Author:LeGate, Shari
Position:GAME ON

For a lifelong competitive shotgunner, I own a lot of handguns. I like them and I like to shoot them. We all know the basic difference between pistol and shotgun shooting. Pistol shooting is aiming. Shotgun shooting is pointing. With pistol you focus on the sights and squeeze the trigger. With shotgun you look at the target and slap the trigger, never looking at the sight or bead. It's movement vs. stationary shooting. Shotguns move. Pistols don't, even in an event like Action Pistol.

So when I wanted to learn pistol, I went to the local range and found an instructor. First thing he said was my fundamentals were all wrong. Of course they are, I'm a shotgun shooter. I jerk the trigger, I look at the target, not the sight and my stance is well ... a shotgunner's stance. I can't unlearn what I've spent the majority of my life mastering. So, my question was, is it possible to apply shotgun fundamentals to pistol shooting?


It's essential to find an instructor who can relate to you. I was lucky enough to come across Rob Leatham's approach. He's one of the best competitive pistol shooters --in the world. I asked him if it was possible to apply my shotgun fundamentals to pistol.

Rob explained since I'm used to ignoring the bead on my shotgun, I was already "halfway there" to pistol proficiency. After all, the bead isn't used to sight in on a target. It's there to make sure the gun is aligned with your eye and you're looking down the barrel.

"Do you jerk the gun when you shoot your shotgun?" he asked. Of course not. The barrel stays level with the flight path of the target and when I pull the trigger, I keep the movement of the barrel and the slap of the trigger smooth.

"Do the same thing when shooting a pistol," Rob said. "The first thing an instructor will tell you is focus on the sight, squeeze the trigger, pin the trigger to the rear, release only the trigger and try and relax. That's all BS. As a rule, the first thing you should learn to do is pull the trigger without moving the gun. You need to be able to fire the gun without altering the attitude and the direction the...

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