25 Jul Practice Proper Shooting Techniques for PRS
After many years of shooting PRS/NRL competitions, I have learned tons of incredible shooting techniques I continue to use.
Stupid Simple or Simple Stupid
The first thing I want to cover is weapon manipulation. Something very basic that we all learn from the very first time we learn to shoot any gun. Getting familiar with your weapon system and weapon manipulation is crucial for any shooting sport. I know several competitors, including myself, that get caught up in buying all the cool gear that they won’t use and don’t know how to use, instead of just practicing.
Having the right gear for you is also valuable, but knowing how to run that gear with your weapon is an art form like no other.
I have seen some of the best shooters do amazing things with their rifles and the gear they use. It’s because they know their rifles and gear inside and out and know what they can do.
It’s amazing watching someone like Marcus Blanchard run his bolt action. He’s one of the fastest and smoothest guys on a bolt gun to date. I think he had the highest score on an unlimited mover stage, 510 yard mover, with 30 shots and something like 28 hits. The video is amazing to watch. How can he do this so well you ask? He knows his weapon system inside and out, and he set it up to fit him and his shooting style.
Pictured above: illustrations of me clearing a double feed caused by my own errors.
Let’s get into knowing your weapon system and what you need. First you need to find someone better than you to help you get your setup perfect. Starting with the basic fundamentals is key to this whole shooting game.
- Getting your rifle fitted to your length of pull is important. Most chassis (MPA, Accuracy International, KRG, and more) have length of pull adjustments.
- Scope height and cheek weld.
- Trigger setup: most go with a two-stage trigger like Huber or Timney.
That pretty much covers the basic setup for your competition rifle. Once your rifle is setup and you have the proper gear, you can start shooting. I recommend shooting with people that are better than you to learn what to do.
I spoke with several friends and amazing shooters, and I asked them their top five practice techniques.
Here is what they had to say:
Combat Veteran and PRS/NRL Shooter
“I use minimal gear because I like to think in terms of real world application, and not so much in PRS. But I think if people don’t understand the first fundamentals of how to properly shoot a weapon, (for example: sight picture, breathing, trigger pull, etc,) then they won’t do well in any aspect of shooting.
Once they figure that out, I would say weapon manipulation. Like running the bolt to figure out how it operates in a controlled environment, this creating muscle memory (slow is smooth, smooth is fast). Once that is mastered then move on to positions and target acquisition.”
Top PRS/NRL Finisher
“1-Dry fire and focus on building solid positions that reduce your wobble. When dry firing, try and keep your reticle on the target as you cycle the bolt. Smooth is fast!
2-Practice drills on the clock. Real stage scenarios.
3-Get comfortable with your few pieces of kit that you will use most often. Then practice different scenarios with that piece of kit. Tripod, reasor or udder bag (use as rear bag as well). And just use those pieces of kit to keep it simple. Some of the best shooters use only one bag and clean stages; where newer shooters have 5 bags with them and end up timing out because they are fumbling with gear.”
Director and Founder of Rocky Mountain Precision Rifle League and Top Finisher for PRS/NRL Series Matches
“Positive mental attitude. (toward your training, toward your competitors, toward the stage or hunt)
Have your plan of attack and execute it in your mind several times before the clock starts.
Try to internalize and then forget about the results from the previous stage.
Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire, dry fire.”
Top Finisher PRS/NRL Series Matches.
“I learn a lot by spotting for shooters before and after me. Watching the wind and the mirage can be huge. Hands down the biggest thing you can do to shoot well is have your rifle ready to go. Scope alignment set, everything tight, know your bullet speed, already have D.O.P.E ready, everything starts with a perfect Zero.”
To sum it all up, one of the best things I can tell you to date is DRY FIRE, DRY FIRE, DRY FIRE, THEN LIVE FIRE.
Rooftop stage from a local Park City match.
Practice leaving your head down and not doing the “Gopher” every time you pull the trigger. Work on acquiring targets. Some say rabbit hunting is good practice for finding targets faster.
Pulling the trigger should be treated as a delicate instrument, pulling straight to the rear. Do not get in the habit of the dreaded trigger slap. On farther shots, the dreaded trigger slap shots can pull you off target a lot more than you think.
Slowly squeeze that trigger to the rear to brake the shot perfectly. To compound how bad your trigger squeeze is grab your hand gun and pull the trigger nice and slow, then fast. You will see the compound results between the two very fast.
Where your finger should be placed on the pad is different for every shooter, so I will leave that up to you to determine where that feels the best.
Once that trigger pull is good and smooth, practice waiting and watching your impact to see where it hit. Then run your bolt slow and smooth.
Watch the impact and make for any corrections if needed.
As others have said, look at what the top shooters are using for gear and get those items.
Here is a good list of what I would start with:
- Backpack: Eberlestock
- Rear bags: Sand Sock, Reasor game changer, Warhorse developments- Saracen and Camanche
- Sling- Short action precision, or tab gear.
- Two round holders: Sap Ammo holders
- ARC Mags.
For additional guidance and to ensure you’re buying the right gear, find an individual you know is better than yourself.