Shooting as a sport is one of the most entertaining activities you can ever hop into. Whether it is clay shooting and its variables, hunting, bird shooting, or target shooting – it is always super fun.
But being fun doesn’t mean it is easy. While shooting a gun may be one of the simplest things, hitting targets (especially flying ones), can be much more complicated than it seems.
If you’re a beginner, you’re probably already familiar with the feeling of not hitting a single target in many shots. And sure enough, it happens to almost everyone.
But don’t worry. No matter the type of shooting your doing – we’re going to show you a few tips you can follow to improve your shooting experience.
It will not only be about hitting targets every time, but also about safety, comfort, relaxation, and having fun.
So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading and learn what we’re talking about!
21 Tips for Shooting Like a Professional
It doesn’t matter what kind of shooting you’re trying to get better at – here you’ll learn exactly what you need. Every single tip comes from years of experience and tons of missed shots – you take each one into consideration if you want to improve over time.
Here’s all our best advice for shooting:
1. Always Stay Safe
The first and most important tip you can follow is to be safe.
That means not only making sure your gun is unloaded and locked – but also wearing equipment like earmuffs, earplugs, and even gauntlets or gloves. Some people even like to wear glasses to protect their eyes and wear hats or caps.
Of course, it is not necessary to say that you shouldn’t ever aim your gun to anything alive or something you don’t want to shoot at. And sure enough, keeping the barrel or muzzle of your weapon down is always the way to go. This will not only prevent accidents but also keep yourself and others safe.
2. Dress Comfortably
If you’ve ever watched sports, you probably found out that athletes are always wearing the ideal clothes to perform. And almost all of them focus on comfort over anything else.
Some types of shooting are also considered a sport. So why not dress comfortably for that as well? That’s why we emphasize on wearing the right clothes if you want to have success at shooting activities.
It doesn’t matter if you want to go shooting on the wilderness, try some trap or skeet shooting, or eventually just shoot in range fields – wearing the right clothes will help you enormously.
- Focus on wearing shirts that fit correctly on your torso and that have tight sleeves or none at all. Sleeves can be pretty uncomfortable if they’re too large or wide.
- For pants or shorts, you must also make sure they allow proper movement on your legs. Stance, as we’re going to talk about later, is super important. So make sure to wear something flexible.
- The same thing happens if you’re wearing improper shoes. They should fit correctly and not loosely at all. Otherwise, achieving the right stance or finding balance can be ultra-difficult.
- If you’re wearing hats, then go for something that doesn’t block your eyesight. But make sure it doesn’t fit too loosely or moves around either. Otherwise, you may get distracted – which is something you want to avoid.
- We also heavily recommend wearing pants or jackets with pockets. These pockets will allow you to store shells and accessories when needed, so you can always feel comfortable while shooting and also make it easy to reach to shells or other items when needed.
As long as you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing while enjoying some practicality these clothes may offer, you’re set to start shooting.
3. Use the Right Glasses (if needed)
If you’re wearing glasses for protection, because of sight needs, or just because you want to prevent the sun from harming your performance – then you’ll need to use the right ones.
Glasses can either make you perform amazingly well or eventually break your performance entirely. Especially if you choose unique colors that reduce your visibility, then that’s even more probable.
That’s why we recommend sunglasses for bright stations, but with lenses made of yellow, orange, or amber colors. They will help you keep sun rays from distracting you while offering ideal visuals at all times.
4. Pick the Right Gun
Glasses are useful if you truly need them. But nothing compares to the importance of the right gun.
If you’re skeet or trap shooting, then you’ll want a shotgun. But if you’re on the wilderness hunting, then you’ll want a rifle. And if you’re just shooting on a small range – then a pistol or a semi-automatic rifle could be your way to go.
Whatever you’re shooting at – make sure you use the right gun. Otherwise, you won’t have as much success as you want. Even the slightest of discomfort, unbalance, overweight, or any other undesired factor can break your performance.
What this means is, getting something that not only fits the type of shooting you’re doing but also matches well with your comfort demands & convenience.
