Day: November 16, 2021

Matrix Arms customer shooting a rifle

How to Improve Your Rifle Shooting Skills

Rifles in modern times serve many purposes: hunting, self-defense, warfare, and competitive shooting sports, just to name a few. Accuracy is key with any class of firearm, but rifles are specifically designed for precision shooting. Learning how to shoot a rifle is a valuable skill, opening doors to recreational and practical pursuits. And because rifle shooting is a precision art, proper training is essential. With continued practice and help from this primer, you can improve your rifle shooting techniques.

Five Fundamentals of Rifle Shooting

The first critical step in bettering your rifle shooting techniques is understanding basic practices. In shooting circles, you may have heard about the five firing fundamentals of rifle shooting. These fundamentals are often expressed in five key terms:

  • Aiming
  • Breath control
  • Holding your aim
  • Squeezing the trigger
  • Following through

You may see these points in shorthand with the acronym “BRASS”: breathe, relax, aim, squeeze the trigger, and squeeze more for follow-through. Specific practices with each point are vital to your technique and accuracy.


Precise aim is important — so important that it’s among the first steps. You start by aligning your sights with your chosen target. Make sure both eyes are open to help you focus and cut back on eye strain. Also, your aiming time should be relatively short. Precision is critical, but taking too long to aim can compromise accuracy.

Breath Control

You need to breathe to stay alive, but a lack of control can also compromise your aim. Deliberate breathing can counteract this common problem. When you’re prepared to fire, inhale deeply and exhale about half of your breath intake. Hold your breath while squeezing the trigger, but don’t hold it for too long — this can inadvertently speed up your heart rate and mess up your accuracy. Staying relaxed is essential to this breath control.

Holding Your Aim

Steady aim is crucial to accuracy, but trying to perfectly stay still can actually ruin your shot. Instead, focus your necessary movement on the target. Minimizing the area of movement can also cut down on your chances of missing the target.

Squeezing the Trigger

Your grasp should be firm but not too tight when pulling your rifle’s trigger. Be sure to grasp the wrist of the stock firmly and comfortably position your fingertip on the trigger. When ready to shoot, the trigger should fall between your finger’s first joint and tip. Squeeze slowly with steady pressure when firing your rifle.

Follow Through

When learning how to shoot a rifle, don’t stop short when you’ve pressed the trigger. Once the bullet leaves the firearm and heads to its target, continue squeezing the trigger until it stops. Lack of follow-through can cause the rifle to jerk, which throws off your aim. Don’t raise your head after making your shot, and keep the trigger pressed for one full second afterward.

Improving Your Shooting Proficiency

Practice is vital to both continued proficiency and further honing your skill. As you become more familiar with shooting a rifle, you can follow some other good practices. You already know that flinching can mess up a perfectly good shot, so the key here is to minimize this tendency. But flinching happens when you anticipate your rifle’s recoil. It can also result from expecting each shot’s report — in other words, hearing the shot before visually perceiving it.

Fortunately, you can correct this tendency with help from another experienced shooter. Ask this person to secretly insert a dummy round, or “snap cap,” into your rifle’s magazine. You shouldn’t see this take place. Then when you resume shooting, have your friend watch you. This individual can observe and tell you if you have a flinching problem.

Once you’re aware that you’re flinching, you can approach the problem in a couple of different ways. Dry firing is a great way to practice and perfect your technique. Practice firing with snap caps to avoid running through ammunition. You may also want to consider using lighter weight rounds, a smaller caliber rifle, or installing a moderator or muzzle brake to cut down on recoil.

Rifle Firing Practice Tips

Regular practice improves your rifle shooting techniques. But as mentioned earlier, using live ammo during practice can sometimes be a bit of a waste. Thankfully, you can work on your skills without ammo.

