How to Properly Clean an AR-15

Neglect and improper cleaning are responsible for many AR failures, but the right tools and solvents make the process faster and easier.
Many of the folks I know who have bought an AR-15 lately know very little about maintaining them. That’s too bad because neglect and improper cleaning are responsible for many AR failures. Not to worry; these eight steps will keep your AR-15 in the fight.
1. Break It Down
Before you can clean your AR, make sure it’s unloaded and break it down to its main components. After separating the upper and lower receivers, remove the bolt carrier and disassemble the bolt, to include removing the firing pin and the cotter pin that retains it. You can also remove the trigger mechanism and handguards if you like, but I don’t unless my gun has taken a dip in mud, sand, or water. If you aren’t sure how to disassemble your AR, purchase an AR armorer’s manual or check out one of the hundreds of videos on the subject available on the Internet. The Brownells website is a good resource.
2. Clean the Chamber
Spray some cleaning solvent into the chamber and locking lug recesses of your AR, allow the solvent to sit for a few minutes, and then clean it with a chamber brush. Once that’s done, use a scrub brush to clean the locking lug recesses and then flush out the chamber with more solvent. When the chamber and locking lug recesses are nice and shiny, you can dry the area with compressed air or wipe it down with a rag before moving on to the bore. Cleaning the chamber is, in my opinion, the biggest pain, but the right solvents are a big help.
3. Scrub that Bore
The more you fire the gun, obviously, the dirtier it will get, but heat plays a major part, too. If you slow-fired a few boxes at the shooting range, your barrel doesn’t really need cleaning unless you’ve fired corrosive ammo. But if you do lots of rapid-fire work, your barrel is probably going to require some serious elbow grease and more aggressive solvents.
A bore guide and good cleaning products are must-haves. I use Shooter’s Choice or M-Pro 7 cleaners and solvents. Make sure the solvents you use are compatible; some can be dangerous or, at the very least, noxious if you combine them incorrectly. I’ve found it best to not mix brands.
Start by pushing a few solvent-soaked patches down the barrel. Let the solvent work for 10 or 15 minutes and then follow with a few dry patches. Next, apply more solvent and then run a brass brush down the bore five or 10 times. Follow that with a solvent-soaked patch to get the loose gunk out, then push a few patches that have been soaked in copper solvent down the tube and allow time for the copper solvent to do its thing.
Let your barrel tell you how much to clean it. When the patches finally come out clean, push a patch soaked with gun cleaning solvent down the bore to remove or neutralize the copper solvent. Follow that with a dry patch and you’re done, unless you’re going to store your carbine for a long period of time, in which case you should run an oil-soaked patch down the bore to protect it from corrosion.
4. Dunk It
The firing pin, cam, and bolt carrier are fairly easy to wipe clean with a rag, but the bolt itself can require some serious scrubbing and scraping, especially after high-round-count, fast-paced training sessions. Solvents and scrapers still get the job done, but the Magnum version of Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Sonic Cleaner really works well. A few months ago I ordered one, and I’m never going back to those old-school ways.
To clean my bolts and other hard-to-clean parts, I simply knock off the big stuff with a scraper, drop the bolt in the tray, and dip the tray into the solution-filled unit for 10 minutes and let it do its ultrasonic thing. Then I pull the parts out, dry them, knock off any remaining crud (it comes off very easily), and drop it in for another five minutes. When I pop the top, my small parts are usually spotless. It may take more time than scraping one bolt, but the Sonic Cleaner is faster if I have multiple guns to clean, and it gets them all much cleaner than I would manually—and with a lot less effort. If you do a lot of AR shooting, you need to own Hornady’s Sonic Cleaner.
5. Wipe It
Use a rag to wipe down the inside of the upper and lower receivers, the magazine well, and the gas port. Those areas can get surprisingly filthy, but they are easy to wipe clean with a rag. Then wipe the recoil spring and buffer assemblies and the barrel’s exterior. If you’ve removed the handguards, wipe the inside of them, too. If you plan to store your gun for any period or you operate it in a humid environment, apply a light coat of oil to the inside of aluminum handguards and the outside of the barrel before reassembly to protect those hard-to-monitor areas from corrosion.
6. Scrub the Trigger
The trigger mechanism doesn’t usually get too dirty, but it can collect gunk if you oil it too liberally or if the carbine is used in a dusty environment. I wipe mine as much as possible and then spray the mechanism down with compressed air. That usually gets the job done, but I won’t hesitate to disassemble, clean, and lubricate the trigger if it’s really dirty. Don’t tackle the trigger unless you know how or at least have a bit of mechanical ability and an AR armorer’s manual.
7. Clean Your Mags
The magazine is the weak link in every self-loader, and the AR is no exception. Be sure to disassemble your magazine and wipe down the inside of the mag body, the follower, and the spring periodically. I clean my mags once a year unless they’ve been in a harsh environment or through a carbine school, where they tend to get abused.
When cleanng your AR, be sure to remove the bolt carrier and disassemble the bolt, including the firing pin and the cotter pin that retains it.
8. Lube It Up
ARs must be kept wet to ensure reliability, so lubricate them liberally before you reassemble them. I use Break Free, M-Pro 7, or FP-10 by Shooter’s Choice to lubricate my carbines. Apply your chosen lubricant very liberally to the bolt body, including the gas rings, all the wear points on the bolt carrier, the cam pin, and the charging handle. A drop or two in the trigger mechanism is a good idea, too, but be sure to go light there; too much oil can collect gunk and wreak havoc on your gun’s go switch.
Once you’ve assembled your AR, cycle the action several times to distribute the oil in all the right places, perform a function check to make sure everything is assembled properly, and close the dustcover for storage.
If you take the time to do the job right and follow these eight easy steps, your carbine will never let you down.

