Fundamental 6: Guns, Rhythm and Dancing with the Devil

As a new shooter learning the fundamentals, the devil is in the details. The dance we all perform when shooting looks something like this:

  1. Draw to your practiced presentation, ending where your front sight is on target, your focus is on the front sight and the slack is taken out of the trigger.
  2. Concentrate visually on the front sight. Concentrate your mind on the tension in your hands. You don’t let the tension change, it doesn’t loosen or tighten.
  3. Press the trigger slow enough so that the sight alignment is not disturbed. At first this will be a slow press. Over time you will speed it up.
  4. The pistol goes off and recoils. Don’t try to stop the recoil. Just let your grip take the recoil until the pistol stops moving.
  5. Quickly reset the trigger. At the same time bring the pistol front sight back down to the center of the target (at first use the same small dot target that is used at home.)
  6. Once back on target transfer your focus to the front sight and start the process over again.

At first you have to practice these steps one at a time. As you become efficient at each step you may notice that you do a step the same way at the same speed every time. This means you are shooting this cycle in a rhythm. This is not the same as making the pistol go off in a rhythm. Anyone can just make the gun go off in a rhythm and miss. Concentrate on mastering each part of the above cycle. Let the rhythm happen as you perfect each step and repeat them at the same speed.

As you shoot accurately at a certain distance you can then speed up. Concentrate on doing the cycle faster, with less of a pause between the steps. As you speed up too much the process will break down and you will start to miss your target. This is where you get better. Concentrate on each step and get the bullets going back into the six-inch circle.

You can then move farther from your target and slow back down again, keeping most of the rounds inside the six-inch circle. If you start getting about ten percent out of the circle, slow down and concentrate. During all of this speeding up, slowing down and moving to different distances the only thing that changes in the process is the degree to which you line up your sights and the speed you press the trigger. Such as at 25 yards, I align my sights and press the trigger more precisely than I do at 5 yards. Do the other steps as fast as you can safely perform them without disturbing the sight alignment, no matter what the distance, target size or speed you shoot.

Shooting fast is about efficiently doing the steps. If you are missing the target you must slow down and visually concentrate on the target and front sight. As a person increases their speed they often try to get so efficient that they have no pause between steps. An example is that when you reset the trigger while placing the front sight back on the target. You must have a small pause after you are back on target there before you press the trigger. When experienced it might be a microsecond, but your hands and finger must stop moving before pressing.



  1. Pingback: Example Practice Range Session | Just One Gun
  2. Pingback: Example Practice Range Session | justonegun

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