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NRA Firearm Training Tip: Shooting Controlled Pairs

NRA Firearm Training Tip: Shooting Controlled Pairs

In today’s tip, we are going to go over how to successfully shoot a controlled pair. First, the definition of a controlled pair is two individual shots fired in rapid succession with two individual sight pictures. Some will try to shoot two shots with one sight picture. Although this can be done successfully with a carbine or rifle, we do not advocate this for the pistol as the second shot usually goes wild.

The key to shooting a fast and accurate controlled pair is in the tracking of the front sight. When the pistol recoils, the front sight lifts out of the rear notch. Keep your eyes on the front sight all the way through the recoil cycle. As the sight settles make any necessary adjustments and fire the second shot.

A simple but effective drill is to place an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper at 7 yards. (I prefer to use white paper because it makes the sights stand out.) From a low ready or from the holster, present the gun and fire two shots using the method described above. Repeat until you feel comfortable at 7 yards then back it up to 10 then 15 yards. You will find that the speed of your shooting is determined not by how far away the target is but by how fast you can see the sights.


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