Zeroing Basics

There are four important factors that will decide if your zeroing mission will be successful or not. 1) Utilize the correct target. Shooting at the correct target and not a target belonging to another lane is the first obvious step, but as an Instructor I have seen it happen. I am also referring to specific zeroing targets for different guns and optics. Make sure you are using the correct target for your task. An example is the M-4 5.56 mm Eotech zeroing target I have used for years. 

2) Apply good basic rifle marksmanship (BRM). Undisciplined shooting, or just going through the motions, is what I call “blanking” or just exercise for the trigger finger. The lack of dedication and good basic marksmanship skills will lead to a frustrating zeroing session. It is not uncommon to see a shooter who has used up far too much of their ammunition for the day and could not zero. The number of rounds fired per group can also be a common cause for an inaccurate zero. If 5 shot groups are used instead of a 3 shot group there will be more proof if there is consistency. This is because if you get 4 in a group and 1 flier, that’s better than 2 in a group and 1 flier. It costs 2 more bullets however provides more definitive proof if the rifle is getting zeroed.

3) Take into account barrel length, type of bullet, length of bullet, temperatures

outside, and velocity. One size does not fit all. Some of the targets I’ve worked up are as generic as you can get for the typical length barrels. For example, a 20-inch SDM (Squad Designated Marksman) or SBR (Short Barrel Rifle) barrel or the 16-inch civilian AR-15 or  M-16 with a 20-inch barrel.  

4) Test out the farther zero to confirm there is a good zero. Most shooting ranges end at 50 meters. If a shooter hits a target at 50 meters with a rifle it is not impressive at all. The shooter needs to stretch the gun out past a normal engagement distance to have confidence in the zeroing process and the optic.Check your close zero with your far zero as then you can fine tune it as it will show more at that distance. 

I hope that through this sharing of information more shooters will realize how important zeroing is for their rifle. If you follow the above tips you will be successful and if you need assistance, please let me know. Need some targets? Check out or with these direct links to the Vigilant Security Services store.  Remember if you  shoot make sure you do it accurately, otherwise you’re just kind of burning powder, hit the like, hit the subscribe, notification bell, all that jazz, if you want more content like this. Have a good day.