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5 Common Mistakes New Shooters Have to Avoid

Beginners are going to make mistakes. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes new shooters make.

Admit it. At one time you were a beginner and made mistakes. We all have and we all do.

We have to start somewhere and learn what is right and wrong. Mistakes are part of the learning process and help to shape our experiences and who we become. This is true even in shooting. When we make mistakes and learn from them, we become better equipped to handle the same or similar situations later on.

If we stop learning, it’s time to move on to something new. That is part of the reason I love the shooting sports and the gun culture. There is always something new to learn.

But I digress. We have all seen new shooters at the range. You can usually tell who they are. They are the ones who may swing the gun around wildly, muzzling everyone. Or they may be tentatively holding the gun because they are a little afraid of it.

Regardless, there are some mistakes that all beginning shooters make that need to be corrected early on before they become bad habits.

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that new shooters make.

  1. “The Lean” – This is where the new shooter will have a tenancy to lean back away from the gun. I can understand why. Essentially, an explosion is going off, basically in your face. That’s enough to make any one want to get away. But you must resist that urge and lean forward into the gun to get a good shot.
  2. Improper Grip – This is where a new shooter holds the gun incorrectly. The two most common are a crossed thumb revolver grip on an semi auto (because they saw the grip on a TV show, used on a revolver of course) or they may use a “Cup and Saucer Grip” on a semi auto. This used to be taught, but is no longer. All shooters should learn how to use a proper thumbs forward grip on a semi auto early on in their experience.
  3. No Muzzle Awareness –  This is when a new shooter flails around with the gun, pointing the muzzle in all sorts of directions. This happens after shooting successfully, after the magazine is empty, or after being surprised at early successes. Getting so excited you forget the simple rule of not pointing a gun at anyone else is an easy thing to do, but one to be avoided.
  4. No Trigger Discipline – This is also known as the “Trigger Finger Magnet.” It’s almost like the new shooter’s trigger finger is magically drawn to the little handle in the trigger guard to hold the gun. This happens regardless of whether they are ready to shoot or not.
  5. “The Flinch” – When we are witness to a loud noise and recoil, our natural reaction is to flinch away from that noise. However, when shooting, we can’t flinch or we miss our target. Sometimes new shooters start to flinch even before the round goes off. That’s bad too, as it will negatively impact the shot. New shooters have to train themselves to ignore the loud boom and follow through the shot.

Videos to Check Out

There is nothing to be ashamed if you are guilty of any of these common mistakes. We all make them; they’re common for a reason. It happens.

If you learn from them and move forward, you will be much better off.  Now go out and practice to get better.

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5 Common Mistakes New Shooters Have to Avoid