Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shooting Relaxed Is Shooting Well

Earlier this week we made a late afternoon trip to the range and it turned out to be an exceptionally rewarding bit of shooting. It's a bit cliché to say perhaps, but some days things "just come together." We set up the Pincus-designed target that is shown here, with the center body and head areas, two lower squares, and the six small colored dots.

Almost all of our shooting this day was done while moving forward and backward from the target. Since I was shooting with two 1911 fans, I left 10 rounds out of my mags so we'd all have the same number of shots as we moved together. :-)  We started at about the 10 yard line and shot at a steady pace as we advanced, and then retreated still shooting. Reloading was generally done when you changed directions, although depending on your shot pace, reloading might happen anywhere. We started out alternating between the body and head areas. The two different sized areas required adjustments to the pace as we transitioned between aim points. We then moved to alternating between the two lower 8" squares, when the pace was steady and a bit faster. The fun, and exciting part came as we moved to shooting the 3" color circles, either keeping all shots on one circle, or alternating between two different ones.

This is where I realized that things seemed to be just coming together. We all have good days, and bad days, at the range. This day was exceptional. I concentrated on my body movement, I saw the sights, I made the shots. Despite shooting on the move and at a pretty good pace, getting 8 shots off in each direction, I was hitting my point of aim whether large or small. Sure there were a few flyers, but after 150 rounds, I had a pretty impressive looking target. I finished my practice session by moving up to the about 6 foot line and doing a variation of the Bill Drill, firing off 8 shots as fast as I could, all hitting within the 3" circle as intended.

So what's the lesson here? It is certainly not that I am any sort of expert, or even consistent, shooter. Several times during the exercises I lamented, "I wish I could shoot like this in a match!" And that is where the lesson comes in. It really is all about relaxing and letting the muscle memory and mechanics of shooting take over. It's not a lesson I didn't already know, but one I was reminded of in a striking manner. I was very conscience of not being self-conscience, and of feeling no pressure. I was shooting with my wife and a good friend, both of whom have seen me shoot both well and not so well. It was a relaxing time, we were just there to have fun. It's that total relaxation I need to take with me a match. Granted, the nature of competition adds pressure, and that's why we do it. But I must work on transferring some of that to my shooting in competition. Go there and "just shoot." After all, the point of the competitions is to have fun too.

Any time at the range is a good time, and when I shoot well it's even better. And when I can shoot well and come away with something to put to use later, it's exceptional.

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