Tips and Techniques For Black Bear Hunting


When planning for a black bear hunting trip, it’s important to prepare adequately. You have to know where to find bruins, how to stalk them, best times of the year to hunt, and how to set up bait stations (among many other things). But the more you practise this sport, the more you’ll get good at it. Having prior hunting experience can be a plus but it’s not a necessity. You can still hunt down your big trophy bear by simply applying a few tried and testing hunting basics. With that in mind, here are some top tips and techniques for black bear hunting success.





Scout for Good Hunting Grounds Beforehand

The best way to increase your chances of bagging a black bear is scouting for good hunting grounds before going for the hunting trip. A good place to start would be local state wildlife agencies since they can help you with information on public hunting areas or counties that have healthy bear populations. Once you have details on where to hunt, the next step is to go on a little trip to search for good bear habitats.

Take your time to scout for bear activity in the area you intend to hunt. The American Black Bear is a forest dweller, so its habitat is mostly characterized with heavy thick vegetation. Bears also frequent areas where there’s an abundance of food such as leaves, acorn plants, hickory nuts, pokeberries, and persimmons. Furthermore, areas around bluffs in mountainous terrain or wooded stream bottoms are attractive habitats for bruins. Take note of these areas or places that have some of the earlier mentioned food sources as they’re likely to be bear hotspots.

Other signs to look for when trying to locate a promising hunting area include bear tracks, droppings, and overturned rocks along stony outcrops. Bears like to scratch tree trunks with their teeth and claws, which can be a sign of their presence.

Go into Stealth Mode When Hunting

When out in the field, remember that the best hunter is one who remains unseen before taking down his prey. This applies more so to black bears since these beasts have very keen senses.

Of all land walking mammals, the American black bear has the best sense of smell. With up to 12.6 trillion olfactory receptors (the microscopic bulbs on nerve endings of a mammal’s nose), a mature black bear can detect unnatural smells from great distances. Their sense of hearing is also quite advanced. Adult boars and sows tend to develop a crowned head and their ears move to the sides, giving them the ability to pinpoint sound sources in the wild.

Fortunately, there are a few tips that can help you stalk your prey without being seen, heard or sniffed out.

#1 Mask Your Scent

In order to mask your scent from bears, you can try some of the products that deer hunters use to eliminate human odors. It’s also a good idea to wash your hunting clothing with scent free detergent. In case you live in the city and have to use chlorinated water, add aquarium water conditioner to the water when washing your hunting outfit. This will eliminate the scent of chlorine water from the fabric. In addition, avoid smoking when going hunting since black bears can easily pick up the scent of tobacco. The best way to prevent bears from sniffing you out from miles away is moving against the wind’s direction.

#2 Move Quietly

Even the smallest noises like breaking twigs, rubbing clothes, or moving branches can startle a bear. To avoid scaring your prey, move quietly and avoid wearing rustling clothes or boots that make noise.

#3 Wear Camouflaged Clothing

Bears can see quite well at night since they have a reflective layer at the back of the eye known tarpetum lucidum. And while day light makes them near sighted, they’re very sensitive to color differentiation. Therefore, remember to wear clothing that blends in with the natural environment as mature bears are highly attuned to anything that seems out of place.

More Bear Hunting Baiting Techniques

Baiting is a common tactic that bear hunters use. The reason for this is that independent boars and sows can sometimes traverse large tracks of land or hide deep in the woods, which makes following them to their dens impractical or unsafe. However, if you’re going to use a bait station effectively, you need to do it right. A good bait station is one that:

  • Has no blind spot
  • Offers alternate standby spots in case wind direction shifts
  • Not too close to thick vegetation that provides cover for bears
  • Provides a suitable spot to haul bait

You can use a variety of foods to lure bears to your bait station. Fish and meat scraps make excellent bait for bears that want to stock up fat for hibernation. Bread, pasta, and other starchy foods that are rare in nature can also work. Using devices that send out predator calls can attract bears to the bait.

It’s important to point out that baiting doesn’t guarantee that you’ll eventually hunt down a bear. Sometimes weeks can pass before black bears encounter a bait station. Therefore, it’s best to scout for good hunting grounds 30 days in advance and keep baiting a chosen spot every three days to keep bears in the area.

