How to Improve Your Marksmanship (and Why You Should)


If you own a firearm, or if you like shooting them, you understand the importance of marksmanship. Achieving better firing accuracy is a testament to the work you put into your weapon, and it can have both practical and personal benefits.

The question is, how can you reliably improve your marksmanship, and what are the benefits of this process?

How to Improve Your Marksmanship

If you want to improve your marksmanship, these are some of the best strategies:

  •         Choose the right weapon. You’ll want to start by choosing the right weapon. Some weapons are much more accurate and favorable to competitive marksmanship than others. For example, the AR-15 rifle is one of the most popular options for marksmanship competitions due to its reliability and versatility. It’s also a good idea to choose a weapon you genuinely like, so you’ll be much more inclined to practice.
  •         Invest in the right mods. A modular weapon will allow you some degree of customization, so take advantage of it. Depending on your goals, you might invest in a scope for your weapon, or a set of sights that makes it easier to aim. You might also invest in a grip or stock that makes the weapon more comfortable to hold.
  •         Practice. It shouldn’t surprise you that the secret to becoming an expert marksman is to practice. You have to fire regularly if you want to improve. The more you go to the firing range, and the more you learn from your mistakes, the better you’re going to get. According to some reports, it takes about 20 hours to learn a new skill, and possibly up to 10,000 hours to truly master it.
  •         Head to different firing ranges. You may love your local firing range, but it’s going to give you the same experience every time you go. If you want to get better at shooting, it’s important to go to a variety of different ranges. Different ranges will have different rules, different settings, and different types of environments; for example, you should practice at both indoor and outdoor ranges to get the full experience.
  •         Use different targets. Similarly, it’s a good idea to use different types of targets. This will help expose you to different situations, and train you to use your weapon in different ways.
  •         Experiment with different weapons. Once you start to become familiar with one weapon, consider experimenting with different types of weapons. Each firearm has something unique to bring to the table and may teach you different principles of accuracy and discipline. When you return to your main weapon, you may find yourself seeing and using it with new perspective.

The Benefits

So what are the benefits of improving your marksmanship?

  •         Hunting. If you like hunting, you’ll understand the benefits of better accuracy immediately; you’ll be able to shoot your targets more reliably, and possibly from a greater distance. If you’ve ever had prey escape due to a missed shot, you’ll know just how important accuracy can be.
  •         Self-defense. Marksmanship is also important for self-defense. If you’re in a dangerous situation, you need to be able to reliably fire at your target—and not hit anything or anyone else. Under pressure, this can be incredibly difficult, but it’s much easier if you’ve mastered the fundamentals in a low-pressure, low-stakes environment.
  •         Competition potential. If you keep getting better at marksmanship, you may be able to enter professional competitions. Sufficiently skilled marksmen can win prize money and experience the thrill of competition at local tournaments. It’s not something everyone can do, but if you practice enough, you may get to this level.
  •         Confidence. No matter what, improving your marksmanship will increase your confidence. Owning and competently using a weapon can make you feel more powerful by itself; once you feel good about your ability to hit targets consistently, you’ll feel even more powerful. Additionally, improving any skill can make you feel more confident in other areas of your life.
  •         Discipline. If you want to increase your accuracy, you need to exercise discipline. You’ll need to practice consistently, take note of your weaknesses, and strive to improve them with diligence. This can help you exercise discipline in other areas of your life as well.
  •         Community. Finally, improving your marksmanship and regularly going to the shooting range can give you a sense of community. You’ll meet lots of interesting new people, you can trade tips with other enthusiasts, and you can gather to compete in a friendly environment.

Improving your marksmanship isn’t a one-time effort; it’s something to work on consistently, over the course of years, or maybe for the rest of your life. The more you improve and the more you learn about marksmanship, the more fulfilling you’ll find the endeavor—and the more benefits you’ll see in action. 


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