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Shooting Advice From Mr. Completely

Go have a read of this.  Mr. C is a pin shooter, which is a bit different than the prevalent discipline at my club, which is Metallic Silhouette.  I think there are similarities though.  I find myself in a bit of the beginners scramble to find a setup that works well for me.  But I am still struggling a bit with the basics.  I think Mr. C is very correct on this, which I think is true for all pistol disciplines:

I also learned that the faster you try to shoot, the better your trigger control needs to be. 95% of the mechanics of pistol shooting is trigger control, and trigger control isn’t something that comes easily. Most of the top shooters shoot in excess of 20,000 rounds a year, and to get really good trigger control you need to not only practice a lot, but practice regularly. If I don’t practice for a week or so, I really notice the drop in trigger control. Fortunately, it returns fairly quickly!

Silhouette is a bit different, in that I am continuously told I need to slow down, rather than rush.  Silhouette is timed, but it’s not a race.  You have two minutes and five shots to knock down five animals.  Tonight I scored 23 out of 40 in indoor with my Ruger Mk.III, where we use 3/8th scale animals at 25 yards, scaled down (about credit card sized for pigs and rams) to simulate distance for when we shoot outdoors.  The top shooters score anywhere from 36 on a bad night to 40 (perfect score) on a good one.  Anything over 20 is a good night for me!  Most of the times I miss, it’s due to me thumbing the gun left with a poor trigger squeeze, or it’s due to breaking the trigger at the wrong moment.  At this point I can tell why I miss shots, but I’m still working on avoiding the mistakes.  Some things I’ve been observing:

  • You can’t give a poor shooter good equipment and make them better.
  • Good equipment will make a good shooter better.
  • The very best shooters can outshoot good shooters even with poor equipment.

While most of the top silhouette shooters are shooting either Anschutz bolt action pistols, or TC single shot breech loading pistols, I’m sticking with my Ruger for now.  I want to make sure I’m shooting as best I can with inexpensive equipment before investing in something better.  I’m definitely experimenting to see what works well and what doesn’t, but I think one mistake beginners tend to make is thinking good equipment will make up for bad fundaemtnals.  It won’t.  The only thing that will make you better is getting out there and doing it, over and over, and learning what works and what doesn’t.  I’m still getting started.

5 Responses to “Shooting Advice From Mr. Completely”

  1. Sailorcurt says:

    one mistake beginners tend to make is thinking good equipment will make up for bad fundamentals.

    Excellent observation and true of any “skill” sport. Going out and buying $5,000 golf clubs wouldn’t make me any better of golfer if I don’t practice enough (or simply don’t possess the basic skills necessary).

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of relying on technology “crutches” for improvement. Not only is your observation true…if you don’t have sound fundamentals, the improvement will be negligible if any…but also, you’re not actually improving skill at all. That’s why the really good shooters can outperform less practiced ones even when using inferior equipment.

    I see nothing wrong with using the most accurate firearm possible in competition, and I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for competition with dedicated “race” guns or customized “target” guns…if that’s your bag, more power to you; but I’m more interested in improving myself in practical shooting. That means using similar equipment to what I would be carrying every day. I don’t particularly envision carrying a custom grip, bolt action pistol with fancy optics on a daily basis so I really don’t see how using something like that in competition would improve my general shooting skills.

    Of course, if I ever get good enough at it that the only thing keeping me from winning a match is my equipment…I suppose I may have to reconsider.

    What do you think?

  2. Cliff says:

    This echos my experience. When I was first getting into shooting I took my grandfather’s High Standard .22 to the NRA range and put what I thought was a rather respectable group of about 1.5″ in the target at about 7 yards. The guy next to me asked if he could try it since the gun looked interesting to him. He promptly ran the target out to about 25 yards and put one jagged hole in it. Then he commented that there was something wrong with the sights. It seems the rear sight was loose and would wiggle with every shot.

    Turns out this guy was a national champion. As you said, a good shooter with bad equipment will outshoot a bad shooter with good equipment any day.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Only skill sport exception to that is bowling, where the ball has to fit you. I can bowl into the 200s with my own ball, but a house ball, I’ll be lucky to break 100.

    I tend to agree about wanting to shoot production self-defense guns. If our club did pin shoots, I’d be all over that. But with silhouette, since the goal is precision, people tend to use fancy guns.

  4. Thanks for the kind mention!

    Are you using a scope or a red dot sight on your MK-III? If so, are you using, or have you tried, the “Taco” grip and stance? Although I use a modified version of the Taco a lot in action pistol, it comes from the Silhouette world, and is very stable, at least, once you figure out how to do it!

    ……. Mr. C.

  5. Sebastian says:

    I’m using a cheap Millett red dot scope on the Mk.III, along with the taco grip for smallbore pistol. I just ordered a Volquartsen trigger kit for it, to clean and lighten up the trigger pull on it a bit since having the scope on it puts me into unlimited class anyway. I’m going to stick with basic guns for now. It’ll be a while, I think, before I want a customized TC.

    For field pistol I use a regular weaver stance, since I shoot that with a revolver in .44 magnum with a .44 special load.

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