Aiming a pistol during practice at a shooting range

Top Tips to Improve Shooting Accuracy

When you visit Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show, you’ll find the guns you want and the gear and accessories you need to improve accuracy. Precision shooting is necessary, whether you own a gun for self-defense, to put food on the table, or if you carry in the line of duty. From hobbyists to professionals, becoming a better shot is a responsible part of gun ownership that will help you get more from your Second Amendment rights while also improving your familiarity and safety with your weapon. While not everyone will have what it takes to become a certified marksman who’s ready for a Hollywood action movie, every gun owner does have the ability to improve their accuracy with the right tools, tips, and techniques to meet their shooting needs.

The Link Between Accuracy and Safety

Woman learning how to aim a firearm at a gun safety class

It’s Basic Gun Safety 101 that you know your target, know what’s around and behind your target, and that you don’t point your weapon at anything you don’t want to destroy. As you improve accuracy, you’re better focused on your sight picture, the larger environment you’re operating in, and you have more familiarity with using your gun. When you build this practice on safe gun handling techniques, you make better decisions with your weapon. 

More than Just a Good Shot

When we’re talking about the link between accuracy, we’re talking about more than just that first round. Precision shooting means putting the bullets where you want them to go round after round instead of hyper-focusing on that single, magical bullet that’s first up in your magazine or cylinder. Accuracy takes a reliable weapon, the right knowledge, and the muscle memory to put both together for the practical application of shooting a target. There are a lot of variables to consider, including lighting, movement, recoil, and environmental conditions. When you want to improve accuracy, you start by understanding where your shooting skills need further development.

Tips For Your Weapon

The first part of the equation is making sure you have the gun and gear you need for better shooting. While you can probably reach a certain level of aptitude with most, if not all, widely available guns, choosing the right one and making sure you have the parts, accessories, and gear to back it up makes the process easier and quicker.

  • Gun Size – If you’re planning on going for a smaller gun because you think it means it’s easier to handle, you might be in for a rude awakening. Smaller guns usually have less mass and less travel distance for their recoil spring to absorb the kinetic energy being transferred to your arm. If recoil is a concern, look for a pistol with a full-size frame or revolver with a barrel at least 4” long in a “mid-range” caliber like the 9mm, .40S&W, or .38SPL. These are great all-around choices for self-defense or the range, and the larger weapon will keep recoil manageable.
  • Precision Optics – Adding better sights is a great way to improve accuracy. Red dot and reflex sights give you faster target acquisition and a bright aiming point for precision shooting. There are plenty of models available with cutting-edge features like shake-to-awake power-saving modes and brightness adjustments.
  • Managing Recoil – If your gun is still bucking too much for you to handle, it’s time to look at improving your recoil management. For some models, this could mean replacing the recoil spring with a beefier option. You may also consider having a gunsmith port your weapon, machining holes into the barrel and slide to allow venting gasses to counteract muzzle flip. If your gun has a threaded barrel, aftermarket compensators may be available that screw directly onto your weapon to improve its handling.
  • Brace Yourself – A different stock on your long gun or a brace for your pistol might make all the difference in helping improve your stability while shooting. These can give you more leverage for better weapon control and help redistribute the recoil properly to improve accuracy for subsequent rounds.

Techniques That Improve Accuracy

Man practicing shooting his firearm to improve accuracy

You have the tools, and now it’s time to work on your talent. A lot goes into getting the most out of your gun, but there are some basic techniques that most shooters can start with when improving accuracy. These foundational skills are so important that while frequently taught to beginners, the best marksmen and shooters in the world will still take the time to fine-tune, tweak, and otherwise work on them to keep them at the pinnacle of their craft.

  • Just Squeeze It – Make sure that you’re squeezing the trigger smoothly and consistently if you want to improve accuracy. There’s a tendency to jerk the trigger, or in the case of higher trigger pull-weights, to try to wrestle and overpower it into submission. Smooth, easy, consistent movements will keep your barrel pointed where you want it.
  • Get Low – Remember that your stability is dependent on the foundation you create with your lower body. Keep your feet at least shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. A low, wide stance improves your ability to absorb the shock of recoil while keeping your feet “live” in tactical or dynamic target shooting situations.
  • Dress For Success – We’ve all seen someone do the hot casing shuffle, and I think we can all agree we don’t want to be in their place. Make sure you dress for the range, including eye and hearing protection, not only for safety but to improve accuracy. Dressing for real life when you go to the range means the skills you practice will feel more familiar in a self-defense situation, plus it lets you focus on precision shooting, not whether that ejected casing is going to end up down your tank top.
  • Let It Happen – If you’re seeing a slump in accuracy as your day at the range gets longer, you could be having a problem with anticipation. As the body absorbs recoil after recoil, we start to anticipate it, tightening up or “moving into it” to reduce the shock. Take a break, let it go, and when you get back on the line, mindfully focus on your trigger pull, allowing it to break cleanly without anticipating it.

Precision Shooting Drills

When you want to focus on improving accuracy, these drills are a great place to start. They work on some of the core skills involved in precision shooting to help you fine-tune your techniques.

  • Dry Fire Training – Dry firing a weapon is safe for most modern center-fire handguns and long guns, and it’s a cheap way to get in some trigger reps. Make sure your gun is unloaded and that you have an area set up to work in without someone wandering through. Choose an aiming point and work on your trigger technique. To upgrade your training at your next gun show, look for laser dry-fire systems and special dry-fire magazines that make cycling your next dry shot easier.
  • Brace Yourself (Again) – Using a bench rest next time you’re at the range can help you sight in your weapon, isolate your trigger technique in a live-fire setting, and help you work on better understanding how your shooting stance or trigger technique are affecting your gun in use. 
  • Just Do It – Finally, there’s no substitute for good reps and consistent practice at your local shooting range. Make sure you’re putting in the time and effort needed to improve your accuracy and gun-handling skills.

Get Your Precision Shooting Gear

Vendors from across the country are coming to your neighborhood with the top firearms, parts, accessories, and related gear that you’ve been looking for. They’ll bring their best, you bring your pocketbook, and we’ll make sure you have a clean, comfortable exhibit hall with paid security provided on-site. Book your tickets online to your next Eagle Shows gun show today.

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