FA 14 Habits

You Don’t Have Any Bad Habits, or do you?
Shoot Better With Good Habits

Who, me?  Oh ya, sure, I’ve got a few, but I’ll spare you my details!

A few months ago, I saw an article in NRA’s Shooting Illustrated authored by Steve Tarani, titled “Developing Good Shooting Habits”.  A professional educator, author and keynote speaker Tarani served on the POTUS 45 pre-election executive protection detail.  He is a certified firearms and personal defense instructor who has been on staff at Gunsite Academy (AZ) for over 20 years and is formerly an adjunct instructor at the SIG Arms Academy (NH) for over 16 years.  There’s a link to the article further on, and I readily recommend you give it a read – Steve, and the content below, may well help with some of those “bad” habits – known or unknown!

With each of our firearm class we focus on the NRA’s “5 Fundamentals” of shooting:

Aiming/Sight Alignment
Breath Control
Hold Control
Trigger Control
Follow Through

Expert marksmen gain their individual level of success through repeatedly performing each one of these functions or skills with exact consistency. Every time they pick up their firearm, they do so in exactly the same manner. They assume the same posture for the shooting position. When they bring their firearm up on target their sight picture reflects exactly where they want the round to land.  

This idea of consistency crosses into all arenas of sport and, as some will say, life itself. As an example, pro-golfer Tiger Woods has a specific routine he undergoes before every round in a championship match.  While in a typical 18-hole event he hopes to keep his putts to a minimum (18 or less?) he has been known to spend time before a match on the practice green taking as many as 500 practice putts! 

If you ever doubt this concept in shooting sports, just take a look at professional and exhibition shooter Jerry Miculek.  His YouTube channel (https://is.gd/1wQDFh) is full of his wit, his wisdom, and in particular his achievement of excellence.  Watch closely in his videos for his stance, grip and shooting method.  No matter what the challenge, one can readily see the consistency of his approach.

None of us probably have that desire to perform on Jerry or Tiger’s level of performance.  We do however desire to gain some self-satisfaction when on the range.  The starting point in realizing that however requires to recognize our bad shooting habits and focus on building good habits.

Allow me to postulate on those 5 fundamentals trying to identify the bad:

  • Aiming/Sight Alignment:  Your focus is on the target – rather than having a good sight picture, you have a great target picture! 
  • Breath Control:                  In a rush to get off as many rounds as you can, you find yourself nearly out of breath. Are you still breathing?
  • Hold Control:                      On a windy day, with a corner of the target loose, you move your muzzle with the breeze in hopes of hitting the target!
  • Trigger Control                  (biggie here) Once you have pulled the trigger, you immediately take your finger out of the trigger guard…just being safe!
  • Follow Through:                A buddy always leaned forward and raised the muzzle up out of his line of sight to see where the round landed!  Funny, most of his shots went high- consistently!

These are just a few examples of some of the bad habits I’ve seen on the range and in past classes.  I’m not going to lecture about the 5 Fundamentals here.  If you’re not sure what the “good” habits for each should be, look it up in the book, Google it, give me a call, or take our course…again.

Earlier I mentioned an article by Steve Tarani. (Read it here: https://is.gd/lnaKNT) The article doesn’t teach these fundamentals, or any other magical skills. Instead, he focuses on working to build good habits effectually overcoming the bad habits. We’ve all heard the old phrase “practice makes perfect” but his take on that saying is “practice makes permanent”. 

I have always been a goal oriented individual. It served me well in my military career, in my work, and generally so in life.  When I formed my training consulting business in 2008, I came up with the name Outcomes Today® because not only the goal was important, but so is the outcome 

During my years as a corporate training director, I learned that there is a considerable difference between knowing and doing.  Knowing how to do something, like shooting a pistol or rifle, is far different from doing so.  Naturally your goal is to hit the target with each, however how much time do we spend working toward that end efficiently, quickly, and accurately. 

Another axiom is shooting instruction is “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”.  Originating (I believe) in military training, this reinforces the concept of the repetitive practice of a set of skills (5 Fundamentals) until you can implement the skill smoothly, then transitioning to repeating those smooth skills quickly. 

Take what you learned and what you know are the good habits in your shooting and practice until you can achieve the level of performance that brings you self-satisfaction you deserve.

Shoot straight and stay safe!

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