A firearm is only as good as the person who is shooting it. You can spend $600 on a new 4th generation GLOCK 4 semi auto pistol, but it's not going to yield any benefit unless you know how to shoot it, safely and accurately. Thankfully, there are several ways to practice and hone your shooting skills. Here's how. . .
Practicing with your firearm doesn't always mean taking a special trip to the shooting range. You can also practice at home by dry-firing your gun. The term “dry firing” refers to drawing, readying, aiming, reloading, and otherwise practicing with an unloaded firearm (the keyword being unloaded).
Some people also practice pulling the trigger when dry-firing their gun, but many experts advice against this for two different reasons: first and foremost, there's the issue of safety. Pulling the trigger may result in an accidental discharge if you forget to empty the chamber. Second, dry firing certain firearms – particularly older model rimfire pistols – may damage the chamber.
The Shooting Range
Dry firing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with your gun and its respective components, but it pales in comparison to live firing practice. If you want to brush up on your shooting skills, find a shooting range in your area. There are thousands of shooting ranges scattered throughout the country, some of which are indoors and others are outdoors. Here, you can bring your own firearm to shoot targets at various distances. Some shooting ranges even have guns to rent, allowing you to test other firearms to see which one is best suited for your needs.
If you plan on visiting a shooting range, it's recommended that you bring hearing protection and ANSI-standard impact-resistant eyewear. Most shooting ranges will rent these customers, but you can save money by buying them elsewhere.
Practice on Your Property
Depending on where you live, you may able to practice shooting on your property. Laws regarding where firearms can be fired varies between the different state and local jurisdictions. Some areas allow residents to shoot on their property if they live outside the city limits and a X amount of feet away from any major roads. Check with your local police department to determine whether or not you can legally shoot on your property.
Improve Your Grip Strength
Don't underestimate the importance of grip strength when shooting a firearm. Failure to hold a semi-automatic pistol tight enough may cause it to jam. This is due to the fact that semi-automatic pistols use the force produced by firing to sling the slide back while feeding a new bullet into the chamber.
So, how can you improve your grip strength? In addition to dry firing, you may also want to invest in a handheld grip strengthener. This device feature a spring-resistant grip handle that you hold and squeeze. Whether you are working in the office, sitting in traffic, or watching TV at home, you can use this device to improve your grip strength.
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Mitch Barrie.