NATURAL POINT OF AIM (NPA)
aka NATURAL AREA OF AIM (NAA)
Comfort is Key:
Finding your Natural Point/Area of Aim: we want to know where our NAP is because it aids our body and mind to deliver an accurate shot with the knowledge we can do so without the perfect sight picture.
One thing many students fail to realize is that firearms and firing procedures are often designed with the comfort of the shooter in mind. A comfortable shooter is desirable for many reasons, including:
1) Increased accuracy
2) Reduced shooter fatigue
3) Increased desire to practice and maintain proficiency
4) Greater enjoyment in recreational shooting situations
5) Increased likelihood that law-abiding citizens will possess a firearm when needed.
Weight, size, and grip shape & contour should all be considered when selecting a firearm. However, comfort is also important for an effective firing position. A comfortable firing position incorporates the shooter’s Natural Point of Aim (NPA).
According to NRA, the NPA refers to the natural alignment of the shooter and the gun in any position. NPA will vary with the individual shooter. Here’s how to determine your Natural Point of Aim: (Note: Be sure to follow all safety procedures when practicing this or any other skill.)
1) Assume your shooting position, with your eyes open and your gun aimed at the center of a target downrange.
Single Right Handed Foot Stance Two Handed Foot (RH Weaver) This works for the Modified Isosceles Position also.
2) Close your eyes.
3) With your eyes still closed, settle your body into the position that feels most stable and comfortable to you. Take a few natural breaths. Rotate the firearm in a circle. Start On Target …….. then rotate with your eyes closed to the start point.
4) Open your eyes and observe where the gun’s sights are pointed to in relation to your target. (BELOW). Ideally, the sight picture should show the middle of the target –right where it was before you closed your eyes.
One Handed and Two Handed works well.
5) If the sight picture changed between steps one and four, modify some part of your stance (usually pivoting on the rear foot to an alignment position) to achieve the proper sight picture. High and Left ….. pivot on rear foot to change the aim point (above) and repeat the exercise.
6) Repeat this exercise as necessary so your stance is adjusted for the proper natural alignment. Use this same alignment each time you assume your shooting position to take advantage of your NPA.
7) The test. Exercising all safety rules, load one round. Assume your position with eyes open. Close eyes, rotate your firearm and arm, open eyes and verify sight alignment, close eyes, rotate, take a shot. Repeat until you are comfortable with the NAP.
One shot at a time. When comfortable, use multiple shots.
Most likely, your NPA will also be your most comfortable shooting position, as it is essentially your body’s natural alignment when in that position. A shooting position that is not comfortable will reduce consistency of shot placement, increase fatigue, and reduce enjoyment of the shooting sports. At HGR Firearms, your instructor will work one-on-one with you to establish the most comfortable and effective shooting position for you.
CREDITS and Your Instructors:
Len Assante, HGR Instructor (Primary Author of this article)
Greg Knox, HGR Instructor, NRA Training Counselor (Photographer, Editing)
NRA Basic Pistol Manual
NRA Personal Protection In the Home
NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home