Common Shooting Mistakes to Avoid

Common shooting mistakes to avoid

Subtle Changes to Improve Your Shooting Skills

In shooting, mastering the art requires skill and a keen eye for detail. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or starting out, you should know common mistakes impact your progress and accuracy. In this blog, we’ll explore the most common shooting mistakes to avoid. By understanding these pitfalls and implementing the correct techniques, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more proficient and confident shooter. So, let’s dive in and uncover the key shooting mistakes you should avoid to enhance your shooting prowess.

Devils in the Details

Even the smallest adjustments can make a world of difference regarding shooting. Often, shooters overlook the significance of subtle changes in their technique or form, resulting in compromised accuracy and performance.

Woman at range shooting

Whether it’s the positioning of your feet, the alignment of your body, or the grip on your firearm, these seemingly minor details can profoundly impact your shooting outcomes. Paying close attention to these nuances and making the necessary adjustments can elevate your shooting game.

Holding The Gun Too Tightly

One of the ordinary shooting mistakes that can significantly affect your accuracy is holding the gun too tightly. While it may seem counterintuitive, a tight grip can hinder your ability to shoot accurately. Holding the gun too tightly restricts the natural movement of your hands and fingers, leading to increased tension and decreased control. This can result in jerky and erratic movements, making it challenging to maintain a steady aim.

Man at range working on grip

Instead, strive for a firm yet relaxed grip, allowing for proper control and follow-through. You’ll significantly improve your shooting precision and overall performance by finding the right balance and avoiding gripping too tightly.

Improper stance

Shooting stance

A critical shooting mistake that often goes unnoticed is adopting an improper stance. Your stance forms the foundation of your shooting technique, and any flaws can adversely impact your accuracy and stability. One common error is a haphazard or unbalanced stance, where shooters neglect to distribute their weight evenly and fail to align their bodies properly. This lack of stability can cause excessive sway and movement, making it challenging to maintain a steady aim.

Another common pitfall is a rigid stance, where shooters lock their knees and fail to engage their core muscles. This lack of flexibility limits their ability to absorb recoil and adapt to different shooting scenarios. By focusing on achieving a balanced, athletic stance with a slight forward lean and keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, you can establish a solid foundation for consistent and accurate shooting. Remember, a proper stance is the bedrock of your shooting success.

Common Shotting Stances

  • Isosceles Stance: Both feet are positioned shoulder-width apart in this stance, and the shooter faces the target squarely. The arms are extended straight out, forming an isosceles triangle with the body. This stance offers good balance and allows for a consistent sight picture.
  • Weaver Stance: The Weaver stance involves placing the non-dominant foot slightly forward and bending the knees. The shooter’s body forms a slight “weaving” position, with the dominant arm extended straight and the non-dominant arm bent and pulling back slightly. This stance promotes stability and recoil control.
  • Modified Weaver Stance: Similar to the Weaver stance, the modified Weaver stance also has the non-dominant foot forward, but the arm positions are more relaxed. The dominant arm is extended straight, while the non-dominant arm is slightly bent. This stance provides a good compromise between the isosceles and Weaver stances.
  • Chapman Stance: The Chapman stance involves placing the non-dominant foot slightly forward and bending both knees. The shooter’s upper body is slightly forward, with the arms slightly bent. This stance offers stability, control, and a natural alignment of the shooting arm.

Remember, the choice of stance may vary depending on personal preference, shooting discipline, and the situation at hand. Practicing and finding the stance that best suits your shooting style and allows for more consistent results.

Improper Trigger Control

One of the most critical shooting mistakes to avoid is improper trigger control. How you manipulate the trigger directly affects your shot placement and overall accuracy. Many shooters struggle with jerking or slapping the trigger, leading to unpredictable shots. Jerking the trigger involves abruptly pulling the trigger as if trying to rush the shot, causing the firearm

proper trigger pull

to move off-target. On the other hand, slapping the trigger refers to a hasty and forceful trigger pull that disrupts your sight alignment.

Focusing on smooth and controlled trigger presses is crucial to overcome these mistakes. Practice applying gradual pressure to the trigger while maintaining sight alignment, ensuring a surprise break when the shot is released. Mastering proper trigger control will significantly improve your shooting consistency and precision.