This article was originally posted by Greg Rodriguez
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The high-capacity magazine myth

Anti-gun crowd deliberately misleads the public

Deception is the key component in the latest push for more gun control laws. During her soap opera press conference Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein used a liberal clergyman to give her the moral high ground in her campaign to infringe on the Second Amendment.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, donned his clerical collar for the all-Democrat event to say he can “no longer justify a society” that “permits the sale of high-capacity magazines designed for the purpose of simply killing as many people as quickly as possible.”
The anti-gun crowd labels any firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10-rounds “high-capacity.” It’s a scare tactic.
(This is the second of a four-part series on dispelling common gun myths. Click here to read part one, MILLER: The Assault Weapon Myth)
Many firearms come from the factory with devices that feed between 15 to 30 rounds — some hold more, some less depending on their configuration and purpose. Ten is a number chosen out of thin air for reasons of political theater. The gun grabbers use it to imply the higher-capacity magazines enable murderers to kill more people, but it doesn’t actually work out that way.
In a 2004 study for the Department of Justice linked on Mrs. Feinstein’s own website, Christopher S. Koper, a professor of criminology, reported that “assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10-round magazine limit” of the “assault weapons” ban.
“Studies prove that the arbitrary magazine capacity restriction that was in place for a decade did not reduce crime,” Lawrence Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel, told The Washington Times. “In searching for effective means to reduce violence, we should not repeat failed policies, especially when they infringe on the constitutional rights of the law-abiding.”
Violent crime has decreased 17 percent since the assault weapons ban expired.
In the latest incarnation of Mrs. Feinstein’s ban, we would see the return of an ammunition limit that had no proven impact on crime while it was in effect from 1994-2004. The proposal outlaws all ammunition feeding devices — magazines, strips and drums — capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
On Tuesday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, reintroduced the legislation he has been pushing since the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2010 that he calls the “Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act.” The bill, which has 17 Senate cosponsors, has a companion measure in the House with the backing of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and 58 of her colleagues.
Even though Mrs. Feinstein used to carry a handgun in San Francisco for her own personal protection, she does not realize what other gun owners know: It can take about two seconds, or less, to drop an empty magazine and insert another.
Criminals are likely to carry as many magazines as they need, but individuals with their guns concealed for self-defense purposes often aren’t able to bring extra magazines. Especially in a stressful situation, it can take several rounds to stop a dangerous criminal.
The limitation on magazine capacity is a direct handicap on the right to self-defense. Mrs. Feinstein’s entire bill infringes on the right to keep and bear arms, but her randomly selected magazine restriction is one of the most offensive provisions.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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As part of the recent push for gun control, the improperly-named Mayors Against Illegal Guns—they’re actually against all guns—launched the campaign “Demand a Plan.” A key part of it is a video featuring A-list celebrities calling on Americans to demand a gun control plan from their elected officials. Problem is, almost all of these celebrities have made a lot of money waving guns around on-screen. The staggering hypocrisy of the video was too much for at least one person, who put together a video response to “Demand a Plan” that has since gone viral. Bluntly titled, “Demand A Plan—Demand Celebrities Go F*** Themselves,” it deftly intersperses the celebrities’ call for gun control with clips from their movies where they’re shooting guns.
For some reason, American society seems to idolize celebrities and actors much the same way Britons do royalty, even though they don’t actually do anything. Think about it: Their job is to play dress-up and make-believe, all while being paid huge sums of money, surrounded by people who constantly tell them they’re great. Is it any wonder they’ve lost touch with reality? Why anyone pays attention to what actors say offscreen is a mystery to me, but people do. While the list of celebrities who think with their heart—and in doing so, are strangers to logic—is very long, so here is a short list of “artists” who are publicly anti-gun, yet have no problem using guns to make money.

