Jeff Edmonds photo

“We are going to start with a diagnostic test on an NRA 25-yard pistol target. Go to the 25-yard line. Ten rounds. No time limit.” I drew my Salient Arms M&P 9mm up to eye level and told myself over and over “smooth trigger control.” Once I thought I was lined up, BANG, the M&P went off and cycled the next round. I brought it down to combat-ready and settled in for my next shot.

What an eye-opener! There was no warm-up allowed at the 7-yard line or even closer. This was it, the ultimate test in pistol marksmanship skills. After this first challenge and seeing my results, J.D. Potynsky, founder of Northern Red, gathered us around to give us the reasoning behind this test. He told us that at the 25-yard line, handgun shooting relies heavily on the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. One thing he said to me after the diagnostic that really caught my attention and made sense: “Everyone is a rock star at the 10-yard line.”

Northern Red’s training paradigm is all about restructuring the fundamentals. When shooting carbines, place your support hand farther down the forend for greater control. Jeff Edmonds photo

What I gathered from J.D. so far was that solidly understanding and executing the fundamentals of marksmanship is the cornerstone of becoming a proficient shooter. At the 7- and even the 10-yard line, a shooter can poorly execute the fundamentals and still get hits on target. At the 25-yard line, there is no forgiveness. Still, I had to ask myself why we were here, working at the 25-yard line, when most handgun engagements are statistically at 5 yards and closer.

Students practice firing from a low-profile prone position. Using a solid and stable rest position can make for more effective shots at targets located at longer ranges. Jeff Edmonds photo

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Jeff Edmonds photo “We are going to start with a diagnostic test on an…