There are many different ideas when it comes to “marksmanship” in the shooting world. What is a good place to start or a basic standard for marksmanship.
There needs to be an understanding that the basic standard is testing to evaluate whether you know and can apply the fundamentals of marksmanship. This is a baseline of sorts. We all need to start somewhere. If we take a moment to review the fundamentals of marksmanship it would ensure we are all on the same sheet of music. This represents the very minimum knowledge necessary to be successful. Without knowing these five elements, the shooter does not meet the minimum standard. As we see them, here is a list in chronological sequence of marksmanship fundamentals.
- Trigger control
- Follow through
Knowing Is Not Enough
Knowing the fundamentals is the first step and honestly the easiest. The hard part will come in applying the fundamentals consistently. As we apply the elements of marksmanship they will need to be performed to a minimum standard to be successful. Within the position, your stance should be athletic and action biased, meaning you have good balance and muscular tension throughout your body with a forward leaning attitude. Grip places both hands optimally on the firearm to allow constant tension through the firing starting with the pinkies and does not interfere with trigger control. Aiming is made up of sight alignment and sight picture. Sight alignment is achieved when the front sight is at the same height as the rear sight and there is equal spacing of the front sight between the rear sight. Sight picture is superimposing sight alignment on the intended target and holding through the firing. Trigger control starts with proper placement of the trigger finger so it contacts only the face of the trigger. When properly placed this allows the trigger finger to move the trigger straight to the rear without disrupting your aim. Follow through is the active recovery of the firearm back on target with muscular tension. It begins the moment the projectile has left the barrel by returning the barrel back to the target, the re-aiming or confirming your sights and finishes with resetting the trigger to allow trigger control to begin again if required. Knowing is not enough, you must consistently apply each of these five elements every time you intend on firing.
Beginner Pistol Test
Use this drill to test your knowledge and application of the fundamentals. It should be performed in the very beginning of your range session where you have no warm up. The goal is to score a 70% or higher for five times in a row to truly meet the minimum standard. Take a picture of your target and keep it as a reference for future range sessions. You can even print out the TRICON B8 target to make it easier. The test is performed from the 10 yard line, requires 10 rounds and a timer. You can use the timer on your mobile device, but set it for 7 seconds to allow you time to safely hit start. If you have a shot timer, then set the par time for 5 seconds. There are four stages to this test, the last stage is the only stage performed from the holster if allowed. If drawing from the holster is not allowed or you do not know how, then start from the ready position. We define the ready position as both hands properly gripping the firearm with the trigger finger straight on the home position and the muzzle pointing down at a 45 degree angle.
- Aimed in on target, fire 1 round
- From ready position, fire 4 rounds
- From ready position, fire 3 rounds one handed
- From holster position, fire 2 rounds
After your have competed the drill, score your target. Each round is 10 points for a maximum score of 100. If a round cuts the line, count it as the lower score. To score 70% means you cannot miss more than 30 points. Good luck.