For the “Gunfighting” column in the September 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, author Michelle Cerino offered readers an easy-to-follow breakdown of marksmanship essentials to keep their shots on target, round after round. Cerino’s areas of focus included sight picture, grip, follow through and trigger management.

“If you want to hit what you are aiming at, you line up the bodies of the sights. This means making sure your front and rear sights are level across the top, with equal light spacing on each side,” said Cerino in talking about sight picture. “In order
 to hit what you’re aiming at, you need to see the sights when the gun goes off. With most factory pistols, you either cut in half or cover the target. If your sight picture allows you to see the target sitting on top of your sights, you will most always hit low. If you try to put a shot through that same bullet hole using a lollipop-type sight picture, you’ll keep hitting lower and lower. If you want to put two shots through the same hole, you need to achieve the same sight picture twice. That means covering up what you are aiming at each time.”

Moving on to trigger management, Cerino impressed the importance of mastering this skill and provided a proven method for reliable accuracy. “Learning a successful trigger press takes time, and plenty of both live- and dry-fire practice. Begin by taking up the slack,
the first stage, or, as some call
it, the ‘trigger pre-travel.’ Most guns have some, others don’t. A double-action-only gun has constant tension and no slack,” said Cerino. “When the slack is out, you are at what I call the ‘pressure wall.’ From the pressure wall, apply steady, smooth pressure or nudge the trigger until the gun goes off. Quickly let your finger fly and repeat. Once you get accustomed to this trigger press, it becomes one fluid movement.”

To read the full article on essential marksmanship skills, check out the September 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, available on newsstands July 1, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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