Today’s athletes are focused on extracting every bit of performance out of each motion. It’s not unheard of for an athlete to work with a coach who’s specialty is just one facet of the overall game. This is something that we need to adopt in the shooting world. Focused practice can only be achieved when you have the proper tools for the job. As shooters, our private coaches are steel targets.

Shooters who know their craft are well aware that there’s no more efficient way to learn than by shooting reactive steel targets. Paper targets are to analog as steel is to digital. Steel targets give you much needed feedback that cannot be wrought from paper.

Let’s say that you hang a paper target downrange and shoot it five times. When you go down to grade your hits you may find that you center punched it three out of five shots. The only question is which ones were the solid hits. Was it the first, third, or fifth hits that were the bullseyes? You don’t know because the paper couldn’t give you the much needed feedback that’s crucial to get better at your craft.

When you shoot steel targets you get the instant feedback that’s necessary. Within 300 milliseconds of seeing and hearing a solid hit, your brain creates a new neural pathway and labels it “success.” It may sound odd that something so simple could make such a big difference but the science is solid, and the proof is in the fact that all professional shooters train on steel. Let the steel be your teacher.

Editor’s Note: For more from Abner Miranda, visit

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