Wow folks, has it really been a year since my last post? Geez – I guess that’s what happens when you have a kid (he’s almost 9 months now and healthy for those who are curious).
So, what’s been going on in my shooting life since my last post? Well, I took a class from Ben Stoeger last year – I *HIGHLY* recommend his class. It was 2 days, ~1K rounds, and a lot of personalized instruction. It was so long ago, but I took the “how to practice” class – I don’t remember the actual title. Do it. It will help your shooting. Go to benstoeger.com to contact him about classes. It is very well worth your time and money. I’ll write a detailed review later.
As far as matches… what the hell are matches?!? Haha. Baby has taken all of my time, so no majors this year. In fact, I have shot exactly 2 club matches this year. I plan to pick things back up next year for sure.
Fortunately, I still have time to get to an indoor range where I can draw and shoot quickly. I live-fire practice at least once-a-week, and dry fire whenever I can (typically 5-15 minute sessions).
While I’ve been on the bench, I’ve tried to watch a lot of the top shooter’s videos and compare them to lower-level shooters who shot the same match. Draw, shot-splits, and transitions are obvious places where the top shooters kill us – I’ll stay away from those.
One major difference I noted is footwork. The bulk of the lower-level shooters (A-D) seem to sprint like football players, where the top 16 shooters sprint like tennis players. In other words, the top shooters take many tiny steps to ensure they hit certain spots on the course whereas most other shooters take large “sprinting” steps to get “somewhere,” then take corrective steps as necessary.
Another major difference seems to be when top shooters raise the gun and begin aiming. Lower-level shooters, like me, will run to the position, raise the gun, aim, and then break the shots. Top shooters will run to the position *WHILE* raising the gun to get a sight picture where the target will appear, and break the shots as they stop, or while moving. It is the same concept when leaving a position, but reverse. Lower-level shooters will break the last shot, watch the sight come down, and then leave the position. Top shooters will simultaneously break the shot while moving backward, only watching the sight long enough to watch it rise – once it rises, all focus goes towards movement.
There are other differences, but these differences are enough to make my point. Let’s assume that the top GMs are only faster than us mortals by the following amounts (trust me, they are much faster than this):
- Draw: .1
- Splits: .05
- Transitions: .1
- Footwork (adjustment when reaching shooting position, etc): .1
- Entry: .1
- Exit: .1
- Reload: .2 (I did not use reloading as a factor in this analysis although it is a factor that should be considered)
Now, assume a 32-round field course with 3 shooting positions. On this course, the GMs will save 2.25s on the stage. If you break that down per shot, then the GM saves 0.07s per shot taken.
While .07 per shot taken may not seem like a lot, over a 300 round match, that’s 21 seconds.
Next time you wonder why your times are so far behind the top guy, make assumptions about how much faster they are than you at these aspects of the game and add it up. You’ll find that time.