The Four Different Types of Riflescope Reticles

scope reticles

The reticle on a riflescope consists of markings that allow shooters to focus on a target. It’s also known as the crosshair, which shows the point of shot placement on a target. Reticles are usually made of fine crosshair wires or can be etched onto a glass plate. They’re then set up in the second focal plane of a riflescope, allowing their sizes to remain unchanged as a shooter zooms in and out to align sights to a target.

scope reticles
http://www.opticstalk.com/reticle_topic12232.html

Since there are many reticle designs out on the market these days, it can be quite challenging to choose a suitable riflescope to buy. With that in mind, we’ll attempt to shed some light on this topic by discussing the four different types of riflescope reticles you should take note of.


Riflescope Reticle Types

For many years, the plain crosshair was the best and only reticle choice for riflescopes. As the name implies, this reticle depicts the shape of two thin lines, one vertical and the other horizontal, that cross each other or intersect at the center of ocular view. Therefore, what you would see when looking through a scope with this type of reticle is a “+” sign.

However, modern riflescopes have reticles that are now much more complex and designed to perform better than the original plain crosshair. For instance, some newer designs have thicker lines in order to increase visibility during varmint hunting or aiming at targets amidst bushy backgrounds with lots of foliage.

Other reticle variants feature range-finding abilities while some are designed to improve visibility in low light conditions. Generally, most reticles are a variation of one or more of the following designs:

1. Duplex

The duplex reticle was originally invented by Leupold more than 30 years ago. Other manufacturers copied this style and it has now become the standard for most hunting scopes. Depending on the brand manufacturer, the duplex reticle can go by many different. A few common names for this reticle include Nikoplex, heavy duplex, and 30-30.

Duplex is much like the simple and plain crosshair reticle but with a little twist. This reticle features thicker lines that stand out and catch the eye’s attention. However, the lines become thinner toward the intersection point. The finer lines that converge at the center do not obscure a significant portion of the image or target and hence they provide a more precise aiming point.

In some designs, a dot may be added to the center of a medium size duplex in order to increase visibility in low light. Because of the heavy lines that a duplex reticle has, this feature makes it easier to focus on moving targets when hunting.

2. Mil Dot

The mil dot reticle is a must-have for long-range target shooters or snipers. It typically looks like a simple crosshair but with dots instead of lines. The dots are spaced in 1-Mil increments to enable calculation of distance. The term mil simple means Mil-radian, which is equivalent to 1/1000 of a radian. By counting mil dots, you can calculate the range to a target in yards and this in turn makes it easy to compensate for wind drift and bullet drop.

Mil dot makes a fine reticle for very accurate shooting, but it’s not for everyone. Using scopes with this type of reticle can be complex, as it requires good knowledge of range calculation (although you can always get better at using these types of reticles with a bit of study and practice).

3. BDC Reticle

Usually, bullets follow a curved ballistic trajectory. In other words, when you fire a shot, the bullet will fly in an arc and eventually fall to the ground. Since the bullet begins its flight below the line of aim due to gravity and the raised distance between a rifle barrel and scope, to hit your target from a long distance, you should actually aim higher. A BDC reticle provides the measurements you need to compensate for bullet drop.

BDC is an acronym for bullet drop compensation. Scopes with this type of reticle are usually designed for long range shooting from over 600 yards away.

4. Illuminated Reticle

If you’re planning to go hunting at dusk or dawn, illuminated reticles are your best bet for improved visibility. These reticles are designed for use in low light conditions. Depending on the design, they can illuminate the cross hair, the circle around ocular field or the dot in the center of aim point. Illuminated reticles also come in handy when targeting an object in a dark background that makes the crosshairs or mil dots invisible.

Conclusion

Riflescopes can have many other reticle designs other than those explained above. For instance, the three posts with crosshair (3PCH) reticle and converging post crosshair are variations of the duplex design. In addition, some scopes have a German post reticle, which is essentially a thick horizontal line that runs across the ocular field accompanied by a tapered post that stops at the center.

It’s important to point out that there’s no single reticle suited for all purposes. Sometimes the ideal reticle boils down to personal preferences. But mostly, it’s wiser to take into account your hunting conditions in order to select a riflescope with the right reticle to meet your specific needs.

A Brief History of the Hunting Rifle

Mosin_1891_30_left

The history of hunting rifles goes way back to the 14th century when the use of the first firearm was recorded. Although no one can tell for sure who invented guns, these weapons were mostly developed during times of war. Once conflicts ended, rifles would later be used for recreational purposes such as hunting.

