Friday, January 27, 2006

On Shooting Poorly-Redux

I’ve blogged before about shooting poorly. It seems that about once a month I end up doing so bad that I’m ready to stalk out of the range, kick my cat, and generally make an ass out of myself. Well, fortunately I handle frustration a little better than that, but you get the idea.

I had one of those sessions last night. Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I attend shooting matches every Thursday night during the winter. Hey, what do you think New England folks do when it’s cold out—skeet shoot? (Come to think about a few hardy souls do just that.)

Here’s what we do on Thursdays so you’re in the picture. The matches are held in an indoor range and ran by a rangemaster (“ready on the left, ready on the right, ready on the firing line”).

We use NRA bullseye shooting rules. We use one hand to hold and shoot a pistol at a target twenty-five yards away. We shoot three different stages, shooting a total of ten shots during each stage, and shooting two stages of each type. The stages are slow fire (we use a reduced-size target since this stage is supposed to be shot at fifty yards), timed, and rapid fire. The highest score possible is 600. (Here's an op-ed by a man who shoots similar matches, hat tip to Alphecca.)

So now you know what we do on our Thursday evenings. Well, last night I couldn’t hit the floor with a bullet if I dropped a cartridge. I scored only 445 points. I kept telling myself to calm down and don’t let a few bad shots wreck the next one. I told myself to concentrate on the trigger squeeze, sight alignment, breath control, stance, grip, follow-through, and everything else. You know it’s a wonder it’s even possible to shoot a gun accurately at all.

What’s ironic is that Bill was having a similar time last week. He was not a happy camper going into last night’s match and I told him to center himself; to not think about the score; to shoot for the sheer joy of it. He did and had a ball shooting. Meanwhile, I’m standing next to him muttering curses I didn’t know I knew while he’s enjoying himself. Where’s the justice in giving someone advice when you don’t follow it yourself?

I know I’m going on about my bad shooting and you’re probably tired of my whining by now. But let me tell you last night felt like a root canal performed by a dentist who has large fingers with coarse hairs on them. But, there’s always next week [/grumble mode off].

To make the most out of my bad night and to save an otherwise depressing post, here are a few tips if you shoot bullseye:

* Never try to think about shooting during a match, just shoot;

* Never shoot next to a guy who is so good that he thinks putting a shot in the nine ring makes it a flyer;

* Never throw your gun down range, it’s bad sportsmanship, and you may have to repaint the range floor;

* Always enjoy yourself because you’re shooting and that’s just about better than anything else you can do in public.

No comments: