Good shooters know when they pull the trigger whether they hit or missed the target. Great shooters know where they hit in relation to the center of the target when they pull the trigger. This is called “calling your hits” and is an incredibly valuable skill for any type of shooter, be it handgun, rifle, self defense, or competitive shooters.
Michael Seeklander has been absolutely killing it with his Daily Quick Shooting Tips series on his YouTube channel. This latest video clearly explains the concept of calling your hits, so I couldn’t resist sharing another one of his videos.
In order to be able to call shots with a handgun, shooters must focus on their front sight and know exactly where it is at the moment of the trigger pull, and don’t flinch or blink during the shot. This skill comes from sending lots of lead down range in a deliberate training fashion. Haphazardly shooting a gun without focusing on shooting fundamentals do not develop this skill. Shooters need to pay close attention to what their handgun does all the way through the shot.
Look at the above sight alignment. These sights are slightly off and the shot will go to the right, hitting the right side of the target or missing the target depending on the size of the target and the distance.
Meanwhile, this sight alignment is correct for a good hit on the target.
Skilled shooters need to be able to pay close enough attention to their front sights while shooting, they’ll know if their front is misaligned or centered. But not only should they be able to recognize if their sights are misaligned, but to which direction the sights are misaligned.
How to practice spotting shots
There isn’t a good way to directly practice this for dry fire. Instead, building good habits during dry fire will help with the spotting of shots during dry fire. During dry fire training, always pay close attention to the front sight alignment. The more shooters can pay attention to that sight, the better they’ll be able to watch that sight during live fire.
During live fire sessions, watch the front sight during the shot – watch the sight go up and back down during the entire recoil cycle of the gun. If you can watch the sight go up and back down while shooting, you’ll be able to recognize the sight alignment at the moment the shot breaks.
All of the principles of calling shots also apply to rifles with iron sights as well as rifles and handguns with optics, though with optics it’s a little easier to call shots thanks to how red dots and crosshairs work.
Next time you’re at the range, pay close attention to your sights and try to call your own shots.