Smaller caliber guns aren’t necessarily just for newer shooters. If you want to become an expert, practice with a light-kicking gun might be just the ticket.
The classic example is a .410 shotgun. Folks assume that since the .410 is small, light, and shoots a low recoil round, then it must be great for new shooters. With some exceptions, I think the opposite is true. The .410 is really an expert’s gun. If you see someone slinging a Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon on the skeet range, chances are they know what they’re doing. It’s hard to bust a moving clay target with a small shot charge. But if you can, then repeating the action with a 12 gauge will seem as easy as hitting water with a boat.
There’s a similar scenario with .22LR handguns. While it’s not harder to hit a target with a .22, I think a .22 pistol is just as appropriate for an advanced shooter as a beginner.
If you want to become an expert shooter, you need to master trigger press. Perhaps the best way to build outstanding trigger press skills is through daily dry fire practice, like the drills we explain in the Trigger Pull Drill article. Yet most new shooters are going to get bored with dry fire. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always encourage lots of dry fire practice, as part of your handgun training. The best professional shooters in the world practice dry fire drills every day. But let’s face it. New shooters want to shoot! So let’s skip the dry fire stuff for now and talk about ways to become a better shooter while actually shooting.