Jeremy Renner

I was actually disappointed to see Jeremy Renner in “Demand a Plan” because I really enjoy his work. He’s been burning up the screen lately, appearing in The AvengersThe Bourne LegacyMission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and yet still is apparently anti-gun. The viral video response to “Demand a Plan” makes sure to use lots of clips of Renner from The Town (2010), where he plays a bank-robbing sociopath fond of full-auto weapons. Apparently he thinks “hypocrite” is a small town in Greece.
Pictured: Renner in a publicity still for S.W.A.T. (2003).

Richard Donner

His name may only be vaguely familiar to you, but that is because he is a director, not an actor. Donner has made his living directing action movies, including all four Lethal Weapon films, Conspiracy Theory (1997), and most recently, 16 Blocks (2006) with Bruce Willis, a gun-heavy cop movie, but don’t let that fool you. His photo on IMDB shows him wearing an anti-fur button (pictured), and if there’s a liberal cause, he’s all over it. His profile on IMDB also states that he “often places PSA posters/stickers for animal rights, human rights and gun control” in his movies, and that is why he made this list—I specifically remember a car chase/gun fight scene from either Lethal Weapon 3 or 4, or Assassins (all of which were mediocre at best), where the backdrop for the gunfight was an anti-gun poster on the side of a city bus. If that is not the definition of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is. Donner started out directing TV shows, including episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Wild Wild WestHave Gun – Will TravelThe RiflemanWanted: Dead or Alive… Seeing a pattern?

Matt Damon

The star of the first three Bourne action movies (pictured, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum), Damon has spent a lot of time onscreen with guns in his hand, even though he is a hard-core leftist and has spoken out for gun control. A direct quote from him: “I actually hate guns.” A lot of actors and directors—when they start to get overtly left-wing political in their choices—suddenly find their box office success evaporating; I give you Rob Reiner, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Spacey as prime examples, but Matt Damon may be the next. His anti-American military/government rant, Green Zone (2010), had a huge budget and was supposed to be a giant hit, but instead lost money at the box office. His newest movie, Promised Land, is a rant against frakking and “Big Oil”, and it looks to be a huge flop as well, taking in only $7.5 million dollars in its first four weeks of release.

George Clooney

Every movie George Clooney makes is very well done, and I can separate my feelings about the man from my admiration for his skill (I particularly enjoyed The Descendants). However, his returns at the box office haven’t been so good lately, and that might be because he’s made no secret of his far-left political leanings. Having made a career playing a hit man (The American, pictured), spec-ops soldiers (The PeacemakerThree Kings) and a CIA operative (Syriana), anyone unfamiliar with Hollywood actors might be surprised Clooney is anti-gun. Not only is he an anti-gun liberal, he once made a tasteless joke about Charlton Heston’s Alzheimer’s. Maybe that’s why The American barely broke even. It’s hard to swallow the star of The Ides of March (2011) and The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)—both left-leaning political movies—as a gun-toting action hero.

Kevin Costner

It may surprise you that the star of literally a dozen Westerns has spoken out in favor of gun control, but that’s exactly what Kevin Costner did after the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. The admitted shotgun owner and hunter stated, “I think there should be a lot of gun laws.” He also commented that he thought the NRA was out of line. Maybe Costner’s reason hasn’t completely deserted him, and if the right person can explain to him that there are already 20,000 gun laws on the books, and that the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting, he might see the light. We can always hope.