Mosin_1891_30_left

Early Firearms

The earliest firearms were quite different from the modern hunting rifles we know of today. For the most part, these rudimentary firearms had numerous problems that made hunting next to impossible. A great example is the matchlock gun designed in 1400s, which was much like a miniature canon. To fire a matchlock, you had to light a wick and hold it against a “touchhole” at the back of a rifle’s barrel. This would then ignite the gunpowder inside the barrel to fire a shot. Such guns were unreliable during wet weather and the cloud of smoke they would produce seriously obscured vision when hunting.

The next major advancement was the wheel lock gun. This 1509 invention made use of a striking flint against steel to produce sparks that would set off the gun. As a result, this mechanism avoided the problem of game smelling smoke from a lit match before a hunter could fire the gun.

In 1630, the first true flintlock gun was designed and reigned supreme for almost 2 centuries. The new addition in this firearm was a retractable flash pan, which was designed to either hide or expose gunpowder, making rifle hunting possible in wet conditions.

At around the same time when flintlock guns were being developed, rifling started to appear in firearms. Through this technique, accuracy was improved by cutting slow twisting helical grooves along the interior wall of a gun’s barrel. As a bullet hits these grooves, it left the barrel wheel spinning, a technique that gives projectiles gyroscopic stability to prevent tumbling over short distances.

Another drawback of early rifles was that gunpowder would build up inside the barrel, thus making cleaning difficult. The time it took to load a bullet was also rather slow. Even a trained shooter could only manage to fire three shots per minute and an archer could lose more arrows in the time it took a marksman to reload his musketeer.

Major Improvements in Hunting Rifles

Because of the problems that marksmen had to contend with when using flintlock systems, several improvements in firearms production were introduced over the years. For instance, double barrel shotguns were invented in an attempt to compensate for the slow load times of flintlock firearms. Shotguns soon become quite popular rifles for hunting duck and birds.

However, dramatic and rapid firearm advancements came after the introduction of percussion systems. A percussion cap was simply a small copper housing for chemicals needed to launch a projectile. By pulling a trigger, the gun’s hammer would strike the cap and ignite the chemicals in the main charge, hence firing the gun.

Further attempts to improve slow bullet load times saw the introduction of repeaters and breachloading systems in the early 19th century. By 1837, a handgun with multiple chambers and rotating cylinder was invented. This continues to be the basic mechanical system used in revolvers today. The percussion cap and ball revolver offered an effective repeating system, and it allowed shooters to fire five to six bullets consecutively (or as fast as the hammer could be cocked and trigger pulled).

A more advanced development that significantly reduced the time for loading rifles was the self-contained cartridge. With this system, one casing could house a bullet, primer, gunpowder and firing charge.

In the 1890s, the first rifles with magazine cartridges and bolt-action technology were invented. They were even used by foot soldiers in World War I because of their inherent accuracy. The bolt-action mechanism became the standard of many, if not all, military and sporting rifles. This technique of rifle making has remained unchanged since World War II when the Germans invented the first Sturmgewehr (loosely translated as assault rifle).

Telescopic sights for precision rifle shooting can be traced back to the civil war. However, it wasn’t until the 70s and 80s that scopes started to be used on hunting rifles. Modern hunting rifles use advanced sighting equipment such as laser aiming systems, electronic red dot sights and night vision scopes to improve hunting precision.

As you can see, the history of hunting rifles can be traced to a few centuries back. However, it all began when military technology was turned into practical pastime uses such as hunting.

A Smart Buyer’s Guide: Top 4 Compact Binoculars

compact binoculars1

At some point in your life, you’re probably going to encounter a situation where having the perfect compact binoculars on hand could become the greatest asset you have. As a result, you’ll first need to consider your needs, goals and budget when shopping for one. By comparing some of the top compact binoculars available on the market, you’ll soon be able to determine which will make the best choice for you.

compact binoculars

With all four of the top selections below being waterproof, fog proof and providing a Roof Prism, the considerations now is to look at the different sizes, eyecups, Field of Views (FOV) at 1000m, hinge designs, phase corrections and prices. However, with all that said, the most important thing to consider before making a purchase is still the purpose in which your compact binoculars will serve. Let’s take a closer look!

Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22


The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22 is a starting point for anyone researching to buy a compact binoculars. It’s been named the 2014 Best Compact Binocular of the Year and has captured the attention and hearts of sporting enthusiast in a variety of arenas.

