My friends, you all know what I do for a living, right? OK, for those of you joining the program late, here it is: I am a tactical firearms instructor for a government agency in Washington, DC (but I work in the Virginia suburbs). I teach people how to fight with guns. More on that, here.
Today, I am going to tell you one of the fundamental secrets of the dark art of marksmanship. I will entrust to you what so many people should know, but can't figure out for themselves.
You see, shooting is, at it's core, a very simple thing to do. You needn't hold an advanced degree to be a proficient marksman; you don't need to be a techie; and you don't need to be a jock. Good marksmanship is irrespective of race, sexual orientation, gender, politics, religious creed or lack thereof.
Shooting is simple. Sure, all you have to do is make sure the particular weapon is properly loaded, and then point and shoot. Simple, right? You bet it's simple. As a matter of fact, there are only two physical acts involved in basic shooting, and they are: pressing the trigger, and seeing your sights properly.
That's the secret.
Some of you are probably thinking: "There has to be more to it than that!" Some of you might think that I am intentionally oversimplifying. I assure you, I am not.
The thing about marksmanship, and I tell all of my students this, is that as an act, it is ninety percent mental. Properly manipulating the trigger and sights of a weapon in concert with one another, arriving at the zen-like nanosecond where all is perfectly aligned to produce the desired effect, which, in this case, is a bullet being fired from a gun, and hitting exactly what you were shooting at.
Like I said: Simple.
Where it becomes problematic is that many people cannot grasp that simplicity and cloud their minds with so much crap, it becomes nearly impossible for them to shoot well. When this happens, the poor shooter often has to come to see me. Often, the problem shooter thinks that if he or she could just throw some more bullets down range, they will eventually improve. The truth is that the only thing that this method will improve, is the financial bottom line of the ammunition manufacturer.
The key to being able to properly use the sights on a rifle or pistol is, to align your sights on the target, then throughout the manipulation of your trigger, you watch your sights, exclusively, so that they remain aligned until your shot is fired. If you disturb you sights by jerking the trigger, that bullet will not go where you wanted it to go... and folks, you can't afford that in a gunfight.
There is another key to successful marksmanship... one that might seem counter intuitive (how's that for a five dollar word?), and here it is: DON'T LOOK AT YOUR TARGET! You see, if you are looking at your target, you aren't watching your sights (see above)... you can't focus on two separate things at the same time.
So, you've learned the secret: Watch your sights, press the trigger smoothly so that your sights are not disturbed, and DON'T LOOK AT YOUR TARGET!
You'll hit what you are shooting at. Trust me, it's what I do.