The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 14, 2010, 03:47 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: March 7, 2008
Posts: 265
Exercises for better shooting?

Are there any exercises that can help me shoot better other than shooting a lot, ie weights or running. I'm mainly thinking about handguns or shooting a long gun without a stand. Thank you
Revolvers are a disease. Once you buy one your doomed for life!
Within temptation are our lives on this earth until we leave -me
Nero45 is offline  
Old May 14, 2010, 04:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: December 28, 1999
Location: In a kornfield in kalifornia
Posts: 1,161
Dry practice 2-3 times a week.
When Banjos are outlawed, only Outlaws will have Banjos
The Bible is my lawbook. I turn the other cheek when applicable, and spend the rest of my days resisting evil at every front, until I have breathed my last breath.
fastforty is offline  
Old May 14, 2010, 08:14 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,835
Get a copy of the USAMU's Pistol Marksmanship Guide, they have phyical and mental exercises as well as other info.

If you cant find one on line, PM me with your e-mail address and I'll send you a copy in PDF format.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old May 14, 2010, 09:21 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 2,566
The best challenge to me, . . . is to beat myself. Set up some goal or score that you can "shoot" at.

One is shooting the "550" drill (I copied this from a post on one of the forums I go to).

Fire 10 strings of 10 shots each at a 6 inch round target face. Tape misses between strings and score each string.

1st string is shot at 10 ft, each hit is worth 1 point.

2nd string is shot at 15 feet, but only if you got a perfect 10 on the first string. 2nd string shots are worth 2 points each.

3rd string is shot at 20 ft, but only after you have a perfect string of 2nd round shots. 3rd string shots are worth 3 points each.

4th string is shot at 25 feet, but only after you have a perfect string of 3rd round shots. 4th string shots are worth 4 points each.

Follow the pattern until you have shot 100 rounds. At the end of 100 rounds, you have your score for that match.

A perfect score is 550, hence the name.

It could be varied many different ways, . . . including timed shots, . . . shooting from cover, . . . shooting around obstacles, . . . shooting weak handed, . . . etc. Just remember to shoot against yourself the same way each time.

May God bless,
If you can breathe, . . . thank God!
If you can read, . . . thank a teacher!
If you are reading this in English, . . . thank a Veteran!
Dwight55 is offline  
Old May 14, 2010, 10:35 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 8,362
Bullseye shooting and regular upper body toning exercises(don't ask me which ones though. I took a part time job sorting freight because I hate the idea of paying to excercise.). For both rifle and handguns.
Dry firing a centre fire is a long recognized training technique for sight picture, breathing and trigger control too. It won't help if you can't hold the rifle or handgun up though.
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 03:49 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: April 19, 2005
Location: Left coast
Posts: 602

I'd be interested in that text.

could you send it to me?
Imagine what I would do, if I could do all I can.
Dre_sa is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 09:35 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: March 4, 2008
Location: Down East Maine
Posts: 431
Tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome are frequent injuries in sports and work activities in general, and can are particularly debilitating for shooters. This is due to the repetitious nature of the activities coupled with forceful gripping. For instance, using the isosceles grip instead of of the Weaver can cause trouble in the elbows, because of gripping combined with elbow and wrist extension.

As an avid shooter and a health care provider who specializes in upper extremity rehabilitation I run across these issues quite a bit. (As well as finger amputations, sprains, burns, fractures, etc.) In fact, I have been toying with an article or brief training lecture about shooters' injuries: how to avoid them, how to compensate for them while they heal (and still be able to shoot) and how to correct them. It's just that every time this topic comes up people start to snore.

You can train hard, but you must stretch and rest appropriately in between sessions. Shooting a lot and then lifting weights to help with that shooting can easily be overdone. It's not all about strength, as endurance and flexibility are also key elements to shooting capability.

Grip strengthening exercises, and stretching and strengthening of the wrist and forearm flexor and extensor muscles are critical. (These are the so-called extrinsic muscles of the hand). Stretching and strengthening of the muscles of the rotator cuff and trapezius muscle in the shoulder are particularly important for shooters over 40.

It's all way too much to go into in a thread like this (pictures needed, etc.), but I'd be happy to help a shooter with injuries if they want to contact me via a PM or email.
The United States Marine Corps: Providing the enemies of America the opportunity to die for their countries since 1775. Semper fi.
Murdock is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 10:35 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,835

I'd be interested in that text.

could you send it to me?
Yes sir, if you pm me with your e-mail address.