This beautiful and highly effective binoculars is perfect for the outdoorsman watching a sporting event from the upper decks, bird watching in the back yard or the rainforest, or scanning Mother Nature.

It weighs 228 grams and measures 11 x 10 cm. The Steiner also provides a thick multi-coated lens coating with a dual hinge design and a 125m FOV with rubber folding eyecups.

Although only offering a 22mm lens, which means it has a slightly smaller objective lens than some of the other brands which we’ll talk about in a while, the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp makes up for the couple of mm difference by providing you with a 10x magnification with an exit pupil of 2.75mm.

This binoculars is the only one of the top four which provides a rubber folding eyecup as opposed to the twist-up eyecups. In addition to the view and lens features, the Steiner comes in the world-renowned Safari body which has proven to be one of the most durable and super-rugged binocular bodies in the world.

With its price ranging between $150 and $200, the Steiner Safari is potentially the best bargain for your budget when looking for quality. The Steiner also consistently gains 4.5 to 5 star ratings from customers who have fallen in love with the clarity, low-light capability, and superior performance of this high quality pair of binoculars.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10 x 25


Next to the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22, the second best choice for the outdoorsman is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10 x 25. With a 25mm objective lens, this beauty has a larger objective lens than the Steiner Safari’s 22mm. The larger shaft, although a small difference, offers you an advantage in poor lighting.

For an indoor concert, this is a solid choice since the larger objective lens will create a brighter image. The Bushnell is also an ideal choice for bird watching in heavy covered woodlands or forests.

Additionally, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD provides you with a lightweight and rugged magnesium chassis weighing 230g, just two grams more than the Steiner Safari UltraSharp.

The Bushnell, with the eyecups fully extended, measures 5.75”/146mm with a dual hinge design and comes with fully multi-coated lens coatings. However, unlike the Steiner Safari, the Bushnell offers twist-up eyecups and phase correction.

Bushnell does have some disadvantages, though, such as a smaller exit pupil of 2.5mm and a slightly higher price tag over the Steiner. But that said, Bushnell (in spite of its few cons) still provides a solid and reliable choice for the discerning shopper.

Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 25


The Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 25, at 231g, not only comes with a slightly heavier weight than the top two choices, it also carries a higher price tag. With prices ranging from $220 to $240, the Hawke may not be the top choice for budget savvy individuals. But for those willing to pay the price, the value matches the tag.

The Hawke brings a 3.1mm exit pupil with twist-up eyecups and a 119m FOV at 1000m. Similar to the Bushnell, the Hawke contains a dual hinge design with a roof prism, phase correction and ED glass.

With a 3.1mm exit pupil and a wider FOV, the Hawke is a better choice over the Steiner Safari UltraSharp for situations such as indoor concerts because of low lighting. The Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass offers a maximum clarity for the user with a BAK4 Prism, fully multi-coated lenses, and a quick ratio focus wheel.

An additional benefit is it comes with the Hawke Worldwide warranty.

Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8 x 25


For the budget conscious consumer who is looking for low-cost yet high quality compact binoculars, the Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8 x 25 is the ideal solution. Carrying a lower price tag that ranges from $65 to $80, the Levenhuk has the same 3.1 mm exit pupil as the Hawke. The difference is that it offers a longer 126m FOV at 1000m but commands a lower price tag than the Hawke.

The Levenhuk Energy offers a dual hinge design with twist-up eyecups and it makes the perfect choice for anyone who enjoys outdoor events such as bird or nature watching.

Although waterproof and fog proof, which is identical to the other three, the Levenhuk does not have phase correction or ED Glass. Additionally, it’s a little heavier than the other compact binoculars since it weighs 369g.

When choosing the best potential compact binoculars, the decision comes down to the purpose in which you’ll be using the binoculars, combined with a budget and your specific needs. By considering the top four choices in today’s compact binocular market, it’s a guarantee that you’ll find one that meets your needs and your budget.

How to Choose the Right Sling For Your Assault Rifle

There are so many different types of slings available for your assault rifle, but before you head out to grab one for yourself, you’ll first need to determine what purpose your rifle serves. Since each sling is adapted and better equipped for different uses, your rifle’s purpose will play a major role in determining the sling that makes the most sense for your specific situation.

 

ar slings

1. Military and the Multi-Point Sling


If you’re a veteran, a current military service member, or preparing to join the military, then the classic multi-point sling is definitely something you should keep an eye on. Often referred to as the 3-point sling, this is the sling of choice for those in the military because it’s the most secure among all available options.

