Developing a high level of shooting accuracy requires a lot of deliberate practice. Because shooting a handgun accurately requires both strong mental focus and significant fine motor skills, it is often difficult for individuals to improve easily, especially without a solid plan or set of drills which focus on showing you your mistakes and allowing you to change your behaviors.
Here are two drills I use regularly to improve my own personal accuracy:
1 – Aim Small Miss Small with a 1 inch pastor/square.
This can be done simply and inexpensively with a plain piece of paper with a one inch by one inch square drawn on it. The idea of this drill is to ensure every round you fire touches the black square. You are trying to aim at a small target, and so you should either hit that small target or only miss by a small amount. You may even put a small dot on the top edge as a point of aim. This drill is to be started out at 3 yards so you can focus intently on hitting the 1 inch square. At 3 yards, you have to be aware of “height over bore” which is the distance between point of aim and point of impact due to the separation between the location you aim with your sights and the imaginary line that comes out of the center of the barrel and intersects with your target.
Simply aim for the dot at the top of the square and perform slow fire while intently focusing on a smooth and even trigger press without deviating your sights. If you start to deviate your sights, be watchful of clenching your grip during the trigger pull and focus on shooting during your respiratory pause (the natural pause that occurs between breaths). If you are having trouble with your grip, try relaxing the grip of your hand which you use for trigger pull. This should improve the dexterity and fine motor control of your trigger finger. If needed, you can increase the strength of the grip with your support/non-trigger hand to compensate. Just don’t clench at the last moment when squeezing the trigger.
2 – Dummy Round Drill.
You will need a friend/range-buddy for this one. The idea here is to have your friend load your magazine for you, mixing in dummy rounds with live rounds. Dummy rounds, are simply inert cartridges that have no powder or primer. (My favorite dummy rounds are by ST Action Pro).
Pay close attention to what your sights do as you shoot each round in the magazine. You will eventually come across a dummy round which will not go off when you squeeze the trigger.
At this point, without the recoil of the handgun, it should be easy to observe if you are flinching when pulling the trigger and anticipating the shot and/or recoil. If your sights move on a dummy round, you are flinching. You will want to continue to do this drill until your sights have no movement when you come across the dummy rounds. This will mean you have overcome your flinching/anticipation… which is one of the biggest troubles new shooters have when trying to improve accuracy.