At some unknown point in time, an instructor stepped before a group of men and began to speak about the management of a curious artifact known as a pistol. It may have been a Texan speaking to a company of Rangers who had just received their new Patersons. Or maybe it was later or even much earlier—I don't know, because I wasn't there. But I do remember with crystal clarity the voice of my late father as I stood before a target and lifted a loaded Colt pistol for the first time. His message stays with me to this day: "There's not a reason in the world to shoot unless you intend to hit. You hit when you line up the sights."
...The basic message remains the same—stick to the principles, apply them to the situation. I must note that many books and manuals on the subject do exist, just as there are hundreds of good instructors doing their work for the uninitiated. The message from the good ones is pretty much the same, but the principles might sometimes be organized and/or taught differently. I believe there are five principles: Grip, Stance, Aiming, Trigger Management and Follow-Through. They are the "ABCs of Handgun Marksmanship." They should be viewed not as five principles, but rather as five steps on a stairway to success. See them as a linked chain of controlled and codependent events that produce on-target hits....
I've downloaded and printed the full article and if you're a shooter, I'd highly recommend it. I'll use it personally as well as incorporate at least brief elements of it in my future pistols classes as an NRA basic pistol instructor and N.C. concealed carry instructor.
Clapp's introduction reminds me how fortunate I was to have a father who taught his sons how to shoot pistols, rifles and shotguns. It wasn't a formal education, but it was a good one, mostly in applying the basic lessons from the back yard into hunting. Nothing teaches you patience and the necessity of making the first shot count than still hunting squirrels with a .22 rifle.
I wrote about a few of those Lessons Learned With A Gun a while back on my personal site.