If you’ve been following the Bootleg, Inc. blog lately, you’ll know we’ve been going over the basics of competition shooting. As we’ve explained before, competitive shooting is a great way to test your abilities and give you specific metrics to use to help you improve. Now that you’ve made it through your first few competitions, it’s time to put that newfound experience to use. But where to begin? Try these tips to help you improve your performance during shooting competitions and to work on your skills in general.
First and foremost, it’s a good idea to go over your competition experience. Specifically, it’s a good idea to do so as soon after the competition as you can, while everything is still fresh in your mind. Depending on the competition and your level of focus, you may find it easier to take a few notes as you go. We shouldn’t have to say it, but we will just in case: if you stop take notes during the competition, be sure to do so somewhere out of the way. However you analyze your performance, make sure to look at specifics. Those will give you metrics to focus on for improvement.
We’ve mentioned this a time or two, but dry firing is a great way to hone your skills without spending hours and hours at the range — though, you’ll still want to get range time in if you’re looking to improve your competition performance. Dry firing drills are a helpful way to build up muscle memory and practice some of the skills you need to brush up on before your next competition. Whether your concern is on sighting in or the swiftness of your draw, there are dry firing drills that can help you get in the practice time necessary to improve. Start slow, create habits for the right movements and positions, then worry about speeding things up.
Believe it or not, physical fitness can go a long way toward helping improve your performance at shooting competitions. Getting fit can help your endurance, but fitness goes beyond that. Working on a well-rounded exercise regiment that helps with flexibility, aerobics, and strength training can not only give you better endurance, it can also help improve your coordination and improve your grip in any shooting position. If you’re undertaking a fitness regimen specifically to help your competition performance, make sure it’s a well-rounded balance of different exercise types. Just because you support your AR with your upper body, that’s no reason to skip leg day!
Learn New Techniques
Just because it’s the way you were taught doesn’t mean your technique is flawless. If that were the case, your competition performance would be perfect too, right? What we’re trying to get at is that this might be the optimal time to try something new. There are a few different ways to go about doing so. First, if you see someone using a shooting stance or grip you don’t know, ask them about it. Shooting competitions are, surprisingly (or not), a great place to get together with other enthusiasts and swap tips. Or, if that isn’t an option, try taking a class or two. Many local shooting teachers will offer firearm- or competition-specific courses for those looking to get a bit of help.
Find A Training Buddy
When it comes to shooting, it’s hard to step outside yourself to see how you’re doing. Recording yourself can be a good start. Even better, however, is to find someone to work with. Not only can they provide observations and suggestions, but working with a partner can help keep you accountable and make sure you stick with your practice. If you know you need a bit of a competitive edge to push yourself, work on pushing each other hard. You’ll be amazed at what a bit of friendly competition can do when it comes time to compete for real.
Practice is also the right time to be sure your AR 15 setup is just how you want it for competitions. Take your time to check over everything from your handguard rail to the buttstock, and if any components aren’t comfortable, try custom AR parts and accessories to help make it the right fit for you. Explore specialized handguard rail options and more from Bootleg, Inc. online.