Everyone wants to be the shooter who makes the perfect shot every time. Having a discussion recently with someone, who was not a hunter but had just recently watched a hunting video where the game did not drop instantly, this point became even more significant. The reality is that it takes a lot of skill and practice to make the perfect shot. When you watch review and hunting videos, most of the time, you only see the successes, not the failures.
Some things make you a better shooter, and some bad habits cause you problems for decades. How do you embrace and develop good habits and learn to work out the bad ones? Let’s talk about that right now.
Common Bad Habits
There are a few bad habits that shooters develop if they don’t have proper instruction. One of the most common is less a habit and more a mindset: too much importance on the gear. Some of the common statements are: “If only I had a better scope” or “if the trigger pull was lighter” or “if this airgun had more power.” While all of those can certainly help with accuracy to a point, there are many shooters, take the folks over in the UK, who are incredible shots, all shooting low powered, low caliber guns. They are good shooters because their gear forces them to be better shooters. If you want to improve, stop blaming the equipment and start looking at the person pulling the trigger.
When it comes to bad shooting habits, much of it comes from:
- poor trigger control
- poor follow-through
- lack of quality trigger time
When we speak of trigger time here, it’s not just shooting things up in the backyard, but rather, trigger time with a purpose. Trigger time needs to be designed to help you work out the various hitches in your giddyup. The specific mistakes that cause you to pull, push, or otherwise miss the mark.
Pick the Right Airgun
We’ve said it many times, airguns are a great way to get in regular trigger time, and in the end, that’s what it’s going to take to develop good habits and work out the bad ones.
The best place to start is not with a super high-end airgun, but rather a solid performing airgun that causes you to work a little for it. Maybe the trigger isn’t a match-grade trigger, and the stock isn’t’ fully customizable. Many airguns fit this profile. One of the best options is the Benjamin Marauder. It’s price point and feature set make it perfect as a practical training piece. It doesn’t matter that it’s been around for well over ten years now. It’s still a great starter airgun and can help make you a better shooter. It’s not the only option on the market, but it’s a good one.
Start Big & Work Towards Small
There was a line in a movie that said, “aim small miss small.” Here’s how it works (and it’s opposite to what you may think). The way you get to that point is actually to start big and start close.
Start with a three-inch black dot and just work at putting all your shots into that target. Begin at 20 yards and then work your way out to 50 yards or beyond. Once you can put all your shots into that circle at all ranges, reduce the circle to two inches and repeat. You’ll find that your focus and your attention to the mechanics will increase.
Eventually, you’ll be putting all your shots into that two-inch circle. With that mastered, you can go for the holy grail and go down to a one-inch target. Here’s what you’ll work on along the way.
Finding the right shooting rest can be a challenge. Some folks will use bags, others use bipods, or even full rifle rests like the Caldwell lead sled. If you want to work on your technique and develop your skillset, then going with just a front rest and forcing yourself to learn stability, trigger control, and follow-through will pay off down the road.
Also, while multi-shot fast shooting airguns are fun, it doesn’t yield the best results for accuracy. Shooting a single shot is going to force you to slow everything down and focus on your technique.
Two of the Worst
The two primary causes for poor accuracy, equipment issues not part of the equation, come down to trigger control and follow-through. During the pull of the trigger, the hammer is released, which impacts the valve, which sends the pellet down the barrel. Forces applied during this critical event can push or pull shots off target, and it does not take much. Disciplined trigger time will help you become much more consistent in this regard.
The next biggie is follow-through. Follow-through is what happens after you pull the trigger. The time after you’ve heard the hammer strike the valve and the shot is underway. Our brains register “all done” when in fact, the pellet is still traveling down the barrel. If we pull up to check our work or move at all, the shot is pushed or pulled off course. As with the discipline to learn consistent trigger pull, so is the discipline to learn and practice good follow-through. It’s quality trigger time with a purpose that will help you develop both.
Time to get on the road to better marksmanship!
As we mentioned above, many airguns currently on the market are perfect for helping shooters develop good shooting habits. But, with all those options come a lot of questions. That’s where we come in. If you need help finding just the right setup to get started, then give us a call here at Airgun Depot, and we’ll be happy to help you put together the perfect setup customized just for you!