With smartphones just about everywhere nowadays, you’ll likely see people snapping photos — maybe even taking some selfies — on the shooting range. As long as safety isn’t compromised in any way, you’ll probably see me getting a few pictures once in a while too. While I am training, I have found that a few pictures now and then can be very beneficial. And while I am instructing, I have discovered that there are a few helpful uses for a few quick pictures, especially when teaching new shooters firearms fundamentals.

Capturing images and videos of your own training sessions and being able to compare times and targets to previous ones to catch deficiencies or areas of improvement is great. But instructors may want to also consider helping newbies on the range by using their phones for a few specific photos. Think about all the new information new shooters are learning … and subsequently forgetting! Even if the students go home with a helpful, full-color textbook packed with images, it can be very beneficial for them to go back and reference photographs of themselves properly and safely using their own firearms.

Picture This: Grip

Let’s get a quick snapshot of grip (pun intended). Getting a proper thumbs-forward grip on a semi-automatic pistol can be a bit tricky, whether someone is brand new to handguns or has potentially developed some incorrect habits over the years. After teaching and demonstrating proper grip, have the student engage in dry-fire practice with his or her own gun (or with whatever training tool or firearm you’re using in class). Make any adjustments to his or her hands and fingers as needed.

Then use the student’s camera to get a picture from both sides, being sure to capture the correct position of the thumb and the outstretched trigger finger as well as the high position of the hand on the backstrap. The student may have his or her own books with photos of grip (and thousands of online videos about grip at his or her disposal), but a shot of his or her own hands in the correct position (on his or her own gun, if possible) makes a huge difference. The student can easily look back and check the picture if he or she forgets or just wants to verify. This way, any dry-fire work at home (and hopefully any practice live-fire at the range) has a higher probability of being done correctly!

Stance Fundamentals

You can do the same things to help a student with stance as well. Of course, stance is really just a matter of convenience since we never know what position we’ll be in during a dynamic critical incident. (Sitting? Running? Hiding?) But that doesn’t mean we can’t work on a position that offers balance and control. So, walk the student through the correct steps of a proper shooting stance. And then get a few pictures from each side when he or she has it down. (This can help the student remember what it looks like to engage those shoulders and keep his or her wrists and elbows locked to absorb and manage recoil.)

All in all, getting a few pictures of the “right way” is a great reference tool when new shooters go home … and forget all the details! They can simply look back and mimic those fundamentals again, whether at home or on the range.