Monday, July 25, 2016

Shooting Zen

     You know why I work to shoot well?  So I won't have to.  --Not exactly true, but  the better you shoot, the more likely you are to want to avoid having to shoot someone.  If you want highfalutin' self-defense philosophizing, there you are.

     Tam posted a video recently of some goofy "tactical training" for beginning shooters, complete with quickdraw exercises and a shooting posture that involved getting up on tiptoe.  Meanwhile, many of the novice shooters were leaning back, holding the firearm loosely or without enough hand wrapped around the grip, and making similar uncorrected mistakes.  But the beginners sure had the jerky faux tai chi moves down cold!

     Don't be like them.  At the very beginning, you will be sitting at a table, with the instructor pointing at drawings and/or handing around a plastic model, explaining the controls and operating function; later, you will practice loading and unloading with inert plastic "cartridges."  Learn these basics!  You may find it dull but it is background you must have.

     Eventually, you'll go out on the range to actually shoot.  It's not really that hard.  Keep the muzzle pointed downrange and concentrate, again, on basics.
Fifty rounds of .22 at 21 feet from a Ruger Mk. III with a Millet red dot sight. Four or five in the ten ring.  All the rest in the X ring.  If you have fair eysight and motor control, you can do this -- probably better.
     Plant your feet, fairly wide but comfortably.  Bend your knees -- and lean forward.  Not so far you go off balance, but you're basically hurling pebbles very, very fast, so lean into it, for pity's sake!  Get a good hold with both hands wrapped around the grip, not some of the silly holds you see on TV.  You can look this up online but your dominant hand grabs the grip, your other hand grabs from the other side and wraps the gun and the first hand.  Both thumbs end up on the side away from your trigger finger.  If there's any grip showing between your hands, that's probably a sign you haven't quite got it.

     Getting your grip and stance right is the instructor's job. Keeping you mindful of safety is the instructor's job too.   Close-order dance drill with blue plastic guns?  Not so much.  It looks kewl on YouTube but you know what looks better?  This.
This target was shot 54 times from 21 feet away using an H&R "Sportsman" top-break, double-action revolver and iron sights.  The trigger pull is long and not silky-smooth; the sights are just plain flat black.  It's not as close a grouping as the one above -- there's even one in the 9 ring! -- but it's a lot more challenging a gun to shoot accurately.  This is not supergood shooting: it's adequate shooting.
     Pay attention, know the basics, practice, and you'll be able to do this years quicker than I did.  I started out with very little good instruction and it took time to unlearn what I'd got wrong.  Don't do that -- and look out for fast-talkers selling "gunjitsu" and their very own sooper-special holsters and Secret Techniques.  There are only two secrets: fully grokking the basics and practice, practice, practice.

     Oh, and as for "gun-fu?"  Those targets were shot at a rate of about one round per second.  Do that, consistently, and you can start thinking about draw speed and/or the "action" type shooting competitions.  (I figure if I can get my centerfire skills back to this level, I might be able to shoot bowling pin competitions again.) Just get a solid grasp of the basics first.  Don't be sold a fancy bill of goods.

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