The 3-point sling loops around the body and remains securely connected even if a connection point fails. This is the primary reason why most members of the military choose the multi-point sling – because it offers reliability in Close Quarters Battle/Close Quarters Combat.

However, just like any other device, there are some drawbacks of the multi-point sling. In this case, the primary drawback is that there are a lot of straps. For example, the rifle has sling points connecting to it while an inner loop secures and goes around the body. The danger with this type of sling, particularly for military members, is that it will sometimes get “hung” on items due to the large number of loops. This can prove dangerous and fatal during combat.

On the other hand, one of the most popular and encouraging features of the multi-point sling is that many models have the ability to be converted into a 2-point sling, which allows for it to stay out of the way if a soldier needs to convert to using a pistol from an the assault rifle.

 

2. Military and the Single Point Sling


Although the multi-point sling is preferred by most service members, many soldiers and Marines prefer the single point sling because it’s rare that the sling will ever catch on anything or become “hung”. Additionally, it’s fast, cheap, sturdy, and offers one of the most maneuverable set ups you can ever hope to get from a sling.

The single point sling has a single attachment point on the rifle and provides the flexibility of turning or swirling the rifle to any angle, degree, or way desired. This sling provides maneuverability for a soldier to potentially swirl the rifle around and use it as a combat weapon as opposed to a gun.

However, the reason many service members prefer a multi-point sling over the single point is the single point has a tendency to always cause the rifle to be brought back to the front and between the gunman’s legs, regardless of which way the rifle is turned, swirled or swiveled. As a result, it can cause the rifle to become more of a hindrance than an asset, particularly in combat when the soldier needs the rifle to remain on his back or side as opposed to the front.

 

3. Competitors and the 2-point Sling
For many competitors, the use of a sling is not common and often forgone. However, in a 3-Gun competition where a sling is needed, a two-point sling is often the sling of choice for a variety of reasons.

A 2-point sling such as the VTAC padded sling is simple and presents the individual with an easy tension adjustment set-up. Additionally, one of the preferred features is the push button detach which allows the rifle to be taken on and off easily with little effort. The 2-point is preferred during a competition as it offers a rifleman the ability change out rifles quickly.

With less straps and less inconvenience than the multi-point sling, the two-point sling will stay secured if a transition to a rifle must be made during a competition. During a 3-Gun competition, speed is of paramount importance. So, during a timed heat when it’s necessary to move from target to target while simultaneously transitioning through various weapons, a gunman will not want for his or her rifle to be swung around unsecured.

Although not the preferred choice for most soldiers, the VTAC Original 2-Point Sling has recently become a favorite for the Special Forces such as the Army Green Berets and Navy Seals due to its versatile and quick abilities.

Considering as assault rifles are not the typical rifle of choice in hunting, the rifle sling you’ll use for competitions or military operations should be the same sling you use for target practice. Your choice ultimately comes down to what makes you comfortable, what will allow you the freedom and flexibility to utilize your weapon in the manner you intend to use it, as well as your desired outcome for your experience in shooting, competitions, or military maneuvers.

Trigger Control Tips: Improving your Shooting Accuracy

trigger-contact

When practicing to become a sharpshooter, one of the things you’ll need to master is trigger control. After sight alignment, this is the second most important technique of marksmanship. Whether you’re using a handgun or rifle, trigger control is critical for accurate shooting because it helps to alleviate flinching and jerking when you fire shots. Therefore, with good trigger control, you’ll be able to hit your targets dead on without disrupting the aiming process.

But how does one go about mastering excellent control on the trigger? Well, this article offers you a few effective tips that will help improve your touch and precision on the trigger and make every shot count.

trigger control chart

Develop Good Holding Ability

Developing good trigger control is quite impossible if you cannot hold a gun correctly in the first place. So, the best place to begin when you are looking to improve your trigger control is to develop a good holding ability. A proper grip on the gun helps in a variety of ways. These include:

  1. Providing the index finger with the support it needs to overcome trigger tension
  2. Reducing your group size (that is the main measurement of one’s shooting abilities)
  3. Minimizing flinching and jerking

In the case of a rifle, developing a good grip can be done in the following steps:

  • Firmly grasp the pistol grip/stock firmly with your right hand. The forefinger should be placed on the trigger while the rest of the fingers should be wrapped around the pistol grip.
  • Ensure that your right elbow is positioned naturally and then bring the butt of the rifle to rest in the pocket formed in your right shoulder. This helps reduce the effects of recoil and prevents the riffle from sliding when you fire shots.
  • With the rifle resting on the heel of your left hand, wrap your fingers on the riffle guard and ensure that the left wrist is straight.
  • Make sure that the left elbow is positioned under the riffle. This helps to provide adequate bone support and consistent resistance to recoil.

