good trigger technique is very effective when combined with a rest or hold that prevents a rifle from moving sideways or vertically when the trigger is pulled. One of the ways I test this before firing a shot is pretending that the area behind the trigger is actually a trigger. I pull that in the same manner I do when actually pulling the trigger while looking at the crosshairs. If they move horizontally or vertically then it means that my shooting position, hold, or rest the gun is on is set up incorrectly. I make the adjustments until they stay lined up with my aim point when I perform this test.
Having a very light trigger certainly makes things easier, but it does not necessarily mean that a gun with a fair pull-weight will be outshined. It is how pressure is applied to the trigger face that is more important. My method of doing this is through a series of “pulse-pulls.” I do not complete the entire pull in one stroke. Rather, my finger applies “very light” pressure in increments until the shot breaks. I do this because I am slowly and lightly applying very little force a step at a time and not too much all at once so that I do not disturb the sight picture. Moreover, the motion of my finger is one that does not exert any lateral pressure, just straight to the rear. It is very difficult to perceive any lateral pressure despite the crosshairs appearing stationary. It is because you are trying to offset it with your firing hand (or non-firing hand). However, right at the moment when the shot breaks, that sideways force is released resulting in the muzzle moving in that same direction, thus ruining the shot. It is like when you attempt to stretch a rubber band by pulling one end and stopping at a certain point; the rubber band appears to stay still because you are containing that energy. When you let go of the other end, though, the stored energy is released and goes in the direction of the pulled end. I hope this explanation puts things in greater perspective.
Whichever method you prefer to utilize in pulling the trigger is totally up to you. Know though that perfect trigger technique is one that includes a careful, smooth and light pressure application. And as always, it must be consistent.
Shoot safe and have fun guys!