Know When to Go for the Kill Shot

When you spot a bear from a tree stand or bait station, it’s important not to get too excited. Instead of rushing to take a shot, remain calm and take aim quietly. Always adjust your riflescope to get a clear shot that will allow you to hit a vital organ. This is because bears can move considerable distances when wounded, so you want to avoid taking a poor shot.

Educate Yourself About Hunting Laws

Last but certainly not least, it’s always crucial to be aware of applicable gaming laws in your state before heading out to hunt for black bears. For instance, it’s illegal to shoot a sow (female bear) that has cubs. There are also hunting areas where baiting is not allowed. A hunting license will be required as well before going black bear hunting. To avoid problems with the law, make sure to study your state hunting regulations.

Related Post:

Pepper Spray vs Bear Spray: What is the Difference

Setting Up Your First Long Range Scope

long range scope

Long range shooting requires a great deal of accuracy and with the help of a riflescope, it’s possible to hit targets dead on from a distance. But even then, you’ll still need to hone your shooting skills by practicing and learning how to calculate sight adjustments for long shots. Any experienced shooter will tell that taking shots from long range involves more than just mounting a scope. Setting up your first long range scope also requires you to zero it, test for vertical symmetry, verify click values, and account for bullet drop.

With all that in mind, the following post will explain this process to help you land your long shots accurately when in the field.

long range scope


How to Zero Your Scope
Zeroing a riflescope is the process of adjusting your sights to enable you hit dead center at your point of aim from a given distance. Before starting the zeroing process, you’ll first need to focus your reticle by turning the eyepiece on your scope anti-clockwise until it reaches the upper adjustment limit. From there, point your rifle to the sky and look through the scope. The reticle should appear fuzzy at this point of time since it’s completely out of focus. Next, rotate the eyepiece or turn it ¼ way clockwise continuously and stop when the reticle appears sharp and crisp. You’re now ready to start the zeroing process. Just remember that it’s always best to zero high power rifles at 100yards or 100m. The reason for this is that the shorter the range, the fewer external variables that will affect your point of impact (POI).

You can eliminate shooter error by choosing to use a rifle rest. Ideally, a calm day would be best to go long-range shooting as this will reduce external variables that affect bullet path. In addition, make sure to bring along enough ammunition plus earplugs for noise protection.

To begin zeroing your scope, place a target at a predetermined distance, say 100 yards, and then get into position. If you’re using a bolt-action rifle, just remove the bolt and aim at your target while looking through the barrel. A good sight picture will appear when the breach and muzzle circle become concentric, allowing you to see the target centered squarely in the muzzle hole. If you cannot remove the bolt on your rifle, use a bore sight instead or align your sights at a shorter range such as 25yards.

Once you’ve aligned your sights, keep the scope steady and then make adjustments with the turrets to position the crosshair in the middle of the target. To establish your zero from 100yards, follow this simple method:

  1. With the reticle centered on the target, fire your first shot. The bullet should hit somewhere in the target area.
  2. Adjust the scope’s turrets until the reticle covers the hole of your first shot.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to record your fist group of 3 shots. It’s paramount to keep the rifle steady throughout this process.
  4. Your shots should form a group very close to the aimed point. All you have to do at this point is adjust the scope’s turret to position the crosshairs on the center of the group and your scope will be zeroed.

After zeroing your scope, reset the turrets. Resetting simply involves loosening the turret screws to allow the turret caps to rotate so that you can position the zero mark on the scope’s tube.

Testing Vertical Scope Symmetry and Verifying Click Value
If you want to get the best results from your long-range rifle system, it’s important to test scope vertical symmetry and verify click values. These parameters are both important when it comes to compensating for bullet drop and hence they should both be on point.

To verify vertical scope symmetry, first get a paper target that’s at least 50inches tall. Draw a vertical line along its entire height then add two 1-inch dots along the vertical line. The first dot should be 5 inches from the bottom while the other one spaced out 42 inches from the first dot and near top of the vertical line. After the paper target is ready, set it 100yards away to start shooting.

While keeping the scope reticle parallel to the vertical line, shoot at the bottom dot to verify the scope’s zero. Next, dial up to 40MOA on the elevation turret and fire three rounds while still aiming at the dot on the bottom and keeping the vertical crosshair parallel to the vertical line on the target.

