The Principles of Marksmanship

These are fundamentals. There is simply no way around this. Until you  can master the principles of marksmanship, your shooting will always suffer.  

The Principles of Marksmanship. Courtesy of Instructor Tim Davies. 

  • Steady position - Regardless of stance or position, the weapon must be held the same way for each shot and in a manner that will facilitate the least wobble (natural movement of the body as indicated by the sights.) 
  • Aiming - Sight Alignment (the relationship of the front and rear sight or clear, centered reticle in an optical sight) is most important to accuracy as it helps eliminate as far as possible angular error. 
  • Trigger Control - The trigger is the interface between shooter and ”weapon", and therefore requires careful attention.  The shooter must smoothly squeeze the trigger straight back with increasing pressure without attempting to anticipate when the round will fire. Using the correct part of the pad of the trigger finger is also essential.
  • Breath Control – Normally, the firer should press the trigger during the natural pause after exhalation. The breathing sequence should be as follows: inhale, exhale, pause, squeeze.. Where possible refrain from holding your breath as this causes muscle tension and raises BP, thus causing pressure behind the eye causing focus to alter, the shot to be rushed and therefore off target.

It is worth mentioning some more about sight alignment. Sight Alignment is the relationship between the front sight and the rear sight. The front sight is placed perfectly in the middle of the rear sight. The front sight is even in height (level) with the rear sight. The front sight is squarely in the middle of the rear sight with equal amounts of light on either side of the front sight.

You must keep the sights aligned all the way through the trigger pull. If you move the sights during trigger pull, it will change the point of impact.

Focus and concentrate on the front sight. This will cause several things to happen. The front sight becomes crystal clear sharp. The rear sight and the target become slightly out of focus. This does not mean you can’t see it!