I’ve been involved in shooting in some way or another since I was 14. I purchased my first weapons in 2006 (a Springfield 1911 and an M1A), and rapidly fell into the trap that many firearm enthusiasts fall into: gear hoarding. Instead of practicing with what I owned, I just continued to buy more “stuff.”
In 2011, while serving as an officer in the Air Force, I began competing small local competitions with pistols and carbines. I progressed well with that style of shooting, but never to what I would consider an “expert” level. By 2012, I eventually got bored of targets placed between 7 and 25 meters and expanded my practice to 600 yards and beyond. However, my desire to buy more “stuff” conflicted with buying enough quality ammunition to actually go out and effectively practice. I was perpetually unhappy with my equipment, thinking that I would do so much better if only I could get my hands on a new scope, or got some work done to my rifle.
Late in 2013, a loss at an informal shooting match with a fellow officer forced me to accept that I was the weak link in my shooting. I was simply unhappy with my marksmanship skill. I believed that living in fairly remote areas and dealing with my military schedule led me to believe there wasn’t any way to improve. That ended one day when I read a post on Shawn’s blog at Loose Rounds that changed my perspective. In the linked article, a highly skilled shooter takes a rack grade M16A2 rifle with M855 green tip ammunition and makes successful hits at 1000 yards with iron sights- a feat I would have deemed impossible based on “knowledge” gleaned from internet message boards and chit chat at the range. This feat proved to me that equipment was not the final answer. A great shooter is a great shooter, regardless of the tool they use.
With that in mind, I set goals for myself that would both help me develop stronger personal discipline, and also help me in the future should the time come for me to pick up a rifle and use it in conflict. I came across others, such as The Art of the Rifle, The New Rifleman, Firearms User Network, and many more with similar pursuits and read them extensively. I purchased books, DVDs, and read message boards. But it was all heavy on reading and light on application.
This blog serves a record of my journey from firearm enthusiast to skilled marksman. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I’ve enjoyed experiencing it.