Last week I was at the range and made a deliberate attempt to think about every action as I aimed and fired. There are tons of videos and guides online about proper stance, grip, sighting, etc.. Over years I've tried several things and found a few that worked for me. However, many excellent shooters use different techniques than mine.
Anyhow, I was thinking about a few things in particular that are not often mentioned:
Starting with the stance, I generally shoot from the Weaver or Modified Weaver stance, depending on what I’m firing (i.e., I generally shoot larger calibers from a Modified Weaver stance, but not always) and what I’m trying to accomplish (defensive versus target).
The stance affects several things, most specifically the angle of the strong arm in relation to the torso, the bend of the wrist and the neck.
In the Modified Weaver, the strong arm is fully extended. I most often shoot with the strong arm perpendicular to my torso (think of it as Right Triangle versus Isoceles). This allows the plane of my wrist and arm to be in a single line. If you have taken any karate classes, one of the first things taught is that the plane of the fist is straight with the forearm. This takes advantage of the cushioning cartilage in the wrist to minimize injury. For smaller calibers or infrequent shooters, this might not be an issue at all, but for some who fire thousands of rounds a month, may be relevant. The downside of the fully extended arm and straight wrist is that in order to use traditional sighting technique, the neck often tilts to the side. In order to keep the neck straight as some techniques advice, the angle of the torso to the target must be adjusted by a few degrees. Note that this also affects sighting as I find it more difficult to sight with both eyes open when my neck is titled.
So on to sighting:
I am right-eye dominant but shoot with both hands equally well. If I shoot left handed, I sight with my left eye and vice versa. The corrective lenses that I wear (BlindOldMan wasn’t picked randomly
) preclude normal sighting techniques (hold target fuzzy, front sight in focus) so I’ve been forced to learn stillness tricks in order to hit those barn walls. Sometimes I need to move my head to sight, so in some cases I look like I’m nodding ‘yes’ at the target.
OK, so what’s my point here? When shooting long rifle or longbow, we are often taught to ‘know the nose’. This means knowing where your nose is in relation to your sighting. For example, I was taught to press my cheek against the comb of the stock so that my nose always ends up in the same place. Thought I am relatively new to AR-15 style rifles, I’ve been shown a similar technique where the tip of the nose rests against the charging handle (which may be why I haven’t heard of large caliber AR-15 style rifles, and makes sense if you’ve been “racooned” by some BFG ). In archery, there’s also this notion of knowing the nose so that the sight picture, neck and arm position, etc., are all “known” intuitively (i.e., without looking). There’s no way to develop this except with endless practice, however.
Anyhow, just some thoughts as I was preparing to take a brand new shooter to the range. What do you folks do differently? (The above is not what's "right", just what works for *ME*.