Not Practicing Enough

One of the most common shooting mistakes that shooters overlook is not dedicating enough time to practice. Like any other skill, shooting requires consistent practice to improve and maintain proficiency. Neglecting regular practice sessions can decrease accuracy, muscle memory, and overall shooting performance. Regular practice is essential, whether honing your marksmanship skills, refining your stance, or perfecting your trigger control.

Set aside time to visit the range, dry fire practice, or participate in shooting drills to reinforce your shooting fundamentals and build confidence. Remember, practice helps you develop muscle memory and allows you to identify and correct any mistakes or bad habits. So, prioritize allocating sufficient time for practice, and you’ll reap the rewards of improved shooting abilities.

Not Wearing Proper Eye and Ear Protection

One of the critical shooting mistakes that should never be overlooked is wearing proper eye and ear protection. Protecting your eyes and ears is paramount to ensure safety and prevent long-term damage. Shooting firearms generates intense noise levels, leading to permanent hearing loss if precautions aren’t taken. Likewise, debris, shell casings, and other projectiles can pose a significant risk to your eyes.

Investing in high-quality shooting glasses that provide adequate eye protection is essential. Additionally, using earplugs or earmuffs designed for shooting can help mitigate the impact of loud gunfire. Remember, your safety and well-being should always come first, so never underestimate the importance of wearing proper eye and ear protection during shooting activities.

Poor Gun Maintenance

gun care

Maintaining your firearm in optimal condition is vital for its performance and reliability. However, one of the common shooting mistakes that shooters often make is neglecting proper gun maintenance. Failure to clean, lubricate, and inspect your firearm regularly can lead to malfunctions and reduced accuracy. Over time, dirt, debris, and residue can accumulate inside the barrel,

chamber, and other critical parts, affecting the gun’s functionality.

Insufficient lubrication can cause excessive friction and wear on moving components, leading to potential failures. To avoid these issues, establish a regular maintenance routine that includes cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting your firearm after each use. Familiarize yourself with your specific firearm’s maintenance requirements and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Properly prioritizing gun maintenance will ensure your firearm’s longevity and optimal performance, enhancing your shooting experience.


Flinching is a common shooting mistake that can significantly impact accuracy and shooting performance. It occurs when shooters anticipate the recoil and instinctively tense up or jerk the trigger, even before the shot is fired. This involuntary reaction can cause the muzzle to dip or move off-target, leading to missed shots or poor grouping.

Overcoming flinching requires training and mental discipline. Focus on maintaining a relaxed and steady grip, and consciously remind yourself to squeeze the trigger smoothly without anticipating the recoil. Dry-fire practice can also help train your body to resist flinching. By addressing this mistake and developing consistent trigger control, you’ll notice a remarkable improvement in your shot placement and overall shooting confidence.

Subtle Changes to Improve Your Shooting Skills Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding and avoiding common shooting mistakes is crucial for anyone seeking to improve their shooting skills. Addressing these mistakes head-on can enhance accuracy, consistency, and overall performance. From holding the gun too tightly to neglecting proper trigger control, each mistake can potentially hinder your progress. However, armed with knowledge and a commitment to practice, you can overcome these pitfalls and develop into a skilled and confident shooter.

Remember to notice subtle changes, such as your stance and grip, as they can make a significant difference. Additionally, prioritize regular practice, wear proper eye and ear protection, and maintain your firearm diligently. By avoiding these common shooting mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to unlocking your full potential and enjoying a rewarding shooting experience. So, go out, practice, strive for continuous improvement, and watch your shooting skills soar.

Common Shooting Mistakes to Avoid FAQs

How often should I practice shooting?

Regular practice is essential for improving shooting skills. Aim for consistent practice sessions at a shooting range or through dry-fire practice. The frequency and duration of practice may vary depending on your schedule and goals, but aim for at least a couple of sessions per month to maintain proficiency.

How can I ensure proper gun maintenance?

Proper gun maintenance involves regular cleaning, lubrication, and firearm inspection. Clean the barrel, chamber, and other critical parts to remove dirt and residue. Apply appropriate lubrication to ensure smooth operation. Regularly inspect your firearm for any signs of wear or damage. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and consult with professionals if needed.


  • Michael Hodgdon

    A firearm, shooting, outdoor, and hunting enthusiast for over 35 years. Thank you all for the suggestions on topics you would like to see; we'll keep posting as you keep sending them in. Please comment; we will try to answer all comments quickly.

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