While we like to have fun at the range, it is important to us that all members are well trained. It’s more than sending lead down range; it’s about grip, stance, trigger control, sight picture, and of course safety and more! Our facilitators are all NRA-certified instructors who encourage women to utilize best practices while shooting pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
5 Basics of Accurate Shooting
When shooting a handgun, there are 5 basics of accurate shooting. These simple factors, when focused upon, will dramatically improve shooting accuracy.
Getting help from a professional instructor is the best way to improve your shooting techniques, but sometimes a diagnostic target can be a useful tool.
Proper Shooting Stance
The shooting stance is one of the fundamental components to making sure you have a good platform for operating a firearm. Having your body positioned properly allows you to be steady regardless of what and how you are shooting. It is important to keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet. Even while standing practicing with static target shooting, your posture should be forward, aggressive, and ready to move. While moving, keep your core muscles engaged to support your body with steady, confident movements. Keeping a healthy and active lifestyle will help keep your posture solid so that you can have a strong framework for shooting. Training with a proper stance creates muscle memory that gives you the ability to move with a stable platform so that your gun can function. During competition stages or if you have to respond defensively in a crisis, your body will be properly trained to be forward and stable. This allows you to focus primarily on your front sight and trigger control, without worrying about what your feet are doing.
How to Manage Recoil
Managing recoil is done with your entire body. A proper stance gives you a stable platform so that your gun can function. It is important to keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet. Even while standing practicing with static target shooting, your posture should be forward, aggressive, and ready to move.
Gun Safety Rules
When manipulating a firearm, there are four universal safety rules that must ALWAYS be obeyed. When these four rules are followed, accidents can be minimized. Negligent discharges of a firearm can result in death or serious injury when these rules are not followed. Every shooter should know and be able to recite the 4 Rules of Gun Safety.
In order for your shot to reach its intended location on a target, a shooter must have sight picture and alignment. Sight alignment is the symmetry between the front sight and rear sight. Your front sight should be in the exact center of the rear sight, at the same height of the rear sight. Remember the old adage: equal light, equal height.
How to Grip a Handgun
A proper grip helps better manage recoil and muzzle rise, and helps a shooter with accuracy, speed, and retention. The hands should be as high on the gun as possible. The handgun should fit in the hand to be straight like an extension of the shooter’s arm. The support hand’s fingers should wrapped around the front of the strong hand, so that all four fingers overlay the three lower fingers of the strong hand. While the strong hand squeezes the pistol with front-to-rear pressure, the support hand clamps pressure from the sides. This gives 360-degree pressure on the pistol providing a stable grip.
Clearing a Stoppage with Tap/Rack/Back
When a shooter, regardless of level of instruction, experiences a stoppage, you must go through our standard correction steps. They are simple and effective, and above all, the safest and fastest way to put the gun back in battery. Just as you know your firearm safety laws, you should know your rapid clearing steps and use them every time. The TAP-RACK-BACK drill, also known as the immediate action drill, is a simple process to effectively deal with a minor malfunction.
Shooting With Your Support Hand
There are times, both in competition and self-defense, that you may need to shoot with your support hand. In competition, the course of fire may call for it or in a self-defense situation, you may not have use of your strong hand. Practicing shooting with your support hand is an important skill to develop.
Pistol Grips to Avoid
When a shooter has a poor grip on her pistol, she may experience a malfunction or difficulty achieving target accuracy. The grips shown are not dangerous per se, but they are techniques to avoid. They are often seen in movies and typically reflect the lack of real firearms training. Grips to avoid include: Tea Cup Low Grip Non Trigger Finger Grip Wrist Brace A proper grip helps better manage recoil and muzzle rise, and helps a shooter with accuracy, speed, and retention. The hands should be as high on the gun as possible. The pistol should fit in the hand to be straight like an extension of the shooter’s arm. The support hand’s fingers should wrapped around the front of the strong hand, so that all four fingers overlay the three lower fingers of the strong hand. While the strong hand squeezes the pistol with front-to-rear pressure, the support hand clamps pressure from the sides. This gives 360-degree pressure on the pistol providing a stable grip.
Dry Fire Safety Rules
Dry Fire Practice can be a great way to improve your skills; however, you must exercise extreme caution when pulling the trigger in your home. It is critical that you follow these five dry-fire safety rules.
Follow Through When Shooting Pistol
Follow-through occurs when you keep contact with the trigger and only let the trigger release to the “reset position” between shots.
