As with any activity humans decide to pursue, they only get better with practice. From baseball players taking fly ball after fly ball to golfers hitting ball after ball (for the pros, thousands a week).
To Navy pilots practicing touch and goes on a carrier deck, and a surgeon doing years of residency to perfect his art, the only way to get better at anything is to practice it over and over. And along the way, some good instruction is critical. Shooting is no different.
How many hunters do you know go out each season a week or two before the opener, fires a round or two at a paper target to make sure the scope is “still on” and hitting within an inch or two of the bullseye, opine, “yep, I’m good.” Then when the moment of truth comes during the season, they miss and scratch their head blaming it on the gun or the scope.
Sometimes that is indeed the case. But more often than not, it is because not enough time has been spent behind the gun practicing shots at various distances or becoming familiar enough with the gun that shooting it is a result of muscle memory that still functions when your heart is racing and adrenaline kicking in from seeing a huge trophy stand in front of you.
The best way to prevent this situation, whether you are a hunter, into self-defense (where being skilled takes on even more importance), a budding competitive shooter or love simply busting clays, is to take a class or private instruction.
For self-defense adherents, a number of great classes from beginning shooting all the way up to skilled defensive shooting techniques can help you with understanding the laws where you live, how to safely handle and carry a firearm, the best way to carry and how to shoot accurately.
For clays enthusiasts, a good instructor can be critical in leaping your abilities forward by light years, helping you determine lead, dropping shots, focus and swing. A good instructor can even stand next to you and help you swing and fire to break clays that have been a real challenge for you. Mix the instruction in with ample practice, you can be the envy of your shooting partners.
Long-distance shooting classes are awesome for hunters and competitors alike, and while you may never (actually probably should never) need to make a 400-, 500- or even 1,000-yard shot on a game animal, after hitting targets reliably out that far, a 200-yard or 300-yard shot will feel like a chip shot.
Most classes are taught on evenings and weekends and for the price of even private instruction, are amazingly reasonable cost-wise when you look at the improvements that will come with them. Check around at local ranges or shooting clubs for advice on what’s available and costs of the programs.
Armed with this knowledge, it will be time to make an investment in your shooting future by ammoing up and teaming up with a first-rate instructor to help you become a true marksman.