I finally have an article that is suited to the purpose of this blog and why I started it… to teach people how to shoot. I have written it because I feel competent enough as a shooter at 400 yards to do so and feel I have gained enough knowledge to share with new shooters and not guide them off coarse. I hope I accomplish this well because I want to teach others to shoot and enjoy their AR15 more than anything. Lets discuss what it takes to hit a target out to 400 yards.
We are going to skip the tactical bullcrap here and simply learn to shoot a target from 0-400 yards using quick and efficient methods.
First off lets clear the air and say there is no purpose for “slinging up” for such a simple shot and there is no need for any accuracy upgrades with a standard AR15. Standard handguards and a tactical sling work just fine. There is no need for trigger upgrading unless your trigger is absolutely so crunchy that you feel you cannot get a consistent pull. A red dot OR iron sights will be well suited to this task. 4 MOA or 2 MOA is fine.
Second lets talk about your comfort level with the rifle. When you shoot the AR15 you should not be flinching or blinking. IF you cannot control your eyes and trigger finger you need more time behind the gun before you start sighting in. Go shoot some cans, have fun, but focus on shooting to get comfortable with the rifle. When you have a good feel for the rifle you simply KNOW when it will fire and there is nothing to surprise you and cause a flinch.
Now thirdly… lets get a good zero. Get a 50 yard zero with your red dot or irons. For adjustable iron sights that’s using the small peep and -4 clicks below 6/3 on detachable carry handles and -2 clicks below 8/3 on fixed carry handles. See IBZ at this link if you don’t understand how to rotate your drum into negative clicks. A fifty yard zero is both convenient and versatile. For red dot users dial down until the red dot bloom is no longer and issue and zero.
The shooting of the rifle itself is simply an exercise in self control. Get in a comfortable and steady position, place the front sight post or red dot on the target (I prefer a dead hold rather than a 6 oclock hold) stop breathing for a second and squeeze the trigger. The key to good shooting is to get comfortable behind the rifle. Once you are familiar with the recoil (which is nil on an AR15), comfortable with the trigger, and have a good zero you can hit targets easily and consistently. Step by step:
Dry fire and KNOW THY TRIGGER. Dry fire at home from prone at a stationary target and practice keeping your sights on target while quickly and smoothly pulling the trigger. Once you have mastered keeping your rifle on target while pulling the trigger then you have 50% of the battle covered.
Keep your sight picture simple. Once you are looking through the small aperture of the rear peep you do not need to worry about anything else but putting the front sight post on the target, focusing in the front sight post, and squeezing the trigger. The target should appear slightly fuzzy with the front sight post crystal clear. Do not worry about the position of the front sight post in relation to the rear peep. The whole setup is parallax free once you peer through the small peep. Front sight on target, crystal clear and steady, squeeze trigger. Nothing more than that.
Red dots can enjoy the benefits of focusing on the target instead of the dot. Place the dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. Dial down intensity to reduce bloom if necessary.
The zero: take your time and establish that 50 yard zero elevation and windage. Now take your rifle to the 100 yard range and fine tune your windage and do not mess with your elevation.
Your ready to shoot to 400.
50 yard zero? Check. Comfortable with how the trigger responds to your pull? Check. Steady position and sight picture? check. You’re ready to fire on targets from 0-400 yards. 0-300 no adjustments are needed to your zero. At 400 yards you can dial the drum to 400 yards, or if non-adjustable buis or red dot is used simply aim up towards the neck line / shoulder region your silhouette and pull the trigger. Either 55 grain or 62 grain ammo will still get hits on target.
Regarding a steady sight picture: throw all the slinging up rifleman crap away and learn to always use rests when possible. Wear a glove and use the back of your hand holding the hand-guards on any object that you can to steady your aim / provide some cover. Learn to “cheat” at every opportunity to steady your sight picture. Wall, car hood, or anything that can be used to steady your aim should be used. If you are shooting to learn how to hit a target FAST and repeatedly then use objects to steady your aim. Out to 400 yards using objects to support your aim will not hinder your point of impact on a torso sized target enough to be noticed.
Practice freehand as well for the times where there will be no support and you cannot go prone.
Steel is invaluable for the rifleman to practice on. If your range allows it or you have private property invest in a man sized steel gong and carrier. You will hear the hits and get to practice repeatably without having to examine paper or reset targets.
Practice to upkeep your skill and enjoy it. Beginning shooters need to know that you and your rifle are capable of so much provided you have a bit of direction and practice. I will try to post a supplimentary video to this post in the future, but my schedule is limited thus why so much time elapses between posts.
Go to the range and have a great day. OH and don’t go and switch to a new ammo and screw up your zero.