If your target practice involves you shooting at a stationary target at different distances and nothing more, then you seriously need to upgrade your target practice routine.
The goal of any practice should involve more than just your ability to pull the trigger properly. It should also be an opportunity to improve your accuracy, general marksmanship, and consistency at target acquisition.
In this article, we provide you with a general overview of the importance of setting goals in target practice for tracking your progress and improving your shooting skills. Let’s dive in!
The Significance of Setting Goals in Target Practice
In order to take your marksmanship to the next level, you must set specific goals for every practice session.
Setting goals for your firearm training sessions helps you create a clear path to progress and makes your training experience more fun.
This is especially true when you combine your live-fire training sessions with dry-fire training sessions. Below is the significance of setting goals in target practice:
Everyone needs a little motivation now and then, and setting an attainable goal can provide you with a sense of purpose and motivation.
Plus, it’s much easier to start a target shooting session when you know how many rounds of shooting you have to do before you stop.
Goals will help with commitment and enthusiasm at your target practice sessions.
Alfred A. Montapert once said, “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”
This quote essentially tells you that practicing every day with no specific goal in mind can be like moving without progress.
Setting goals in your target practice can help you measure how much progress you are making in your shooting journey.
Most importantly, quantifiable progress ensures that you can identify the areas of your shooting that need improvement and track your growth over time.
Focus and Structure
Some days, you feel good, and you may want to practice all day long, and on other days, you may not even feel like getting out of bed.
Setting attainable and measurable goals makes it easy to engage in target practice even when you don’t feel like it. Setting goals for your target practice sessions gives your training routine a predetermined structure.
Concentration comes easier when you know what to expect next and how hard you have to work to attain a specific goal.
Remember, a few minutes of intense and focused practice is better than long hours of unfocused target practice sessions.
Whether you shoot competitively or casually, confidence is a huge part of the process. Research shows that attaining your goals in any area of life is a huge confidence booster which helps to validate your efforts and skills.
Building confidence during your target practice by reaching the goals set in your dry-fire and live-fire sessions ensures that you have the confidence to shoot a firearm the right way.
No matter how perfect your plan seems at the beginning, towards the middle of your training practice or training month, you’ll probably notice that some of the goals you set in the beginning need to be adjusted.
It is totally fine to adapt and change some of them a bit to better suit your firearms training needs. As your firearms training needs evolve, you must tailor your training.
The Role of Dry-Fire Systems in Goal Setting for Target Practice
Dry-fire systems like the ones made by Strikeman are firearm training setups that allow you to practice your shooting skills with the use of targets, a laser cartridge, and a feedback system/app.
Below are some of the roles that dry-fire systems can play in your target practice:
Safe and Cost-Effective Practice Sessions
Shooting with live rounds can quickly become expensive with the rising cost of ammunition and increased taxes on firearms.
However, training with dry-fire training systems can be a safe and relatively cheaper alternative to training with live-fire.
Also, since you are not using live rounds, it is much safer for you to practice your shooting skills, especially if you are a beginner.
Learn more about training with dry-fire training systems here.
Unlike live-fire training, where you need someone else with you at the shooting range to provide you with feedback on how well you are doing with your shooting, dry-fire training systems can provide you with instant feedback using our feedback system that consists of sensors, our laser cartridge, and our app.
Dry-firing allows you to practice with a variety of virtual targets and scenarios that you may not have otherwise had access to. You can easily tailor your target practice for speed, precision, or target engagement without needing an elaborate setup.
Dry-fire systems have companion feedback and tracking systems that provide you with metrics and information on how your target practice is progressing.
This way, you can record your shooting sessions and monitor metrics like shot placement, draw speed, target transition, and lots more. Dry-fire systems make it easy for you to track your success against your goals.
How to Set Effective Target Practice Goals
In order to set effective goals, you'll need to understand how to set goals that will improve your target practice sessions.
The following are some of the best ways to set effective target practice goals:
Be Specific With Your Goals
Your goals become hard to track when you don’t know exactly what you are aiming for. You need to set clear and measurable goals in order to see a progressive increase in your shooting skills.
Vague goals like “improve accuracy” wouldn’t cut it. You need clear and measurable goals like “achieve 90% accuracy at 15 yards with five consecutive shots.”
Now, a goal like this can be measured and readjusted to suit your target practice needs.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s okay to aim higher than your current abilities allow, but it is critical to know the difference between realistic goals and lofty ideas.
The key to setting realistic/attainable goals is to consider your current skill level and gradually raise the bar to a point that challenges your current abilities but doesn't frustrate you to the point that you quit.
Break Down Your Goals
Every goal should be broken down into smaller, actionable steps that make it easier to follow through with them and less daunting to take on.
For example, you can break down the goal of "shooting with 90% accuracy from 15 yards after 5 consecutive shots" into more actionable steps like "cock the gun, aim, shoot, and repeat."
Of course, your steps can be more elaborate, but make sure it’s not too complicated.
Focus on Improving Your Areas of Weakness and Fortifying Your Strengths
Different schools of thought have varying opinions on whether or not you should focus on improving your weaknesses and focus less on your strengths, or vice versa.
Here is our advice: Identify your shooting skills that need improvement and set goals that address specific weaknesses.
For instance, if you struggle with trigger control, set goals that are related to smooth and controlled trigger activation without sacrificing accuracy.
However, your goals should also focus on solidifying the parts of your shooting skills that you are proficient at.
Consistency Is the Key to Progress
Without consistent target practice, it becomes extremely difficult to attain your goals.
To be consistent, you should set a specific time of the day aside for practice and set aside a training area where you can remain undisturbed throughout your training session. A timetable is certainly a good way to stay consistent.
Seek the Guidance of Expert Marksmen
Regardless of your skill level, you should always seek professional guidance in your journey to becoming a more proficient shooter.
This is because there are some mistakes you may end up making unless someone else with more shooting experience is around to point them out during your target practice sessions.
Plus, an expert can offer advice on the best kind of drills to improve particular shooting skills.
There is no point of perfection when it comes to training to become a better shooter. Instead, you should think of it as a process of continuous improvement.
Setting attainable goals in target practice is the foundation of continuous and progressive improvement in firearms training.
When you combine goal-setting with innovative dry-fire systems like those manufactured by Strikeman, your goal-setting becomes an effective tool for your improvements in firearms training.
A dry-fire system offers you an unparalleled platform to practice your marksman skills safely while receiving instant feedback using performance-tracking software and tools.
You can be sure that with consistent practice, you will reach your firearms training goals in no time.
Whether you are a competitive shooter, self-defense enthusiast, expert marksman, or someone who simply enjoys the art of marksmanship, adding attainable goals to your practice routine will improve your shooting abilities and make your practice sessions more rewarding.