The ABCs of Handgun Marksmanship

by
posted on September 15, 2009
200991593123-abcs-017_fs.jpg

At some unknown point in time, an instructor stepped before a group of men and began to speak about the management of a curious artifact known as a pistol. It may have been a Texan speaking to a company of Rangers who had just received their new Patersons. Or maybe it was later or even much earlier—I don't know, because I wasn't there. But I do remember with crystal clarity the voice of my late father as I stood before a target and lifted a loaded Colt pistol for the first time. His message stays with me to this day: "There's not a reason in the world to shoot unless you intend to hit. You hit when you line up the sights."

He had more to say of course, but I will spare you further wistful remembrances of a .22 Ace in a basement range. The matter at hand is a simple one—the principles by which you hit a distant target with a bullet fired from a handgun. The essence of what I was taught then and what is taught at a good school today is the same. Happily enough, our understanding of what to teach and how to teach it has evolved a bit. That is particularly true in the light of many new handgun sports, as well as new types of handguns that have come into common use in modern times.

The basic message remains the same—stick to the principles, apply them to the situation. I must note that many books and manuals on the subject do exist, just as there are hundreds of good instructors doing their work for the uninitiated. The message from the good ones is pretty much the same, but the principles might sometimes be organized and/or taught differently. I believe there are five principles: Grip, Stance, Aiming, Trigger Management and Follow-Through. They are the "ABCs of Handgun Marksmanship." They should be viewed not as five principles, but rather as five steps on a stairway to success. See them as a linked chain of controlled and codependent events that produce on-target hits....

Latest

Maynard Carbine
Maynard Carbine

I Have This Old Gun: Maynard Carbine

Six years after his tape primer’s appearance, Dr. Maynard debuted a unique drop-barrel carbine. It was light, simple and easy to operate. One merely lowered a lever to permit the gun’s barrel to tilt downward off the frame and expose the chamber.

Editor’s Choice: Dementia And Firearm Safety

The 64-page booklet put out by DementiaEducation, Inc., discusses the topic of Alzheimer’s disease and the other causes of dementia with particular emphasis on how they impact responsible firearm ownership and use.

The Armed Citizen® Jan. 30, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

New For 2023: Glock 47 MOS

Designed initially as a contract gun for United States Customs & Border Protection agents, the Glock 47 MOS is now available to the commercial market.

Preview: Nebo Slim+ 1200

Nebo’s Slim+ 1200 is a multifunctional tool that carries very easily within a pants pocket or a purse, thanks to its convenient footprint.

Glass Bedding A Rifle Stock

Stock bedding isn’t the quickest and easiest process, but it can be done—and done well—with the proper preparation, tools and patience.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.