If your click values are true and the scope is mounted perpendicularly, your shots should be centered along the vertical line and the mark you put at 42inches. Otherwise, you’ll have to adjust scope symmetry by rotating it clockwise or anti-clockwise if the group falls to the right or left respectively.

After obtaining a perfect vertical alignment, your rifle is finally ready for long range shooting. All that’s left to do is verify click values. To do this, simply measure the actual distance from each dot to the center of the group and use it as a reference for your true click value. Once you have this measurement, you just need to divide that distance for the number of clicks you dialed.

To find out how many click values you need to dial in order to compensate for bullet drop at distances longer than 100yards, simply use a ballistics calculator. For instance, the JBM Ballistics Calculator can generate a ballistics table for your particular shooting conditions. However, to generate a ballistics table, you need to use the following details:

  • Bullet weight
  • Caliber size
  • Bullet make
  • Ballistic coefficient

These details can be easily found on the ammo pack, so you don’t have to do any guesswork. Once fed into the online ballistics calculator, the software will generate tabulated data that can be used to calculate sight adjustments need to shoot at distances different from the zero range.

What Are Night Vision Riflescopes?

night vision scopes

A night vision riflescope is a sighting device designed with the ability to see in dark or extremely low light environments. It combines two existing technologies into one unit: the night vision device and telescopic sight. This means that besides being used to see at night, this device can also zoom in on distant targets.

night vision scopes

Night vision in the U.S was developed by William Spicer, an engineering professor from Stanford University – although the Germans had also created their own night vision devices in the mid-1930s to use on tanks and to help foot solders see at night.

This technology first came to practical use during World War II. And while night devices greatly aided soldiers in nighttime combat, the hardware itself had one major setback. These generation-0 night vision devices were quite heavy. The worst part is that they required a large power supply to be carried on the soldier’s back. However, the technology has since made huge leaps over the decades. By the time the Vietnam War started, U.S troops were outfitted with lightweight starlight scopes.

Although night scopes were initially developed for military and law enforcement usage, their use has now expanded to other areas of life. For instance, scientists, bird watchers, and even film directors make use of Night Vision Devices (NVDs) in their lines of work. One of the widest uses of night scopes, however, is nighttime hunting. These gadgets are simply a must-have for wild game hunters who wish to continue their excursions after sunset or just before dawn.

If you wish to buy a night vision riflescope, it’s important to know the proper way to use it, why it works, and how to use one.

How to Use a Night Vision Riflescope

Utilizing a night vision scope is pretty much the same as using a regular rifle scope. You just have to mount the scope properly and point it at whatever direction to spot what you want to see. Much like any other riflescope, you’ll make windage and elevation adjustments to set the night scope’s reticle on your target.

You should expect a different view when using a night vision scope since the images sent back to the scope’s lens mostly appear greenish in color. But unlike old generation NVDs, a night vision riflescope doesn’t need an IR illuminator. Instead, it relies on ambient light and uses infrared lenses that make images in the dark glow by amplifying thermal energy from animals and humans. With this type of riflescope, you can see subjects in total darkness. It also gives you an advantage because some animals simply don’t see that well in the dark. This can be a good alternative for the reticle illumination feature found on some earlier types of riflescopes.

Tips for Choosing the Right Night Scope

There are many types of night vision riflescopes on the market, and prices and features vary greatly depending on the chosen model and brand. It’s important to know what you’re paying for before settling on any particular scope.

Usually, you can buy a night vision scope as a standalone unit or use the technology on an existing riflescope by simply changing the lenses. Scopes with interchangeable lenses provide much flexibility since you can easily switch between day and nighttime mode. When choosing a night vision riflescope, it’s important to remember that these gadgets come with different magnification ratings. High-powered night scopes are best suited for long range shooting since they can magnify to a farther distance. Other scopes may be equipped with laser pointers that illuminate a red or green dot on targets, which signifies the point of bullet placement.

Keep in mind that the best night-vision scope should be within your budget range and meet your specific hunting needs. If you’re not sure of what to buy, make sure to consult a riflescope specialist for an expert recommendation.

