Royally late new shooter report

In August a family friend got a pistol for her birthday.  The only thing was though she had never learned to shoot.  Her father is by no means opposed to firearms, however her mother hates them with a passion. 

I immediately got back to her, she was extremely busy with work for the next couple weekends but she could make it out to my place for dinner one night.  She came over brought her new pistol.  Went over the four rules, dos and don’ts, as well how to operate her particular weapon as well as a slew of others.

She finally had a day off so we could take her out.  I prefer to avoid ranges I’m unfamiliar with when I have a new shooter.  I don’t like having to pay attention to other people around me possibly being unsafe while also watching a new shooter.

After talking to Laurel, Corina, and Dan I found a place that would work really well.  Only trick would be finding it, I knew approximately where it was.  Rolled in as the sun was getting lower in the sky, perfect photography lighting, nice and warm.

We started her off with the 22 single action revolver.  After a few shots and she was getting comfortable since she had never shot before, and hadn’t ever handled a weapon except at my house a week earlier I wanted to make sure it was enjoyable as opposed to painful.

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After the 22 Revolver I pulled out the High Standard. It has more mass and is semi automatic.  DSC_2048

I spent some more time going over it’s operation again, how to load and release the magazine.  How to verify the weapon is clear, as well as how to unload it.  She did quite well for her first time shooting.

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After this I fired some rounds out of her new pistol.  The question of the day is since it’s a small 9mm, very light, how would the recoil feel.  For me it was manageable, however thanks to it be double action only the trigger pull is extremely heavy and makes it uncomfortable.  We put about about 50 rounds through it, we discovered it was causing her to flinch, we spent time working on that as well as spent some time on her stance.  I’ve noticed a lot of new shooters have a tendency to lean back.

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Even though that little thing packs a punch for the shooter, she absolutely enjoyed it and had a total blast.  After we finished up with the pistol we pulled out my AR and went through some rifle fundamentals.  I normally start with the rifle to teach with then move to pistol but I made an exception in this case.

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I spent some time covering basics of position and breathing.  After which she ripped up the hillside 100 yards away.  Accurately I might add.  Normally I would have run down and put up targets but we were chasing daylight and we had to get back out of BFE.  Someone had left some targets up and she just shot those.DSC_2744

I must say though, the above picture says it all.  A big smile, obviously having fun, and enjoying herself.  I yet again must ask the question, WTF does VPC or the Brady Campaign have to offer?

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do it’s thing.

Boomershoot 2010

The run up has officially begun. I’ve got Wednesday through next Tuesday off for pre-run up, PRC, and after event work and clean up. I will be in positions 54/55 this year. Any visiting bloggers are more than welcome to swing by. I’m more than happy to teach you how to snipe some boomers and help you put some rounds down range accurately. (Note: I’ll probably walk up and down the line for 45 minutes prior to lunch to look at other hardware and take video and pictures. After lunch I’ll be there the whole time.)

I’ve noticed from talking to some people they are extremely put off at the thought of shooting long distances. They somehow feel it is extremely different than shooting 100 yards. While yes it is different, and experience is a great help it’s not actually that different. Fundamentals never change, sight picture, breathing, squeezing the trigger, that’s all basic and standard. What is different is the amount of thinking ahead of the shot. Experienced shooters can easily do this mental preparation on their own; however what really makes it possible for any shooter connect to a target at long range is the spotter.

Whenever possible the more experienced shooter is actually the spotter, not the trigger man. Squeezing the trigger is simple and once mastered it becomes second nature. The spotter watches the trace, following the bullet to the point of impact. Here’s the basic order of operations and responsibilities of each during a shot.

Step Spotter Shooter
Target Acquisition Spotter locates a target and relays it to the shooter Shooter confirms the correct target with the spotter. The shooter also makes the correction to parallax for the new range.
Range Spotter estimates the range to target and proper elevation adjustment. Shooter confirms elevation change and dials the scope.
Wind Spotter estimates the wind and dope changes necessary Shooter confirms wind doping change and dials the scope.
Target Hold Spotter specifies the hold for the crosshairs on the target. Shooter hold in that position and waits for the fire when ready command.
Fire Spotter issues the fire command. As quickly as consistently possible the shooter puts the round down range.
Follow Trace Spotter follows the trace to impact. The shooter calls his shot. IE did it break where did the shot break on target? Was it on the hold or elsewhere?
Adjustment Spotter uses the shot call and actual impact to adjust the point of impact. Shooter confirms elevation and wind changes
Go to Target Hold

 

As you can see above, most of the work sits on the spotter not the shooter. If the shooter can shoot under a MOA at 100 yards, is confident in their ability, can count, and accurately call their shots. They can squeeze the trigger on a rifle and hit a target 700 yards away 7 inches in diameter. It all really rests on the spotter.

Calling shots for some is difficult; the key is maintaining concentration on the sight picture up to the break of the shot and remembering it.

I do it a little bit differently by concentrating on each aspect of a shot, breathing, trigger squeeze, sight picture, and thinking about what was not consistent about that last break. I know how a good shot feels to me, if it did not feel good I think about why it didn’t. I learned this technique while being taught competition rifle and pistol. My drills involved calling the shot without looking at the paper.

If for some reason you still feel uncomfortable, hit up the PRC with Gene. I have no qualms shooting at 700 yards now, but the first day on the line at a PRC I was nervous like the people I talk to now. Especially in that wind, I usually got calm winds when shooting, so I called it a baptism by fire. A lot of people feel the long range shot is magic. It isn’t, it is a spotter and the fundamentals of shooting. (Plus Modern Ballistics never hurt either.)

If you’re nervous about shooting at long distance, swing by my position and I’ll get you a boomer on the berm at minimum.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do it’s thing.