Shooting excellent scores with a pistol requires no other elements than this:
Align the sights properly on that part of the target required for your group to center in the black and cause the hammer to fall without disturbing that alignment.
All elements of pistol shooting such as position, grip, sight alignment, breath control, trigger control, physical condition, and psychology of shooting, when perfected, simply enable the shooter to perform the action described in the above key sentence.
Body Position or Stance
We are all constructed differently, so we all have different natural positions. This begs the question: “how do I find my natural position?”
- face away from the target 45 degrees. Look at the target by turning your head and eyes only and raise the pistol to the eye, target, line.
- Close your eyes, raise your pistol and arm several feet and allow it to fall relaxed, and naturally to the horizontal. If it falls right down the center of the target, you have your natural position. If it falls to one side, shuffle on your feet, keeping the body axis from the feet to the shoulder the same, until the pistol is aligned on the target again.
- Several tries such as this one will readily show you how far to face away from the target. This test need only be made during one shooting session.
- At all following sessions start out with the position that you have decided is natural for you and stay with it. The feet should be spread apart about the width of your shoulders or a little more.
I have noticed that I spread my feet farther apart than when I first began shooting. Others have told me that they do the same. However, if you spread your feet unnaturally at first, you will have to exert undue muscular effort to maintain balance. The object is to be well balanced and comfortable.
The legs should be straight, but not stiff. Allow the knee joints to fall into a locked position, but still be relaxed. The thigh muscles should be relaxed. If you are tense anywhere, it is a sign of strain and will show up in your trigger control. The hips should be level and in an easy, natural position. Let your abdomen relax. We have a lot of fun admiring each other’s “pots” during pistol matches, but no one ever attempts to hold it in.
Allow the shoulders to hang naturally and relaxed. I prefer to place my free hand in my side pocket. Some shooters, especially those with long arms, can perform best by just letting their free arms and hand hang naturally at the side. The object is to entirely forget about it. It must be relaxed and forgotten.
An instructor can easily spot a student who is not relaxed by the attitude of the free arm. The head and neck should be in an easy natural position. The shooter must look at the target by turning his head and eyes slightly without moving from the neck down. The simplest way to do this is to face your entire body away from the target at the angle you have selected and then turn your head and eyes only to the target before raising your pistol to the firing position.
While looking at the target from this natural position, raise your pistol until you can align the sights on the target. The important thing is to make your pistol arm fit the body position instead of ruining a good body position by craning the neck and shoulders trying to get behind the pistol. The body position must be selected first, then use the pistol arm only to bring the sights in line with the eye and target.
The pistol arm should be extended directly toward the target. The wrist is locked without strain, (this requires practice), the elbow is locked also but with no sense of strain or tenseness. The gull and arm supported by the muscles on top of the shoulder, (the trapezius group). Try holding a ten or fifteen pound weight out in the firing position and feel the top of your shoulder where the arm joins and you will find the small hard muscles that support your gun arm. You should feel that the pistol is hanging from above, and not that you are pushing it up from below