After practicing these steps several times, you’ll be able to develop an automatic good holding ability and thus increase your control over the trigger.

Practice through Dry Firing
Widely practiced and strongly recommended by law enforcement officers, dry firing is one of the best training methods when it comes to improving trigger control. Therefore, incorporating it into your training routine will help you to master flawless control on the trigger. Dry firing entails pulling the trigger and allowing the gun’s hammer/striker to drop on an empty chamber, or what is better known as “firing blanks”. It may also involve shooting a rifle filled with plastic bullets. This helps develop a natural trigger pulling instinct as well as proper sight alignment without having to waste ammunition. Therefore, you can train with this method for hours on end until you develop the trigger control needed to become a proficient shooter.

To dry fire, simply find a target, line up your sights, and slowly pull the trigger. You can dry fire as many shots as you desire in any given training session.

 

Learn How to Exert the Right Amount of Pressure
Jerking or slapping the trigger when firing shots can alter the position of your sight on the target at the most crucial part of the firing cycle. Therefore, it’s highly important that you practice exerting the right amount of pressure if you want to master good trigger control. When it comes to exerting the right amount of trigger pressure, you have two options. These include:

1. The Uninterrupted Trigger Pressure
This method of manipulating the trigger is the most common for the majority of shooters since it provides great control. Just as the name implies, this method requires you to stick to a consistent rate of pressure after pulling the trigger. This means that there is no need to slow down or speed up until you break the shot.

During the initial rounds after initiating an uninterrupted trigger pressure, most of the weight is applied on the trigger. Once the rifle barrel settles into the ideal aim of point, the trigger pressure is alleviated and you continue taking the shot without disrupting sight alignment.

2. The Interrupted Application of Trigger Pressure
When using a rifle in extremely windy conditions or while aiming at a moving object that forces the shooter to fire when the target comes into sight, the interrupted trigger control approach would be ideal.

With this approach, you would simply begin with normal trigger finger placement and sight alignment, and then hold your position and pull the trigger until the shot breaks. During this shooting method, you can also apply consistent pressure on the trigger if the gun is moving toward the target continuously.

 

Maintain Proper Trigger Finger Placement
It’s important to place your finger on the trigger properly when firing a rifle as this has a large impact on the level of control you’ll have. Every shooter is different since the way a left-handed person would hold a rifle is slightly different from a right-handed shooter.
The most common finger placement most shooters prefer is placing the index finger on the trigger, as this feels more natural. However, you will always have the freedom to use whichever finger trigger placement you prefer since this is an individual choice that ultimately depends on the size of your hands and desired grip.

trigger-contact

Common Trigger Control Pitfalls to Avoid
Flawless trigger control is the most difficult marksmanship skill to master. As such, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most shooting errors stem from incorrect manipulation or poor control of the trigger. Some of the major mistakes that shooters make when controlling the trigger include:

1. Flinching
Flinching is one of the most common pitfalls that novice shooters make when firing multiple rounds. Shooters flinch as a natural reaction to the anticipated reaction of the gun going off. Flinching reflexes are varied and may involve moving shoulders or head backward, tensing the left arm, shutting eyes, or a combination of these movements.

2. Bucking
Shooters tend to buck when taking up recoil prior to firing a weapon. The reflex involved when a shooter bucks is to tense the shoulders and move slightly forward.

3. Jerking
When you attempt to fire a rifle at a specific time using the uninterrupted trigger control technique, this is often referred to as jerking.

It’s important to avoid the trigger control errors explained above since they often disrupt the alignment of your rifle with respect to the target. This can be achieved mostly by applying a solid stance after firing each shot.

 

Master Follow Through
Once you’ve started to practice the various trigger control techniques explained above, the next step is to master follow through. This is simply defined as the continued application of the various marksmanship fundamentals after firing each round.

As a general rule of thumb, good follow-through involves not lifting your position, moving the head, or letting the muzzle drop until a few seconds after firing the rifle. Sticking to these simple steps will ensure excellent trigger control and undue movement of your firearm until the final round has been fired.

