Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On Breaking the Shot.

Shooting airgun has allowed me to really bone up on shot calling, and I'm starting to see a good shot as the product of two interconnected processes: technique and targeting. Bear with me if this seems really obvious.

The former is the 'gun-shooter interface;' grip, stance, hold, sight alignment and focus, and (most critically) trigger pull. If these fundamentals are performed correctly, the shot will go where the aim-point is; let's assume the sights are properly regulated/adjusted for a given load.

The latter is aligning the aim-point with where you want the projectile to go on the target. At 6m with an air rifle, this is a point-and-shoot deal; presumably, at range with a rifle one will get into the nuts and bolts of wind, atmospheric effects, etc.

Essentially, if you get the technique right, you should be able to tell where the bullet goes if you're watching the front sight. This is 'calling the shot,' what Brian Enos considers the single most important skill to master for high-speed pistol shooting, or indeed any high-level shooting. Other than total confidence with your gun-shooter 'weapons system,' knowing where the bullets are landing before they hit means you can, for instance, pick up missed shots the moment you let off the meandering round, with the only delay your perceptual response.

Thus, with correct technique, even incorrectly targeted rounds are 'half credit.' Knowing is half the battle, indeed. I personally am at least somewhat satisfied with a flier if I can call the flier. Still aggravating as hell to open up that nice, happy 1cm group, but at least I have a feedback loop going.

Much more frustrating is a bad shot, where the technique didn't happen. Sometimes you can feel it, other times you read the target and it doesn't conform to what the sights said. Even if the round wiggles its way into the bullseye, it didn't really deserve to be there, so I don't like to count it as a 'hit.' In fact, if I have a tight, slightly off center group where I could account for every round, I consider that ideal.

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