Feb 25, 2009

Measuring Shooting Skill

One of the great problems in the shooting world, even worse then the lack of marksmanship skill, is the inability to understand what "good" is.

As proven in scholarly study and reported here (see "Unskilled and Unaware") gun owners who fail to attend organized shooting events often have no idea. An example.

#>Plinker<# The most outstanding gunner I know is fantastic with anything that goes bang.

Define "fantastic." Fantastic compared to what? In all of his plays, one of my favorite Shakespeare-ism is, "Nothing is good or bad. It's thethinking that makes it so."

Saying someone is "good" is subjective. Instead, we should define our basis of what good performance is. If we're talking field shooting and someone can, for example, start in Standard Ready and consistently hit a 8 inch plate at 100 yards with a scoped, factory .308 hunting rifle in 4 seconds from the Squat position, we have what we need. Is this "good"? To someonewho could do it in 3 seconds, no. To someone who can't beat 5, yes.

I don't mean to knock your friend, who may be a truly brilliant marksman, but at this point all we know his skills are superior to your personal circle of experience. We don't even know what your personal circle of
experience entails.

#>Plinker<# Not only does he not have a "proven record in competition", he won't even shoot at a controlled range where someone else gets to dictate the what, when, or how of shooting.

Awful convenient. If I told you I'm "really strong", but wouldn't tell you how much I could bench press or squat, and I wouldn't be caught dead in a gym, what would you think?


Gotta love our public education system, eh? But consider the difference between earning a diploma and the competitive shooter.

The scholar doesn't have to compete with their peers. Everyone in the class can earn an 'A' on their tests and graduate. At a match only one person wins. You can't merely 'pass', you must surpass. The second place (or
third, or even tenth) place finisher could be a brilliant shot, but they still don't take home the trophy.

If this person wins a series of important events within a given discipline against all comers it shows true knowledge. If your interests involve skills used in that discipline, it should be obvious whose advise you should seek.

Feb 11, 2009

Women and Shooting

The "manly" art of marksmanship. Ha!

Firearms are very democratic and anybody who will put the correct effort in can learn to shoot. Sports where women and men can't compete as equals are inherently flawed. If a small statured person is automatically at a disadvantage, regardless of skill, then what's the point? You aren't testing skill.

Chest-pounding tests of strength made sense before the dawn of the Industrial revolution, but are ancient throwbacks today. How many jobs today require excessive physical prowess?

Even the military is more concerned with physical endurance, not raw strength. The Schwarzenegger/Rambo movie image of the Special Forces soldier is myth. What is needed is an understanding of good team work, effective tactics, technology and the skill to use it, and enough endurance to keep going.

Marksmanship is like that.

Now, ladies, my question to you is why aren't more of you participating and winning? Nothing scares away ignorant Bubba-types faster than knowledgeable and skilled female shooters.

Feb 4, 2009

Buying a New Gun for Target Shooting

"I am a beginner at shooting. I would like some suggestions on what gun to get for target shooting."

This question has been asked and answered so many times I'm convinced that new and casual gun owners are allergic to Google. More disturbing are the answers that the self-proclaimed "experienced" gun owners reply with.

This very question is absurd because it is incomplete. The phrase "target shooting" is nebulous. It is impossible for a knowledgeable person to intelligently answer without more info, and that is what makes the flippant, non-answers disturbing.

There are 10 unique disciplines (15 total medal events for men and women) for shooting in the Olympics and various International organizations recognize many more. The NRA has a dozen separate disciplines officially recognized by Classification and there over a dozen other organization formally recognizing other disciplines as well.

You want a firearm for "target shooting?" That is like walking into a sporting goods store and inquiring about which ball to buy because you are interested in playing "a sport."