Tips to Improve Your Shooting
Having a good shooting technique is essential to achieve results on a hunting day.
Especially in small game, the reaction time we have is usually very small, so knowing what we should do at each moment will be of great help to achieve the desired results.
In this section, we try to make a brief review of the most important points to take into account at each moment of the shot. We advise you to read it carefully but remember: the most important thing is to always practice.
Aim with one or two eyes
Undoubtedly one of the most discussed issues by both shooters and hunters is whether to make a shot with a shotgun you should aim with only one eye or both open.
For many, the fundamental center of the discussion is to get to define what is called “Director’s Eye”, that is, in which eye each one has greater visual strength.
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There is a simple way to find out, just take a pencil, putting it upright with the arm and fully extended. Once this is done, and with both eyes open, point to some distant object 4 or 5 m. Then close one eye and then the other, you will see that the object that you hold in your hand moves from the line on which it was superimposed when closing one of them. If the object remains aligned when the left eye is closed, its directing eye or stronger will be the right one. If it happens the other way around, your directing eye is the left one.
But the problem arises when the right-handed shooter is the owner of the left eye or vice versa. In those cases, you must aim to close the eye that does not align with the band of the shotgun, which, in principle, would lead us to advise that the shot is made with both eyes open.
Aiming closing an eye implies the need to have more time to aim the piece, being forced the hunter to open and close the eye again to shoot the second shot, which will slow down the shot. It is also clear that by keeping one eye closed, a piece of land remains hidden from your vision.
From all aspects, binocular vision is much better than monocular vision, to be clearer, to better appreciate the distances (fundamental in the shot), by the speed with which you can make the face, by the largest extent of the field visual, by observing all movements of the dam and for safety.
For those who are not used to aim with both eyes open, it is not so difficult to achieve with a little practice, so it should be practiced whenever possible.
Download the weapon
The swing of the shot does not end until the shotgun returns to its initial position.
Although the innate reaction is to move the gun to see what has happened (if we have guessed right or wrong), you should never stop the gun just after the shot is made, since with that the only thing we will achieve is that most of the cases we will make a mistake by stopping the tip of the weapon before firing and that means the realization of rear shots, that is, erroneous.
Also if we manage to continue the movement correctly we will be advancing a lot to get a good result in a possible second shot.
We must, therefore, continue the movement with the shotgun perfectly faced and this only that will fall when the movement of the body is completely finished.
The advance and the shoot
After those moments of tracking the piece, we must move forward before making the shot. Here is one of the most complicated moments, since we should not give any pull or make any sudden change in speed.
We must increase the speed of the tip of the weapon but progressively so that we can correctly calculate the progress we made (which undoubtedly will be of great help to achieve results).
Once placed in front of the shot should be made as quickly as possible. It is not possible to “stay” for a while in front of the room because that will only serve to lose it. That is, to move forward and shoot must be done all at the same time.
At the time of pressing the trigger, there is no doubt: the shot must be decided and direct if we want it to be effective.
The Movement of the body
Despite what many may think, the truth is that the movement of the shot involves the performance of a large number of joints and muscles, each of which fulfills an important mission.
However, in relation to the movement of the body, we must bear in mind that:
Hands, elbows, arms, shoulders, neck, and face must form an immovable block.
The first thing to move is the waist, followed by the hips.
In case the previous movement is not enough, we will use the knees and, finally, the ankles.
If it were necessary to force the turn more, we should turn the sole of the foot on the ground.
It is not advisable to have the legs fully stretched, there should be a little flexion in the knees, which will allow an easier turn.
The weight of the body should be loaded a little forward, just enough to counteract the impact of the cartridge.
In this complicated word, “Swing”, all the different movements that the hunter or shooter must perform for the shot are included; we are talking from the moment the piece is located until the weapon is dropped after the shot.
And it is in this swing that there is definitely the difference between a good shooter and a mediocre shooter. Although it is all about taking the weapon, face, and shoot, this seems so basic and simple involves a series of small movements each of which must be done with extreme precision. So much so that if we dedicate ourselves to observe different hunters, we would clearly appreciate that each one of them performs these movements in a particular way, or what is the same: each one has its own swing.
From this a clear conclusion is drawn: there is no single movement valid for all hunters, but each one of them must create their own swing in such a way that the movements arise in the most natural way possible … of course, always based on a series of basic premises that we must all follow.
We refer to that every shot must necessarily pass through a series of steps that we must know by heart, these are:
Location of the piece.
Placing the stock to the face, following the piece with the tip of the weapon.
Tracking the piece.
Lower the shotgun.
Then we will analyze each of these steps more thoroughly, although we want to remember the need for each shooter to develop his own movement so that it is as natural as possible, also doing it mechanically, without having to think or meditate ( surely we will not have time for these things).
Face and follow the piece
To be able to face correctly we will need to practice ad nauseam until we are able to perform the movement with total precision and without having to think about what we are doing.
Performing exercises at home on a regular basis is, of course, a very good idea. The aim is to automate the movement so that it is engraved in what is called “muscle memory”, that is, the ability of our muscles to automate a previously learned movement. Of course, we all have this capacity and we use it daily without being aware of it, in many facets of our life (it has happened to us all on one occasion: we changed the furniture in place and yet we went to the lounge area where the sofa was formerly located …).
Therefore, if we can learn how the movement of the swing is carried out correctly, we can repeat it automatically whenever we want, without having to think in advance what we should do.
This memory will allow us to obtain accurate results in a movement that is performed unconsciously, leaving aside any mental ties, which will be of vital importance especially when there is some tension (and when is there in this sport?).
When the mind learns a new concept and transmits it to the muscles, the development of the muscular memory begins. In this process, what the brain communicates to create new muscular habits is assimilated and remembered.
The crux of the muscular memory is without a doubt in the repetition.
Of course, there have to be some previous lessons that somehow mark the steps to follow, but after them and if we want our muscles can come to perform a movement automatically, we will need to repeat almost until the satiety.
But how can we know that our approach is correct? We can check it in a simple way: when the stock is attached to our face we will have to confirm which face and butt form a single piece; if so, the face has been adequate.
Of course, from the first moment of the face, we must be able to follow the piece with the tip of the weapon, aiming at it before the butt reaches our face. At first, we will have to place the tip of the shotgun behind the piece, as if we were following it, which will allow us to correctly calculate the height of the shot. The longer we can prolong this monitoring, the more chances we will have to reach our goal.
Locate the part and put the cylinder head
We speak together of these two movements because in the vast majority of occasions we will have so little time that both should be done practically in unison: locate the piece and at the same time we should be placing the stock to the face, following the piece with the tip of the weapon.
It is very important that they are carried out at the same time so as not to waste time, which of course we do not have.
The time to locate the piece should be done as quickly as possible, since everything we save in this first step we will win for the realization of the following. In fact, the ability to react to the exit of the plate is the element that best differentiates a winner in a shooting competition.
However, this necessary reaction speed can’t lead to sudden movements or jerks, quite the contrary, the output should be smooth and perfectly coordinated because, as they say: “bad ends what bad starts”; if uncoordinated, the rest of the swing (or what is the same, the shot) may be affected.
Speed and coordination, how to get them? Of course, we will have to have a lot of practice in our arms to be able to perform the movement in the most natural way possible; but it is also necessary that we are totally concentrated to know when we should react and how to do it without making mistakes.
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