Spike Lee

I am not sure I can find a better example of celebrity gun hypocrisy than a comment made by director Spike Lee. Not long after directing Summer of Sam in 1999, a film about the “Son of Sam” murders in New York, Spike Lee stated that NRA President Charlton Heston should be shot with a .44 Bulldog(the weapon used by Son of Sam). Lee stated later he was joking, and Heston himself brushed it off, saying, “I know at the time Ice-T threatened to kill me. Maybe he handed the contract to Spike Lee.” Apparently there is a double standard when it comes to threatening and inflammatory statements, because if a conservative threatened to kill Michael Bloomberg for the patently fascist things he’s said and done in New York City, every news media outlet in the country would cover it for weeks.

Uma Thurman

With Uma Thurman coming out in favor of gun control, we have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. Does she not remember filming the Kill Bill films (pictured)? Admittedly, almost all of the dozens of people she killed in the movie were victims of her samurai sword, but if there was ever a movie which glorified and glamorized violence, it’s Kill Bill—or at least it was until Django Unchained came out—yet no celebrities are petitioning to ban Quentin Tarantino. Or samurai swords.

Mark Wahlberg

While he has gravitated toward action movies later in his career, it’s not a bad idea to remind people that Mark Wahlberg started out with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch—not exactly a poster child for the Heritage Foundation. If it wasn’t for roles which required him to shoot guns (The Departed,Three KingsFour BrothersMax Payne, and Shooter), Wahlberg would barely have a career. Yet, he has spoken out against guns, Charlton Heston and the NRA. In Hollywood, it seems that common sense need not apply.
This article was originally posted by James Tarr, Read  more:

