Shooting is one of those skills that doesn’t get better if you don’t practice it. You might be OK to take a deer or elk home from the woods with just a little bit of practice before the season starts each year, but to really keep your shooting sharp, you need to practice all year long.
But if you don’t have something to shoot for, pardon the pun, it’s hard to keep yourself interested in dragging yourself and all your gear out to the range a couple times a month, let alone a few times each week. But if you start shooting competitively, you’ll have more reason to stay in practice.
There are a lot of competitions out there for shooting. There are three-gun matches, cowboy action shooting, trap and skeet leagues, and many others. Any of that is great for keeping your skills sharp. But the Civilian Marksmanship Program might be the best for working on the fundamentals of shooting. And it’s free to join, though the matches will require an entry fee.
Just do an internet search for Civilian Marksmanship Program, and you can register yourself to get a CMP number. That number tracks you through all the CMP matches, and they’ll keep track of your progress and send you awards for various levels you achieve. They have air rifle and air pistol, smallbore and even military matches you can compete in. They all help you with the fundamentals that are common to all types of shooting, from hunting to personal defense. And the more you practice for those matches, the better you’ll be when hunting season comes around again.
And the bragging rights and the sense of accomplishment it gives you to improve your shooting don’t hurt, either. Get involved in some shooting competitions, and get to practicing.