Breath Control for Shooters: The Ultimate Guide

breath control

When it comes to honing your firearm-shooting skills, you’ll often hear experts talk about proper grip, stance, sight alignment, as well as hold and trigger control. However, an important yet overlooked part of a shooter’s skill is mastering one’s breathing control. While this may sound insignificant, the fact is your breathing pattern can make a huge difference between an accurate shot versus missing the target, especially at intermediate and distance range. Excellent marksmanship depends on the shooter’s ability to remain as steady as possible when taking a shot, and to do that, proper breathing techniques play a big role.

How Breathing Affects Shooting Accuracy
You may be wondering how breathing can affect accuracy when shooting a firearm. Well, taking breaths can indeed compromise accuracy since thinats causes body movements. When you inhale, your diaphragm tightens and moves downward causing the chest cavity to expand outward and rise along with your shoulders. Upon exhaling, the diaphragm relaxes and pushes up to force air out of the lungs, thus causing your chest area and shoulders to fall slightly.

If you’re lying down face first when using long range rifle, each breath taken raises the body off the ground a little bit. In the same way, a shooter holding a pistol while standing or sitting will experience some lateral horizontal and front-to-back variance movement caused by the diaphragm during various breathing cycles. All of these breathing reflexes are transferred to the rifle, which then disrupts your sight alignment.

The motion generated as the lungs expand and contract between breaths during a shot could easily throw your aim off. Since the pointing direction of a barrel largely determines shot placement as indicated by aligned sights upon pressing the trigger, it’s vital to minimize or cancel any movement that compromises your natural aim of point. So, how do you achieve this goal through breathing control? The answer lies in taking a natural respiratory pause.

breath control

What is the Natural Respiratory Pause?
The natural respiratory pause (NRP) is the brief moment when breathing ceases in between inhalation and exhalation. This pause typically lasts between two to five seconds for a healthy person with no respiratory health conditions. By training the body to stop breathing slightly longer during the natural pause, you can eliminate breathing motions that could otherwise distort your line of sight. In other words, your chances of hitting a target are much better when the body is motionless.

However, there’s more to this technique than simply holding your breathe in a bid to eliminate breathing movements or keep them at a minimum. In order to make the most of that short natural respiratory pause, here are a few tips you will find helpful:

  1. Always clear your thoughts, focus on the target, and take a few deep breaths before taking a shot. Remember that more breathing equals more oxygen in your blood, and this could very well prolong your respiratory pause.
  1. As you approach taking the shot, exhale slowly then pause, settle into the final aiming point, and then apply trigger pressure at the end of that breath. In order to master this technique, you can picture your breath like a weight that’s being lowered gradually on the trigger. The lower it gets, the more pressure to apply on the trigger using your finger. Once you exhale, that’s where you stop breathing and finish the squeeze.

Although this means you could also choose to fire shots when your lungs are full of air, most people find it easier to control movements by following a respiratory pause after exhaling. This is due to the fact that your lungs and diaphragm are in a relaxed state after exhaling.

Some people may have difficulty when trying to expand their natural respiratory pause. In such cases, one may find the decreased breathing control technique to be a better alternative. With this approach, you would decrease the breathing rate slowly to a pause, achieve your final aiming point, then apply continual pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. In this case, shallow breathing allows you to maintain a better sight picture because movement is minimized.

How Long Should a Natural Respiratory Pause Last?
To continue shooting accurately, especially when firing multiple rounds, one must be able to resume breathing normally even after taking a brief respiratory pause. So, if you find yourself struggling to catch your breath after shooting, then you’re holding your respiratory pause for too long. This is a common mistake that novice shooters make.

If a breath is held longer than it’s comfortable for you to do so, this triggers a chain of physiological effects.

  • Your mind starts to think about the breath being held and this distracts you from focusing on the important tasks at hand such as aiming and keeping an eye on the sights.
  • Lack of oxygen starts to build up at the cell level, signaling your body to inhale. Without enough oxygen, your vision starts to deteriorate which further compromises the ability to focus on the target.
  • As soon as you begin to breathe, the body’s shifts its focus to drawing in as much air as possible into the lungs while quickly expelling all that pent up CO2 into the blood. In the process, involuntary diaphragm movements occur to interfere with your line of sight and level of concentration.

As mentioned earlier, a natural respiratory pause for any healthy individual naturally lasts a maximum of 5 seconds before your brain signals “it’s time to breathe”. However, this pause can be extended to 15 seconds with practice. Aspects such as one’s physical condition, lung capacity, medical limitations, physiological factors, and situational scenario all affect the duration of the NRP.