Sure, a gun and spare mag are items every officer carries every day, but what about other essentials? Spaulding recommends at minimum a folding knife and a flashlight.
I read a story a year ago in The Salt Lake Tribunethat really made me think—and made me once again consider how important our everyday carry gear really is. Three children were saved by passers-by after the car they were riding in lost control, ran down an embankment and landed upside-down in the icy Logan River in Utah.
The 46-year-old driver of the crashed vehicle was able to free himself, but the children—two nine-year-old girls and a four-year-old boy—were trapped in the freezing water. The doors of the car wouldn’t open, so one of the first responders, retired police officer Chris Willden, shot his Glock 23 into the corner of the window to break it.
Other passers-by came together to flip the car over and pull the children out of the broken window to safety. All three survived.
Willden was later interviewed by a law enforcement on-line newsletter, and he offered these learning points to all who might face a similar circumstance and addressed how important one’s everyday carry gear is: Never leave home without a knife, gun or flashlight; keep current on first-aid and CPR certification; train rain or shine, but rain is better because if you can perform in bad weather, you can truly perform; and consider carrying a seatbelt cutter and glass-breaker.
Renowned firearms trainer John Farnam of Defense Training International wrote in his blog regarding the incident:  “There were several other well-meaning citizens present, who bravely endured the freezing waters that day. But only Willden was truly prepared. He had the necessary tools at hand and the boldness to unhesitatingly take unilateral, dicey, audacious action…Through preparation and boldness, he snatched victory from the jaws of disaster.”
Chris Willden knew what to do, was prepared mentally to act and had the gear he needed to accomplish the task. How many of you reading this can say the same?
I do the best I can to stay ready, and part of this preparation is to carry the same gear with me every day. As I progressed through my police career, I continually tried to evaluate my individual readiness for what life—and my job— brought my way. I “war-gamed” potential scenarios, talked to my family about what to do, upgraded my weapons and everyday carry gear and generally tried to stay prepared for the potential dangers that lurked on- and off-duty.
Street cops are now called “first responders,” and I think the term is appropriate. When conflict arises and everyone else is running away, cops run toward the trouble to either help the citizens they’re sworn to protect or to halt the violence that’s in progress.
I’ve also been involved in several situations off-duty that had little to do with armed conflict. I’m proud to report I had the proper state of mind to act instead of dither. That’s something most street cops have, and I’ve helped traffic crash victims, found lost senior citizens, directed traffic until additional units could arrive, pulled a drowning child out of a pool, talked to a suicidal subject and even cut the trouser leg off a child whose pants got caught in an escalator.
Yet, having faced these varied situations, I never really thought of my everyday carry gear being anything but preparation for armed conflict, and this is certainly the wrong mode of thought.
What Do You Carry?
Stop a moment and consider your everyday gear. What do you carry? Have you given it careful consideration based on your real world of work and play? Let’s examine the subject a bit.
Like Willden, I carry a gun, knife and flashlight every day. The gun is an obvious asset. It’s a tool of personal security to be used when deadly force is reasonable based on the circumstances.
But how many of us would think to use it to break a car window when nothing else would do? As it turns out, Chris Willden had actually shot his Glock underwater just to see what it would do.
My gun of choice is a Glock 19 in an X-Concealment belt holster— which rides like a dual-slot belt rig but draws like a competition speed rig—with accompanying magazine pouch and a 15-round magazine loaded with Speer 124-grain +P Gold Dot hollowpoints.
Having cut a few people out of seat belts, I can tell you a knife is a handy thing to have. I can also tell you not having a cutting tool when you need one is a gut-wrenching, hopeless feeling. How would you feel if you were in Willden’s place and had to watch those children perish because you had no way to cut them free?
Although I’ve carried any number of folding knives over the years, I think a blade of three inches in length with a partially serrated blade is the way to go. Knives in this category are no larger than the palm of my hand but can handle large knife tasks.
A few serrations are handy because they make the initial cut through many materials easier to accomplish. Have you ever tried to cut wet seat belt nylon? Trust me; serrations really help here.
Dual thumb studs, and even an index finger flipper, help in deploying the knife quickly when digital dexterity is at a premium if your hands are wet. Any number of knives fit these criteria, so shop wisely.
Your everyday carry flashlight doesn’t have to be a large or exceptionally bright light. It just needs to be capable of searching and navigating bedroom-size places, find a light switch or find your way out of a smoke-filled room. I had the opportunity to hear one of the survivors of the World Trade Center attack speak, and he made it quite clear people who had flashlights were able to find their way out of the smoldering buildings.
Smoke, dust and other debris can easily fill the air to the point where the naked eye can’t see, and having a white light can mean the difference between life and death.
Two good choices are the Brite Strike BD-180-MH-1C or the Surefire Backup. Both offer 200-lumen light capability in a one-cell lithium units that are easy to clip to the waistband or just drop in a pocket. Both have a tail-cap switch that is easy to use and are capable of momentary or constant on function. Both lights are completely waterproof and built like a tank.
The bottom line is that as a first responder—or just a citizen—being prepared for a wide variety of situations is a way of life, not something done when it’s convenient. If you haven’t given careful consideration to your everyday carry gear, it’s time to do so. Someone’s life, maybe your own, may depend on it.

This article was originally posted by Dave Spaulding, Read more:

Sheriffs from across the country are writing Barack Obama and Vice President Biden to promise they will not enforce any gun control measures they consider unconstitutional. It makes sense. The local officials swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. They’re just doing their jobs.
Okay. You may be wondering how widespread this backlash is? Of course the second Amendment may not be politically correct in DC, but outside the beltline it’s a different story.
Take Utah. 28 of 29 sheriffs have sent letters to the Oval Office, promising not to enforce any new gun control laws they consider unconstitutional.
And in New Mexico, 30 out of 33 sheriffs have reminded legislators of their oaths.
Many sheriffs in Oregon are also taking a similar stand.
So how much wiggle room does the second amendment provide? Here’s how it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Wow. That phrase “shall not be infringed” says it all.
Ready for some quotes?
From California, Sheriff Adam Christianson of Stanislaus County writes, “I refuse to take firearms from law abiding citizens and will not turn law-abiding citizens into criminals by enforcing useless gun control legislation.”
From Florida, Martin County Sheriff Bill Snyder says, “Local law enforcement authorities are not empowered to enforce Federal law.”
Now if you could get Obama to tell which you which sheriff in the whole country he fears the most, it would have to be the one who rounded up a posse to investigate his claims of a Hawaiian birth. We’ll let Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona have the last word — “Now if they’re going to tell the sheriff that he’s going to go around picking up guns from everybody, they’re going to have a problem.”

