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
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

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



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
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
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!

Comments are closed.