How to Mount Your Riflescope Properly

mounting a scope properly

A riflescope can greatly improve your aim when shooting at targets from long range. However, if you don’t know how to mount your riflescope properly, even the best sighting equipment won’t be of any help. The truth is that scope-mounting systems are the weakest link in any shooting system. So, in this post, I’ll be sharing with you a few tips on how to mount a scope properly. With these tips, you can rest assured that everything is properly tightened, the reticle is dead level, and the eye relief is correct during your next hunting spree.

mounting a scope properly

First, though, make sure to have the following if you choose to mount a riflescope on your own:

  1. A well-lit and spacious work area
  2. Vise and workbench
  3. Torque wrench
  4. Screwdriver
  5. Thread freezing compound (such as Loctite)
  6. Rust preventative oil
  7. Scope ring alignment tools (like wooden dowels with pointed ends)
  8. Bore sight

Before proceeding, it’s also important to match rings and bases. Most, if not all, modern rifles come with pre-drilled screw holes for attaching scopes. Depending on the brand, some scope bases will only fit specific rifles. Therefore, make sure to check whether the mounting attachments are compatible with your rifle. By checking the bases and rings visually and pre-fitting them, you can tell whether they’re of the right height and diameter for your rifle.

Step 1: Mount the Base

Once you have the proper rings and bases, the first step is to mount the base. Begin by clamping down the barrel in the vise, but make sure to pad the jaws to prevent the vise from scratching the metal.

Next, wipe dry and apply rust preventative oil on the attaching surfaces then place the scope’s bases on the rifle’s mounting positions. The front and rear base may be different on some mounting systems, so make sure to check that you’re not attaching them backward. Now, tighten the screws that hold the base secure to prevent it from wiggling loose.

Most scope manufacturers recommend a maximum torque for tightening base screws so be sure to follow these guidelines when mounting the base if you have a torque wrench. If you don’t have a torque driver, then you’ll have to go by the feel of resistance when tightening the screws. Ideally, the screws should be tight enough so that the base doesn’t move under recoil stress. For maximum stability, you can apply a thread freezing compound like Loctite on the screws.

Step 2: Install the Rings and Scope

After the base is secured, attach lower halves of the front and back rings before screwing them into place. Avoid using your scope to measure ring alignment. Instead, use a ring alignment tool for this purpose. Two wooden dowels or metal rods with pointed ends and of similar diameter to your scope would work just fine. You’ll know that the rings are in alignment when the pointed ends of each dowel or metal rod appear to be leveled when they’re almost touching.

Next, remove the dowels and place the scope in the bottom ring halves. Gently screw on the top ring halves, leaving enough room for the scope to rotate and move back and forth. If you notice any uneven contacts between the scope tube and rings, you can try to rotate one ring. If that still doesn’t result in a perfect alignment, then lap the rings. Lapping, or polishing the inside of scope rings, ensures maximum scope-to-ring contact besides removing any sharp edges that can scratch the tube of your sighting device.

Step 3: Adjust the Reticle and Eye Recoil

With the scope properly mounted between the bottom and top rings, the next step is to align your sights. To do that, unclamp your rifle from the vise and remove its bolt if possible. Bring the rifle to eye level and look through the scope while moving it back and forward until you have proper eye relief and can see the field of view completely.

To prevent bumping your eye on the eyepiece during recoil, move the scope an inch further forward. Now, turn the eyepiece until the reticle appears in the ocular field. Align the crosshairs by turning the windage and elevation turrets while viewing an object such a vertical and horizontal mark on the wall.

You can also insert a bore sight into your rifle’s muzzle to adjust the vertical and horizontal axis to your desired point of aim. Keep in mind that bore sighting only aligns your iron sights on paper at 100 yards. Therefore, you’ll need to fire test groups to sight your rifle properly for longer distances.

Step 4: Tighten Top Ring Screws

Finally, double-check the scope’s position and sights. If you’re satisfied with the reticle’s position as well as the scope’s alignment with the rifle barrel, then tighten the top ring screws. Once the scope has been mounted securely, just bore sight it again to fine-tune the crosshairs and you’re ready to fire. Remember to check the tightness of your ring screws occasionally to ensure a successful hunt.

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

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.


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


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.


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.

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


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.


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


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