Let’s say you’re trying to go hunting on an open field with animals at least 200 yards away. In that case, you want something with a long-range capacity like a Magnum Rifle, along with a scope, and sure enough, the right stock, so the rifle can rest comfortably on your shoulder.
Do you have an idea already of what to pick? It all comes down to considering your level of experience, your weight, your strength, the type of shooting you’re doing, your comfort, and your convenience.
Here, we can’t tell you much about which factors to consider because it is more of a personal choice depending on the hundreds of shooting activities you can do. But still, always make sure you get something ideal – or you won’t have a successful or entertaining experience.
5. Find your Dominant Eye
Now that you’re prepared with the ideal clothing and gun – then you can start finding out which eye is your dominant one.
Many shooters tend to make the mistake of thinking that if they’re right-handed, then their dominant eye is the right one or vice versa if they’re left-handed. But in reality, it doesn’t work like this for everyone.
If you want to know which eye is your dominant one, then we recommend you checking it by this method– you can place a small object at about 10 feet on the other side of the room where you are. Then try to close one eye and see the object with the other. Now switch and check with the other eye.
If you spot any difference in clarity or crispness between eyes, then it means you have a dominant one for sure. Choose that eye for your shooting – even if it is the opposite of your hand dominance.
This also works if you’re using glasses. Even with some exterior improvement, you’ll probably see better with one eye.
6. Hold Your Gun Right
Now that you know which eye is your dominant one, then you can start trying to hold the gun the right way.
This is somewhat more complicated than it seems. Not only because holding correctly requires comfort (so you must have the right gun), but also because it demands some practice & experience.
The focus should be to align your dominant eye in front of the sight as well as possible. People often place their faces too far or too close. Instead, they should put it in a place where they can see the barrel of the gun (if it’s a rifle or shotgun). The ideal way to avoid that would be to place your cheekbone on the stock – softly.
Once you shoot, you will feel the recoil – but you won’t get any harm. Also, consider grabbing the barrel of the gun with the opposite hand of your dominant eye. If your dominant eye is the right one, then grab the barrel with your left hand – or vice versa.
And sure enough, always rest the rifle or shotgun on your mid-torso. But of course, this is also a matter of the type of stock you choose. The focus should be on being as comfortable as possible and prevent any recoil from hitting too hard.
7. Face on the Gun
Holding the gun correctly is useful – but nothing compares to keeping your face on the weapon at all times.
One thing that many shooters tend to forget is that when they lose their comfortable positions, they may not get it back fast enough when trying to shoot again. And that can have a significant impact on how well they perform. That’s why it is always recommended to keep the face stuck on the gun at all times.
Find the proper place on the stock to rest on your cheek if it is a rifle, and then get as comfy as possible on it. If it is a gun, then hold it directly in front of your face with your arms straightened. Once you have that comfortable and perfect position to see through the sight or scope, then you can start shooting.
But don’t lose the position until you finish or need to move. This will keep you on the same ideal place for shooting comfortably & effectively. If you ever lift your head or look somewhere else, then you will lose that position – and shooting will not be the same afterward.
8. Stand Correctly
Sure, holding the gun correctly and placing your face on the weapon at all times is essential. But none of that will be useful unless you’re standing the right way.
While not all types of shooting will demand you to stand while doing so – it is always essential to learn how to do it correctly. No matter the gun you’re using, the right stance is a crucial thing to consider.
Here’s a small guide on how to achieve proper stance when shooting:
- Place your non-dominant foot in front. That means the foot opposite your dominant eye. Do not let too much weight rest on this foot, but flex it a little.
- The other foot should rest behind you. It should be slightly flexed. But do not let too much weight fall on it either.
- Now, make sure both feet are pointing towards the target. The back foot can be a little move to the side in order to achieve some balance.
- At this position, you should already have proper gun hold & aim. Make sure to test the stance by shooting. If you lose any balance, then try fixing the posture according to the side you veer to.
- The focus should be on feeling relaxed but also achieving the maximum balance with every shot. If you shoot and then you have to accommodate your feet again, then that’s not a proper stance.
