Rise to the Occasion
While running an 8k over the weekend with several other cadets and a SFC. JROTC teacher, I got bored and struck up a conversation with the Sarge about his experiences behind a handgun while in Combat. We talked about how the long hours on the range, leaving his hand with calluses from shooting, didn't do as much to prepare him as he thought it would. Turns out that your shooting actually gets worse when you need it, that people never "Rise to the Occasion" like they think they will. The adrenaline going through your body makes those nice gentle trigger squeezes you do on the range into hard trigger jerks that make it all but impossible to hit what you're aiming for at any reasonable distance. It also reduces your near-ranged eyesight, increasing your far-ranged eyesight. For all of us who don't use the instinct shooting method, and instead aim down the sights, turns out we'll be crippled in combat. You can only expect to do as well in combat as your worst day on the range. There are ways, however, to change that. First, you can get a heavier gun that won't be likely to shift as much while pulling the trigger. Second, you can learn to shoot instinctively, instead of by using the sights. Lastly, you can practice so that even your worst day on the range gets every shot in the target area. Good luck and I hope that you never have to rise to the occasion.
I'm an old fat guy and although I've got a few pistols, I've never considered myself a pistol-guy. What you describe is much like new IDPA shooters and high-power bench commandos ... they come out and "practice" for hours on the bench ... then you see them at a match they don't understand how the gun could shoot so poorly ... some of these guys is truly comical to see them blame the gun ... I've seen some really good deals go by too from shooters that just want to get rid of "this piece of crap gun" ...
The problem is much like yours ... but to a lesser degree since its not combat. Combine the fact that even in competition; people are watching, excitement mounts and the adrenaline gets pumping , a similar scenario but then you are shooting in classic positions that are not supported by a bench. Its unfamiliar and again you don't rise to the occasion.
I shoot from a bench to see what the gun can do and shoot from the line to see what I can do.
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