Jul 27, 2010

Army Formation

Pithy thought of the day:

A military formation is controlled loitering.

Jul 14, 2010

Army Fundamentals of Marksmanship Reference

Army Study Guide is primarily for folks preparing for a promotion and features flash card-type tidbits of army knowledge and trivia to study to look good before the board. However, their summary of shooting fundamentals is quite sound, if sparse, and is a good primer for any marksman. I only wish Army personnel would actually read something like this. It is clear from most ranges they do not!


Jul 13, 2010

Top Shot on the History Channel

Top Shot on the History Channel

The good news is this show is mostly good PR for gun owners and shooting. I don't like the manufactured drama but they are following a formula that has proven successful. The fact that this formula is successful and what that says about our society is an issue I'll leave alone...

I'm more disturbed that the courses of fire are just goofy and have little resemblance to anything typically used in organized shoots. The producers seem determined to ignore a century's worth of existing courses. What's worse, the shooting challenges would be incredibly difficult to duplicate on a home range making it nearly impossible to test your skills against what the show's competitors are doing.

In this regard, the Front Sight Challenge was much better. At least portions of the courses could be set up by anyone on almost any range.


If the goal was really to find the Top Shot it would make more sense to have the participants compete Across-The-Course, Silhouette, IPSC/Steel Challenge, on modified law enforcement and military qualification courses, etc. An aggregate of all the diverse events would truly indicate the "Top Shot."

Use targetry with instant feedback (Sius-Ascor, steel, etc.) to maximize spectator value and emphasize that these events are held year-round throughout the US and are open to all. It would encourage gun owners to go try some of the events themselves and yield a host of new applicants for upcoming seasons.

Jul 9, 2010

Proper Benchrest Shooting Technique

Proper Benchrest Shooting Technique

Proper bench rest shooting is more like gunnery. Consider these videos:





Start at 8:30

When I rail against the use of the bench rest it is NOT directed towards skilled BR competitors like this. Competition BR is its own discipline and, as these high-level competitors demonstrate, it is more like gunnery. Note that the tripod and bags are like the carriage of an artillery piece. In both cases, the gunner manipulates the pedestal/carriage to lay the weapon. The benchrest shooter isn't really holding like a rifleman, instead, he is obtaining a lay for his piece based on the target and conditions.

Benchrest competition has taught us many things about the accurate construction of firearms and ammunition. The level of improved mechanical accuracy inherent in modern factory rifles today is due to these competition shooters. However, as these videos demonstrate, benchrest shooting (which is really a form of gunnery) is a world apart from practical and field marksmanship. The hunter, practical and field shooter needs to work on position shooting, that is, marksmanship practice where the shooter's body is the primary, and sometimes only, source of support. If the support isn't available in the field, such as a shooting sling or similar, then you shouldn't use it on the range even when you zero.

Let the BR competitor worry about gilt edged accuracy and load testing because it is what they are best at. Attempting some half-ass version of this with a hunting rifle that is supposed to be shot in the woods from a held POSITION is a waste of time. Note that High Power and Smallbore shooters don't shoot from a bench, even when zeroing, and their marksmanship and accuracy standards are much higher than any field shooter or hunter.

Unless you want to win formal Benchrest competition and compete folks like those in these videos, do NOT use a bench rest! It has ZERO use for any competent field marksman.

Jul 4, 2010

My Dwindling Faith In Humanity

As if the very concept of an eating contest wasn't bad enough, ESPN is broadcasting one live. Organized obesity is a "sport" and even has sponsors.

Televised eating contests, yet, professional-level shooting contests receive virtually no coverage. Humans never cease to disappoint!

Jul 1, 2010

Louis Awerbuck on Sensible Shooting

Q: There’s definitely a proliferation of so-called firearms academies, some of them run by IPSC guys who win a couple of titles and open a school.

A: IPSC guys are very good shooters. Obviously, IPSC has changed from the early days, from what Jeanne-Pierre Denis and Jeff [Cooper] and the original guys set out to make it. The P was meant to stand for practical. The arguments went on in the 80s and very early 90s about whether it’s practical or it isn’t. Finally, IPSC got to a stage in the early 90s where they said, No, we’re not being practical, it’s a sport. But the bottom line is, if you get somebody like Rob Leatham, Jerry Barnhard, guys like that, they’re tremendous mechanical shooters. And if they open a school and teach mechanical shooting, which a lot of them do, I think there’s nothing wrong with that.

Q: But is mechanical shooting what is needed by most people who get their concealed carry permits and want to protect themselves?

A: How many people who get concealed carry permits do you think are serious about it? How many do you think want to punch a piece of paper so they can legally have a firearm if one day they might need it. Most people buy a gun, take a concealed carry class, buy a box of fifty rounds of ammunition, and the firearm and fifty rounds of ammunition are found in their estate thirty years later. In a drawer somewhere.
I’ve got a problem with flat, non-representative targets. We’re talking about shooting people, and if the target is an 18 by 30-inch piece of flat paper, this has nothing to do with reality. All males from the shoulder line to the waist are the same height, whether it’s me or a basketball player. And from nipple to nipple they’re all nine inches wide. So in a full frontal shot, if you’re out nine inches here you’ve got nothing. And if people are going to be kind enough to stand like that, why are you shooting them? They’re probably twisted in like this with an AK or a blade and you’re down to three or four inches of target.

But you’ve got to start somewhere. If you’ve got a neophyte you’ve got to teach him the basics. The problem is, what is an advanced gunfight? There is no advanced gunfight. I’m running with curved targets, graphic targets, angled this way and that and everything else. But you’ve got to start somebody off with flat paper, explain this is the trigger, these are the sights, this is the follow-through, get them to shoot a group on a piece of paper. You can get an organ grinder’s monkey to shoot a group on a piece of paper, he can take his paw and pull the trigger back and he can shoot accurately. That’s all there is to it. Has this got anything to do with shooting people, when the target is that big and three feet away from you and is about to turn you into a little brown spot on the ground?

People are very, very hard to hit because a lot of shooters cannot transpose the angles of a biped as opposed to a quadruped. You were talking about dangerous game earlier on. What comes at you like a human? Maybe a polar bear, that’s about it. Everything else runs on four legs, but a human is usually on his hind paws most of the time when you have this problem. People have trouble transposing this concept into a vertical instead of a horizontal problem. I bend one piece of cardboard, interstice it into another and then staple a target over that, then I angle them some way or twist them or turn them. Now you’ve got to start thinking about going into the ribcage, side of the head, simulating a flight of stairs. If the guy is lying in a bed, say the head’s facing you and the feet are away, you have to go in real high, because if you shoot at the chest and miss by five degrees you’re going to miss him entirely.