I'll send them to all who wants them, all I ask in return that you share it with anyone else you find interested.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 12:04 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: November 30, 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 248
I see soooo many people morbidly obese and shooting at ranges. Why? It is unhealthy. Did the spoon or fork MAKE you fat? NO! If you need to run and duck for cover when you are overweight, are not you going to think that you need to be in a little better shape? Also when you actually do run and duck for cover, will not your heart rate be at a better pace so you can shoot accurately instead of panting for breath while trying to hold a gun steady?

-Trigger Finger.
I use my double action revolvers to practice dry firing. It builds muscle in my trigger finger and have noticed a great deal of control when i switch over to lighter triggers.

-Breathing Exercises
Yoga or Tai Chi, or whatever it takes to control your breathing. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

-Lift Weights
Try holding a 9lb-11lb rifle while standing and say it feels comfortable over long periods of time. I doubt you will. The more muscle you have in your shoulders the better you can shoulder a gun and hold it there without the twitches of muscles because of weakness.

A prudent man forsees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished
Proverbs 27:12
Chinny33 is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 01:34 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: April 19, 2005
Location: Left coast
Posts: 602

PM sent, I will gladly share it with a few people that would be interested.

Thank you!
Imagine what I would do, if I could do all I can.
Dre_sa is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 02:48 PM   #11
Old Grump
Member in memoriam
Join Date: April 9, 2009
Location: Blue River Wisconsin, in
Posts: 3,144
I use a rubber squeezer for my grip. 10 pound barbells and half curls both suppinated and pronated, 8 reps palm up and 5 reps palm down.

Nun-chuks if you have them, held out at arms length and spun one direction for 1 minute than a short break and spin rapidly in the other direction for one minute. Do that with each arm.

If I really want to work up a sweat my short dowel, ( 12" hunk of old broom handle). With a cord fastened to it. Held out in front at shoulder height with both hands, the cord tied to a tin can, full of gravel, rocks, cement or an old milk jug filled part way with water. slowly roll the dowel in your hands wrapping the cord up and then slowly unwinding. When you get up to 8 pounds one rep a day is more than plenty. At least if you are old and arthritic.

Other than that I keep a set of rubber bands on my desk and when I'm waiting for something to load on the computer I do a few reps with my arms down low, out in front, overhead and then reverse my hands so they are facing outward and repeat. Isn't much and it isn't hard but if I don't do it the arthritis lets me know the next time I'm pistol shooting.

Even easier is pushing down or up on desk top with my hands or if I'm standing in a door way pushing out on the frame with the back of my hands for a count of 8.

Just put your hands together and push them together as hard as you can for a slow 8 count. Then hook the fingers together and try to pull them apart for the same count. This is a good car exercise at stop lights or waiting for somebody in the parking lot.

Anything that keeps the hands, wrist, forearms and shoulders strong is a plus and it doesn't take a lot of gear.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern will, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
--Daniel Webster--
Old Grump is offline  
Old May 15, 2010, 05:09 PM   #12
old bear
Senior Member
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: Not close enough to the beach
Posts: 1,452
Helps me

Use a 3-pound “heavy hand” in right hand; hold horizontally with arm fully extended. Turn arm 90 deg. to right and hold 10 seconds then return to start position hold 10 seconds, then turn to left and hold for ten seconds repeat a total of 10 times. Do the same with left arm. As you build up your tolerance you can increase the time you hold your arm out and the number of reps.
old bear is offline  
Old May 16, 2010, 08:14 AM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: October 22, 2006
Posts: 823
There is an old dry fire exercise that can be fairly useful when you are not willing or able to spend money on a range and/or ammunition. The following materials will be needed to perform the exercise.

1. No. 2 pencil.

2. one piece of plain paper.

3. Tape or push pins.

4. A centerfire handgun.*

What you will do now is draw five circles on the piece of paper. They should be about 1/2 inch in diameter. Using a penny as a stencil is acceptable for the purpose though it is hair larger than needed. The circles should run horizontally across the paper. Now fasten the newly made training aide to the wall or suitable location that is approximately eye level.