Shooting Steel: Safety Guidelines
Shooting steel is fun! You hear the “ping!” when you hit the target, and can often save you time and money from shοoting paper targets. However, shοoting steel can be dangerous if you use the wrong caliber or shοot at the wrong distance. Here are 6 guidelines to stay safe.
3 Factors of a Concealed Carry Gun
When selecting a firearm for concealed carry that you will depend your life upon, there are three very important factors to consider.
Trigger control is the act of manipulating the trigger to fire the gun without disturbing your sight alignment. A pistol shooter may become frustrated if her shots are always slightly off center, so one place to troubleshoot is your trigger press. The shooter should press the trigger smoothly so that the sights remain on the target. If your finger is not pulling straight back, you may be slightly pulling or pushing your muzzle. With the pad of the index finger on the center of the trigger, press the trigger to the rear to fire the first shοt. If your finger is not pressing the trigger straight back, you may be slightly pulling or pushing your muzzle.
Peeking at the target between shots delays your ability to quickly recover your sights and get your next shot on target. It also shifts your mental focus away from the task at hand (your fundamentals of grip, stance, trigger press, etc.) to the target, which can be assessed later.
Drawing Your Pistol
In this video Tatiana Whitlock walks you through the A Girl & A Gun method for drawing your pistol.
How to Load a Pistol Magazine
New shooters can be frustrated when loading their pistol magazines. In this video Tatiana Whitlock offers some tips and techniques for how to easily insert ammo cartridges into a magazine.
If you are heading to a Girl’s Night Out at the range, you will need to get full metal jacket (FMJ) rounds.
How to Load & Make Ready
In this dry-fire video, Tatiana Whitlock shows step-by-step the Load & Make Ready process.
Using the Slide Stop to Chamber a Pistol Round
In this video, Tatiana Whitlock demonstrates two different techniques to using the slide stop to chamber a pistol round.
What to Wear to the Gun Range
The range is not the place to be very fashion conscious. While you can dress cute and there are more fashionable safety accessories on the market than ever before, dressing for safety is most important. In this video Tatiana Whitlock and Heather Eckert explain how to dress for success for a training class. Starting from the ground up: Shoes at the range should be close-toed boots or sneakers. A good, sturdy pair of pants will protect you from the elements and hot brass. They also should have good belt loops to support your holster if you are going to use one at the range. Shirts should have a high collar to prevent hot brass from going down your shirt. Eye and ear protection are critical parts of your personal protective equipment (PPE). Finally, a ballcap will also help prevent brass casings from making contact with your face. When you are in your shooting stance, your arms are forward, your pects are engaged, and the “girls” are smushed together. This cIeavage is a perfect target for hot brass if you are wearing a low-neck shirt. You could not only experience intense burns on your skin, but your reaction could cause you […]
Setting Up Your Shooting Area
When you go to the range, it is important that you set up your shooting workspace to be safe and efficient. In these videos, Tatiana Whitlock walks you through the equipment so that you can be prepared for your practice session at the range.
How to Clear & Make Safe Your Pistol
There are times when you must stop firing and clear the firearm. Clear & Make Safe is the action of unloading the firearm, confirming the magazine is out and there is no round in the chamber, and safely returning the firearm to the bench or the holster.
If your magazine (or gun or any other equipment) falls while you are shooting or reloading, let it fall. People tend to swing the gun backwards and muzzle those behind them if they panic and try to catch the mag or pick it up with gun in hand. First set the gun down first and then bend down to retrieve the magazine. Whenever you are holding a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, it is imperative that you keep it facing a safe direction. More specifically, you must obey the 180 Rule. The muzzle of your gun may NEVER break the 180-degree plane — the imaginary line that extends to your left and right on the shooting line. If you pivot your body, the line doesn’t move with you. It stays anchored to the targets and parallel with the back of the berm.
When shooting a rifle, it can be challenging to hold it steady. Pay close attention to your body and breathing patterns to help you make an accurate shot. Each shooter has a different body type, so use this as a guide to find what is right for you.
Crowding Cover means getting too close to an object and it can have major consequences for self-defense and competition. By crowding Cover (whether it’s a barricade, wall, barrel, etc.) you limit your options for target transition, reduce your speed, and in defensive situations increase the likelihood of your attacker being better able to cause you harm.
Locking Your Rifle Bolt Back
When you are holding your AR-15 rifle, you will want to demonstrate to those around you that it is in a safe condition. The best way to do this is to ensure there is no magazine in the mag well, and then lock the bolt back showing that the action is clear. In this video, Tatiana Whitlock coaches you through a dry-fire session of the steps to locking your rifle bolt back.
