Marksmanship is divided into three components - Precision, Accuracy and Consistency.
Precision is what a rifle system is capable of holding or grouping.
Precision will be based on the following categories:
- Quality of equipment (components, design, manufacture of build)
- Quality of ammunition
- Care and maintenance
Accuracy is how well your rifle system and you can adjust the point of impact into the point of aim. A shooter can shoot a sub MOA group, however if it is not centered on the point of aim then they have not achieved Accuracy.
Accuracy will be based on the following categories:
- Quality of sight or optics
- Proper calibration of sight or scope travel
- The shooter's understanding of environmental factors and ability for proper sight settings
The third component of marksmanship is consistency. This is YOU! Your confidence in your rifle system and yourself is one aspect many times overlooked or not considered. Confidence comes from familiarity of your equipment, lots of practice and shooting. Consistency has two shooter variables that impact it.
The first shooter variable is how the shooter manipulates or "drives the rifle." This includes:
- Proper shooting position
- Sight alignment
- Sight picture
- Breath control
- Trigger control
- Recoil management
- Follow through
Each of these should be studied and trained until you are consistent with them. Focus on the fundamentals.
Ever heard the saying:
"Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they do not get it wrong?"
The second shooter variable within consistency, and is also part of the accuracy component, is a shooter's ability to read and judge environmental variables and understand how to adjust for it, including:
- Range estimation
- Wind reading and ballistic knowledge
- Lighting conditions
- Atmospheric conditions and their effects
Environmental factors are not an exact science, but rather rely on a shooter's ability to judge and adjust for them. The biggest opportunities for error here are range estimation and improper wind calls. In precision long range and extreme long range shooting, once a firing solution is made, place a disconnect between the two variables of shooter and environmental. As the shooter, send the best round you can down range. If a miss is spotted and a quality correction is given by your spotter, send another as soon as possible before the down range conditions change. If your second round is a hit, you the shooter just sent two quality rounds down range. You just needed to correct for the environmental variable. If you are shooting a match with sighters, then the environmental category becomes more about reading changes in it rather than establishing it in the first place.