That said though, this brief pause or holding of the breath should not cause undue strain. Instead, it should last for as long as you feel comfortable. Therefore, how long a natural respiratory pause spans is a very personal factor that should not be dictated by anyone but you. Most expert shooters recommend a pause of 10 to 15 seconds as being ample time to take a good shot.

Many shooters fail to realize that when their accuracy is wanting, they very well could be failing at controlling their breathing. Hence, it’s important to point out the importance of regular breathing while taking shots with a firearm. Keeping your breathing steady and regular after every shot will go a long way in maintaining sharp focus.

In conclusion, breathing control is a fundamental aspect of improving marksmanship. All breath control does is pause your respiration briefly while delivering a shot, thus enabling you to reduce movements that spoils aim.

Remember also that over holding your breath for too long until you’re blue in the face doesn’t help either. It only starves your brain from the much needed oxygen that enhances your vision, reflexes, reaction time, muscle control, and ultimately accuracy. Training yourself to become accustomed to holding your breath for ten to fifteen seconds will help you resume breathing after the brief natural respiratory pause.

Lastly, remember to breathe naturally and rehearse this technique regularly when spot shooting because practice makes perfect.

You can check this video to get additional info about breath control when shooting.

 

Common Mistakes That Affect Your Rifle Accuracy

rifle accuracy

They say a bad workman blames his tools, but to be fair in some cases it is the equipment that’s the issue.

If you’re struggling with shooting small groups, it could be your rifle but it’s quite possible that there’s something wrong with your set-up or execution. Perhaps your rifle is fine. You are just making a very common mistake that most begginers make.

 

rifle accuracy
source: http://forums.gunsandammo.com/

 

Below are some common examples of mistakes you may be making that could cost you your accuracy. If you make sure to address each of these, you’ll be able to test your skills much more fairly and avoid being hampered by other avoidable factors.

 

The Scope Isn’t Mounted Properly

Mounting a scope is a lot more of a precise process than a lot of people think and if you’re not taking the time to do it properly then you will be shooting yourself in the foot (probably not literally but you never know!). It all starts with getting the right bases and rings and then leveling the scope. You can find much more detailed guidance on the web though.

 

Uneven Shoulder Pressure

The right amount of pressure will vary from shooter to shooter but it’s important to make sure you are applying the right amount for you. Either way, you need to ensure your shoulder pressure is consistent between shots.

 

Lack of Follow-Through

Remember, the shot is not ‘over’ until the point of impact. Visualize the trajectory of each bullet and make sure you are physically and mentally in-tune with the trigger until it breaks. Keep your head down and married to the stock.

 

Inconsistent Trigger Pull

Ideally you should be ‘pressing’ the trigger rather than pulling it. This might sound like a subtle difference but it can have a big impact on your accuracy.

 

Incorrect Ammo

Choosing the right ammo also has a big impact on your accuracy. If you are shooting with a factory rifle then make sure to test several loads to see what works best for your gun.

 

Poor Conditions

If you’ve ever read The Art of War, you’ll know how important it is to choose the right weather conditions and environment when taking on a challenge. Shooting early in the morning on calm days could mean low temperatures and minimal mirage.

 

Infographic Common mistakes accuracy

Selecting the Right Gun Safe

gun safe

If you enjoy firearms as a hobby then it’s absolutely essential that you make sure that you are a responsible owner and that you do everything you can to ensure the safety of yourself and others. A big part of this is choosing the right gun safe which will keep your weapon secure so that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. This is even more important if you have young children in the house.

Here we will look at how you should go about selecting the right gun safe so that you can be secure in the knowledge that your gun is safely stashed.

gun safe

Size

The first thing to consider when choosing your gun safe is the size. Obviously guns can come in all shapes and sizes, so it follows that gun safes do as well. If you buy a gun safe without first checking the dimensions then you might find you’re disappointed with the size of the product that arrives at your door.

Of course the right size for a gun safe will depend not only on the size of your firearm but also on the number of guns that you need to keep locked away.

 

Security

Once you have chosen a safe that’s big enough for your gun, the next crucial thing to check is that the lock is going to be secure enough to keep people out. While a simple lock might be sufficient for keeping out young children, you also need to think about what could happen in the case of a break-in. And remember: those children are going to get bigger! Make sure then that your lock is sophisticated enough to keep out even the savvy and the determined. The most advanced option is probably a biometric lock that will use your fingerprint or a retinal scan to provide access. These are a little more costly though! Other options include digital locks that use a PIN or physical locks that require a key/use a padlock. Some gun safes will combine a combination lock with a key to provide extra security.

hidden gun safe

 

 

Remember that the safe should be constructed of a sturdy material. The toughest lock in the world won’t do much good if it’s on a cardboard box!

