The Hierarchy of Shooting Fundamentals

The shooting “fundamentals” can’t simply be applied perfectly and simultaneously when learning how to shoot. When problems occur in the shooting process it is beneficial for a shooter to have a tower of building blocks to disassemble and rebuild. This allows a shooter to locate and repair the damaged building block to start shooting better.  This is our take on the building blocks of shooting.

The building blocks consist of four main elements:

1. Aiming

2.Trigger Press

3. Grip

4. Stance

Which shooting fundamental is the most important?

Developing a consistent ability to aim the firearm and maintain the aiming point during the firing process is the basis of shooting at a high level. However, there is an important hierarchy in the building blocks or fundamentals of shooting.

The highest value is in the lowest building blocks as they create a strong base for a shooter to shine as the tower grows higher. Once the four main building blocks are established to create consistent accuracy on target, the advanced skills can be stacked on top to create a full skillset. 

A firearm is a tool that requires the line from the muzzle to the target to remain consistent through the entire procedure of firing the gun. Therefore, we can picture these building blocks being built from the ground up and starting with aiming.

Aiming is the first and most important building block because if the firearm is not pointed properly at the intended target, then the last three building blocks will not assist in getting the round where we want it to go. 

The trigger press is the final input into the gun and the last thing that can affect your most important building block, which is your point of aim. The shooter must develop a finely tuned relationship between their point of aim and the milisecond of trigger break that could drastically change the result downrange. This is why the trigger press is often the most difficult building block to master for shooters and is normally the element of shooting that requires the most amount of time to deeply understand. 

The grip you establish on the firearm can greatly disturb your point of aim, and even your trigger press if the grip is inadequately applied. When we apply a good grip on the firearm it assists with providing less movement from your point of aim and gives more cushion for a sloppy or fast trigger press. A proper grip also provides the shooter with a repeatable position for the gun to return to after the gun recoils and cycles a new round.  

Lastly, stance is the positioning of the body behind the gun. We can think of this as a platform or tripod for the gun to be held inline with your chosen point of aim. There are many positions in shooting that demand different body positions behind the gun, some of which offer more stability than others.

Shooting accurately can be simplified into two steps:

1. Choose your point of aim on target

2. Press the trigger without affecting your point of aim on target

That’s it.

We can accomplish both of those steps with a very poor grip and very poor stance, which is why these building blocks fall to the bottom of the list in terms of first round accuracy. Grip and stance will however greatly assist us in pointing the gun where we want it to go on presentation and landing repeatable follow-up rounds on target at speed. This is why each building block must receive individual, meaningful practice to refine, so that they culminate in a strong foundation of shooting ability. There is no secret to masterful shooting. Perfecting these building blocks so that they can be subconsciously applied at a high level while focusing on other tasks is what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

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