Rifle Shooting Tips for Beginners

Owning a powerful rifle with the latest high-tech accessories is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another thing altogether. But you don’t need to feel down about being a beginner — even the best shot in the world was in your place at some point. You can make the most of your weapon by learning these tips for how to shoot your rifle.

Positioning Your Body

No other tip you can get, from this list or from anyone else, will get the results you want unless you have the right body position. Keep yourself stable: your bottom half should ground you and your top half should steady your gun. Of course, different terrains may require you to kneel or even sit, so you should figure out how to attain stability and find the “right position” in those situations as well.

Level and steady your rifle with shooting bags and accessories.

Don’t Lose Your Stance

Finding a good position and getting into it can be tricky for beginners. However, maintaining that position after firing, also known as “follow-through,” can be even trickier. Thankfully, it’s not impossible, and shooting enthusiasts must get accustomed to not losing their stability so they can keep hitting their targets.

Using the Sights Right

Your rifle should have “sights” to help you with your aim. There’s one at the front of the barrel, and there’s one at the back. Once you’re locked in position, adjust your vision until both sights are perfectly aligned — this is called “zeroing” your rifle. At that point, you’ll be able to look straight down them and see exactly where your bullet will hit. Don't forget to check out our selection of optics and sights!


Maintaining a strong grip on your gun seems like a no-brainer, but it really is important enough to mention. Your aim could be perfect, but if your grip isn’t tight enough, the recoil will tilt the barrel. This mistake is a simple way to mess up your shot, which thankfully means it is easy to correct. While you’re at it, keep your wrists and elbows locked for optimal recoil management.

Don’t Be Hasty

Patience is a virtue, especially when you wield power as mighty and destructive as the rifle. You shouldn’t just learn how to shoot, but also when to shoot. Beginners, in particular, should give themselves the time they need to go through all the steps and feel absolutely certain that they can hit their target. This is especially important when hunting because you want a clean kill with a single shot.

Practicing and Focusing

Understanding all these aspects of shooting on a conceptual level is nice. However, as with any other skill, you need to apply these concepts into real life if you ever want to improve. Practice snapping your body into the right position until it’s immediate. Practice. Practice everything, and practice often.

Even that won’t go so well if you don’t focus. You don’t need to just practice aiming and firing your weapon. You must make strive to make every effort perfect. Not all of them will be, especially at the start. But if you don’t strive like that, you might get used to imperfection.

Cleaning Your Firearm

Even if you get everything right, you might still miss. Sometimes that’s just you, but sometimes that’s a sign that your rifle could use a little TLC. Bullets can leave residue inside the barrel, and too much of that residue will affect your performance. Invest in a quality cleaning kit and learn how to use a cleaning rod.

We cannot stress this enough: make sure that the rifle is not loaded at all. Even if you feel 100% positive that it is not loaded, even if you removed every bullet two seconds ago, treat the rifle as if it is loaded. People have been seriously injured because they didn’t do this. People have died because they didn’t do this. There is no downside to being overly cautious.

Bullet Calibers

The term “caliber” can refer to both the internal diameter of the barrel and the diameter of the bullet that goes inside it. You should know the caliber of your rifle so you can get the ammunition that most closely matches it. Even a single millimeter difference can cause misfires and other issues.

Find new rifle barrels at OTM Tactical. Choose from 10 caliber variations!

These tips may seem rather simple and straightforward, but they are crucial for any beginner to know — and for any seasoned shooter to keep in mind, lest they get overconfident. If you just keep practicing with all these steps, you can quickly get the hang of your weapon and make the most of it.

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