View Full Version : What exactly is follow through?

December 20, 2006, 04:07 AM
I just read a post where a guy said he needs to do a better job of "following through" when shooting but have to admit I don't actually know what is meant by this. Given that there is very little movement involved in pulling a trigger what are you following through with?

December 20, 2006, 06:05 AM
You need 2 sight pictures for every shot.

December 20, 2006, 10:56 AM
When you hit a golf ball, you don't relinquish control of the club's motion after it hits the ball. When you fire a shot, you keep control of the gun and return to the original position after recoil.

December 20, 2006, 10:01 PM
So you should make a conscious effort to follow the front site and bring it back to cover the target. Is that correct?

Is this more to improve the accuracy of subsequent shots or does it help the first one as well?

December 20, 2006, 10:24 PM
Follow through means that you consciously keep doing everything you've been doing up until the shot breaks for a short period after the shot breaks.

If you don't follow through, there's a tendency to "think you're done" before you are and actually start moving a tiny bit before or at the same time the shot breaks.

The best way to learn follow through is to try to see the muzzle flash and try to watch the bullet hit on the target.

Someone who is following through will break the shot and then there will be a pause before he relaxes/lifts his head/puts the gun down/etc. If you're watching someone who is not following through, it seems that almost before the shot breaks, they are starting to put the gun down/getting out of shooting position/etc.

December 20, 2006, 10:34 PM
If shooting at a moving target, follow through is to continue your weapon's motion even after the shot is fired, to minimize any tendency to stop as you trip the trigger.

If shooting at a stationary target, it is a concious effort to continue the aiming of the weapon after the shot is fired, to minimize any tendency to anticipate the recoil of the weapon.

Present, aim, fire, feel the shot, THEN recover for another shot.


December 21, 2006, 01:45 AM
Thanks all, I'll have to pay more attention to this from now on.

gordo b.
December 21, 2006, 01:49 AM
A trick is to hold the sight picture and RESET the trigger. Front sight,Press, reset, then repeat sequence.:)

December 21, 2006, 02:30 AM
Not doing so will manifest itself quite readily, particularly with such things as trap, skeet, or goose and duck hunting. Shots on running targets like deer and elk also require one to continue with their lead on the animal after the trigger is pulled. Likewise, I had a real bad problem with not doing follow through with my Sharps 1874 Business Rifle, shooting black powder 535gr loads at 200+ yard targets. Turns out the "barrel time" of that big round is so long that you really have to pay attention to where your sights are after the hammer drops. ;)

December 27, 2006, 09:25 AM
With the gun unloaded this is a good way to practice follow through for non moving targets.
Set up a target at some distance 7 or 15 yards and take a comfortable stance and with a two handed hold, place the gun pointed down at about waist level.
Look at the target not the gun. Concentrate on the target with both eyes open.
Bring the gun up above line of sight and then bring it down so that the sights align to the eyes and where the eyes are looking at the target, stop the gun when it becomes aligned. Start slowly and increase speed as your ability to stop the gun in line with your eyes and in line with the target gets better. You can dryfire or not, but several thing will happen. Once you start actually trying this with actually firing a gun it will help you with keeping both eyes open, it will also teach your muscle control to keep the gun more vertical and inline.
What this represents is a second shot follow through and it will improve your ability to “point” the gun with out having to shoot ammo or go to the range.
This was taught to me by a Gentleman that is no longer with us that used to ride trains in the late 40’s with an certain President named Harry and it worked very well for me.
I agree with many here that follow through is one of the hardest things to master and for some to even understand. There are some many things that can mess up shooters ability and many of them are hard to unlearn once there started.
“If you're watching someone who is not following through, it seems that almost before the shot breaks, they are starting to put the gun down/getting out of shooting position/etc.”
This is SOOOOO true!
And the funny thing is when you tell people that there doing this they will not believe you. One man that had shot for years came to me for help and he was doing just was described above and he wouldn’t believe me.
I pulled out a revolver in 357 mag and let him shoot 2 full cylinders through the gun each time loading it for him myself but not allowing him to see. On the last cylinder I only put 3 rounds in the gun and positioned the cylinder so that the first two would fire then two empty and onward.
When he got to the first empty chamber the gun kicked just as hard as it did when it actually fired. Ok it didn’t kick, he just jerked it as hard. But what was funny was that first the gun swung down ward about an inch then upward.
He was jerking the trigger then anticipating the recoil.

Rob Pincus
December 27, 2006, 09:43 AM
Or, if you are not target shooting, but practicing defensive skills:

Follow through might simply be thought of as recoil management and trigger control. If your weight is forward, grip is good you should be able to manage the recoil well, this will minimize movement of the gun during firing and allow faster follow up shots.

Trigger control after the shot, usually means keeping your finger in contact with the trigger until you are done your string of fire. You should also only be letting the trigger move as far forward as necessary to reset the action of the firearm.

Be careful about over-emphasizing mechanical target shooting points if you are practicing defensive skills.

December 27, 2006, 02:13 PM
The reason for follow-through is that it takes time (albeit small) for the bullet to exit the barrel. Everything you do (or don't do) after you press the trigger and before the bullet exits the barrel can and will affect where the bullet goes.

A classic example of failing to follow through is when people are firing just one shot. The natural tendency is to lift your head and look for the hole in the target after you press the trigger. This (usually) causes the gun to dip downward a bit while the bullet is still traveling down the bore. The end result is a low hit, sometimes surprisingly low even at close distances.

As the others mentioned, each shot needs two sight pictures for visual follow through. Follow through on the trigger is important as well, but how you do it depends on how you work the trigger in the first place. The key is to not do anything that will move the gun until after the bullet is gone. For most people, that means resetting the trigger as soon as possible.

January 5, 2007, 08:16 AM
during trap shooting, i used to think that you would have to manually lead the gun thru, but the more i shoot the more i find it comes natural once you have the swing of shooting. Trigger pull is a big follow-thru act and you just have to squeeze until its done, not when you THINK it should break. Alot of shooting has become automatic for me anymore, but im still learning. As far as pistol follow thru comes in, i cant reccomend much of anything as i dont shoot pistols as much as my other guns, but trigger "follow thru" is a biggie. Also when i first started shooting trap, i wasnt really aware of some things, but now its soo automatic i notice a big deal about when i should press the trigger, if the trigger pull is too heavy where my gun should have been at when i missed etc. You sort of just have to be aware of whats goin on and if it comes automaticly then you wont need "follow thru"