Whether you're a beginner, an expert or place your shooting skills somewhere in the middle, there's always something you can improve upon to get better precision with your AR-15.
THE BEST WAYS TO IMPROVE MARKSMANSHIP WITH AN AR-15
Putting shot after shot in the 10-ring takes the right equipment and a significant amount of skill. A rifle with all the bells and whistles is only as effective as the shooter pulling the trigger. Similarly, though, even the most experienced shooters will have trouble hitting center mass unless they have the right tools, so you do want to set yourself up for success with a gun that fits your goals.
1. WORK ON BECOMING A BETTER SHOOTER
Every shooter starts off as a beginner. The only way to move past that stage is to train for as long as you own your rifle. There's a lot that goes into getting your sights on target, from how you hold your gun to the way you position your body. Each detail comes together to help you land your shots exactly where you want.
ADOPT THE RIGHT TECHNIQUES
When you pick up your rifle, it becomes an extension of your body. Your position, the way you hold the gun and the movements you make while looking down the sights will all impact shot accuracy. If you want to improve your marksmanship, your training starts with getting a handle on the basics.
MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS
Hollywood does an excellent job of creating entertaining shooting scenes, but rarely depicts anything close to reality. When you raise your weapon to fire, be sure to think about your:
- Buttstock placement: Your buttstock should sit firmly in the pocket inside your shoulder — not on top. This position helps keep your gun stable when aiming and will absorb recoil after firing.
- Elbow placement: Consciously keep your elbows tucked in and against your body. Elbows tend to rise. When they do, you lose the added support they provide to help stabilize your shot.
- Breathing: Your chest rises and falls when you breathe, and the rifle moves with it. Slow your breathing down as much as you can, and shoot during the natural pause that occurs just after you exhale.
- Trigger squeeze: If you are pulling your trigger, you're also pulling your muzzle off target. A slow, steady squeeze of the trigger will keep the rifle from moving. When the weapon fires, pause for a moment before you release the trigger, then do so gradually so you can feel it reset.
If you're shooting from the bench every time you hit the range, you are only building on a fraction of your skills. Try shooting from all four primary positions and build on the rest:
- Standing: The standing position is best for targets under 200 yards. It's the least stable of the four, but also the fastest you can get into to take a shot.
- Kneeling: With practice, you can hit targets with accuracy while kneeling at 200 to 300 yards. You can try braced, double-knee or speed-kneeling positions.
- Sitting: Sitting with your legs crossed is an intermediate position. While seated, you can rest your elbows and support your rifle for improved precision.
- Prone: With the right barrel, the AR-15 is accurate out to 600 yards or more. To hit targets that far out, try shooting from the prone position — undoubtedly the most stable.
In any shooting position, make sure you pay attention to your forward hand. You want to be comfortable, but you also want to provide your rifle with enough support. You can also use a feature of your surroundings, like a tree, wall or barricade.
In shooting, the only way to get better is to practice — and practice a lot. It's also important to "practice like you play," employing the correct fundamentals every time you handle your rifle. The right amount of training is as much as you can fit into your schedule. Over time, the proper shooting techniques will become second-nature as you develop muscle memory and become more comfortable and confident with your AR-15.
2. UPGRADE YOUR AR-15
Out of the box, AR-15s are very accurate. They are also some of the most customizable rifles you can own, and there are options available for improving virtually every component. While some upgrades are aesthetic, many others can help you get your groupings closer together.
In many cases, AR-15s come with light 16-inch barrels. Upgrading to a longer aftermarket barrel will give you more accuracy. An 18-inch barrel delivers shots at a higher velocity, providing a flatter trajectory without adding too much weight. The round will also spend less time traveling to the target, offering a reduction in wind-drift and drop rate. You can also upgrade to an even longer barrel with a heavy contour for benefits like better heat management, which helps keep rounds on-target.
NEW TRIGGER GROUPS
Upgrading your trigger gives you much more control over your shots by providing a clean break and a lighter pull, minimizing the chance of side-to-side inaccuracy. Depending on your preference, there are several different trigger styles you can use to achieve greater precision, with each offering its own advantages:
- Single-stage triggers: A single-stage trigger is often compared to pressing a button, as this style moves very little and may lessen your chance of pulling or pushing a shot.
- Two-stage triggers: Two-stage triggers provide you with a break-wall during the pull, letting you know you are just about to fire so you can ensure the perfect sight picture.
Within these categories, you can also find different trigger shoe styles:
- Curved triggers: This style of trigger helps you return your finger to the same position after each shot, contributing to consistency and letting you get back into the firing position faster.
- Straight triggers: With a straight trigger, you can place your finger wherever feels most comfortable. The increased leverage allows you to control perceived trigger weight to achieve a smooth pull.
Foldable stocks are great for the tactical scene, but if you're looking for better accuracy at long distances, you need to stick to something fixed. Different upgraded buttstocks are available with benefits like added shock absorption, extra grip against your shoulder and a comfortable place for your cheek while you aim down the sights. Changing out a buttstock is easy. You can remove fixed stocks with a flathead screwdriver and collapsible stocks using a castle nut wrench.
BUILD A MARKSMAN-STYLE AR-15
If you want to turn your AR-15 into a fine-tuned rifle capable of incredible precision, Wing Tactical has everything you need. We have a massive selection of AR-15 parts, and our team knows how to help you design a custom setup capable of hitting distant targets. Send us a message today to get started.