9. Equip Proper Chokes
You have the perfect clothing and accessories, as well as the gun, and even the stance. But what about the gun chokes?
These chokes are the parts of guns on which shells and bullets travel through. Especially with shotguns, the chokes are often interchangeable, which can deliver different results depending on the choke you get.
Of course, this is more of personal preference and will vary strongly depending on your level of experience. That’s why we heavily recommend trying as many chokes as possible, depending on what gun you have and how you prefer the shooting to go.
Some chokes affect the spreading of the shells, others help to mute the sound, and others may help to achieve more precise shots. It all comes down to your needs.
10. Aiming Correctly
Even if you have the perfect gun and accessories, you won’t be able to hit the targets if you don’t aim accurately.
If you want to aim like a professional, you must always focus on aiming ahead of the target if it’s moving, but taking into account distance, wind, height, and type of gun you have.
In case you’re shooting with a pistol, for example, then you need to shoot directly to the target if it’s close – but elevate the aim a little if the target gets farther away.
For places where the wind is too harsh, then you must also consider the direction of the wind. If it’s going fast to the right, then shoot aiming to the left of the target.
Apart from that, if the target is moving (e.g., skeet or trap shooting), then you must always aim in front. Especially if it is a moving target at a long distance, then the traveling speed of the object means you need to calculate where the target will pass and shoot accordingly.
Most bullets/shells travel at around 1,000 feet per second, so that would be 0.1 seconds for every 100 feet. That will give you a better idea of how to aim for moving targets.
11. Only Aim with your Arms
Aiming is done with your arms and hands – not with your body. That means you need to aim by moving the gun only and leave your body as static as possible.
If you want to be as accurate as possible, then you’ll have to stick to a stance and prevent any unwanted movement that could put you off balance.
That’s why always recommend aiming by moving the rifle, pistol, or shotgun instead of moving your body with it.
What this means is getting comfortable by being static from your chest down and not flex your waist in any way.
Otherwise, you will probably lose balance or just move too much when aiming. Don’t do that.
12. Keep Your Eyes Focused
For the best accuracy, it is always necessary to keep your eyes focused on the target.
Whether it is a static target or a moving target, you should fix your eyes on it and never veer them to the sides.
As soon as you start looking anywhere else, you’ll start losing focus and aiming will become super tricky.
This also means that you should forget about the barrel, scope, sight, or choke of the gun. Focus entirely on the target – especially if it’s moving.
That will help you control your brain when aiming, so it doesn’t focus on anything that’s not important. Instead, it will help focus on the thing you need to hit – so it will be easier for you to be accurate.
13. Choose before Shooting
Sometimes, you’ll have to shoot two or more targets continuously. This is true for skeet shooting doubles, or tactical range shooting when you’re trying to hit several targets.
As you should know, shooting all targets at the same time is impossible. So you’ll have to choose which one you’re shooting first.
This helps to stay focused and prevents any accident and miss.
For example, when shooting two clays in skeet shooting, you will need to decide which one to shoot first. We recommend starting from the lower clay then shooting the high one. Once you shoot the lower one, the recoil will place you in a more comfortable position to shoot the higher one.
The same happens with fixed targets. You can decide which one to shoot firsts depending on how your gun will end up eventually, to your advantage. And if you’re hunting, then you can follow the same advice – always choosing one target first.
14. Don’t Rush
So you are already sort of ready to start firing away – but you still can’t handle the impatience. That means you need to stop rushing. Even if you’re shooting fixed targets, rushing will not help you be as accurate as you can be.
That’s why it is essential to take the time to aim, break, and only shoot when you’re confident that the bullet/shell will hit.
The idea is never to pull the trigger unless you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, the chance of missing will be higher.
15. Concentrate by Filtering
The best way to stop rushing or losing focus is to concentrate by filtering all the noise & visuals around.
In some cases, people around you may be too eager or too noisy – making it harder for you to concentrate. This could either make you rush on your shots or eventually aim incorrectly.