A refreshing question & answer.  Awesome stuff:

This was surprising… I didn’t know anything about Mike Huckabee before this, but after watching the initial minute of the video he’s obviously on our side.  The whole reason he had Larry Correia on there was to make gun grabbers look stupid… awesome.
LOL props to Larry for the “Shoulder thing that goes up” reference at 3:47
Assault-Rifle-Because-I-Am-BlackHere is the article Larry Correia wrote, that Huckabee mentioned a couple times.
Like I said earlier, I know nothing about Huckabee, but for a politician he’s pretty damn likable.  I’m sure he’s a kaJillionaire, but he comes across as sincere, down to earth regular guy.
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How to Cure Common Shooting Mistakes

As any new shooter soon discovers, shooting a handgun accurately isn’t nearly as easy as they make it look on TV. Attaining proficiency requires a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of marksmanship coupled with a strong desire to improve. One of the best ways to better your skills is to analyze your targets routinely and listen to what they’re telling you.
Assuming your handgun is properly zeroed, sight alignment issues will show up quickly on target—as in these examples. At far left, proper sight alignment: Top of the front sight even with the top of the rear sight, front post centered in the rear notch.
Of the seven fundamentals of marksmanship, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger control are most critical to handgun accuracy. Sight alignment is the relationship between the handgun’s front and rear sight. Sight picture is simply a matter of superimposing the aligned sights onto the intended target. Trigger control refers to the depression of the trigger to the rear until the shot breaks.
To align your handgun’s sights properly, you must confirm that the top of the front sight is level with the top of the rear sight. This ensures proper elevation, meaning that your aim is neither too high nor too low. Of course, you must also align the sights horizontally.
When your sights are aligned properly, there will be equal distance between the front sight and either side of the rear-sight notch. If there is more of a gap on the right side, the pistol is pointing more to the left than you intend, and rounds will go that way, and vice versa.
Sight alignment becomes more critical as the distance between you and the target increases. Handgunsfield editor Dave Spaulding, founder of Handgun Combatives, and other prominent instructors will tell you that if your sight alignment is off by just 1/16th of an inch at 20 feet, the result will be a 4.5-inch separation between point of impact and your intended target.
How do you know if you’re dealing with sight alignment issues? If, say, your groups at the five-yard line are pretty much on the money, but at 20 yards they’re printing considerably farther left, you may need to work on alignment. However, also have someone else shoot the gun to rule out the possibility of the sights themselves being misaligned. If your zero is off, that too will really start to show up at longer distances.
Trial and Error
Keep in mind this is only one possibility. These results could also be indicative of the gun shifting in your hand as you shoot. Analyzing a target is like diagnosing a problem with a vehicle. A qualified mechanic can narrow the field of potential causes based on the way the vehicle is performing, just as you can eliminate certain shooting errors based where your rounds impact the target, but there is bound to be a degree of trial and error involved in either endeavor.
As with most shooting problems, sight alignment can be improved through dry-fire practice. With an unloaded handgun or a designated training gun, simply punch out the weapon until it intersects your line of sight. Then look for that proper placement of the front sight within the notch of the rear sight.
Rather than merely glimpsing this proper sight alignment, force yourself to stare at it for approximately 30 seconds. This will help imbed the image of proper sight alignment into your mind so that it’s more recognizable for you when you’re on the range or, more importantly, during a personal-defense situation.
Groups scattered? It may be that you lack front-sight focus. The front sight must be the sharpest object in the sight picture for consistent, accurate shot placement.
Achieving a proper sight picture requires nothing more than placing those perfectly aligned sights over your intended target. By combining proper sight alignment and sight picture, you have successfully aimed your handgun. As long as you maintain that proper aim throughout the process of firing your handgun, your point of impact should be very close to your point of aim—and your targets should reflect that.
If your rounds are scattered, the problem could be that you’re focusing more on the target than the front sight. As you can imagine, this is a serious concern when facing an armed assailant in the real world. By default, if you’re focused on the threat, you’re not focused on the front sight of your handgun.
For optimal accuracy, you should be focused intently on the front sight when the trigger is depressed. This means both the target and your rear sight will be slightly blurred. Many shooters are aware of the importance of front-sight focus, but I wonder how many actually focus on the front sight at the exclusion of both the target and the rear sight.
It wasn’t until I had carried a handgun on duty for several years that I truly understood what it meant to obtain that elusive crystal clear image of the front sight. One day at the range, something finally “clicked” and the front sight became more pronounced than ever before. Prior to this revelation, I had merely looked at the front sight when shooting, but I hadn’t focused on it as intently as was necessary to obtain maximum accuracy from my handgun.
In order to hammer home the importance of front sight focus, many instructors encourage their students to look for a tiny imperfection on the front sight and focus on that as opposed to the entire front sight. (You could also use a permanent marker or even nail polish to make a tiny dot on your front sight.) I have used this approach with students to great effect.
Another drill I use is to have a student draw an unloaded firearm and punch out to a two-handed, sighted fire shooting position. From there, the student is instructed to focus intently on the front sight. After approximately 30 seconds, I will have the student bring his or her gun down out of the line of sight. After several repetitions of this drill, most students seem to pick up what took me years to develop: an intense front-sight focus.