How to Store Your Firearms
Part of being a responsible gun owner is properly securing your firearm at all times. When you purchase your first firearm, you should be researching the training classes that you want to take on how to safely and proficiently use it, and also consider the safe or storage options you are going to use to secure it.
Cover vs. Concealment
If you are ever in a position where you have to duck to avoid bullets whizzing by you — maybe a home invasion or active shooter at your place of employment or in a public place — escape if it is safe to do so. If fleeing is not an option, you need to quickly find concealment and cover. While both concealment and cover are important, knowing the difference between these methods is critical to your survival.
Presenting your pistol is extending your arms to put the firearm into your line of sight on the target. In this video, AG & AG Director of Training Tatiana Whitlock explains how to present your pistol safely and consistently.
How to Reholster Your Pistol
There may be times when you need to draw your pistol quickly, but reholstering is to be done slowly and deliberately following these steps.
How to Draw Your Pistol from an Appendix Carry Position
Drawing your pistol from the appendix carry position follows a lot of the same principles of the strong-side holster draw, but there are nuances that are different with this particular carry method. As Tatiana Whitlock explains in the following video, this discussion focuses on the technique of the drawstroke without the additional training considerations of managing cover garments.
How to Pack Up Your Gear After a Shooting Session
When you finish a practice session and are ready to prepare to leave the range, use good etiquette for packing your gear. Be deliberate in your motions when packing up, just as you are when you are setting up your bench for your shooting session.
Cooper’s Combat Triad is illustrated by an equilateral triangle with each side having a specific meaning: Mindset, Marksmanship, and Gun Handling.
Accidentally loading the wrong caliber into your gun can be very dangerous. Best-case scenario is that it won’t load properly; worst-case scenario is that the gun will explode and cause serious injυry. When you bring multiple gυns to the range or when you’re sharing a lane with a friend, loading your magazine with the wrong ammο can happen, so confirm your caliber. There are three places you can check to be sure that the bullet you’re loading is the right one for the pistol. Caliber information is on the original box of ammunition, on the headstamp (bottom) of the bullet casing, and on the slide (or sometimes magazine, depending on the brand) of the fιrearm itself. Loading and firing the wrong caliber bullet into your handgυn can be dangerous. Triple-check the caliber to be sure!
While shooting with a two-handed grip is ideal, there are many times when a shooter may have to shoot with one hand.
The 180 Rule
Whenever you are holding a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, it is imperative that you keep it facing a safe direction. More specifically, you must obey the 180 Rule. The muzzle of your gun may NEVER break the 180-degree plane — the imaginary line that extends to your left and right on the shooting line. If you pivot your body, the line doesn’t move with you. It stays anchored to the targets and parallel with the back of the berm.
A tremendous amount of insight can be obtained about a shooter’s skill level by looking at how bullets hit a paper target. The shooter’s consistency and skill are revealed by the tightness or looseness of the shot groupings, the measurement of the proximity of bullet holes to each other on a target.
How to Change a Pistol Magazine
Removing and inserting a magazine into your pistol is a basic function that new shooters must know, but it is also an important task that needs to be done correctly so that you develop muscle memory with the right habits. If you plan to use your pistol in a defensive situation, then you will need to change your magazine quickly, effectively, and possibly in low-light or no-light or one-handed situations. If you shοot competitively, you will have to plan your reloads and execute them flawlessly. Keep the gun in your personal workspace where your muzzle and sights can remain on target. Push the magazine release and allow gravity to help the mag fall out of the gυn. When grabbing the new mag, extend your index finger along the front of the magazine and hold the baseplate in your palm. Bring the new mag up to your gυn using your pointer finger as a guide. As the new magazine nears the mag well, glance quickly to see it into the gun. Firmly seat the magazine with the palm of your support hand. Many women assume that a firearm doesn’t fit their hand because they can’t reach all of the controls with […]
Firing a Shot
Just as any professional basketbaII pIayer spends decades going over the basic mechanics of shοoting a free throw, a gun owner must repeatedly practice these basic mechanics of firing a shοt.
Shooting on the Move
Shoοting while moving is an advanced skill that requires practice and training; however, it is an important skill that most shoοters will want to work on. It is unlikely there would a defensive scenario when you would stand face-to-face with a gunman like a old Western duel. Get off the X! Move! Get to safety as fast as possible. If you’re a competitor, there may be stages when you move then shοot, but there may be some that require shοts while moving, too.
Racking Your Pistol Slide
Many women lack the arm and hand strength of men, and this can be very evident at the gun counter. It is not only frustrating for some women, but it can be embarrassing, too. However, knowing the right techniques, women can rack the slides of most guns very easily.