If you’ve recently purchased a handgun, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to get comfortable with your weapon and become a skilled shooter. As with every other skill, shooting a handgun begins with proper training, followed by a lot of practice. As you gain knowledge and experience and practice more, you’ll become more proficient. Every individual is different, so there isn’t a single timeline that applies across the board. The firearms safety education professionals from LTC Austin, a premier provider of Austin license to carry online classes, offer some guidelines that can give you a general idea of how much time you might expect to spend to become a skilled handgun shooter.
Training Is Key
The most important step is learning how your handgun functions and how to handle it properly. This includes knowing how to carry and shoot it safely as well as how to clean, oil, and maintain it so it continues to work correctly. The best kind of training you can get is by taking a course from a professional firearms safety education provider. If you don’t take lessons from a professional, you’re less likely to learn the correct basics of handgun shooting, and you’ll end up practicing bad techniques over and over and reinforcing what you’re doing incorrectly. In a formal class, you’ll have an instructor correcting you when you use incorrect techniques, so you’ll be building good skills instead of reinforcing bad ones.
After you become familiar with how your handgun functions, you’ll need to learn the basics, including how to maintain the proper stance as well as correct grip, sight alignment, and trigger control:
- To assume the correct shooting stance, which is similar to a fighting stance, bring the foot on your non-shooting side slightly forward and point your toes at the target. Make sure your feet are slightly wider than your shoulder width, with a slight bend in the knees and at the waist while leaning toward the target.
- To grip your gun properly, pick it up with your dominant hand. Hold the gun with the space between your thumb and index finger high up on the back of the gun, making sure to keep your fingers and skin clear of the slide. With your index finger placed along the slide, wrap your other fingers around the gun’s grip. Then wrap your other hand around the grip with your thumbs touching. Cover the side of the grip with your palm and lay your fingers over your shooting hand.
- For sight alignment, make sure the sights at the front and rear of the gun are at equal heights when you look through them. When the heights are equal, find equal space between the two sights on each side.
- Finally, to practice trigger control, take your finger off the slide. Focus on the front sight and steady your breathing. With the target in sight and your finger on the trigger, gently squeeze backward and follow through with the shot. Try not to jerk the trigger back in a fast motion. Instead, gradually apply pressure to the trigger until the shot breaks.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have the fundamentals of shooting down, the key is practicing often. Whether you’re a new shooter or an expert, it’s always a good idea to practice with dummy ammo and dry firing. Dry firing refers to simulating the act of firing your weapon without actually using ammunition, and it can be even more important than live fire training at a gun range. In essence, you’ll be doing everything you normally would to fire a shot, but there won’t be any ammo in or near your gun. Dry firing is one of the best (and least expensive) ways for new shooters to learn how to handle their firearms safely as well as how to get comfortable with manipulating their weapons. Even the most experienced shooters dry fire as often as possible to hone their skills, even when off the range.
Try to set aside 10 or 15 minutes a day to perform your dry fire practice drills.
Start by making sure there’s no ammo in or around your gun or the area you’ll be practicing in. Place a target on the wall or choose a particular point to aim at. Follow the directions above regarding stance, grip, sight alignment, and proper trigger control, and start practicing.
When you move on to practicing your live firing skills, practice at different distances to enhance your depth perception. For example, you can start with a target at 7 yards, then move on to one 15 to 25 yards away. Practicing (both dry fire and live fire) must be done on a regular basis, and you must focus on performing the techniques properly every time you shoot so you don’t repeat bad habits that can cause you serious harm. A good rule of thumb is to practice at least once a month, and practicing once a week will help you achieve your goal of becoming a skilled shooter more quickly. In the end, the more time you devote to training and practicing, the better you’ll become. Becoming a skilled handgun shooter requires dedication, repetition, and, most of all, a lot of practice.
Practicing your shooting skills is a big part of making sure you know how to use your gun safely. You can strengthen your knowledge even more by taking an Austin concealed carry online class. Gun owners can count on the firearms education pros from LTC Austin for the highest-quality training available. Give us a call today at 512-766-3039.