A clever drill that I picked up from National Training Concepts owner R.K. Miller is to have the shooter hold a pen and extend his arm out front. The shooter can pick a target in the distance and practice transferring his or her gaze from the tip of the pen to the target and back again. This trains the shooter’s eye to transition between the front sight and the target. It’s important to remind the shooter that when the shot breaks the focus should be on the tip of the front sight or, in this case, the tip of the pen.
Not even perfect sight alignment and sight picture can compensate for a lack of trigger control. In fact, trigger control is often cited as the most common error in shooting a handgun.
The act of manipulating the trigger has many names. Since the index finger contracts during this process, many naturally refer to trigger manipulation as “trigger pull.” However, some instructors prefer the term “trigger press” because it denotes a more precise movement. Still others use “trigger squeeze” to describe trigger manipulation because they feel the word squeeze accurately conveys the gradual pressure that should be applied to the trigger when firing.
No matter what you call it, trigger control is hugely important. Most instructors agree it’s critical that the rearward movement of your index finger be smooth and steady as it moves straight back to fire the pistol. Two of the most common trigger control problems are to anticipate the gun’s recoil—jerking the trigger—and failing to move the trigger finger independently of the rest of the hand.
Anticipating recoil tends to result in a right-handed shooter’s rounds impacting low on the target. This phenomenon is readily apparent when you engage in dry-fire practice using a pistol equipped with a laser. If, as a right-handed shooter, you jerk the trigger, the laser will slice downward and likely to the left, showing you where your live rounds would have impacted.
Failing to move the trigger finger independently is less predictable because the point of impact is dependent on the movement of the shooter’s hand when the trigger is activated. For instance if a right-handed shooter rotates his thumb clockwise during the trigger press, his rounds are likely to impact to the right. This error is often referred to as “thumbing.”
If your gun is the right size for your hand, you should be able to comfortably place the pad of your index finger on the trigger while maintaining a proper shooting grip with the bore in line with your forearm.
If your trigger manipulation isn’t spot-on, all the sight alignment in the world can’t save you. Shown are some common trigger errors and where they might be sending your bullets.
Too much finger on the trigger is likely to result in “snatching” the trigger, which will send a right-handed shooter’s rounds to the right of his or her point of aim. This occurs because the distal joint bending reflexively causes the hand and muzzle to rotate clockwise.
Too little finger on the trigger is known as “pushing” the trigger because it causes the trigger finger to push the trigger back and to the left as opposed to straight back, resulting in rounds impacting near the nine o’clock position.
Another error associated with trigger control is “heeling,” in which the shooter exerts excessive forward pressure with the heel of the hand as the weapon is fired. This will likely result in a shot group near the 12 o’clock position.
Of course, this pattern could also be the result of an improper sight alignment, where the front sight protrudes above the rear sight. Again, target diagnosis, while extremely beneficial in narrowing down the field of potential shooting errors, is not an exact science.
Trigger Reset
While the focus of this article has been on one-shot accuracy, it’s important to consider that trigger control also deals with “resetting” the trigger from shot to shot. Resetting the trigger refers to the technique of releasing the trigger only as far as necessary for the handgun to be fired again. With most pistols there is both an audible “click” and a very slight forward thrust of the trigger against your finger as it resets.
The obvious advantage to controlling trigger reset is that it affords the shooter a shorter length of pull, which minimizes the time you need to maintain proper aim, and it reduces the distance your index finger travels when activating the trigger.
How can you tell if your trigger reset skills are lacking? Aside from being able to feel that you’re not controlling the trigger, your groups will tend to widen. But there’s no way to predict where your rounds will impact because it depends on the manner in which the gun moves as you press the trigger.
As you might expect, there are myriad drills designed to improve trigger control. One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve trigger control is simply to dry fire. To really enhance your trigger control through dry fire, press the trigger rearward as far as possible without allowing the hammer to fall, then release. Moving the trigger finger back and forth in this manner, taking it to the very brink of the simulated shot breaking can really enhance your feel for the trigger of your particular handgun.
There are several ways to enhance trigger control. One good exercise is the penny drill. You should be able to dry fire a handgun with a penny on the front sight and not have the penny fall off.
Just as a pen can be used to replicate a front sight when honing your proper sight picture, a retractable pen can be used to practice trigger press and trigger reset. Simply hold the pen in your hand so the retractable button is facing away from you, as though it were the trigger of your handgun. Place the pad of your index finger on the button then slowly and smoothly press the button until it clicks, without moving any other portion of your hand.
This motion simulates pressing the trigger to the rear until the shot breaks. Retract the tip slightly then allow it to move forward until it clicks to replicate trigger reset.
Another simple and effective drill to facilitate trigger control is called the “penny drill.” Place a penny on the front sight of your unloaded handgun, then obtain proper sight alignment and sight picture. Apply steady rearward pressure to the trigger until the simulated shot breaks. If the penny is still atop your front sight, you’re as good as gold—or at least copper.