Secure your handgun. Clear and check it, then double and triple check. One can never be too safe. Once you are positive that the pistol or revolver is unloaded you will begin the exercise. This exercise will require applying the fundamentals of shooting we should all be familiar with. Breathing, trigger control, sight picture, etc. Take that number two pencil and insert it into the barrel. Be sure the eraser is resting up against the breech face. Be sure that the pencil is long enough to stick out the end of the barrel. The pencil tip needs to be about 2 inches away from the target surface when you are performing this exercise. Aim at one of the circles COM and fire the handgun as you would on the range. Then cock the pistol again and make sure the pencil is seated. Repeat for five "shots" per circle. There will be 25 shots in one cycle of this exercise. You may perform as many cycles as desired. When the firing pin hits the eraser it will send the pencil forward and mark the paper. Don't worry about the marks not being inside the circles that makes no matter. What you are attempting to achieve is a grouping of pencil point marks no larger than 1/8th of an inch or approximately 3 millimeters.

This is a good way to practice cheaply and keep your skill level up. It isn't a substitute for actual range time but it is a good supplement and tool. Just as any person who want's to run faster they must run or if they want to do more push ups they should do push ups. So it is with firearms and marksmanship. If you want to shoot better you must shoot more often. Nothing else will make you better at the thing you wish to become better at that actually doing that thing.

With all that aside. It isn't practical for most people to train with live fire all the time, at least with a centerfire. If a person doesn't have a .22 rimfire it would be a good idea to have one that mimics the centerfire you are choosing to use. The .22 doesn't have to be the same as the centerfire it just translates better if it is similar. No matter what any trigger time is good and a .22 handgun will help you be a better shot with a larger caliber handgun by giving you more trigger time. This exercise will give you even more trigger time as well.

Hope that this helps in some fashion. Good luck, happy and safe shooting.

*Note. Some calibers may be too small for a pencil and you may have to find a substitute for a marker. Also this can be done with a rifle as well, however it can be difficult to find a shaft light enough to work properly in the same fashion. If anything it is a future project that one can think about on their own time. The concept is clear enough to everyone I am sure.
History is a freak show and a dark comedy. Mankind is a spectacle all to itself. Play your role, let the jesters play theirs. In the end...who has the last laugh?
Slugthrower is offline  
Old May 16, 2010, 09:04 AM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: January 7, 2009
Posts: 1,757
Second hit has a free download.....
Let's eat Grandma.
Let's eat, Grandma.

Commas save lives...
jglsprings is offline  
Old May 17, 2010, 11:55 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: July 21, 2009
Posts: 797
Old Grump makes a good point here..

Yes it's very good to use grippers, rollers, etc.. but balancing that strength with the opposite motion is important and will really help you out. The rubber band around your fingers, stretching them out, holding, and releasing, is a great little exercise you can do anywhere. Just don't overdo it.
booker_t is offline  
Old May 19, 2010, 12:41 PM   #16
Junior Member
Join Date: May 18, 2010
Posts: 3
I am no expert, but I would think, in terms of relevant physical training, you'd do best to replicate the motions you wish to strengthen with heavier weights. So, if you want a rock steady handgun stance, grip a dumbell with one or both hands like it's a pistol grip and raise it to a firing stance. For a long gun, use a bar with a weight on one end (the "barrel" end). For a strong base, squats and/or lunges. For a death grip, work out your hands. Do several sets of reps to exhaustion.
royce is offline  
Old May 19, 2010, 05:26 PM   #17
Junior member
Join Date: July 1, 2008
Location: South Florida
Posts: 537
I lifted weights for years, three or four 2 hr sessions a week . I don't feel the strength I developed ever really helped me in my shooting.

Now my cardio training definitely helped out. When at the range I could really relax and slow my heart rate way down. I was very in tune with my breathing and heart rate. Also in the last seconds when I held my breath before I pulled the target, I could extend this time greatly, with no ill effects

I know your OP wanted something other then running but I feel cardio work could really help in your shooting.
crghss is offline  
Old May 19, 2010, 11:02 PM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: August 8, 2009
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 1,889
This method costs no money, doesn't call for any special workouts at the gym, and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

This can be accomplished while sitting in your favorite chair while watching TV. Take your heaviest gun, place in it your hands with a normal two handed grip. Bring it up to the shooting position and hold it for a slow 10 count, then rest for a few seconds. Do three sets of 10 each and every night. Make sure your gun is unloaded before starting this routine.

Once you have developed your muscles, usually within a month, you can begin to work on target acquisition, breathing, trigger management, and follow thru. You will be dry firing your gun a lot so you may want to have a supply of snap caps.

