Basic Shooting Principles
By Chris Mandia
Let’s face it, humans have a nasty streak – we rob, maim, kill and kick puppies.
Well, maybe not you or I, but there’s a distinct undercurrent of society who
takes advantage of chaotic situations. The proverbial dinner bell rung, these
unsavory characters are quick to exploit the weak. Accordingly, the savvy
Survivalist should be acquainted with several means of personal defense. Good
on you if you’re a Karate black belt or Kravmaga swami – you’re a tougher man
If you don’t have a gun (or preferably several) it’s probably a good
idea to get one. Like yesterday. And learn how to use it. I’ve come to embrace
some basic methods of safety, accuracy and tactics when dealing with
firearms – lifted straight from US Marine Corps doctrine. They’re simple
battle-tested methods that’ll keep you safe, keep you on target, and most
importantly – keep you alive.
So lets rehash the fundamentals.
The Four Safety Rules
- Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
- Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
- Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.
Simple stuff, right? Apparently not. According to www.bradycampaign.org,
nearly 15,000 Americans were accidentally shot in 2011. And 606 of those
unlucky individuals died. You don’t want those types of KIA’s, friends.
Jack-Assery and firearms don’t mix.
Marines are expected to tag small targets at 500 yards – with iron sights.
How do they do it? Practice – habituating proper trigger control, breathing
and stance. Mastering your natural respiratory pause is vital. On the exhale,
slowly pull the trigger. Don’t anticipate recoil – it leads to inaccuracy.
Also, you’ll look like a tool. And nobody wants that. Never jerk. Never pull.
Slow and steady all the way. Ultimately, grandpappy’s words of wisdom ring
true when in regards to accuracy: practice makes perfect. Hit the range,
and hit it often.
Let’s talk shooting positions. The Corps drills four types: standing;
kneeling; sitting and prone. Pretty self-explanatory. Employing them in
a hostile environment is another story. Firefights rarely conform to fixed
stand-up engagements. On the contrary, a controlled chaos of sorts ensues.
If you actually see the bad guys, consider yourself lucky. Engaging muzzle
flashes is the norm. After you’ve mastered your weapon, mix up your shooting
Examples include: darkness, shrubs, smoke, etc. Anything that shields
you from angry projectiles is considered “cover.” Don’t be the guy who
takes cover behind a streetlight. You’ll get shot, trust me on that one.
Look for walls, boulders or vehicles. Stick to the basics and keep it
simple – it might just save your life.
Article by Chris Mandia. Chris is a Southern California writer who writes on military issues. Serving two tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantryman, you can find out more about him at www.chrismandia.com.