Home > Uncategorized > Not expecting the obvious

Not expecting the obvious

19 April 2009 Target

It’s slowly coming to me that my poor performance in last week’s IDPA match isn’t necessarily because I wasn’t putting enough effort in to individual shots and I ended up missing. It’s not that I was failing to take the time to hit, it’s that often I couldn’t hit if I wanted to.

This realization comes out of a day spent at the range with my dad (see right, my shots are circled in blue, the rest are his) that taught me a bit more about shooting. I’m still at that stage where any experience at all is a learning experience. And what this weekend’s experience taught me is that even in perfect range conditions with no stress, I’m not guaranteed to hit.

Now, this is something of a sort of revelation for me. On a subconscious level, when I write phrases like “pistol marksmanship is more complex than just putting the front sight on target and pulling the trigger,” I say to myself, “Duh.” That sort of thing seems self-evident. But in practice, I find myself surprised at the difficulty of actually consistently hitting a target.

The majority of the problem, I think, is lack of practice, but a large contribution originates in not having practiced marksmanship (IDPA so doesn’t qualify) in two months or so. And somewhere along the line, it got in to my head that I was a competent pistol marksman.

This is false.

And so I’m falling, I suppose, in to the same trap as before: I think I don’t have to concentrate as hard, that I can just let my muscles do the work of keeping me on target. But my muscles aren’t that well-trained yet, and so more often than not I relax and let the muscles take over, and the muscles say “Whatever, dude!” and my barrel drops and I get fliers like on the leftmost and rightmost black dots in the middle.

I am also coming to an interesting realization, one of those epiphanies achievable only through personal experience: shooting well is friggin’ hard. It takes a lot of work to “simply” be able to reliably and accurately hit a target. Just putting sights on target and squeezing, without a well-honed grip, will result in shooting like this past weekend.

Or maybe I should just blame the rental gun.

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