Practice and Training For NRA Rifle Silhouette
Timed Long Range Steel Target Shooting

The Truth is...

Many people, including myself, enjoy the individual aspect of this sport in a similar way to that that many have with the sport golf, it is a competition within themselves on how well they do.

If you really want to improve your scores, you need to practice. If you have the desire to achieve Master Class in Rifle Silhouette you will need to practice holding the rifle at home and at the range shooting your rifle. Without any doubt, the top professionals in any sport has dedicated a lot of time to training. If you wish to improve at all, it is not going to come by magic but by experience and practice. In the beginning, practicing your ability to hold a rifle steady on the target is very important.

Training to Improve Your Stability

In the beginning it is most important to practice getting more stable on your hold. Most people have not been trained on holding a rifle to a specific point for any length of time. Once you have established your posture and hold on the rifle you need to practice your hold. Do not ignore the importance of proper posture, a poor standing position creates poor results. See the page under Instructions labeled Basic Techniques- Posture. It is possible to stand awkwardly and be able to fire accurately if you dedicate a lot of time, I have seen it done. It is similar to that of a golf stance. You see some do alright without the proper techniqes but, why not start with something that has been proven to work?

You do not need to go to the range to practice. Scaled targets you can practice your hold on while pulling on the un-cocked trigger can be even better if done properly. It will give you a more consistent trigger pull. You can see if your trigger firing motion is moving the rifle off-target. I have created a printable target for this use. There are instructions on the target for determining the scale to be printed. You can place the targets on a wall or object at a distance your riflescope will be able to focus.

I put scaled targets on the block wall in my back yard which I can see through my arcadia door. The targets are cut out of white plastic and placed on with epoxy. There can be some minor distortion looking through the glass, but clear enough to practice.

Trying the trigger is not important in the beginning, but occasionally pull on the spring of the trigger to simulate firing when you are centered (not dry firing). The biggest problem in the early stages is being able to hold steadily on target. You want to spend a few minutes at a time in practice and then rest. It is not good to continually hold the rifle until you are fatigued. You can do long sessions of practice, but rest between periods of holding the rifle, similarly to the timing in a match.

The important point of this exercise at home....

If you take the time at least once a week to have a 30 minute long session of practice as descibed, you will increase your ability to hold on target. If in addition to once or more of long sessions, you take up your rifle and just spend a couple of minutes a few times a day, your abillity to hold will improve much more rapidly. The short training periods between the long sessions not only add to your experience, it keeps the memory recall of the long training sessions fresh without spending a lot of time.

The Pig target is a good starting point for learning to hold your rifle steady.

Do not expect to be able to hold a solid resting point on a target for 30 seconds. That is not going to happen. What you will find as you get better at holding are short periods where you are hovering on a perfect shot. The training and experience at the range will help you decide when it is the best opportunity to fire. Even with experience it can be difficult to be correct at that moment of decision. At every match there is always one moment that passes where I am asking myself, "Why didn't you fire?" and there are others where it looked good at the time but in between the brain and the finger there was slight movement and the bullet goes off the edge of the steel target.

As You Improve Your Stability

Start practicing more on the Turkey targets. You should still practrice some on each of the other animal targets. It is important to be able to get the sight picture in the mind on the optimum firing point for each target. They are all shaped differently, so the best firing position is viewed differently. The more you see the optimum position while holding, the easier it will be to see the proper time to fire at the steel targets when you are at the range.

Over time you can start to pinpoint your aim even better by trying to hold on the head of the Ram target or the head of the Chicken.