5 Common Shooting Mistakes

5 common shooting mistakes

Perfect shooting is a product of consistency and experience. You cannot become a sharpshooter or long-range hunting guru without first going through a mistake-ridden phase of trial and error. Unfortunately, many shooters lose confidence and give up at this stage, oblivious of the fact that all shooters go through it. This article discusses some of the most common mistakes made by shooting beginners and how to avoid them.

1. Poor Gun Care and Maintenance Routine

While most mistakes occur at the shooting range or hunting field, some shooters fail to perform to the maximum of their potential because their guns won’t let them. Some don’t clean their guns, while others don’t know the first thing about proper cleaning. If you belong to either category, make a point of familiarizing yourself with cleaning rods, brushes, and fluids. Some gun cleaning kits are one-size-fits-all and can save you the need to learn about the basic components of cleaning.

2. Flinching

Flinching is a mistake that even experienced shooters can be guilty of. A flinch can be anything between pulling the trigger too quickly and jerking your shoulders in the same way you would when trying to elude the anticipated recoil or punch. The best way to avoid repeating this mistake over and over is to aim and fire without a round in the gun. This way, you won’t flinch or jerk, as you won’t be anticipating a recoil.

3. Poor Positioning

Some shooters will improvise shooting stances as they go, and this massively affects their accuracy. Stance issues yield balance problems, where the shooter tends to lean too far backward or forward when firing. There are many tried-and-tested shooting stances that you should master before heading out for a shooting exercise. Select a few that you feel most comfortable pulling off and practice them as regularly as you can.

4. Sight-alignment Issues

When aiming, refrain from focusing on your rifle’s rear sight or the target, as this will only lead to inaccuracy. Instead, focus your vision on your firearm’s front sight and place yourself in a position where you can align the target, front sight, and rear sight with ease. You can achieve this by ensuring the top of the rear sight is level with that of the front sight.

5. Poor Grip

When working to better your shooting performance, think of your thumb placement as a core component of your shot. Every shot is made up of several elements and phases, and your aim and trigger control are mostly dependent on how you hold your rifle. A solid grip makes it easier to manage recoil and sets the stage for subsequent shots. Most thumb-placement-related shooting issues have been shown to arise from an improper form and low hand strength, so pay attention to those factors during practice.


There is no formula for shooting perfection. However, avoiding these mistakes can help you enhance your accuracy and general shooting ability. Once you get the hang of technique and form relative to your comfort and preferred shooting style, everything else will fall into place.


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