Becoming a better shooter isn’t going to just happen because I want it to. It will require focused practice, study, and lots of ammunition. All of which are meaningless without a direction. Goals must be specific, challenging, and achievable. I’ve always been a particular fan of Lanny Bassham’s work in his book, With Winning in Mind, and he lays out an amazing system for setting and achieving goals. Rather than writing about that here, I will just say that the book significantly changed how I approach nearly everything in my life and you should check it out.
Goals are a fluid thing, I expect them to shift and change over time. I also expect to add intermediate goals along the way to achieving the main goals. But until I really begin the focused practice, these are where I’m starting.
By December 31, 2014
- In fewer than seven seconds, regardless of weather or terrain conditions, place a first round hit on a stationary eight-inch target at any range up to 200 meters from any unsupported field position using a rifle equipped with iron sights or telescopic sight and a rifle sling.
- In fewer than five seconds, regardless of weather or terrain conditions, place a first round hit on a stationary six-inch target up to 300 meters away from any supported position in any weather condition using a rifle equipped with a telescopic sight.
- Win at least two of the monthly rifle competitions held at my local gun club
Obviously, these are specific and outline exactly what I am trying to achieve in the next year. If I can achieve these, then the benefits will extend into several areas of my life, not least of which is my military career. Frankly, these overarching goals may be too ambitious. If they turn out to be far beyond what I can achieve this year, then they can be slipped to next year and intermediate goals can be substituted for this year. These goals represent my target for long-term achievement.
The third goal is more for my own edification. There is nothing like friendly competition to push one to drive their skills up.
Now, as for the plan, I need to budget one day per week as a “range day.” The monthly rifle matches at my club are held on the second Sunday of each month, so I would imagine that is a good place to start the cycle. For those range trips, I need to keep them relatively short and focused on one or two skills at a time. I plan on doing ten dry fires for every actual cartridge expended while at the range.
I also need to dedicate time at home for dry fire practice. I plan on doing thirty minutes for three days per week. What time and what days are schedule dependent, as I work random hours. If this proves unworkable, then I will find another way to get in dry fire time.
Things that could hinder me in accomplishing my goals include the price and availability of quality ammunition, other scheduled events, and distractions. I realize that I am going to be hard pressed to achieve the accuracy goals I have laid out if I am shooting ammunition with a MOA spread wider than the target. My plan around this is a combination of my dry fire to live fire ratio and making regular orders of ammunition every two weeks from a consistent supplier. Regular match grade ammunition is not sold in any store near where I live in California, so mail order it is.
With other events and distractions, my wife has put together a monetary incentive. For every practice session I miss, I must put money from my personal funds into a neutral account to be spent in a manner of her choosing. It might be a charity, but could also be a new purse or dinner out. It’s her choice.
As I write this, I’m already thinking about the measurement tools I plan on using for my performance. I will likely have to update the goals in the future to include these shooting measures.