Shooting Analysis

Have I Been Going About This All Wrong?

Today I went back and reviewed my range reports from the start of this blog. Two things are standing out to me.

1. I took far too long to start using some kind of measurable system to track progress. Most of my initial range trips were using basic targets that could only tell me if I was hitting the target or not.

2. I have made only small incremental improvements in the last several sessions since participating in the Appleseed shoot.

My last several trips have generally followed the same format: confirm zero, and then proceed to fire five shots from each position one time (maybe twice). In short, I think this is limiting my improvement. These sessions more resemble “checks” of a skill rather than focused improvement of that skill.

My wife is a professional classical musician by trade. She has often told me how many times in her training that she found herself practicing the same scales over and over again, thousands of time each during the course of her career. She often tells me about how boring that can be, but it is required in order to develop the raw motor skills. She also complains about how her students would often rather not put in that time, preferring instead to just go play. But, without that focused practice and repetition, they will never play as well as they potentially good.

I fear I’ve been doing the same thing.

Perhaps, rather than practicing each position once or twice per sessions for a measly five or ten shots, I need to spend entire sessions on each. Improvement requires focused practice.

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5 thoughts on “Have I Been Going About This All Wrong?”

  1. Agreed. And take detailed notes of your performance, problems, and solutions (one thing I’ve never done, but I have a near-photographic memory of my range sessions).

    1. I’ve taken notes in the past, but I think I got away from it because I guess I didn’t really know what I should be recording. I started off with time and weather, and then added any adjustments I had to make. But not much beyond that. Eventually I just took pictures for myself.

      I do have a very nice log book that I don’t use, it might be worth considering.

      1. Be aware of, and try to record, things like the following:

        Exactly how you built your position;
        Exactly how you used your sling – where on your arm and how tight;
        Exactly how well you got your NPOA on target;
        How relaxed vs. tense you were, and in what muscles, and why;
        How big your wobble zone is;
        The state of your breathing (slow, fast, deep, shallow);
        How your trigger action felt (forced vs. easy, quick vs. slow);
        How well your trigger action was coordinated with your breathing;
        If you saw your sight lift in recoil;
        If you saw your sight recover from recoil;
        Where the sight recovered to rest vs. your desired aiming point;
        If your eye stayed focused on the front sight throughout this entire cycle;
        If your mind was relaxed and focused on only the minimum actions required to fire the shot;
        If you had other mental or physical distractions during the act of firing the shot.

        Try to track all of this, every shot. The devil is in these details.

        Good shooting,
        Pete

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