Fundamentals of Marksmanship

If you are just starting your firearms training journey, the most important lessons to becoming a good shooter are the fundamentals of Marksmanship. The fundamentals of Marksmanship include sight alignment and sight picture, stance, grip, trigger control, and proper breathing techniques.

Sight Alignment

There are two rules for good sight alignment.  First, be sure that the top of your front sight is level with the top with your rear sight. Second, when looking from the rear sight to the front sight, be sure that you have even space on the left and right side of the front sight.

Markmanship - Sight Alignment

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Sight Picture

Sight picture is the relationship of your front sight to your target. When shooting, you focus on your front sight and not your target. Your front site will be clear and your target will be blurry.

Marksmanship - Sight Picture

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Stance

There are several stances, but the most common are the Isosceles stance and the Weaver stance. In the Isosceles stance,  stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lean your body slightly forward. Raise your arms into your natural site of alignment. When in the proper position, your arms should form a complete triangle. Many people prefer a modified isosceles stance by placing the support foot back a little. With the Weaver stance, place your body in a boxer’s stance, strong side foot forward. The support foot is angled slightly behind the other. With your body in position, hold the strong-arm straight. The support arm will be bent at the elbow with your arm in a push-pull motion as your bring your firearm into your line of sight.

Markmanship - Isosceles Stance          Marksmanship - Weaver Stance

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Grip

Proper grip ensures that your hand forms a V formation high up on the backstrap. ALWAYS keep the index finger straight along the frame of the gun. NEVER put your finger on your trigger until you’re actually ready to take a shot. Next, wrap the three fingers of your strong hand around the grip.  Take your support hand and wrap those fingers around your strong hand. Your thumbs must be stacked on top of one another with the strong hand thumb on top of your support hand thumb.

Markmanship - Proper Grip

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Trigger Control

Trigger control consists of keeping the sights aligned while pulling the trigger. Do not utilize too much of the tip or the bend of the index finger. Instead, use the center pad of your index finger when taking a shot. Use a smooth even pull back when pressing the trigger and not jerky rapid movements. Ensure that each shot is taken at a consistent pace.

Marksmanship - Trigger Contorl

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Breath Control

When we talk about breath control you need to remember that as you breathe in and out with your natural breath, it will cause your firearm to move up and down. To maintain a steady shot, you should take in a breath, release half of the breath, take your shot, and release the remaining breath.

New Shooters have a tendency to take a shot, look at their target then take the next shot. This not only breaks stance but breaks grip and sight alignment as well. Remember, sight picture is focusing on the front sight and not on the target. Firearms training is a continued journey. Mastery of techniques comes with skills development. Skills development comes with practice!

Get Over your Fear of Handguns – May Did!

Although she was raised around handguns, during May’s class introduction she told us that both her dad and her brothers owned handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Still, May remained terribly afraid of handguns. May recently decided that the thought of owning a handgun was not a bad idea. She admitted she had recently visited a local store to browse the handgun section and even thought she might like to own a revolver.

Concealed Carry Handguns Qualification
GIRLZ on F.I.R.E. NC Concealed Carry Handgun Qualification 2016

 Safety is the beginning of any good class but when we got to the actual handgun portion of the class, the first thing I did for May was introduce her to the rubber training handgun. To my surprise, she immediately started shaking, confirming her fear. I tried to remove the rubber handgun from her hands but she was determined to shed her fear, and held on. I told May and all of the students present that the most important thing to remember is that a handgun is a tool. A tool cannot function without human interaction. We must remember that fear is based on conditioning, which is a learned behavior and can be reinforced through thought and memory of past experiences. When we identify our fears, we immediately have a chance of overcoming them.

It turned out that May’s fear was conditioning. With May’s fear, came respect for the tool. We should all  have a certain amount of fear of firearms less we become too comfortable, sacrificing our safety and those in our presence. As it turns out, May having both fear and respect for firearms, payed off in her favor. She was the best shooter of the day during the required North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun qualification requirement.

After completing her concealed carry qualification, May admitted that she still felt some anxiety, but was much more comfortable with the thought of purchasing and owning her own handgun, which she never would have considered before. I tell all of my students that Concealed Carry, if your first class, should be considered a first step in your firearms training journey. With continued training comes the ability to utilize your tool with safety, precision and accuracy, if needed, which we all hope never happens.

Hoplophobia – Irrational fear of Firearms

Hoplophobia - Irrational Fear of Guns
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Hoplophobia is an irrational concern of firearms, for hoplon actually means weapon and phobia means irrational fear.

Throughout the years, I’ve met many women who upon  learning that I own and carry a handgun say, “I’m Scared of Guns.” My reply is always, “I’m afraid to not have my gun.”

Growing up in the country, I was introduced to various types of guns at a very young age. It was nothing to walk in someone’s house and see two to three rifles/shotguns on a gun rack as part of the every day shabby chic décor. It was also common to ride through town and see a rifle/shotgun hanging in the back window of a local resident’s pickup truck. There was something not complete about a pickup without a gun rack. Guns were just NORMAL where I grew up.

