Next time you go to the range, step up to your shooting lane, look down the range then take a moment to look at the ceiling slightly in front of the shooting bench to a considerable distance down range.
You will undoubtedly notice countless rounds have inadvertently been fired into the ceiling. This is usually the case when shooter’s either don’t know how to effectively manage recoil, try to shoot too fast, or have no idea of where the front sight was prior to pressing the trigger on the subsequent shots. Many times it is often a combination of all three.
This is why most ranges restrict rapid fire, and often restrict fire to one shot per second. Like most victims of too many Hollywood action movies, many people get sucked into the desire to shoot fast prior to developing good marksmanship fundamentals.
When I watch most students or range patrons try and shoot fast, you typically see Swizz cheese looking targets with holes everywhere and many rounds off target. If you ask the shooter where the front sight was when they broke the next round most can’t answer you. Why because most have never learned the concept of front sight focused or watching the front sight rise and fall between shots.
Some students learn by seeing, while other learn by feeling. Most can enhance their learning with a combination of the two. I regularly tell my students you can only shoot as fast as you can watch the front sight come back down.
Whenever a student makes a quality shot I always ask them what did you see, and how did it feel? On the next shot I want you to see the same thing (sight picture), and I want you to feel the same thing as you follow through on the shot and effectively manipulate the trigger.
It is always my desire to make my student’s instructor independent vs. instructor dependent. So they understand how to correct errand shots driven by poor fundamentals. Thus helping them learn how to see and feel a good shot, is a step toward accomplishing that objective.
What you will need to practice this drill: Target (preferably a blank one), quarter, magic marker, eye and ear protection, and your everyday carry or home defense handgun.
1. Take the coin and place it on the target in the high center mass position. Then trace around the coin, making a circle. This will give a very large focal point for your point of aim.
2. Now hang the target, and move it back to the 5 yard line.
3. Step into the booth or up to the line, make sure your eye and ear protection on. Then extend your arms into your natural shooting position. Take aim while looking at the large dot on the target.
4. Remove the slack from the trigger and slowly fire 10 shots watching the front sight rise and fall onto the dot prior to breaking the next round. This is not a speed drill, this is a focus drill. Make sure you are resetting the trigger in between shots. Trigger reset defined – When the handgun is fired, the trigger remains depressed (pulled to the rear) during the cycling of the slide and the departure of the projectile and spent shell case. To fire any additional shots, the shooter slowly releases rearward pressure on the trigger allowing the trigger to slightly move forward, but only far enough to hear and/or feel a “click” (the resetting of the trigger). This will be well short of the trigger’s normal forward most position. Once the shooter hears and/or feels the “click,” then the shooter again presses the trigger rearward and the gun fires. Resetting the trigger will also help bring the front sight down quicker. You now should be starting the groove the mechanics of seeing a good shot, and effectively manipulating the trigger.
Now it is time to work on feeling a good shot.
1. I want you to prepare another target with the same large dot in the high center mass position. Once you have prepared the target roll it back to the 5 yard position like the previous target.
2. With the target at the 5 yard position, fully extend your arms into your normal shooting position. With your focus on the center of the dot. Now close your eyes and remove the slack out of the trigger – then break the round with your eyes closed.
3. Reset the trigger in between the subsequent shots. Fire three more rounds with your eyes closed. You should start to feel the front sight rise and fall with each shot. Then release the trigger after the fourth shot to it’s forward most position.
4. Open your eyes again look back at the dot. While looking at the dot again (verify sight alignment), take the slack out of the trigger, close your eyes and fire three more shots, resetting the trigger in between shots (you should feel the front sight rising and falling again).
5. Repeat the prior sequence again for the next three shots until you have fired a total of three rounds. By now you will have fired a total of 10 rounds with your eyes closed. Repeat the drill as often as you desire but stop before you get mentally or physically fatigued. Fatigue is a leading factor in poor fundamentals.
You are probably asking yourself how I was able to still maintain accuracy? Whenever the body loses a sense, in the case your sense of sight, the other senses take over and become more acute. In this exercise your sense of feel became more pronounced. Whenever you are going through a rough patch with your shooting, try this drill it will enhance your ability to feel future good shots making you one with your weapon.
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www.pantherprotectionservices.com. Mark “Six” James is Founder and Executive Director of Panther Protection Services, LLC. He is an internationally published author, keynote speaker, security consultant to educational institutions and frequent contributor to a number of print, broadcast and online media, and the author of a number of security, firearm and protection publications. Panther Protection Services is a full service protection agency focusing on Risk and Crisis Mitigation, Executive Protection, Self-Defense Training, and Firearm Instruction.
Close Your Eyes Too Improve Accuracy By: Mark “Six” James
Mark “Six” James is Founder and Executive Director of Panther Protection Services, LLC, a full service protection agency focusing on Risk and Crisis Mitigation, Executive Protection, Self-Defense Training, and Firearm Instruction. www.pantherprotectionservices.com.