Definition Series - Part 9: "Fundamentals"
by Kirk Lawson


The "fundamentals" of any discipline are the most basic of skills, attributes, or understanding of principles required to engages successfully in that discipline.

The process of accurate, effective, and safe shooting is no different. It requires a set of core "fundamentals." The National Rifle Association of the U.S. (NRA), recognized as an authority on accurate, safe, and effective shooting, has identified five key elements, or "fundamentals," to the process.
  1. Aiming
  2. Breath control
  3. Hold control
  4. Trigger control
  5. Follow-through
Later we will take the time to give each their own article, but let's get a quick overview of each.

Aiming: To quote the NRA, "Aiming is the process of aligning a firearm with a target so that a bullet fired from that firearm will strike the target where desired." In other words, aiming is the process of assuring that you are pointing the gun where you think you are pointing the gun so that bullets will hit where you plan for them to.

Breath control: Quoting again, "Breath control is the method used to minimize gun movement due to breathing." The simple fact is that any movement will disturb the position of the gun, which will degrade "aiming" and create imprecision in the point of impact of the bullet. Breath control helps reduce movement because of breathing.

Hold control: "Maximum accuracy is achieved when the firearm is held motionless during the process of aiming and firing." Again, moving the gun changes the point of bullet impact from the desired location. Proper methods of hold control can help reduce movement from things such as body tremors and general instability.

Trigger control: Still quoting, Trigger control, "...refers to the technique of pulling the trigger without causing any movement..." Of course the trigger moves, but you do not want the rest of the gun to move because you want the bullet to impact in the place where you are aiming. A lot of inaccuracy of bullet placement is caused by poor trigger control moving the gun off of the desired aim.

Follow-through: Finally, "...follow-through is the effort made by the shooter to integrate, maintain and continue all shooting fundamentals before, during and immediately after firing the shot." Essentially, keep doing what you are doing to make accurate shots the whole way through each and every time.