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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Building the Foundation

In my last piece I spoke of the fundamentals of marksmanship, and promised a practice method would follow. Wait no more, here it is. The following will provide a few methods that are pretty well universally accepted as appropriate and effective means to taking the fundamentals, and building your foundation in marksmanship. As this piece is geared toward beginners, I will tailor my firearm suggestions to that end. While the same methods apply just as much to .50BMG as they do to .22LR, cost and the potential to develop a nasty flinch widely seperate the two.

For the purpose of general practice, and the development of good marksmanship skills I suggest the following pistols, rifles, and calibers.


Browning Buckmark, .22LR

CZ75 (Cadet), 9mm (.22LR Conversion)

Remington Model 572, .22LR

Savage 11FXP30, .223 Remington
None of these firearms will break the bank, and all of them fire widely available and inexpensive ammunition. As an added bonus, each of the listed firearms are of a high quality, and are more than accurate enough to boost confidence. The goal here is to spend a little and get a lot.

The Dime/Washer Drill:

This technique works wonders in the world of stability, breathing, and trigger control. The dime/washer drill is also free (or very close to it.) I would not recommend this on a striker fired weapon, so we'll go with centerfire only for this drill. For this drill you'll need a straight rod that fits snug in your barrel, and as the name implies a dime or washer (any coin should work).

How does it work? First thing's first, clear your weapon. Drop the magazine and cycle the action, release the cylinder and press the ejector rod, do whatever is required to cycle the action and visually verify that the chamber is clear. Now, take the rod and place it in the barrel such that between 2" and 4" protrude beyond the muzzle. Now, take your coin, and balance it on the rod. Usually you can manage this solo with a pistol, but with a rifle you need a partner to do the coin balancing for you while you maintain a steady firing position. The goal here is to aim at a safe point, preferably a target with a solid backstop, and from a steady position, execute a smooth trigger squeeze. When your position, breathing and trigger squeeze all come together properly the hammer will fall and the coin will remain balanced on the rod. If you have a double action/single action (DA/SA) pistol, you might want to do this drill both through the double action pull, and the single action pull.

At the Range:

Once you have reached the point with the dime/washer drill where more often than not, the coin remains on the rod after the hammer falls it is time to head to the range for some live fire exercises. Still being aimed at new shooters, things like controlled pairs, weak side shooting, and other more advanced methods will be ignored for now. The key, as I see it, has been said many times before "Aim small, Miss small". If you practice aiming at, and hitting small targets - aiming at, and hitting large ones becomes much easier. For new shooters, I'll suggest a range of less than 10m for pistol practice initially, and 100m or less for centerfire rifle (50m or less for rimfire). You can use the same targets for both, download one here.

For pistol and rifle, I suggest the same practice routine, scoped or not. Load the firearm, and take time to get a good sight picture, and fire three rounds using the fundamentals of marksmanship and a consistent point of aim. Repeat this on each target on the page, and as many targets as you have posted. For a range session, do not continue firing when fatigued, shoot 30 to 50 rounds. Slowly firing three round groups will allow for two things - sight adjustment if necessary, and a means to gauge any problems with your fundamentals. Provided proper execution of the fundamentals, and a consistent point of aim, you should have nice tight groups on the paper. If that group is not in the center of the target, a sight adjustment is necessary to shift the group to the center of the target. Do NOT adjust your point of aim to put rounds in the center of the target.

That's all for now, happy shooting. Next time, I'll cover some more advanced techniques.


If you have any other firearm suggestions, I'm more than open to adding them - those were just what I could think of right off the top of my head.


Discussion Starter · #2 ·
if you see odd boxes instead of punctuation - let me know... this machine (.mil property) apparently doesn't handle UTF-8.
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