Competitive shooting is a type of sport that involves tests of proficiency using various types of firearms and air guns. The different sports are categorized by the type of firearm, target and distance at which the targets are shot. Each discipline has its own set of unique challenges that the athlete must face dozens of times during the match, whether that is a trap shooter having to use quick reflexes to recognize and shoot a clay pigeon or an air rifle shooter having to hit the target the size of a period at 10 meters away. Regardless of the discipline and the challenges each face, there are overlapping fundamentals of shooting that apply equally to each one. One of those fundamentals is Natural Point of Aim.
Natural Point of Aim, or NPA, is a shooting skill where the shooter minimizes the effects of natural body movement on the firearm’s impact point. For an athlete to gain their NPA, they establish their position towards the target(s). Whether this is a target shooter getting into a position or an action shooter forming an athletic stance, the athlete is now facing the general position of the target. Once they are in position, the athlete closes their eyes and lets their body’s natural balance move the barrel of the firearm to the current NPA. If the athlete is not facing the target when they open their eyes, they adjust their position to be centered onto the target and boom, the athlete has minimized the effects the body has on the current shot.
Natural Point of Aim is not achieved if the athlete applies pressure to move the sight picture onto the target. The main concept of the fundamental is to minimize fatigue for long courses of fire to maximize the score that the athlete can shoot. Applying the concept doesn’t automatically increase a person’s score, however overtime, the athlete learns to assume the correct fundamental positions to increase the effectiveness of having the correct NPA.