This article was originally posted by Richard Nance  Read more:

Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, shows Tracy Lewis how to load a magazine for her handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, shows Tracy Lewis how to load a magazine for her handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Dr. John Belardo loads a magazine for his handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Dr. John Belardo loads a magazine for his handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City.
Participants check their targets after firing their handguns on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Participants check their targets after firing their handguns on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, teaches about the stance to use when firing a handgun during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, teaches about the stance to use when firing a handgun during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Tracy Lewis takes aim on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Tracy Lewis takes aim on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Donna Creed fires her handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Donna Creed fires her handgun on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Participants fire their handguns on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Participants fire their handguns on a gun range during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, teaches about using the sites on a handgun during a concealed-carry class at H&H Gun Range and Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Will Andrews, training coordinator at H&H, teaches about using the sites on a handgun during a concealed-carry class at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.

Hundreds of people showed up Saturday morning for a gun buyback in Seattle.
One man even brought a rocket launcher. He said it had already been used and could not do any harm. Mason Vranish said he bought it from a man for $100, but within seconds police took it off his hands.
“Their reason was even though it was single time use item it is still military property concern that a soldier had stolen it from the base or whatever and it wasn’t theirs to own… so it somehow ended up in the civilian market illegally,” said Vranish.
Officers gave Vranish a gift card and said they will investigate and will let him know if he can have it back
The event was supposed to go until 3 p.m., but the even drew such a big crowd, police wrapped up by noon.
Police said in the first two hours, more than 160 guns were turned in and $35,000 in gift cards were handed out.
But some people were not turning guns in, rather they were offering cash to people who brought guns to the buyback. Some even offered free doughnuts as they attempted to buy guns on the street.
The buyback program is part of the effort Seattle and King County leaders are making reduce gun violence. Seattle hadn’t paid people for their guns since the 1990s.
No ballistics tests were to be conducted on the weapons, but the department planned to check to see if the guns were stolen and return those to the owners.
The program is funded by donations from Amazon of $30,000, the Seattle Police Foundation of $25,000, and local businesses including Pemco totaling more than $118,000.
Handguns, rifles and shotguns were worth a $100 gift card. Guns classified as assault weapons were worth $200.
Guns classified as assault weapons were worth $200 (more details on the SPD blotter). Participants also could turn in unwanted ammunition and fireworks.
Amazon kicked in $30,000 to start the program announced Tuesday by Mayor Mike McGinn and other city leaders to reduce firearms in the community.
The guns become property of the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Police Department reports the guns will be used as rebar in local construction projects.
@linda_beecher @king5seattle As of now, guns will become rebar for use in any of the construction projects (Sonics arena) in our area. sw
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) January 25, 2013