Consistency… It is mentioned over and over again: The ability to place well aimed shots directly in the X-ring, every single time – requires it be done the same way each and every time. This applies to position, technique, equipment, ammo, mental process… everything.
Looking up the word consistency in a thesaurus will yield, amongst others – these results: repeatable, predictable, dependable and reliable. These are all good descriptions of what is most often desired by Service Rifle competitor.
It is understood that seemly countless things go into a perfectly centered shot. Dozens, if not hundreds of moving parts coming together. All carefully executed the same way from shot to shot. Consistency.
The hope of this article is to break down some thoughts regarding shooting positions into categories for further investigation.
What Has To Move vs. What Doesn’t Have To Move
from Shot to Shot.
When staring out, or perhaps when experimenting with a drastic change in position – it is always better to take the time needed to deliver solid and confident shots than it is to muscle and strain through what is bound to be a less-than-stellar string.
However, provided good technique and a solid relaxed position – leaving alone what doesn’t have to move is the first step towards consistency.
SUPPORT POSITIONS – WHAT DOESN’T HAVE TO MOVE:
The support-side elbow and gloved hand are both very instrumental elements of a solid position. It is common for new shooters, who are maybe still grappling with their equipment and new found positions – to completely break position at the magazine change during a rapid fire string or in between shots in slow-fire prone. While the placement of both will often be unique from one individual to the next, once a solid position has been established and natural point of aim has been moved onto the target – these are things that don’t have to move from shot to shot.
This video demonstrates the magazine change during a rapid fire string. Notice the support side elbow and hand do not move during the mag change.
By leaving alone what can stay put, more time is now freed up to ensure the things that DO have to move – are placed perfectly from shot to shot. Then is to take what does have to move and carefully execute each – trying to understand better and more of each little thing.
SUPPORT POSITIONS – WHAT DOES HAVE TO MOVE:
• Magazines: Where you can cleanly reach them, requiring the least amount of effort.
• Buttstock Placement: Solid purchase that can be felt if incorrect.
• Trigger Elbow: Natural and firmly planted, bearing weight.
• Trigger Hand: Repeatable grip, indexed off something (e.g., thumb just touching the selector switch, a certain pressure in the crease of a finger on the notched A2 grip, etc.)
• Face: Ample stock-weld, indexed off something (e.g., a certain amount of pressure on the cheek-fat, nose just touching the charging handle, etc.)
STANDING – WHAT DOESN’T HAVE TO MOVE:
Feet are a key element for left / right adjustments of natural point of aim in standing. Once established on target, feet are one of those things that don’t have to move for the rest of the string. Of course, natural point of aim might drift throughout the course of a standing string and subsequent tweaks might be necessary. But this movement should be small and is a deliberate action. Moving feet around unnecessarily in between shots only makes for needing to reacquire a solid NPA for each and every shot totally from scratch.
STANDING – WHAT DOES HAVE TO MOVE:
• Support Arm: “Grabbing a rib” bringing support-side shoulder up, placing rubber on rubber with the shooting coat and relaxing the shoulders.
Once starting to think of all of these elements as unique to themselves, yet directly related to each other – trying something new becomes an adaptation as opposed to recklessness.