 

Ease of Access

While you want to ensure that your gun is safe and secure, you also don’t want to be fiddling for hours every time you want to get it out. Make sure that the safe is easy to open and not prone to getting jammed. Remember: you generally get what you pay for and this isn’t an area where you want to try and cut corners!

Quick Guide to Long-Range Shooting

Long Range_Photo

If you want to become an expert in long-range shooting this guide isn’t going to get you there. Lots of time on the range and shooting at long distances is going to get you there. However, if you don’t have the right equipment, practice isn’t going to get you very far either, but what the experts recommend for long-range shooting is far out of most people’s price range. However, you can get the equipment that you need for some decent long-range shooting for just a couple grand if you know what to get and more importantly – what you don’t need.

 

The Gear Needed for Long-Range Shooting

Long Range_Photo

 

The tools available for long-range shooting are incredibly varied and most of them are incredibly expensive as well. There is no question that they will help you shoot better, but you don’t need everything but the kitchen sink to shoot long distances. Also, they can be complicated to figure out and that’s just an unnecessary headache.

For someone who just wants to shoot long range and impress his friends, there is some affordable tools that you can get. If you want to get into competition shooting or have some other reason for needing the best, then you may want to consider spending money on professional gear, otherwise here’s what you need:

 

The Gear List

 

Your Rifle: The first thing that you’ll hear all the experts tell you is that you need a $3000 or $4000 rifle. You don’t. You can get a rifle that will hit your target at five hundred yards with good-quality ammunition with a rifle that costs much less. An example here is the Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD, which goes for about $800. This isn’t the only rifle you can get but it is a good one. Here is the rest of the list.

 

  • Good ammo like the 175 grain Black Hills hollow points
  • A decent bipod that allows you to shoot prone easily. Harris bipods are always a good choice.
  • A cheek rest is idea for long-range shooting, and gives you storage space as well as positions your eye so that you can maintain accuracy.
  • You also need a good rifle scope. A tactical scope is great because they usually come with the mil-dot reticle which gives you a much more accurate shot than some other reticles on scopes we won’t mention. Note: you may have to spend some time getting to know your mil-dot before you can shoot with it effectively.

Finally, you are going to need something to help you estimate range, like a long range rangefinder. You can find a good one for about $400.

 

Other Guides & Resources

 

What is Rifle Scope Parallax and How to Solve It

parallax problem

You might have heard the term ‘parallax’ if you read shooting magazines, watch shows about the subject or just hang around with other shooters. If you weren’t sure what it even was, and completely lost when trying to adjust for it, not to worry. This is your guide to not only understanding – but also solving the parallax problem is on your scope.

 parallax

 

What Exactly is a Parallax Problem

What parallax is, put simply, is when objects that are further from you move more slowly than objects that are closer to you. For example, if you are traveling down the highway and you look out at a fence, the posts seem to flash by very quickly, but the trees off in the distance pass by much more slowly. How does this relate to your rifle? Well, your reticle moves faster then the object that you are targeting through the scope and this can cause a problem when targeting. You must adjust for the parallax before you begin shooting – particularly if you are aiming at a pretty sm qall target. Most of the time, scopes are set to about 100 yards parallax adjustment, which is a good middle ground.

 

How to Adjust for Parallax

When either your target or the reticle is not in focus, parallax makes your shots inaccurate. No matter how slight, any movement of your head will throw off your aim, even if you seem to be on target. That’s why you have to adjust for parallax, and if you are missing and you know you are on target, this is a good thing to check. Manufacturers generally include some kind of adjustment that will allow you to adjust the scope so that the focal panes are aligned. You’ll either adjust the objective lens (the lens that is closest to the target on the scope) or use an adjustment that is on the side.

 

 

All you have to do to adjust for parallax is turn the knob until you can see that both your reticle and your target are in focus. You may not be able to get them 100% perfect, but you should be able to get them pretty close. You also have knobs on your scope that will adjust for elevation and windage, or how high and how centered the scope is. Don’t mistake these with the adjustments for the parallax. Also, don’t mistake the adjustment ring in the back of the scope that adjusts the focus. All the back focus knob does is adjust the entire image, and the parallax will remain if you do so.

>