One handed shooting

This month’s e-postal match involves a 2nd target that has to be fired at with one hand; some people have noted that they’re not too good at single hand shooting. While I don’t represent myself to be an expert on shooting with one hand by any means, I spent the majority of my college years shooting in the NRA Collegiate Pistol program. All of the shooting I did for score was with my “strong hand”.

A lot of handgun shooters started off shooting with both hands on the pistol, so it’s actually more difficult to make the transition to single handed shooting; of course the basics of sight picture and trigger control are the same, but there are a few key differences. Because I can’t think of anything else to write about, I’m going to give some tips, tricks, and common pitfalls of single-handed bullseye shooting.

Relax – easily the most important part of single handed shooting is to just relax. The same as with two hands on the gun, don’t try to force your shot. When you only have one hand on the gun, I guarantee that you will miss wildly if you force the shot.

Take your time – Since you’re only using one arm, you’ll tire out quicker. You’ll also realize how freakin’ heavy some of your guns are, trying to hold them out at arm’s length. Take your time in between shots and put the gun down on the bench. This will help you keep your focus, since you won’t be getting as tired from holding the gun out.

Breathe – I use my breathing to establish a rhythm for each shot. Gun down on the bench – deep breathe in. Raise gun to target – let half breath out. Press-trigger – finish exhale. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Don’t overtravel – This one is great, it will save you time and energy. When you’re bringing the gun up from the bench/rest/low ready, don’t raise the gun so the sights are higher than the target and then “settle down” into the target. By going past the target and then coming back onto it, you’re just wasting energy and arm strength. Try to bring the gun up slowly and under control so that you raise the gun directly to the target.

Don’t lock your elbow – Another bad habit that I have to consciously fight off is locking my elbow. When you lock your elbow, the only muscles supporting the weight of your gun and arm are the muscles located in your shoulder. By keeping your elbow unlocked (very slightly bent) you engage the bicep muscle in addition to the shoulder muscles. This will help you stay on target and reduce float in your sight picture.

Remember – Your sight picture is going to float a lot more than it does with two hands on the gun. Relax, relax, relax, don’t rush the shot. If you feel like rushing, just put the gun down.

I used to love bulleye competitions, and that’s stuck with me. Some people like to shoot fast. Some people like to shoot big guns. Some people like to shoot a lot. As much as I enjoy combat shooting, I enjoy bullseye shooting much, much more. For me, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in shooting tiny little groups.

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