Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Making the Hit

ImageJeff Cooper, in “The Art Of The Rifle,” states that a true rifleman can score “first-round hits, on appropriate targets, at unknown ranges, from improvised firing positions, against the clock.” Achieving this definition should be the goal of every rifle owner; these requirements also apply when using firearms in defensive situations.

“First-round hits” are necessary to stop the threat. Every shot you fire is in a sense the “first” and the most important. We don’t know how many rounds it will take to stop the threat, either forcing them to make the decision to end the attack or inflicting the physical damage needed to stop them. The “appropriate target” could be the center of the body or a small portion of their head. Each shot must be a good hit otherwise you’re wasting time and ammo, and you’ll be held accountable for what any errant rounds do hit.

While most defensive situations occur at short distances there are always exceptions. A pistol shot from sixty yards may be required to solve your problem. Long distance pistol shooting is definitely something you need to practice in advance. Discover what you can do, and equally important what your limitations are. Even with a rifle a sixty-yard shot hit can be difficult when you’re breathing heavy and have a small target to engage. “At unknown ranges” is the key phrase.

In a confrontation “improvised firing positions” are generally the rule not the exception. You should train and practice firing from all positions, like on your back with your head towards the target, basically upside down. An improvised position may be used to take advantage of cover. Work on using objects in your surrounding environment to brace against for accuracy. Get out of your comfort zone so you know how to shoot and manipulate your weapon in any position under all conditions. And remember, it doesn’t need to be pretty it just has to be safe and effective.

“Against the clock” is often a confusing term. Fast is a subjective term, and the conditions you’re operating under determine what speed the clock is ticking. It’s just like driving. The speed you drive on good stretch of dry pavement will get you in trouble on the curves of a slick wet blacktop. Time is critical, but you can’t go any faster than you can perform the necessary actions correctly.

Keep in mind this is a constant process of evolution. The positions I used at age thirty-five have been modified to work for me at fifty-two. Practice is necessary to improve your skills, but also to keep your skills current with your physical abilities. Don’t deny the fact that you age. Forcing your body into uncomfortable or unstable positions in order to mimic the “standard” won’t do you any good in practice or a fight. There’s nothing wrong with having to put a big-dot or red-dot sight on your weapon. Know the fundamentals and do what it takes to make them work for you.


April 5, 2012 - Posted by | General Training

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