30% of Americans own at least one gun.
And, according to the same source, another 11% live with somebody else who does.
That’s a total of 41% of the population living with guns in their lives. And you can bet your bottom dollar that rifles make up a significant proportion of those firearms.
However, there’s an almighty difference between owning a weapon and knowing how to use it.
To fire a rifle for the first time is to understand the reality of the task. You realize that shooting a rifle isn’t easy; that proficiency takes practice and perseverance.
Only with an ongoing commitment to mastery can you expect to become a first-class marksman.
Thankfully, a few tips and tricks can make a mighty difference. Are you looking to improve your rifle shooting abilities?
Read on for 6 pro tips on how to properly shoot a rifle.
1. Don’t Rush the Shot
Successful shooting rarely happens in a rush.
After all, even the slightest wobble can impact your accuracy when you’re aiming at a distant target. Only by taking your time will you keep everything steady.
Tell yourself to pause, breathe, and take stock before pulling the trigger. Squeeze gently at the end of your exhale. This is when you’re most composed, motionless, and stable.
Slowing down in this way should ensure that you’re calm throughout the process. You’ll avoid any inadvertent jerkiness, minimize movement, and become more consistent as a result.
2. Practice the Trigger Pull
Pulling the trigger is deceptive.
It seems like the easiest thing in the world.
However, you soon discover that reality is very different. The trigger pull is a skill in its own right; mastering it is essential if you’re going to become a better marksman.
And, like our previous tip would suggest, the key to success is slowing things down. You can’t snatch at the trigger and expect positive results.
You’ll cause a wobble that sends the round off-target every time.
Practice dry firing at home. Remove the ammo, set up the rifle in a firing position (on a rest), and get used to pulling the trigger. Ease into the squeeze, gently building the pressure until the trigger breaks and fires.
3. Keep Your Head Steady
Picture yourself at the range.
You’re aiming through the scope, down-range at your target. You’re in a perfect position, cheek to stock and rifle on the rest.
Having practiced the trigger pull at home you’re confident in your ability. You breathe in, out, hold, and squeeze the trigger. But then you raise your head up slightly from the stock as it fires!
It’s another common issue for new marksmen and your guess is as good as ours why it happens. One theory is that it’s an instinctive reaction to look at the target. But it doesn’t matter. The result is the same:
Endeavor to keep your cheek fixed to the stock at all times throughout the shot. It’s the best way to avoid any last-second movement that can impact your grouping.
4. Adapt to the Recoil
The rifle’s recoil is another common cause of accuracy issues.
Consciously or otherwise, the shooter anticipates the recoil, tenses up, and sends the round off-target. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix here. Your rifle’s going to have a recoil and it’s up to you to get used to it.
Having said that, having a rifle that’s an appropriate caliber and size will make a positive difference. From there, think about getting in some more dry-fire practice to start feeling more comfortable with the weapon.
Another possible solution is to experiment with new shooting positions. Each stance you take will impact the effect of the recoil. Find one that minimizes the problem until you become accustomed to it.
5. Get Your Positioning Right
As we just mentioned, not every shooting position is made equal!
The one you choose will have a major impact on the difficulty level involved.
For instance, imagine firing from a prone position with your rifle resting on a shooting bench. Now think about firing from a standing position, holding the weapon in both hands. You’d feel a marked difference in the stability of the rifle.
In the first scenario, everything is stationary and the weapon’s supported by a fixed object (such as carbon fiber bipods). From standing, though, you have to provide your own support and somehow minimize your body’s movement. Don’t try to run before you can walk!
A new shooter should aim to progress through the positions and their related difficulty. Start in the prone position and gradually build up through sitting, then kneeling, and finally to standing.
6. Go Shooting More!
At the end of the day, shooting is a skill like any other.
It takes time and effort to master. By virtue of that fact, you can always expect room for improvement—especially if you’re new to the game.
Think of it like learning an instrument.
You’re going to suck for the first few months that you try to play it. You’ll be the curse of the household, frustrating family members at every turn. And it’s totally natural. The only way to get better is to keep practicing. Eventually, you’ll be a guitar-playing maestro.
And so it is with shooting a rifle. Inexperience is the number one reason that your marksmanship isn’t perfect. The best way to rectify the situation? Go shooting!
Get down to the range as often as you can and you’ll soon be a crack shot.
Start Shooting a Rifle Like a Pro
Millions of Americans own a firearm.
However, you can guarantee that a far smaller percentage knows how to operate it proficiently. That’s bad news if the weapon in question is a rifle.
Because shooting a rifle is hard! It takes a serious investment of time and effort to become a quality marksman. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, then you’ll never master the weapon.
Hopefully, if you’re in the process of putting in the effort, the tips in this post will facilitate your learning. Read more articles like this in the Lifestyle section of the website now.