Shooting Calm

rifle-crosshairsShooting is fun, and it’s a big deal. There is an element of danger if you don’t follow the rules and an element of punishment when you are shooting big guns. Some shooters develop nervous habits and play heck trying to overcome them. The biggest shooting problems evolve from nervousness while pulling the trigger or right before. This is often caused by shooting guns bigger than the individual is comfortable with. Using proper breathing techniques to steady the shot can help, but jerking the trigger or being unable to steady up for the shot can often be attributed to nervousness. In order to sight my big game guns efficiently and practice at longer distances I had to work my way through some simple steps.

  1. Shoot often
  2. Shoot smaller guns for fun and accuracy
  3. Make yourself comfortable
  4. Shoot Calm

Shooting often helps to work through trigger panic moments. Familiarity in this case breeds success.

Shooting smaller guns and wing shooting for fun reminds the shooter that pulling the trigger results in a reward not just a punishment. Watching the clay crumble when shooting a twelve gauge is great preparation for big rifle shooting. The kick is similar but the groove of having to shoot while the target is available is totally different. One of my favorite small bore games is racing tin cans with an opponent. The friendly fun requires quick accurate shooting and reinforces that it’s no big deal to pull the trigger.

I used to race out on the weekend before deer season to sight in the rifle. The nearest dirt road and the bed of the truck got lots of use. These days I make it a point to set up right at a range with sandbags and shooting benches. Getting comfortable and having a perfect rest help me relax and shoot every shot on purpose. Consistent results downrange make it much quicker to sight in the rifle and move on to the fun stuff like offhand and distance shooting.

Shooting calm often involves coming up with a method to put yourself into a state of calm. If I’m having trouble settling the crosshairs I often close my eyes and focus elsewhere for a few moments. When I open my eyes I keep the calm state and everything pulls together.

If you are less than happy with your downrange results, taking a moment to withdraw your focus and center yourself will allow you to refocus and center your target.