I recently threw a party for a group of old friends, people I knew from my Way Back Youth. We gathered from Texas, from New York, from Arizona, from California. We were kids again, we were educated professionals, time flew backwards as we reminisced. One friend told of how he currently shoots rifles, sharing range time with and gaining instruction from a former military trained sniper. My buddy, as he puts it “loves making things go BANG!” , although he admitted could not hit the target. This did not seem to bother him, but it did me. As a kid, a genius label graced his intelligence. So, how could such a bright human being not grasp a basic understanding of the Basic Fundamentals??? Maybe because no one ran it down for him. Naturally, I offered my unasked for advice. He showed me his stance and sight alignment and I immediately identified the problem. I suggested if he BREATHED, his exhale would lower his shoulders out of his ears, improving his posture, vision and stamina. Stance sets the shooting platform, breathing relaxes the shooter into the activity at hand. Breathing also oxygenates the blood enabling the shooter to hold the stance and maintain clear vision for front sight focus. Then my buddy showed me how he aimed in. All problematic and all easily corrected. I remembered he was left handed, but was he also left eye dominant? We ran the test and, like so many shooters, he was right eye dominant. So, with our dry firing exercise, I showed him how keeping his head level by swiveling his head as if his chin sat on a shelf so both of his eyes remained parallel to the ground and the dominant eye lined up directly with his front sight through the rear sights. I know if he just focuses on his stance, breathing and sight alignment, he is going to see marked improvement. Next time I see him, I will review his grip, trigger control and follow through. Basics are the Basics, no matter whether firing pistol, rifle or shotgun.
NRA Firearms Instructor – Nancy Rothschild
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