There’s nothing quite like the thrill of shooting while moving. You need to be extra fast, accurate, and safe when either you or your target are moving so this requires a higher level of skill than shooting from a still position to a still target. Before you take your firearm out for a spin in the jeep or up in a helicopter, there are a few skills you need to build first.
This one is pretty self-explanatory—after all, the whole point of shooting is to hit your target, right? When you’re shooting from a moving position such as a helicopter, accuracy is even more important because your calculations will vary and you only have one shot. If you miss, that’s it—you’re out of luck. Your target is gone, or has at least moved quickly to another position. This can result in cyclical attempts to set up your shot too late, missing your target again and again, and from a different position each time. So, how do you improve your accuracy? The best way is to practice, practice, practice. Practicing at the shooting range is a great way to get in some quality trigger time and hone your skills.
When you’re shooting from a helicopter, stability is key. You need to be able to hold your firearm steady so that you can take an accurate shot. One way to improve your stability is to invest in a good set of shooting gloves. They’ll help you keep a firm grip on your gun, even when the wind is whipping around you. Another way to improve your stability is to practice shooting while standing on one leg. It sounds strange, but it’s actually a great way to build the muscles you need for stability.
Breath control is another important factor in shooting accuracy. When you hold your breath while shooting, your heart rate increases and your body starts to shake—not exactly ideal conditions for taking a shot, even from a still position. The best way to control your breath is to take slow, deep breaths and exhale slowly as you squeeze the trigger.
Trigger control might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the most important skills to master when shooting from a helicopter (or anywhere else, for that matter). Why? Because if you don’t have good trigger control, there’s a good chance you’ll miss your target—and missing and trying again and again isn’t an option when you’re shooting from a helicopter. So how do you develop good trigger control? The best way is through dry fire drills—that is, practicing pulling the trigger without any ammunition in the gun. This will help you get used to the feel of the trigger so that when it comes time to shoot for real, you won’t flinch or jerk the gun when you pull the trigger. Remember never to point the firearm at anyone else, even if it isn’t loaded.
Last but not least is follow-through—meaning, keeping your sights on the target even after you’ve pulled the trigger and fired off your shot. This might seem like common sense, but it’s actually really easy to lose focus after taking a shot (especially if it’s your first time shooting while moving). So make sure you stay focused and keep those sights on target until the bullet has left the barrel and hit its mark.
Shooting from a helicopter is an exhilarating experience—and may not be as easy as it looks. Before you attempt it, make sure you’ve practiced these five essential skills: accuracy, stability, breath control, trigger control, and follow-through. With these under your belt, you’ll be ready to take on anything (or anyone) that comes your way in the air!