There's a lot of reasons new shooters miss their targets. I hear instructors talking about bad trigger control. "Quit jerking the trigger. Quit slapping the trigger. Etc." And it's true. Trigger control is a real issue among new shooters, but really it's just a symptom of another root cause. And honestly, even among experienced shooters (myself included) this root cause still causes me to miss sometimes.
The #1 Cause of Missed Shots among all shooters is called SHOT ANTICIPATION.
What Causes Shot Anticipation?
Shot anticipation primarily is caused by this innate, subconscious desire to meet force with force. We kind of know that the pistol or rifle is going to push recoil toward us, so we preemptively push back.
"Trigger jerk" is really "pistol push." It's difficult not to be a pistol pusher because you have to override the in-born defense mechanism of rising up to meet the "challenge of recoil."
What Cures Shot Anticipation?
But recoil is not your enemy. It's just a natural force in firearm physics that we all have to work with. It's not the pistol's fault. It's not your fault. OK?
The more you worry about missing, the more you guarantee that it'll become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, you've got to learn just to let the shot happen. You've got to have the kind of mental fortitude not to be afraid of that recoil. Just let the shot push you and trust your biomechanics to allow the gun to properly index back down. But don't push back. Don't get in this pushing competition where you're going to accidentally push back against it.
Sounds easy, right? Well it can become easier. I promise. But you have to be intentional about curing your pistol pushing tendencies. Here's what can cure your SHOT ANTICIPATION: training and practice and repetition with the mechanics of your pistol deployment.
Through training, practice and more practice, your physiology adapts. Through high-quality instruction, plus plenty of live firing and dry firing at the range to practice all that you've learned, your muscle memory will learn to react (or not react, rather) appropriately.
That's why it's important to get that high quality training with an instructor who understands the biomechanics of firearm use and the problem that's common to us all of wanting to control the recoil. Don't settle for anything less in your instructor.
As Always. Train Hard. Train Smart. Don't Be A Pistol Pusher. And Merry Christmas.