Shooting Tips: How to Practice Better, Cheaper

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Action Pistol shooters in the three most popular games–USPSA, ICORE, and IDPA–face targets that have only one common characteristic. That is, the targets are buff-colored cardboard with scoring rings denoted by slight perforations. Although critical to success, those scoring ring perforations are not normally visible beyond a few yards. Experienced shooters know the path to better scores is finding the right sight picture to place their rounds in the zones that deliver maximum points.

Which Zone?
Unfortunately, the scoring zones are different for each game. Take a perfect sight picture for an IDPA target in an ICORE match and even your best hits will be one- or two-­second penalties, since the ICORE A Zone is lower than the 0 Zone on an IDPA target.
Expert shooters know that when practicing for a specific game, they need to use that game’s target to define the proper sight picture. Buying multiple targets, which don’t last forever, can get expensive. There is, however, a simple solution that not only saves money, but also provides a better way to get dialed in.

Easy Mod
Take a razor knife and cut out the 0 Zone/A Zone from the chosen target. Flip the target onto its face and tape a piece of cardboard or paper onto the back over the cutout section. The advantage to this is twofold. First, the contrasting color of the insert clearly defines the sight picture needed for that game. Second, there is no need to cover up hits with tape on the target’s center insert. Just tape up the hits outside it. When the insert is too badly shot up to continue, replace it. This will greatly extend the life of that target.

At the end of any match, the cardboard targets are often thrown away. Ask the match director if you can take some of the used targets home with you. This is normally allowed. You now have free targets that a razor knife, a piece of paper, and some tape will turn into very usable targets that will last until the next match, when you can acquire some more.