The GAP Method

There’s no doubt that when we train with our firearms, we do our best to remember all the fundamentals of shooting (stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger manipulation, breathing and follow-through) in order to be safe, effective and proficient. But I have found that running through all of those details every time can sometimes become distracting, especially if you are trying to shoot quickly.

Fortunately, there is a technique that’s simple and fast … and still touches on the most important elements of good shooting. It’s called the GAP Method, and this helpful little acronym is something you can use to remind yourself what to do when you’re putting rounds downrange.

Just remember that the “G” stands for grip. This is your prompt to get a firm, thumb’s forward grip on your firearm, every time, whether using one hand, both hands, your dominant hand or your non-dominant hand. The “A” in GAP stands for aim. So be sure to think about perfect sight alignment and a perfect sight picture, with your focus on that front sight and the target and rear sights blurry. Finally, the “P” stands for press. This is your reminder to use good trigger management, to press the trigger rearward without causing any additional movement to the gun.

If you can tell yourself these three things as you are getting ready to fire, then you will cover the most important elements of good shooting: getting a correct grip, aiming properly, and smoothly manipulating the trigger.

Give this method a try next time you shoot, especially if you find yourself struggling. Take a few moments to tell yourself: “GRIP, AIM, PRESS.” Say it out loud if you have to! You can even use the words as you are going through the motions. Just tell yourself “Grip” as you are drawing or picking up your handgun; say “Aim” as you are getting on target and lining up your sights; and then remember “Press” as you are moving your finger to the trigger and pressing it rearward to fire the gun.

The GAP Method is an easy and effective reminder of the basics. And hopefully this helpful mantra will enable you to better focus on and improve your shooting skills.