Calling Your Shots
When you’re on the range and hit your target dead center, did you call it? How about if you miss your aiming point or the target, can you say where it went? Being able to call your shot is a technique every shooter should learn, but one that is often over looked.
If you’ve been on the range with me then you’ve heard me use the term “foundation”, meaning the fundamental skills needed to be able to excel. Take a house for example. You build from the ground up, making certain that each phase is complete before moving to the next. It’s the same with shooting. You need to ensure the basics are solid before jumping into advanced techniques. Being able to call your shots will only enhance your shooting, giving you a greater understanding of what is happening and how to better your techniques or adjust them when something isn’t going according to plan.
There are multiple ways to call your shots and these are based off of your senses, which are listed below in order of importance:
Let’s start with our sense of sound and break it down a little bit. Even though it is our fastest sense, (0.05 seconds=the time it takes your brain to recognize a soundwave once it reaches your ear), we have to take into consideration the distance to your target and the feedback from an impact. Due to that reason alone, this would be considered the slowest way to call a shot, or the least desirable the more advanced you get. You’ll understand this in greater detail the further your target is, i.e. long range shooting. While hearing your target feedback is thrilling and gives a confidence boost, you don’t want to rely on this sense alone.
Next, is being able to visually call your shot based off of what you see from your sight picture in conjunction with seeing the impact on target. When you’re shooting at speed, this becomes a more challenging task. Our sight picture is one of the most prevalent aspects in taking a shot, because we all look at the sights. But, being able to focus on the sight alignment before, during and after a shot is fired, while at the same time translating what each “snap shot” of that picture means will help in understanding where that shot was placed. Put yourself in a situation where your sense of sound was taken away, overwhelmed or engaging a target that doesn’t provide audible feedback. Being visually aware of your sights will take precedence over the loss of sound.
Last but not least, is your sense of feel. I deem this the most important way to call a shot because it comes down to trigger control. The simplest way to explain this is that you can see a perfect sight picture, but if you don’t exercise proper trigger control, then that perfect sight picture is wasted. This could be the result of a flinch, jerk, heeling the gun, anticipating the shot, or a long list of excuses us shooters have come up with! When manipulating the trigger, you should be able to feel the difference between a good or a bad press. You should have a smooth consistent trigger press from start to finish, while not disturbing your sights. As your skills advance, you should be able to feel what happened and if you exercised proper trigger control. Pairing this with what you’ve processed visually is key.
Next time you’re on the range, try to focus on each one individually, then gradually work towards using them simultaneously. Hopefully these tips will help you become a better shot caller!
See you on the range!