Dummy Round Drills

We’ve already seen how dummy round practice can help you work on reducing your flinching. If you can’t access dummy rounds, spent cases are a useful alternative. Either way, you can use them to perfect your sight alignment and trigger control skills. If you’re not quite adept at clearing your rifle, this approach can also help you improve in that area. After all, you must kick out the dummy round to continue firing.

Dry Fire Practice

If you’ve never done dry firing, you may find that it’s a helpful way to better learn how to shoot a rifle. Besides conserving ammo, it makes regular practice easier and more convenient. Most experts recommend two to three sessions each week to continue maintaining and bettering your skills. Dry firing is also versatile, allowing you to work through everything from drills to other essentials such as reloading and drawing.

Even when you’re doing dry fire practice, safety is a vital part of shooting. Check both your firearm and magazines to ensure there are no bullets inside either one. In fact, you should triple-check just to be safer. To remove any uncertainty, place your ammunition in another separate room. This eliminates the possibility that you’ve inadvertently kept live rounds inside your rifle.

Low-Round Count Drills

We’ve mentioned dry firing and snap caps, but some other approaches can be helpful. Practicing multiple shooting fundamentals at the same time helps conserve ammunition. Low-round count drills are an ideal solution. How? Well, there’s the popular Dot Torture Drill, which uses a precise pattern printed on a simple 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper. It’s a sequence of firing and drawing with your dominant and weaker hands. The Dot Torture Drill also helps you with accuracy by practicing trigger control.

Designing a Range Practice Regimen

Practicing is great, but focused practice is even better. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to draw up a practice plan before visiting your favorite shooting range. You don’t need to be super meticulous, but you should map out a schedule that includes specific skills with drills to help you work on them. With said plan, you can get the most out of your shooting time and avoid wasting ammo.

The Matrix Arms Difference

Matrix Arms’ legacy includes crafting products for notable clients such as Lockheed Martin, Barnes Aerospace, and General Dynamics. Exactitude, proficiency, and cutting-edge approaches inform every stage of product creation, from initial design to our CNC manufacturing processes. With our extensive experience in the firearms industry, we consistently meet and exceed customer expectations.

We offer value through both our products and expertise, including this guide on rifle shooting tips. We’re happy to help clients find the arms, accessories, and information they need. Reach out to us through our online contact form or call our New Hampshire headquarters at (603) 504-3790.

Featured Image: Jury Mustafaev/Shutterstock

Matrix Arms showing the safety on an Ar-15

Gun safety rules every owner must learn

Doing your homework is vital if you’re to become a responsible owner of firearms. If you searched, “What do I need to own a gun?” you’re already one step in the right direction. But there’s a lot to responsible ownership and handling — gun safety, proper storage, and both state and federal laws, to name a few. If you’re new to firearms, this may seem like a lot of information to take in at once. Where do you even start? Fortunately, this useful guide explains some key essentials to help you educate yourself.

The Four Rules of Firearms Safety

Safety is crucial in handling firearms. Observing safe practices ensures that you can enjoy shooting as a hobby for years to come. Not only that, but you’re also thoughtfully and deliberately ready to protect yourself and others should the need arise. As a gun owner, you must understand and follow the four universal laws of gun safety.

All Guns Are Loaded

Treat your gun as if it’s loaded at all times. No matter where or when you’re carrying your firearm, you should behave as if it contains live ammunition.

Don’t Point Your Gun at Non-Targets

Never point your gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy. The muzzle should be pointed in a safe direction at all times.

Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger

Do not place your finger on your firearm’s trigger until your sights are on target. Until you have deliberately decided to shoot, your trigger finger should rest alongside the frame of the gun and outside of the trigger guard.

Know Your Target and What’s Beyond It

First and foremost, you should be absolutely certain of your target. But it’s also critical to know what lies just beyond the target. Avoid shooting at hard flat surfaces or water. Also, do not fire if there are people behind the target or if you cannot see past the target.

