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Old August 30, 2012, 10:23 AM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,835
On the other hand, I'd worry about acting without thinking.
Blue I don't think you totally understand the idea of mental management.

You just don't put the actual act of aiming and pulling the trigger into muscle memory, you put the whole concept.

You have the presentation (drawing), you you have the trigger finger, as in not putting your finger in the trigger guard until you have the gun lined up toward the target, and you have the target recognition, meaning you look over the gun to see if that's the target (or something else you don't want to shoot), At that instant the front sight comes into view (this should be when the finger goes to the trigger) and then the act of firing a round.

Identifying your target is important in competition as well as self defense. Ask any long range shooter about cross firing.

This all takes an instant and if done promptly, and practice faithfully, its gonna happen every time without a conscience effort on your part. If you stop at any time and concentrate on one aspect, there is going to be a good chance you're gonna screw it up.

Breathing was mentioned. My best rifle shooting is and always has been Setting Rapid fire. You cannot shoot iron sights at 200 yards without proper breath control.

A guy ask me one time how I breathed in a rapid fire string. I couldn't answer the question. Apparently I did breath or I would have noticed holding my breath for 60 seconds while shooting. But I couldn't say for sure.

So I decided to fire a string to see how I breathed or if I did. Shot the worse rapid fire string in years. I was concentrating breathing instead of just letting my muscle memory do its work.

I've done that in other occasions, an example is do I shoot with both eyes open. Didn't know, when i tried to find out, I couldn't shoot. Had to ask bystanders to watch and see. (Turned out I did, but I don't notice while I'm doing).

Whether we shoot for fun, competition, duty, or for self defense we need to study mental management and work on developing muscle memory.

I've always said, all shooting is 95% mental. You need to practice mental management, and all your other fundamentals to the point each aspect is an act we do without thinking. You start thinking of any aspect, you're gonna lose your concentration and blow it.

When I coach rifle teams, I do not let my shooter use scopes and I don't let them know the value of the last shot. That's history, they need to concentrate on the next shot. Trust me, if they screw up I'll tell them.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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