The same happens with visuals. If you see something moving around the target (fixed or not), then it will be harder to concentrate on it.
That’s why we always advise filtering everything around for the best possible shots.
16. Breath & Relax
Breathing correctly and relaxing while shooting is two essential things to consider. In fact, they’re probably the two most important things apart from stance, gun position, and eye placement.
Especially if you’re shooting things that move, relaxing can be extremely difficult. This could be either for clay shooting or for hunting – you will get tensed and stiff, making it hard to aim & see around.
The solution for that is breathing and relaxing. Here’s a small guide on breathing when shooting:
- Take a deep breath before aiming or even placing the gun on your shoulder/hand. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Then release the air slowly through your mouth.
- Now take another deep breath through your nose, hold for 4 seconds, and release.
- Keep this breathing technique while shooting, and you’ll eventually relax and start breathing correctly.
Many shooters recommend shooting while holding the air, as your body doesn’t move by either inhalation or exhalation. And that is always great advice.
17. Have a Routine
You can break down all of the previous steps into a routine.
From dressing yourself to the accessories to aiming, relaxing, and more – it can be hugely helpful if you follow a set of steps when shooting.
This could also be like making a plan, visualizing the area, getting comfortable, breathing, relaxing, standing the right way, holding the gun, adjusting the aim, and so on.
If you pair all of the previous tips into a step-by-step routine and make sure to follow it every time – then you’re more likely to be successful.
You could also take it as a strategy. It will probably make you look like a weird person on the field or wherever you’re shooting – but it will perhaps help you get rid of distractions and surprises.
18. Practice Consistently
After developing a routine and strategy for your shooting, there’s nothing else left than practice.
There’s an interesting quote from supposed researchers who affirm that getting good at something takes practice, approximately 10,000 hours in total, to get good enough.
Well, we can’t say that you should practice your shooting for that many hours. But if you can get close to that, then you’ll surely get better.
Remember, this means being consistent and making shooting your habit. If you’re taking it as a hobby, then be consistent with the hobby and do it every week or month if possible.
You will probably be awful at aiming at first – but in the long run, and with the most practice, you will get to the point of being a master. But you’ll have to keep being consistent – otherwise, it won’t happen.
19. Stick to One Type of Shooting
One of the things that keep even the best shooters with the most potential from reaching their goals is that they’re always trying different types of shooting.
One day they’re shooting clays in the field with a shotgun. The other they go hunting with their friends and rifles. And then they go to the shooting range to fire some pistols.
This is a lot of fun – for sure. But shooting so many things without focusing on one shooting type & with a kind of gun at first – then reaching a high level becomes super hard.
If you ever want to become a competitor or at least become really good at shooting, then you must stick to one type of shooting. Once you’re above-average or at least good enough – then you can start trying new things.
20. Take Classes
Whenever you’re starting to shoot, there’s nothing more helpful than taking some classes.
Getting first-hand help from experts and trainers will be an excellent way to get your skills up there faster than you think.
Learning the basics and the safety directly from people who know what they’re doing will give you a head start. And that’s something you shouldn’t miss.
This will also be a great motivation, and a perfect way to meet new people or get familiar with a new type of shooting at first.
Classes are an excellent way to start shooting – especially if you’re a total beginner with guns.
21. Have Fun!
Finally, there’s nothing more important than having fun when shooting.
It doesn’t matter what type of shooting you’re trying to start – as long as you have fun, there’s nothing else to ask for.
Few activities allow such a varied array of experiences that will put you in different environments, with different guns, and such a broad spectrum of people.
You can make new friends, learn new things about life, and eventually have some adventures while just trying to shoot your way out of boredom.
Start Stand Shooting Now!
So don’t dismiss any of our previous tips if you want to start stand shooting.
These tips will give the perfect idea of what it means to start playing games and/or sports with guns.
And if you follow them to the letter, then you’ll have a better time shooting safely, accurately, and in an entertaining way.
Don’t waste more of your time reading and get your guns out by trying these tips. You will become an expert in no time!