I never really thought about it, but looking back, as a young child, the sight of rifle/shotgun in the home actually made me feel safer. I knew that if someone was to come onto my great uncle’s property, our family was protected. I never once thought of touching one of much uncles guns although I had access to them daily. I think the key is knowledge and respect for weapons as a hold.

Today in NC, their is law that requires storage of firearms to protect minors. You MUST have firearms locked or you will face criminals penalties if your firearm is obtained and used in a threatening manner. Talk to your kids about guns. Talk to your friends and relatives about guns. Most especially, talk to them about gun safety. If you and your kids are visiting their homes, let them know and ask them to secure their firearms! Protect the kids!

Part of my  everyday recreation was shooting in the back yard at grandpa’s house with BB and pellet guns. Now they call them “air soft” guns.  I got my first handgun at the age of 19 and my second by the age of 24. Being Scared of guns is not an option for me.

GIRLZ on F.I.R.E.’s mission is to empower Women with the knowledge and skills required in the safe and efficient use of firearms. Our goal is to eliminate the fear and provide you with the confidence required to protect yourself and your family!

Are you afraid of guns? Do you have a love for guns? Let us know in the comments!

Sources

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What happens in Concealed Carry Handgun Class

A North Carolina Concealed CarryConcealed Carry Handgun permit allows you to legally carry a handgun on your body or in a personal tote such as backpack, briefcase, or handbag. NORTH CAROLINA FIREARMS LAWS defines Concealed Carry “about the person” which means it must be concealed on the person or within arm’s reach of the person.

Proof of an eight-hour state-approved Firearm Safety training or Concealed Carry class is required by the State of North Carolina prior to applying for a state issued permit. Two of those hours must be dedicate to the Laws of Self Defense. In addition to the eight hours of mandatory classroom training that is required, you must complete a 20 question written exam on the Legal Issues of Self-Defense and Firearm Safety and Rules and shooting range qualification.

The course as taught by GIRLZ on F.I.R.E., L.L.C. includes instruction on North Carolina Common Law, North Carolina Statutory Law, Rules of Safety, Gun Handling, Handgun Nomenclature, and Marksmanship Fundamentals. NC Common Law teaches both justified and unjustified self-defense while knowledge of NC Statutory Law states the rights and rules you must abide by as a citizen. The course also includes Rules of Safety, Gun Handling, Storage of Handguns, Alcohol and Firearms and Ammunition Safety. There is added discussion on Handguns, specifically Revolvers versus Semiautomatic Pistols. Marksmanship Fundamentals includes topics on Grip, Follow-Through, Stance, Breath Control, Sight Alignment/Sight Picture, Shooting Rhythm, Trigger Control, and Shooting Positions. In addition, we cover Carrying Concealed Safety Issues and Presentation Techniques. Last, we cover Cleaning and Maintenance through demonstration of Proper Cleaning Procedures, Lubrication, Function Check, and a detailed discussion on Ammunition selection.

Obtaining your North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun certification is a choice that requires mental preparedness. Keeping Safety at the front of your mind at all times is critical. By taking time to further your training and practicing firing drills both at home (dry-fire) and at the range is when you truly become a better and more skilled shooter. In addition, Sports and Competition shooting is fun when we practice safety first, so get out there and find a community of like-minded shooters to learn more about the sport.

How to Conceal Carry Like a Pro

The first step to being successful at concealed carry is education. By taking a reputable concealed carry handgun course you will learn not only the laws applicable to your state but a variety of other subject matters as well. Most concealed carry handgun courses will teach the principles of safety, handgun nomenclature, marksmanship fundamentals, safety issues while carrying, presentation techniques, cleaning and maintenance, and various proficiency drills.Concealed Carry

As laws regarding concealed carry changed based on legislature, staying updated on the current state laws is mandatory. As an example, within five months of teaching Concealed Carry Handgun certification, the manual changed twice.

Following up with additional training in not only recommended, but critical in becoming proficient with your firearm. As you will learn in a firearm safety class, there are many types of firearms, all with different safety features and firing mechanisms. By reading your owner’s manual you can learn the features that are unique to your training needs.

By choosing the right holster or carry option for your lifestyle, you will be dedicated to carrying on a daily basis. If your carry option is not comfortable, you simply, will not carry. Holster options range from on the body, to purses with built-in velcro holsters that are accessible from the left or right carry position. In addition, you have the option of ankle holsters, shoulder holsters and even those built into leggings for athletic needs. Do your research and choose the options that are best for you.

Before you travel, always research laws for each state that you plan to cross. Many states will honor your concealed carry permit while others don’t allow concealed carry at all. Invest in a locking safe that can be securely affixed to your vehicle if you do not have a locking glove compartment as it required in the majority of states.

Finally, never stop learning. There is a variety of information available via online Google searches, YouTube videos, and social media platforms. Do your research and know your rights!