Other Gun Safety Practices

Now that you’ve read about the four cardinal rules of gun safety, there are a few other things you should know. Getting to know your firearm is a vital first step. This knowledge includes how it works plus its essential parts. You should also know how to open and close the action and how to remove ammunition. You can take classes or private instruction to learn these basics.

Proper cleaning and storage are also essential to gun ownership. Besides keeping them in good condition and preserving their value, regular cleaning also ensures that they function correctly. Best practices include cleaning your gun every time you use it, plus whenever you remove it from long-term storage. Before you clean, make sure the firearm is unloaded and the action is open. Also, your firearms should never be in easy reach. A dedicated storage option such as a locking steel cabinet or gun safe keeps unauthorized persons from accessing these weapons.

Understanding Gun Laws

State and federal laws governing gun ownership can be complex. Still, it’s your responsibility to understand and follow these statutes. They specify key details such as who may legally buy firearms plus waiting periods, where you can carry firearms and more.

Purchasing a Firearm

If you haven’t yet purchased your first gun, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, seek out licensed firearms dealers. They have been issued a Federal Firearms License by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to legally engage in buying, selling, or making firearms.

Depending on the state, the minimum age to buy a gun is either 18 or 21. Some states specify different minimum ages for different types of firearms. Individual jurisdictions have their own rules for purchase and ownership. Federal law on becoming a gun owner also requires that you undergo background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Those new to gun ownership may find terms like “open carry” and “concealed carry” a little confusing. But it may be helpful to remember a few things. Basically, open carry means that you’re carrying a firearm in open view. Waistband holsters are usually preferred, but you may also see people open carry in chest rigs or leg holsters. Concealed carry means that your gun is not in plain sight.

Concealed carry laws vary by state. Some allow permitless concealed carry, while others grant concealed carry weapons licenses according to certain criteria. In some states or counties, it’s up to the local authorities whether or not to grant CCW permits. Some governments do not issue CCW permits at all. There are also reciprocity agreements between states. That means CCW permits issued in some states are honored by others, allowing permit holders to conceal carry in those locations as well. You should check your jurisdiction’s laws for further information.

Practice and Proficiency

Practice makes perfect, right? Well, that adage especially rings true when it comes to firearms proficiency. Most shooting ranges offer group classes at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. These include gun safety basics plus specific courses on pistols, rifles, and other types of firearms. There are also courses that cover important fundamentals such as reloading, muzzleloading, and rifle carry positions. You can also find private one-on-one instruction at some ranges.

Practicing at the range helps reinforce what you learn in class. Scheduling regular practice sessions ensure that you don’t get rusty and improve your skills. There’s also “dry fire” practice in which you use your gun without live ammunition. This training lets you perfect your technique without firing any shots.

Meeting Other Hobbyists

Recreational shooting can help you skill up in precision, speed, and accuracy. Shooting as a hobby can be done individually, but joining a gun club has some great benefits. You meet like-minded gun owners who share your enthusiasm. If you’re a new owner, a club affords the opportunity to learn from experienced shooters.

Like with any other passion, finding community is valuable. With so many kinds of weapons and shooting styles, you’re sure to find a club that meets your needs. You can also find your niche where you can use your developing skills — hunting and competitive sports disciplines such as skeet, field, and bullseye shooting.

Innovation, Precision, and Perfection

Whether you’re a brand-new owner or you’re experienced with firearms, you assume a big responsibility. Practicing gun safety is important, as well as learning how to properly handle your firearms. Since laws covering gun ownership and carrying weapons vary from state to state, it’s critical to know these laws and stay up-to-date on any changes.

Thanks for reading this guide on important things that gun owners need to know. Matrix Arms is a CNC manufacturer of firearms with a keen focus on innovation, precision, and perfection. With engineering expertise, automation, and lean manufacturing practices, we craft products that meet or exceed customer expectations. Experience world-class service from our professionals—contact us through our online form or call (603) 504-3790.

Featured Image: Ambrosia Studios/Shutterstock