When the front sight is on the "target" after the trigger breaks, you have begun to master trigger control. Do this each and every night and you will be amazed at how your shooting improves.
May the Schwartz Be With You.
NRA Instructor
NRA Life Member
45Gunner is offline  
Old May 23, 2010, 06:19 PM   #19
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Posts: 65
Get a Gripmaster. You'll find them on Amazon or most big sporting goods stores. It's helped tremendously with my shooting, especially with my sigma.
MCab is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 02:32 PM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: February 13, 2009
Posts: 174
Dry fire.

Grip exercises.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm at a public range(I've posted this before) is while observing safety rules, I like to do either 25-30 jumping jacks and/or 25-30 push ups, then while my pistol or shotgun is on the table, grab it and proceed to try to put rounds accurately on target. I like to think this helps shooting under stress as not only is my heart beat a little faster than resting, but it helps get a little blood flowing too. My shooting has gotten slightly better since I began doing this.

I also workout a lot and I truly believe that keeping yourself in some semblance of physical shape will greatly help you if SHTF because you will at the very least know how to control your body with an increased heart rate and know what it feels like to have your heart pounding. Not to mention the health benefits.
TMUSCLE1 is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 09:19 PM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: December 18, 2004
Posts: 1,935
I see soooo many people morbidly obese and shooting at ranges. Why? It is unhealthy. Did the spoon or fork MAKE you fat? NO! If you need to run and duck for cover when you are overweight, are not you going to think that you need to be in a little better shape? Also when you actually do run and duck for cover, will not your heart rate be at a better pace so you can shoot accurately instead of panting for breath while trying to hold a gun steady?
On the other hand enough fat might stop, slow or deflect a bullet. Or the added mass might make someone miss the vitals- kinda like a mongoose does when he puffs up in front of a snake. I just gotta figure a way to get that up on my chest instead of around my belly.

Anyway, some very good suggestions here. Another one I caught from a Jerry Barnhardt tape is to strengthen or speed your draw. Just take a 12# dumbell and work your presentation with it.
wayneinFL is offline  
Old June 7, 2010, 10:35 AM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: May 20, 2006
Posts: 914
kraigwy, thanks for the copy of USAMU's Pistol Marksmanship Guide.
ragwd is offline  
Old June 11, 2010, 03:56 PM   #23
Join Date: May 22, 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 21
For pistol and rifle marksmanship both you're going to need strong shoulders, forearms and a strong back. Trying going to and look up some of their articles on shoulders and backs. You'd want to focus on some endurance work but that doesn't mean you can get away without lifting some heavy weight. Also look into yoga to help your breathing and also HIT (interval) training can help with your cardio. As for the fingers you can squeeze a double action all day and night long and mentally focus every time you squeeze that dry fire so you don't get into bad habits OR you can simply do some grip exercises that will strengthen your forearms and help with controlling handgun recoil. Just go to a sporting goods store and get a grip trainer. It'll also help get rid of any stress until you can get to a range.
Peace through superior firepower
specoperator is offline  
Old June 11, 2010, 08:24 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2005
Location: AZ
Posts: 2,808
You could practice "aiming" a milk jug with varying amounts of water for weight.

An old hunting book I have recommends practicing aiming a pistol with a nickel balanced on in order to learn steadiness. You could also add dry firing.

Another possibility would be something like the X-Ring rubber bullet system. It fires a rubber bullet with a primer only for relatively safe practicing. There's another system that uses a primer to fire a metal BB instead. Or, it's also possible to press a primed casing into a sheet of wax like a cookie cutter and use that for practice.

Also, a good quality airgun will help a great deal. It allows you to practice in the backyard or possibly indoors, and with immediate feedback.

Nun-chuks if you have them, held out at arms length and spun one direction for 1 minute than a short break and spin rapidly in the other direction for one minute. Do that with each arm.
Watch out, as there may be state/local laws concerning nunchucks and other martial arts weapons. In AZ, after the new law goes into effect, it will be easier to carry a concealed pistol than it will be to simply own nunchucks.
kozak6 is offline  
Old July 7, 2010, 01:01 PM   #25
amazon shooter
Join Date: August 2, 2008
Posts: 35
help "kraigwy"

Dear "kraigwy",

I would also like a copy of USAMU's Pistol Marksmanship Guide.

I'm new, so I don't know what "PM" means or how to contact you via e-mail.


amazon shooter is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:39 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11307 seconds with 7 queries