A difference exists between typical Bullseye marksmanship and tactical shooting. However, the fundamentals remain the same. How we apply them is where we see a division.
Bullseye shooting, or a focus on marksmanship, is typically accomplished on a clear, flat range with a small bullseye-style target set at a specific distance, such as the NRA B8 25-yard target featuring a 5½-inch bullseye. The shooter ensures their upright, Weaver-style, semi-bladed stance is perfect, and a natural point of aim with the target is obtained. Their firearm is presented in a methodical manner, and they take the time to ensure the sights are perfectly aligned. The trigger is slowly squeezed rearward as the shooter’s vision bounces back and forth between their sights and the target, making minute changes to their sight alignment and point of aim prior to the shot. When the shot goes off, the shooter prefers to be surprised. This minimizes any chance of anticipation or flinch, which could disturb their sight alignment. Bulls-eye shooters generally rely on an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster and are not concerned with concealability or cover garments. They also typically reload while at the shooting bench.
The tactical shooter, on the other hand, chooses an athletic, forward-leaning, Modern Isosceles stance that allows them to aggressively shoot and move in a 360-degree environment without changing their shooting style. The tactical shooter relies on an acceptable sight picture given the distance to their intended target and engages that target with multiple rounds in a quick and efficient manner. The tactical shooter’s “bullseye,” if you will, closely resembles an 8-inch circle of an IDPA silhouette target or the 6-inch-wide by 14-inch-long A-zone of an IPSC or other humanoid target. Tactical shooters tend to shoot from concealment or from duty-style rigs and work on obtaining a full firing grip from the draw. They rely on a fast yet efficient draw stroke. Speed reloading their firearm is an important and practiced skill for the tactical shooter.
The following 11 tips will help you become a more skillful tactical shooter:
A good, forward-leaning, athletic stance is the foundation of consistent shooting. Your feet should be positioned approximately shoulder-width apart, with your non-firing foot a half step forward of your firing foot. For right-handed shooters, that means your left foot is forward of your right. Your upper body should be forward enough for you to feel the weight over your toes and balls of your feet, and your knees should be slightly bent. Ensure your upper body remains erect, and your forward lean is accomplished with your lower body and knees. You shouldn’t be bending at the waist when distributing your weight forward.
Clear your clothing
IWB—When the decision is made to draw, both of your hands should be working together to clear your cover garment if your pistol is concealed. If carrying on or behind the hip, use your support hand to lift your garment in an upward motion, and use your firing hand to begin sweeping your clothing in a rearward movement, completely exposing your holstered firearm. Don’t let go with your support hand.
AIWB—If carrying appendix inside the waistband (AIWB), use your support hand to grasp a handful of your cover garment and aggressively pull upward toward your sternum (the higher the better). Place your firing hand on your pistol grip.
OWB—If carrying outside the waistband (OWB) without a cover garment, move your support hand toward your upper chest while simultaneously swinging your strong hand rearward toward your exposed pistol, elbow facing the sky. Place your strong hand on the grip of your pistol.
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